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Welcome to BullRangifer's ("Brangifer") user page

on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that you can edit.
As long as you follow the rules, you'll be okay, but if not, you're screwed!

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User talk:BullRangifer Special:Contributions/BullRangifer Special:Emailuser/BullRangifer User:BullRangifer/Userboxes User:BullRangifer/Barnstars User:BullRangifer/Watchlists

A bull rangifer tarandus can weigh 100–318 kg (220–700 lb) and measure 180–214 cm (71–84 in) in head-and-body length.

Please read Reindeer hunting in Greenland, which I authored.


Just hold your mouse pointer over each barnstar to read each greeting.

The Sitting Duck Award. Wikipedia is not a sitting duck for quacks. In recognition of your efforts the sitting duck award. - JFW 00:29, 26 December 2005 (UTC) The Tireless Contributor Barnstar. Presented to BullRangifer on September 25, 2006 for your tireless persistence in editing with precision and style and defending the difficult articles while encouraging others to do the same. A true wikipedian! - Dematt 21:38, 25 September 2006 (UTC) The E=MC² Barnstar 1. To BullRangifer, for being a scientist in the very best meaning of the word; been proud to work with you. - Gleng 16:28, 28 September 2006 (UTC) For your contributions to Wikipedia and humanity in general, you are hereby granted the coveted Random Smiley Award. Originated by Pedia-I. - StoptheDatabaseState 20:58, 11 December 2006 (UTC) The Resilient Barnstar 1. I award the Resilient Barnstar to BullRangifer for his continual good nature and his willingness to persist in improving Wikipedia despite continual personal attacks. It's great to have you here. - Maustrauser 13:41, 13 January 2007 (UTC) The Purple Barnstar. For pushing through trials and tribulations to become a better editor - Shot info 00:25, 28 March 2007 (UTC) The Original Barnstar 1. I Angelbo award you this Barnstar for your article about Reindeer hunting in Greenland. That is a fantastic article you created there. - Angelbo 12:32, 29 April 2007 (UTC) The Original Barnstar 2. I'm awarding you this barnstar for your help in rewriting the homeopathy article. It is now implemented and hopefully will improve even further in the near future. Great job! - Wikidudeman 14:48, 1 September 2007 (UTC) Angel Heart Barnstar. This is for all the kindness and help you have given to me and others. -- Crohnie 13:55, 25 September 2007 (UTC) The Resilient Barnstar 2. I, Durova, award BullRangifer the Resilient Barnstar for starting a new article that got into "Template:Did you know" after a hard journey through arbitration.  Here's to a strong comeback! Durova 02:16, 29 September 2007 (UTC) The E=mc² Barnstar 2. To BullRangifer: for fairness and knowing your stuff.  Sincere thanks for all your contributions here. Jim Butler 01:06, 27 January 2008 (UTC) The Copyeditor's Barnstar. For doing some great, painstaking copyediting on several articles. Keep up the good work! Eustress 01:43, 15 April 2008 (UTC) The Peace Barnstar. For continued handling of contentious areas in a helpful and civil manner, and especially for the ability to find and encourage solutions to disputes. Shell 01:19, 26 October 2008 (UTC) The Content Creativity Barnstar. For everyone here - you've done an incredible job working hard at working together.  The section is coming together without any edit wars; there've been no personal remarks and in general, everyone has been incredibly civil and helpful.  This is a very impressive way to turn things around - feel free to yank this barnstar and put it in your own user space :) Shell 19:21, 22 November 2008 (UTC) The Defender of the Wiki Barnstar 1. For your contributions to medicine and science articles, and those articles that would otherwise make claim to be such. Verbal 09:46, 1 April 2009 (UTC) The WikiMedal for Janitorial Services shall be awarded to User:BullRangifer for good janitorial work, shown by adding an appropriate and much-needed image to this article. Mootros 09:19, 23 October 2009 (UTC) The Surreal Barnstar. Great addition to the new essay Wikipedia:An article about yourself is nothing to be proud of. Sebwite 17:13, 3 December 2009 (UTC) The Defender of the Wiki Barnstar 2. For your assistance in the recent Certifiedallergist case. Famousdog 13:53, 16 February 2012 (UTC) The Special Barnstar 1. Thank you for filling me in on the information I was unaware of. It's nice to meet you. Cheers, Riley Huntley 22:54, 27 May 2012 (UTC) The Special Barnstar 2. Thank you for your help with the Burzynski issue. Tow Trucker 03:01, 29 May 2012 (UTC) The Resilient Barnstar 3. For your tireless work on articles with WP:FRINGE problems. bobrayner 20:34, 22 April 2013 (UTC) COI 11:22, 10 February 2014 (UTC) The Cure Award. In 2013 you were one of the top 300 medical editors across any language of Wikipedia.  Thank you so much for helping bring free, complete, accurate, up-to-date medical information to the public.  We really appreciate you and the vital work you do! Thanks again :)  --Ocaasi, Doc James and the team at Wiki Project Med Foundation - 19:15, May 4, 2014‎ (UTC) The Original Barnstar 4. Thank you for your outstanding contribution WP:CREATELEAD !  Natalie.Desautels (talk) 07:18, 18 October 2015 (UTC)
been around
seen it all
older than the Cabal itself
Editor - platinum star I.jpg This editor is a Master Editor
and is entitled to display this
Platinum Editor Star.

Tutnum6.jpg This editor is an Illustrious Looshpah and is entitled to display this Book of All Knowledge.

Master Editor

The essence of Wikipedia

The essence of Wikipedia is the harnessing of the collective intelligence and collaborative efforts of editors who hold opposing points of view, in an attempt to preserve all serious contributions which are reliably sourced. The result is the continual building of more and better NPOV content.

Alternative medicine critics

Please help develop this. Use the talk page there and notify me.

Wikipedia:Conspiracy theory accusations

Please help develop this. Use the talk page there.

How to create and manage a good lead

BullRangifer: What's in a name?

Rangifer = Reindeer, and a bull reindeer is a noble stag.(*)

The reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), also known as the caribou when wild in North America, is an Arctic and Subarctic-dwelling deer, widespread and numerous across the northern Holarctic.

A bull reindeer is a truly majestic animal, and reindeer/caribou "may well be the species of single greatest importance in the entire anthropological literature on hunting":

"In North America and Eurasia the species has long been an important resource--in many areas the most important resource--for peoples inhabiting the northern boreal forest and tundra regions. Known human dependence on caribou/wild reindeer has a long history, beginning in the Middle Pleistocene (Banfield 1961:170; Kurtén 1968:170) and continuing to the present....The caribou/wild reindeer is thus an animal that has been a major resource for humans throughout a tremendous geographic area and across a time span of tens of thousands of years.... It may well be the species of single greatest importance in the entire anthropological literature on hunting." Ernest S. Burch, Jr. The Caribou/Wild Reindeer as a Human Resource. American Antiquity, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Jul., 1972), pp. 339-368.
Reindeer hunting

Please read Reindeer hunting in Greenland, which I authored.

I have personally harvested 16 reindeer. Excellent flavor and very lean.

Firearm: SAKO cal. .30-06. Shortest distance to target: under 7 meters (two deer were curious and approached to stare at me while I gutted another deer). Longest distance: 150+ meters. Most deer in one day: four. I have had the pleasure of having my wife accompany me on one hunt, and sharing in all the details of the hunt, IOW sweat, lots of climbing and hiking, nerves, caution, patience, excitement, blood and guts, carrying, etc..

(*)The Noble Stag Is A Majestic creature.
  • A noble stag saved the king's life. [1]


Do I have a COI with regard to Quackwatch and Stephen Barrett? No. A shared POV is not a COI.

My articles and creations

A few of the articles and essays I have entirely written, started, or added significant content:

Updated DYK query On 1 May, 2007, Did you know? was updated with a fact from the article Reindeer hunting in Greenland, which you created or substantially expanded. If you know of another interesting fact from a recently created article, then please suggest it on the "Did you know?" talk page.

Opinion: How Wikipedia is misused to censor real world information

Censorship in the real world isn't just about images or pornography, but often about suppression of political POV (think China, North Korea, USA, and Iran), and that's the type we are seeing here. It's extremely unwikipedian and undemocratic. In this instance it is an extension of the Koch brothers' well known fetish for secrecy, in which they use shadow groups and dark money to carry out their political activities. Since Fox News is on their side, mainstream coverage is limited, because they are successful at hiding and manipulating any coverage of their activities. Therefore any reliable sources from the opposing side (usually activists) are fair game for use as sources (per WP:PARITY) and should be used here. Why PARITY? Because when mainstream sources fail to deal with a subject because of successful censorship, we must use other sources, usually partisan activist organizations whose POV can be cited as their opinion.

The same thing which applies to pseudoscience and other fringe subjects applies here. If we don't do this, their abuses extend to Wikipedia, and their real world political activities, much of which they seek to hide, are not covered at all. Arzel and others continually harp about our need to cover their charitable activities, but we already mention that and their charity balls and support of the arts. It's minimal and mostly directed at things which benefit other wealthy. Big deal. Their political activities do exist and need coverage. They learned long ago that democracy (one vote per man) does not work in their favor, so they are all about using their money to subvert it, and some editors wittingly or unwittingly aid them.

My attitude toward quackery and fringe articles

I can hardly put it any better than David Goodman (DGG) does on his userpage:

  • [I have a] "distaste for quack anything: medicine, science, psychology, social science ... I often vote to keep articles on these subjects, because the advocates of orthodoxy here sometimes seem to be even less reasonable than the quacks--and because I think the best way to expose quacks is to let them state their views plainly." Source

The attempts one sometimes sees by certain skeptics to AfD quack articles are often attempts at deletionism which violate the principles of the NPOV (which does not allow censorship) and notability (if a subject can establish notability, it has a right to exist here). Since fringe topics are required to give prominence to the mainstream POV, the basic POV of the quack view should be stated succinctly, without promotion or advocacy, and the mainstream skeptical view should be stated very clearly so as to make it clear that the subject is deprecated by the mainstream.


Quackwatch and I have been vindicated by the Arbitration Committee:

  • RS/N: Usage of Quackwatch as RS in medical quackery: The consensus is that it may be used as a source under the same rules and precautions that govern the use of any other RS. It is an obviously notable source that is highly regarded by the mainstream (no criticisms) and villified by the fringe/alternative side, which is to be expected -- it exposes their unscientific practices, scams, and other illegal activities.

My block log parsed

My short block log has some history that should be connected with it. Unfortunately it isn't possible to attach notes to a block log, so I do it here.

Let freedom ring!

Abraham Lincoln seated, Feb 9, 1864.jpg
The March of History

"Fourscore and seven years ago
our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation,
conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition
that all men are created equal."
Abraham Lincoln (2)


"Let us not seek
the Republican answer or the Democratic answer,
but the right answer.
Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past.
Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."
John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy, White House photo portrait, looking up.jpg
Martin Luther King Jr NYWTS.jpg
"I've been to the mountaintop......
And I've seen the promised land.
I may not get there with you.
But I want you to know tonight,
that we, as a people,
will get to the promised land."
Martin Luther King, Jr.


"Change will not come if we wait
for some other person or some other time.
We are the ones we've been waiting for.
We are the change that we seek."
Barack Obama
Barack Obama February 2 2008.jpg

Thoughts on liberty, freedom and democracy

It's The Soldier

It's the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us

Freedom of the Press.

It's the soldier, not the poet, who has given us

Freedom of Speech.

It's the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the

Freedom to Demonstrate.

It's the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the

Right to a Fair Trial.

It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves under the flag and

whose coffin is draped by the flag,

Who gives the protestor the right to burn the flag.

-- Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC, Marine Corps chaplain

  • "No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation." -- Douglas MacArthur
  • "Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people" -- Abraham Lincoln
  • "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable, that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." -- Thomas Jefferson
  • "To preserve the freedom of the human mind then and freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom." -- Thomas Jefferson
  • "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin
  • "If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will Lose its freedom: and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too." -- William Somerset Maugham
  • "Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain." -- John F. Kennedy
  • "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." -- John F. Kennedy
  • "Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves." -- D. H. Lawrence
  • "If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." -- Thomas Paine
  • "He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself." -- Thomas Paine
  • "America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and moral fact - the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality." -- Adlai Stevenson
  • "What is the essence of America? Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom 'to' and freedom 'from'." -- Marilyn vos Savant

Spinal manipulation research

A collection of spinal manipulation research abstracts, news reports and other commentaries, with special emphasis on risks, plus some other interesting sources. Some sources on the related subjects of Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Osteopathic medicine, and Osteopathy are also included. Some are of purely historical interest and others present the latest evidence. They are kept here as a resource for editing articles. This list is far from exhaustive. It is currently organized by year, for lack of a better system, which has the immediate benefit of helping to avoid duplication.

If you have any additional sources, suggestions for improvement or personal comments, please use the talk page. Thanks. -- BullRangifer / talk

Wikipedia:How to edit a page

Excellent tips and tricks.

Hope for Wikipedia as a reliable source

The following comment points out something that needs to be taken care of before Wikipedia can ever hope to be considered a reliable source by its own and other's standards:

What Wikipedia needs

Here's another interesting comment I found by chance. Note the significant wikilinks:

Some wise words: The problem with that ... (anecdotes are not evidence)

.. is you don't provide any sources. Anecdotes, like yours, are not evidence, nor is anything you said. Wikipedia is not about trying to determine the truth, but putting together an encyclopedia of stuff that other sources have amassed. Those who try to promote their agenda, their view, are against the NPOV which is the standard for Wikipedia articles. This is why original research is prohibited.

If all the information is available, from all the credible sources, then that is the knowledge on a subject. Those who want to edit out sources, and decide what is true, rather than let the reader have all the facts, are trying to promote their view, not help build a free encyclopedia. You know who you are.

Those who fight to restrict information, are the enemy of knowledge. Those who want to spin things their way, are the opposite of a NPOV.

If CBS or CNN or any real News outlet does a story, and you think they are wrong, you don't get to delete the story reference. If another credible source disagrees, you put that in as a counter. I know, some idiots think they should be the arbitrators of what is allowed to be read on the Internet. They are not only stupid, they are small minded. To them, I always say, you are not the authority. You don't get to decide. Get a clue and quit trying to control information. It is not your job to censor the Internet.

FX (talk) 03:14, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

It should be easy to include reality here

It shouldn't be difficult to include facts about proven reality, and it should be difficult to include fringe POV as if they were reality. If fringe POV pushers want to edit here, they should have a hard row to hoe, and shouldn't be allowed to make life difficult for pushers of reality. "Advocacy" of nonsense is forbidden here, while advocacy of reality isn't forbidden. The push may look the same, but it's allowable to push for reality, but not allowable to push for nonsense. That type of "advocacy" is forbidden. "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. No one is entitled to their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan. We don't allow OR here, and opinions need to be sourced and attributed, but undeniable facts don't. Those who are so far out in left field as to not understand reality or to consider nonsense to be reality should have a hard time here. -- BullRangifer (talk) 19:03, 27 December 2008 (UTC) [6]

An interesting compliment

Reading a comment like this makes me feel very humble and appreciative:

  • I retract the bit about "every person I'm in conflict with". A lot of conflict is good and I'm happy for it. I just had a conflict with User:BullRangifer and I don't want to see him blocked or banned ever. While I recognize that the joy of Wikipedia is always taking comments out of context I will say this: there are a number of editors who are currently active on Wikipedia with whom I have come in contact whom I believe should be shown the door. I will also unabashedly say that I intend to help showing them that door. ScienceApologist (talk) 04:59, 30 December 2008 (UTC) -- Source

Skeptic quotes

Below are a few quotes that express some of the guiding principles behind my skepticism:

Science & EBM versus so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM)

According to notable skeptics and physicians like Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, James Randi, Marcia Angell, Phil B. Fontanarosa, George D. Lundberg, and Stephen Barrett, the concept of "alternative" is often being misused in a misleading form of marketing, implying something that is far from the case:

  • "Alternative has two possible meanings. Correctly employed, it refers to methods that have equal value for a particular purpose. (An example would be two antibiotics capable of killing a particular organism.) When applied to unproven methods, however, the term can be misleading because methods that are unsafe or ineffective are not reasonable alternatives to proven treatment. To emphasize this fact, we place the word "alternative" in quotation marks throughout this book whenever it is applied to methods that are not based on established scientific knowledge." - Stephen Barrett, MD [7]
  • "There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking. Whether a therapeutic practice is 'Eastern' or 'Western,' is unconventional or mainstream, or involves mind-body techniques or molecular genetics is largely irrelevant except for historical purposes and cultural interest. As believers in science and evidence, we must focus on fundamental issues-namely, the patient, the target disease or condition, the proposed or practiced treatment, and the need for convincing data on safety and therapeutic efficacy." - Fontanarosa P.B., and Lundberg G.D. "Alternative medicine meets science" JAMA. 1998; 280: 1618-1619.
  • "There cannot be two kinds of medicine - conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work. Once a treatment has been tested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was considered alternative at the outset. If it is found to be reasonably safe and effective, it will be accepted." - Angell M, Kassirer JP, "Alternative medicine--the risks of untested and unregulated remedies." N Engl J Med 1998;339:839.

Other quotes:

  • Evidence-based methods are effective, and effective methods should be evidence-based. If a method appears to be effective, then it should be possible to prove it. If the research has not been done yet, it should be. We must remember that "Absence of proof is not the same as the absence of fact; it simply demonstrates the lack of adequate research." - Robert Sydenham. "Lack of evidence in the literature is not evidence of lack of effectiveness." Until that research is done, claims of effectiveness are uncertain, unusual claims of effectiveness doubly so, and consequently the marketing of products and practicing of methods based on such uncertain, unusual, and undocumented claims may be unethical, possibly dangerous, and often illegal. -- BullRangifer
  • "In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new "fact." Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything. He just goes on using the established theories of "conventional science" as usual. But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis --saying, for instance, that a seeming psi result was actually due to an artifact--he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof." - Marcello Truzzi, Zetetic Scholar, #12-13, 1987.
  • "Not knowing everything is not evidence that, in the absence of knowledge, any available appealing explanation is true. Sometimes the truth is unappealing." - Steve Zeitzew, MD
  • "Science is a way of thinking, much more than it is a body of facts." - Carl Sagan
  • "Science is not a body of information. Science is a method of investigation."
  • "The medicine that I use has two things that distinguish it from some other forms of "medicine:"
1. It appears to work anywhere on the planet.
2. I don't have to believe in it for it to work." - David Ramey, DVM
  • "Science is what we have learned about how to keep from fooling ourselves." - physicist Richard Feynman
  • "Science is best defined as a careful, disciplined, logical search for knowledge about any and all aspects of the universe, obtained by examination of the best available evidence and always subject to correction and improvement upon discovery of better evidence. What's left is magic. And it doesn't work. Science cannot solve everything, but the alternatives really solve nothing."
  • "Scientific thinking might be defined as learning to distinguish the exception from the rule. I'd have a hard time entrusting my health to someone who didn't know the difference." - Stan Polanski
  • "Science makes a lousy religion and religion makes a lousy science." - Linda Rosa
  • "Faith and Reason inhabit different worlds--and so far there is no space travel between them." - Erika Wilson
  • "Entire vocabularies of esoteric jargon, based on circular reasoning and ignorance, have been invented by true believers to describe their imagined version of reality." -- BullRangifer
  • "We certainly shouldn't abandon the field to the quacks by not turning up to play." - Peter Moran
  • "Deciding not to act is still a decision. If it results in death, it is a decision that led to death." - Graeme Kennedy

Skepticism, logic, and critical thinking

  • "Mundus vult decipi." (The world wants to be deceived.)
  • "Mankind's capacity for deception and self-deception knows no limits." -- BullRangifer
  • "The worst thing that bad people can do is make us doubt good people". - Jacinto Benavente (1866-1954); Spanish dramatist.
  • "The brightest flashes in the world of thought are incomplete until they have been proven to have their counterparts in the world of fact." - John Tyndall (1820-1893), physicist
  • "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence." - William Kingdon Clifford
  • "A habit of basing convictions upon evidence, and of giving to them only that degree of certainty which the evidence warrants, would, if it became general, cure most of the ills from which this world is suffering." - Bertrand Russell
  • "Test everything; hold fast what is good." - 1 Thess. 5:21
  • "Scholars are trained to scrutinize, to insist on adequate evidence, to ferret out logical inconsistencies and weak arguments. We are naturally suspicious of claims that go beyond our experience. Scholars are trained skeptics. Our professional motto is 'show me'. Where's your evidence? If you can't prove it, you shouldn't believe it!...If trust is the natural disposition of childhood, doubt is our disposition as adults. Academic training cultivates an ethic of suspicion, if not unbelief....we've learned to put every aspect of life through the fire of critical reflection....[But] the fact we don't know everything doesn't mean we don't know anything." - Richard Rice. "Nothing I learned in kindergarten makes any sense." Spectrum, 2000, 28:1, 36-40
  • "Don't confuse ignorance with a point of view." - Dilbert
  • "Humans have brains that are built to work on anecdote rather than real data." - Jeffrey P. Utz, MD
  • "Anecdotes are useless precisely because they may point to idiosyncratic responses." - Pediatric Allergy & Immunology, 1999 Nov;10(4) 226-234


Wikipedia's NPOV policy must not be misused so it becomes synonymous with revisionism, censorship, whitewashing, or political correctness. Editors must present both sides of any controversy. To leave out one side amounts to promoting the other side's POV. Wikipedia should include more information than other encyclopedias, not less.

One must:

  • Present the facts about each side's POV.
  • Not sell each side's POV as facts.

IOW, just tell the story without taking sides.

When editing articles, it is improper to fight for one's own POV at the expense of another POV. One should simply ensure that both POV are presented (not preached) accurately.

One should:

  • Present the facts (objective & documented) about the POV.
  • Not sell the truth (subjective & personal) about the subject.

This may well include documenting what each side thinks of the other side's POV.

NB: The reason that I have just labeled "truth" as "subjective & personal," is not because I don't believe some truths are objective facts, but because in controversial issues, both sides believe that their opinion is based on objectively true facts. Since "the threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth," and Wikipedia must not be used as a soapbox to "sell" various POV, then editors must stick to telling the "facts about both POV." Let the reader take sides after reading all viewpoints on the subject. In the end, readers will end up making their own decision as to what is the "truth" of the matter, and just like editors from various POV, those opinions will likely be at odds with each other.

The following comment has been allowed to remain on my talk page because I think it's good:

Personally I like the principle of "writing for the enemy", in the sense of trying to argue the strongest case that's possible for something you may not believe. If you don't face up squarely and honestly to facts that are uncomfortable, you're not engaging in an argument but avoiding it. Wish we could lighten some of these controversies with more of a sense of fun though. Maybe I'll try that somewhere, and see how it sits. Being relentlessly NPOV can get horribly worthy.Gleng 11:03, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

The good doctor brings up a good point, because editors who are unwilling to "write for the enemy" are not capable of understanding or abiding by Wikipedia's NPOV policy. As such they will always cause problems. Writing for the enemy is an important mark of a good editor.

There is no reason why an editor cannot contribute in a NPOV fashion just because they have a POV in real life. And everyone has a POV, now don’t they? But just as

  • "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." – Aristotle
  • It is also the mark of a good Wikipedia editor, to be able to understand and present various POV, including those he finds distasteful.

My goal here (especially regarding chiropractic) is to contribute to the best article about chiropractic ever written. Most articles suffer from being one-sided. Skeptical articles write only from the skeptical viewpoint, and articles written by most chiropractors and associations naturally write from a promotional viewpoint. There is nothing wrong with that, but Wikipedia deserves and requires much more. There is much to write about this fascinating subject, and readers should feel that they have been well-informed by the finished product.

Wikipedia editors should consider it scandalous if a reader, after reading an article here, discovers totally new or unfamiliar significant information on the subject outside of Wikipedia. They should become so familiar with the subject here that they will not be surprised by, unprepared for, or unfamiliar with any issues or information outside of Wikipedia. They should be able to respond with "Duh! Didn't you know that already? I knew that because I always read Wikipedia first!"

Another editor has commented:

"It is known by psychologists, public-relations consultants, marketing directors, political spin-doctors and propagandists that a collection of "objective and documented" facts can be sculpted and molded to support just about any conclusion at all. In our society, such sculpting is pervasive. I hold Wikipedia to a higher standard, that of attempting to tell the truth. There may be special cases where the truth is so hard to come by that one must resort to documenting points-of-view; but this should be the exception, not the norm. Please note that the WP policy WP:V is the setting of a bar for inclusion, and not a guideline for general article structure." [8]

Which inspired me to reply:

"I see we basically agree, except for the part about general article structure. I too expect Wikipedia to tell the truth, but unfortunately(?) (or not....others with greater wisdom have seen fit to make the rules) the NPOV policy requires that all significant POV be presented, which automatically means that what one person considers to be the truth will be presented, and what that same person believes to be error, will also be presented. Naturally the other side sees it exactly the same way, but from their POV. This policy ensures that a subject is covered from all angles, and that readers not only hear "the truth,", but also learn about dissenting viewpoints. That's what makes this an encyclopedia, rather than a sales brochure. As you may have noted, I still think it's fine to write from one POV outside of Wikipedia. There is certainly a place for that." [9]

What can we conclude from all this? That the NPOV policy is not about preserving or protecting my POV, but about presenting all significant POV, which is what's required for making a great encyclopedia!

Criticism and undue weight

An interesting discussion found here:

There is alot of debate in talk pages about handling a criticism section. I feel it is important to address this issue specifficaly. I think there needs to be a policy on how you address sections like this. --Zonerocks 20:19, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Isn't that WP:NPOV? Specifically the "Undue weight" section. I've seen articles where criticism makes up 80% of the word count of the article. Obviously 80% is too high, but there's no magic number, how much criticism really can or should be included will vary from article to article. A criticism policy would probably be redundant to NPOV, but there's an essay at Wikipedia:Criticism. It doesn't appear very active, but I suppose a guideline on this topic could be explored. --W.marsh 20:33, 2 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't see why valid critical arguments must be deleted because they're overwhelming. Come up with more information to balance them out, don't delete valid information. Ed Ropple - Blacken - (Talk) 21:27, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Blacken's sentiment. While too much criticism makes my eyes squint while reading any article, I could not be crass enough to go and edit 30% of it out just to balance the article. In this case building up arguments in favor rather than demolishing down negative arguments is a good solution to the problem.¤~Persian Poet Gal (talk) 21:34, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

This form of "undue weight" is an inevitable result of the "notability" policy for inclusion. Some people and subjects are notable because they are notorious. This automatically results in a large amount of negative information, since most of the verifiable information from reliable sources is negative. Other information would be original research or from unacceptable sources. That's life. As long as the information is properly sourced and worded in an NPOV manner (simply presenting the POV, without advocating or attacking it), then there's no problem.

For controversial subjects, with editors on both sides of the issue, this can still end up with an unbalanced article. In scientific and medical matters this is because the scientists usually have better sources and are better at presenting their arguments than the quacks, pseudoscientists, and true believers, who don't have very good sources (just anecdotes or hate sites), and whose arguments are often filled with logical fallacies.

The way forward in such cases is as suggested -- to build up what's lacking, not to exercise bad faith towards other editors by deleting their hard work. Bad people or subjects should not be whitewashed by deleting valid and well-sourced information. Suppression of opposing POV is a very unwikipedian thing to do.

Wikipedia's NPOV policy must not be misused so it becomes synonymous with revisionism, censorship, whitewashing, or political correctness. One must allow presentation of both sides of any controversy. To leave out or suppress one side amounts to promoting the other side's POV. Wikipedia should include more information than other encyclopedias, not less. -- BullRangifer

Wikipedia:Five pillars

All of Wikipedia's official policies and guidelines can be reduced to these five pillars that define Wikipedia's character:

BluePillar.svg Wikipedia is an encyclopedia incorporating elements of general encyclopedias, specialized encyclopedias, and almanacs. All articles must follow our no original research policy and strive for accuracy; Wikipedia is not the place to insert personal opinions, experiences, or arguments. Furthermore, Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information. Wikipedia is not a trivia collection, a soapbox, a vanity publisher, an experiment in anarchy or democracy, or a web directory. Nor is Wikipedia a dictionary, a newspaper, or a collection of source documents; these kinds of content should be contributed to the sister projects, Wiktionary, Wikinews, and Wikisource, respectively.
GreenPillar.png Wikipedia has a neutral point of view, which means we strive for articles that advocate no single point of view. Sometimes this requires representing multiple points of view; presenting each point of view accurately; providing context for any given point of view, so that readers understand whose view the point represents; and presenting no one point of view as "the truth" or "the best view". It means citing verifiable, authoritative sources whenever possible, especially on controversial topics. When a conflict arises as to which version is the most neutral, declare a cool-down period and tag the article as disputed; hammer out details on the talk page and follow dispute resolution.
YellowPillar.png Wikipedia is free content that anyone may edit. All text is available under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) and may be distributed or linked accordingly. Recognize that articles can be changed by anyone and no individual controls any specific article; therefore, any writing you contribute can be mercilessly edited and redistributed at will by the community. Do not submit copyright infringements or works licensed in a way incompatible with the GFDL.
OrangePillar.png Wikipedia has a code of conduct: Respect your fellow Wikipedians even when you may not agree with them. Be civil. Avoid making personal attacks or sweeping generalizations. Stay cool when the editing gets hot; avoid edit wars by following the three-revert rule; remember that there are 5,267,237 articles on the English Wikipedia to work on and discuss. Act in good faith, never disrupt Wikipedia to illustrate a point, and assume good faith on the part of others. Be open and welcoming.
RedPillar.png Wikipedia does not have firm rules besides the five general principles elucidated here. Be bold in editing, moving, and modifying articles, because the joy of editing is that although it should be aimed for, perfection isn't required. And don't worry about messing up. All prior versions of articles are kept, so there is no way that you can accidentally damage Wikipedia or irretrievably destroy content. But remember — whatever you write here will be preserved for posterity.


This page describes Wikipedia's fundamental principles. These principles predate the creation of this page. It is sometimes said that all or most policy is based upon this page, but most policy also predates the creation of this page.

Wikipedia's principles

How to: Help, Cite sources, Manual of Style, Style and How-to Directory, Wiki Markup, TeX, Utilities, Picture tutorial, Extended image syntax, Tables, Table help.

Policies and guidelines: Policies and guidelines, verifiability, Neutral point of view, No original research, Assume good faith, What Wikipedia is not, Banning policy, Three revert rule..

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