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On Wikipedia, notability is a test used by editors to decide whether a given topic warrants its own article.

Information on Wikipedia must be verifiable; if no reliable, independent sources can be found on a topic, then it should not have a separate article. Wikipedia's concept of notability applies this basic standard to avoid indiscriminate inclusion of topics. Article and list topics must be notable, or "worthy of notice". Determining notability does not necessarily depend on things such as fame, importance, or popularity—although those may enhance the acceptability of a subject that meets the guidelines explained below.

A topic is presumed to merit an article if:

  1. It meets either the general notability guideline (GNG) below, or the criteria outlined in a subject-specific notability guideline (SNG) listed in the box on the right; and
  2. It is not excluded under the What Wikipedia is not policy.

This is not a guarantee that a topic will necessarily be handled as a separate, stand-alone page. Editors may use their discretion to merge or group two or more related topics into a single article. These guidelines only outline how suitable a topic is for its own article or list. They do not limit the content of an article or list, though notability is commonly used as an inclusion criterion for lists (for example for listing out a school's alumni). For Wikipedia's policies regarding content, see Neutral point of view, Verifiability, No original research, What Wikipedia is not, and Biographies of living persons.

General notability guideline

A topic is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list when it has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject.

If a topic does not meet these criteria but still has some verifiable facts, it might be useful to discuss it within another article.

Subject-specific notability guidelines

For a full list of subject-specific notability guidelines, see Category:Wikipedia notability guidelines.

In some topic areas, consensus-derived subject-specific notability guidelines (SNGs) have been written to help clarify when a standalone article can or should be written. The currently accepted subject guidelines are listed in the box at the top of this page and at Category:Wikipedia notability guidelines. Wikipedia articles are generally written based on in-depth, independent, reliable sourcing with some subject-specific exceptions relating to independence. The subject-specific notability guidelines generally include verifiable criteria about a topic which show that appropriate sourcing likely exists for that topic. Therefore, topics which pass an SNG are presumed to merit an article, though articles which pass an SNG or the GNG may still be deleted or merged into another article, especially if adequate sourcing or significant coverage cannot be found, or if the topic is not suitable for an encyclopedia.

SNGs also serve additional and varying purposes depending on the topic. Some SNGs, for example the ones in the topic areas of films, biographies, and politicians, provide guidance when topics should not be created. SNGs can also provide examples of sources and types of coverage considered significant for the purposes of determining notability, such as the treatment of book reviews for our literature guidelines and the strict significant coverage requirements spelled out in the SNG for organizations and companies. Some SNGs have specialized functions: for example, the SNG for academics and professors and the SNG for geographic features operate according to principles that differ from the GNG.

Some WikiProjects have provided additional guidance on notability of topics within their field. Editors are cautioned that these WikiProject notability guidance pages should be treated as essays and do not establish new notability standards, lacking the weight of broad consensus of the general and subject-specific notability guidelines in various discussions (such as at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion).

Notability guidelines do not usually apply to content within articles or lists

The criteria applied to the creation or retention of an article are not the same as those applied to the content inside it. The notability guideline does not apply to the contents of articles. It also does not apply to the contents of stand-alone lists, unless editors agree to use notability as part of the list selection criteria. Content coverage within a given article or list (i.e. whether something is noteworthy enough to be mentioned within the article or list) is governed by the principle of due weight, balance, and other content policies. For additional information about list articles, see Notability of lists and List selection criteria.

Article content does not determine notability

Notability is a property of a subject and not of a Wikipedia article. If the subject has not been covered outside of Wikipedia, no amount of improvements to the Wikipedia content will suddenly make the subject notable. Conversely, if the source material exists, even very poor writing and referencing within a Wikipedia article will not decrease the subject's notability.

Notability requires verifiable evidence

The common theme in the notability guidelines is that there must be verifiable, objective evidence that the subject has received significant attention from independent sources to support a claim of notability.

No subject is automatically or inherently notable merely because it exists: the evidence must show the topic has gained significant independent coverage or recognition, and that this was not a mere short-term interest, nor a result of promotional activity or indiscriminate publicity, nor is the topic unsuitable for any other reason. Sources of evidence include recognized peer-reviewed publications, credible and authoritative books, reputable media sources, and other reliable sources generally.

Notability is based on the existence of suitable sources, not on the state of sourcing in an article

The absence of sources or citations in an article (as distinct from the non-existence of sources) does not indicate that a subject is not notable. Notability requires only the existence of suitable independent, reliable sources, not their immediate presence or citation in an article. Editors evaluating notability should consider not only any sources currently named in an article, but also the possibility or existence of notability-indicating sources that are not currently named in the article. Thus, before proposing or nominating an article for deletion, or offering an opinion based on notability in a deletion discussion, editors are strongly encouraged to attempt to find sources for the subject in question and consider the possibility that sources may still exist even if their search failed to uncover any.

Wikipedia articles are not a final draft, and an article's subject can be notable if such sources exist, even if they have not been named yet. If it is likely that significant coverage in independent sources can be found for a topic, deletion due to lack of notability is inappropriate. However, once an article's notability has been challenged, merely asserting that unspecified sources exist is seldom persuasive, especially if time passes and actual proof does not surface.

Notability is not temporary

Notability is not temporary; once a topic has been the subject of "significant coverage" in accordance with the general notability guideline, it does not need to have ongoing coverage.

While notability itself is not temporary, from time to time a reassessment of the evidence of notability or suitability of existing articles may be requested by any user via a deletion discussion, or new evidence may arise for articles previously deemed unsuitable. Thus, an article may be proposed for deletion months or even years after its creation, or recreated whenever new evidence supports its existence as a standalone article.

Notable topics have attracted attention over a sufficiently significant period of time

See also: Wikipedia:Notability § Events, and WP:BLP1E

Wikipedia is a lagging indicator of notability. Just as a lagging economic indicator indicates what the economy was doing in the past, a topic is "notable" in Wikipedia terms only if the outside world has already "taken notice of it". Brief bursts of news coverage may not sufficiently demonstrate notability. However, sustained coverage is an indicator of notability, as described by notability of events. New organizations and future events might pass WP:GNG, but lack sufficient coverage to satisfy WP:NOTNEWSPAPER, and these must still also satisfy WP:NOTPROMOTION.

If reliable sources cover a person only in the context of a single event, and if that person otherwise remains, or is likely to remain, a low-profile individual, we should generally avoid having a biographical article on that individual.

Whether to create standalone pages

Further information: Wikipedia:Summary style, Wikipedia:Content forking, Wikipedia:Article size, and Wikipedia:Merging

For the guideline on red-linked articles in hatnotes, see WP:NOARTICLE.

When creating new content about a notable topic, editors should consider how best to help readers understand it. Sometimes, understanding is best achieved by presenting the material on a dedicated standalone page, but it is not required that we do so. There are other times when it is better to cover notable topics, that clearly should be included in Wikipedia, as part of a larger page about a broader topic, with more context. A decision to cover a notable topic only as part of a broader page does not in any way disparage the importance of the topic. Editorial judgment goes into each decision about whether or not to create a separate page, but the decision should always be based upon specific considerations about how to make the topic understandable, and not merely upon personal likes or dislikes. Wikipedia is a digital encyclopedia, and so the amount of content and details should not be limited by concerns about space availability.

Subject-specific notability guidelines and WikiProject advice pages may provide information on how to make these editorial decisions in particular subject areas. When a standalone page is created, it can be spun off from a broader page. Conversely, when notable topics are not given standalone pages, redirection pages and disambiguation can be used to direct readers searching for such topics to the appropriate articles and sections within them (see also Wikipedia:Redirects are cheap).

Why we have these requirements

Editors apply notability standards to all subjects to determine whether the English language Wikipedia should have a separate, stand-alone article on that subject. The primary purpose of these standards is to ensure that editors create articles that comply with major content policies.

Because these requirements are based on major content policies, they apply to all articles, not solely articles justified under the general notability criteria. They do not, however, apply to pages whose primary purpose is navigation (e.g. all disambiguation pages and some lists).

Common circumstances

Self-promotion and publicity

Publication in a reliable source is not always good evidence of notability. Wikipedia is not a promotional medium. Self-promotion, autobiography, product placement and most paid material are not valid routes to an encyclopedia article. The barometer of notability is whether people independent of the topic itself (or of its manufacturer, creator, author, inventor, or vendor) have actually considered the topic notable enough that they have written and published non-trivial works of their own that focus upon it—without incentive, promotion, or other influence by people connected to the topic matter.

Independent sources are also needed to guarantee a neutral article can be written; see Wikipedia:Autobiography for discussion of neutrality concerns of self-published sources. Even non-promotional self-published sources, like technical manuals that accompany a product, are still not evidence of notability as they are not a measure of the attention a subject has received.

Events

Main page: Wikipedia:Notability (events)

Wikipedia is not a news source: it takes more than just routine news reports about a single event or topic to constitute significant coverage. For example, routine news coverage such as press releases, public announcements, sports coverage, and tabloid journalism is not significant coverage. Even a large number of news reports that provide no critical analysis of the event is not considered significant coverage. The Wikimedia project Wikinews covers topics of present news coverage. In some cases, notability of a controversial entity (such as a book) could arise either because the entity itself was notable, or because the controversy was notable as an event—both need considering.

Stand-alone lists

Further information: Wikipedia:Manual of Style (stand-alone lists) § Selection criteria

Further information: Wikipedia:Categories, lists, and navigation templates § Overlapping categories, lists and navigation templates are not considered duplicative

See also: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lists § Adding individual items to a list

Notability guidelines also apply to the creation of stand-alone lists and tables. Notability of lists (whether titled as "List of Xs" or "Xs") is based on the group. One accepted reason why a list topic is considered notable is if it has been discussed as a group or set by independent reliable sources, per the above guidelines; notable list topics are appropriate for a stand-alone list. The entirety of the list does not need to be documented in sources for notability, only that the grouping or set in general has been. Because the group or set is notable, the individual items in the list do not need to be independently notable, although editors may, at their discretion, choose to limit large lists by only including entries for independently notable items or those with Wikipedia articles.

There is no present consensus for how to assess the notability of more complex and cross-categorization lists (such as "Lists of X of Y") or what other criteria may justify the notability of stand-alone lists, although non-encyclopedic cross-categorizations are touched upon in Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not a directory. Lists that fulfill recognized informational, navigation, or development purposes often are kept regardless of any demonstrated notability. Editors are still urged to demonstrate list notability via the grouping itself before creating stand-alone lists.

Fringe topics

For guidance on fringe topics, see Wikipedia:Fringe theories.

Articles not satisfying the notability guidelines

Topics that do not meet this criterion are not retained as separate articles. Non-notable topics with closely related notable articles or lists are often merged into those pages, while non-notable topics without such merge targets are generally deleted.

If an article fails to cite sufficient sources to demonstrate the notability of its subject, look for sources yourself, or:

If appropriate sources cannot be found after a good-faith search for them, consider merging the article's verifiable content into a broader article providing context.[7] Otherwise, if deleting:[8]

For articles on subjects that are clearly not notable, then deletion is usually the most appropriate response, although other options may help the community to preserve any useful material.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Moreover, not all coverage in reliable sources constitutes evidence of notability for the purposes of article creation; for example, directories and databases, advertisements, announcements columns, and minor news stories are all examples of coverage that may not actually support notability when examined, despite their existence as reliable sources.
  2. ^ Martin Walker (1992-01-06). "Tough love child of Kennedy". The Guardian.
  3. ^ Including but not limited to newspapers, books and e-books, magazines, television and radio documentaries, reports by government agencies, and academic journals. In the absence of multiple sources, it must be possible to verify that the source reflects a neutral point of view, is credible and provides sufficient detail for a comprehensive article.
  4. ^ Lack of multiple sources suggests that the topic may be more suitable for inclusion in an article on a broader topic. It is common for multiple newspapers or journals to publish the same story, sometimes with minor alterations or different headlines, but one story does not constitute multiple works. Several journals simultaneously publishing different articles does not always constitute multiple works, especially when the authors are relying on the same sources, and merely restating the same information. Similarly, a series of publications by the same author or in the same periodical is normally counted as one source.
  5. ^ Works produced by the subject, or those with a strong connection to them, are unlikely to be strong evidence of notability. See also: Wikipedia:Verifiability#Questionable sources for handling of such situations.
  6. ^ Sometimes contacting the subject of a biography or the representative of a subject organization will yield independent source material. Of course we have to be careful to observe and evaluate independence. You might also see if there is an active Wikipedia project related to the topic, and ask for help there.
  7. ^ For instance, articles on minor characters in a work of fiction may be merged into a "list of minor characters in ..."; articles on schools may be merged into articles on the towns or regions where schools are located; relatives of a famous person may be merged into the article on the person; articles on persons only notable for being associated with a certain group or event may be merged into the main article on that group or event.
  8. ^ Wikipedia editors have been known to reject nominations for deletion that have been inadequately researched. Research should include attempts to find sources which might demonstrate notability, and/or information which would demonstrate notability in another manner.