Help:Maintenance template removal
Many Wikipedia pages display maintenance templates that identify problems. You may have arrived at this help page after clicking a link on a maintenance template saying "Learn how and when to remove this template message".
Maintenance templates are added and removed by volunteers. This help page explains the process for examining and removing such templates.
Maintenance templates (or "tags") are not in general removed automatically. Even if you fix the issue(s) described in a maintenance template, the tag will remain in the article until you or someone else manually removes it. The mechanics of removal are usually as simple as clicking "Edit" at the top of the page or in the section involved (if you're not already in edit mode), removing the code that produces the display of the template, leaving an edit summary and saving the page.
It is not okay to remove maintenance templates until the issue flagged by the template is remedied first—that is, only once the maintenance tag is no longer valid, unless it truly did not belong in the first place.
Wikipedia works because of the efforts of volunteers just like you, making bold edits to help build this encyclopedia. Fixing problems and then removing maintenance templates when you are done is important in that effort.
We don't know which maintenance tag brought you to this page, and thus what specific problem needs attention. However, every maintenance template contains links to help pages, policies, guidelines or other relevant pages that provide information on the problem the template was placed to flag. You will also find guidance on some of the more common templates below.
Many common templates address problems with article citations and references, or their lack—because reliable sourcing is the lifeblood of Wikipedia articles and at the core of all of Wikipedia's content policies and guidelines, such as notability, verifiability, neutral point of view, and no original research. But a host of other issues may be flagged, including tone and style of writing, structure and formatting, lack of links to or from other articles, compliance with Wikipedia's manual of style and the lack of a lead section.
You need to be sure that the issue has been resolved before removing the template. That does require some effort on your part—to understand both the problem, and how to solve it.
It is important to understand that what you see when reading an article, and what you see when editing it, are different. Thus, the above code, only seen when doing source editing, results in the display of the 'called' template below:
This template contains a number of links, indicated by the words and phrases in blue. Three of these links are to pages that, when explored, provide context and resources for you to understand why the template was placed on the page, and how to address the issue of the article being unreferenced:
Whatever maintenance tag brought you to this help page should likewise contain relevant explanatory links addressed to whatever its issue is. Read these explanatory and contextual pages to learn about the problem and what it is you need to do to take care of it. Again, some of the more common maintenance templates seen are addressed in the specific template guidance section below.
Maintenance templates are not meant to be in articles permanently. Any user without a conflict of interest may remove a maintenance template in any of the following circumstances:
You should not remove maintenance templates if any of the following apply:
Have you carefully read the help pages and thoroughly fixed the problem? Or have you made a considered decision that the template is not, or is no longer, applicable? Great! Now, to remove the maintenance template:
Problems flagged by some templates may imply secondary problems that will still exist after you take care of the main issue. In such cases, it may be more appropriate to switch the template to another applicable one following your edits, rather than just removing it. The reasoning behind the change in templates should be addressed in the edit summary.
Conversely, some templates flag highly discrete issues where there is no need to consider a switch to another template. For example, if an article is "orphaned" – no other articles in the main article namespace link to it – then once that is taken care of (by the addition of links to it from other articles), the issue is gone entirely and the tag's removal is unambiguous.
When a flagged issue has been addressed in parts of an article, but remains in discrete sections, clarity may be served by replacing the template with a section variant, or by use of inline cleanup tags, if such versions of the template exist.
In some cases, it may be helpful to request review of a maintenance template's removal or proposed removal with the editor who initially added it to the article at issue.
This section provides guidance on how to address some of the more common specific templates that may have brought you to this help page. More detailed information about the templates can be found by following the links to the templates themselves.
If you address the "orphaning" issue, but not the other two, remove just the line that flagged the orphan issue and leave the others intact. Thus, your removal would leave the template in this state.
See the sections below for how to address some of the more common problems flagged by templates that may be wrapped into this template.
flags the issue of an article containing no references at all. This template no longer applies once a single reference appears in the article, whether placed through the preferred method of inline citations, ones appearing in a general references section, or even through such a poor method as including an embedded raw link.
To address the issue, add citations to reliable sources. Because of their importance, Wikipedia contains numerous instruction pages on aspects of referencing. We suggest starting with Help:Referencing for beginners and Help:Introduction to referencing/1, and then seeing Wikipedia:Citing sources for a more involved treatment, noting that each contains see also sections linking to additional help pages, guides and tutorials. A visual guide to placing inline citations through
<ref> ... </ref> tags may also help, and appears below.
All of Wikipedia's core content policies and guidelines have as a common denominator the need for reliable sourcing. For example, the content of Wikipedia articles must be verifiable in reliable sources; the notability of a topic demonstrated through such reliable sources that are secondary in nature, which are independent of the topic and treat the subject in substantive detail (not just "mere mentions"); and in order to establish that the content is not original research, the sources cited must directly support the material being presented without analysis or synthesis to reach or imply a conclusion that is not stated in the sources.
To address the issue, add additional inline citations to reliable sources for all significant statements in the article. Whether or not an article has been rendered "fairly well sourced" may involve a judgement call, but in any event, the sources used must be reliable ones, and articles should not rely predominantly on primary sources, but rather on secondary sources. Note the minimum: all quotations, material whose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged, and contentious material, whether negative, positive, or neutral, about living persons, must include an inline citation that directly supports the material.
All of Wikipedia's core content policies and guidelines have as a common denominator: the need for reliable sourcing. For example, the content of Wikipedia articles must be verifiable in reliable sources; the notability of a topic demonstrated through such reliable sources that are secondary in nature, which are independent of the topic and treat the subject in substantive detail (not just "mere mentions"); and in order to establish that the content is not original research, the sources cited must directly support the material being presented without analysis or synthesis to reach or imply a conclusion that is not stated in the sources.
flags the issue of an article that contains some form of sourcing but lacks the precision of inline citations to associate given portions of material with specific reliable source(s) that support that material. Inline citations make verifiability accessible. In short, in the absence of an inline citation that associates specific material to a specific source, it becomes very difficult for a reader to check what sources, given in only some general manner, verify what items of content.
To address the issue, add inline citations to reliable sources, ideally for all significant statements in the article. Note that at a minimum: all quotations, material whose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged, and contentious material, whether negative, positive, or neutral, about living persons, must include an inline citation that directly supports the material.
There are many instruction pages that directly and indirectly give guidance on adding inline citations. We suggest starting with Help:Referencing for beginners and Help:Introduction to referencing/1, and then seeing Wikipedia:Citing sources for a more involved treatment, noting that each contains see also sections linking to additional help pages, guides and tutorials. A visual guide to placing inline citations through
<ref> ... </ref> tags may also help, and appears below.
flags the issue of an article that too heavily relies on primary sources – original materials that are close to an event; often accounts written by people who are directly involved – as opposed to secondary, and to some extent, tertiary sources. Primary sources have their place but they must be used carefully and are easy to misuse. Typically, they should only be used for straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the primary source but without further, specialized knowledge. They should not be used to support content that presents interpretation, analysis, evaluation, or synthesis, and should not be the predominant form of sourcing in an article. Moreover, primary sources are generally not useful to demonstrate a topic's notability.
To address the issue, add citations predominantly to secondary sources. Often this involves replacing some of the primary sources with secondary sources, and not just adding them alongside existing ones—especially where the primary source is being used for an invalid purpose such as interpretive claims and synthesis.
Finding secondary sources is a large topic but make use of Google Books, News and Scholar; find local newspaper archives; go to a library; if you have access, use pay/subscription services like JSTOR, Newspaperarchive.com; Ancestry.com, etc.; see our guide on free English newspaper sources and others listed here; request access to pay/prescription sources at WP:RX. If insufficient reliable secondary and independent sources exist treating a topic in substantive detail, then Wikipedia should not have an article on the topic. Remember that .
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, a specific type of reference work properly containing articles on topics of knowledge. Wikipedia employs the concept of notability to avoid indiscriminate inclusion of topics by attempting to ensure that the subjects of articles are "worthy of notice" – by only including articles on topics that the world has taken note of by substantively treating them in reliable sources unconnected with the topic.
(or some variation linking to one of the subject-specific notability guidelines) questions whether a topic is notable. As stated in the template, addressing the issue requires adding citations to reliable secondary sources. There are a number of common mistakes seen in addressing this issue:
If insufficient reliable secondary and independent sources exist treating a topic in substantive detail, then Wikipedia should not have an article on the topic. Remember that .
flags the issue of an article that reads like an advertisement. For example, such articles may tell users to buy a company's product, provide price lists, give links to online sellers, use unencyclopedic or meaningless buzzwords, be filled with peacock language and read like the website of the article's topic or a press release touting its virtues, rather than that of a neutrally-written encyclopedia article about the topic.
To address the issue, rewrite the article from a neutral point of view – which is not just about the wording and tone but also as to what the article covers and what it does not cover. Wikipedia articles should represent fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic. Removing all promotional language is a good start but depending on what is left, may only be a surface treatment. See what you can salvage but often there is little alternative but to strip out all content that is not reliably sourced, leaving it in a stub state. The ideal, of course, is to explore the existence of sourcing for the topic and build from the ground up.
flags the issue of an article that has been identified as having a serious issue of balance, the lack of a neutral point of view, and the tagger wishes to attract editors with different viewpoints to the article. An unbalanced or non-neutral article is one that does not fairly represent the balance of perspectives of high-quality, reliable secondary sources. This tag is meant to be accompanied by an explanation on the article's talk page about why it was added, identifying specific issues that are actionable within Wikipedia's content policies.
This template is not meant to be a permanent resident on any article. You may remove this template whenever any one of the following is true:
flags the issue of an article that fails to follow Wikipedia's standard article layout guidelines by introducing the reader to the topic in a lead section containing a summary of the most important article contents. The lead should stand on its own as a concise overview of the article's topic. A good lead section cultivates the reader's interest in reading more of the article, but not by teasing the reader or hinting at content that follows. It should identify the topic, establish context, explain why the topic is notable, and summarize the most important points, including any prominent controversies.
To address the issue, write a lead section. The size of an appropriate lead will depend on the breadth of the article but it should be no more than four well-composed paragraphs, and should generally not contain content that is not already present in the body of the article.
(or a subject-specific variation listed on Wikipedia:Current event templates) warns editors and readers about an article that is the subject of a current event, such as a breaking news story, that is accordingly experiencing a great flux of edits and is in a fast-changing state. Wikipedia attracts numerous editors who want to update articles in real time immediately after such current events are published. However, sources to breaking news reports often contain serious inaccuracies, and so these templates can also draw attention to the need to add improved sources as soon as they become available.
As noted previously, most templates contain links to guidance pages. Additionally, many templates have documentation that provides more information about the template's flagged issue, which is displayed when you visit the template page itself.
To access the template and thereby see its documentation, type into the search field Template:, followed by the name of the template, seen when you view its placement in the Edit interface (typically found in the first lines of the article). The first "parameter" is the name of the template.
If you've read through this page and are still confused about what needs to be done to fix an issue on a page and remove a maintenance template, try asking at the Teahouse, a page designed for new users to ask questions. Alternatively, you could try the more general Help desk, or seek live assistance at the IRC channel: #wikipedia-en-help.