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Wikipedia:Give an article a chance

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Sometimes, editors create just the basic framework, with the intention of coming back to fill it in later, or for others to do so.

Sometimes, editors create very short stubs with the intention of filling them out later. The stub, in that form, may not make any claims to notability (though notability is irrelevant) or list any sources for verification. This induces many editors to hastily add a speedy-delete tag. If the original editor manages to return before the article is deleted, they explain their intentions on the talk page. The following is a typical example of what happens next:

  • Someone comes along—often someone with no knowledge of the subject—and presumes that the article can never be expanded and will never have verifiable sources, and so they PROD it.
  • The original editor removes the PROD tag and maybe makes a substantial edit, if they have time—but remember, the whole reason they wrote only a sentence or two in the first place is because they don't have more than a few minutes at a time to work on Wikipedia.
  • The individual who added the PROD tag then lists it on AfD, for the same reason they PRODded it.
  • Other editors recommend its deletion, on the grounds that it does not list any sources, makes no claims to notability, or is simply "too short to be worth keeping"
  • The original editor spends all their (limited) time trying to fight the deletion of the article. They are reluctant to make the edits that would change the minds of those recommending delete (assuming those people even choose to revisit the article or discussion, which often doesn't happen) because the editor does not want to put so much work into an article if it's just going to wind up being deleted. So instead they spend their time on the deletion discussion explaining their position, and tries to convince others that they do indeed have verifiable information on the subject.

Often, instead of outright deletion, someone will suggest moving an extremely short article to the main contributor's userspace. This, however, defeats the whole purpose of a wiki. A wiki is for collaborative editing; articles grow organically as different people come along and contribute their own bits of information. Keeping short articles in userspace, where almost no one (certainly not casual editors) will be able to find them, until they are expanded to meet some arbitrary criterion makes this whole process impossible. Don't do this.

So give an article a chance. Unless it's a blatant speedy delete—such as nonsense, advertising, slander, or a copyvio—don't tag it speedy. And don't PROD or AfD it until the original editor has had a chance—a week should be enough time—to add substance to the article and list sources and do everything else people tend to use against such short articles. Regardless, even if PROD is used, work with the original editor and make them aware of the reasons for the tag. Help them work within the accepted norms of the community to get the article up to snuff, lest you scare off a newcomer.

You might consider a websearch for references—part of checking potential notability. If you find anything useful, fill in a few sentences of the article and cite. This is almost always sufficient to make an article PROD-resistant while usefully contributing to the project.

See also