Commons:Deletion policy

This page sets out the deletion policy of Wikimedia Commons. For simplicity, images, sound files, videos, source files and other files are referred to as “files”, and galleries, categories, templates, talk and other pages are referred to as “pages”. This page does not explain copyright issues and the Commons licensing policy. See Commons:Licensing instead.

There are three main deletion procedures. These are applied in different cases, depending on the reason for deletion:

In all cases consider using GlobalUsage to get some idea of where images are in use before deletion.

If there is some licensing information missing, then the file gets tagged as missing information and the uploader is informed and given 7 days time to correct the problem. After this period the file can be deleted by an admin on sight without further debate, if the information is indeed missing. All affected (tagged) files can be found below Category:Missing legal information.

Files missing source or licensing information should be tagged with one of the following messages.

Please notify the uploaders that you have tagged the file as well (see notes on the templates after tagging a file with them). After this they will have 7 days to fix the information.

If after this period of time sufficient license and source information is provided, the tag should be removed. If it is not fixed, the file is then eligible for speedy deletion. However, you should not list such files for deletion or speedy deletion. Because they are tagged by date, an administrator can automatically see which ones are eligible for deletion by navigating subcategories of Category:Missing legal information.

Per Commons licensing policy, Commons also does not host “fair use” copies of non-free content (see Commons:Fair use), other than some non-free symbols of the WMF projects.

Wikimedia Commons accepts only free content, that is, images and other media files that can be used by anyone, anytime, for any purpose.

A file or page can be listed for deletion on Commons:Deletion requests in the following cases:

"Out of scope" files/pages should normally be listed at Commons:Deletion requests.

The file is not realistically useful for an educational purpose. Examples of files that are not realistically useful include:

Commons respects the legal rights of the subjects of our photographs and has a moral obligation to behave ethically with regard to photographs of people. This means certain photographs are unacceptable on Commons without appropriate consent from the subject. See Commons:Photographs of identifiable people.

Even when not required to do so for legal or other policy reasons, Commons may at times choose to delete images, for example as a goodwill gesture to a photographer who has made a mistake. For proposed guidelines, see Commons:Courtesy deletions.

Files that are not of the same file type are not duplicates, but instead possibly redundant (see below), and require a deletion request.

Exact duplicates of a file are listed at the bottom of the description page by the MediaWiki software.

Note: if it is a work that is very similar (or identical) to another, but not an exact duplicate, it’s a redundant file, which mandates a different procedure. See below.

Redundant or low-quality files only get deleted on a case-by-case basis after they are listed at Commons:Deletion requests. At deletion requests you will need to provide reasons why a particular file is inferior to the alternative version (for more information, see Commons talk:Superseded images policy).

Before requesting a bad quality file for deletion, make sure that the file is not in use anymore by using GlobalUsage. You may replace uses of the file on local projects by superior versions, subject to the local project’s policies. If at the end of the discussion period a deletion is agreed upon and the file is still not in use, it can be deleted.

In case of a redundant page (not file), consider simply making it a redirect.

An administrator will delete the file/page in due time. If anyone disagrees with the speedy deletion of a particular file, please convert to a regular deletion request (see below). Always make sure that all local links to a file or page are corrected and updated before deletion. The files/pages listed for speedy deletion are included automatically in Category:Candidates for speedy deletion and its subcategories.

Please always remember: Before deleting images in speedy deletion, make sure that the user has placed it there in accordance with these deletion guidelines. If not, please modify the template, moving it off of this page. Always check the file history to determine that the proper image description has not been vandalised.

When speedy-deleting files, it is suggested but not required to run GlobalUsage in order to fix uses on Wikimedia projects.

In some cases a file may be tagged with a “problem tag”, and will be deleted if the problem is not resolved after a certain time (typically 7 days). See for example "#Missing legal information" above.

The file/page may be deleted on decision by an admin if there were good reasons given in the debate for doing so. Always make sure that all local links to a file or page are corrected and updated before deletion. When deleting a file from deletion requests, it is good practice to run GlobalUsage and orphan the usage of that file. More information can be found on Commons:Deletion requests, and the files/pages listed for deletion are included in the Category:Deletion requests.

If you wish to nominate multiple items for deletion for the same reason (a mass request or mass nomination), please see Commons:Deletion requests/Mass deletion request.

Regular deletion requests are separate pages that are transcluded in other pages. Therefore if you wish to add one or several categories to a deletion request you should place the category or categories in the wikitext between <noinclude> and </noinclude> for the purpose that the category or categories apply only to the deletion request concerned. See also : Help:Noinclude, includeonly, and onlyinclude.

In general, requests can be closed by an administrator after seven days. Deletion requests for obvious copyright violations can be closed earlier. Problematic or complex requests (such as highly used templates) can wait longer – even for several months if necessary. Non-admins may close a deletion request as keep if they have a good understanding of the process, and provided the closure is not controversial. If in doubt, don't do it.

In addition, no user may close a deletion request as Kept which includes media they have uploaded.

Administrators are encouraged to check whether the uploader was notified on their talk page of the pending deletion request (unless the image is an obvious violation, in which case the image can be speedy deleted).

To appeal debates of image not deleted, you might first want to discuss with the admin who closed the discussion. If you believe the deletion was done in error, appealing deleted images can be done at Commons:Undeletion requests.

If the decision was correctly based on the current licensing and project scope pages, you should express your dissatisfaction on a respective page.

If neither of the above cases apply, an entry can be placed at Commons:Categories for discussion (follow the link for instructions on how to do this).