Six months after the previous modification of the speedy deletion criteria (see archived story), a new expansion proposal led to the addition of four new criteria and the rewording of one. A vote on this proposal held over two weeks (see related story) ended in the passage of measures that partially address the problem of handling vanity pages, along with some other technical changes.
Specifically, the vote results allow the speedy deletion of articles that do not claim any notability of their subject, serve only to disparage their subject, or simply rephrase the title of the article. In addition, articles that are transwikied in accordance with Votes for deletion consensus may now be speedily deleted afterwards. Furthermore, additional clarification was added to the criteria that calls for the deletion of articles recreated after earlier deletion.
The motivation for this vote came from a sentiment that the votes for deletion process was growing out of hand, and its sheer size would make it prohibitively difficult for people to participate. The push to avoid this focused on restricting votes for deletion to those cases where some doubt remains, so that obvious "keeps" would not be nominated and obvious "deletes" could be expedited. Meanwhile, another emphasis was educating people on the deletion process generally, as well as alternatives to deletion. Efforts have included compiling deletion precedents and guidance on merging pages, as well as an attempt to reach a compromise for the hot-button issue of schools.
To lay the groundwork for the vote, the proposals were developed over a month of discussion and debate. After discarding unworkable proposals and trying to define cases of obviously deletable articles in simple wording, the proponents submitted twenty proposals. These were put up for voting over a two-week period, and considerable effort went into publicizing the vote.
The two most radical proposals were intended to make it easier to get rid of vanity articles - one by Doc Glasgow to allow for deletion of an article on a person that does not assert that person's notability, and another by Uncle G dealing with an article on a person less than twenty-five years old that does not cite a source. Articles about an unremarkable person written by the subject of the article, or his or her friends or classmates, are a regular occurrence and votes for deletion deals with more than twenty such articles per day.
These proposals illustrate two different approaches to the same issue. The notability proposal relies on a common-sense reading of the article to determine if it indicates anything noteworthy about the subject. An example indicated that an article saying "John Doe is good at chess" does not assert notability, while "John Doe won the 2003 UK Chess Trophy" does. This proposal passed with 74% support. On the other hand, the proposal using the person's age to justify deletion was based on an analysis of recent deletion votes. The analysis indicated that an age below 25 and the failure to cite a source provided a reasonable proxy for situations in which deletion was the most likely outcome. However, the measure was voted down with 49% support.
Some proposals related to the problem of vanity pages dealt with unremarkable bands, websites and clubs; none of these passed, as they received 69%, 58% and 37% support respectively. One argument for having a speedy deletion criterion for websites is that regular deletion of these articles often leads to an influx of sockpuppets and new users. At the same time, good criteria for identifying a website as unremarkable are difficult to establish, since objective measures such as Google and Alexa data are frowned upon.
The proposal on bands came closest to passing, as the threshold set for the vote was 70%, but a number of people expressed concern about the standard for deletion used. It would have relied on guidelines set by WikiProject Music, but this drew a number of objections indicating that the criterion for deletion should stand on its own. In an effort to overcome these objections, a discussion is ongoing to consider an alternative.
Other proposals that passed include one for articles moved to another Wikimedia project after an earlier deletion vote; one to clarify when it is and isn't appropriate to delete an article that was earlier deleted and then recreated; one to formalize the practice of deleting attack pages; and one to allow for deletion of articles that have no content other than a rephrasing of the title.
Other proposals that received majority support but fell short of 70% included those for articles duplicated in Wikibooks or Wikisource, and deletion of articles related to fan fiction. The proposal for deletion of characters from role-playing games failed, partly because it did not distinguish between publisher-created and player-created characters. Also failing were proposals for articles of one sentence or less, along with duplicates of Wiktionary articles.
A number of proposals did not relate directly to votes for deletion, but instead to other aspects of the deletion system that do not necessarily have the same load problems. These proposed criteria for speedy deletion, which related to issues such as images, categories, templates, and copyright violations, were all rejected.
With the large scale of the vote and preceding discussion, the proposal encountered criticism from a number of people. Complaints aired included that the six-week period of discussion preceding the proposal had been too short, and that too many proposals went to a vote simultaneously.
Some people expressed disagreement with the practice of adding new proposals while the vote was in progress, and there were objections to the suffrage requirements that would cause all votes from users with less than 250 edits to be discounted. However, none of the late additions received enough support to pass anyway, and the criteria for discounting votes did not appear to affect any of the outcomes. Finally, a counterproposal that the entire proposal was an instance of instruction creep only gained 23% support.