Wikipedia:Avoiding POV funnels

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Some funnels are more narrow than others, further restricting what is allowed to pass.

This essay, WP:Avoiding POV funnels, advises to avoid limiting topics as being constrained by a point-of-view funnel which restricts the possible range of related viewpoints into an unacceptably narrow range. Sometimes, there is a need to have multiple articles to avoid a single article from restricting the coverage about notable topics.

Avoiding POV-funnel sections[edit]

Within an article, the particular wording of a section header can overly limit the allowable text of the section. For example, the header "Media criticism of aardvark film" pre-supposes a negative viewpoint that the news media disliked the film, whereas the alternative header "Media response to aardvark film" allows a balance, for either negative or positive views, in the section, and does not limit the text into a "POV funnel" which would restrict the contents. Some words, such as "criticisms" or "scandals" have loaded meanings and should be avoided in headers or titles.

Avoiding POV-funnel articles[edit]

Some funnels are larger, but still restrict what is allowed to enter, or how fast it can be added.

Many topics directly relate to other major topics, and a single article cannot adequately cover all the information, in a balanced manner, because some topics would have far more detail than others within the same article. In some cases, details have been suppressed, or even removed, in an effort to artificially balance all aspects within a single article. Instead, per WP:FORK, an article could be split into "content forks" (dividing the total contents into separate articles on notable subtopics). Although POV-forks are discouraged, content forks are commonly used to split articles into major, notable sub-topics.

A funnel can be almost invisible, and people might be unaware of the restrictions being imposed.

For example, a renowned scientist might have made a scientific development, perhaps as an invention or scientific theory, which has "independent notability" as a separate topic, outside the article about the scientist. Any attempts to limit the related text, about that development, to being only a section of the scientist's bio-page article, would be an example of a POV-funnel. The scope of details needed to adequately describe, or explain, the particular development could be considered as being an WP:UNDUE level of details, if included within the scientist's bio-page.

However, when the scientific development is described in a separate article, there would be ample space to expand the necessary details, plus examples, diagrams or charts, to fully describe the major aspects. A similar example would be a separate article for a concert tour of a notable musician, rather than trying to describe the concert tour inside the musician's bio-page. The extent of concert details would likely be overwhelming to the remainder of the bio-page, when fully describing the concert themes and set designs, plus the typical song play list, and list of cities toured (etc.). More commonly, every major album, as released by a recording artist, is given a separate article, and thereby avoids cluttering the text of the musician's bio-page article.

By having separate articles for albums, concert tours, scientific inventions (etc.), then POV-funnels can be avoided in other articles, such as the bio-page articles of musicians, scientists, etc.

Extreme POV funnels[edit]

Some funnels are purposely designed as traps, to ensnare opponents and restrict their freedom, such as by a funnel spider.

In some extreme cases, a POV funnel might be used to purposely restrict what text sections, or images, are allowed within an article. The situation can be seen as a trap, deliberately intending to restrict the information "allowed" in Wikipedia.

Often, there might be claims that other text (or images) are WP:UNDUE details, beyond the scope of the narrowed article. However, per policy WP:NOTCENSORED, articles cannot omit information, even if considered offensive to some people's religion, moral code, or an organization's bylaws. The goal of Wikipedia is to "write the encyclopedia" not to thwart it or suppress it.

When funnels are destructive, they can cause damage and suffering to many people around.

Nevertheless, some arguments to omit information, as being WP:UNDUE clutter, can be very persuasive, and hence, a POV funnel is typically an effective way to suppress information, or justify axing large sections of text from an already overly-long article. Consequently, some violent debates have arisen as to what is allowed in each article, or section, and there have been storms of edit-wars or WP:ANI sanctions sought to prevent users from adding text. Instead, users should be reminded that even WP:FA featured articles are often quite long, and the appropriate way to shorten a long article would be to split into subarticles, or move text into previous articles which could be expanded.

See also[edit]