Wikipedia:Existence ≠ Notability
This is an essay on notability.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. This page is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
|This page in a nutshell: Truth alone is not a valid criterion for inclusion.|
"It is not a hoax. There is plenty of proof that it exists. It had its picture in three local websites. Therefore, we should have an article about it."
One of the biggest misconceptions about Wikipedia is that Wikipedia is about everything. When it comes down to Wikipedia's real mission, that is simply not true. Wikipedia is strictly about topics that meet Wikipedia's notability guidelines. Whatever and whoever falls short is not entitled to have an article.
Wikipedia has numerous editors who are just like you, so if something is common, and an article or other content about it on Wikipedia is missing, it is possible that no one thought of creating it before. Then again, there may be a good reason why it is missing. So before you create, think.
Inclusion on Wikipedia for the most part means meeting the general notability guideline, which in a summary, requires there to be multiple reliable sources independent of the subject that provide more than just a mere trivial mention. This is the main one, though there are some other inclusion guidelines too.
What not to create
If you think you have some great idea that is not on Wikipedia, you may be eager to rush to create it and save the page as soon as possible, failing to research if there even is an article on the topic, or if one could exist. There are various types of articles, however, that one may think are worth creating but should not. Here are some of these:
Don't create an article about yourself!
And likewise, don't create an article about a member of your family, a close friend, or even an acquaintance you barely know. Don't create an article about a company or organization in which any of these are somehow affiliated. Yes, writing articles about people, companies, and organizations is permitted. And your interest in a subject does help. But your ability to write an article conforming to Wikipedia guidelines about yourself or a person, company, or organization with which you or someone you know has connections is severely compromised when you may know a lot of information that was not published in sources.
See Wikipedia:Conflict of interest for more details on this concept.
Don't create a standalone article on a topic that can be described briefly in another article
There are many items of interest that do exist, and do have reliable sources covering them. But only a brief amount of information can be written about them, and they directly relate to a topic covered in another article. It is preferable to have such information simply added to the article where it best fits. When the information is added to an article, the title it would have, had it been given a standalone article, can then redirect to that section of the article using the formatting "#REDIRECT [[Article#Section]]." See WP:TARGET for more information on this.
When such an article does exist, it is usually suggested that it be merged.
Some good reasons for creating separate standalone articles are:
- Information would cause another article to exceed size limitations
- Information would be grossly irrelevant to any article in which it is contained
- Information can be relevant to multiple articles, and it is hard to determine where it would better belong
- In a collection of single subjects within a category, the amounts of information on each vary, but those with less cannot sensibly be mixed with those that have more.
Some good reasons not to create separate standalone articles are:
- The only information about the subject is from its own source
- The only information about the subject comes all from a single source
- Only a few sentences of information can be written, and most likely, there will never be any more (see WP:PERMASTUB)
Don't create articles on common words or phrases
There are lots of words and phrases that are a common part of daily vocabulary, but Wikipedia is not a dictionary. The mere existence and frequent use of that word or phrase does not automatically guarantee an article with that title on Wikipedia. Only if it can be used to describe something beyond its very basic definition can it be used to title an article on Wikipedia.
Lots of these common words or phrases may also have one or more obscure meanings. When such is the case, it may be useful to create it as a redirect to another title, or as a disambiguation page listing encyclopedic topics using that title.
Don't create articles on something you just made up
If you've just thought up a great new idea, Wikipedia is not the place to talk about it. You will have to wait until independent and reliable sources discover your idea, and write about it.
Don't create an article on a news story covered in 109 newspapers
Many stories are reported in the news just once on a single day, or over a period of a few days, and then are forgotten. They may receive coverage in newspapers in every city and town across a nation, or even throughout the world. But they do just for that short period of time.
Many newspapers are reliable sources. But Wikipedia is not a newspaper. And notability is not temporary. News does get shared between news sources (especially wire services and chains such as Gannett's USA Today Network), and is often printed in hundreds of papers, covering a large geographic area, identically word-for-word in each paper. So an article may look impressive and pass for being notable if it has 109 references, each from a different paper. But just because you bombard an article with identical sources does not mean it can never be deleted.
This is especially true of biographical articles. If reliable sources cover the person only in the context of a particular event a separate biography is unlikely to be warranted. That person should instead be covered in the article about the event itself.
References are not optional
Wikipedia's guidelines are many and requirements are few but the one requirement which stands out among the general notability guidelines and each of the subject-specific ones is that notability requires verifiable evidence. Each article must be referenced with reliable sources. This requirement applies to all articles, including newly created ones. Notability is not obvious. Topics that are common household vocabulary face deletion and have been deleted in the past, and continue to be to this day. References are not optional for any article or subject area.
While there may be some consensus that some topics generally are notable (e.g. widely released films, album releases from notable music artists, licensed radio stations, etc.), this is an indication that references should be relatively easy to find, not a loophole in general notability guidelines.
To avoid your hard work being challenged and possibly deleted, ensure that references are there when you submit. This is particularly true of new articles. If you don't have time to properly cite references in a new article, don't submit it, with plans to add references later or expect others to find references for you. Use a subpage of your user space. Once you've completed your work, move it to the main namespace.
- Wikipedia:But it's true!
- Wikipedia:Subjective importance
- Wikipedia:Inclusion is not an indicator of notability
- Wikipedia:Obscure does not mean not notable
- Wikipedia:Arguments to avoid in deletion discussions
- Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not
- Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not here to tell the world about your noble cause
- Wikipedia:An article about yourself isn't necessarily a good thing
- Wikipedia:Existence does not prove notability