Created or majorly contributed to a page on Wikipedia, and now it’s erased? While unfortunate, that’s a necessary step in ensuring quality is at a high level, and sources are reliable, authentic, and accurate. Your page may also get cut because of misconduct. Either way, you can see the reason for the deletion afterward. However, unlike corporations with one customer support to call, Wikipedia is a community-run website, and pages have several higher-ups that vote on a decision. This makes the procedure time-consuming, but also means you have a higher chance to convince more people. Now, let’s explain how to recover a deleted Wikipedia page.
Why was my Wikipedia page deleted?
Unsurprisingly, we cannot provide you with an accurate answer unless you initiated the procedure yourself but ended up regretting it. If that isn’t the case, here are several common reasons your page on Wikipedia was erased:
- Low-quality articles that ignored suggestions from people that oversee the section
- Unreliable sources
- Advertising of related or unrelated services
- Biased articles, cherry-picked information that doesn’t have grounds in reality
- Dead links with no alternative that would serve as a dependable source
- Violating copyright
- Revealing personal information without approval
- Libel or harassment of the page subject, people in connection, or Wikipedia members
Those are far from all potential causes but will give users an idea of what’s unacceptable.
1. Recover a page deleted from Wikipedia directly
We’ll begin with the methods that take place on Wikipedia itself. There’s a distinction based on your user account, more precisely, the credentials it has. Here’s what to do:
If you posted or edited the Wikipedia page
Whatever prompted one of the editors or higher-ups to act will appear in Wikipedia’s Deletion Log. You may search for your username, title, date, tags, and or the type of removal. Alternatively, check the list of the last 50, 100 deletions, and so on. If you log in, you may also see a link to the talk section linked to your defunct page. However, you’re powerless when it comes to page recovery. Only the person who deleted it (often called “the closer”), or a group of people voting in your favor can reinstate it.
The first course of action is to contact the individual on their talk page and offer a convincing explanation. If that fails to work, you have two options:
- Submit a Wikipedia page deletion review request. You can read about situations when this is a proper action at the start and submit the appeal strictly in the format under “Steps to list a new deletion review”.
- If you need to recover a page draft on Wikipedia, make an appeal on Wikipedia’s Requests for undeletion page. Write a persuasive explanation and people in charge might accept your proposal.
If you have necessary permissions on Wikipedia
In case you weren’t aware, for the safety of the platform, only members with sufficient clearance have access to deleted pages. Those are checkusers, oversighters, researchers, and administrators. Moreover, the first two groups can only view the same page as administrators. Unfortunately, only administrators can perform the page restoration. Researchers can only see the deleted page history for a specific user on Wikipedia. Besides searching the aforementioned Deletion log, administrators can use:
- A regular search box on any page with a filter “Special:Undelete/[target]” (with quotation marks) and replace [target] with the page name.
- Finding a link to the deleted page, which turned from regular light blue to intentionally red to signify the page is erased. The only exception to this is if someone created a page with the same name, in which case the link will remain blue but appear red in the page history list.
After opening the now-removed page, oversighters and checkusers will see the “View x deleted edits?” option. In contrast, administrators will see an option titled “View or restore x deleted edits?” In both cases, x represents the number of removed edits on the page. Consequently, administrators can:
- Click on the blue link (“one deleted edit”)
- Scroll a tad down and click the Page history link.
- Go over various revisions of the page. Click Restore on the version you want to reinstate.
2. Look for your Wikipedia page via Wayback Machine
This is a method we frequently recommend whenever users lose the content of a web page, including uploaded pictures, posts, or the entire page. The pivotal drawback is that a page needs to have a certain number of page views to make it interesting enough for its crawlers to inspect it and create a snapshot. This is likely to happen with Wikipedia articles. Therefore, you can employ Wayback Machine to preview and eventually recover a page Wikipedia users, including you, deleted:
- Head over to Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine web page.
- Enter the URL of your erased page on Wikipedia into the search bar and click Browse History.
- You’ll now see the number of times the snapshot was saved, and a visual representation of the calendar below. Click on a highlighted date, and you’ll see a date and time.
- Select the snapshot, and you’ll be taken to a version of the page frozen in time on that day.
- Preserve the page in whichever way you think is best. We advise taking a screenshot if there’s media on the page, and using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to transfer it into text afterward.
3. Contact an unofficial Wikipedia page rescue community
There are a few community-driven projects that seek to preserve information from the so-called “deletionism” on Wikipedia. One great non-profit option is Deletionpedia.org. At the time of writing, they preserved over 91,000 articles, as their system automatically makes a copy of any page proposed for removal from Wikipedia. Even better, if administrators decide to reinstate the page, this platform doesn’t remove their version, but merely adds a temporary redirect. This is a fail-safe in case the article is on the chopping block again. You can find the iteration of your article through the search bar. Alternatively, contact two people in charge, Guaka and Jeff G., from the home page.