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Wikipedia:Credible claim of significance

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Wikipedia's speedy deletion criteria A7, A9 and A11 state that certain pages can be speedily deleted if they don't make a "credible claim of significance or importance" (among other requirements specific to each criterion). Wikipedians have often struggled with this aspect of these criteria, and may ask the question, what does it mean?

Significance is a lower standard than notability. While the inclusion of reliable secondary sources may itself be an indication of significance, not including any sources is entirely irrelevant to an assessment under these speedy deletion criteria.

Identifying a credible claim of significance

A credible claim of significance can be assessed in an article in two broad ways:

  1. a statement in the article that attributes noteworthiness, or
  2. information you learn while looking at any references provided in the article.

A claim is asserted

In the first way, search for a statement within the article that attributes noteworthiness to the subject.

For example, look for sentences that say things such as:

  • "John Doe is the State President of the Democratic Party in Tasmania"
  • "John Doe was the first cricketer to bat left-handed"
  • "The John Doe recording debuted at #5 on Billboard charts"
  • "This invention won the National Medal of Technology and Innovation".

The existence of such a statement of noteworthiness/importance/significance within the article would generally ensure that the A7, A9 and A11 tags cannot be applied. Such a claim of noteworthiness need not be supported by any reference; the fact that such a claim exists, deems that the A7, A9 and A11 tags cannot be applied. (Remember, even though A7, A9, and A11 are off-limits, editors can still opt to PROD articles or take them to AFD if they believe that the article, despite its claim, is not broadly notable and should still be deleted.)

At the same time, if the claim is evidently false (for example, if initial research confirms that it is Jane Doe and not John Doe who is the State President of the Democratic Party in Tasmania), the article may be tagged for speedy deletion as a hoax (CSD G3), or alternatively prodded.

You read the sources

For the second way, if there is no evident claim of significance in the article, check the references provided within the article. If the references within the article discuss the subject or provide a possible claim of significance as discussed in #1 above, then too the A7, A9 and A11 tags should not be applied.

For example, if the new article contains just one line: "John Doe is a fitness trainer", the initial view might be that there is no claim of significance. But if the sources in the same article discuss the subject, chances are, more coverage may exist; and in this case too, the A7, A9 and A11 tags should generally not be applied (except when it's clear that this is all the coverage this subject will ever get).

While the responsibility to provide such a claim of significance (either in words or in references) rests with the person adding the article/material, good form dictates that any new page patroller conducts at least some rudimentary search on their own before tagging any new article on any speedy criteria.

Pitfalls to avoid

The following are important points to keep in mind about significance:

  1. A claim of significance need not be supported by any cited sources, much less by inline citations to reliable sources.
  2. A claim of significance need not amount to a statement that, if sourced, would establish notability.
  3. Therefore, a claim of significance need not pass any of the general or specialized notability guidelines, such as general notability guideline, music notability, or biography notability guideline.
  4. A claim of significance need not be self-evidently true, but should not be blatantly false. A blatant hoax, or a claim so improbable that no one of sound mind would believe it, is not a plausible claim of significance—use {{db-hoax}} for those.
  5. Any statement which, if reliably sourced, would be likely to persuade some of the commentators at a typical articles for deletion discussion to keep the article is a claim of significance.
  6. Any statement which plausibly indicates that additional research (possibly offline, possibly in specialized sources) has a chance of demonstrating notability is a claim of significance.
  7. Although notability generally isn't inherited, such associations can still be considered significant if they meet point #6 above. Also, articles on non-notable subjects that are closely related to a subject that is notable can often still be merged or redirected instead of deleted.

Two-part test

"Credible claim of significance" is a two-part test: The claim has to be credible, and it also has to be significant. A good mental test is to consider each part discretely when evaluating an article:

A. is the claim being made reasonably plausible to be true?
B. assuming that the claim were indeed true, could this (or something that "this" might plausibly imply) cause the subject (possibly with other plausible information added) to be notable? Or, does it give plausible indications that research might well discover notability?

Example: An article about a person makes the claim that the article subject is "the King of Mars". This claim would certainly satisfy part B, since a person who would be officially considered "the King of Mars" would have coverage in multiple reliable sources that would constitute this person's notability without question, but this claim of course fails part A, since it is absolutely not plausible.

Example: An article about a person where the content's main claim to fame is that they graduated High School as the top student of their class. This claim would pass part A, since it's quite plausible for this claim to be true, but it would not pass part B, since the claim is highly unlikely to lead to notability.

What happens next

You may find an article that contains a credible claim of significance, but which you think doesn't belong in Wikipedia. In such cases, do not send the article through the CSD process for these criteria. Instead, consider these options:

See also