Refused articles are a solution to ease the deletion process and make it more flexible. It is a variation over deletion, but with limited sysip-like rights for the creators of the article. Only articles that are clearly copyright violations, libelous, etc, should be deleted.
Assume that an article can be set in a refused state, this is for those not involved as editors as if the article is deleted. It does not show up in searches, etc, but does show up on a refused log for the individual editors. In addition to the usual behavior for deleted articles they can continue to work on them, refining them so they can be accepted.
Assume that all articles starts out as emerging articles, but given sufficient content they can be accepted. If they are not good enough they can be put back in a emerging or refused state. When doing this it should be possible to give a note about whats wrong with the article. An article can go from emerging to deleted if they are clearly copyright violations, libelous, etc.
To even further ease the process it could be used an open list of recently refused. Articles on this list is open for other contributions and can also be voted for on a moderation system, even if they are not part of the usual articles.
The difference between an emerging article and a refused article is that the former are private to the creator and only shows up on his own log for such articles, until he attempts to get it accepted. If other editors gets involved, typically by accessing the same article name and editing on the same article, sort of using an invite functionality, they will have access to the complete history of the article. If the article fails to be accepted, it is refused, it will be available on a refused log and will be open for other contributors.