January 22, 2022

Research Paper: “Investigating Deletion in Wikipedia”

The following full text research paper was made available today via the arXiv database. It was first published in January, 2013.


Investigating Deletion in Wikipedia


Bluma Gelly
Polytechnic Institute of NYU




Several hundred Wikipedia articles are deleted every day because they lack sufficient notability to be included in the encyclopedia. We collected a dataset of deleted articles and analyzed them to determine whether or not the deletions were justified. We find evidence to support the hypothesis that many deletions are carried out correctly, but also find that a large number were done very quickly. Based on our conclusions, we make some recommendations to reduce the number of nonnotable pages and simultaneously improve retention of new editors.

From the Conclusion/Recommendations

It is clear that the fault for the large numbers of notability-based deletions lies with both the Wikipedians who create the articles and those who delete them. As we have seen, Wikipedia’s policies are thoughtful and aim to provide the best possible balance between encouraging the addition of as much noteworthy content as possible and keeping the site free of unencyclopedic articles. These policies, however, are not being implemented in an optimum fashion. Too few novice editors are familiar with the notability guidelines, and too few article deleters take the deletion guidelines seriously enough. If Wikipedia were to make a concerted effort to help all users become familiar with notability policy, it might see the volume of non-notable pages created drop.

Direct to Full Text (12 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.