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Template:Subcat guideline

Nutshell.gif This page in a nutshell:
  • An article too short to provide more than rudimentary information about a subject should be marked as a stub by adding a stub template from the list here to the end of the article. Anyone can edit a stub article, or remove a stub template from an article which is no longer a stub.
  • New stub templates and categories should be proposed prior to creation at Wikipedia: WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals.


The objective of this article is to provide a general guide for dealing with stubs. The first section, Basic information, contains information that is recommended for most users. The second half, Creating stub types contains more specialized material.

Basic information

A stub is an article containing only a few sentences of text which is too short to provide encyclopedic coverage of a subject, but not so short as to provide no useful information. Sizable articles are usually not considered stubs, even if they lack wikification or copy editing. With these articles, a cleanup template is usually added instead of a stub template. Note that small articles with little properly sourced information or with no inherent notability may end up being nominated for deletion or be merged into another relevant article.

While a "definition" may be enough to qualify an article as a stub, Wikipedia is not a dictionary. If little other information is ever likely to be added, the entry should go to our sister project, Wiktionary. The distinction between dictionary and encyclopedia articles is best expressed by the use-mention distinction: A dictionary article is about a word or phrase; an encyclopedia article is about the subject denoted by that word or phrase. Rather than copying such an article to Wiktionary yourself, you may add {{Copy to Wiktionary}} to it.

Ideal stub article

See also: Wikipedia:Guide to writing better articles.

Any registered editor may start a stub article.

When you write a stub, bear in mind that it should contain enough information for other editors to expand upon it. The key is to provide adequate context — articles with little or no context usually end up being speedily deleted. Your initial research may be done either through books or reliable websites. You may also contribute knowledge acquired from other sources, but it is useful to conduct some research beforehand, in order to ensure that your facts are accurate and unbiased. Use your own words: directly copying other sources is plagiarism, and may in some cases be a violation of copyright.

Begin by defining or describing your topic. Avoid fallacies of definition. Write clearly and informatively. 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, try to expand upon this basic definition. Internally link relevant words, so that users unfamiliar with the subject can understand what you have written. Avoid linking words needlessly; instead, consider which words may require further definition for a casual reader to understand the article. Once you create and save the article, other editors will also be able to enhance it.

Categorizing stubs

After writing a short article, or finding an unmarked stub, you should insert a stub template. By convention this is placed at the end of the article, after the External links section, any navigation templates, and the category tags, so that the stub category will appear last. It is usually desirable to leave two blank lines between the first stub template and whatever precedes it. Stub templates are transcluded not substituted.

Stub templates have two parts: a short message noting the stub's topic and encouraging editors to expand it, and a category link, which places the article in a stub category alongside other stubs on the same topic. The naming for stub templates usually topic-stub; a list of these templates may be found here. You need not learn all the templates — even simply adding {{stub}} helps. The more accurately an article is tagged, however, the less work it is for other sorters later, and the more useful it is for editors looking for articles to expand.

If an article overlaps several stub categories, more than one template may be used, but it is strongly recommended that only those relating to the subject's main notability be used. A limit of three or, if really necessary, four stub templates is advised.

Stub-related activities are centralized at Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting (shortcut WP:WSS). This project should be your main reference for stub information, and is where new stub types should be proposed for discussion prior to creation.

Removing stub status

Once a stub has been properly expanded and becomes a larger article, any editor may remove its stub template. No administrator action or formal permission is needed. Many articles still marked as stubs have in fact been expanded beyond what is regarded as stub size. Be bold in removing stub tags that are clearly no longer applicable.

Locating stubs

Creating stub types

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

In general, a stub type consists of a stub template and a dedicated stub 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 very large, you can propose the creation of a new stub type which is debated at Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals.

Several guidelines are used to decide whether a new stub type is useful. These include the following:

  1. Is there a stub type for this topic already? (Check Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Stub types.)
  2. Will the new type be well-defined? (Stub categories are a tool used by editors to expand articles. Good topic definition makes stubs easier to sort accurately.)
  3. Does the new stub type cover ground not covered by other type, or create a well-defined subtype that does?
  4. Will there be a significant number of existing stubs in this category? (Ideally, a newly-created stub type has 100-300 articles. In general, any new stub category should have a minimum of 60 articles. This threshold is modified in the case of the main stub category used by a WikiProject.)
  5. Would your new stub type overlap with other stub types? (Stub types form a hierarchy and as such are usually split in specific ways. Compare other stub splits at Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Stub types.)
  6. If you are breaking a subtype out of an existing type, will the new creation reduce the size of the parent by a significant amount? (This is not an absolute necessity, but is often a catalyst for the creation of stub categories. Stub categories containing over 800 articles are typically considered to be "over-sized", and in need of such sub-types.)

If you think you have satisfied these guidelines, it is highly recommended that you propose the new stub type at stub type proposals page. This allows for debate on matters relating to the stub type that may not have occurred to the proposer, and also allows for objections if the split does not satisfy stub guidelines. If there are no objections within five days, you may create the new stub type.

New stub templates

Once the creation of a new stub type has been discussed at Wikipedia: WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals and agreed upon, a template can be created. The name of this should follow the stub type naming conventions, and will usually be decided during the discussion process.

All stub templates should link to a stub category. This may be a category specific to the topic of the template, or the template might be "upmerged" to one or more less specific categories — for example, a template for Andorran history might link to a stub category for European history and a general Andorran stub category. This is often thought to be desirable when a stub type is proposed in anticipation of future use, but is not currently over the size threshold; or where an existing stub type has a finite number of well-defined subdivisions, with some numerically viable as subtypes, and others not.

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


This produces 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". The terms "A" and "B" should be changed to words or phrases appropriate to the new stub type.

Adding a small image to the stub template (the "stub icon") is discouraged because it increases the strain on the Wikipedia servers but may be used by replacing {{Metastub}} in the above coding with {{MetaPicstub}}. The image must be public domain or have a free license - fair use images must not be used in templates.

New stub categories

The name of the stub category should also have been decided during the proposal process and will also follow the naming guidelines.

The text of a stub category should contain a definition of what type of stubs are contained in it and an indication of what template is used to add stubs to it. The {{WPSS-cat}} template should also be placed on the category, to indicate that it has been created after debate at Wikipedia: WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals. The new stub category should also be added to the Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Stub types list.

The new stub category should be correctly added into other categories. These should include at least three specific categories:

  • The analogous permanent category ("permcat")
  • At least one higher level ("parent") stub category
  • Category:Stub categories

Thus, for example, Category:France stubs, should be in an equivalent permcat (Category: France), parent stub category (Category:Europe stubs), and Category:Stub categories.

The creation of stub categories can be partially automated by using {{Stub category}} as follows:

{{Stub Category|article=[[A]]|newstub=B|category=C}}

A: Insert the description of the category here.
B: Insert the name of the new stub template here.
C: Insert the name of an appropriate parent non-stub category.

In the example given above, the formatting would look like this:

{{Stub Category|article=[[France]]|newstub=France-stub|category=France}}

This syntax also automatically adds the new category to Category:Stub categories, though parent stub categories and {{WPSS-cat}} still need to be added manually.

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 also