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Wikipedia:Credible claim of significance

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A credible claim of significance is a statement in the article that attributes noteworthiness, or information written about the subject in reliable sources.

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, 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 with two different methods:

  1. a statement in the article that attributes noteworthiness, or
  2. information written about the subject in reliable sources.

A claim is asserted in the article (method one)

When assessing an article for such a claim (the first way described above), you should 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 President of the country of Wiki-Zeland"
  • "John Doe was the first cricketer to bat left-handed"
  • "The John Doe recording debuted at #5 on Billboard charts"
  • "The invention of the Wiki-transporter 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 and has been made deems that the A7, A9 and A11 tags cannot be applied.[1]

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 President of the country of Wiki-Zeland, the article may be tagged for speedy deletion as a hoax (CSD G3), or alternatively have deletion proposed.

Research of reliable sources (method two)

If there is no evident claim of significance in the article, check the references provided within the article (which is the second way that is listed in the section above). If the references within the article discuss the subject or provide a possible claim of significance, then 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 the only coverage that this subject will ever get).

Two-part test

The term 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: "John Doe is the King of Mars". This claim would certainly satisfy part B of the two-part test, since a person that's officially named as the actual King of the planet Mars would most certainly have coverage in multiple reliable sources. However, this claim of course fails part A of the two-part test, since it is absolutely not plausible to be true.

Example: "Jane Doe graduated from their High School as the top student of their class". This claim would of course pass part A, since it's very-well plausible for this claim to be true. However, it would not pass part B, since the claim is highly unlikely to lead to notability.

Pitfalls to avoid

The following list below contains important points to keep in mind about the meaning of significance on Wikipedia:

  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 the {{db-hoax}} template to tag 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 or 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.

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

  1. ^ Remember, even though A7, A9, and A11 are off-limits, editors can still opt to propose deletion for articles or take them to AFD if they believe that the article, despite its claim, is not broadly notable and should still be deleted.