Proposal:Advance deletions to be retired or userfied pages

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  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation



Summary

In order to improve user relations, control search-engine contents and allow others to view user stub-articles, each Wikipedia article/template deletion process should be advanced to convert pages into retired content or userfied to become a local user-level page of the original author. Pages would be edit-protected in various "Category:Retired articles of 24-Sep-2009" (etc.), until re-indexed by search-engine bots, and then removed from the article or template-namespace.

Proposal

Quit deleting pages, as if the page-content doesn't go viral in search-engine files, for weeks. Leaving unreachable, unchangeable content in a search-engine index can also be another insult to the author(s), unable to change the content forced to go viral by the ill-conceived deletion. Instead, a page should be retired to remove the most controversial (or obnoxious) content, protected from retirement-editing, then left until the various, major search-engine bots re-index the page with the acceptable content, and then finally, deleted or moved to become a user-level page of the original author.

Motivation

There are several issues to consider:

  • Deleted pages go viral: In Google Search during 2008-2009, an English-Wikipedia page became indexed after about 1 day in existence. On Bing.com, each "==subsection==" of an article might get a separate content-page within the Bing database. If an article is deleted without updating any controversial content, then that old content goes viral: for Google Search, a deleted WP page stays in Google-cache for about 3 weeks longer, displaying whatever embarrassing content (in a matching search-results list) all during those 3 weeks. If the content is fixed before deletion, then Google typically reindexes the improved content within 2 days, at which point, the article can then be deleted or userfied as a user-level page of the original author.
  • Rude deletions insult authors: The stats reveal that 98% of Wikipedia users quit within 1 month, probably in disgust with how they were treated when active. It would be preferable to inform the author that the controversial content of an article was being excised, for a few days, and that the page would be available for private editing among the author's user-level pages, but that the page was not ready to remain an official article/template, at that time.
  • Politeness is easy: On balance, it can be amazing how simple and easy it is, to use politeness, when dealing with users. There is no "fascist cabal" that commands, "Delete articles ASAP and find other ways to insult and frustrate users".
  • Viral content can insult helpless users: It is nearly impossible for an expert to purge a search-engine database, after an article was deleted and went viral. However, for a typical user, it can be even more mentally unthinkable how the contents, deemed unsuitable, have been caused to go viral, as a multi-week reminder of how Wikipedia chopped the article, mid-stream, before it could be improved. For new users, it is almost impossible to estimate the psychological scarring caused by a project (which seems run by a "bunch of incompetent jerks"), no matter how incorrect that viewpoint might have been by some users. Rudeness seems to spread other ill feelings: as with violence begets violence.

Key Questions

  • How many days should a retired-status article be left, to allow re-indexing by major search-engine bots?
  • Beyond a banner-box & categories (as a "retired article"), plus edit-protection, what other procedural steps are needed to track a retired-article within a Wikipedia?
  • Should a page-for-deletion be blanked (before search-engine updates) when a copy is moved into the original author's user-level pages?
  • Do rude deletions cause people to write in their websites, "Wikipedia is run by insolent little twerps"?
  • Have the prior rude deletions caused people to write in blogs, "At Wikipedia the inmates are running the asylum"?
  • Will administrators accept such a change?

Potential Costs

  • Resource: development - no impact, since existing options would be used.
  • Resource: policies - changes would be needed in Article-for-Deletion (AfD) & Template-for-Deletion (TfD) procedures, to convert pages into a retired-status (showing a banner-template) before removal.

References

  • (none listed yet)


Community Discussion

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