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What is a lead section?

asked 2017-07-27 14:01:21 -0500

What is the lead? What should go in it? What shouldn't go in it?

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answered 2017-07-27 14:01:32 -0500

updated 2017-07-27 14:56:36 -0500

Per Wikipedia, the "lead section (also known as the lead or introduction) of a Wikipedia article is the section before the table of contents and the first heading. The lead serves as an introduction to the article and a summary of its most important contents. It is not a news-style lead or lede paragraph."

This means that the lead should do the following:

  • identify the topic

This is typically satisfied by the opening sentence, which is normally phrased something like "Uma Karuna Thurman (born April 29, 1970) is an American actress and model." The title of the article should be bolded in the opening sentence.

  • establish context

This can normally be done with the lead sentence or with one sentence, as this explains what the article is about. For example, Uma Thurman is American, a model, and an actress, which is explained in the prior example. The key item is that this should be a brief overview - you can go into specifics in later sections.

  • explain why the topic is notable

This should also be brief and can often be satisfied by something along the lines of naming a key accomplishment or highlight. To use Thurman as an example again, you can say that she was nominated for several key awards like the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and/or list one of her most well known roles. Like with context, this should not be an exhaustive list of everything - when in doubt keep things minimal.

  • summarize the most important points

As explained previously, the lead should be to the point. At the very most the lead section should only be four paragraphs long and it should not make up the bulk of the article. For most entries, the lead section will only be a few sentences long.

You should also review page nine of the brochure "Editing Wikipedia", which discusses the lead section.

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Asked: 2017-07-27 14:01:21 -0500

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Last updated: Jul 27