From Tardis Wiki, the free Doctor Who reference

A stub is a fundamentally incomplete article, often — but not always — only a few sentences in length. A stub is so obviously missing information that it is almost calling out for information to be added to it.

It is important to stress that a stub is not only a short article. Many articles on this wiki are about minor subjects, of which not more than a few sentences can be written. And some longer articles may be classed as stubs if they're obviously lacking major points.

Stubs are identified through the placement of stub templates on pages which lack enough information to be considered proper articles.

Because these templates automatically add pages to various categories and lists that indicate articles needing improvement, editors must exercise sound judgement when deciding to use these templates. If stub templates are used indiscriminately — for instance, placed on articles just because they are short — these categories and lists will become useless to those editors who choose to use them to prioritise their work on this wiki.

Types of stub

Character stub

Articles about characters are often the hardest to judge in terms of their "stubbiness".

Many characters covered on this wiki may be minor ones, with fleeting appearances or description. With only so much that can be written about these characters based on the sources available.

In general, you should assume that articles about characters are not stubs. Only when you are certain that major details are missing should you mark it as a stub.

The question then becomes what constitutes "major details". This where an editor's personal judgment comes into play.

Imagine an article about a person who met the Doctor, had a romantic relationship with another character and was key to an effort to defeat an enemy. If the article didn't at least mention all three of these things, it's probably a stub. But if the article could merely use greater amplification about those points, it's probably not a stub.

Astronomical object stub

The overwhelming majority of articles about stars, planets, asteroids and other astronomical phenomena are going to be very often short.

This is because, aside from planets which feature prominently in a source these objects may only be mentioned incidentally, with only a name or a location being mentioned.

These fleeting mentions are not stubs, they are articles with all the limited information accessible through the sources available.

To determine if an astronomincal object article is a stub, it is better to question if it is lacking coverage of something significant – such as major cities, land masses, bodies of water, geologic formations, forests, or the like, then it is a stub. However if it merely fails to give as much detail as is possible, it is likely not a stub.

Species stub

Species in the Doctor Who universe are described in differing ways and detail depending on the writer's or creator's standards or reasonings.

Sometimes a lot is revealed about a species' culture, physiognomy and technology; sometimes only a little bit is explored. Trying to define when a species article is a stub is therefore somewhat tricky.

Begin with the preloadable format for the article.

For species this provides an infobox, Biology and History subheadings. Both these are good things to begin with, and to fill out to change a page from a stub into an article.

However there are many species articles which may not follow these subheadings, but are nevertheless not stubs. Sometimes, the known details about a species do not readily fit into this structure. It's rarely important to a story, for instance, what the life cycle of an alien is. Nor does every species have readily-identifiable biology. Only when there is information about a species which the article does not include would the article be considered a stub.

A species article should also strive to do more than just report the encounters that species had with the Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, K9 or Torchwood. It should attempt to provide physical and cultural details about the race. The fact that an article is devoid of these elements, however, should not be taken as an automatic sign it is a stub. Just as there are many astronomical objects which are only incidentally mentioned, there are many species who are given short shrift by writers.

Nevertheless, there are some things which every species articles — except those about very incidental species — should include to avoid being classed a stub:

  • An instance of template:Infobox Species filled out as completely as possible, preferably with an in-universe picture at 250px.
  • Some sort of physical description, including any known facts about the biology of the species
  • A description of the known history of the species in the Doctor Who universe. Ideally, this would include at least a sentence about every appearance, but to avoid stubbiness, it should at least include every appearance in the medium of origin.

Even if all three of these things are well-included in a species article, though, it still might be classed as a stub, if the gap between what is known from stories and what is written in the article is deemed too large.

Real world stub

Real world stubs are the most varied kind of stub, because they can be applied to an article about anything in the real world super-category, aside from stories. Production personnel, games, companies, merchandise and many other things can be slapped with the real world stub tag.

Story stub

Story stubs are fairly easily identified, although the sheer size of a "blank" or "placeholding" story page can fool the eye into believing there's more information on a page than there actually is. Whether a television, audio, comic, prose, or stage play story, they all require the same basic level of information to avoid being a stub.

All pages begin with a preloadable formats which automatically places a series of sub-headings and infobox on the article page.

You can see what this structure is like by going to almost any story page; The Book of the Still [+]Loading...["The Book of the Still (novel)"] is as good as any to examine the basic format of a story page.

When the format is added to the page, the subheadings all appear with the phrase to be added underneath them. This phrase persists until information is added. Thus, a story page can be immediately deemed a stub if one of two conditions is present:

  • There is no automatic formatting present.
  • Most of the subheads are still empty

However, a story page can still be a stub, if certain things remain unfilled.

  • In particular, a story without a plot section, or with one that has very few plot details included, is automatically a stub. One of the main points of a story page is to give the plot of a story, so its absence means the page is missing its essential element.
  • If the infobox is missing or substantially empty, an article can also be considered a stub — although this information is easily added.
  • For stories which are performed, like televised and audio stories, the complete absence of cast information can also reduce a page to stub status.
  • The lack of audience reception and home video availability can also be a barrier to a stub graduating to full article status.
  • Some attention to crew information is also necessary for performed stories, though the advent of BBC Wales productions, with their extremely long credit rolls, has made this more challenging.

Generally, though, the lack of information in other subheadings is not, in itself, enough to judge a page a stub. For instance, some stories do not actually have that much in the way of continuity with other stories. Some stories, especially short stories and stage plays, are quite independent of others. Some make almost no references to popular culture.


Unfortunately many of the articles about production personnel are currently stubs on this wiki. The vast majority merely give the stories on which a person worked, or might additionally inform of the roles an actor played. This is the very minimum a real world personnel article requires to avoid deletion, but is the very definition of a real world stub.

To avoid being a stub, a personnel article should give the birth (and, if applicable, death) dates of the individual. They should give at least a broadly complete accounting of that person's work in relation to their Doctor Who (or related/connected) work.

They should also have some kind of coverage of the person's career outside their Doctor Who-related works. There should also be at least some coverage of their non-Whoniverse collaborations with other veterans of the Whoniverse. For example, an article about Matt Smith should mention the fact that he co-starred with Billie Piper on The Ruby in the Smoke and Diaries of a Call Girl. It might also include information about an individual's personal life, if those details are relevant to the Doctor Who universe. For instance, an article about Peter Davison should mention that Georgia Moffett is his daughter, or one about Steven Moffat should point out that Sue Vertue is his wife. (Care, however, should be taken not to include merely rumoured or informal relationships without citation. For instance, it would be relevant to Katy Manning's page that she was romantically attracted to David Troughton, but only because she can be cited as giving this information on the DVD releases of The Three Doctors [+]Loading...["The Three Doctors (TV story)"] and The Curse of Peladon [+]Loading...["The Curse of Peladon (TV story)"].) Finally, as a matter of formatting, all personnel pages should have a link to that person's IMdB page.

As always, a stub is wholly or almost entirely missing some of these details. It's not something that is just missing a few of these details.


An article about a line of merchandise should explain what the merchandise is and give an accounting of the various specific products within that range. Any article which is just a listing of the items (unless the article's title is prefaced with the words List of or Gallery of) is a stub.

Likewise an article which just has a few sentences that characterise the product is also a stub. An article need not list every single product in the range, nor must it give all the details in the range to be a full article. But it must at least attempt to give both a general range description and provide specific examples.

An article doesn't have cover everything about the item of merchandise, but likewise it can't gloss over the particuars of the history or detail, if it does it would be classed as a stub. But a proper article should attempt to give some context for the range, if it lacks this it would be a stub.

Real world jobs and terminology

Articles which focus on defining real world "behind-the-scenes" jobs like "best boy" can also be stubs. These are usually seen as pages which merely give a list of all the people who have held that title. Such pages are actually just lists, not proper articles. A "job" page should endeavour to describe what the job is. Lists of the people holding those jobs are incidental, and often should be spun out into a page, like the as-yet-unwritten, List of best boys.

Exactly how much information would be required to transfer a page from a "stub" to an "article" is another area where the editor's judgment is key. Generally, if you read an article about a job title, and you still don't really understand what the position is, or you know that the definition is lacking fundamental details, then the article is a stub.

The same is true of articles that attempt to define production terminology, like CSO.

General stub

A general stub is one that defies categorisation into one of the more specific stub types. As with all stubs, though, the basic rule of thumb is that it's not a stub just because it's short.

An article is only a general stub when:

  • it can't be classed as any more specific kind of stub
  • it's missing substantial information from appearances not yet cited in the article
  • what is included is so lacking in information that it actually gives a false impression about the topic at hand

Section stub

If only a section of an article is needing expanding, then a section stub should be used within that section.

How to mark an article as a stub

Articles are marked as stubs through the use of pre-created templates. They are included on pages simply by typing their name inside two curly braces. For instance:

{{real world stub}}

will place the real world stub tag on a page, and automatically send the page to a list of real world stubs.

Due to the way that stub tags interact with infoboxes, the best place for it on a page with an infobox is immediately between the closing curly brace of the infobox and the first word of the article proper, without any spaces or line breaks. Thus:

infobox}}{{TV stub}}'''''The Eleventh Hour''''' was an episode of . . . 

This was it is easily located, and removed when the article's status has improved and the stub can be removed.

If the article does not have an infobox if can simply be the first thing on the article. But it's important that for all articles it should be somewhere near the top.

Stub templates

A list of available stub templates can be found at Tardis:stub templates.

List of stubs

The master listing of all stubs can be found at category:stubs. From there, stubs are further divided by type.