Requests for comment/No index closed projects

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The following request for comments is closed. This request for comment was closed as unsuccessful. There is no consensus to make this a policy for all projects. Noindexing (and/or reviewing content before archival) should be decided on case-by-case basis.


There is a process to close and/or delete Wikis. If a wiki is closed but not deleted the contents are put into a read only state. Only Stewards are able to edit closed wikis. However, that information remains available to search engines and could be inaccurate or even harmful.


When a project is closed down it should be set to No index (not included in external search engines). If passed, this would apply retroactively to all closed projects.

I am proposing this because I was forwarded a quote I believed to be incorrectly attributed. When searching for it I stumbled across Simple Wikiquote which has been closed since 2009. I'd like to prevent readers who might not understand how we work from being misled (especially because in this case they might not know the difference between Simple Wikiquote and the actively maintained English Wikiquote). Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 20:20, 3 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Should it apply to all closed projects? Why? --Wargo (talk) 08:31, 4 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Because all closed projects cannot be updated. So if there is bad information it becomes very hard to fix. I could not think of a reason to not apply it to a closed project. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 17:27, 4 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I assume this only applies to closed content projects? If not I think we would have to go through and determine where it applies. --Rschen7754 20:55, 7 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Is the sitenotice saying that the wikis are closed not sufficient? Should it maybe instead be made more obvious? Simple Wikiquote has the rather subtle one proposed by the Closing projects policy, while e.g. wm2017: has a more obvious one. --MF-W 00:24, 8 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support It seems that copyvios on the closed projects usually won't be handled, so noindex is at least necessary. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 08:17, 8 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • afaik that won't do anything for closed wikis that already have been indexed. no? --✍ Janwo Disk./de:wp 08:41, 8 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • My understanding is that eventually the search engines respect the no index tags, they just do so much more slowly than when they index. And at least for Google stuff may still apply (sometimes even from deleted articles) in knowledge panels. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 23:02, 9 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support will stop possibly outdated information from reaching the readers. Seemplez (talk) 09:53, 24 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support wholeheartedly. Closed content projects should not be indexed by outside search engines because we have no ordinary way to remove bad information. Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t) 06:35, 1 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Closed projects shouldn't contain content that needs to be hidden from the public - if they do, the solution is to get rid of said content by the help of stewards. --MF-W 13:22, 1 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose What has been a public wiki likely contains information of some value, there is no need to hide that knowledge from the former audience. --Krd 16:59, 1 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • There might be - SEO. In Google won't this conflict with what is in Incubator (where some closed projects wind up)? Wouldn't we want to direct people to Incubator instead of the closed wiki? --Rschen7754 21:08, 6 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think this has to be done on a case by case basis. For example, we'd want to continue indexing the old Wikimania wikis even though they're closed. Legoktm (talk) 19:23, 14 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • @Legoktm:, note the clarification above that this was only intended to be applied to content projects. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 04:22, 16 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]