Wikipedia:Notability (software)

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The purpose of this essay is to provide commentary on the notability of software by measuring its technical or commercial achievements. For the purpose of this essay, "software" includes all computer programs running on not only personal computers but any digital device such as appliances and video game consoles. This essay does not restrict article content. Rather, the purpose of this notability essay is to provide guidance for deciding when a topic warrants a page of its own.

This essay assumes the reader knows the meaning of "computer program", "app", and "software", as well as their syntactic, semantic and pragmatic implications.

Promotion and scope[edit]

Computer programs are creative works. A copy of a program that is offered for sale or hire is a product or service; therefore, their articles fall under the Wikipedia notability guideline for products and services and criteria on advertisement. Thus, promotional wording like peacock terms and weasel words should be avoided. Once notability is established, primary sources may be used to verify some of the article's content.[1] Self-published citations, including press releases, product listings, and other non reliable sources may not be used to establish notability.

It is long established that Wikipedia is not a primary source, nor a free wiki host. Wikipedia articles are not intended to be locations where primary source documentation for software packages is hosted. Wikipedia is also not a directory of all software packages that exist or that have ever existed. Articles falling under these categories should be deleted or transferred off Wikipedia.


A computer program can usually be presumed to be notable if it meets any one of these criteria:

  • It is discussed in reliable sources as significant in its particular field. References that cite trivia do not fulfill this requirement. See following section for more information.
  • It is the subject of instruction at multiple grade schools, high schools, universities or post-graduate programs. This criterion does not apply to software merely used in instruction.
  • It is the subject of multiple printed third-party manuals, instruction books, or reliable reviews,[2] written by independent authors and published by independent publishers.
  • It has been recognized as having historical or technical significance by reliable sources. However, the mere existence of reviews does not mean the app is notable. Reviews must be significant, from a reliable source, or assert notability.

Reliability and significance of sources[edit]

Common sense and an awareness of historical context should be used in determining whether coverage in sources found for an app is in fact reliable and significant. Factors that may impact on the evaluation of sources include:

  • The history of computing and the history of personal computers. Software from the era of 8-bit personal computers may be notable even if it was distributed or documented under pseudonyms.[3]
  • The way the app is distributed. An app that is distributed commercially or supported by businesses is a commercial product. Sources used for such apps should satisfy the breadth and depth of coverage required for a standalone commercial product article.
  • The state of the field in which the app operates. Wikipedia is not a directory of all apps that can be confirmed to exist. An app that is just another entry in a crowded field needs more persuasively significant sources, of a kind that indicate that it stands out from the crowd. Notability of one app does not automatically mean that each of its competitors are notable as well.
  • The state of the app itself. Apps in closed beta testing stages need citations that show interest and development for an article prior to release. Wikipedia is not a crystal ball and notability cannot be assumed. On the other hand, software with significant historical or technical importance (e.g. Visicalc) are notable even if they are no longer in widespread use or distribution.

Editors should evaluate various aspects of the coverage: the depth, duration, geographical scope, diversity and reliability of the coverage. The depth of coverage in the sources should be significant and directly about the software. Coverage of the software in passing, such as being part of a how-to document, do not normally constitute significant coverage but should be evaluated. Inclusion of software in lists of similar software generally does not count as deep coverage.

Notability is not temporary. Similarly, a burst of coverage (often around product announcements) does not automatically make a product notable.

Stories on software as products of a local company in a small region may not be evidence of notability. The source of the reporting is important to evaluating whether the software is only important to a limited geographical scope.

Nominating for deletion[edit]

Before nominating an unsourced article for deletion, be sure to verify that it is non-notable, not just missing citations (WP:NEXIST). One way to do this is to perform a Google books, Google news, or Google scholar search for the app in question if relevant. Simply stating "non notable" and "unreferenced" is not a valid rationale for deletion. Also keep in mind that the number of Google hits itself do not impart notability, it is the quality of each source (or breadth of a search) that influences such numbers.

Any proposed deletion or AfD nomination of a software product should mention the sort of product it is, if that can be intelligibly derived from the article.

If you are unfamiliar with the subject at hand, consider using {{notability}} tag, informing the relevant WikiProject or starting a talk page discussion.[4] Remember to follow best practices when nominating articles for deletion, such as notifying contributing editors, and considering alternatives to deletion.


As with other essays (or guidelines), this essay is not intended to consider all circumstances. If in doubt, remember that rules are principles intended to guide decisions and that Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy. Go ahead and tag that article for deletion or present reasons to keep an article.

Style guide[edit]

An ideal article on an app should include:

  • A short overview
  • An assertion of notability
  • A {{infobox software}} with information on version number, developer, etc.
  • An appropriate comparison or timeline of significant versions (see below).

Articles should not have:

  • Lists (release logs) of every released version. Timelines and comparisons of versions are allowed in an article if multiple versions exist. However, they should not be overly detailed as to resemble a change log. Your comparison or timeline should only have major, significant versions. While this may be presented in a table, you do not need to use one. Prose and charts can be just as illustrative and you should use your best judgement when deciding how to display the information. Having the major versions, release dates, and a short summary of significant changes or differences is sufficient for most articles.[5]
  • Trivia sections

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Primary sources should only be used to verify non-contentious objective content such as release dates, features, etc. Subjective opinions, analysis, or promotional statements can not be referenced using primary sources
  2. ^ Notability, not existence, must be established by such citations without synthesis of published material.
  3. ^ See, e.g. Trade Wars
  4. ^ This is merely a suggestion. If the article is clearly spam or a hoax, be bold and request speedy deletion or proposed deletion.
  5. ^ Larger articles on popular software with a long history may choose to have more detailed comparisons or timelines in order to present a better view of its history. For example, this may entail feature comparisons between major versions such as platform support or standards compliance.