Wikipedia:How to write a featured article

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To featured quality... and beyond!

Featured articles are considered to be some of the best articles Wikipedia has to offer, which makes writing them not an easy task. This essay is a one stop shop of valuable resources, whether you are seriously aiming to write a featured topic or just tweaking a shabby vital article. Each section is designated for an assessment category outlined in Wikipedia:Content assessment for easy navigation.


A stub is an article deemed too short to provide encyclopedic coverage of a subject, usually only a few sentences long. This is one of the most common types of article on Wikipedia, with a good example being Crescent Falls in May 2018. Such article can be tagged with {{stub}} or its variant for easy identification. Some articles will always be a stub due to a lack of reliable source about the topic, but some is just not notable enough to exist and will be nominated for deletion. Because there is so little content available, the usual best course of action is to just add more content via sources, which this topic is discussed thoroughly at the reliable source guideline.

For new editors, Help:Your first article can be useful as an all-in-one guide. There are some essays that express viewpoints of extremely short or undeveloped stubs, such as Wikipedia:Don't hope the house will build itself, Wikipedia:Don't demolish the house while it's still being built, and Wikipedia:An unfinished house is a real problem. A word of caution: please use your own words – directly copying other sources without giving them credit is plagiarism, and may in some cases be a violation of copyright.

A good stub contains:

  • Adequate context to make it clear what the subject of the article is and for other editors to expand upon it
  • A sorted {{stub}} template at the end
  • At least one good category at the very end
  • Tagged with appropriate WikiProjects at its talk page
  • Providing sources that is archived to prevent link rot
  • Some appropriate wikilinks to prevent orphaning


A Start-class article provides some meaningful content but is still weak in many areas. A good example of such an article being ring-tailed cardinalfish in June 2018. Some sectioning is attempted to categorize new information in the article. Even though the definition of a Start-class article can vary between editors, Wikipedia:Content assessment defined it as an article that "should [not] be in any danger of being speedily deleted." This means that the article must follow very basic policies about content, such as having a neutral point of view, verifiable, and contains no original research. In some cases, they also need to satisfy article title, biographies of living persons, image use, and "what Wikipedia is not" guidelines.

Most Start-class articles are sourced, though usually to questionable ones. Therefore, a good way to improve the article is to add more content, clean up the layout, and reformat the article to be up to standards. Grammar, spelling, jargon use and writing style can also be improved via copyediting, though the latter should never be based on personal preferences. Since Wikipedia is a work in progress, not all article must be better than Start-class, though it is generally agreed that any Start-class article has a potential to be a B-class or even a good article. Collaboration between editors happens much more often starting from this stage.

Finding a Start-class article is easy as it is the most numerous on Wikipedia. Therefore, the most problematic ones can be found at Wikipedia:Cleanup, Template:Opentask, Category:Wikipedia pages with to-do lists, and Category:Articles needing attention. Some Start-class articles can be merged to have enough content, though this practice is controversial to many editors.

A good Start-class article contains all of the above criteria and:


A C-class article is defined as "still missing important content or contains much irrelevant material" by Wikipedia:Content assessment, and usually considered to be an "average" article quality by many editors. An example of a C-class article being wing in June 2018.


A B-class article is generally considered to be comprehensive by casual readers, like human in April 2019. This is generally an advised end goal for an article that is about a very obscure topic. Unlike prior assessments, B-class has six concrete criteria:

  1. The article is suitably referenced, with inline citations – it has reliable sources, and any important or controversial material which is likely to be challenged is cited. Any format of inline citation is acceptable: the use of <ref> tags and citation templates such as {{cite web}} is optional.
  2. The article reasonably covers the topic, and does not contain obvious omissions or inaccuracies – it contains a large proportion of the material necessary for an A-Class article, although some sections may need expansion, and some less important topics may be missing.
  3. The article has a defined structure – content should be organized into groups of related material, including a lead section and all the sections that can reasonably be included in an article of its kind.
  4. The article is reasonably well-written – the prose contains no major grammatical errors and flows sensibly, but it does not need to be "brilliant". The Manual of Style does not need to be followed rigorously.
  5. The article contains supporting materials where appropriate – illustrations are encouraged, though not required. Diagrams, an infobox etc. should be included where they are relevant and useful to the content.
  6. The article presents its content in an appropriately understandable way – it is written with as broad an audience in mind as possible. Although Wikipedia is more than just a general encyclopedia, the article should not assume unnecessary technical background and technical terms should be explained or avoided where possible.

Good article[edit]

A good article is reviewed by an impartial editor, like discovery of the neutron article in April 2019 and its review. For a reader, the article is of very high quality with no obvious omissions. It must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Well written:
    1. the prose is clear, concise, and understandable to an appropriately broad audience; spelling and grammar are correct; and
    2. it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation.
  2. Verifiable with no original research:
    1. it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline;
    2. all inline citations are from reliable sources, including those for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines;
    3. it contains no original research; and
    4. it contains no copyright violations nor plagiarism.
  3. Broad in its coverage:
    1. it addresses the main aspects of the topic; and
    2. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).
  4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without editorial bias, giving due weight to each.
  5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.
  6. Illustrated, if possible, by media such as images, video, or audio:
    1. media are tagged with their copyright statuses, and valid non-free use rationales are provided for non-free content; and
    2. media are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.


An A-class article is often considered as a transition between good article and featured article status. It was originally created to serve as a buffer between B-class and featured article, though now it saw limited use by some large Wikiprojects. An example is the Battle of Nam River and its review in June 2014.

Featured article[edit]