Wikipedia talk:Notability

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Schools & notability[edit]

One of the tasks I check on is articles that have been PROD'd. Lately, over the past few weeks, I've noticed a lot of schools, mostly in India, being PROD'd. The standard deletion rationale has been "No sources establishing notability of the school. GNG is not met". Most are secondary schools but there have been some colleges as well. Sometimes these deletions are so complete and sweeping that entire templates of local schools have been deleted because none of the schools listed on them still have articles. So far, I'm guessing that dozens of these school articles have been PROD'd and deleted for lack of GNG notability.

I'm wondering if we should really be applying this standard of notability to schools in countries where local schools might not get as much news coverage as they do in, say, the U.S. or UK where there are usually local newspapers covering high school & college sports and achievements. Thoughts? Liz Read! Talk! 02:11, 2 November 2021 (UTC)

Secondary schools long have been accepted under an WP:OUTCOMES, that claimed that schools were likely to be notable and so couldn't be deleted. With NORG, of which schools applied to, that situation has now changed, and you're seeing basically the cleanup from that. Keep in mind: these articles can always be redirected to the local community that the school is in, as those geographic articles won't be deleted, and it is reasonably to talk about the local school system in those. --Masem (t) 02:22, 2 November 2021 (UTC)
I'm thinking schools should perhaps not be PRODed then. Instead, anyone can redirect them immediately to the local school system, as a sort of indefinite PROD. Anyone can contest it by reverting the redirect, in which case an AfD nomination can be made to enforce the redirect. -- King of ♥ 02:25, 2 November 2021 (UTC)

Definition of "significant coverage"[edit]

A key part of defining Notablility is the term "significant coverage" WP:SIGCOV.

"Significant coverage" addresses the topic directly and in detail, so that no original research is needed to extract the content. Significant coverage is more than a trivial mention, but it does not need to be the main topic of the source material.

One of the discussion points raised at the mammoth ANI thread Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#Wikipedia:Article Rescue Squadron is getting problematic was that this term "significant coverage" needs to be better defined. I am raising this point here so that interested editors might further develop the current definition to be more clear. William Harris (talk) 21:13, 4 November 2021 (UTC)

From my interpretation of WP:GNG if its more than a mention but doesn't have to be the main topic, a paragraph or so should be sufficient. NemesisAT (talk) 21:19, 4 November 2021 (UTC)
Many years ago, I wrote an essay about WP:TRIVIALMENTIONs. The WP:GNG was clear about it, but it was buried in the guideline, so I used the essay to highlight the consensus best practice. Now I have found that there is a clear WP:CONSENSUS around what is trivial coverage. Your question is harder, and might be the next frontier. I agree, there is a lot more debate about whether we have passed the threshold of "significant" coverage. I think this kind of disagreement is somewhat unavoidable, and it's why I wrote an essay called WP:MINCOV. TLDR, significant coverage requires both quantity and quality of coverage, which is why it will need some level of discussion. But maybe this essay can guide the discussion to a more productive place. Shooterwalker (talk) 21:28, 4 November 2021 (UTC)
Given that we're talking in context of the ARS and specific issues from the ANI thread, a thing to consider if we are going to change language is to be clear that lots of sources but that only have brief, name-dropping type mention is not the equivalent of significant coverage. This is often a problem when there's a source dump by an ARS member at an AFD in that they insist on quantity but not quality of sources. --Masem (t) 21:43, 4 November 2021 (UTC)
  • The definition of "significant coverage" is simply that if a particular editor thinks that a topic is notable then any coverage is significant, but if that editor thinks that a topic is not notable then no coverage is significant. This principle can be seen played out on any daily log of AfD discussions. Phil Bridger (talk) 21:48, 4 November 2021 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I agree with Phil Bridger. I sympathize strongly with the impulse to design idiot-proof definitions for key concepts; it's been a quagmire in which I've been swimming for over a decade. But that same experience teaches that there is nothing we can do to design definitions that will thwart Wikilawyering, bad faith, ideological crusades, IDHT, or the many editors who feel that there's some cosmic Win-Loss tally out there, and that falling on the wrong side of it is shameful and will surely result in them being reincarnated as a worm. Ravenswing 22:08, 4 November 2021 (UTC)
  • I personally find the current definition one of the better that we have on Wikipedia, but ... where we could possibly tweak it is the provision of a great number of examples (as more notes so as not to crowd the section). Setting a word limit for example would be very hard, for then the argument would probably devolve into whether a table with significant details counts, or if a particular number of words addresses the topic directly. I guess it’s the art, not the science. I do however think there may be room to amend a sentence in the Sources paragraph, but multiple sources are generally expected, if only a single source provides SIGCOV of a topic it clearly is not notable enough for its own article. Cavalryman (talk) 03:48, 5 November 2021 (UTC).
    • I agree with this comment. It's not strictly a word limit, because it would be hard to set, and people would pad it out by talking on, and on, and on. It's a combination of quality and quantity. I agree with the suggestion to remove the "generally", and it would be a step in the right direction. Shooterwalker (talk) 16:02, 5 November 2021 (UTC)
      • Finding a recently-passed (post 2018 as a rough metric) FA or three, where no single source is super in-depth on the topic but where the combined effect of collective sourcing was deemed enough to be good enough for FA would be useful. Its easy to point to FA where there's at least one source that is in-depth and dedicated to the topic; its the latter which we want to show as establishing about where on the lower bound we expect when there is not such a source solely dedicated to a topic but still can consider the combination of multiple sources with sufficent coverage to be "significant". --Masem (t) 16:40, 5 November 2021 (UTC)
  • Agree with previous answers. Emphasizing one item, like most policies and guidelines, "significant coverage" provides some but not complete specificity. This is how most policies and guidelines do and need to operate under the Wikipedia system, it is not a flaw. North8000 (talk) 16:57, 5 November 2021 (UTC)
  • Phil Bridger nailed it: “…if a particular editor thinks that a topic is notable then any coverage is significant, but if that editor thinks that a topic is not notable then no coverage is significant.” There are a lot of nuances to “significant” — particularly with a more esoteric topic or in cases involving traditionally underrepresented groups. I agree that there isn’t a way to feed it into an algorithm that removes human judgement. Montanabw(talk) 22:37, 5 November 2021 (UTC)
    • The thing is, no "particular editor" ends up being the sole decider of notability, that still comes to consensus, and when you do consider consensus, there are at least clear bounds on what is expected of significant coverage, of which we can enunciate into the guideline (more beyond what we have), but that still requires editors to consider for each case where notability has to be reviewed. --Masem (t) 14:04, 6 November 2021 (UTC)
  • Begging your question, sorry, one way through would be more attention to adding info to one of the existing 6,000,000 articles -- a renewed emphasis on PAGEDECIDE and do we need a whole new article, which in the end is just one way to organize information. (Also, we should reword that IMO misleading sentence in the intro: "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." Verifiable is needed for article content but it is incorrect to suggest the invariable way forward is a whole new article). Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:48, 6 November 2021 (UTC)
    This is a very good point, all information should be cited to something reliable (with the exception of see also entires etc). Cavalryman (talk) 21:45, 6 November 2021 (UTC).
  • Significant does not mean length. A paragraph about someone is fine, just mentioning them in passing in a single sentence is not. Dream Focus 18:22, 6 November 2021 (UTC)
    • Its still possible for a paragraph that mentions a topic to not have significant coverage of a person. For example, it is frequently common to see news analysis articles that speak to experts and academics for a statement about a topic, giving their opinions on that topic a paragraph or two, but that does not lend any significance to the expert or academic. Thus, the question of significance is far more than just length. Context must be considered. --Masem (t) 18:33, 6 November 2021 (UTC)
  • I agree a paragraph can be (and often is) sufficient, but not all paragraphs are created equally. Even some solely dedicated to the article’s subject are still too short to provide “significant” coverage. And I too don’t think one individual’s notion of significant makes a source SIGCOV, it is always open to discussion and consensus can land elsewhere. I think a couple more examples closer to the line may be helpful, like a dedicated multi-sentence paragraph of a topic, and a 20 word single sentence as examples either side of the line. Cavalryman (talk) 21:45, 6 November 2021 (UTC).
  • I'm going to disagree that a single paragraph constitutes WP:SIGCOV (pinging NemesisAT, Masem, Cavalryman). Suppose two sources have a paragraph each on a subject and someone argues that's notable. Such an article will be two paragraphs at max. That's not a viable article. What will most likely happen is that the rest of the article will be "beefed" up with unreliable or primary sources, or the article might become a WP:COATRACK for irrelevant content. Or users might stitch together different individually notable topics to create an umbrella topic, where the umbrella topic had only a paragraph of coverage in RS.VR talk 18:48, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
    • This is why we do not spell out how many sources are required. In the case where two sources are produced but they only have a paragraph each about the topic, that's not overall significant coverage. On the other hand, if ten sources each had a paragraph (covering sufficiently different material) now you may have something. SIGCOV is an evaluation of all sources and to the extent they cover, but it is clear that a source giving only one or two sentences to this can't be considered part of SIGCOV. --Masem (t) 18:53, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
      • Thanks for your response. I think "ten sources each had a paragraph (covering sufficiently different material)" works for tangible subjects whose existence is not a matter of opinion (people, places etc). But I don't think it would be sufficient for articles that seek to draw (controversial) relationships between individually notable topics (eg Animal cruelty and the Holocaust analogy, Woodrow Wilson and race, Relationship between education and HIV/AIDS, Accusations of racial bias in Grammy Awards etc). For that, I'd want much more in-depth coverage by several sources to establish notability.VR talk 19:25, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
        • I would definitely agree that in the cases of those subtopics (in that there's likely a parent article that can be used for that content) that there needs to be clear "natural" topic in its singular form from multiple sources, even if we have to build up the content from multiple. For example List of films considered the worst is a clearly notable list as "bad films" is regularly discussed in sources, just that our list is built up from multiple different sources. Otherwise, this becomes more a matter of WP:SYNTH that goes beyond the notability issue. --Masem (t) 01:00, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    I interpret BASIC's If the depth of coverage in any given source is not substantial, then multiple independent sources may be combined to demonstrate notability as meaning the different independent, reliable sources should a) cover different material sufficiently to b) add up to encyclopedic SIGCOV of a topic. I do not think the mere existence of two sources each containing a paragraph's worth of info on a subject is an acceptable demonstration of notability. If the sources cover largely the same content – fail. If the coverage is unencyclopedic (trivia; gossip; and for people, descriptions of the subject that would not be expected in reference works, like physical appearance or clothing or a reporter's personal "impression" of them on a particular day, or backstory on their ancestors) – fail. If the coverage is clearly derived from an interview, even if not in direct quotes (e.g., the interviewer basically rephrasing the content of an upcoming quote (Interviewer: "He loves nature and working in the outdoors!" Interviewee: "My hobby is mosquito nets.")) – fail. JoelleJay (talk) 00:47, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

"Wikipedia:Inclusion criteria" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]

Information.svg A discussion is taking place to address the redirect Wikipedia:Inclusion criteria. The discussion will occur at Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2021 November 16#Wikipedia:Inclusion criteria until a consensus is reached, and readers of this page are welcome to contribute to the discussion. eviolite (talk) 00:39, 16 November 2021 (UTC)

"User:Inclusionist~enwiki/test5" listed at Redirects for discussion[edit]

Information.svg A discussion is taking place to address the redirect User:Inclusionist~enwiki/test5. The discussion will occur at Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2021 November 16#User:Inclusionist~enwiki/test5 until a consensus is reached, and readers of this page are welcome to contribute to the discussion. Huggums537 (talk) 13:52, 16 November 2021 (UTC)

Old biographical dictionaries[edit]

People in the Anglo-American world loved to publish biographical dictionaries in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There are zillions of them: I've seen books of (so-called) "notable men" from virtually every major US city around the turn of the 20th century. Some are Who's Who-esque, some clearly have a bit more editorial discretion. My sense is that these were compiled more as LinkedIn avant la lettre than as compilations of people who were genuinely important. How should these be treated for purposes of WP:NBIO?

My immediate question is whether entries in the Cyclopedia of American Biography, Men of Progress, and the Professional and industrial History of Suffolk County, Massachusetts (i.e. Boston and environs) justify a biography of Samuel Appleton Brown Abbott (Q109588087). But this is something I've wondered about for a while more generally. My gut sense is that these are about as good as local newspaper articles but I'd also probably !vote keep at AfD if an article based entirely on these kinds of publications got nominated. AleatoryPonderings (???) (!!!) 01:33, 17 November 2021 (UTC)

Well the Professional and industrial history of Suffolk County, Massachusetts is definitely too hyperlocal of a directory and the stubby listings are not significant coverage. The Men of Progress; one thousand biographical sketches and portraits of leaders in business and professional life in the commonwealth of Massachusetts entry is 50% about his ancestors... I certainly agree with the characterization of these as a contemporaneous LinkedIn. Reading other listings, some of these people have held more significant positions, but many are entirely mundane. I mean, 1000 living people in a single state is going to have to reach down below what we'd consider notable for WP:NPOL or other NBIO, like "Brady, James, Jr, collector of customs, port and district of Fall River". If there are multiple additional significant sources I'd consider keeping, but we should honestly consider if people who held an equivalent position today would likely be notable. Reywas92Talk 15:29, 17 November 2021 (UTC)
These kind of dictionaries tent to be unreliable. But most importantly, they are tertiary sources. GNG requires secondary sources. "Sources"[2] should be secondary sources, as those provide the most objective evidence of notability." Also, if the person has no mentions in more recent publications, that is an indication that he fails the "over a period of time" criterion as stated in the nutshell box. I do not mean to wipe out all old dictionaries though, I suppose, even if most of them are totally unreliable, some might have good reputation. Anyway have a look at the essay WP:DICTIONARIES, I think is pretty useful on this matter. Cheers! Cinadon36 08:26, 18 November 2021 (UTC)

Sports venues[edit]

The essay about the notability criteria for "sports venues" is quite reasonable and, if turned into a guideline, would assist significantly the sorting of related articles. I suggest we promote it. -The Gnome (talk) 17:11, 3 December 2021 (UTC)

  • Whenever a new SNG is proposed, I like to ask what purpose it serves. Does it 1) provide an alternative to GNG; 2) tighten GNG; or 3) clarify GNG? WP:NPROF is an example of 1; the criteria are completely different from GNG and a professor can qualify for an article by meeting either PROF or GNG. WP:NORG is an example of 2; the non-local RS requirement exists solely for organizations and not any other type of subject. WP:NBOOK is an example of 3; the first point is a targeted restatement of the GNG, while the other four points are basically saying that if RS show that the book meets certain criteria, then such coverage is inherently WP:SIGCOV. Unfortunately, WP:NSPORT is currently a mess and is rather vague about its own purpose. -- King of ♥ 18:02, 3 December 2021 (UTC)
  • And I suggest we don't promote it. It's not remotely reasonable. All manner of village pitches have hosted a "professional" soccer match. All manner of small colleges (that nonetheless play NCAA sports) have tennis courts or lacrosse fields that would qualify -- or at least, their partisans would claim they do -- under this essay's provisions. Nor is it necessary. There already is a notability criterion that serves every sports venue extant: the GNG. Meet it and the arena likely qualifies for an article. Don't meet it and the arena likely doesn't. I can see no purpose to this essay other than enshrining tens of thousands of new sub-stubs, about which nothing is known or said other than "This is the home pitch for Miskatonic University's Fighting Cephalopods lacrosse team. It was built in 1866 and the stands seat 150." Ravenswing 21:11, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
  • IMO we should be requiring compliance with GNG for sports venues. Recent experience (e.g., Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Robinson-Hale Stadium) shows many favor keeping articles on small venues even in the absence of any WP:SIGCOV. Cbl62 (talk) 21:29, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Agree GNG should apply, although it doesn't work that way. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Health and Physical Education Arena was kept because it is a NCAA Division I stadium, without regard to coverage. The refs in the article are all a collection of "this event happened there" type things. MB 21:53, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
  • That essay uses too much "inherited notability" without rational of why an arena where notable teams would play would be notable by default. I can see this for professional sports and their home stadium, but at the level of college and minor league sports, this may not be true. I think the GNG (and anything from WP:NBUILD may provide) would be correct. If there are arena guidelines that are specific to sports, then they should likely be made into NSPORTS rather than a separate guideline, but I think this would need a long way to go to get there. --Masem (t) 22:02, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Any new or updated sports notability guideline must be calibrated to GNG (better than the existing one if an update). This essay is not, so I'd have to strongly oppose promoting it. wjematherplease leave a message...
  • WP:NSPORTS is fairly widely disputed already. I think that we should have a proper discussion, which would almost certainly need to be an RFC, about it before even thinking about creating more guidelines in related areas. Phil Bridger (talk) 22:36, 4 December 2021 (UTC)
    • Here's the problem with that, IMHO. As we all know (and heck, I'm a NSPORTS editor), the resistance to tightening up any set of criteria at NSPORTS is massive. We've seen struggles over such as WP:NCRIC and WP:NMMA take years, and I'm pretty astonished that we actually managed a few months ago to tighten up WP:NOLYMPICS. Any change is going to have to be sport-by-sport and incremental; a RfC to change NSPORTS generally would swallow the energies of many dozens of editors for weeks on end, create a lot of ill will, and fail all the same.

      Unfortunately, I think the only real way out is to hop in a time machine to when the original NATHLETE was created, and remove the following shibboleths from Wikipedia's zeitgeist: that playing in just a single "fully professional" match conferred unshakeable presumptive notability, that "professional"/"fully professional" were synonyms meaning top-flight competition, and that "top flight" equally referred to the National Football League or the Premier League on one end and playing in the four-team soccer league in a microstate. Lacking a time machine, we've got what we've got. Ravenswing 07:24, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

      Unfortunately, I think the only real way out is to hop in a time machine to when the original NATHLETE was created, and remove the following shibboleths from Wikipedia's zeitgeist: Don't forget the second sentence in the lede, which has single-handedly tanked numerous AfDs due to editors not understanding it applies solely to an article's claims to notability and does not mean the SNG "confers" notability! And somehow the bolding also makes editors think that sentence overrides the one before it. Uggh. JoelleJay (talk) 17:59, 5 December 2021 (UTC) JoelleJay (talk) 17:59, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
      Maybe there would be more success if people stopped referring to things as "struggles" and started discussing them to reach consensus, which involves listening to and evaluating other points of view from your own. Phil Bridger (talk) 19:33, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
      • Heck, the use of the word "struggles" is pretty mild -- much stronger words would be more accurate. I'd wish for that myself, but you've been around for a long time and have been active at AfD -- we both know that for too many editors, the word "consensus" means "everyone does it my way or else it hasn't been established." Ravenswing 01:54, 7 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I oppose promoting this essay to a guideline. The WP:GNG should be the relevant guideline unless there is strong evidence that a more specific guideline is required. If a venue does not meet the GNG, then brief, well referenced encyclopedic information about the venue can be included in the articles about the notable teams that played there as their home field. "Easy passes" of notability should be discouraged. Cullen328 (talk) 08:11, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

Sports venues proposal[edit]

In fact, here's the proposal I'd like to set forth to put in NSPORTS ... call it WP:NARENA:

As with teams and clubs (see WP:NTEAM), sporting arenas, stadia and other venues do not have presumed notability, and are expected to demonstrate notability through meeting the general notability guideline. Since notability is not inherited, the notability of a sports team does not imply the notability of a venue in which it plays.

What do you folks think? It's pretty much the same wording as with NTEAM, which is already a part of NSPORTS. Ravenswing 03:37, 5 December 2021 (UTC)

  • Works for me. Maybe a link to NBUILD somewhere? JoelleJay (talk) 04:11, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    I wouldn't, myself. NBUILD/GEOFEAT's been often cited in these discussions, only to be overborne by the claque shouting that athletic stadia are presumptively notable by consensus, because reasons. The less we give an out to weasel-wording the better. Ravenswing 05:34, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
  • The wording looks fine, but isn't this more likely to fall under Wikipedia:Notability (geographic features)? North8000 (talk) 05:48, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    Perhaps, but the issue is that the sports fans just plain ignore guidelines such as GEOFEAT, and as other editors mention above, routinely claim presumptive notability through the sports clubs that play in said arenas. Plunking such a guideline into NSPORTS would rectify that. Ravenswing 07:04, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    I agree that something needs to be mentioned in NSPORT itself, editors will find any way to exempt their pet topic from notability requirements so the more explicit and direct an instruction, the better. JoelleJay (talk) 18:03, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
    Support North8000 (talk) 18:54, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I agree with this wording. It looks a bit like the discussion about the notability of schools that went along the same lines. A divisive RFC in 2017 (often ignored to this day) was necessary to break the common nonsensical idea that school were notable because they existed. I sometimes make photos of local sports grounds but by no way I consider those small "arenas" as notable. The Banner talk 19:47, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I support this addition. —David Eppstein (talk) 19:49, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I support this addition. Xxanthippe (talk) 21:30, 5 December 2021 (UTC).
  • Looks like a good addition to me. XOR'easter (talk) 23:02, 5 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I've come around to view the notability of sports venues more in the light shone by the remarks in the discussion I started above. So, I support the wording proposed by Ravenswing. -The Gnome (talk) 18:47, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Weak support Ultimately, the vast majority of professional sporting venues (including minor league venues in countries where that's a big thing) are still going to be notable. Even Division I college basketball and (American) football venues are mostly going to be notable. The issue lies, as Ravenswing pointed out, with the fact that the current essay also includes college lacrosse, tennis, etc. venues which are generally (with some exceptions) less notable. With the same caveat that applied to the aforementioned schools RfC that this should not lead to mass AfDs, and the understanding that many of these venues do in fact pass GNG, I can support this. If this is going to lead to mass AfD nominations of notable venues, I fear it will do more harm than good, and the fact that some seem to be equating the notability of a Division I college basketball arena to that of a college tennis court is troubling. Smartyllama (talk) 20:09, 6 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I support this addition. Cbl62 (talk) 01:39, 7 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I also support this addition. The GNG applies here. I wouldn't object to some additional guidance about how to incorporate trivial coverage about these venues, whether that's in an article about the relevant place, or about the relevant team. Shooterwalker (talk) 19:45, 8 December 2021 (UTC)
  • Eh, I expect that venues unsupported by the GNG could be readily described in a sentence or two, either in the relevant municipality's article or that of a particularly prominent team playing there, and handled by a redirect. Ravenswing 00:35, 9 December 2021 (UTC)
  • I agree with that. I'll leave it up to other editors if that adding that to the guideline will help reduce the number of disputes. Shooterwalker (talk) 02:06, 9 December 2021 (UTC)