User:Unitanode/Notability (people)

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Within Wikipedia, notability is an inclusion criterion based on the encyclopedic suitability of an article topic. The topic of an article should be notable, or "worthy of notice"; that is, "significant, interesting, or unusual enough to deserve attention or to be recorded."[1] Notable in the sense of being "famous", or "popular"—although not irrelevant—is secondary.

This notability guideline for biographies[2] is not policy; however, it reflects consensus reached through discussions and reinforced by established practice, and informs decisions on whether an article on a person should be written, merged, deleted or further developed. For advice about how to write biographical articles, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies) and Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons.

Basic criteria[edit]

A person is presumed to be notable if he or she has been the subject of published[3] secondary source material which is reliable, intellectually independent,[4] and independent of the subject.[5]

  • Trivial coverage of a subject by secondary sources is not sufficient to establish notability.[6]
  • Primary sources may be used to support content in an article, but they do not contribute toward proving the notability of a subject.

Additional criteria[edit]

A person is generally notable if they meet any of the following standards. Failure to meet these criteria is not conclusive proof that a subject should not be included; conversely, meeting one or more does not guarantee that a subject should be included.

Should a person fail to meet these additional criteria, they may still be notable under Wikipedia:Notability.

Any biography[edit]

  • The person has received a notable award or honor, or has been often nominated for them.
  • The person has made a widely recognized contribution that is part of the enduring historical record in his or her specific field.[7]


Some scientists, researchers, philosophers and other scholars (collectively referred to as "academics" for convenience) are notably influential in the world of ideas without their biographies being the subject of secondary sources.


  • People who have competed regularly at the fully professional level of a sport, or a competition of equivalent standing in a non-league sport such as swimming, golf or tennis.[8]
  • People who have competed at the highest amateur level of a sport, usually considered to mean the Olympic Games or World Championships.

Creative professionals[edit]

Scientists, academics, economists, professors, authors, editors, journalists, filmmakers, photographers, artists, architects, engineers, and other creative professionals:

  • The person is regarded as an important figure or is widely cited by their peers or successors.
  • The person is known for originating a significant new concept, theory or technique.
  • The person has created, or played a major role in co-creating, a significant or well-known work, or collective body of work, that has been the subject of an independent book or feature-length film, or of multiple independent periodical articles or reviews.
  • The person's work either (a) has become a significant monument, (b) has been a substantial part of a significant exhibition, (c) has won significant critical attention, or (d) is represented within the permanent collections of several notable galleries or museums, or had works in many significant libraries.
  • See Wikipedia:Notability (academics) for guidelines on academics


  • Diplomats who have participated in a significant way in events of particular diplomatic importance that have been written about in reliable secondary sources.
  • Although diplomats often participate in issues of significant diplomatic importance without receiving specific individual coverage, sufficient reliable documentation of their role is required.


Actors, comedians, opinion makers, models, and television personalities:

  • Has had significant roles in multiple notable films, television, stage performances, or other productions.
  • Has a large fan base or a significant "cult" following.
  • Has made unique, prolific or innovative contributions to a field of entertainment.
    • See WP:MUSIC for guidelines on musicians, composers, groups, etc.

Pornographic actors[edit]


  • People who have held international, national or first-level sub-national political office, including members of a legislature and judges.[10]
  • Major local political figures who have received significant press coverage.[7] Generally speaking, mayors are likely to meet this criterion, as are members of the main citywide government or council of a major metropolitan city.
  • Just being an elected local official, or an unelected candidate for political office, does not guarantee notability, although such people can still be notable if they meet the primary notability criterion of "significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject of the article."

Invalid criteria[edit]

  • That person A has a relationship with well-known person B, such as being their spouse, is not a reason for a standalone article on A (unless significant coverage can be found on A); see Relationships do not confer notability. However, person A may be included in the related article on B. For example, Brooklyn Beckham and Jason Allen Alexander are included in the articles on David Beckham and Britney Spears, respectively, and the links, Brooklyn Beckham and Jason Allen Alexander, are merely redirects to those articles.
  • Avoid criteria based on search engine statistics (e.g., Google hits or Alexa ranking), or measuring the number of photos published online. The adult film industry, for example, uses Googlebombing to influence rankings, and for most topics Google cannot easily differentiate between useful references and mere text matches. See also limitations of Alexa. When using Google to help establish the notability of a topic, evaluate the quality, not the quantity, of the links.

Failing all criteria[edit]

If no criteria can be met for either a standalone article or inclusion in a more general article, and improvements have not worked or cannot be reasonably tried, then there are three deletion procedures to be considered:[11]

  • If the article does not indicate why its subject is important or significant, use the {{db-person}} tag to request speedy deletion.
  • For articles that do not meet the criteria for speedy deletion, but are uncontroversial deletion candidates, use the {{subst:prod}} tag. This allows the article to be deleted after seven days if nobody objects (see Wikipedia:Proposed deletion).
  • For cases where you are unsure about deletion or believe others might object, nominate the article for the Articles for deletion process, where its merits will be discussed for 7 days.

Special cases[edit]

Failing basic criteria but meeting additional criteria[edit]

If neither a satisfying explanation nor appropriate sources can be found for a standalone article, but the person meets one or more of the additional criteria:

  • Merge the article into a broader article providing context.
  • Place a {{Mergeto}} tag on the page, indicating the page where the article may be merged.
  • If no article currently exists into which the person can be merged, consider writing the article yourself or request the article be written.

Failure to explain the subject's notability[edit]

If an article does not explain the notability of its subject,[12] try to improve it by:

Insufficient sources[edit]

If an article fails to cite sufficient sources:

  • Look for sources yourself
  • Ask the article's editor(s) for advice on where to look for sources.
  • Put the {{notability|biographies}} tag on the article to notify other editors.
  • If the article is about a specialized field, use the {{expert-subject}} tag with a specific WikiProject to attract editors knowledgeable about that field, who may have access to reliable sources not available online.

People notable only for one event[edit]

When an individual is significant for their role in a single event, it may be unclear whether an article should be written about the individual, the event or both. In considering whether or not to create separate articles, the degree of significance of the event itself and the degree of significance of the individual's role within it should be considered. The general rule in many cases is to cover the event, not the person. However, as both the event and the individual's role grow larger, separate articles become justified.

If the event is highly significant, and the individual's role within it is a large one, a separate article is generally appropriate. The assassins of major political leaders, such as Gavrilo Princip fit into this category, as indicated by the large coverage of the event in reliable sources that devotes significant attention to the individual's role.

When the role played by an individual in the event is less significant, an independent article may not be needed, and a redirect is appropriate. For example, George Holliday, who videotaped the Rodney King beating, redirects to Rodney King. On the other hand, if an event is of sufficient importance, even relatively minor participants may require their own articles, for example Howard Brennan.

Another issue arises when an individual plays a major role in a minor event. In this case, it is not generally appropriate to have an article on both the person and the event. Generally in this case, the name of the person should redirect to the article on the incident. For example, Steve Bartman redirects to Steve Bartman incident. In some cases, however, a person famous for only one event may be more widely known than the event itself, for example, the Tank Man. In such cases, the article about the event may be most appropriately named for the person involved.

Lists of people[edit]

Several articles contain or stand alone as lists of people - for instance, usually an article on a college includes or links to a list of notable alumni. Such lists are not intended to contain everyone (e.g. not all people who ever graduated from the school). Instead, inclusion on the list should be determined by the notability criteria above. Because only notable people should be included in such lists, the use of the words "famous," "notable", "noted," "prominent," etc. should be avoided in their descriptions, and should not be included in the title of the list section or article. See list naming conventions.

Editors who would like to add themselves to such lists should instead use categories of editors for this purpose, e.g. Category:Wikipedians by alma mater.


Being related to a notable person in itself confers no degree of notability upon that person.

Articles on Wikipedians[edit]

Some Wikipedia editors have articles about themselves (see Wikipedia:Wikipedians with articles); however, their status as Wikipedian editors by itself has no effect on their notability, regardless of whether they edited Wikipedia before or after their articles were created. (The conflict of interest guideline still has bearing on their editing of articles about themselves.) All articles should be judged solely by applicable content and inclusion guidelines and policies, such as this guideline, Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons, Wikipedia:No original research, and Wikipedia:Verifiability.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Encarta dictionary definition Retrieved 13 March 2008
  2. ^ While this guideline also pertains to small groups of closely related people such as families, co-authors, and co-inventors, it does not cover groups of unrelated people, which are covered by the notability guideline for organizations and companies.
  3. ^ What constitutes a "published work" is deliberately broad.
  4. ^ Sources that are pure derivatives of an original source can be used as references, but do not contribute toward establishing the notability of a subject. "Intellectual independence" requires not only that the content of sources be non-identical, but also that the entirety of content in a published work not be derived from (or based in) another work (partial derivations are acceptable). For example, a speech by a politician about a particular person contributes toward establishing the notability of that person, but multiple reproductions of the transcript of that speech by different news outlets do not. A biography written about a person contributes toward establishing his or her notability, but a summary of that biography lacking an original intellectual contribution does not.
  5. ^ Autobiography and self-promotion are not the routes to having an encyclopaedia article. The barometer of notability is whether people independent of the subject itself have actually considered the subject notable enough that they have written and published non-trivial works that focus upon it. Thus, entries in biographical dictionaries that accept self-nominations (such as the Marquis Who's Who) do not prove notability.
  6. ^ Non-triviality is a measure of the depth of content of a published work, and how far removed that content is from a simple directory entry or a mention in passing that does not discuss the subject in detail. A credible 200-page independent biography of a person that covers that person's life in detail is non-trivial, whereas a birth certificate or a 1-line listing on an election ballot form is not. Database sources such as Notable Names Database, Internet Movie Database and Internet Adult Film Database are not considered credible since they are, like wikis, mass-edited with little oversight. Additionally, these databases have low, wide-sweeping generic standards of inclusion.
  7. ^ a b Generally, a person who is "part of the enduring historical record" will have been written about, in depth, independently in multiple history books on that field, by historians. A politician who has received "significant press coverage" has been written about, in depth, independently in multiple news feature articles, by journalists. An actor who has been featured in magazines has been written about, in depth, independently in multiple magazine feature articles, by magazine article writers. An actor or TV personality who has "an independent biography" has been written about, in depth, in a book, by an independent biographer.
  8. ^ Participation in and, in most cases, winning individual tournaments, except the most prestigious events, does not make non-athletic competitors notable. This includes, but is not limited to, poker, bridge, chess, Magic:The Gathering, Starcraft, etc.
  9. ^ For awards with multiple rounds of nominations such as the Fans of Adult Media and Entertainment Award, only final round nominations are considered.
  10. ^ This is a secondary criterion. People who satisfy this criterion will almost always satisfy the primary criterion. Biographers and historians will usually have already written about the past and present holders of major political offices. However, this criterion ensures that our coverage of major political offices, incorporating all of the present and past holders of that office, will be complete regardless.
  11. ^ Wikipedia editors have been known to reject nominations for deletion that have been inadequately researched. Research should include attempts to find sources which might demonstrate notability, and/or information which would demonstrate notability in another manner.
  12. ^ The text of an article should include enough information to explain why the person is notable. External arguments via a talk page or AFD debate page are not part of the article itself, and promises on those pages to provide information are not as valid as the existence of the information on the article page itself.