How do I save a Wikipedia article from deletion?
April 25, 2023 11:08 PM   Subscribe

A Wikipedia article I created way back when about Once Upon a Time…, a long-running French animated series, has been proposed for deletion for lack of notability, but the linked notability guideline for television doesn’t seem to apply to it at all. I would like to do what’s required to save it from deletion, but I’m confused why it’s been proposed for deletion for lack of notability. How do I go about saving this Wikipedia article from deletion?
posted by Kattullus to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
One of the issues flagged is a lack of citations. Can you add some? Information about citing sources in Wikipedia can be found here (sorry, I'm on mobile). Regarding the notability criteria, you can add a comment on the Talk page for this article (linked under the article title) explaining why you think it meets the notability criteria.
posted by phlox at 12:27 AM on April 26, 2023 [3 favorites]

Looks like it was tagged in December for not citing any sources. Factual claims in Wikipedia articles need to be supported by in-line citations to a reliable source, the sort indicated by the numbered footnotes scattered liberally around most articles. The lone external link to the Procidis website at the end doesn't count (and is broken regardless).

The recent flag is just a "proposed deletion" (PROD), which is a quick-and-easy way for users to flag problem articles for uncontroversial deletion after one week without having to go through the more complicated Articles for Deletion (AfD) process. The good news is that disputing the proposal is equally easy -- just delete the PROD flag from the article (ideally with a justification for why it should remain) and the process is cancelled and cannot be restarted. If you don't want the flagger to respond with an AfD nomination, though, you'll need to get to work finding acceptable sources and citing them in the article. Users are supposed to do a cursory search for sources before proposing a PROD (this is the "BEFORE" thing they mentioned); they claimed to not find anything, but if you're more knowledgeable about the series and when/where/how it was broadcast you will probably have more luck finding good supporting material. (Also note that there are similar flags on the articles for Procidis and some of the incarnations of the series in the main article's "Chronology" section, so make sure to spread the love there too if you don't want them nominated).
posted by Rhaomi at 12:29 AM on April 26, 2023 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Looking at the "Once Upon a Time..." article, here is a brief explanation as to what I think has happened so far:
  1. About 18 months ago, an editor added a tag to the article that indicated that the article does not cite any sources for the information in the article. Wikipedia cares about verifiability — it should be possible for readers to follow an article's citations to check that the information comes from a reliable source.
  2. About two weeks later a second editor added a note warning that the article may not meet Wikipedia's notability guideline for articles on television subjects, and that it might be deleted if notability cannot be shown. They added this because for the majority of topics related to television, the criteria established at the general notability guideline is usually applied (i.e. "If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria for a stand-alone article" ) and without citations there isn't any evidence that the subject has significant coverage in reliable sources.
  3. A day ago, more than a year later, a third editor noticed that there had been no attempt to address the issues noted by the previous editors, and that they thought the reason the article hasn't been fixed is perhaps because it can't be fixed (i.e. no one has added citations to significant coverage in reliable sources because they don't exist). The important thing about this tag is that the line "You may remove this message if you improve the article or otherwise object to deletion for any reason. "
What to do right away:
  1. Object to the proposed deletion by removing the tag at the top of the article "{{Proposed deletion ... }}" with a brief edit summary saying something like "this subject is notable, I'll fix the article."
  2. In your shoes I'd also recommend you immediately follow up the removal of the deletion notice by adding a section to the talk page (perhaps called "Objection to deletion for lack of notability"). In the section explain why you think the subject of the article is notable. If you can link to webpages or mention books that establish the notability of the subject, even better. Also explain that you intend to fix the lack of references.
This will halt the deletion without objection process, but may not be enough to prevent the ultimate deletion of the article. There is a lengthier process for deletion that invites discussion from other editors that might result in the deletion of this article even if you object. If the editor who proposed the deletion of the article notices that you objected, but if you don't fix the article or they don't think you will actually fix the article, they may start this lengthier process.

So, after doing the two steps above under "what to do right away", edit the article to add a references section. Add citations in the article body that link to significant coverage in reliable sources. I note that the article in question has a number of related articles "Once Upon a Time… Man", "Once Upon a Time… Space" that do have references. You might be able to use some of these references in the main "Once Upon a Time..." article.
posted by RichardP at 12:30 AM on April 26, 2023 [16 favorites]

I don't know how much Wikipedia editors care about content (as opposed to structural issues) but you may want to add something in the introduction about the series' global reach, the way it's a cultural touchstone for a generation in many countries, etc. -- since that's also relevant context for readers. There must have been some interesting articles written about its cultural significance that can be cited, even if they're not in English.
posted by trig at 1:37 AM on April 26, 2023 [4 favorites]

Best answer: A few links that might help you establish notability: I don't know much about Wikipedia policies but those all seem like fairly reliable sources indicating that this is a notable series.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:38 AM on April 26, 2023 [10 favorites]

I am shocked by the idea that "Once upon a time..." Might be considered un-notable. What next, Ulysses 31?! Not a wikiperson but might there be a reddit where you can stir up some cites?
posted by Iteki at 4:17 AM on April 26, 2023 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I hope you successfully save the page from deletion, since I consider it very notable indeed. There are more references on the page about Albert Barillé that could be relevant to use.
posted by snarfois at 4:20 AM on April 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Portuguese page has more information you could consider adding, including a list of countries where it was broadcast. (Including the Afrikaans version I grew up with.) I'm not a Wikipedia expert but I think that information should add to its notability.
posted by snarfois at 4:24 AM on April 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

It has six pages of articles on Google Scholar, compared to for example Bravestar with just eight articles.
Ulysses 31 has 11 pages...
posted by Iteki at 4:26 AM on April 26, 2023

I'd also note that, if it did go to AfD, doing a WP:BEFORE search for this series is going to be tricky because of the very common name. You might like to suggest some alternative terms that people with access to paid archives can search for to find references to it.
posted by offog at 7:43 AM on April 26, 2023 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all! I’ll add citations and delete the proposal, with a note on the talk page.

Thank you especially for clarifying that this wasn’t the formal proposal for deletion. I’ve been using and intermittently editing Wikipedia for nigh on two decades now, but the intricacies of its processes are opaque to me. I thought I would have to mount a defense and editors would vote.

Also, do I understand it correctly that notability isn’t an issue in and of itself, but that this kind of low-level deletion needs to be tagged for notability, as a procedural matter? That aspect really confused me.
posted by Kattullus at 8:55 AM on April 26, 2023

Kattullus I love Il était une fois… and I to hope you can save it!
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:39 AM on April 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've added a bunch of citations to the wikipedia page, hopefully establishing notability, and deleted the proposal for deletion. I will try to tinker with it some more, adding references as I find them. Any and all references you can find will be very much appreciated.

Oh, and Busy Old Fool, the Formenti link brings me to a blocked preview page, can you provide a bit more information so I can add it as a reference?
posted by Kattullus at 3:02 PM on April 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

Here's a page of the book that mentions Once Upon a Time... Not the easiest to shoehorn into the article but scholarly books are fairly heavyweight as references go.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 3:26 PM on April 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

Best answer: So first, you're right, that linked notability guideline for television didn't apply at all. It's a bad template that provided confusing information to you, sorry. I just wrote a note in a discussion about fixing that template.

I went ahead and added in the Classical Animated Documentary book citation - it's a great piece of material to cite for this article.

Regarding notability: every article needs to comply with notability guidelines. In Wikipedia language, "notable" generally means that the article topic has been covered in a bunch of reliable secondary sources. So if a person thinks that an article topic probably isn't sufficiently notable (not covered enough), they can propose or nominate the article for deletion. So yes, notability is an issue in itself, not just a step in a deletion process.

Sometimes people intentionally propose an article for deletion to prompt people to take immediate action to clean up the article. I don't know if that was the intention here, and I don't like it when people do that. But if that was the intention, it worked.
posted by dreamyshade at 8:04 PM on April 26, 2023 [3 favorites]

Best answer:
Any and all references you can find will be very much appreciated.
Since books seem to be good references, here are a few more:
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:36 AM on April 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you both, dreamyshade and Busy Old Fool, for all your work! I think it’s not in any danger of being deleted now.

I will tinker with the page this evening and hopefully it’ll then be shipshape and I won’t have to think about it for another fifteen years.

For what it’s worth, my impression is that the Wikipedia editor who proposed it for deletion really did think it wasn’t notable. As offog mentioned above, the phrase “once upon a time” is common enough to make it difficult to search for.
posted by Kattullus at 3:09 AM on April 27, 2023

Response by poster: I've added the references that Busy Old Fool provided to the Wikipedia entry on Once Upon a Time…

Thank you all again for helping to keep information on this animated series easily accessible in English.
posted by Kattullus at 2:02 PM on April 27, 2023 [2 favorites]

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