Only administrators, checkusers, and oversighters can view the content of deleted pages. This is considered necessary because deleted pages may contain copyright violations, personal information, libel, and so forth, and making such material publicly available could be illegal. Administrators can also restore deleted pages if necessary; oversighters and checkusers who are not administrators cannot do this.
Viewing a list of recent page deletions
- Chronological: Special:Log/delete shows the 50 most recent deletions by default; it can be searched by username, by pagename, or by both at once. Wikipedia:Deletion log and its archives record deletions before the MediaWiki 1.4 upgrade.
Viewing a user's deleted edits
Administrators, checkusers, and oversighters can view a user's deleted edits at Special:DeletedContributions.
Viewing and restoring deleted pages
The procedure at Wikipedia:Undeletion policy should be followed before undeleting a page, unless the initial deletion is considered 'out-of-process', in which case immediate undeletion may occur. Undeletions associated with page moves/merges may occur immediately without the need to list the page on Deletion Review.
There are at least three ways for users with the appropriate permissions to access a deleted page and its page history (the list and the old versions themselves):
- To directly access the deleted revisions of a page, type "Special:Undelete/<target>" in the search box, where "<target>" is the name of the desired page.
- Going to Special:Undelete without specifying a target brings up a search box, which can be used much like Special:Prefixindex.
- If a page has been deleted, then administrators who click on the resulting red link get a link to "View or restore x deleted edits?" above the notice that the page does not exist (Monobook skin). (Oversighters and checkusers who are not administrators get a message that says "View x deleted edits?", since they cannot restore deleted edits.) For example, see . This does not apply if a new page with the same name has been created after the deletion; in this case, the link will appear on the page's history.
- This produces:
- If the page has recently been deleted: the deletion report (who deleted it, when and why). If the page was deleted after 23 December 2004 (the date of the MediaWiki 1.4 upgrade), all deletions and restorations will appear.
- If the page has not been restored yet: the deleted page history.
To undelete all revisions, simply press the Restore button. To undelete selected revisions, select the checkbox that appears next to each revision that you want to restore, then press the Restore button. To undelete a swath of contiguous revisions, click the checkbox for the top-most revision you wish to undelete, then hold the Shift key when clicking the checkbox for the bottom-most revision; thus, all checkboxes between the two revisions will be selected. If a new page with the same name has been created since the deletion, the restored revisions will appear in the prior history, and the current revision of the live page will not be automatically replaced.
The resulting page history does not show the deletion and restoration themselves. If a new page with the same name had been created, this shows up as if the last deleted version was modified to the first version of the new page.
Special:Log/delete is a full record of when, why, and by whom each page was deleted. It also records undeletions and the number of restored revisions.
Undeleting images and other media
In the case of uploaded media, a similar procedure applies as that above. The Page history section shows the different versions of the text attached to the image, while the File history section contains the versions of the image itself.
You can restore particular versions of both histories by selecting them with the checkboxes; if no checkbox is selected, all versions will be restored. Images deleted before 16 June 2006 cannot be restored, as they were not retained by MediaWiki before that date.[a]
If after a deletion a page with the same name is created and that is also deleted, then the revision histories are combined, and all deletions or restorations are shown on the undeletion page. It is still possible to select individual revisions to restore.
Storage of deleted revisions
When a page is deleted, its text remains in the text table but its metadata (e.g. its deleted revision history) is moved from the revision table to the archive table, which was created on 10 August 2002. Page text was also stored in the archive table until Wikipedia was upgraded to MediaWiki 1.5 in June 2005.[b]
- Wikipedia:Viewing deleted content
- Wikipedia:Requests for undeletion
- Wikipedia:Deletion review
- Wikipedia:How to fix cut and paste moves
- Wikipedia:Revision deletion
- Special:Log/delete (searchable list of all deletions and restorations since 23 December 2004)
- Wikipedia:Deletion log and archives (for deletions and restorations made before this date)
- For more details, see this story in the Wikipedia Signpost.
- A message by Wikipedia system administrator Brion Vibber from January 2007 warned that deleted revisions could theoretically , and a script exists to perform this function. However in practice they have only been cleared twice, both times due to technical issues – once on 3 December 2003, because , and once on 8 June 2004 due to a database crash.