The single most important factor in creating a Wikipedia article is notability.
We are often asked the question of how to create a Wikipedia page. This article is required reading for anyone who is thinking about it. The fact is, anyone can create a Wikipedia page, but it may only last for a minute or two before being deleted. The biggest reason a newly created article on Wikipedia disappears is due to a lack of notability on the part of the subject. Without notable third-party references, a new Wikipedia page will likely not survive. Here is how to make a Wikipedia page that doesn't get deleted.
Wikipedia creation: Notability first
The key to the successful creation of a new Wikipedia page is for the subject to have notability. Notability is proven when expert, trusted third-party publishers create online content about the subject.
One article is not enough. The subject has Wikipedia notability when there are multiple third-party articles, research papers, or other prominent publications about it online.
For example, a Washington Post article about a subject is usually considered notable, whereas a press release about the same company is not considered notable.
Why a press release isn't considered notable
A press release isn't notable as a Wikipedia page reference because the subject of the prospective Wikipedia page can control it. It is considered a "primary source." Press releases are essentially self-promotion – anyone can have a press release created. Wikipedia is intended to be non-promotional, with references vetted by trusted third parties, not the subject itself.
Why a prominent publisher reference is usually notable
But the Washington Post is a well-known, well-regarded, and highly researched publication. To have a journalist there write about a company would mean that the company is notable for something.
To get a Wikipedia page, the subject must have multiple well-regarded publications writing about it. Those publications will be used as references at the bottom of a Wikipedia page, known as citations.
You can see the citations/references at the bottom of any Wikipedia article.
Testing for Wikipedia notability
If a subject does have notability, a Wikipedia page can often be created easily. Once an entity (person, brand, business, plant, rock, etc.) qualifies by having enough notability, the next step is to create the page. But the way to get a Wikipedia page?
Here are four things to consider when creating a Wikipedia article.
- Notability test
- Many references to the subject
- References themselves have a Wikipedia page
- Bad Wikipedia sources
Why Wikipedia article are removed
But why do Wikipedia pages get removed so often? Because editors make mistakes, mainly around notability requirements or spamming. Sometimes Wikipedia pages are removed because an editor just thought it should be gone, and no one objected. This often happens to pages that were created some time ago but was overlooked. As Wikipedia guidelines evolve, pages may succumb to deletion.
1. Is the subject notable enough for Wikipedia inclusion?
At its core, Wikipedia strives for reliability. Are there articles written about your brand or about you? A Wikipedia page about a person requires the person to be notable. Many people and brands believe they are notable but aren't (Tip: you can take a quick notability test to get a rough idea).
Does a simple mention count as a Wikipedia reference?
No. An article where the subject is just mentioned or quoted is not usually good enough to merit inclusion as a reference. Articles about the subject need to be *about* the subject as the main angle of the article (or other type of content).
The ideal type of online content to be used when creating a Wikipedia article could be something like an interview, a biography, scientific paper, or an article by a reasonably well-regarded author. In other words, a blog contributor on a little known blog does not count. In fact, a contributor as an author is far less likely to be accepted when compared to a staff writer.
Here are two "rule of thumb" guidelines:
- Is your brand name (or your name) in the article's title?
- Is the article on a site many, if not most, people have heard of?
Wikipedia states it this way:
If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list.
Certain subjects within Wikipedia have particular guidelines called subject-specific notability guidelines.
2. Are there numerous well-known references online?
The quality of good citations is essential for reference-able Wikipedia content, and so is quantity.
It takes more than one reference to make a Wikipedia page. Far more. For example, a biography of a living person requires web references for most, if not all, facts presented. Wikipedia editors are very picky about this.
For example, a statement like: "John Smith is the CEO of Acme Roadrunner food and was born in Ventura, California on July 5th, 1964." would ideally require one or two solid and verifiable references about the facts contained in the sentence.
Acceptable references could be public birth records on a government website or an article about John Smith in a well-known and respected publication.
An example of this would be Elon Musk's Wikipedia page, which has numerous references. At least one of the references is to Wired.com, a well-known tech publication (see an image of his citations above).
Primary vs. reliable Wikipedia sources
What is a primary Wikipedia source?
According to Wikipedia, a primary source is original material that is close to an event and is often an account written by people who are directly involved with the subject. Primary sources cannot be used for new Wikipedia articles (usually). A self-published website the subject is not acceptable as a reference (more examples of bad Wikipedia references here).
Examples of a primary source would be the subject's website, a press release by the subject, proxy statements, patents, etc.
What is a reliable Wikipedia source?
A reliable Wikipedia source is a third-party, published source with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. These are usually considered "secondary sources". Examples of reliable Wikipedia sources include reasonably well-known and reliable news sites, video news interviews, government databases, and similar publications. Scholarly articles have value, but articles that cite scholarly articles are often better.
Is Wikipedia a reliable source for Wikipedia?
No. Wikipedia itself states that Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Wikipedia states the following:
"Wikipedia is not a reliable source for citations elsewhere on Wikipedia. Because it can be edited by anyone at any time, any information it contains at a particular time could be vandalism, a work in progress, or just plain wrong.".
3. Ideally, the references themselves have a Wikipedia page
As mentioned previously, if you want to create a Wikipedia page for a subject, the subject must have notability. To have notability, there must be references and not just any reference will do. Ideally, each site used as reference will also have its own Wikipedia article.
When a publication used as a reference already has its own Wikipedia page, editors are more likely to see that reference as reliable. Remember that a mere mention of the brand being referenced on a publication with its own Wikipedia article isn't enough – the referenced article must still be "about" the subject and not just be a passing mention.
A publication with its own Wikipedia page is generally trusted, but not always. Take Fox News, for example. In August of 2020, Wikipedia stopped calling Fox News a reliable source. To quote Wired:
...a panel of Wikipedia administrators in July declared that Fox News would no longer be considered “generally reliable” in its reporting on politics and science, and in those areas “should be used with caution to verify contentious claims.
4. What are bad Wikipedia sources?
When creating a new Wikipedia article weak or "bad" reference sources should be avoided. Certain types of publications are considered non-reliable. Bad Wikipedia references include the following:
- Self-published material like the subject's own website (this is common)
- Fox News (considered "marginally reliable")
- Nearly all sites that rely on user-generated content
- Tabloid journalism
- Amazon reviews
- Reddit (anyone can post on Reddit)
- Blogspot.com (and most blogging sites)
- International Business Times
- WikiLeaks (sometimes)
- Occupy Democrats
- PR Newswire
For a more exhaustive list with explanations, check out this article.
Should you create your own Wikipedia article?
Self-written articles have an odor
Wikipedia rules say that you should not create your own Wikipedia page. Doing so would be considered a conflict of interest. From a practical standpoint, it's difficult to write your own Wikipedia page anyway because, let's face it, it is hard to be objective about oneself. Self-written pages seem to have a certain odor to them that professional Wikipedia editors can easily sense.
Pages removed for conflict of interest are tough to revive
If you write your own Wikipedia page, and it gets taken down, it is very difficult to get a new page - even if you do it right the second time. Why? Because it will be suspect, and so will its author(s).
Creating Wikipedia pages can be a bit like a metaphorical knife fight. The person or persons who take a Wikipedia article down will almost certainly be watching to see if someone tries to put the page back up again in the future. So even if you are concerned about false information in an existing article, think twice before editing it yourself.
Am I eligible for a Wikipedia page?
There are four things to consider when determining Wikipedia eligibility. Are you not able? Are there numerous references to you online? Do the references themselves have a Wikipedia page? Are the references from notable sources? If the answer to these questions is no, then you probably aren't eligible for a Wikipedia page.
Can I make a Wikipedia page about myself?
You can, but you shouldn't. Wikipedia rules say that you should not create your own Wikipedia page. Doing so would be a conflict of interest. If you decide to write one anyway, and it gets taken down, it is very difficult to get a new page because your name will be flagged.
Why does Wikipedia remove pages?
Every day Wikipedia editors and bots take down about 1,000 pages. They are removing pages that are not well sourced, are biased, or are promotional in nature.
- Wikipedia Biographies of Living Persons - Rules about living person Wiki pages.
- What is a neutral point of view for Wikipedia pages?
- How Wikipedia pages use images.
- What is a reliable source for a Wikipedia article?
- Who are Wikipedia editors? Demographics and more.
- Should you edit your own Wikipedia page?
- Why create a WikiData entry even if you can't get a Wikipedia page.
- Wikipedia alternatives