Wikipedia:Merge and delete

The Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) and the GNU Free Document License (GFDL), which Wikipedia uses to license all of its content, both have provisions requiring that the attribution history of an article be preserved. The CC-BY-SA, section 4(c), states that

You must ... provide ... the name of the Original Author (or pseudonym, if applicable) ... and ... in the case of an Adaptation, a credit identifying the use of the Work in the Adaptation (e.g., "French translation of the Work by Original Author," or "Screenplay based on original Work by Original Author"). The credit required by this Section 4(c) may be implemented in any reasonable manner; provided, however, that in the case of a Adaptation or Collection, at a minimum such credit will appear, if a credit for all contributing authors of the Adaptation or Collection appears, then as part of these credits and in a manner at least as prominent as the credits for the other contributing authors.

The GFDL, section 4-I, states that:

... you must ... Preserve the section Entitled "History", Preserve its Title, and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and publisher of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page.

These licensing terms require that when one article is merged into another, either the history of the merged text must be preserved, or the authors' names must be recorded for attribution. At Wikipedia:Articles for deletion, when an editor wishes for an article to be merged to another article but does not regard the article's title as a useful redirect, the editor sometimes suggests something like, "Merge and delete". The objection is then frequently made that such an action is not possible under the licensing requirements. This may not be strictly true since attribution of authorship can be maintained in other ways, but it is troublesome and so a merge and delete is not usually done unless there is a specific and pressing problem with the redirect.

Redirects are cheap, however, and unless the article title is confusing or objectionable, it may be preferable just to leave it as a redirect to the merge target, in which case the usual interpretation of the licensing requirements requires only that the edit summary about the merge states the name of the article from which the merged information is derived.

Unless there is a particular reason to delete a redirect, admins should feel free to interpret "Merge and delete" votes as "Merge." A new editor may make such a vote without understanding the licensing requirements; this can be safely read as a merge vote. An advanced editor who wishes to argue for a merge and delete should make clear why the redirect would be unacceptable.