Wikipedia:Not everything needs a template

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Templates on Wikipedia are meant to provide useful information and navigation across articles for a specific subject. The most common form of templates on Wikipedia are

  • navigational templates: also known as navboxes, connect related articles pertaining to a specific topic
  • infoboxes: normally found at the top-right corner of articles, where they present a summary of some unifying aspects that articles share, and sometimes improve navigation to other interrelated articles
  • sidebars: vertical navigation templates, usually found on the right-side of articles.

While these three forms of templates are useful and necessary, they are created for a specific purpose. Thus, not every subject on Wikipedia needs a template created for it.

Articles that qualify as being notable don't necessarily warrant navboxes, infoboxes, and sidebars. The same standard applies to categories being created for the article mainspace. Templates and categories should only be created if it helps to navigate and classify articles that are related to one another. Templates created for every subject would go against template creep which clutters articles when templates for the broader subject can do the same job. Avoiding redundancy is a key part of the process. Two heads are better than one, but two templates are usually not.


Not every notable individual that has his or her own article, whether they are politicians, actors, singers, writers, etc... needs a template or even a category named after them. The subject should only have a navbox created about them if and only if there are enough related articles that connect to the main subject. A standard on Wikipedia per NEAN is that there needs to be a minimum of five links related to the main subject for there to be a navbox and sidebar to fulfill basic navigation. Redirects and links to article sections should be avoided as the links included should lead directly to articles. And templates should not contain any redlinks, be it articles that have yet to be created or were deleted. Pursuant to NEAN, not all articles need a navbox as well. Templates for Presidents of the United States, in this case, navboxes, have enough articles about them or that are related to them for there to warrant a template. And no template should be created relating to the main subject on a more specific matter when a template for the main topic exists. For example, templates for the individual presidency of an American President should not exist when the main template for the president already includes articles about their presidency.

Single-use concerns[edit]

Single-use templates should avoid being created since templates are supposed to be used across multiple spaces, not just one. Single-use templates take up unnecessary space and should be considered being part of an article it was created for. Since mostly it is article content and as per the guidelines, falls under article content and should not be on a separate space. Election results templates have this issue.

Election results should be part of election articles since it's related to the article about the election. And elections for a specific year or position happen only once and it's hard to imagine that election results templates are needed across multiple articles. Templates for election results are unlikely to be updated once the final votes have been counted. While it's necessary for templates to be updated constantly similar to articles, updating should only happen if things change. Such as if a page moves in order to avoid the redirect, or if a page was deleted since a deleted page can't aid in navigation. Election results don't change all that often and there shouldn't be an expectation to. An alternative to template usage for results tables is section transclusion.

Section transclusion can lead directly to the results on the main article to the respective section from a related article. Also, election results template should never be included on an article for a politician or someone who ran for office even if it has been substituted or linked through section transclusion. The reason is, regardless of whether they won or not, it's not an appropriate use of templates or article content that in comparison to the overall biographical subject it's trivial information.


Certain single-use templates can be given an exception as long they present some quality form of navigation or information. Rail routemap templates for example don't have to be deleted and result in substitution since they show the route map for certain railway lines. Substitution will be counterproductive as in order to update the route or fix an error would be harder on article space than on template space.

Sports topics[edit]

Sports templates occupy a lot of space and not every league or tournament, be it a national or international event, needs one. Sometimes there isn't enough information for articles to be created relating to a sporting event outside the main article. As such, templates should not be created just in case there is going to be an article. Standings templates for sporting events or sports leagues should only be created if there are going to be multiple uses. Rosters for each and every season for a team in a certain league should not be on a separate space outside of the main article. The same applies to navboxes for teams that played in the championship or rounds of a tournament. If the team didn't win the championship, then it doesn't need a template. The team that won deserves one since it's more notable as opposed to the team that lost. Fancruft needs to be avoided.

Avoid infoboxes for specific subjects[edit]

Infoboxes should not be created for any specific subject. An infobox created for a specific person is redundant to the main infobox person template. [[Template:Infobox Barack Obama|Infobox Barack Obama]] is not necessary as Template:Infobox officeholder is more applicable given Barack Obama's career in politics and having held public office numerous times. Not all articles need an infobox or their own infobox.


Sidebars are similar to navboxes, but often contain fewer links and are meant to be an easier form of navigation that might not be attainable with certain navboxes. Particularly if navboxes for the same subject are too large. Topics with large navboxes don't always need a sidebar as it creates redundancy. Sidebars should only be created if the subject warrants it. Usually, a topic that would require a summary of links of related articles that generally explain what the overall topic is about. If a subject has a navbox, then a sidebar isn't necessary. There's a reason sidebars for President of the United States exist as their navboxes can be quite large to easily navigate through.


If a user has created a template, it's best that they find some place on Wikipedia for it to be used. Otherwise, it adds to the backlog of unused templates which is something we don't need more of.

See also[edit]