Wikipedia:Expert Retention/Burden of proof

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In order for Wikipedia to remain encyclopedic, its articles must reflect the current state of their appropriate fields. A reader should be able to presume that the content of an article is sound.

Articles are often edited to improve their content, and most such edits are uncontroversial or undergo correction without rancor. In many cases, however, tendentious editing damages articles by loading them with statements which contradict the state of the field as the experts hold. This not only degrades those articles, but reduces the credibility of Wikipedia as a whole, and is highly disruptive to the editing process.

When a change to an article is challenged, the editor is expected to justify it, through references and discussion. Until the issue is resolved, the article should remain in its prior state as to the contested point. Users who cannot advance their change through normal discussion and dispute resolution are subject to blocking or banning if they attempt to co-opt the process and impose their edits on the article anyway.

In general, this does not apply to articles on topics generally held to be controversial, or which are not established subjects of formal study. User editing such topics are, however, expected to afford the same respect to the depictions of the various positions and sides of the controversy; the burden of proof is upon those who make significant changes to statements of the positions.

This is not to be construed as an invitation to gratuitously challenge every unreferenced change, nor to doubt the integrity of every reference provided. Wikipedia:Assume good faith when there is doubt; do not set yourself up as a devil's advocate. Challengers to edits are also expected to support their positions and may be blocked or banned if they are held to be violating WP:NPOV or other policies in defending the article's original content.