Wikipedia:On Wikipedia, solutions are mixtures and nothing else

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A solution of salt in water. Whenever you write in an article that a company provides solutions, make sure you mean it's this kind.

On new page patrol and articles for creation, one often comes across pages about companies that provide something called solutions. It might be something like: "For high volume reusers that currently rely on the Wikimedia Dumps to access our information, we have created a solution to ingest Wikimedia content in near real time without excessive API calls (Structured Content API) or maintaining hooks into our infrastructure (Firehose)." — Wikimedia Enterprise on Meta-Wiki.

Now the Wikipedia article on Solution (chemistry) states, in the first paragraph, that a solution "is a special type of homogeneous mixture composed of two or more substances. In such a mixture, a solute is a substance dissolved in another substance, known as a solvent." One may also find solutions as the goal of equation solving.

So if one writes an article about a company that provides solutions, the very least the reader expects to know is what solvent is used and what solute gets dissolved in it; or else what kind of equation solving they offer. On newly introduced pages, one usually finds that vital information to be lacking, leading new page patrollers to believe that the page's creator had another definition of "solution" in mind, one that warrants considering the entire article promotional and, in the more extreme cases, tagging it for speedy deletion. This latter definition of "solution" is public relations slang that should be avoided in Wikipedia articles.

Fixing "solutions" in articles[edit]

A non-notable company that offers "solutions" will not be made notable by replacing the word "solution" with another word, and may remain a strong candidate for deletion unless its notability is clear and is supported by its references. However, even a well-referenced article can be deleted if its content is considered overly promotional— offering "solutions" is a warning word of a promotional tone. Other similar words that warn of promotion are "platform" or "infrastructure" or other trendy buzzwords. Calling something "global" or "worldwide" is also often pure promotion: where else would it be? So just removing these words generally conveys the same information. If you would like to move an article away from being promotional and toward neutrality, the word "solutions" can sometimes be replaced by "services", "products", "systems" or other words that more accurately describe what the company does or provides to customers.


The phrase "software solutions" in Wikipedia articles can often be fixed simply by removing the word "solutions" and leaving the word "software", like this:

Before: "FooBar Inc. provides engineering software solutions and consulting services to candy manufacturers throughout eastern Slovakia."

After: "FooBar Inc. provides engineering software and consulting services to candy manufacturers throughout eastern Slovakia."


Before:"FooSecurity provides security solutions to a number of Western countries, including the US and the UK."

After:"FooSecurity provides ex-soldiers on contract who provide security services, bodyguarding, military advising and combat support for a number of Western countries, including the US and the UK."


Before: "FooWaste Management provides waste management solutions across Canada."

After: "FooWaste Management provides garbage and sewage disposal services across Canada."

See also[edit]