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A consensus plan to phase out reference data pages was completed by a series of deletions by Zhaladshar on 07 November 2006. The plan was proposed by Pathoschild following the resolution of a two-year debate over the inclusion of reference data in April 2006. 'Reference data' is an umbrella term for data-oriented pages that are not part of a published work, including lists, source code, cryptographic data, tables of data, and constants.
Reference data pages were categorised using a special template (shown below) with staggered batch nominations for deletion. Although the plan outlined a phase out timeline of approximately three months, the actual phase out of the 195 reference data pages took just over six months because of irregular batch nominations. The slow process (paired with messages to other projects) was intended to allow other projects to take pages they were interested in, and notify visitors of links that would eventually be broken. Wikibooks integrated some source code pages into their Programming languages bookshelf, but no other project is known to have taken the opportunity.
The template used to mark pages, refdata, is shown below. It output a slightly different message when used on category pages for pluralization.
This page has been marked for eventual deletion.
It has been identified as reference material per the exclusion guidelines, which the community has decided to exclude from Wikisource (see "Inclusion of reference data on Wikisource"). These works will be phased out gradually; if you have found this page by following a link from another page, please go back and remove that link.