To delete or not to delete

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My admittedly newbie opinion is that misspelt names should not be allowed in. This is, after all, a reference work. Inaccuracies should be purged. Wayne Gretszky is what sent me searching for a page talking about deleting pages. ATM Gretszky redirects to Wayne Gretzky, but is it really beneficial? Eventually search engines will update and dead links will phase out. --Colin dellow

I have seen that it is very desirable not to delete pages, but only do #REDIRECTs, will be keep doing that, even when a page is some mispelling (especially mistyping, like Wofgang Amadeus Mozart)?

If there is a consensus that some pages should be deleted every now and then, I'd put the previous one on the list.

I think the suggestion to keep all pages came as a means of avoiding dead links in search engines. I've encountered similar mispellings (Martin Scorcese); I would like to do away with them also but I'm not sure it would be a good advertisement for Wikipedia to leave dead links. I guess whatever action is taken depends on how common the misspelling is? It seems that wikipedia does not fuzzy-match search results; is that the case?

I think there are two things discussed here. One is deletion of data. I don't like that. The other is moving data from an unsuitable location (a misspelling) to a correct one. I don't think this is a problem.

If someone creates a new page with a misspelled name and you spot it the day after, I think it's a good idea to move the data and remove the misspelled entry. Of course you should also use search to make sure that any other links to the page are changed. If the misspelling is on an old page so that it can be suspected of being in search engines like [[1]], then I guess a redirect is better. --Pinkunicorn

Hi Pink, a redirect in that case is definitely better. Since ordinary users can't delete pages but only the data they contain, you might as well make the page with the misspelled title point to the one with the correctly spelled title. We do this all the time, and search engines like it (why not give poor spellers a positive result for their trouble? So Wikipedia catches the poor speller traffic--grand!). Colin, it would have been a little better to have asked this question in the FAQ or on Wikipedia chat rather than making an entire new page for it. By this time we have thought through most of the basic issues, so it's not a matter of debate, it's a matter of us informing you what the consensus is. --LMS

Ah, my mistake. For some reason I thought the proper system here would be to put freshest comments at the top of the page, hence the misleading positioning of my comment. I didn't create this page, it just appeared to be the most proper forum when I ran a search. Anyway, question answered, lessons learned, one step closer to being better informed. :) --Colin dellow

Oh, I thought this page looked familiar! I think it's a really old one. Sorry, Colin. As you can see, I was indeed confused by the position of your comment. Isn't interesting how the place where your comment is put conveys semantic information... --LMS

Just to add one more thought, the cost of having a misspelling with a REDIRECT is probably pretty low, and it's not like some is going to have a page on someone else name of Wayne Gretszky. The only disadvantage I see is that it makes search results somewhat noisier; ideally having a way to tag a page as not being searchable, only reachable directly might be nice to have. Though first I want search results to put the best result -- pages with the request name in them -- at the top of the search list. --Belltower