Wikipedia talk:Existence ≠ Notability

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Excellent job! Thanks for creating this. Karanacs (talk) 19:12, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

Nice essay, but surely not appropriate as a guideline. Fences&Windows 03:48, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

  • This is generally correct, but the sort of details and examples provided do not belong in a guideline or policy. It is already covered by general agreement in WP:NOT and WP:N. Nobody has ever used "it exists" successfully in an argument. We do not need to multiple guidelines to expand on the obvious. DGG ( talk ) 17:59, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
    • Enough people use variants of "it exists" that some additional coverage doesnt hurt.--RadioFan (talk) 18:07, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
      • Nevertheless, this is really just a supplement to existing policy. I don't think it brings anything new to the table. {{supplement}} seems appropriate. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:00, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

It's not that existence is the same as notability, but simply that notability is irrelevant and existence is simply all that matters since Wikipedia most certainly is about everything. Kurt Weber (Go Colts!) 20:18, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Don't create an article on a news story covered in 109 newspapers[edit]

The article says "Wikipedia is not news", but there's been a News section on the front page for years, and there are a ton of news articles about specific events! Conclusion: Wikipedia includes the news, and this article needs to be modified to reflect that fact. Gremagor (talk) 08:15, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

This is not totally against articles about news events. The number 109 was just a random figure I inserted to get the point across. The point, really, is that articles about routine coverage or sensationalized stories don't belong on Wikipedia on the basis of that they have been printed in numerous papers. Sebwite (talk) 15:07, 23 December 2009 (UTC)


I understand the existing sentiment that only articles about notable subjects be included in Wikipedia, but I believe the established requirements are much too strict. The requirement of independent verifiability definitely isn't satisfied by the majority of articles, and I think it's impractical to expect it to be. There are many subjects that are very notable and heavily documented outside Wikipedia, but have little written about them in the currently-accepted types of independent reliable sources such a university-published books and peer-reviewed journals.

The fact is that a huge number of articles have been written about subjects having only a little bit of notability. What's the problem with that? If we want to achieve the founder's vision of providing access to the sum of all human knowledge, then everything that's even remotely noteworthy needs to have a place here. I don't think we should fight the natural course that Wikipedia has taken. We can accept that it includes obscure subjects (that somebody thought were important enough to create articles about), or we can delete thousands upon thousands of articles that don't meet the current notability criteria. I vote for the former. Gremagor (talk) 08:31, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

The purpose of the notability guidelines are not to limit articles only to an elite group of subjects, but to assure that those that have articles can be written in a neutral and verifiable fashion. This essay primarily mentions the many subjects out there (often people) who have been covered little if at all in publications, yet some may argue that they deserve articles on the basis of some other status. Sebwite (talk) 15:07, 23 December 2009 (UTC)


Some of the guidelines that explicitly state the same position:

  • "Album articles with little more than a track listing may be more appropriately merged into the artist's main article or discography article, space permitting.Most songs do not rise to notability for an independent article and should redirect to another relevant article, such as for the songwriter, a prominent album or for the artist who prominently performed the song. [...] a separate article on a song is only appropriate when there is enough verifiable material to warrant a reasonably detailed article; articles unlikely ever to grow beyond stubs should be merged to articles about an artist or album." Wikipedia:Notability (music)#Albums.2C singles and songs Шизомби (Sz) (talk) 06:03, 24 December 2009

References are not optional[edit]

That section takes Existence ≠ Notability even further away from getting my support. "To avoid your hard work being challenged and possibly deleted, ensure that references are there when you submit. This is particularly true of new articles. If you dont have time to properly cite references in a new article, don't submit it, with plans to add references later or expect others to find references for you." That's essay material. Would it be better if people did this? Yes. Should they be required? No, WP is a collaboration and a work in progress. See WP:IMPERFECT, WP:PRESERVE, WP:BEFORE, etc. Шизомби (Sz) (talk) 16:42, 10 January 2010 (UTC)

I don't understand your point. You say it would be be better if people did this, and yet you object to a page advising people to do so. Yes, your work is less likely to "challenged and possibly deleted" if references are included right from the start, so why not tell people that that is the case? It seems helpful to me. It is also helpful to other editors, as it saves them wasting time, if they can see the references right away. JamesBWatson (talk) 16:05, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
I dont understand the point either. This is an essay, says so at the top. It advises editors, particularly new ones, of best practices so that they might avoid problems addressed by WP:IMPERFECT, WP:PRESERVE, WP:BEFORE, etc. --RadioFan (talk) 16:45, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
No, I don't object to an essay advocating including references in the very first edit of a new article. My comment above was in relation to the template indicating this is a proposed policy or guideline, but it's worded like an essay at present, as both you agree, so it seems perhaps you in fact understand and agree with the point I was making? It may be true that an unreferenced article is in greater danger of being sent to AfD than one that is referenced, however poorly, but that is primarily because some nominators are "doing it wrong." If a nominator sends an article that is not referenced but is capable of being referenced to AfD, it is the nominator that is wasting people's time, not the article creator. Шизомби (Sz) (talk) 19:34, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
"capable of being referenced" is a judgment call, the requirement of references is not. You are right that some AFDs should never be opened but isn't that for another essay? This essay seeks educate editors that references must be provided. It doesn't make any judgment on what should or should not be sent to AFD only that all articles must meet the guidelines for notability that have been established. --RadioFan (talk) 22:05, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Not exactly: WP:N does not care whether a single source is WP:CITEd, much less require it; WP:N only cares whether sufficient independent sources actually exist, somewhere in the world. The article creator may be aware of more and better sources than any diligent nominator is able to locate. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:46, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
If I find an article which contains no references, so that there is no evidence of notability, then of course it is helpful if I can find sources and add references, rather than propose it as an AfD, and frequently I do so. However, the idea that it is my duty to do so, and that it is somehow wrong to propose an AfD if there are sources out there that I have failed to find is absurd. The onus is on anyone wishing to keep material to provide references, not on anyone wishing to have it deleted to prove that none could possibly be found. The idea that "you were wrong to propose this for deletion, because if you had looked in such and such a place you would have found a source" seems recently to have been growing in popularity, but it is not Wikipedia policy, and it would not be reasonable for it to be policy. If it were then how could anyone ever propose anything for deletion? How can I possibly be certain that there isn't a source somewhere that I don't know about? In addition, an AfD works both ways: it is not only a way of having an article deleted, but also a way of finding out whether it should not be deleted. If I think an article may lack notability and start an AfD discussion, sometimes someone else is able to provide sources which I would not have known about otherwise, and I am then more than happy to have the article kept. For what it is worth this is not a hypothetical situation: quite a number of times I have found out by this method that an article is worth keeping. No, nominating an AfD for an article which has no references but for which references are then found is certainly not "wasting people's time", it is a useful process. Furthermore, whoever wrote the article must know of sources, otherwise they are "doing it wrong" because they should not be writing material for which they do not know sources exist. On the other hand an editor finding an unsourced article may not know whether sources exist, or where to look for them. If they do find sources it may take a lot more effort and time than it would have taken the original writer. Consequently I believe the present policy that it the onus is on the person adding information to provide sources is 100% right, and if we were to change the policy to what Schizombie (who signs as "Шизомби") seems to prefer, it would be very unhelpful. JamesBWatson (talk) 20:51, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

A Real Example[edit]

If you'd like a real example, see Talk:Zopherus jourdani. Timothy Perper (talk) 06:53, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

That is not a good example. --Stemonitis (talk) 07:35, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
It isn't? So why'd you collapse the article on Zopherus jourdani into the larger, more comprehensive article on Zopherus? And put in a redirect from the species (jourdani) to the genus (Zopherus)? For non-biologists, the issue here is that there used to be a one-line "article" on a beetle called Zopherus jourdani that gave no useful information at all. I flagged it as non-notable back in 2008, and recently Stemonitis removed the tag with the explanation that all species of beetle (and everything else) are notable. Maybe they are all notable in the Mind of God (I don't know) or in the Grand Scheme of Things (I don't know that either), but they're not notable in the Wikipedia sense of having many reliable external references attesting to their value or importance. And no such references were cited, so the issue is moot under Wikipedia:Verifiable. But it doesn't matter anymore, since Stemonitis redirected Zopherus jourdani to send us to the more general article about the higher level taxonomic category (the "genus") Zopherus. Which was, IMO, the right thing to do. (Why didn't I do that back then? I was working on other things...)
OK, the issue now is whether "notability" is proven by existence (the principle "esse est notabilitis") or if you actually need citations, references, and RELIABLE SOURCES. The answer is that despite WP:DEFACTO the need for reliable sources trumps hand-waving about "notability in the grand scheme of things" and grand assertions that all species of beetle are "notable." In the Mind of God, perhaps... but not on Wikipedia, where, since we lack God's omniscience, we need reliable sources for what we say. I suppose it comes with the territory of having less than Divine knowledge, but we human beings need to write coherent, organized essays about what we know, and not merely make grand assertions. Then such essays display and exhibit the importance and notability of the topic -- and then such essays are called "encyclopedic." So don't pretend to Divine knowledge. Cite sources in clearly written essays instead. Timothy Perper (talk) 08:17, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Several reliable sources exist in this case. A few of them are included in the article Zopherus, and they contain more than enough information to write a decent article on any of the species. They weren't mentioned in any article (if you can call them that) before, but that doesn't affect the intrinsic notability of the topic. To answer your direct question, I merged them because it seemed to offer the greatest benefits to the encyclopaedia for the amount of effort I was prepared to put in. It would have taken me much longer to write articles on each of the ten species we previously had articles on (let alone all 19 species). The merger in no way reflects a lack of notability; the two are entirely unrelated. --Stemonitis (talk) 09:10, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

This makes no sense[edit]

I thought our goal was to provide the free sum of all human knowledge? Rin tin tin (talk) 01:20, 16 May 2010 (UTC) (yes, i know WP: EVERYTHING)

No. Only to provide notable information. JamesBWatson (talk) 13:19, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Or, to put it another way, our goal is to provide the sum of all human knowledge—but not the full list of wikt:summands and a catalog of the operations undertaken to produce the sum.
You might like to read WP:What Wikipedia is not, particularly "In any encyclopedia, information cannot be included solely for being true or useful." WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:11, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Serious proposal?[edit]

What does it really add to WP:N? The WP:FAME, WP:RANK, and WP:POSITION parts are seriously misguided as well. They contradict or at least fail to recognize a good number of criteria in WP:ACADEMIC for instance. Tijfo098 (talk) 17:47, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Not to mention the References are Necessary section goes against Wikipedia:Ignore all rules, which IS policy. Crisco 1492 (talk) 13:14, 24 April 2011 (UTC)


"Everyone knows that this speck exists. It isn't notable just because it exists. It is notable because plenty of reliable sources have commented on it. Please follow the notability guidelines and make sure they are verifiable."

Only one problem with this example... it has no reliable sources which are independent of its subject. As such, it may be a rather poor choice. (talk) 17:42, 30 July 2012 (UTC)