This page attempts to document, at a high level, the steps in Wikipedia article creation. This is useful as a tool in Mediawiki development, as it helps generate visibility into how changes in some tools might effect the work of people who manage subsequent steps in the process.
The audience is software developers who lack a complete understanding of all the processes by which Wikipedia functions, but it could be useful to others as well.
This is not an attempt to document every step in the process. Rather "steps" are actually large categories of actions. Steps are roughly divided where an article passes out of the hands of one distinct group of editors, and into the hands of another (for example, from creation to patrol, then patrol to assessment).
It's almost certainly wrong in some areas. Feedback is appreciated.
There are two kinds of arrows here:
- Solid arrows: If a change is made in the step on the upstream end of the arrow that effects the volume or quality of its output, it will have an immediate effect on the downstream step.
- Dashed arrows: The steps are connected, but the above won't necessarily happen.
- Articles for Creation (AfC): Draft articles are submitted for review and creation
- Article Wizard: A wizard that guides editors through determining whether an article should be created.
- Userspace Draft: An article-in-progress, stored in the editor's userspace until it's ready for creation or submission to AfC.
- Create Immediately: An editor opens an edit form on a nonexistent article and creates it right away. The default behavior when following redlinks. This is often discouraged by our documentation.
- Merger Proposal: An article is proposed for merging into another article. The merge is generally only carried out when rough consensus is reached.
- Articles for Deletion (AfD): A consensus-based deletion discussion.
- Proposed Deletion (PROD): Used to suggest deletions that are expected to go uncontested. Contested deletions move to AfD.
- Speedy Deletion (CSD): Immediate deletion of content that clearly meets certain specific criteria (vandalism, patent nonsense, etc).
- New Pages Patrol (NPP): Review of all new articles for rules compliance, notability, accuracy of references, etc.
- Random Patrol: Checking of random pages against similar criteria to NPP.
- Recent Changes Patrol (RCP): Review of recent edits for rules compliance and accuracy.
- Watchlist: Editors who feel invested in a particular article will watch it via their watchlist and review all changes.
- Assessment (AA): Editors assign ratings to articles based on a variety of criteria, and prioritize work on those articles.
- Peer Review: Mature articles are exposed to closer scrutiny from a broader group of editors.
- Good Article Candidates (GAC): Editors determine which articles meet a core set of editorial standards, but are not yet of Featured Article quality.
- Featured Article Candidates (FAC): Determination of which articles are to be Featured Articles, based on general excellence and adherence to specific criteria.
- Featured List Candidates (FLC): Similar to FAC, but for Featured Lists.
- Did You Know... (DYK): Recently created or significantly expanded articles have bits of information pulled for inclusion in the Did You Know... section of the Main Page.
Diagram Source 
The original OmniGraffle 4 document for the diagram can be found here: article lifecycle.graffle