Open main menu

Wikipedia β

The objective of this article is to provide a general guide for dealing with stubs. The first section, Essential information about stubs, contains basic information. The second half, Additional information contains more specialised material.

Essential information about stubsEdit

A stub is an article that is too short to provide encyclopaedic coverage of the subject, but not so short as to provide no useful information. To qualify as a stub it must at least define the meaning of the article's title. Often that means three to ten short sentences, but less text may be sufficient to qualify as a stub for articles on narrow topics, and complicated topics with more than ten sentences may still be stubs. However, in reality, many articles which are labeled as stubs are much longer than that. You can help Wikipedia by removing inappropriate stub notices.

Another way to define a stub is an article so incomplete that an editor who knows little or nothing about the topic could improve its content after a superficial Web search or a few minutes in a reference library. An article that can be improved by only a rather knowledgeable editor, or after significant research, may not be a stub.

Sizeable articles which lack wikification or copy editing are generally not considered stubs, and the normal procedure is for one of the cleanup tags to be added to them instead. Note that small articles with little information may end up being nominated for deletion or be merged into another relevant article.

Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Sometimes (but not always) an article is not actually a stub encyclopaedia article at all, but rather a stub dictionary article. (The distinction between the two is the use-mention distinction. A dictionary article is about a word or an idiomatic phrase whereas an encyclopaedia article is about the person/concept/place/event/thing denoted by that word or phrase.) If your article is not a stub encyclopaedia article but is a stub dictionary article consider adding it to Wiktionary. Rather than copying it to Wiktionary yourself, you may also use {{Copy to Wiktionary}}, which produces: Àtụ:Copy to Wiktionary

Wiktionary is not an encyclopaedia. Do not mark stub encyclopaedia articles for copying to Wiktionary unless they will prove useful in writing one or more dictionary articles, about words or idioms, that Wiktionary does not yet have. Note that sometimes stub encyclopaedia articles may be badly written, and may look as if they are about a word or an idiom when in fact they are not. You can help Wikipedia by fixing the introductions of any badly written stub articles. Sometimes this is as simple as replacing "refers to", "is a term that means", and so forth with "is".

Removing stub statusEdit

Once a stub has been properly expanded and becomes an article rather than just a stub, you or any editor may remove the stub tag from it. No administrators' action or formal permission is needed. Be bold in removing stub tags that are clearly no longer applicable.

Categorizing stubsEdit

After writing or finding the short article, the editor should insert what is called a stub template, which makes it possible for the article to be flagged as a stub. By convention, these stub templates should be placed near the bottom of the article. Because the stub identification is rendered on an article page prior to hardcoded items like categories and inter-Wiki language links, the template is usually placed at the end of the article, after the External links section if it exists, after any navigation templates, and since stub categories serve a different purpose to the article's other categories, after the category tags (but before the inter-Wiki links), so that the stub category will appear last.

Stub templates are composed of two distinct parts: first, a short message stating that said article is a stub of a particular kind and encouraging editors to expand it; second, a category link, which places the article in a stub category, together with other stubs with the same subject as it. Stub categories are transcluded, not substituted - that is, the templates are placed directly by adding their name between pairs of curly brackets (e.g., {{artist-stub}}).

Note that you need not learn all the stub templates before tagging an article - even simply adding {{stub}} is a help. The more accurate a stub you can place on an article, however, the less work it will be for others to sort later.

The need for stub categories arose when the main Category:Stubs became so full that it got quite hard to find articles on a specific topic. With stub categories, if an editor is, for example, a biologist, he or she can look for articles with the tag {{biology-stub}} on said category and easily find stubs to which they can add, subtract, modify, etc.

In general, the naming for stub templates is topic-stub; for a complete list of these templates, refer to Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Stub types. When marking articles as stubs, please be as precise and accurate as you possibly can. It saves other editors a lot of work further down the road. If an article overlaps a number of potential categories, more than one stub template may be used, but it is strongly recommended that only those relating to the subject's main notability be used. In cases such as biographies, it is also desirable to indicate the subject's nationality. This may be in the form of an additional template, such as {{Egypt-bio-stub}}, or as a refinement of another template, for example {{US-artist-stub}}. Stub-related activities are centralized on Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting (shortcut WP:WSS). The project should be your main reference when it comes to this subject. If you feel that a stub would be better served by a new form of template, or if you feel a new stub type is needed, the new type should be proposed with this project at Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals (WP:WSS/P), not simply made without debate (for further details of this process, see #Additional information).

Ideal stub articleEdit

When you write a stub article, it is important to bear in mind that its main interest is to be expanded, and that thus it ideally contains enough information to give a basis for other editors to expand upon. The key here is to provide adequate context; the extreme case of a very short article with little or no context to allow expansion is a criterion under which articles may be speedily deleted. Your initial research may be done either through books or through a reliable search engine such as Google, Yahoo!, Windows Live Search or Clusty. You may also contribute with knowledge you have acquired from other sources, but it is useful to conduct a small amount of research beforehand, in order to make sure that your version of the facts is correct and from a neutral point of view.

Begin by giving a definition or description of the topic in question. Avoid fallacies of definition. Since at times definitions are impossible, you should write a clear and informative description of the subject. State, for example, what a person is famous for, where a place is located and what it is known for, or state the basic details of an event and when it happened.

Next, you should try to expand this basic definition. The previously mentioned research methods will often fetch you enough information for you to be able to expose the basic points of the subject. Once you have a couple of well-structured and well-written sentences, you should internally link relevant words, so that users unfamiliar with the specifics of a subject can understand what is written on the article. Avoid linking words needlessly; in case you are in doubt, you should use the preview button and try reading the article from the point of view of somebody who has had no exposure to information regarding the subject. If no word seems hard to comprehend or relevant enough, simply do not link anything.

Once you have submitted the article, there are a number of courses it may take. An editor might get interested in it and develop it further, or you could expand it yourself once you have found greater information about the subject.

Anyone can contribute to complete a stub.

Locating stubsEdit

Additional informationEdit

New stub typesEdit

In general, a stub type consists of a template and a dedicated category, although "upmerged" templates are also occasionally created which feed into more general stub categories.

If you identify a group of stubs that do not fit an existing stub type, or if an existing stub category is growing too large and might be optimized by creating a narrower stub type, you can propose the creation of a new stub type which is debated at Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals. Before you propose a new stub type, make sure you consider these six guidelines:

  1. Is there a stub for this topic already?
    Check Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Stub types.
  2. Will the new type be well-defined enough to help editors identify articles that they have the expertise to expand?
    Remember that using stubs categories is a way to facilitate article expansion.
  3. Does the new stub type cover ground not covered by other type, or create a well-defined subtype that does?
    A new stub type might fit as a subtype of more than one existing category, such as in the case of {{Baseballbio-stub}}, which is a child of both {{Sportbio-stub}} and {{Baseball-stub}}.
  4. Will there be a significant number of stubs in this category; are there enough article stubs to warrant this new type?
    Ideally, a newly-created stub type will have between 100 and 300 articles. In general, any new stub category should have a minimum of 60 articles. This threshold is modified for the stub category for use by a WikiProject. (If a Wikiproject is associated with more than one stub type, normal size considerations apply.)
  5. Would your new stub type overlap with other stub types?
    For example, geography stubs are sorted by country so you wouldn't want to create mountain-stub or river-stub.
  6. If you are breaking a subcategory out of a pre-existing category, will the new stub reduce the size of the parent category by a significant amount?
    This is not an absolute necessity, but it has been a driver for the creation of most of the existing stub categories.

If you think you have satisfied these guidelines, it is highly recommended that you propose the new stub type at Wikipedia: WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals. If there are no objections within a week, you can go ahead and create the new stub type.

Creating the stub templateEdit

Do NOT create new stub types before discussing them at Wikipedia: WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals.

Once the creation has been agreed upon, you will need to create the template to insert into stub articles of given type. This should be named logically, following the model Template: topic-stub. For more information please refer to Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Naming guidelines.

This is the basic format for new stub templates:

<div class="notice metadata" id="stub" style="clear:both;">''This [[A]]-related article is a [[Wikipedia:Stub|stub]]. You can help Wikipedia by [{{fullurl:{{FULLPAGENAME}}|action=edit}} expanding it].''</div> [[Category:B stubs]]

You can paste this code (though check at {{metastub}} whether it is not obsolete) into the new template, replacing A and B with appropriate text:

  • A: The stub topic goes into this field. For example, Road. The topic must have a developed article, and thus not be another stub.
  • B: This should be replaced by a proper category, so that the stub will automatically be listed together with other stubs of its kind. Continuing with the previous example, you would replace B with Road. When the page is saved, a new template will have been created. In this example, {{road-stub}}.

It is also possible to automate the procedure of creating new stub templates somewhat by using the following syntax:

{{subst:metastub|article=A|category=B}}

This will produce a message saying "This A-related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it" and will put stubs in category named "B stubs", just like the above manual method.

Adding a small image to the stub template (the "stub icon") is discouraged because it increases the strain on the Wikipedia servers. If you still wish to use images, apply formatting such as that provided by {{MetaPicstub}} (remember to use it with the subst: prefix). The image must be either in the public domain or have a free license; Wikipedia policy is that fair use images are not to be used in any templates.

Creating the stub categoryEdit

NB: do not create new stub categories prior to discussing them at Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals.


Next, you will need to create a category for the articles which will have the new stub tag attached to them. Do this before you add your new template to any articles.

To start editing it, you should follow the red category link on the stub template you have created. In this case, it would appear as Category:Road stubs. The basic format for stub categories is as follows:

{{Stub Category|article=[[A]]s or [[A]]|newstub=B|category=C}}
  • A: Insert the description of the category here. In this case A would be road; you can expand the description by adding additional terms, for example, use "article = [[road]]s or [[road transport]]".
  • B: Insert the name of the new stub here.
  • C: Insert the name of an appropriate higher level non-stub category, for this example it would be road transport.

This syntax does four things:

  1. adds the Category:Road stubs to Category:Stub categories
  2. provides a description of the category
  3. displays the stub text
  4. inserts this category into a higher level category, in this case the Category:Road stubs will be a member of Category:Road transport.

Thus, in this example, the formatting would look like this:

{{Stub Category|article=[[Road]]s or [[Road transport]]|newstub=Road-stub|category=Road transport}}


It is important to make sure that the new stub and the new stub category added are correctly added into other categories (using code like [[Category:Roads]]). Using the road-stub as an example, the Category: Road stubs needs to be a member of Category: Stub categories (because it's a stub category) and Category:Roads (because it is a category consisting of roads). If your new category has been made from part of an existing stub category or categories, these should also be listed here (for Category: Road stubs, no such category exists; however, for example Category:France geography stubs should be part of Category: France stubs and Category: Europe geography stubs).

At this point, you should add the new stub category to the Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Stub types list.

Once the new stub category is approved by the WP:WSS (which should normally be done before it is created), to make clear that it underwent the mandatory revision process and was approved by means of consensus, add the {{WPSS-cat}} template to the category page.

If you have some doubts or comments regarding any part of the process, do not hesitate to address them at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Stub sorting.

See alsoEdit

Meta has a page about this at: