User:Dan Wylie-Sears 2

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I'm User:Dan Wylie-Sears, having forgotten my old password.

Some thoughts on advocacy[edit]

Wikipedia is not intended for advocacy, but we must face the fact that many people will use it that way, or try to. I see three ways of doing advocacy on WP:

  1. Making sure that information favorable to your POV is covered, in an encyclopedic NPOV way;
  2. Incorporating your POV into articles; and
  3. Suppressing information unfavorable to your POV, by sticking opposing advocates with the letter of the law on every last guideline, until they either give up and go away or lose their cool and provide grounds to have them (or at least their contributions) removed.

It can be hard to do #1 without sliding into #2, but I think it should be welcomed as long as it's sincere. Considerable energy and expertise that can be brought to bear by good-faith advocates, which could be lost if we rigorously exclude advocacy efforts even of the first type. But even adjusting for the overall level of effort applied, there is at least a case to be made that an adversarial system can provide better assurance of comprehensive coverage than a system wherein all participants strive for the truth while remaining thoroughly neutral as to what that truth might be. The natural sciences provide an example of such a system: scientists are full of passionate belief about their hypotheses, and try to test them in ways that will convince skeptical peers.

Obviously, #2 and #3 are undesirable. The problem is that they can be done unintentionally, even innocently. In formulating the rules and establishing the folkways of WP editing, there's an inevitable tension between avoiding #2 and avoiding #3.

Dan Wylie-Sears 2 (talk) 02:50, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Just joined a WikiProject[edit]

Added myself to the list of participants in Wikipedia:WikiProject Molecular and Cellular Biology

If I forget this URL [1], this is where I'll probably look for it.