Wikipedia:Notability (populated places) (failed) 1

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Purpose[edit]

This is an attempt to help editors decide whether a populated place meets the general notability guidelines and thus should have its own article. The criteria given here should imply significant coverage existing in reliable secondary sources. This in no way aims to exclude information from Wikipedia, rather to provide a guide to whether separate articles, or inclusion in a broader article, will be the best arrangement. This guideline does not advocate the deletion of any pages, rather a process of restructuring articles via merging and redirection.

Existing policy and guidelines[edit]

Sources[edit]

It is important to distinguish between different sources that can be used for verification. Atlases, maps, census data, government records, etc. only serve to verify the existence of a place and bare statistics that would constitute only a directory entry. Other sources, that discuss the place or entities related to the place, are those upon which notability can be based.

General guidelines[edit]

Any population centre whose existence can be verified in reliable sources should be included in Wikipedia in some form.

Any populated area of X or above is assumed to have sufficient material to justify the creation of its own article.

For smaller population centres, the suitability of creating a standalone article for this place should be questioned. If it fails this assessment, any information about the place should be included in the article for the nearest encompassing centre that has a page. Redirects or appropriate disambiguation pages should link to the parent article.

Possibilities for X: Designated as a town or parish village. Population of 1000. Has autonomous local government.

Criteria for judging small population centres[edit]

All criteria must be verifiable
If in doubt, a population centre is assumed to have significant reliable coverage if it meets any one of the following:

  • Contains a Grade I listed building (or equivalent)
  • Contains a notable heritage site (earthworks, henge, barrows, etc.)
  • Subject of a social/historical commentary or study

Or any two of the following:

  • Place is connected to a notable person or event
  • Features in a notable work of fiction
  • Contains Grade II listed buildings (or equivalent)
  • Location of the headquarters, founding or major premises of a notable organisation
  • Contains a notable institution (school, hospital, etc.)

Examples[edit]

A residential hamlet in the parish of X is the birth place of a published author.
The existence and location of the hamlet should be noted in X's article, and the fact of the author's birthplace on the author's article. There is nothing else to be usefully said so no separate article is necessary. Redirect the name of the hamlet to the parish article.
A population centre contains 7 schools and 4 hospitals but nothing else.
Only satisfies one of the second set of conditions. However, it is likely that some source has noted the usual properties of this place (which would likely qualify as a social commentary). An article is justified only once the existence of such a source has been verified.
A hamlet contains a historic pub and was the site of a notable battle.
Suitable subject for an article – pub likely qualifies for listed status and hamlet is connected to an event.
An old map or census document verifies the existence of a village, X. There is an ancient and famous standing stone within the boundaries of X. However, the nearby town of Y grew to include X, and modern literature lists the location of the stone as Y.
Mention the existence of X in the articles for Y and the stone, but no need to create a separate article. Redirect X to either Y or the stone.
A place contains only houses and farms and is associated with nothing of note, but appears on numerous atlases and maps. It has been listed in census data for over 300 years.
Not eligible for separate article as there is nothing to say about it that would not be better placed in an article for a parent place.

Development[edit]

In many cases, larger population centres grow over time and subsume smaller hamlets and such. In these cases, while the criteria above may apply to entities physically within the bounds of a hamlet, in practice all modern prose sources may refer to it as located within the parent town. In these cases it may make more sense to include the information at the town's article, as well as the fact that the town includes that old hamlet.

Dealing with inappropriate articles[edit]

There are many stub articles for places that may not meet this guideline. Proposing each for deletion is both impractical and hampers future development and linking. Examples of these articles should be merged into the article on the smallest encompassing location. By definition there will be little material to merge other than a name and location. The article should then be left as redirect to the merge target. Should the place become notable in future, a new article can be made to replace the redirect with little difficulty.

Frequently raised oppositions[edit]

Either I'm going crazy or for some reason people don't seem to "get" this. Here are a few complaints that keep coming up in discussion

This will just clog up AfD
It specifically states that deletion is not a good idea. Merging is often the best solution for places that actually exist.
There should be an article for Greenville – it's on Google maps so must exist
This deals with subject based on notability, not content based on verifiability. Existence ≠ notability.
Notability can't be inherited
Places aren't notable because they meet the criteria above. These criteria are secondary aspects that indicate the existence of significant coverage in reliable secondary sources.
But Blackacre has a whole chapter in this history book but only has a population of 50 and one pub
Did you read the criteria? A history book is a historical commentary. Besides, if you actually have a reliable secondary source that has significant coverage of the place, you don't need to search for secondary indicators.
This proposal discriminates against places in non-English-speaking countries where sources are hard to find
Under standard Wikipedia rules, if you can't find significant coverage in reliable secondary sources to establish notability you don't get to have an article. This guideline is more lenient, in giving secondary indicators of notability if you can't find any sources except maps and census.