Wikipedia:Notability (organizations and companies)

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An organization is generally considered notable if it has been the subject of significant coverage in reliable, independent secondary sources. Trivial or incidental coverage of a subject by secondary sources is not sufficient to establish notability. All content must be verifiable. If no independent, third-party, reliable sources can be found on a topic, then Wikipedia should not have an article on it.

This page is to help determine whether an organization (commercial or otherwise), or any of its products and services, is a valid subject for a separate Wikipedia article dedicated solely to that organization or product. The scope of this guideline covers all groups of people organized together for a purpose, although people gathered for more specific purposes may be governed by more specific guidelines. For example, people gathered together for the purpose of making music are covered by WP:MUSIC.

Simply stated, an organization is a group of more than one person formed together for a purpose. This includes commercial and non-commercial activities, such as charitable organizations, educational institutions, hospitals, institutions, interest groups, social clubs, companies, partnerships, proprietorships, religious denominations, sects, etc.

This guideline does not cover small groups of closely related people such as families, entertainment groups, co-authors, and co-inventors covered by WP:Notability (people).

Decisions based on verifiable evidence

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Notable means "worthy of being noted" or "attracting notice." Wikipedia bases its decision about whether an organization is notable enough to justify a separate article on the verifiable evidence that the organization or product has attracted the notice of reliable sources unrelated to the organization or product. Notability requires only that these necessary sources have been published—even if these sources are not actually listed in the article yet (though in most cases it probably would improve the article to add them).

No inherent notability

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No company or organization is considered inherently notable. No organization is exempt from this requirement, no matter what kind of organization it is, including schools. If the individual organization has received no or very little notice from independent sources, then it is not notable simply because other individual organizations of its type are commonly notable or merely because it exists (see "If it's not notable", below). "Notability" is not synonymous with "fame" or "importance." No matter how "important" editors may personally believe an organization to be, it should not have a stand-alone article in Wikipedia unless reliable sources independent of the organization have discussed it.

When evaluating the notability of organizations or products, please consider whether they have had any significant or demonstrable effects on culture, society, entertainment, athletics, economies, history, literature, science, or education. Large organizations and their products are likely to have more readily available verifiable information from reliable sources that provide evidence of notability. However, smaller organizations and their products can be notable, just as individuals can be notable. Arbitrary standards should not be used to create a bias favoring larger organizations or their products.

No inherited notability

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An organization is not notable merely because a notable person or event was associated with it. A corporation is not notable merely because it owns notable subsidiaries. The organization or corporation itself must have been discussed in reliable independent sources for it to be considered notable. Examples: If a notable person buys a restaurant, the restaurant does not "inherit" notability from its owner. If a notable person joins an organization, the organization does not "inherit" notability from its member.

This works the other way as well. An organization may be notable, but individual members (or groups of members) do not "inherit" notability due to their membership. A corporation may be notable, but its subsidiaries do not "inherit" notability from being owned by the corporation.

Primary criteria

A company, corporation, organization, school, team, religion, group, product, or service is notable if it has been the subject of significant coverage in secondary sources. Such sources must be reliable, and independent of the subject. A single independent source is almost never sufficient for demonstrating the notability of an organization.

Depth of coverage

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The depth of coverage of the subject by the source must be considered. If the depth of coverage is not substantial, then multiple[1] independent sources should be cited to establish notability. Trivial or incidental coverage of a subject is not sufficient to establish notability.

Deep coverage provides an organization with a level of attention that extends well beyond routine announcements and makes it possible to write more than a very brief, incomplete stub about an organization. Acceptable sources under this criterion include all types of reliable sources except works carrying merely trivial coverage, such as:

  • sources that simply report meeting times, shopping hours or event schedules,
  • the publications of telephone numbers, addresses, and directions in business directories,
  • inclusion in lists of similar organizations,[2]
  • the season schedule or final score from sporting events,
  • routine communiqués announcing such matters as the hiring or departure of personnel,
  • brief announcements of mergers or sales of part of the business,
  • simple statements that a product line is being sold, changed, or discontinued,
  • routine notices of facility openings or closings (e.g., closure for a holiday or the end of the regular season),
  • routine notices of the opening or closing of local branches, franchises, or shops,
  • quotations from an organization's personnel as story sources, or
  • passing mention, such as identifying a quoted person as working for an organization.

Audience

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The source's audience must also be considered. Evidence of attention by international or national, or at least regional, media is a strong indication of notability. On the other hand, attention solely from local media, or media of limited interest and circulation, is not an indication of notability; at least one regional, national, or international source is necessary.

Independence of sources

A primary test of notability is whether people independent of the subject itself (or its manufacturer, creator, or vendor) have actually considered the company, corporation, product or service notable enough that they have written and published non-trivial, non-routine works that focus upon it.

Sources used to support a claim of notability include independent, reliable publications in all forms, such as newspaper articles, books, television documentaries, websites, and published reports by consumer watchdog organizations[3] except for the following:

  • press releases, press kits, or similar works;
  • self-published materials;
  • any material written by the organization, its members, or sources closely associated with it;
  • advertising and marketing materials by, about, or on behalf of the organization;
  • corporate websites or other websites written, published, or controlled by the organization;
  • patents, whether pending or granted;[4]
  • any material written or published by the organization, directly or indirectly;
  • other works in which the company, corporation, organization, or group talks about itself—whether published by the company, corporation, organization, or group itself, or re-printed by other people.

Self-promotion and product placement are not routes to qualifying for an encyclopaedia article. Qualifying published works must be someone else writing about the company, corporation, club, organization, product, or service.

Once notability is established, primary sources and self-published sources may be used to verify some of the article's content. See Wikipedia:Autobiography for the verifiability and neutrality problems that affect material where the subject of the article itself is the source of the material.

Illegal conduct

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There is a possibility that an organization that is generally not notable will have a number of references if they have engaged in illegal acts, or it is alleged that they have engaged in illegal acts. Sources which primarily discuss allegations of unlawfulness shall not be considered when assessing an organization's notability per this guideline. However, keep in mind that the organization may still be notable under separate guidelines (e.g., WP:CRIME).

Special note: advertising and promotion

Advertising is prohibited as an official Wikipedia policy. Advertising should be removed by following these steps, in order:

  1. Clean up per Wikipedia:NPOV
  2. Erase remaining advertising content from the article
  3. Delete the article by listing it at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion if no notable content remains. However, if an article contains only blatant advertising, with no other useful content, it may be tagged per Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion instead.

Alternate criteria for specific types of organizations

The following sections discuss alternate methods for establishing notability in specific situations. No organization is considered notable except to the extent that independent sources demonstrate that it has been noticed by people outside of the organization. These criteria constitute an optional, alternative method for demonstrating notability. Organizations are considered notable if they meet one of the following sourcing requirements

  1. these alternate criteria,
  2. the primary criteria for organizations, or
  3. the general notability guideline

and they comply with the policy Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not, especially with regards to avoiding indiscriminate inclusion of information.

Non-commercial organizations

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Organizations are usually notable if they meet both of the following standards:

  1. The scope of their activities is national or international in scale.
  2. Information about the organization and its activities can be verified by multiple,[1] third-party, independent, reliable sources.

Additional considerations are:

  • Nationally notable local organizations: Some organizations are local in scope, but have achieved national or even international notice. Organizations whose activities are local in scope (e.g., a school or club) can be considered notable if there is substantial verifiable evidence of coverage by reliable independent sources outside the organization's local area. Where coverage is only local in scope, consider adding a section on the organization to an article on the organization's local area instead.
  • Factors that have attracted widespread attention: The organization’s longevity, size of membership, major achievements, prominent scandals, or other factors specific to the organization should be considered to the extent that these factors have been reported by independent sources. This list is not exhaustive and not conclusive.
  • Caveat - Be cautious of claims that small organizations are national or international in scale. The fact that an organization has branches in multiple countries does not necessarily mean that its activities are truly international. Example: a tiny fraternal organization with a total membership of sixty members, world wide, is not "international in scale" simply because the members live in separate countries and have formed sub-chapters where they live.

Schools

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All schools, including universities, colleges, high schools, middle schools, primary (elementary) schools, and schools that only provide a support to mainstream education must satisfy either this guideline or the general notability guideline, or both.

Local units of larger organizations

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  • As a general rule, the individual chapters of national and international organizations are usually not considered notable enough to warrant a separate article - unless they are substantially discussed by reliable independent sources that extend beyond the chapter's local area.
  • In some cases, a specific local chapter or sub-organization that is not considered notable enough for its own article may be significant enough to mention within the context of an article about the parent organization. If the parent article grows to the point where information needs to be split off to a new article, remember that when you split off an article about a local chapter, the local chapter itself must comply with Wikipedia's notability guidelines, without reference to the notability of the parent organization. Take care not to split off a section that would be considered non-notable on its own. Splitting should occur as a top-down process. See {{splitsection}}.
  • Aim for one good article, not multiple permanent stubs: Individual chapters, divisions, departments, and other sub-units of notable organizations are only rarely notable enough to warrant a separate article. Information on chapters and affiliates should normally be merged into the article about the parent organization. See Wikipedia:Merging.
  • Information on sub-chapters of notable organizations might be included in either prose or a brief list in the main article on the organization. If an embedded list becomes too large for the parent article, consideration may be given to splitting out as a stand-alone list only if there are reliable sources dealing with the list as a topic, as with Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities supporting List of Phi Kappa Psi chapters and colonies. If an embedded list is too large, but is not notable enough for a stand-alone list, then consider trimming.

Commercial organizations

Some commercial organizations meet Wikipedia notability guidelines but care must be taken in determining if they are truly notable or whether they are an attempt at using Wikipedia for free advertising. Wikipedia editors should not create articles on commercial organizations for the purpose of overtly or covertly advertising a company. Please see WP:ADVERT.

Publicly traded corporations

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There has been considerable discussion over time whether publicly traded corporations, or at least publicly traded corporations listed on major stock exchanges such as the NYSE, NASDAQ and other comparable international stock exchanges, are inherently notable. Consensus has been that notability is not automatic in this (or any other) case. However, sufficient independent sources almost always exist for such companies, so that notability can be established using the primary criterion discussed above. Examples of such sources include independent press coverage, analyst reports, and profiles by companies such as Hoover's (a commercial source). Accordingly, article authors should make sure to seek out such coverage and add references to such articles to properly establish notability.

Editors coming across an article on such a company without such references are encouraged to search (or request that others search) prior to nominating for deletion, given the very high likelihood that a publicly traded company is actually notable according to the primary criterion.

Chains and franchises

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Many companies have chains of local stores or franchises that are individually pretty much interchangeable—for instance, a local McDonald's. Since there is generally very little to say about individual stores or franchises that is not true for the chain in general, Wikipedia should not have articles on such individual stores. In rare cases, an individual location will have architectural peculiarities that makes it notable, such as the Shell Service Station (Winston-Salem, North Carolina); however, a series of articles on every single Wal-Mart in China would not be informative. An exception can be made if a major event occurred at a local store; however, this would most likely be created under an article name that describes the event, not the location (see San Ysidro McDonald's massacre for an example).

Products and services

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If a company is notable, information on its products and services should generally be included in the article on the company itself, unless the company article is so large that this would make the article unwieldy.

When discussion of products and services would make the article unwieldy, some editorial judgment is called for. If the products and services are considered notable enough on their own, one option is to break out the discussion of them into a separate article following WP:Summary style. If the products and services are not notable enough for their own article, the discussion of them should be trimmed and summarized into a shorter format, or even cut entirely.

Avoid creating multiple stubs about each individual product (PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator, Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator, R-36 Explosive Space Modulator, etc.) especially if there is no realistic hope of expansion.

If a non-notable product or service has its own article, be bold and merge the article into an article with a broader scope such as the company's article or propose it for deletion.

Note that a specific product or service may be notable on its own, without the company providing it being notable in its own right. In this case, an article on the product may be appropriate, and notability of the company itself is not inherited as a result.

If it's not notable

Although an organization that fails to meet the criteria of this guideline should not have a separate article, information about the organization may nevertheless be included in other ways in Wikipedia provided that certain conditions are met.

Content about the organization can be added into relevant articles if it:

For organizations local to a city, town, or county, content conforming to the above criteria may be added to articles for that locale. For example, a business that is significant to the history or economy of a small town might be described in the ==History== or ==Economy== section of the small town.

See also

Essays

Notes

  1. ^ a b "Source" on Wikipedia can refer to the work itself, the author of the work, and/or the publisher of the work. For notability purposes, sources must be completely unrelated to each other to be "multiple". A story reprinted in multiple newspapers is still one source (one publication). A series of articles by the same journalist is still one source (one person). Different articles in the same newspaper is still one source (one publisher).
  2. ^ Inclusion in "best of", "top 100", and similar lists does not count towards notability at all, unless the list itself is notable, such as the Fortune 500 and the Michelin Guide. Inclusion in a notable list counts like any other reliable source, but it does not exempt the article from the normal value of providing evidence that independent sources discuss the subject.
  3. ^ Examples:
    • Microsoft Word satisfies this criterion because people who are wholly independent of Microsoft have written books about it.
    • The Oxford Union satisfies this criterion for having two books (by Graham and by Walter) written and published about it.
  4. ^ Patents are written and published solely at the direction of the inventor or organization that the inventor assigned the patent to. Their contents are not verified to be accurate by the patent offices or any other independent agency. See Wikipedia:Reliable source examples#Are patents reliable sources?.

External links