Documenting the history of OpenStreetMap

Go ahead and define objective criteria to measure them.

Indeed I mean users who contributed to discussion and content, not typography.

No idea what that means.

A criterion for being abandoned, yes, but being abandoned does not mean to be deleted.

Sure. What I mean is that content on other pages refers to this; not automatic categorisation.


Quality and usefulness High quality and usefulness imply: not a duplication of other proposals, contains a definition + a comparison to existing or other proposed tags (like “a=b is better than b=a because …”, “you can not express … with the tags a, b, and c”)

I am talking about the conjunction of different factors here, for instance if we have a poor proposal which seems to be incomplete, and it was never voted upon, then its age is an additional factor for arguing in favour of deletion, because the chance that the original author comes back are pretty low.

minor edits, spell check…

I the problem are lists, updated by humans comparably to “manual categories” and poorly related “see also” links.

I forgot links originating from user pages like User:A/todo → Proposed features/B. In addition, User:A/todo was not modified for five years, but I guess this is obvious…

I thought the same about natural=fungus and the original proposal was indeed not so good.

Fungi however are the biggest and oldest living organisms on earth so I replaced that proposal with a new one.


The cost of deciding what to delete is pretty high even in reasonably clear cases because it is an irreversible act purging all content and history. Once a delete request creates controversy this cost goes further up substantially.

What is the benefit of deleting a few ancient useless proposals? Does it ever justify the work involved?

Are there better alternatives to permanently purging useless old pages? Aren’t a few amboxes good enough? Moving to another wiki-namespace?

You avoid maintenance tasks such as categorisation (changes over time continuously), watching out for vandalism, and reverting destructive edits. In addition, you are able to focus the documentation of currently used content (not that relevant for proposals, but in case of software lists or recommendations/comparisons).

Lastly, I guess some users like to clean up and condensing content (a similar process happens in the brain with our memories).

Going through the list set up by Polarbear, the process is straightforward: You check if it qualifies for deletion and otherwise you leave everything as it is.

Honestly, you could think of a read-only system for old proposals. Employing such a system would save some maintenance, because no one needs to watch the changes and you can basically keep everything (like with the mailing list archives). There would be quite a lot of “low quality content” though (proposals we currently delete for instance, although I am not saying everything I would delete is of a “low quality”, some things are just duplicates or discussions that never took place because no one was interested, proposals based on misunderstandings…).

Such a system would not be like a wiki, but rather like a database storing a log of all actions with no option to change it later on. User Ezekiel “stored” some of the proposals on a user sub page, but I dislike that because still everyone could change it, but it is more tricky as it is in a user space and it is not really related to this user.

Still, you would need to decide when a proposal is ready for archiving and this is not trivial either…

Edit: grammar, wording

I don’t think whether to do basic up keep tasks on a website or not should be based on an “outrage meter.” Since it can easily lead to self-selection bias, where the outraged people think their opinions are in the majority and most important. Simply because they are in the outraged group themselves. There is also a strong chance of confirmation bias that way also. Since strong, negative opinions are over represented, because people who are fine with something don’t usually comment about it. Or if they do it’s usually after the fact to complain that things didn’t turn out how they wanted. I see it happen all the time, both here and on the main style’s Github page.

Therefore, it’s all around better to have actual quantitative guidelines to follow, that we can keep unbiased as possible and be able to point to later if someone complains or wants the page deleted again. Outrage tends to ebb and flow and can always be disputed. The fact that a proposal page shouldn’t be deleted because it has votes doesn’t though and it can’t be disputed as easily. Someone would have to revise the guidelines to get their way. Which is much harder in practice then finding a couple of other people willing to be outraged at the same thing as them.

In general, the more we can step out of our own ways (which also includes me) and “automate” this stuff the better IMHO. It reduces needless discussion and arguments if nothing else. I’m sure we all have better things to do with our time. It also partly deals with the possibility of someone using shill accounts or similar tactics, that could create a fake controversy and make it seem like there’s a majority opinion on either side when there actually isn’t.

I merged the suggestions into the draft and published it at Note that I moved some general content to the top section.

I was not sure about point 3 in “To keep”:

I understand the intention, but what if the tag’s meaning changes, because someone else sets up a new proposal and ignores about the few previous occurrences?

as to point 4, I would remove the exceptions (except for relevance and deletion discussions). Obviously, if the only discussion is the autor (that’s what the paragraph is about) raising an issue for deletion and nobody is defending the page, that would mean deletion, but otherwise, if there were arguments in favor of the proposal, I would keep it.

No, the intention was to include an option, that *a second person *could step up (after one year without changes) and propose and discuss about a deletion of a draft meaning incomplete proposal(use cases: initial author lost interest, did not know how/if to delete, abandoned draft without the qualities defined in In this case, the deletion action should not be blocked by the fact that there was a discussion with the final result leading to a deletion.

The key point is this “second person”.

I was hoping that every discussion would finally lead to some result (one or the other way).

Edit: highlighted insertion

I think one reason why the discussion was so heated in the first place was because people were using {{Delete}} instead of {{delete proposal}}, perhaps not even knowing the better alternative???

Even if an old proposal is total garbage it is almost never very urgent to delete it. I am thinking that even if the case for deletion is pretty clear it might be much better to use {{delete proposal}} so that ideally a few users can leave their comments making the decision for the admin easier. Delete proposal also has the big advantage that in case the decision is to keep the page the discussion about deletion will be preserved and won’t repeat every few months.

The already says that {{Delete}} should be used only “If you are very sure that a deletion is the right way and you have some experience with this wiki” but apparently this is not enough. It should not happen that someone puts the {{Delete}} template on 13 pages out of which only 3 turn out to be uncontested.

I would suggest to very strongly discourage the use of the {{Delete}} method on anything except “own” content.

I would also suggest to prolong the deadlines to respond to a delete proposal by at least an order of a magnitude. Currently it says

This might be enough at wikipedia but here many people are lucky if they manage to login every month and discussions tend to be slow and long lasting. We have now some really old proposals laying around so I do not understand the hurry to get rid of them so quickly.

This is off-topic, but since you asked for it and it is somewhat related (and maybe helps to understand the discussion), I will explain my “answers” to your questions:

Agree! Many people also remove all other content of the page (as the template says). I guess this caused further aggression.

True, it should just happen some time before the user requesting/proposing the deletion forgets about it, because then any argumentation will be a bit awkward. It looks to me as there was some lack of maintenance in the past. :slight_smile:

Well, admins check the deletion requests (so that no one “rushes though” and gets everything deleted that they want). The idea of {{delete proposal}} is to make other people aware of an ongoing discussion. Admins usually do not check those, because they are not the masters who decide. Instead, they wait for the community to make a decision and then execute it. Their task is basically double checking and executing the request if the check was passed. (Any admin may correct me.)

I do not understand. You can always comment on the talk page, I would just change the template to signal that the discussion is not done yet.

There are very clear cases, for instance the results of broken redirects report (either change redirect or delete it, but mostly deleting) or spam. I would usually do them right away, but since we discuss, I will not request any deletions. Talking about occasional wiki editors, I would strongly discourage it as well.

I see the problem, but on the other hand, I would suggest to put those pages you are interested in on your watchlist. I often check pages simply because I received a notification e-mail. You can also check, Category:Labelled for deletion (deletion requests) and Category:Deletion Proposed (English deletion proposals). If we extend the time too far, then they will fill up even more (currently 240 in the first category only), but maybe you got a point.

Any further comments on the draft?
@dieterdreist Is everything okay with point 4 now?

And I think this is how it should work in most cases unless there is some sort of urgency to delete the page.

The Delete proposal template encourages delete discussion on the talk page, the other delete doesn’t. So if it is decided that the page should not be deleted you have a good record why it was not deleted in the first case but ot in the other case.

admittedly there are a few cases that are very clear like the broken redirects you mention but you get the idea… nothing that has the potential to incite discussions should be done by a plain delete.

I see the 240 pages in the delete category and think maybe it grows so big because people use it wrongly which makes the job for the admins difficult. The first one which I click on is and sure I believe it is not uncontroversial to do a plain delete on this one without any further discussion. So I am reverting that.

Another problem there if the pages are Polish or whatever other language… do we have enough admins who speak all languages?

Mapofix is obviously a user name, so I moved the whole page to the user namespace instead. This is probably the best place to keep such stuff.

No matter how elaborate you make this criteria, there will be always corner cases and different opinions. It should be stressed that if in doubt we generally prefer keeping over deleting. Deleting things requires special care and may waste admin time and the time of many people for a very modest gain at best.

Also we need a clear and simple deescalation policy - how about: “if anyone places a {{delete}} template and it is contested or reversed, proceed with {{delete proposal}} or forget it”.

Did anyone look how many of these 240 are by user Adamant1? I see there might be quite a few - and I would suggest all those requests for deletion are suspended, changed to delete proposal or handled otherwise because previously not all of his delete requests were uncontested.

Already included that in my draft:
This means that the contesting person has to change the template (and not simply revert the page). This would just escalate the situation.

I would like to add a section explaining the terms “deletion request” and “deletion proposal”.

I agree. Added this as no. 5 in “General” section.

I think there is a gain (not just a “modest” one) of deleting pages in general, please have a look at my draft and previous comments by me.

I am in favor of not escalating the situation, however I see considerable problems with the idea that someone opposing the deletion should actually place a deletion proposal on the page. If I would place the delete proposal template on the page other users might mistakenly get the idea that I was somehow in favor of the deletion. Also, I think the person placing the delete proposal should add an appropriate section to the talk page (sometimes people forget this) and restate the reasons there. Obviously someone contesting the deletion should not do this.

Anyone using {{delete}} instead of {{delete proposal}} should be in my opinion be aware that this is not just an ordinary edit but in case of disagreement will necessarily provoke swift counteraction.

Taken together I think someone using {{delete}} instead of {{delete proposal}} should consider beforehand that anyone may revert that edit without prior discussion and be prepared to make a {{delete proposal}} as a second attempt.

I hope that if this is clarified in the documentation (also in the docs of the respective templates!) the procedure can take a more reasonable course.

Imho it is important to add that a {{delete proposal}} is a call to start a discussion about deleting a particular page, whereas {{delete}} is a request to delete it without further discussion. Yes… usually pages don’t get deleted seconds after placing a {{delete}} on them but as far as I know there is no guarantee that this will not happen, there is no specified time limit to reply or anything that I know.

will reply to that comment directly.

I will explain this with the following example. You find the following page:

{{delete|this is irrelevant now.}}

For some reason, you oppose the deletion request and revert. You comment is something like “Please use {{delete proposal}} instead”. Now, someone else visits the page and finds no sign of deletion.
Then the first person steps up again:

{{delete proposal|This is irrelevant now. I created this by myself and it was based on misunderstandings.}}

The two of you finally agree on deletion, but the third person missed out, because they found the page with no sign of deletion whatsoever.

No one will think you wanted deletion, because you did the following change (you typing in uppercase) if you use a edit summary like “Let’s discuss first!”:

{{delete PROPOSAL|this is irrelevant now.}}

How about this:

Looking at the list of recent deletions, you can see that only Lyx recently deleted pages not created by themselves. The user stated:

Since admins are trusted users and usually not involved in these deletions, I do not see the need to act urgently (same as for deleting pages).

Edit: irritating error in wiki syntax

Would it be that big of a deal if the discussion was repeated every few months? Pages change and new people come along. There shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule like “we talked about this once so never again.” Also, if the deletion proposal was originally put there due to fitting the deletion criteria that should be more important then what a few people say and could be worth revisiting on pages if criteria changes.

There wasn’t an instance where that happened. At least not where they were contested within the rules of a revert or for a plausible reason.

If the use the {{delete}} method is discouraged except in instances of “own” content, that might persuade people from using it even where its clear that it should be used, out of fear backlash. Including on pages that were discussed already.

Well there shouldn’t be an urgency, there also shouldn’t be no urgency either. One of the reasons I decided to use {{delete}} originally instead of {{delete proposal}} was because there was some pages with {{delete proposal}} on them from like 5 years back that never had any discussion. There should be a reasonable time where if know one comments then just a {{delete}} can be used. {{delete}} still allows for discussion on the talk page to. It even suggests it. There’s just more of urgency to it. So its not that either you use {{delete proposal}} or no discussion can happen.

There was also a few cases where a {{delete proposal}} was never added to the pages, but multiple people had said years ago on the discussion pages that they should be deleted without anyone coming along to argue against it. At that point a {{delete proposal}} was redundant in my opinion, because people had plenty of time to comment already if they wanted to. Although. I still got reverted on those.

Both encourage it. They just serve different purposes. It doesn’t mean discussions can’t happen with {{delete}} though. People just decided to freak out and not do it.

So because some of my deletion proposals where contested then that means they are all BS? That’s a pretty cynical approach to take. As I said before most of them weren’t contested and got deleted.

Its also worth mentioning that all articles related to Kosmos I originally added the deletion requests to because it was part of the cleanup project and people requested they be cleaned up there (including the person that originally created the software somewhere else). I figured the clear statement one the cleanup project page by others that the pages could be cleaned up was enough and that it therefore wouldn’t cause controversy. Again, the request to clean up the Kosmos pages was on the cleanup page for years without any Opposition or comment against it.

After the deletion proposals caused controversy I requested that the people who had the problems discuss it on the Cleanup Projects talk page. So it wouldn’t happen to me or anyone else again. Those people decided to continue berating me on my talk page though, instead of dealing with the original, actual cause of it. People who don’t know any better shouldn’t get chided or demeaned for doing something other people requested. If there’s a problem with the Cleanup Project requesting things be deleted, it should be dealt with there. It was and still isn’t my problem. The only reason I requested the pages be deleted in the first place was because it was mentioned on Cleanup Project and I had nothing better to do at the time. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have ever cared about deleting pages.

Doing a {{deletion proposal}} instead of a {{delete}} was never mentioned there as an option either. Nor did anyone who contacted me throw it out as a possibility in between the insults and reverts. Originally I had wanted there to be discussions about the pages being deleted , but I assumed (apparently wrongly) that it would happen with {{delete}} since the template specifically says “If you disagree with its deletion, please explain why on its talk page.” Otherwise, why would it say it?