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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.

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

  1. One, search for a statement within the article that attributes noteworthiness to the subject; for example: "John Doe is the State President of the Democratic Party in Tasmania", or "John Doe was the first cricketer to bat left-handed", or "The John Doe recording debuted at #5 on Billboard charts", or "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 (an editor can still opt to PROD the article or take it 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, or alternatively prodded.
  2. Two, 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.

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 reasonable chance of demonstrating notability is a claim of significance.

"Credible claim of significance" is a two-part test: Credible and significant. A good mental test is to consider each part discretely:

a) is this reasonably plausible?

b) assuming this were true, would this (or something that 'this' might plausibly imply) cause a person to be notable? Or, in line with point 6 above, does it give plausible indications that research might well discover notability?

So, a claim that the person is the King of Mars would satisfy b, since a person who's King of Mars would almost certainly have coverage in sources that would constitute notability, but of course it fails a, since it's not plausible. Conversely, an article describing a subject whose main claim to fame is that they've been the top of their class for the last four years would pass a, since it's quite plausible for that to be true, but not pass b, since that kind of thing is not likely to lead to notability.

See also