Wikipedia:Viewing deleted content

On Wikipedia, only administrators have the right to view deleted material[1] (whilst some deleted material is restricted to an even smaller group of "oversighters", and some deleted hoax articles are visible to all users). There have been occasional discussions in Wikipedia's history about allowing wider access to deleted material, often referred to as "viewdelete" or "viewdeleted" rights.[2] This page summarises the Wikimedia Foundation's view on this issue, given in response to a 2008 discussion.

This position was reiterated in response to a discussion on Wikimedia Commons about extending access to deleted material to users with access to the Commons OTRS system, to facilitate handling of OTRS tickets:

  1. ^ The default MediaWiki setting is that only administrators ("sysops") have access – see mw:User rights. On English Wikipedia, CheckUsers and Oversighters also have this permission implicitly; however, traditionally (and in almost every case), these users are already administrators. There is also a non-standard "researcher" user group which has access. Wikimedia stewards also have access to deleted content across Wikimedia, as do other global groups on select projects.
  2. ^ "viewdelete" and "viewdeleted" are actually informal terms for a bundle of 3 associated MediaWiki user-rights: deletedhistory, browsearchive, and deletedtext – see mw:User rights for what each one does.

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