If stubs are the ugly ducklings of Wikipedia, then substubs are the unhatched eggs. They are short information fragments that are undesirable to stay as they are for an extended period of time, since they provide little to no context to their contents. Dealing with them is a part of the everyday maintenance on Wikipedia.


In the past, these substubs were marked with the {{substub}} template. Since this collided with the general methods of stub sorting and the number of articles marked as substubs (justified as well as erroneous) got more and more out of hand, the use of that template was deprecated, and in the end the template and associated category were deleted in May 2005 (see Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/Deleted/May 2005#Template:Substub and Wikipedia:Categories for deletion/Log/2005 May 10#Category:Substubs). For the present methods of dealing with substubs, see one of the options at #How to fix a substub.

Before its deletion, the template message was:

Differences between a stub and a substubEdit

Substubs are simply a type of stub.

  • Stubs are actually long enough to have a tad of useful information in them. Substubs are usually no longer than a dictionary definition, and usually contain information that anyone would know. See Wiktionary.
  • Stubs are usually easy to expand upon because they have some general information with which to build a much longer article, like asking a mason to draw a house: you get a pretty detailed floor plan. Substubs contain very little information, or worse, false or misleading information, like asking a three-year-old to draw a house and getting a box for the house and a triangle for the roof.
  • Stubs are usually created by a person who wants to see the article expanded either by himself or herself or by someone who really knows the subject of the article. Substubs are usually created by people just because they can, then they leave without looking back.


Constructed for example purposesEdit

Stub Substub

An aeroplane (or airplane) is a machine that flies through the air. It was created by the Wright brothers in 1903. It is able to fly because the wing shape creates greater air pressure under the wing than above it.

Today, the Boeing 747 line of airplanes has revolutionized commercial air travel and mass transit, making inter-continental flights not only possible but commonplace.

Aeroplanes (or Airplanes) are flying machines with wings.

A computer in the modern sense of the word is a machine that computes information electronically. They nowadays use transistors and microchips to process data. They normally use the binary number system, which is composed of ones and zeros.

A computer processes information with a mouse. It is in binary.

Real substubs in WikipediaEdit

Power Rangers: SPD

Power Rangers: SPD is a new Power Rangers season coming in 2005.
Anthony J. Drexel Biddle Anthony J. Drexel Biddle (1876 - 1948) was the man the play and film The Happiest Millionaire was based upon.

Real examples of patent nonsense in WikipediaEdit

Standard Oil of Colorado

Well one day Rockefeller decided Colorado was awesome so He made an oil refinery there.

Light Cone

Dryers' first invented the ice cream cone using less dense cream and more milk by products producing a low calorie LITE-CONE.

How to fix a substubEdit

There are a number of things that can be done to a substub to either improve it, move it somewhere more useful, or delete it entirely:

Turn it into a stubEdit

  1. Provide a "This is a stub" message by adding {{stub}} or a categorized stub notice, cf. Wikipedia:Stub
  2. Follow the standards of proper English. Write in full, clear sentences.
  3. To aid in your expansion work, you can incorporate and cite references about the topic in books, magazines, or newspapers; visit external links, if any, within the article; or you can search Google or Yahoo! for information about the topic. [This paragraph is itself a stub and should be expanded.] [For example: "This process of discovering and providing external references is a fundamental aspect of real research. Additionally, any information you find in your basic research may spur you to write an even higher-quality stub, in addition to the external references you provide."]
  4. Give a clear, precise definition or description of your topic. Avoid fallacies of definition. For biographies and articles about non-concepts (e.g., about countries and cities), definitions are impossible, so begin with a clear, helpful, informative description of the subject. State what a person is famous for, where a place is and what it is known for, the basic details of an event and when it happened, etc. A good definition or description may encourage potential contributors by suggesting the limits of the article, indirectly summarizing what needs to be done. For example, Salvador Allende was the President of Chile from 1970 until 1973 would be a good description.
  5. Try to give more than just a definition — at least a little more. It doesn't hurt to be provocative, as long as you attempt to be unbiased and reasonably accurate. What is interesting and important about the subject? If your introduction would make someone want to read further, then it will probably entice someone to write further. As little as one extra sentence can turn a good description into a brilliant stub, e.g. Salvador Allende was the President of Chile from 1970 until 1973. The CIA might have been involved in the coup that ousted him. With a start like that, you don't have to know any more yourself; a dozen contributors will be falling over themselves to fill in the details.
  6. Make sure any relevant linkable words have been linked. But be careful about which words you link to; see naming conventions. e.g. Salvador Allende was the President of Chile from 1970 until 1973. The CIA might have been involved in the coup that ousted him.
  7. Submit the article with a Summary comment that will attract the attention of others to your stub. If nothing else, cut and paste the stub itself into the Summary field when you save your article.
  8. Feel some responsibility for your stub article. There is a fine line between helping by outlining out what needs to be done, and being annoying by not doing anything yourself. If nobody contributes to your stub for a few weeks, roll up your sleeves and expand it yourself. Take the fact that nobody has contributed as a hint that your stub might not have been that great, and if nothing else, try to make it a better stub.
  9. Don't just add links. Links are fine normally, but just on their own, they say very little about the topic you are writing about.

If you want to turn it into a full articleEdit

  1. Go for it.

Merge itEdit

  1. Copy and paste the contents to a fitting article (if that one does not already have that content). Link the source article in the edit summary.
  2. Turn the substub into a redirect to the target article. Link the target article in the edit summary.
  3. Check whether in doing so you accidentally created double redirects pointing to the target article: click "what links here" from the toolbox menu on the left in the target article. Any redirect not directing directly to the target article should be adapted redirecting without intermediate redirect to the target article.

Put it up for deletionEdit

  1. If the content is totally redundant and trivial, you may mark it for speedy deletion with {{db-a1}}.
  2. If you're not so sure, list it on Articles for deletion.

If you don't want to do thatEdit

  1. Mark the substub with one of the stub templates. Hopefully someone else with more knowledge on the topic will know what to do with it.
  2. Mark it for cleanup with one of the cleanup templates.

Move dictionary definitions to WiktionaryEdit

See: Wikipedia:Things to be moved to Wiktionary

See alsoEdit

Articles that may be substubs: