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Wikipedia:Vital articles

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Vital articles
Vital articles

Vital articles in Wikipedia


There are 6,855,280 articles on the English Wikipedia, and 50,000 (circa 0.73%) have been selected as vital articles to the project. They are organized into five levels: Level 1 contains the ten most vital articles, Level 2 contains the one hundred most vital articles (and by definition, includes the articles of Level 1), and each further level expands on the selection of the previous level, as follows:

Vital article
Target number of vital articles Current situation (at end May 2024)

Current number
At or above
-class (%)
At or above
class (%)
1 10 10 10 (100%) 5 (50%)
2 100 100 67 (67%) 26 (26%)
3 1,000 999 617 (62%) 220 (22%)
4 10,000 10,019 ? (?) ? (?)
5 50,000 49,911 16,021 (32%) 3,714 (7%)

The five nested vital article Levels are meant to give direction to the prioritization of improvements of English Wikipedia articles (e.g. which articles to bring to WP:GA and WP:FA status), to provide a measurement of quality of overall English Wikipedia (e.g. what proportion of the most important articles are at GA and FA status), and to serve as a centralized watchlist of English Wikipedia's most important articles. Unlike the list of articles every Wikipedia should have, they are tailored to the English Wikipedia and are actively maintained by the dedicated WikiProject Vital Articles.

What makes an article "vital"?


The key criteria in determining whether an article is vital are:

  1. Coverage: Vital articles at higher levels tend to "cover" more topics and be broader in their scope. For example, Science  1 is a Vital-1 article, while Scientific method  3 is a lower level of vitality. Determining which articles are vital at lower levels often involves looking at the articles at higher levels. For example, since History  2 is of high vitality, World War II  3 is also a vital article, just at a lower level.
  2. Essential to Wikipedia's other articles: While Scientific method  3 may be less vital than Science  1, since it is such a critical topic regarding science, covering many science-related topics in Wikipedia, it is undoubtedly a vital article.
  3. Notability: Individuals within the People section represent the pinnacles of their field with a material impact on the course of humanity, such as Albert Einstein  3 in "Inventors and scientists", William Shakespeare  3 in "Authors", and Genghis Khan  3 on "Leaders".
  4. No (Western) bias: While the vitals list is for English Wikipedia, the focus is on the world. For example, the current consensus is to list two cities in China (Hong Kong, Beijing) and India (Delhi, Mumbai), but only one in the United States.
  5. Pageviews: The number of views a page receives should be considered (i.e. it is a proxy on its importance to Wikipedia's structure), however, pageviews should be treated with caution as they can be driven by WP:RECENTISM, which is a particular concern at Levels 1-4.

Nominating or removing a vital article


All Wikipedia extended confirmed editors are welcome to propose an article that should be added, removed, or demoted from one of the Level 1-4 vital article lists (which are ECP-protected from here), and/or !vote or comment on any existing proposal. Any editor can make a proposal at Level 5.

A number of guidelines/practices have been agreed regarding the proposal process:



When proposing to add or remove a particular topic from the vital articles list, we strongly recommend that the proposer review and compare the other articles in the same category to get a better sense of what is considered vital in that area and that they also check the talk page archives for that Level to see if the topic was previously proposed, and what was the resulting discussion. Use the 'VA link' template to allow editors to easily check its location (e.g. Internet  3).

No skipping


A proposed vital article must exist at a lower level before being nominated at a higher level, as agreed here. For example, a proposal to move the Level 5 vital article Twitter  5 to Level 3 could not happen until it had first been successfully proposed for Level 4. Only after it had been added to the Level 4 list, could it then be proposed to Level 3.



Levels 1 to 4 are usually at their full quota, and any nomination to 'Add' a topic to one of these Levels is often accompanied by a proposal to 'Remove' an existing topic. For example, a Level 3 proposal could say: "Add Steve Jobs  4" and Remove Henry Ford  3". While it is not obligatory to frame proposals as a swap (and not needed if the proposal is to 'Remove'), it is recommended, as some discussions may fail to progress (and be closed as 'no consensus'), as no agreement could be reached on a suitable swap candidate.


  • There is currently no limit to how soon a failed proposal can be re-proposed, although editors are encouraged not to be disruptive or abuse this.
  • A redlink (i.e. a Wikipedia article that has not yet been written) can be proposed as a vital article (from here).

Closing a proposal


A number of guidelines/practices have been agreed regarding the closing of proposals:

Level 1–4 closes


Any Level 1–4 proposal can be closed by any editor, including editors who have already !voted in the proposal (i.e. the concept of WP:INVOLVED does not arise in vital article closures), provided it meets the following specific criteria:

  1. After 15 days it may be closed as PASSED if there are (a) 5 or more supports, AND (b) at least two-thirds are in support.
  2. After 30 days it may be closed as FAILED if there are (a) 3 or more opposes, AND (b) it failed to earn two-thirds support.
  3. After 30 days it may be closed as NO CONSENSUS if the proposal hasn't received any !votes for +30 days, regardless of tally.
  4. After 60 days it may be closed as NO CONSENSUS if the proposal has (a) less than 5 supports, AND (b) less than two-thirds support.

Level 5 closes


Any Level 5 proposal can also be closed by any editor, including editors who have already !voted in the proposal, provided it meets the following specific criteria (these are different from Level 4 due to the greater frequency of proposals at Level 5):

  1. Before being closed, a Level 5 discussion must:
    1. Run for at least 14 days; AND
    2. Allow at least 7 days since the most recent vote; AND
    3. Have at least 4 participants.
  2. For a proposal to be implemented on the Level 5 list:
    1. It must have over 60% support; AND
    2. It must have at least 4 support !votes.

Executing a close

  • The closer of any proposal, following the above rules for closing, must execute the resulting changes to the existing vital article lists (e.g. adding or removing an article from the relevant vital article lists); closers who are not able to do this should not close proposals. Once a Level 1-5 proposal is closed on the VA talk page, it should be left for auto-archiving and not be immediately archived by the closer.
  • Cewbot will later update the VA-status on the talk page of the article in question (i.e. removing, adding, or updating the VA level per the latest VA article lists). The closer of a VA discussion does not need to edit the article's talk page.
  • A useful script for automatically closing discussions is the User:DannyS712/DiscussionCloser tool, however, this tool only closes the discussion on the talk page, and does not make the physical changes to the articles and the VA lists that are needed as part of any close.

Article improvement drives and awards


There have been many initiatives around improving vital article quality which are listed at Wikipedia:WikiProject Vital Articles, including:

Rewards for improving vital articles include:

Please contact the prize sponsors for additional information. Remember to adhere to Wikipedia:Conflict of interest, and to exercise common sense.

Maintenance of lists

  • The bot only updates counter with the pattern "(000 articles)" in section title.
  • All attributes of articles are fetched from corresponding categories.
  • The bot will automatically update the summary table if there are summary table marks.
  • After modifying main sections, please adjust Cewbot here to avoid articles listed in Category:All Wikipedia vital articles in an unknown topic.

See also




The following relevant userboxes are available:

Template Appearance Purpose
{{User Vital}}
Vital articlesThis user contributes to Vital Articles on Wikipedia.
For members of vital articles.
{{Vital userbox}}
This user has received a Vital barnstar.
Good old userbox, given to those that have done a good job.
{{Good Vital infobox}}
This user has helped promote vital good articles on Wikipedia.
Userbox for those that have successfully nominated a Vital good article.
{{Featured Vital infobox}}
This user has helped promote vital featured articles on Wikipedia.
Userbox for those that have successfully nominated a Vital featured article.