“Notability is a test used by editors to decide whether a given topic warrants its own article.”
On any given day, I receive close to 20 emails from prospective clients who want me to create a Wikipedia page about them, their business, or their product. Unfortunately, I turn down about 90% of these requests as the topic that the person wants written is not notable for Wikipedia.
There is quite a bit of confusion surrounding Wikipedia and what type of article can and cannot be written. The confusion has been caused by marketing companies spamming non-notable topics on Wikipedia and Wikipedians responding by building the Great Wall of China Around the site with countless policies and guidelines.
While I respond to each email requesting that I create an article, I have written this article as an example for those who want to understand what makes them notable for Wikipedia and qualifies them for the creation of a Wikipedia article.
What is Wikipedia notability?
According to Wikipedia, “notability is a test used by editors to decide whether a given topic warrants its own article.” Simply put, notability means that the topic meets the countless guidelines created by editors for inclusion of that topic in Wikipedia. There is something known as general notability guidelines as well as many subsets of this guideline that pertain to specific topics. Getting to know the specific notability guideline for your topic is important to understand if the topic is notable for Wikipedia. For instance, if you want to write an article about a musical group, you will want to make sure that it meets notability guidelines for musicians found here.
Easiest way to understand Wikipedia notability:
While you can take the time to read through all of the various guidelines dealing with notability, Wikipedia editors have actually done something good that sums up notability. It is a summary of a guideline, but is a perfect summary for those seeking clarification on what makes a topic notable for Wikipedia. It is referred to as the answer to life, the universe, and everything, or sometimes simply the “Golden Rule” of notability. The summary says that “articles generally require significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the topic.” It goes on to summarize some key points when trying to figure out if a topic is notable for Wikipedia.
- Significant coverage – Significant coverage means exactly what it says. The topic must have been covered in detail in various sources. If the topic is mentioned within the article, but doesn’t cover it in any great detail, then this is non-significant and does not meet the threshold. A featured article about the topic that covers it throughout the article would qualify. If you are a person and were simply quoted in an article, this is only a passing mention and will NOT be considered significant coverage.
- Reliable sources – I have written about reliable sources in many articles. Basically, a reliable source is one that does its fact checking and prints media stories that are confirmed through sources and considered reliable by people who read them. Self-published sources such as press releases are NOT reliable as anyone can write a press release. Social media sites are also not considered reliable as there is no fact checking that takes place when someone makes a post or a tweet. So, reliable sources are general major newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, Time Magazine, but also includes online publications such as Tech Crunch, Social Media Today, and others.
- Independent sources – I already covered this briefly above, but anything that is not independent of the topic is not going to cut the mustard as far as making the topic notable for Wikipedia. As an example, I can write on my website that I am a Wikipedia expert. As my website is not independent of me, then any Wikipedia article written about me cannot use my website to say that I am a Wikipedia expert. It must come from other sources such as Advisor One or The Telegraph in order to be considered independent.
Final word on Wikipedia notability:
Despite following every guideline pertaining to notability, there are times when an experienced editor or admin will want to delete your article simply because they do not like you or the topic. This is more common than most people think and it is done when the editor(s) or admin(s) applies a guideline incorrectly simply to support their position to delete the article. So, in addition to making sure that your article is notable for Wikipedia, make sure that you have cited the article correctly, followed formatting for the specific topic, and try not to argue or piss off anyone in the Wikipedia community along the way.
Still wondering / confused?
If you are still wondering if your topic meets notability guidelines or not, please contact me. I will review the topic and let you know my thoughts regarding its notability. While I am not always correct, I have been on the money over 800 times so far in 2014 while being wrong only twice. So while I do not guarantee my advice on a topic, my stats are good enough to lend you an opinion that is likely to help you be successful once you know if you are notable for Wikipedia or not.