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This page is considered a guideline on Wikipedia. It illustrates standards of conduct, which many editors agree with in principle. However, it is not policy. Feel free to update the page as needed, but please use the discussion page to propose major changes.

Stubs are articles which have not yet received substantial attention from editors of the Wikipedia, and as such do not yet contain enough information to be truthfully considered articles. The community believes that stubs are far from worthless. They are, rather, the first step articles take on their course to becoming complete.

The objective of this article is to provide a general guide for dealing with stubs. It is recommended that all users read the Essential information section, which consists of the first half of the article. Additional information contains data which might be of interest only to advanced users, and thus is optional.


Essential information

A stub is an article which is clearly too short, but not so short as to be useless. In general, it must be long enough to at least define the article's title, which generally means 3 to 10 short sentences. Note that a longer article may be a stub if the topic is complex enough; conversely, a short article on a topic which has a very narrow scope may not be a stub.

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 internet search or a few minutes in a reference library. One that can be improved by only a rather knowledgeable editor, or after significant research, may not be a stub.

Sizable 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. Wikipedia is not a dictionary, but has a sister project—the Wiktionary—which is. If your article is very short consider either moving it to the Wiktionary or, even better, adding more information to it.

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 admin action or formal permission is needed.

Categorizing stubs

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. 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 on a stub category, together with other stubs with the same subject as it.

The need for stub categories arose when the main stub category—{{stub}}—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 or modify.

In general, the naming convention 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 two potential categories, two different stub templates may be used, but using more than two is strongly discouraged. 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.

Ideal stub article

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. Your initial research may be done either through books or through a reliable search engine such as Yahoo! or Google. 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 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 don't 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 more information about the subject or once you have more free time on your hands.

Locating stubs

Category:Stub categories the main list of stub categories and of articles contained within them
Category:Stubs deprecated, but still receives a few articles periodically
Stubsensor a script which detects long articles with the stub tag attached to them and is used to organize periodic cleanup projects
Wikipedia:Most wanted stubs

Additional information

New stub categories

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

  1. Is there a stub for this topic already?
    Check the list.
  2. Will the new category 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 category cover ground not covered by other categories, or create a well-defined subcategory that does?
    A new category might fit as a subcategory 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?
    Typically the threshold ranges from 100 to 300 articles. This threshold is waived if the stub category exists as a tool for use by a WikiProject. In general any new category must have at least 60 articles.
  5. Would your new category overlap with other categories?
    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, propose the new stub category at Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals. If there are no objections within a week, you can go ahead and create the new stub category.

Creating the stub template

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

Once the creation has been agreed upon, you will need to create the template which will be displayed on the articles which contain the stub. This should be named logically, following this model: Template:topic-stub. For more information please refer to this article.

This is the basic format for new stub templates:

<div class="boilerplate" id="stub"> ''This [[A]]-related article is a [[Wikipedia:Stub|stub]]. You can [[Wikipedia:Find or fix a stub|help]] Wikipedia by [{{SERVER}}{{localurl:{{NAMESPACE}}:{{PAGENAME}}|action=edit}} expanding it]''. </div>[[Category:B stubs]]

You might find use in pasting this code into the new template and customizing it by inserting different text into it. Replacing the letters A and B as such:

  • 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 or Road-related. 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:


This will produce a message saying "This A 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.

It is also possible to add a small image to the stub template (the "stub icon"). However, this 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}} (and remember to use it with the subst: prefix).

Creating the stub category

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 to hold 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. Here's the basic format for stub categories:

{{Stub Category|article=[[A]]s or [[A]]|newstub=B|category=C}}
  • A: Insert the description of the category here. In this case it would be roads, you can expand the description by adding additional terms. So you could, for example, add road transportation.
  • 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, it:

  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.

So, 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 also advisable to add it to a larger stub category, if an appropriate one exists. For Category:Road stubs, no such category exists however.

In order to increase the categories effectiveness and visibility, it's generally advisable to add your category to several categories. For example, this would add it to the Roads category:


When you are done, it is important that you make sure that the new stub and the new stub category are linked correctly to other categories. Using the road-stub as an example, the road-stub category needs to be a member of Category:Stub categories (because it's a stub category) and Category:Roads (because it's 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 (so, for example, Category:France geography stubs should be part of Category:France-related stubs and Category:Europe geography stubs).

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

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 doubts or comments regarding any part of the process, don't hesitate to address them here.

See also

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