Wikipedia:NPOV dispute

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Articles that have been linked to this page are the subject of an NPOV dispute (NPOV stands for neutral point of view; see below). This means that in the opinion of the person who added this link, the article in question does not conform to Wikipedia:Neutral point of view.

Drive-by tagging is discouraged. The editor who adds the tag should address the issues on the talk page, pointing to specific issues that are actionable within the content policies, namely Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:Verifiability, Wikipedia:No original research and Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons. Simply being of the opinion that a page is not neutral is not sufficient to justify the addition of the tag. Tags should be added as a last resort.

What is NPOV?[edit]

NPOV stands for Neutral point of view. An NPOV (neutral, unbiased) article is an article that complies with the Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy by presenting fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias all significant views that have been published by reliable sources (N.B.: not all views held by editors or by the general public). This is especially important for the encyclopedia's treatment of controversial issues, where there is often an abundance of viewpoints and criticisms of the subject. In a neutral representation, the differing points of view are presented as differing points of view, not as widely accepted facts.

See Category:NPOV disputes or What links here for a list of articles in a NPOV dispute.

What is an NPOV dispute?[edit]

Often, authors can view "their" articles as being NPOV, while others disagree. That an article is in an "NPOV dispute" does not necessarily mean it is biased, only that someone feels that it is.

Note, however, that there is a strong inductive argument that, if a page is in an NPOV dispute, it probably is not neutral—or, at least, that the topic is a controversial one, and one should be wary of a possible slant or bias. The salient point is that one side—who cares enough to be making the point—thinks that the article says something that other people would want to disagree with.

Most probably the only grounds on which there could be an NPOV dispute over an article that actually conformed to the NPOV is when one or both of the parties to the dispute did not understand either the NPOV policy, or enough about the subject matter to realize that nothing favoring one POV had actually been said. For example, ideologues, when presented with an article that has exemplary neutrality (as per our policy), will consider the article biased precisely because it does not reflect their own bias enough.

By linking to this page from an article, a dissenter can register his or her concern without unduly upsetting the author(s) or maintainer(s) of the article, and without starting a flame war. Others would maintain, however, that linking to this page only postpones the dispute. This might be a good thing, though, if a "cooling off" period seems required.

Everyone can agree that marking an article as having an NPOV dispute is a temporary measure, and should be followed up by actual contributions to the article in order to put it in such a state that people agree that it is neutral.

A NPOV dispute tag does not mean that an article actually violates NPOV. An editor should not remove the tag merely because he or she feels the article does comply with NPOV: The tag should be removed only when there is a consensus that the disputes have indeed been resolved.

Sometimes people have edit wars over the NPOV dispute tag, or have an extended debate about whether there is a NPOV dispute or not. The tag is intended to signify that there is an active good-faith effort, grounded in policy, to resolve the perceived neutrality concern. The NPOV-dispute tag is not a consolation prize for editors whose position has been rejected by a consensus of other editors, nor is it a substitute for pursuing appropriate dispute resolution. If your sole contribution to an article is to repeatedly add or remove the tag, chances are high that you are abusing your "right" to use the tag.

How can one disagree about NPOV?[edit]

The vast majority of neutrality disputes are due to a simple confusion: one party believes "X" to be a fact, and—this party is mistaken (see second example below)—that if a claim is factual, the article is therefore neutral. The other party either denies that "X" is a fact, or that everyone would agree that it is a fact. In such a dispute, the first party needs to re-read the Neutral Point of View policy. Even if something is a fact, or allegedly a fact, that does not mean that the bold statement of that fact establishes neutrality.

Neutrality here at Wikipedia is all about presenting competing versions of what the facts are. It doesn't matter at all how convinced we are that our facts are the facts. If a significant number of other interested parties really do disagree with us, no matter how wrong we think they are, the neutrality policy dictates that the discussion be recast as a fair presentation of the dispute between the parties.

There are many ways that an article can fail to adhere to the NPOV policy. Some examples are:

  • The article can simply be biased, expressing viewpoints as facts (see Wikipedia:POV)
  • While each fact mentioned in the article might be presented fairly, the very selection (and omission) of facts can make an article biased.
  • Some viewpoints, although not presented as facts, can be given undue attention and space compared to others (see Wikipedia:NPOV tutorial#Space and balance).
  • The text and manner of writing can insinuate that one viewpoint is more correct than another.
  • The subject or title of the article can imply a particular point of view.
  • A type of analysis of facts that can lead to the article suggesting a particular point of view's accuracy over other equally valid analytic perspectives.
  • The author's own viewpoint is mentioned or obvious.
  • Alternate viewpoints are compared in persuasive terms.

How to initiate an NPOV debate[edit]

If you come across an article whose content does not seem to be consistent with Wikipedia's NPOV policy, use one of the tags below to mark the article's main page. Then, on the article's talk page, make a new section entitled "NPOV dispute [- followed by a section's name if you're challenging just a particular section of the article and not the article as a whole]". Then, under this new section, clearly and exactly explain which part of the article does not seem to have a NPOV and why. Make some suggestions as to how one can improve the article. Be active and bold in improving the article.

How can neutrality be achieved?[edit]

Talking with other contributors is a great way to find out why there is a dispute over an article's neutrality. Ideas and POVs can be shared and ultimately the disputed fact or point can be fixed if it is incorrect or, when dealing with a controversial issue, various legitimate sources can be cited in the article.

Historians commonly cite many sources in books because there are and will always be disputes over history. Contributors on Wikipedia can do the same thing, thus giving readers a broad spectrum of POVs and opinions.

Additionally, There are several steps one can take to resolve a NPOV dispute:

POV pushing[edit]

Shortcut:

POV-pushing is a term used on Wikipedia to describe the aggressive presentation of a particular point of view in an article, particularly when used to denote the undue presentation of minor or fringe ideas. Calling someone a "POV-pusher" is uncivil, and even characterizing edits as POV-pushing should be done carefully. It is generally not necessary to characterize edits as POV-pushing in order to challenge them.

The term POV-pushing is primarily used in regard to the presentation of a particular POV in an article and generally does not apply to talk page discussions. Editing a POV in an article that corresponds with one's own personal beliefs is not necessarily POV-pushing. If you suspect POV-pushing is happening (it is not always obvious), follow the steps listed in the above section (NPOV resolution).

Adding a tag to a page[edit]

To indicate that the neutrality of an article is disputed, insert {{POV}} at the top of the article to display:

Please note: This label is meant to indicate that a discussion is still going on, and that the article's content is disputed, and volatile. If you add this template to an article in which there is no relevant discussion underway, you need at least to leave a note on the article's talk page describing what you consider unacceptable about the article. The note should address the troubling passages, elements, or phrases specifically enough to encourage constructive discussion that leads to resolution. If you believe that material or a particular viewpoint is missing, then you should try to give examples of published, independent, reliable sources that contain this missing material or point of view. In the absence of an ongoing discussion on the article's talk page, any editor may remove this tag at any time.


An alternative is to add {{POV-check}} at the top of the article to display:

Use this template when there is no active discussion of a dispute on the talk page, but the article does not appear to conform to NPOV guidelines. You should explain what you think is wrong with the article on the talk page; if discussion or changes do not result, then consider using this template. See also: Wikipedia:POV check.


Or, add {{POV-section}} at the top of a section in the article to display:

Use this when the bulk of an article is okay, but a single section appears not to be NPOV. You should explain what is wrong with the section on the talk page.


Or, add {{POV-title}} at the top of the article to display:

Use this when the POV issue concerns the title of the article. You should explain what is wrong with the title on the talk page.

See also[edit]