Wikipedia:Article inclusion

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This guideline discusses some general criteria to help editors gauge whether an article is worthy of inclusion. Failure to meet these policies and guidelines should be taken as a strong cautionary flag that the article needs to be either improved, or submitted for deletion according to editorial consensus.

Generally speaking, articles that fail to reference sufficient written sources published over a course of time may be scrutinized as being inappropriate for inclusion in Wikipedia.

General standards for article inclusion in Wikipedia[edit]

  1. Articles should, in the long run, be at least minimally substantive and be judged by their reliably referenced content. That's not to say a stub isn't acceptable, and an article that clearly could be expanded should be given sufficient opportunity to do so. Eventually, it's the responsibility of an article's authors to provide enough attributable material in the article itself to justify its inclusion. [1]
  2. Material in Wikipedia should be properly referenced as described in the verifiability policy. Properly referencing information is a high priority, and articles which remain unreferenced for long periods of time (i.e. a few months or more) should either be improved or stand a risk of deletion.
  3. Avoid including single-source articles. Single-source articles are more likely to have serious issues than articles with multiple sources, as they run the risk of presenting a single viewpoint, rather than the neutral point of view that Wikipedia strives for. [2] Along similar lines, be cautious of including only references which are all written in the same brief time span, such as a set of two or three news articles written on the same day about the same event. A lack of references written over a period of time might indicate a subject that is either too localized or transitory for general encyclopedic inclusion.[3]
  4. Articles should follow Wikipedia policies and guidelines. Even if an article meets the criteria above, it still might fail to meet other policies such as neutral point of view or what Wikipedia is not. For example, an otherwise well-referenced and topical article whose subject is inherently based in a point of view, or is intended to "fork" an existing article to spotlight a single viewpoint, is likely to be unacceptable according to policy on point of view forks.
  5. Although many things are attributable to reliable sources, they may not meet the consensually-reached guidelines for notability that are set for inclusion.[4] For instance, biographies are handled by the criteria for people and musical artists by the criteria for music. A list is provided to the right. In the absence of an agreed upon subject-specific criteria guideline that contains an exception to this document, it is expected that the article be built using the framework above. Notability is considered an important aspect of article inclusion by the Wikipedia community. While there may be exceptions, it is generally expected that, if an article does not meet its specific guideline for notability, the article will be merged or deleted per the options below.

As with any rule of thumb, some articles may be kept despite not meeting the above, but there should be a practical, compelling reason for such exceptions.

Dealing with articles that do not meet the inclusion standards[edit]

Articles that do not meet the above standards for inclusion are handled in a variety of ways.

  • Articles that are currently brief introductions are considered stubs and are kept as place-holders to allow the encyclopedic content to develop.
  • If the article content is useful in a different article, or a number of smaller articles may be useful as a larger treatment on a subject, merging and redirecting may be the most appropriate option.
  • Articles that fail to meet the inclusion criteria and do not appear to be improvable or appropriate for merger may be removed from the Wikipedia article space via deletion. Proposed deletion is recommended for uncontroversial deletion; articles for deletion is a forum for discussion of an article's encyclopedic worth; and articles can qualify for speedy deletion if they do not assert basic notability, lack context, or are obviously spam or promotional in tone.


  1. ^ Articles with very minimal information beyond very basic statistics and little hope for expansion may be reviewed for either merger into a broader topic article or list article of related topics, or for possible deletion as a topic with so little verifiable, useful information that most editors would not consider it encyclopedic in nature. While some permanently stub-length articles exist for pragmatic reasons, such as allowing the reader to navigate the links of a set of related articles within a broader topic, how much information is required to make an article "sufficiently substantive" is a matter for case-by-case editorial discussion and consensus, and often differs between various subject areas.
  2. ^ In such articles there is a higher risk of factual inaccuracies than if multiple sources independently analyze the subject. By having multiple independently published references, a subject is demonstrating that it has a wider scope of publishing interest. As a courtesy, consider tagging articles with only one source with the {{onesource}} template tag so interested editors can address the issue.
  3. ^ An example of an article with references which would only appear in a very short time span is a local traffic tie up. A major traffic tie up might generate multiple articles the following day in local newspapers or television, but would likely have no follow-up references. It is also a subject that most editors would probably agree is too limited and localized for inclusion in a general encyclopedia.
  4. ^ An example of this would be many minor and local political candidates who fail to win elections. While newspapers and specialty magazines may run numerous articles about them, thus having a wealth of information to base an article, consensus has determined that not every political candidate for local (or even national-level) office is suitable for inclusion. These are typically handled on a case-by-case basis.

See also[edit]

  • Wikipedia:Verifiability: This policy describes the reasons and the need to attribute material to reliable published sources.
  • Wikipedia:Reliable sources: This guideline discusses what constitutes a reliable source on Wikipedia and presents examples of types of sources.
  • Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not: This policy discusses examples of types of otherwise verifiable subject matter and articles that should not be included in Wikipedia.
  • Wikipedia:Neutral point of view: A guiding principle of Wikipedia - often, articles that do not meet this standard get nominated for deletion, even if they meet the standards for article inclusion.
  • Wikipedia:Conflict of interest: A guideline which deals with conflicts of interests, which may affect one's editing if there is a close relationship with the subject.