Wikipedia:Don't demolish the house while it's still being built
|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
|This page in a nutshell: An article too short to provide more than rudimentary information about a subject should be marked as a stub and edited, and expanded, rather than simply deleted.|
- A man tries to build a house. He has a few of his neighbors come to help. They are working very nicely and organized-like, as you would expect from people who are trying to build a house.
- Soon, a building inspector comes by. "Those stairs don't look right", the inspector says, pulling out a tape measure, "and by these measurements, they are not wide enough."
- The builder replies: "They aren't finished yet."
- The inspector moves on. "This wall isn't supported enough", the inspector says nonchalantly.
- "Of course not", the builder replies. "We haven't finished it yet."
- "And look!" the inspector cries. "There is no roof! The owners of this house will be angry indeed when they get rained on."
- "They won't!" the builder retorts, "because when it's done there will be a roof!"
- The inspector ignores him. "This house is no good, builder. It must be torn down." The next day he sends someone to demolish the house.
Just as in this absurd story, we as Wikipedians must look to the house we are building. Wikipedia, the potential "sum of all human knowledge", as a general rule, is a work-in-progress. Wikipedia is not published all at once. It evolves and grows. Every article is still being written, albeit slowly. Rome cannot be built in one day; neither can an article be perfect first time around.
When an article is being written, and sources are being found and validated, then the article will be small and mostly unsourced and not very full of information. This is, of course, called a stub. Stubs are stubs because they have yet to be expanded.
Often, an article or set of articles will be run across that seem devoid of much information. Sometimes it will be nothing but cruft that must be removed. But often, the subject matter is simply in-progress. Rather than putting the article on AfD, try expanding it.
Do you know the subject matter? Rather than trashing it, go out and find sources. If not, look for someone who does know the subject matter. Or, if you're feeling particularly daring, go and research it, and become an expert on the subject matter yourself, so that you can find those sources much more easily.
As with a house, knowledge takes time to build. Don't be the inspector, prying the seams apart before the product is even near-presentable. You cannot expect every article to be full and complete when it is first written. If this were so, then Wikipedia would have failed long ago. Try not to forget the spirit of Wikipedia: sharing knowledge.
Word of warning
If a house has been built, but is no longer sustainable, then it may be demolished. Do not be surprised if this happens. Expectations change and standards improve in time - and the house that you once thought was a magnificent example of Wiki-beauty may no longer be considered as such. Such articles may be tagged with maintenance templates, merged back to more suitable main articles, or, worse, nominated for deletion.
- Wikipedia:An unfinished house is a real problem, an essay that promotes the opposite viewpoint
- Wikipedia:Beef up that first revision
- Wikipedia:Don't hope the house will build itself
- Wikipedia:Potential, not just current state
- Wikipedia:There is no deadline
- Wikipedia:Stub Makers
- Wikipedia:Give an article a chance
- Wikipedia:Deletion of newly created pages
- Wikipedia:Why was my page deleted?
- Wikipedia:Ownership of articles