|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. Consider these views with discretion. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines.|
The scope of an article is a description of the article subject which identifies the range of material that belongs in the article, and thus also determines what does not belong (i.e., what is "out of scope").
The lead, ideally the introductory sentence or at least introductory paragraph, of an article, should make clear what the scope of the article is.
Effects of scope
- All material that is notable, referenced and that a reader would be likely to agree matches the specified scope must be covered (at least in a summarised fashion).
- What reliable sources say about material that is out of scope for the decided-upon subject is largely irrelevant to that article and can be removed or moved to another article.
Choosing the scope
- Article scope, in terms of what exactly the subject and its scope is, is an editorial choice determined by consensus.
- Scope should have little to do with NPOV. NPOV is to do with how much of the article is given over to any given thing, scope is to do with whether it even can be mentioned or summarised or not.
- Artificially or unnecessarily restricting the scope of an article to select a particular POV on a subject area is frowned upon, even if it is the most popular POV.
- When the name of an article is a term that refers to several related topics in secondary reliable sources, primary topic criteria should be followed to determine if any of the uses of that term is the primary topic, and, if so, then the scope of the article should be limited to, or at least primarily, cover that topic. For example Cat is limited in scope to the primary topic for cat, the Domestic cat (which is a redirect to Cat), even though lions and tigers are considered to be "cats" in the broad sense of that term.
- Use the most general scope for each article you can. Since Wikipedia is a general encyclopedia, it's supposed to summarise essentially all knowledge. Hence accidental or deliberate choice of a limited scope for an article can make notable information disappear from the encyclopedia entirely, or make it highly inaccessible. Since the primary purpose of the Wikipedia is to be a useful reference work, narrow article scopes are to be avoided.
- Looking at what scopes other encyclopedias have chosen can often be useful