Wikipedia:Bare notability

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Is coverage in that local newspaper going to be enough to satisfy the deletionists?

Bare notability refers to when an article seemingly just minimally meets Wikipedia's notability standards. This may be the case when:

  1. The article is presented with very few references and few can be found;
  2. The article has plenty of references, but the references do not support the subject itself but rather pertain only trivially to the subject, or
  3. The "references" provided are not considered valid sources for establishing notability (e.g., they are Facebook pages, blog pages, or promotional websites).

Articles that fit one or more of these descriptions may be in danger of deletion. Though the creator or a major contributor may feel s/he did a good enough job of writing the article and providing sources, others may feel differently. Wikipedia's policies collectively are quite complicated, and therefore, can be interpreted in a variety of ways. So a subject being barely notable leaves more room for the deletionists' actions.

Any registered user has the right to propose an article for deletion using the deletion process, and even a non-registered user can place a PROD tag on an unprotected article. It only takes one person to propose an article for deletion. One who is capable of giving good arguments in favor of an article's deletion can be responsible for getting an article deleted, even if the creator feels it should be kept on the basis of the sources provided.

Improving an article with bare notability[edit]

The best ways to prevent an article on a subject with bare notability is to improve it so its notability seems more obvious. A good approach would be to ask yourself, why would anyone want to read about this subject? Or what makes this subject important enough to be included in an encyclopedia? Notability must be asserted bluntly and definitively. The best way to accomplish this is to back up your assertions with reliable sources:

  1. Search the web for more sources on the subject: If a plain Google search does not seem to provide enough websites that meet Wikipedia's reliable sources criteria, try using other forms of searching, such as Google Books, Google Scholar, or Google News. It can be exhausting trying to search through hundreds of thousands of GHits for something that may meet these criteria, but narrowing your search can help. For example, if you are looking for references for an article on jazz saxophone from the 1930s, Google will find more targeted websites if you search for "jazz saxophone" +"swing era" or "jazz saxophone" +"big band" (in each case, use both sets of terms in quotes). If you are searching and not finding enough hits, try changing to a variant term for your search. For example, if you are looking for references for an article on bluegrass double bass, but you are not finding any good sources, if you use variant search terms like "bluegrass upright bass" OR "bluegrass bass fiddle", you might get different results.
  2. Look off the web: Using books you already own or visiting your local library can produce additional information. A library might hold useful books or periodicals, or be staffed by professionals willing to assist in researching subjects. Many local libraries provide access to online resources such as JSTOR and Project MUSE which require a paid-for licence and so would otherwise be unavailable to users at home. Sources found on the web are often more easily verifiable because they are accessible to anyone with access to the internet, so when an off-web source is used, use references that provide as much bibliographical information as possible.
  3. Look for an expert: Place the {{expert}} tag on top of the page. This helps in the search for someone who can provide more reliable sources.

An alternative view: Don't be cautious with creating articles that are borderline notable[edit]

There is no practical difference between "bare notability" and other cases.

An article that satisfies Wikipedia's notability requirement simply is notable, even if the level of coverage does not exceed the minimum level required. Such an article cannot be validly deleted on grounds of that it is not notable due to lack of coverage (because deleting a notable topic for non-notability would be a paradox). Such an article is in possible danger of being deleted unless editors ignore the actual notability rules (in which case the grounds for deletion would be Wikipedia:Ignore all rules, not non-notability; and any editor proposing deletion on such grounds should expect to meet some resistance). Regardless, notability needs to be satisfied for an article to be retained.

An article does not need to assert the notability of its subject. Wikipedia:Ignore all rules says that notability depends on the existence of sources, not their immediate citation. It is, of course, desirable for an article to indicate why its subject is notable, but failure to do so is not a grounds for deletion. However, the notability of an article may be tested if an article is at deletion discussion. The "assertion of notability" thing is a misunderstanding: an article of a certain kind may be speedily deleted if it does not provide an indication of importance, also known as a credible claim of significance; this is a lower standard that notability, and only provides surety against speedy deletion, not examination at WP:Articles for deletion. This criterion only applies to an article about a real person, individual animal, organization, Web content, or organized event. It does not mean "insert a sentence stating 'This subject is important and significant because ...". It means write and source the article in a way that makes it clear why this is an encyclopedia-worthy topic. (For tips on how to do this, see WP:I wouldn't know him from a hole in the ground.)

Since editors are encouraged to be bold, and since such articles are generally harmless, there is no reason except possible later deletion to generally be cautious about creating topics that seem to be on the borderline of notability or that seem arguably notable (Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons may be an exception). A possible approach is not to refrain from creating an article unless you are sure it will be kept, but, rather, to go ahead an create it unless you are sure it should not be kept. Generally, self-censorship is unhelpful as you are depriving the community of the opportunity to decide whether they want to keep the article but at the same time creating an article that later gets deleted results in time and effort burden of editors in an Wikipedia:Article for deletion.

See also[edit]