Wikipedia:Articles for merging

Articles for Merging is a process similar to Articles for Deletion in which a discussion is held determining whether two or more articles should be merged. These discussions generally last for 7 days, unless the articles meets the criteria for speedy merge, in which case, the merge may be carried out sooner, or more time is needed to reach a consensus.

AfM discussions could also be used to review the outcomes of discussions in which an article has already been merged via a discussion and still has opposition (equivalent to deletion review).

Reasons for the AfM proposalEdit

The AfM proposal is currently in place in order to improve the page-merging process.

Currently, pages can either be merged boldly, following the placement of a pair of templates suggesting the merge on the suggested page and the target page ({{merge}} and {{Merge from}}), or can be decision following the outcome of an AfD.

When a merge is suggested, often these templates remain at the top of the pages indefinitely, and no productive progress is made toward either merging or ruling out the possibility of a merge. Many such pages are orphans or are otherwise largely ignored. This is all when templates placed at the top of pages are not meant to be a permanent solution to issues an article has.

Sometimes, merge is the suggested outcome behind an AfD. Following the AfD's closure, the template {{Afd-mergeto}} is placed at the top of the page noting this outcome. Still, no editors make an effort to carry out the merge, and the template remains indefinitely.

In other namespaces, including category and template, the discussions are held not only on the possibility of deletion, but also merging. Some of the proposals are made from the very beginning not to delete but to merge the subject. These discussions are generally closed in 7 days (give or take for various reasons).

A large number of articles sent to AfD can more likely be resolved by a merge rather than deletion.

The merging processEdit

Articles can be merged (and unmerged) boldly. The AfM process is used in situations in which the merge may be controversial, or where some input may be needed.

Reasons to use the AfM process include:

  • The article that one is considering merging has had one or more edits (other than minor edits) each of the past several days, or is otherwise popular (see pageview stats on the article to determine its popularity)
  • The editor views the article as a candidate for deletion, but feels the subject may be worthy of inclusion in a different article and that merging is a better approach
  • The editor considering the merge does not have a target article in mind
  • A bold merge was reverted

Proposing the mergeEdit

With this proposal, there would be four ways in which a merge may be conducted (the first three currently exist):

Bold mergeEdit

A bold merge is when a single editor carries out a merge without any discussion. This typically could be used for uncontroversial merges. If not reverted or otherwise challenged, they can remain.

It is important to keep in mind that a bold merge can always be challenged later, even a long time after it occurs. It may appear after a bold merge takes place that it has been accepted because it has not been reverted. But it can be reverted months or even years later. If this occurs, a discussion must be held prior to the next merge.

Suggested mergeEdit

A suggested merge is when the editor places the template {{merge}} on top of the article s/he intends to merge into another, and the template {{Merge from}} on top of the target article. This is used in an attempt to get at least some feedback prior to what would otherwise be a bold merge. The editor suggesting this merge may at any time go ahead and boldly carry it out. There is no time frame placed on this action.

AfD mergeEdit

"Merge" could still be the outcome of an AfD discussion. While an article can be sent to AfD as the result of the nominator believing it should be deleted, the outcome could be a merge if the consensus could do so. Also, if there is no consensus during an AfD, but a merge was still suggested by some, the article could be sent to AfM for a discussion.

Proposed mergeEdit

A proposed merge is when an article is sent to Articles for Merging (AfM).

The AfM discussion is like an AfD, except the article being discussed cannot be deleted from the discussion. If deletion is desired, a separate AfD discussion must be formed. An AfD and AfM for the same article can take place simultaneously, and if so, this should be noted on each discussion page.

When an AfM is proposed, the nominator will proposed one or more articles. In some cases, a target article would be provided by the nominator, and in others, the nominator would seek input from others. Some AfMs would involve two or more articles being merged into a non-existent title.

A typical AfM discussion will last for 7 days before closure. Exceptions are as follows:

  • The article meets one or more criteria for speedy merging or non-merging, in which case the discussion would be closed as such.
  • No consensus can be reached after 7 days as a result of little or no comment, in which case, the discussion could be relisted.
  • No consensus can be reached after 7 days as a result of an even or near-even split, in which case, the discussion can either be relisted or closed as "no consensus." If closed as no consensus, no merge takes place.
  • No target article was provided by the nominator, and none is suggested or agreed upon by anyone else, in which case, the discussion will close as "no merge."

Closing the discussionEdit

Most discussions are closed by administrators. Non-administrative closes can be made either by the nominator or by the snowball clause.

Once a decision is made, the actual act of merging can be made by any editor. All editors who have spare time on hand, including IP editors, are encouraged to assist with this task. To better facilitate this, both the page to be merged and the target should be unprotected at the time unless absolutely necessary.

The editor who carries out the actual merge is required to follow the outcome of the discussion. While one involved in the discussion is welcome to and may very well be the one carrying out the merge, it is preferred that one who disagrees with the outcome and cannot follow the consensus abstain from the process. Defying the consensus is considered to be disruptive.

Undoing a proposed mergeEdit

If, following an AfM discussion, an article is merged, it can always be unmerged. However, anyone who takes this action without a good reason is considered to be acting disruptive. Doing so is akin to recreating a deleted article or reverting an edit without a good reason.

At any time, there can be some good reasons to boldly unmerge an article merged by discussion and consensus. This may be due to a change in the notability status, improved verifiability, expansion of what previously appeared to be a dictionary definition or permastub, overall cleanup, or otherwise addressing the issues associated with the reason for the merge. An editor acting in good faith is encouraged to be bold, and should mention on the article's talk page the reason behind undoing the merge.

One who disagrees with the decision in a discussion should bring up the matter on the talk page of the target page, or by forming another AfM pertaining to unmerging.

See alsoEdit