Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in template deletion discussions

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It is important to use the strongest arguments in deletion discussions for templates and modules. Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions provides advice about how to frame effective explanations of your views in deletion discussions in general, and particularly in deletion discussions about articles. Deletion discussions about templates and modules rest upon some criteria that are particular to those media, sometimes in ways that are unfamiliar to editors who do not frequently participate in such discussions. As a result, there are some special considerations that go into making an effective argument. Understanding these considerations can make it easier to achieve consensus during these deletion discussions, as well as to avoid conflict.

The following are a list of arguments that can commonly be seen in deletion discussions for templates and which should generally be avoided, or at least, supplemented with some more arguments. This essay should be read along with Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions, which contains many other arguments that should generally be avoided; most of the arguments listed here represent special cases pertaining to non-free content.

Please remember that a reason that arguably could be classified as an "argument to avoid" can still have some valid points in it. This essay suggests ways to make such arguments stronger. Also please remember that most editors who participate in deletion discussions, whether advocating for keeping or deleting a given template, are acting in good faith.

Arguing the editor, rather than the template[edit]

"Just a vote" and "Per nominator"[edit]

In the military, it is appropriate to follow the leader. At Wikipedia, consensus is achieved through discussion.


  • KeepIwannaKEEP 01:01, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
  • DeleteIwannaDELETE 23:28, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Keep per other editor. – IwannaKEEP 01:01, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete per nom. – IwannaDELETE 23:28, 3 January 2011 (UTC)

At Wikipedia, consensus is achieved through discussion, rather than simply voting. In a disputed template deletion discussion, it is necessary that the template be useful. Thus, the most persuasive arguments are those that focus on whether or not the template is useful, and which actually explain their reasoning. Sometimes, it is appropriate to agree with what another editor has already said, but it is better to explain why you agree, or with what, specifically, you agree.


It's unused[edit]

We don't necessarily need to sweep out all the corners of the project.


  • Delete – Template is unused. – IwannaDELETE 23:28, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Delete – Unused for three years. IWD 23:28, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

The fact that a template is unused is not, by itself, enough for deletion. It must be demonstrated that the template isn't likely to be used.

A variant of this is the argument that a template is unused despite being in existence for N years. This seems more plausible. What better benchmark for the likelihood of a template to be used in the future than the instances it was used in the past? This should be treated with common sense. Does the template have enough incoming links from help or project pages, or the "see also" sections of similar, but more widely used templates? If not, then probably no-one knows about the template and that's why it hasn't been used. Again, its likely usefulness has to be examined.

For templates like this there might exist possible merge targets: if no-one knew about the template it is possible that someone saw the need for it and created another template that does the same job.

There are other reasons a template might not have any transclusions. Occasionally it happens that a template is used but at some point an editor decides they don't like it, they remove all instances of the template, and a few months later another editor comes and gets it deleted as unused.


Citing NENAN indiscriminately[edit]


The essay Wikipedia:Not everything needs a navbox (NENAN) captures the widely held belief that we don't need a navigation box for every single topic; the opposite, less widely held position is expounded in Wikipedia:A navbox on every page. However, in each case it needs to be demonstrated why the particular topic does or does not need a navigation box.

Proposed template does not exist[edit]

Please study the introduction of this essay on making solid arguments in deletion discussions.


  • Oppose I cannot support any changes to this unless you can detail the exact technical changes you are proposing to make and we have seen them properly tested and trialled to ensure they work across a wide range of articles and situations. – I want the proof (talk), 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose nominator has not shown that this is even possible. We want proof (talk), 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose If we cannot see a proof of concept right this very second, then how can we know that information won't be lost when the templates are transitioned? Lazy template editors (talk), 01:01, 1 January 2001 (UTC)Reply[reply]

During merger discussions, one frequent argument made is that the replacement template has not already been made. Depending on the type of templates being merged, the work required to perform the merger could take many hours; it is not reasonable for the nominator to create the final product before the discussion has concluded, especially if the outcome is not guaranteed. Arguing that a template merger should not happen purely on this basis, therefore, should be avoided, because dedicated template editors monitor all pages in the TFD Holding Cell to make sure that complex mergers are handled appropriately with zero loss of functionality.