Wikipedia:Article Incubator

  (Redirected from Wikipedia:INCUBATE)
A noble Wikipedian rescues articles from limbo.

The article incubator is a place for holding articles that do not meet Wikipedia's content criteria (WP:NOT, WP:N, WP:OR, WP:NPOV, WP:BLP, and WP:V), but a rationale has been put forward that the article meets the incubation criteria, which means there is an intention that the article can and will be improved. Incubation is intended to be a more centralized alternative to WP:Userfication. Articles in incubation are "in limbo"—they have been deleted from article namespace, but are still part of Wikipedia, awaiting a decision to be moved back into the article namespace (mainspace), or be deleted completely from all Wikipedia namespace.

Incubation is not designed for creating or developing new articles outside of mainspace—that role is taken by WP:Articles for Creation. Nor is it designed as a buffer zone between nomination for deletion and a deletion decision—that role is taken by Wikipedia:Article Rescue Squadron. Incubation is a "soft deletion" process whereby problematic articles are removed from mainspace but remain accessible by non-admins so they can be worked on. Incubated articles are automatically "noindexed", meaning they won't show up in search engines.

Articles enter the incubator via 2 main paths:

  • From a deletion process such as AfD, MfD, PROD or Speedy, in which a decision is made to incubate rather than delete or keep
  • From userspace, when a previously deleted article has been userfied,

Incubation is for material or articles that have already been through the deletion process and it has been decided that while, at the time of the decision, the material did not meet our inclusion criteria, there was justifiable reason to believe the material/article could be made to meet the inclusion criteria given enough time; sometimes articles that have been deleted are userfied (moved into userspace), and these articles may be worked on in userspace and then brought to the incubator for assistance in moving back into mainspace—but articles that originated in userspace and have never been through the deletion process may be moved directly into mainspace and so are not appropriate for the incubation process.

There is no guarantee that incubated articles will be moved back into the Wikipedia mainspace. As a rule, an article should not be moved to incubation unless it meets the incubator criteria, which means there is an intention that the article can and will be improved. Content intended for mainspace should not be kept indefinitely on subpages, per the Wikipedia guideline regarding the third disallowed use of subpages. Pages in the incubator may be nominated for deletion through Wikipedia:Miscellany for Deletion after a reasonable time has been allowed for development. What is "reasonable" will vary depending on circumstances

What is article incubation?Edit

Article incubation is a process by which articles which do not meet Wikipedia inclusion/content criteria but which meet the incubator criteria can be worked on in limbo outside the Wikipedia mainspace.

Incubation vs rescueEdit

Articles that are proposed for deletion but which have not yet been deleted may be worked on by Wikipedia:Article Rescue Squadron.

Articles that have been deleted may be worked on in the incubator if they meet the appropriate incubator criteria.

Incubation vs AfCEdit

Articles that have been created in userspace and which have not been subject to a deletion decision may be moved to Wikipedia:Articles for creation.

Articles may only be moved into the incubator if the material has previously been the subject of a deletion process, and the material meets the incubator criteria.

Incubation vs. userficationEdit

Deleted articles may be moved into userspace via userfication, or into project namespace via incubation. Decisions as to which is more appropriate may be informed by the following information:

  • Incubation places the material in a central location. This doesn't make the particular material easier to find as neither incubation or userfication are indexed or redirected, however if an editor wishes in general to examine or work on previously deleted material, they would be able to access a group of such articles with ease.
  • Incubation provides the potential for an organised process for dealing with problematic material.
  • Userfication gives responsibility and accountability to one person. Some users have expressed concern about material being deleted from the incubator and have moved or copied incubated articles to their own space.

When making a decision as to which process is more appropriate, it should be made clear that moving to the incubator does not guarantee the assistance of other users; historically, articles with only one significant contributor do not attract any more attention in the incubator than when in mainspace—indeed, most articles attract less attention. If there is only one significant contributor then userfication may be more appropriate. If there are several contributors, and/or several users calling for the opportunity for the article to be worked on away from mainspace, then incubation may be more appropriate.

What incubation is notEdit

Incubation can be useful in many cases; however, incubation is not:

  1. A means of preventing the deletion from Wikipedia of blatantly inappropriate content, such as unambiguous copyright infringement, negative, unsourced biographies of living people, attacking/threatening content, or content deleted by office action;
  2. A means of preserving sub-standard content on Wikipedia indefinitely, including content that has been deleted per consensus in a particular content for deletion discussion;
  3. A means of removing sub-standard content from the main (article) namespace by sweeping it under the rug; or
  4. A means of having articles deleted or undeleted without going through one of the established, consensus-supported deletion processes: speedy deletion, proposed deletion, deletion review, and deletion discussions. Incubated articles will generally be deleted if there is no substantial progress [see below]; incubation should not be used as a "fix it or else" tactic.

As a rule, an article should not be moved to incubation unless it meets the incubator criteria, which means there is an intention that the article can and will be improved.

Which articles may be moved into the incubator?Edit

Articles may be moved into the incubator:

  • Via deletion process:
  1. An article is discussed at AfD and there is consensus (at the AfD or a subsequent DRV) to send it here instead of deletion or keeping in mainspace
  2. An article is PRODed and it is decided to send it here instead of deletion or keeping in mainspace
  3. An article is nominated for Speedy deletion and it is decided to send it here instead of deletion or keeping in mainspace
  4. An abandoned userspace draft of an article is discussed at MfD and there is consensus to send it here instead of deleting it or keeping in userspace
  • Via userfication:
  1. An article that had previously been deleted, and then recreated in userspace via userfication, that the user wants an evaluation on / assistance with editing before moving into mainspace

Incubation criteriaEdit

4. Is there a pulse?
Is anyone working on it?
  1. The article does not meet the excluded criteria
  2. The article has been either previously deleted or has been through a deletion process and a decision reached that it does not meet inclusion/content criteria
  3. A rationale has been put forward by at least one person that the article could meet inclusion/content criteria if given time; for example:
    Sufficient reliable sources which deal with the subject in depth may be found, though they may not be readily available online at the moment
    The article may be rewritten to remove any suggestion of original research or biased point of view
    The article may be developed sufficiently to clearly establish notability
  4. A willingness has been established by at least one person to work on the article; or
  5. A convincing reason has been put forward why the article would benefit from being put on hold now, to be worked on in the future (such as a belief that the subject is important, but as the subject is not current or popular in the developed world, reliable sources are not easy to come by, though they could be found eventually)

What cannot be moved into the incubatorEdit

  1. Copyrighted material – Incubation must not be used to resolve copyright problems, even where the user who posted the material is the one claiming copyright ownership. Wikipedia's licensing requirements and the copyright policy apply to all pages posted anywhere on Wikipedia.
  2. Material already not permitted in article namespacePersonal attacks, invasions of private information, spam, patent nonsense, and posts by banned users should be deleted altogether.
  3. Articles for which an AfD discussion is underway – incubation of an article that is the subject of an ongoing AfD is disruptive to the AfD process. The editor desiring to incubate the article must wait until the process has been concluded.
  4. Articles which have not gone through a deletion process – Incubation of an article is a soft deletion as it removes content from mainspace. There are deletion guidelines and policies which need to be followed when deleting material from mainspace. Incubation should not be used as a substitute for regular deletion processes. It generally is inappropriate to incubate an article without a deletion process. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion (AfD) is recommended as the deletion process to follow, as this provides the community with the opportunity to discuss and assess if Incubation is appropriate.
  5. File (image or multimedia) and category pages.
  6. Material substantially violating the biographies of living persons policy. Potentially libellous material does not belong anywhere on Wikipedia. If negative material on a living person is to be worked on to make it comply with the BLP policy, this should generally be done off wiki, and the material only recreated once fully compliant with the policy. Use discretion when considering whether to incubate a biography of a person that has been considered non-notable in a deletion discussion.

Time limitEdit

All incubated pages are noindexed so that they will not be listed by Google or other search engines; however, Wikipedia is not a free web host and should not be used to indefinitely host deleted content. Content intended for mainspace should not be kept forever on subpages, per Wikipedia policy regarding the third disallowed use of subpages. Pages in the incubator may be nominated for deletion through Wikipedia:Miscellany for Deletion after a reasonable time has been allowed for development. What is "reasonable" will vary depending on circumstances

The processEdit

Moving articles into the incubator
Moved to incubation...
in need of loving care and gentle handling
  • Articles are moved into the incubator as a result of i) a deletion discussion; ii) a WP:refund request; or from iii) WP:userfication. The article must meet the incubator criteria.
  • An editor moves the article or userfication into the incubator by placing it on a subpage of this page. For example: [[Foo article]] would be moved to [[Wikipedia:Article Incubator/Foo article]]. Any redirect left in mainspace at [[Foo article]] must be tagged for speedy deletion as a cross-namespace redirect using {{db-r2}}.
  • The {{Article Incubator}} template is placed at the top of the article page (not talk page). Mainspace categories are hidden by placing <!-- --> around them.
  • Any non-free images in the article must be removed.
  • It would be helpful to link to the original deletion discussion and the decision to move the article into limbo.
Dealing with articles once they are in the incubator
  • The article may be worked on to meet inclusion/content criteria. Anyone may edit the articles in incubation (listed below). An article will need to meet inclusion/content criteria, and to address issues raised during the deletion process before returning to mainspace.
  • An article can be assessed at any time to see if it meets inclusion criteria. {{Limbo assessment}} should be used. If a significant contributor feels the article meets inclusion criteria they should ask for an independent assessment rather than moving the article back into mainspace themselves. This can be done by altering the incubator template status to read {{Article Incubator|status=eval}}, which moves the article into Category:Articles in the Article Incubator nominated for assessment. An editor who has not directly worked on the article may assess it using {{Limbo assessment}} and make a decision if the article can be moved back into mainspace, needs further work, or should be discussed at Miscellany for deletion.
  • If the article requires more work, then the template status should be changed back to {{Article Incubator|status=start}}.
Moving back into mainspace
  • When moved to mainspace, {{incu-grad}} should be added to the article's talk page to make note of the fact the article has "graduated" from incubation. Please also remember to restore any categories that were previously commented out.
Nominating for deletion
  • There is no hard limit to how long an article may stay in the incubator. To suggest the deletion of an article currently in the article incubator, update its status to read {{Article Incubator|status=delete}}.
  • You should check whether active editors who moved the article into the incubator or have worked on it would like the article userfied to work on in their own userspace as an alternative to deletion.
  • Articles that have been deleted from the incubator are treated as any other deleted article, and userfication may be requested.
  • An article that may be useful to Wikipedia's sister projects, may be transwikied at any time; that decision does not rely on notability on Wikipedia, nor on any deletion decision here.

Moving articles out of the incubatorEdit

Back into mainspaceEdit

Candidate articles may be moved back into mainspace if they meet basic Wikipedia inclusion requirements. The quality of the article is of secondary concern, as it is expected that improvements will continue after graduation.

Any editor who has not been a significant contributor to an article may assess it, using {{WP:Article Incubator/AIAssessment}}.

An editor who has been a significant contributor may request assessment by changing the article status template to read: "eval": this places it in Category:Articles in the Article Incubator nominated for assessment.

If the article meets the assessment criteria, the article may be moved back into mainspace, and {{incu-grad}} placed on the talkpage. If the move cannot be completed because of technical issues, a request may be posted at Wikipedia:Requested moves.


If an article has been assessed and does not meet the assessment criteria, and there is no possibility it can meet the criteria with further work, and a reasonable time has already been given and there is no possibility it can meet the criteria with any further time allowed—the article should be nominated for deletion at WP:MfD.


A significant contributor may request userfication of the article if incubation has not attracted attention from other editors after a reasonable time has elapsed. An editor with little or no involvement in the article should work on the article in the incubator.

A significant contributor may be offered the option of userfication if it appears that the article is not attracting any attention—though such an offer should not be a substitute for taking to MfD.

Currently incubated articlesEdit

Articles that need improving before being returned to mainspace may be placed in subpages of this page and logged here by adding it to the category. A list of all subpages can be found at Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Article Incubator. A compilation of the talk pages of all the articles in the incubator is at Wikipedia talk:Article Incubator/All talk pages.

A list of all current & former articles is located at Wikipedia:Article Incubator/History. The page contains a brief description of each article and other useful information to help editors find articles of interest to them.

Click show to see all incubator pages:

Who can help?Edit

Anyone and everyone!


Feel free to edit any candidate article to make improvements according to Wikipedia's standards of quality and inclusion. Browse the category list above, or go directly to Category:Articles in the Article Incubator to find an article to work on.


Experienced editors can help with evaluating candidate articles for graduation. If you've done WP:NPP before, you are probably qualified to be an evaluator. Common problems that evaluators should know how to identify are:

  • WP:N – Article does not establish notability of subject
  • WP:RS – Article does not have reliable sources
  • WP:NPOV – Article is not from a Neutral Point of View
  • WP:PROMOTION – Article is an advertisement
  • WP:COPYVIO – Article has copyright violations
  • WP:OR – Article uses original research
  • WP:FUTURE – Article has unverifiable speculation


If you wish, you may promote the incubator by displaying an Article Incubator userbox. Simply add {{Wikipedia:Article Incubator/Userbox}} to your userpage to get the userbox below.

 This user edits and assesses articles
in the Article Incubator.


See alsoEdit