Deletion by redirection occurs when an editor redirects an article without merging (copying) any of its content to any other articles. In effect, this removes the content from a Wikipedia reader's view by indirect means. However, unlike truly deleted articles, editors are still able to view the article history. Editors may also copy the "deleted" content to other articles. Deletion by redirection, also called the redirection alternative to deletion, is supported by policy (policy shortcut: WP:ATD-R). This is perhaps a policy that hasn't been widely discussed, so this is the point of this page.
Some points are worth noting:
- This is different from merging an article, where content from the redirected article is merged (copied) into one or more target articles. No permission is needed for uncontroversial mergers; just do it. Controversial and potentially controversial mergers should be discussed on the relevant talk page before execution.
- Unlike "Speedy deletion" which only administrators can execute (though anyone can propose), anyone can delete an article by redirection.
- The article is preserved in the redirect page's history.
- Deletion by redirection might be considered vandalism in some circumstances. These redirects should be promptly reverted.
- Any editor can boldly redirect to another article, without copying content. If a deletion by redirection is disputed, an attempt should be made on the talk page to reach a consensus before restoring the redirect. If local consensus cannot be reached, take it to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion and achieve consensus rather than unilaterally taking action.
Redirecting an article is often an appropriate course of action to be taken when an article clearly fails to meet the general notability guidelines for inclusion. In such cases, a bold redirect to an appropriate page allows the history of the article to be maintained such that future editors may expand the article to establish notability for the subject. For example, WP:MUSIC states that "most songs do not rise to notability for an independent article and should redirect to another relevant article". In most instances, such articles should redirect to the album on which the song first appeared.
If a redirected article is reverted with proper reasoning, consensus should be achieved on the talk page, or the article may be nominated for deletion. In some instances, editors take offense to their articles being redirected. In such cases, the motive behind the redirect should be explained clearly and calmly. Persistent reversion of redirects is disruptive, and if the reasoning for the redirect is not accepted, the issue can be resolved by nominating the article for deletion instead.