Help:Maintenance template removal

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Many Wikipedia pages display maintenance templates addressed to problems with the topic or content of the page. You may have arrived at this page after you clicked on a link in just such a maintenance template, that said "Learn how and when to remove this template message". These maintenance templates are added and removed by volunteers, and this help page explains the process through which this happens.

Overview

Maintenance templates (or "tags") are never removed automatically. If you fix the issue, the tag will still remain until you or someone else manually removes it. The mechanics of removal is usually as simple as clicking edit at the top of a page or in the section involved, removing the code that produces the display of the template, leaving an edit summary, and saving the page. However, it is not okay to remove maintenance templates until the issue flagged by the template is remedied first.

Wikipedia works because of the efforts of volunteers like you and their bold edits to assist us in building this encyclopedia project. Fixing problems and then removing maintenance templates when you're done is important in that effort.

Addressing the flagged problem

We don't know which maintenance tag brought you to this page, and thus what 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 may also find guidance on some of the more commonly seen 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 there are a host of other issues that may be flagged, from tone and style of writing, to structure and formatting, lack of links to other articles or of links to the article at issue, compliance with Wikipedia's manual of style, the lack of a lead section and others.

Fixing the issue is the condition you need to fulfill before removing the template, and that does require some effort on your part—to understand both the problem and its solution.

An example

If the issue flagged by the maintenance template is that the article contains no references, the template used might be Script error: No such module "Template link general". – typically placed by the code that you would see when editing: {{Unreferenced|date=June 2024}}. It is important to understand that what you see when reading an article, and what you see when editing it, is different. Thus, this code, only seen when editing, results in the display when you are reading of the 'called' template below: Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. This template contains a number of links indicated by words and phrases shown in blue. Three of these links are pages that when explored, should provide context and resources for you to understand why the template belonged, and how to address the issue of the article being unreferenced:

Whatever maintenance tag brought you here 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. This particular template, being very common, is further addressed in the specific template guidance section below.

When to remove

Most templates are not meant to be in articles permanently. Any user without a conflict of interest may remove a template in any of the following circumstances:

  1. When they have addressed the issue the template raises;
  2. When they determine that the issue has been resolved (perhaps by someone else);
  3. If it reasonably appears that the template did not belong when placed or was added in error (discussing the matter with the original placer of the template is advised, though if the user is no longer active this becomes moot; however, if the issue appears contentious, seek consensus on the talk page);
  4. When there is consensus on the talk page (or elsewhere) as to the flagged issue;
  5. When it reasonably appears that the template is no longer relevant, such as a Script error: No such module "Template link general". template appearing in an article that no longer documents a current event.
  6. Some neutrality tags such as Conflict of Interest (COI) and Neutral point of view (POV) require that the tagging editor initiate a dialog (generally on the article's talk page), to sustain their placement.[under discussion]

When not to remove

A template should not be removed if any of the following applies:

  1. When the issue has not yet been resolved;
  2. When there is ongoing activity or discussion related to the template issue;
  3. When you do not understand the issues raised by the template;
  4. When you simply disagree with the template (seek consensus first).
  5. You have been paid to edit the article or have some other conflict of interest.[under discussion]

Removal

Okay? You carefully read the help pages and have thoroughly fixed the problem? Alternatively, you have made a considered determination that the template is not, or is no longer, applicable? Good. Thank you!

Now, to remove the maintenance template:

  1. Either click on "edit" at the top of the page, or if the maintenance template is not at the top but somewhere in the body of the article, you might use instead a section edit link;
  2. Remove the template code. The template code you will see in edit mode will usually be in the form (as in the example above): {{Name of template|date}}
  3. Leave a descriptive edit summary, e.g., "removed [insert the name of template] as I have fixed the issue."
  4. Click Save page.

That's it.

Changing template

In some case it may be more appropriate to switch the template to another applicable one after your changes, rather than just removing it. Some templates flag highly discrete issues where this would not come into play. For example, if an article is "orphaned" – no links from other pages in the main article namespace link to it – then once that is taken care of by introducing such links, the issue is gone entirely and the tag's removal is unambiguous. However, for some types of issues, the problem flagged may imply secondary problems that will still exist after you take care of the main issue.

Case in point is the template example used of {{Unreferenced}}. It is directed at pages with no references. Thus, adding just one suitable reference renders that template no longer applicable. However, if that is the "fix", it does not take care of the overarching issue of poor sourcing. In that case, depending on the type, quality, depth and manner of sourcing added to fix the issue, a change to a different template may be appropriate, such as Script error: No such module "Template link general"., Script error: No such module "Template link general"., Script error: No such module "Template link general". or a host of others listed at Wikipedia:Template messages/Sources of articles.

In some cases, it may be helpful to request that the tagging editor provide the section version of the template to the section(s) where problems still exist, or use inline notation for finer clarity.

Specific template guidance

This section provides guidance on how to address some of the more common specific templates that may have brought you here. These are by no means all the types of templates you may encounter.

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Click "show" at the right for guidance on the Multiple issues templateScript error: No such module "Template link general".

Some articles will be flagged for multiple discrete problems using a single template: Script error: No such module "Template link general".. If you take care of one or more problem it flags but not all, do not remove the template entirely but just those parameters in it that you have fixed. The example below shows three different issues flagged by this template:

{{Multiple issues|
{{Orphan|date=January 2008}}
{{POV|date=June 2009}}
{{One source|date=March 2011}}
}}

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.

{{Multiple issues|
{{POV|date=June 2009}}
{{One source|date=March 2011}}
}}

See the sections below for how to address some of the more common problems flagged by templates that may be wrapped into this template.

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Click "show" at the right for guidance on Template:UnreferencedScript error: No such module "Template link general".

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.

Script error: No such module "Template link general"., typically placed by the code {{Unreferenced|date=June 2024}}, having redirects such as {{Unsourced}}, {{Unverified}}, {{No references}}, {{No sources}}, and {{Unref}}, and displaying when reading as: Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. 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.

<templatestyles src="Template:Hidden begin/styles.css"/>
Visual inline citation guide
Formatting references using inline citations
All information in Wikipedia articles should be verified by citations to reliable sources. Our preferred method of citation is using the "cite.php" form of inline citations, using the <ref></ref> elements. Using this method, each time a particular source is mined for information (don't copy word-for-word!), a footnote is placed in the text ("inline"), that takes one to the detail of the source when clicked, set forth in a references section after the text of the article.

In brief, anywhere you want a footnote to appear in a piece of text, you place an opening <ref> tag followed by the text of the citation which you want to appear at the bottom of the article, and close with a </ref> tag. Note the closing slash ("/"). For multiple use of a single reference, the opening ref tag is given a name, like so: <ref name="name"> followed by the citation text and a closing </ref> tag. Each time you want to use that footnote again, you simply use the first element with a slash, like so: <ref name="name" />.

In order for these references to appear, you must tell the software where to display them, using either the code <references/> or, most commonly, the template, {{Reflist}} which can be modified to display the references in columns using {{Reflist|colwidth=30em}}. Per our style guidelines, the references should be displayed in a separate section denominated "References" located after the body of the article.

Inline citation code; what you type in 'edit mode' What it produces when you save
Two separate citations.<ref>Citation text.</ref><ref>Citation text2.</ref>


Multiple<ref name="multiple">Citation text3.</ref>citation<ref name="multiple" /> use.<ref name="multiple" />


== References ==

{{Reflist}}

Two separate citations.[1][2]



Multiple[3] citation[3] use.[3]




References_________________

  1. Citation text.
  2. Citation text2.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Citation text3.
Templates that can be used between <ref></ref> tags to format references

{{Citation}} • {{Cite web}} • {{Cite book}} • {{Cite news}} • {{Cite journal}} • OthersExamples

As noted higher on this page, unless you thoroughly source a page in response to this template, it may more appropriate to switch this template with a more specific one rather than simply removing it. Depending on the type, quality, depth and manner of sourcing added to fix the issue, you might replace it with Script error: No such module "Template link general"., Script error: No such module "Template link general"., Script error: No such module "Template link general". or a host of others listed at Wikipedia:Template messages/Sources of articles.

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Click "show" at the right for guidance on Template:RefimproveScript error: No such module "Template link general".

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.

Script error: No such module "Template link general"., typically placed by the code {{Refimprove|date=June 2024}}, having redirects such as {{Improve references}}, {{Verify}}, {{More sources}} and {{Citations needed}}, and displaying when reading as:

flags the issue of an article that has some, but insufficient inline citations to support the material currently in the article. It should not be used for articles with no sources at all (Script error: No such module "Template link general". should be used instead), nor for articles without inline citations but which contain some sources (Script error: No such module "Template link general". should be used instead), nor for article on living persons (Script error: No such module "Template link general". should be used instead). This template no longer applies once an article has been made fairly well sourced.

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.

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Click "show" at the right for guidance on Template:No footnotesScript error: No such module "Template link general".

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.

Script error: No such module "Template link general"., typically placed by the code {{No footnotes|date=June 2024}}, and having redirects such as {{Citations}}, {{No citations}}, {{Inline citations}} and {{No inline citations}}, and displaying when reading as: Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. 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.

<templatestyles src="Template:Hidden begin/styles.css"/>
Visual inline citation guide
Formatting references using inline citations
All information in Wikipedia articles should be verified by citations to reliable sources. Our preferred method of citation is using the "cite.php" form of inline citations, using the <ref></ref> elements. Using this method, each time a particular source is mined for information (don't copy word-for-word!), a footnote is placed in the text ("inline"), that takes one to the detail of the source when clicked, set forth in a references section after the text of the article.

In brief, anywhere you want a footnote to appear in a piece of text, you place an opening <ref> tag followed by the text of the citation which you want to appear at the bottom of the article, and close with a </ref> tag. Note the closing slash ("/"). For multiple use of a single reference, the opening ref tag is given a name, like so: <ref name="name"> followed by the citation text and a closing </ref> tag. Each time you want to use that footnote again, you simply use the first element with a slash, like so: <ref name="name" />.

In order for these references to appear, you must tell the software where to display them, using either the code <references/> or, most commonly, the template, {{Reflist}} which can be modified to display the references in columns using {{Reflist|colwidth=30em}}. Per our style guidelines, the references should be displayed in a separate section denominated "References" located after the body of the article.

Inline citation code; what you type in 'edit mode' What it produces when you save
Two separate citations.<ref>Citation text.</ref><ref>Citation text2.</ref>


Multiple<ref name="multiple">Citation text3.</ref>citation<ref name="multiple" /> use.<ref name="multiple" />


== References ==

{{Reflist}}

Two separate citations.[1][2]



Multiple[3] citation[3] use.[3]




References_________________

  1. Citation text.
  2. Citation text2.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Citation text3.
Templates that can be used between <ref></ref> tags to format references

{{Citation}} • {{Cite web}} • {{Cite book}} • {{Cite news}} • {{Cite journal}} • OthersExamples

<templatestyles src="Template:Hidden begin/styles.css"/>

Click "show" at the right for guidance on Template:Primary sourcesScript error: No such module "Template link general".

Script error: No such module "Template link general"., typically placed by the code {{Primary sources|date=June 2024}}, having among other redirects {{Primary}}, and displaying when reading as: Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. 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 other 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 no amount of editing can overcome a lack of notability.

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Click "show" at the right for guidance on Template:NotabilityScript error: No such module "Template link general".

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.

The general notability standard thus presumes that topics are notable if they have "received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject".

Script error: No such module "Template link general"., typically placed by the code {{Notability|date=June 2024}}, having redirects such as {{Notable}}, {{Non-notable}}, {{Nn}} and {{Significance}}, and displaying when reading as: Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. (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:

  • Adding citations but to unreliable sources: We are looking for treatment in sources like mainstream newspaper articles, non-vanity books, magazines, scholarly journals, television and radio documentaries, etc. – sources with editorial oversight and a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. This means generally not random personal websites, blogs, forum posts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, self-published sources like open wikis (including other Wikipedia articles), etc. In short, read and understand Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources.
  • Adding citations to connected (non-independent) sources: While primary sources may be useful to verify certain facts, they must be used with caution and do nothing to establish notability. In short, we are looking for secondary sources written by third parties to a topic.
  • Adding citations to sources that merely mention the topic: You can cite numerous reliable, secondary, independent sources and it will not help establish notability if they do not treat the topic substantively – think generally two paragraphs of text focused on the topic at issue. Remember: it is much better to cite two good sources that treat a topic in detail, than twenty that just mention it in passing. Moreover, citation overkill to sources containing mere passing mentions of the topic is a badge of a non-notable topic and, if good sources are actually present in the mix, they will be hidden among these others from those seeking to assess a topic's demonstration of notability.

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 no amount of editing can overcome a lack of notability.

<templatestyles src="Template:Hidden begin/styles.css"/>

Click "show" at the right for guidance on Template:AdvertScript error: No such module "Template link general".

Script error: No such module "Template link general"., typically placed by the code {{Advert|date=June 2024}}, and having redirects such as {{Advertisement}}, {{Advertising}}, {{Ad}} and {{Puff}}, and displaying when reading as: Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. flags the issue of an article that read 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.

Advertisements are by no means limited to commercial topics and indeed are often seen for all manner of others, such as "noble causes", religious/spiritual leaders, sports teams, gaming clans and so forth. Though not always the case, a common denominator in promotional articles is the creator having some personal involvement with the topic. Please note the existence of {{Uw-paid1}} and higher levels if the creator appears to be financially compensated for their writings here. Note that pages that are exclusively promotional and would need to be fundamentally rewritten to become encyclopedic may be tagged for speedy deletion under section G11 of the criteria using {{db-g11}} or {{db-spam}}.

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.

<templatestyles src="Template:Hidden begin/styles.css"/>

Click "show" at the right for guidance on Template:POVScript error: No such module "Template link general".

Script error: No such module "Template link general"., typically placed by the code {{POV|date=June 2024}}, and having redirects such as {{NPOV}}, {{POV dispute}}, {{Neutrality}}, {{Neutral}} and {{Not neutral}}, and displaying when reading as: Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. 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:

  1. There is consensus on the talkpage or the NPOV Noticeboard that the issue has been resolved.
  2. It is not clear what the neutrality issue is, and no satisfactory explanation has been given.
  3. In the absence of any discussion, or if the discussion has become dormant.

<templatestyles src="Template:Hidden begin/styles.css"/>

Click "show" at the right for guidance on Template:Lead missingScript error: No such module "Template link general".

Script error: No such module "Template link general"., typically placed by the code {{Lead missing|date=June 2024}}, and having redirects such as {{No lead}}, {{Nointro}}, {{No lead section}}, {{Lead absent}} and {{Intro needed}}, and displaying when reading as: Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. 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.

Researching the tagged issue

The template may have links to guidance on its face and more specific information can be found with a Wikipedia search. When viewed in the Edit interface, header maintenance tags are typically placed in the first lines of the article. The first parameter is the name of the template, some templates may have additional parameters such as the month and year it was placed. Example: {{Unreferenced|date=June 2024}}

Additional guidance on the tagged issue can be found by searching the Wikipedia, with the Template: suffix, followed by the template's name. For example, searching the Wikipedia for Template:Unreferenced will take you to the guidance at Template:Unreferenced. The accompanying documentation for all maintenance templates can be located this way.

Still need help?

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.

See also