How to Develop a Stub Into a Better Article

One Methods:Examples

A stub is an article that provides a basic outline, but not enough information for the reader to complete the task. While all wikiHow articles are in progress, stubs need significant help to reach their full potential. You can help to improve the quality of a stub with more useful or detailed information. You may even polish it into a Featured Article!


Click here for a list of articles currently tagged as stubs on wikihow. Why not pick one to improve?

Steps

  1. Image titled Develop a Stub Into a Better Article Step 1
    1
    Research the topic. Even if it's a topic you know nothing about, you can search the Internet for more information, and put that information in your own words to add to the article. If you drew details from another site, put a link in the "Sources and Citations" and write "Research source" right after it. Or, if you're using that website to back up a specific statement or fact, make it a reference.
  2. Image titled Develop a Stub Into a Better Article Step 2
    2
    Save a draft when adding raw content at first and then rephrasing it later before publishing your changes. Using the "draft" tool on wikiHow can be helpful to clarify the instructions.
  3. Image titled Develop a Stub Into a Better Article Step 3
    3
    Protect your edits with the "in-use" template, which is simply {{inuse}}, to indicate you are currently working on that article as other editors might edit or revert parts of the article while you are expanding it. Just copy and paste or write {{inuse}} at the very beginning of the article.
  4. Image titled Develop a Stub Into a Better Article Step 4
    4
    Add instructions and steps to the article. Many stub articles contain only the very essential steps to perform the task at hand or even, sometimes, incomplete set of steps. Look for the following cases, and if one of them applies, add the steps necessary:
    • See if the steps are incomplete, very brief or lacking one or more steps. If so, add the steps that are not there.
    • Check for alternative methods to achieve this specific step. If some exist, add them. Most of the time, a sub item is how this is done.
  5. Image titled Develop a Stub Into a Better Article Step 5
    5
    Expand steps of the article. Usually, stub articles contain very brief instructions that need more explaining or clarifications. Some ways you can do this:
    • Check if the step involves the use of measurement units. If it does, add alternative measurement system.
    • Check if the step contains vague or very generic instructions. In such cases, try to make the step more specific to the main purpose of the article.
    • Check if the step only states what to do but provides no methods. Sometimes, adding examples could clarify things that are otherwise harder to understand. In other cases, the step itself is a whole complete procedure with sub-steps of its own (in which case you add the sub-steps as a sub-list)
  6. Image titled Develop a Stub Into a Better Article Step 6
    6
    Check to see if there are alternative ways or methods to accomplish or achieve the goal set forth by the title of the article. If so, add the alternative method (as a subsection sometimes).
  7. Image titled Develop a Stub Into a Better Article Step 7
    7
    Add photos to the article. Select pictures that match the introduction and steps well.
    • Go through the steps and see if you can add an existing image to them that will actually clarify the step.
    • If you have the capability and willingness, you may create an image suitable for the step. For example, some steps can be clarified using a diagram or chart, others can be clarified using a photo and so on.
  8. Image titled Develop a Stub Into a Better Article Step 8
    8
    Embed a video. Sometimes you can find a very helpful video that the reader can watch to supplement the instructions.
    • Again, if you can, and are willing to, you may create a video and upload it to one of the video hosting services such as youtube and add it.
    • Sometimes, it might be necessary to ask for the help of an admin in adding the video if you can't add it through the wikiHow Import Video Tool.
  9. Image titled Develop a Stub Into a Better Article Step 9
    9
    Separate tips, steps or add the tips section. Some stub articles mix the "Tips" section with the "Steps" one. Some of them do not include tips at all. If the articles falls under the first type, separate the tips and the steps in their respective sections. If it falls under the second, and there are some useful tips you can add, add them.
  10. Image titled Develop a Stub Into a Better Article Step 10
    10
    Insert "Cautions" in steps or substeps -- or in a section if necessary.
  11. Image titled Develop a Stub Into a Better Article Step 11
    11
    Add related wikiHows. These should be wikiHow articles related to the article to give further tips on related topics.

Examples

Here are some examples of articles that were marked as stubs but were improved and developed by other editors.

  • How to Get Website Info Using Cmd
    • Before
    • After
    • The edits in between
  • How to Repair Your Own Car Without Experience - This article was expanded by several editors.
  • How to Make a Fantasy Race
  • How to Fall Without Hurting Yourself

Tips

  • Useful ideas and "nice to know information" may be good tips (but they are unnecessary for the steps).

Warnings

  • "Warnings" reveal and help avoid dangers and pitfalls that seem likely, especially for the novice/new in that kind of "How to".

Article Info

Categories: SOS | Writing and Editing