|This page is an essay on notability.
|This page in a nutshell: Notability guideline sub-pages should only be created if there is a specific need to do so. They should not set an inclusion criteria less restrictive than WP:N. A guideline proposal may contain inclusion criteria that are more restrictive than WP:N, but note that there is currently no consensus regarding these type of criteria.|
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability. It is broadly accepted among editors that the minimum level of verifiability is "significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject". Wikipedia defines this process for a topic to become a stand-alone article as notability, and provides a general guideline to determine if the article should be included in Wikipedia. In addition to this general notability guideline, additional guidelines have been created that give further guidance on notability for specific topics. This essay attempts to state the views of a significant number of editors, about when and when not to create these additional notability guidelines, and what they should and should not contain. This essay could be referred to when disputes arise about the content of currently existing notability guidelines.
Please note that this essay fully complies with the guidelines for writing guides about guidelines.
The purpose of notability sub-pages
Notability sub-pages are guidelines for editors on the criteria for specific classes of topics to become stand-alone articles in Wikipedia. They should only be created and proposed if and when a specific need arises. They can be used to perform the following functions:
- To provide additional information on notability as it relates to a specific topic. For example, in some instances it may not be clear how the criteria of the general notability guideline relates to a specialised topic, in which specialised published sources exist. Guidelines such as this should concentrate on what exactly is included in the definition of a secondary source.
- To define inclusion criteria that are more restrictive than the general inclusion criteria. Note that there is no general consensus governing such criteria. See the section entitled Restrictive inclusion criteria, below, for more information regarding this.
What notability sub-pages should contain
In general, notability guideline sub-pages should:
- 1. Clearly state the intended purpose of the guideline, and why it is required.
- Notability guidelines for a specific topic should only be created when the need arises. The guideline should clearly outline this need. A guideline that is not designed to meet a specific need, would be an example of instruction creep (see image on right), and should not be created at all. Additional notability guidelines that amount to nothing more than a rewording of the general notability guideline also fall into this category.
- 2. Specify inclusion criteria that are dependant on the general notability criteria.
- The guideline should ensure that it is not in conflict with the minimum requirements of notability, as defined by the general notability guideline. As stated previously, it is broadly accepted among editors that the criteria defined in the general notability guideline must be met in order to comply with Wikipedia's policy of verifiability. Additional guidelines should not set an inclusion criteria that is less restrictive than this.
What notability sub-pages should not contain
In general, notability guideline sub-pages should not:
- 1. Define inclusion criteria that are less restrictive than the general notability guideline.
- See above.
- 2. Attempt to define policy that is not already in practice.
- The purpose of a guideline is to document current practice, not to invent new policy.
- 3. Contain arbitrary values.
- Example: "A religious figure is notable if he/she is mentioned 5 or more times in central scripture".
- Inclusion criteria must be based on logical reasoning. An arbitrary value, in contrast, is simply a number that the author thought was a good idea at the time.
Restrictive inclusion criteria
There is some support among Wikipedia editors for the creation of additional notability guidelines for specific topics that are more restrictive than the general notability guideline. For example, some Wikipedians feel that minor league baseball players are not notable enough for inclusion, even if they meet the notability requirements of the general notability guideline. This is more an argument of importance rather than verifiability. It should be noted that there is no Wikipedia policy requiring importance, and there is no general consensus on the issue. If you feel there is a need for such restrictive inclusion criteria in a guideline you wish to propose, then add it. But bear in mind that the proposed guideline may be rejected for this reason.