Wikipedia talk:What is an article?

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Moved from Talk:Main Page[edit]

OK now that the new wording is in place on the Main Page that states; "Anyone, including you, can edit any article right now, without even having to log in.", I think it is now necessary for us to write down our definition of just what a Wikipedia article is (some people may be confused with the "edit any article" statement when the main page and several policy pages are clearly read-only by non-admins). Here is a rough sketch of what I feel should be in such a definition;

There are many pages in Wikipedia, far more than we actually consider to be articles. For calculating our site statistics and for regular conversation we have a more or less specific definition of what constitutes an article.
A Wikipedia article can be defined as a page in the database that either has encyclopedic or almanac-like information on it ("almanac-like" being; lists, timelines or charts).
This does not include any pages in any specified namespace such as:
All these specified namespaces also have a yellowish background color to distinguish them from pages in the article namespace which have white backgrounds.
However there are still some non-articles in the article namespace; most notably:
  • the Main Page;
  • hundreds of very short "stub" pages that cannot be considered real articles yet (a rough measure for purposes of automatic detection is that stubs do not contain any commas)
  • thousands of "redirect" pages which are used to re-route traffic going to one page to another page.
It should be noted that our naming conventions only cover what articles should be named. Therefore it is perfectly fine to use whatever capitalization, pluralization or transliteration you like for your user page and even pages in the other namespaces (except special, which can only be created by developers).
The Main Page and a few of the most important policy pages in the Wikipedia: namespace (such as Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines) are protected, because experience has shown that the main page is a major target for vandals and Wikipedia Policy has to be agreeded to by consensus before being changed. But every article and the vast majority of non-article pages can be edited by any user, including you right now!

Please go ahead and edit the above or leave suggestions below. As soon statement is agreed to I plan on placing it in Wikipedia:What is a Wikipedia article? or something similar and then sublink that to the word "article" in the intro message on the front page. --mav

Great, and I've made what I hope are improvements. (I also indented it for readability, but of course the final version won't have that.) I suggest putting it in Wikipedia:What is an article; the lack of a question mark or a repetition of "Wikipedia" will make linking easier. I've hedged a bit on the precise definition of "stub", because my impression is that the comma guideline is just an approximation for purposes of automatic detection (as I wrote), but only human judgement can tell if something is really a stub. However unlikely, a long and substantive article might consist entirely of short declarative sentences and no commas; now that I think of it, we probably have some list pages that fall into this category. OTOH, a page whose only content is a repetition of the title (the ultimate stub) will still have a comma in it if the title does. — Toby 21:50 Aug 12, 2002 (PDT)

Great! I really like your improvements, but I did tweak the reason why certain pages are protected; No Admin has to ask permission to make minor changes and copyedits to any protected page. Any major reorg or refactoring should be announced (a major reorg of the Main Page would need to be agreeded to before hand though). The only time permission and/or consensus is needed is if there will be any change in the meaning of any policy page. --mav

End moved talk

Methinks it would be useful to briefly explain what the namespaces are for, in stead of only mentioning them with an example. Or will it get too lengthy then? Jeronimo

Good idea - although that should be a very brief explaination since namespaces have their own FAQ page. --mav

Is is true that disambiguation pages are not automatically detected and thus are counted in the total number of articles given on the Main Page? — Toby 01:14 Aug 16, 2002 (PDT)

Last time I checked, yes. This is yet another feature request I have in my head -- trouble is that so many of the requests are already from me. Fixing this souldn't be hard though. --mav

OK, somebody has to say this: The fact that we are patting ourselves on the back for intentionally undercounting our articles is just plain silly. I just now went and looked under "short pages" at all 28 pages with exactly 100 bytes, and 13 of them contained a comma. Not a single one of them deserves to be called an article, but almost half are counted. Next I looked at all 33 pages with exactly 200 bytes, and 27 of those contained a comma. A few of them (not eighty percent!) might be considered articles under an extremely lenient definition of article, but does anyone outside of Wikipedia consider a single, brief paragraph to be an article? Are ANY of Brittanica's articles under 500 bytes?

I estimate our median article size as 1000 bytes, because that's the size of our 18943rd longest page according to long pages. (18943 would be the median of 37886 total articles.) To my mind, a conservative count of articles would place an 1000-byte minimum, rather than a 1000-byte median, which would trim our total article count in half. But no matter how we count articles, let us at least prominently post the median size of the articles which are included in the count. And please, please don't call the count "unimpeachable". (For refernence, my little tirade (including this sentence) is 1367 bytes long, i.e. rather longer than our median article.)

--Fritzlein 02:55 Aug 17, 2002 (PDT)

Print encyclopedia's have many very short articles that are little more than definitions. I do agree that our automatic article count is not as conservative as it should be though. It should, for example, search for and exclude from the count any page that has the word "disambiguation" in the text or title and do some other things to exclude pages that are probably better described as definitions of encyclopedia topics and not encyclopedia articles (that is, there needs to be better stub detection). --mav

This FAQ looks good to me now. Shall we link it from Wikipedia:FAQ and the Main Page now? --mav

(Of course, mav changes it after saying this.) Yeah, I think that it's fine, although it'd be nice to write the pages that it links to too. That shouldn't stop us from linking to it, however. — Toby 15:30 Aug 21, 2002 (PDT)

Coolness - now all we need is a small entry in the actual FAQ about this with a brief answer. I will go ahead link it from the Main Page. --mav

Is it just me or has the number of articles dropped? Lir 23:36 Nov 14, 2002 (UTC)

No. It has been at 90679 since Monday. --mav

I prefer the byte-based distinction of stub/article. I'm working on Japanese Wiki, and Japanese writing can go on in a great length without any commas, partly because we have a similar but different Japanese sign for that: "A"

I imagine this situation is not unique to Japanese language.

Tomos 00:35 Feb 3, 2003 (UTC)

ZONGULDAK regional info @ history in English[edit]

You can use text on singlix web site, zonguldak web pages...

I am the owner of these web pages...

INFO page text taken from but, recently i have updated it at singlix web site.

HISTORY is written by me, directly...

There are not any copyrights on these pages... ( Zonguldak page is not orginal source of information about Zonguldak. All text is compilation/adaption from official turkish state/tourism documents.)

USE THE TEXT of Following web pages...

Regards... Erdogan Tan

Problem with Article Count / Article Description[edit]

The definition on an article, at Wikipedia:What is an article is reached by clicking onto the word article by the count of articles on the main page. It launches straight into an explanation of what an article is & is not.

However it is not until you get lower down the page that you discover that the published count is not the same as the definition given above: irrespective of the discussion over number of bytes, commas and links, the count does count stubs which are clearly marked in the text as stubs by msg:stub.

I'd earnestly suggest we should seek a means of getting a count which excludes stubs, even if the expedite way to do this is to parse a page as it is saved for the presence of the msg:stub (or a msg:stublist) which sets a flag that can be used by the counting software. Discuss. --Tagishsimon 00:08, 20 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Siti Pitrayu Siti Pitrayu 12:50, 25 February 2016 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Siti Pitrayu (talkcontribs)

Dictionary versus Encyclopedia[edit]

A lot of entries really do not belong to an encyclopedia but to a dictionary. Is the Wiktionary going to get combined with this project at some stage? Why aren't they already one thing? BozMo(talk)

No, it will likely never happen. In the beginnings of wikipedia, there were disagreements about whether we should include dictionary definitions or not. It was decided that Wikipedia is not a dictionary (see What Wikipedia is not), and wiktionary was created. ✏ Sverdrup 16:10, 26 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Templates and/or articles[edit]

There currently is a discussion going on at Miscellany for deletion about the alleged violation by the WikiProject Stub sorting of wikipedia's ban on ownership of articles. Key issue is whether WP:OWN applies to templates. From the text of WP:OWN, it seems that it only applies to articles. According to the list in this page, "an 'article' does not include any pages in any of the specified namespaces that are used for particular purposes, such as: * the Wikipedia namespace ... * the talk namespaces ... * the special namespace ... * the user namespace ... * the image namespace ... * the MediaWiki namespace." According to the definitions of wikipedia, are templates articles or not? Aecis praatpaal 23:50, 23 December 2005 (UTC) hy waszup lol:P:P so i hope that u hav...... enjoy a lot while reading this...! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:56, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

count of articles[edit]

I've downloaded 20051213_pages_current.xml.bz2 from the site. unpacking it gets me an XML file of what I thought would be all the current articles (where "current' is actually some moment on December 12th, 2005.)

Pawing through the file, I can find about 805,196 items. These items include what I would call "articles", but also include user pages, talk pages, and images. Maybe there's other stuff in there, too -- I haven't done that much aggregation just yet.

Do I have the wrong file if I expect all 800-thousand articles that the front page claims? Or is the definition here wrong, and the advertised count of articles really does include the Talk:, User:, and Image: namespaces? And some other stuff?

-- Mikeblas 06:58, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm curious -- is there any way to get wikipedia to generate a page that compiles all original content for a particular page. There are some particular POV pages that would be nice to see the entirety of, especially if you could color card various spots based on their retraction times,etc .. Any ideas??

New namespaces?[edit]

Why can't Wikipedia simply move disambig and redirect to Disambiguation: and Redirect: namespaces? This would reduce clutter and make the site a little more streamlined. MOD 05:43, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Structure for describing knowledge to give understanding[edit]

It is surprising to find that for a structure composed of articles there is so little discussion of what an article is, or ought to be :)
It seems to me that the aspirational goal of Wikipedia, as with all collections of discrete subjects of knowledge, is to describe these subjects in a way that enlightens the reader.
What is missing is structure.
Like myself, many people go and start articles, only to see them deleted or changed over time because someone doesn't agree. This means that at least two individuals have differing POV of the same subject.
This is not a new problem. ;)

I would suggest that Wikipedia may profit from creating an article template that includes:
Subject definition
Defining the subject of an article as a parent of an offspring item of knowledge

Most knowledge is derived, so the hierarchy needs to be included in the article to inform the reader where they are within the knowledge map

Subject scope of relationships within the field of knowledge hierarchy.
Introduction to the subject that includes basic information only
Sophisticated examination of major statements in the basic section
Expert statements on the subject stating:

  • least strict sourced [[interpretation] of the statement/s
  • most strict sourced interpretation of the statement/s
  • agreed middle ground sourced interpretation of the statement

Conclusion or summary that assists in the synthesis of the data presented
The usual administrative section of references, sources and links.
How does this sound?
I note that neither sophisticated nor field of knowledge have articles in Wikipedia! Yes, I know, its not a dictionary.... --Mrg3105 (talk) 03:42, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Encyclopedic article has no article in Wikipedia. What better way to exemplify what an article should be than a well-formed meta-article?
The suggested template above would be a good start, although I personally don't see a need for a separate conclusion where a sufficient introduction already exists. A problem I see with many articles is that they are not adequately prepared for the uninformed reader—they consist exclusively of esoteric material (recent fictional works, science). Nahum Reduta (talk) 18:24, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

sometimes bad people r there they destort or remove the information from the article but good readers are der as soon as they see dis that vandasliusm has started soo they insert the oringial page again.. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:59, 14 March 2013 (UTC)


You might want to add list articles as a type of page that is in article space but is not really an article. Sure they contain data that can be useful to some visitors; but so do categories. And, no list article gives a thorough description of a topic. SharkD (talk) 02:58, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Incredible India"
Everybody is saying today incredible India , I also think it is true and I am happy for this....But when i see the poor people and their sons that time my heart fills with unspoken desire that our country is growing very fast and the poor is degenerating...many people and the government who are capable to eradicate the poverty But they are making planning only in files..seeing this my heart is last i would give a message that many people are doing best without being told in the world but we are not doing better even after promising....

we will say incredible india when we eradicate our poverty...... thanks...

Sanjeev vidua — Preceding unsigned comment added by SanjeevVidua (talkcontribs) 08:40, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Feedback widget[edit]

Can someone remove the feedback widget, I am reading responces and they are all spam. Lets save the widget for articles
--Techdude3331 (talk) 22:52, 16 July 2013 (UTC)


List the year the hotel was built in case you want to return, years later. Also lets you know how old it really is , inside the bones and if it's been updated in time. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:27, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Interference of one part of page with another[edit]

The first paragraph, beginning "A Wikipedia article, or entry, is a page that has encyclopedic..." physically partly overlays the top of the box (just the words "Wikipedia:Processes") to its right when I enlarge the font size or make the page narrower or both, any of which I routinely do on other pages without any ensuing problem. Wikifan2744 (talk) 21:58, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Hi  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 20 April 2014 (UTC) 

Semi-protected edit request on 31 August 2014[edit]

Religion does not seem to understand that education is based on the applied factual equations, which are explaining the applied logic.
For religion to use the word belief and use the secular vernacular idiomatic. and assume that it is an accepted fact rather then explaining that it is an opinion, which in its own definition is unsupported of any fact. Which is also the definition of a fool or idiot, uneducated, low IQ person who is trying(a religious word, not being able to defend it self with any fact),
IT then try's to use an emotional event to lie about an unacceptable situation, to protect their inability to accept that they are wrong.
They then become a licentious act with practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of themselves and others with out due consideration of the fact or outcome.
Not a situation any true leader or person who cares or would have conscientious scruples would do. SO STAY AWAY FROM SUCH A LOSER! Thank You John Cunningham aug 30 2014

John ph cunningham (talk) 18:00, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

Not sure. This process is for requesting changes to an information page about articles on Wikipedia. Are you sure you're in the right place? Anon126 (notify me of responses! / talk / contribs) 18:11, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

I have a very rich natural, most world famous pink pearl. It looks like Jesus Christ (Cross Shaped). I think it will be the world famous and only one miracle natural pearl in the world, looks like almost Jesus Christ (PBUH) and I think this type of pearl has never seen before, very rear and very most rich pearl in the world. I posted image/photo of my world famous historical Miracle pearl and it was taken by mobile phone, so it may not look as perfect as it is. But it’s very attractive looking. Christian Association may collect this for visitors in their prayer room or in Church or for Museum.

I am looking for a real buyer who is interested about this Miracle Jesus Pearl and can appreciate a real value. Honorable interested real buyer send me mail with good value. Size:- Height 39.5 mm Arms Length 25.4 mm Diameter 25.4 mm. Weight:- 4.5 grams. (+ -) Contact Mail..... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:10, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Symbol declined.svg No thanks, sorry. Welcome to Wikipedia, a collaboratively edited online encyclopedia. This page is for discussing how to improve the information page called "What is an article?" Someone may take you up on your offer here, but it's unlikely. Anon126 (notify me of responses! / talk / contribs) 04:40, 7 September 2014 (UTC)