Wikipedia:Article development

A PDF brochure by the Wikimedia Foundation about how articles evolve, elements of good quality articles, and signs of poor quality articles.

Some of Wikipedia's articles are comprehensive right from the outset, but most start off as stubs and ideally grow into well-written, comprehensive articles with time.

This page describes the stages in the life of an article and lists the ways in which you can help an article grow into the next stage. Skipping stages is not just permissible — it is, in fact, recommended! The following categories should give you an idea of how articles typically grow on Wikipedia.

Stages of an article

Uncreated articles

Consider using a Wizard to help you create articles. See the Article Wizard.

Thank you.

Every article starts with an idea in the mind of a contributor. You can create articles about anything, as long as they belong in Wikipedia. It is a good idea to search first, so you are sure there has not been an article on the subject; if there is, a redirect may be appropriate. If you see a red link that strikes your fancy, create an article! (If you've not created an article before, see Your First Article.)

For more suggestions on how to think of subjects to contribute on, see Wikipedia:Contributing to Wikipedia.

Before you start, it's helpful to read the guidelines and tutorials on creating new articles to get an idea of what you should consider—such matters as the scope, format, references, and NPOV in a Wikipedia article.

Good ways to find articles to create:

Stubs

If you do not have the time to write a full article, consider writing a " stub". Stubs are very short articles—generally just a few sentences. These are the " ugly ducklings" of Wikipedia. With effort, they can mature into "swans".

Good ways to find stub articles and grow stubs:

To find stub templates appropriate for an article, see these WikiProject Stub sorting sub-pages.

See Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/Stub types for more information on existing stub types.
See Wikipedia:WikiProject Stub sorting/List of stubs for a compact list of all stub types.

Article stub placement

The article stub (or stubs) template is added after the last line of the article. For example:

Last line of the article.

    (first blank line)
(second blank line)

Talk page stub class

Article quality assessments are mainly performed by members of WikiProjects, who tag talk pages of articles. For beginning stub articles, the class=Stub parameter is added to the article's WikiProject banner on the talk page.

Developing articles

Once a stub has real content, it is a real article and the article's stub template(s) can be removed. The vast majority of articles fall into this category. They may have weaknesses, so you are encouraged to copyedit them and, where you have the knowledge or do the necessary research, to add content.

As an article is improved in quality it goes through stages of development. Here is an example of the evolution of an article.

Good ways to find and improve developing articles (see below for more information):

Good articles
How to get great articles up to featured quality

Featured article

This star symbolizes the featured content on Wikipedia.

The featured articles are what we believe to be the best articles in Wikipedia. Before promotion to featured status, articles are reviewed at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates for compelling prose, accuracy, neutrality, and completeness, according to our featured article criteria. Wikipedians tend to be proud of featured articles to which they have contributed.

Once an article is certified as featured, it joins an exclusive group of featured content which is showcased across various community pages, including Portals and WikiProjects. The article could also receive the distinction of being featured on the main page. Before the article is scheduled to appear on the main page, it should receive a last review and polishing where possible.

Featured articles present our best work to people who might not know about Wikipedia. This is an excellent way to donations, both of which help Wikipedia immensely.

Featured articles are well polished, but there are usually small improvements that can still be made. Do not ever be afraid to correct mistakes or update information when you see an opportunity; few articles are perfect, even though perfection is always our goal. We have a formal procedure for encouraging Wikipedians to review and improve featured articles: Featured Article Review.

Featured articles

What constitutes a featured article

Good ways to display our best articles:

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