It is common in deletion discussions for editors to advocate merging the article into another article as an alternative to deletion

It is common in deletion discussions for editors to advocate merging the article into another article as an alternative to deletion. While this may represent the best outcome in some cases, the amount of AfD discussions closed as merge can create a significant backlog in articles to be merged. In the past, it was not uncommon for some of these articles to remain in this backlog for a period of two years or more, though this has improved in recent years. Therefore, merge votes should be avoided if used only as a middle ground. Instead, editors should ask themselves, "Merge what?"A good merge vote should do more than just specify where an article could be merged. It should also specify what should be merged. Should the entire contents of the article be merged or only certain parts? If the destination article is long, what section should it be merged to? Your vote will be more helpful and constructive if you can specify. Conversely, if you believe the material should be retained in some way but you're not sure how, consider voting to keep and initiating or participating in a merger proposal on the article's talk page. If you've considered the issue and decided that no content needs to be merged, but you also think the AfD article's title is a plausible search term, vote to redirect. Always provide a link to the target article, and make sure the link is correct. On occasion, articles for deletion discussion have closed as a mistaken consensus to link to a disambiguation page, because the first editor didn't check and provided the wrong link and no one else bothered to check either.Don't just identify a related topic and vote to merge there without further explanation. This is only barely more useful than a vote to keep or delete without a reason.