|This page documents an English Wikipedia
|This page in a nutshell: Wikipedia articles cover notable topics—those that have gained sufficiently significant attention by the world at large and over a period of time, and are not outside the scope of Wikipedia. We consider evidence from reliable and independent sources to gauge this attention. The notability guideline does not determine the content of articles, but only whether the topic may have its own article.
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:
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.
If a topic does not meet these criteria but still has some verifiable facts, it might be useful to discuss it within another article.
In some topic areas, 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. 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 topic-related guidance when articles 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).
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.
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 improvement 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.
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.
The absence of sources or citations in an article (as distinct from the non-existence of independent, published reliable sources in libraries, bookstores, and the internet) 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.
|Current state of the article
|Sources available in the real world
|No or few suitable sources cited
|No or few suitable sources that could be cited
|Likely not notable
|Multiple excellent sources cited
|Multiple excellent sources that could be cited
|No or few suitable sources cited
|Multiple excellent sources that could be cited
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.
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, and is likely to remain, a low-profile individual, we should generally avoid having a biographical article on that individual.
When creating new content about a notable topic, editors should consider how best to help readers understand it. Often, understanding is best achieved by presenting the topic on a dedicated standalone page, but it is not required that we do so; at times it is better to cover a notable topic as part of a larger page about a broader topic, with more context (and doing so in no way disparages 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).
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).
Publication in a reliable source is not always good evidence of notability. Wikipedia is not a promotional medium. Self-promotion, autobiography, product placement, press releases, branding campaigns, advertisements, and 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 worth writing and publishing 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. 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.
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 may cover 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.
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 entries 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.
In Wikipedia parlance, the term fringe theory is used in a broad sense to describe an idea that departs significantly from the prevailing views or mainstream views in its particular field. Because Wikipedia aims to summarize significant opinions with representation in proportion to their prominence, a Wikipedia article should not make a fringe theory appear more notable or more widely accepted than it is. Statements about the truth of a theory must be based upon independent reliable sources. If discussed in an article about a mainstream idea, a theory that is not broadly supported by scholarship in its field must not be given undue weight,  and reliable sources must be cited that affirm the relationship of the marginal idea to the mainstream idea in a serious and substantial manner.
There are numerous reasons for these requirements. Wikipedia is not and must not become the validating source for non-significant subjects, and it is not a forum for original research.  For writers and editors of Wikipedia articles to write about controversial ideas in a neutral manner, it is of vital importance that they simply restate what is said by independent secondary sources of reasonable reliability and quality.
The governing policies regarding fringe theories are the three core content policies Neutral point of view, No original research, and Verifiability. Jointly these say that articles should not contain any novel analysis or synthesis, that material likely to be challenged needs a reliable source, and that all majority and significant-minority views published in reliable sources should be represented fairly and proportionately. Should any inconsistency arise between this guideline and the content policies, the policies take precedence.
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:
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.