Stubs are articles which have not yet received substantial attention from editors. They have been created, but don't yet contain enough information to be considered articles. The community believes that stubs are far from worthless. They are, rather, the first step articles take on their course to becoming complete.
Identifying a stub
A stub is an article which is clearly too short, but not so short as to be useless. In general, it must be long enough to at least define the article's title. This usually means stubs are about the length of 3 to 10 short sentences. Note that a longer article may be a stub if the topic is complex enough; conversely, a short article on a topic which has a very narrow scope may not be a stub.
After writing the stub, the editor inserts what is called a stub template so that the article can be flagged as needing expansion. All stubs are categorised under the single category Articles to be expanded.
The stub template should be inserted at the bottom of the article like this in the edit window:
Which gives this appearance on a page:
|This article is a stub. You can help by adding to it.|
Stub articles should have normal names (not including words like "stub" or "short"), since they may be enlarged to become full articles.
Ideal stub article
When you write a stub article, it is important to bear in mind that its main interest is to be expanded, and that thus it ideally contains enough information to give a basis for other editors to expand upon. The most important thing it to get some sensible text down for the topic. You or others can work on it later. There are things you can do to help get your stub off to a good start however...
Your initial research may be done either through books or through a reliable search site such as Yahoo or Google. You may also contribute with knowledge you have acquired from other sources, but it is interesting to conduct a small research beforehand, in order to make sure that your version of the facts is, from a neutral point of view, correct.
Begin by giving a precise definition or description of the topic in question or, where that is not possible, you should write a clear and informative description of the subject. State what a person is famous for, how an implement is used and why, the basic details of a concept and what distinguishes it from close similarities; just to give a few examples.
Next, you should try to expand this basic definition. The previously mentioned research methods will often fetch you enough information for you to be able to expose the basic points of the subject. Once you have a couple of well-structured and well-written sentences, you should internally link relevant words, so that users unfamiliar with the specifics of a subject can understand what is written on the article. Avoid linking words needlessly; in case you are in doubt, you should use the preview button and read the article from the point of view of somebody who has had no exposure to information regarding the subject. If no word seems hard to comprehend or relevant enough, simply don't link anything.
Once you have submitted the article, there are a number of courses it may take. An editor might get interested into it and write further, or you could expand it yourself once you have found more information about the subject or once you have more free time on your hands.