Wikipedia:Good enough point of view
|This page is an essay, containing the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors on Neutral point of view. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
|This page in a nutshell: NPOV is an abstract ideal; accepting "good enough" is a necessary, less stressful compromise|
So Jimbo had this insane idea that a bunch of non-expert volunteers operating on some sort consensus amalgamation of verifiable but not necessarily true information could actually put an encyclopedia together. Pretty bizarre that it works most of time.
Unfortunately, an inherent, necessary limitation of that model is it's going to reflect the mass hysteria of the time on widely edited articles, or the viewpoint of a number of dedicated adherents on minor articles.
Wikipedia in history
Common knowledge of the time
- In 1636 the Wikipedia article on tulip bulbs stated In addition there aesthetic value, bulbs are considered a stable anti-inflationary investment. Of course there was a flurry of editing after the Tulip mania collapse.
- 1711 saw WP:WQA, WP:ANI, WP:SSP cluttered with vitriol from the Newtonists and Leibnizists over the Leibniz and Newton calculus controversy. ArbCom held 27 different cases, instituted multiple topic bans, and the Calculus page had to be fully protected for months.
- In 1982 everyone knew peptic ulcers only happened to wimps who couldn't handle stress, and attempts to put Warren and Barry's Helicobacter pylori work into the article lead was denounced as WP:FRINGE editing.
- In the 3rd century, attempts to describe Mithraism as a cult or deny the deity of Mithras were overwhelmed by the number of Roman centurion editors who were believers.
WP:NPOV states Editors must write articles from a neutral point of view, representing all significant views fairly, proportionately, and without bias.
Hah! NPOV is best understood as a Platonic ideal, aimed for but never achieved. You'll see a proportional NPOV Wikipedia as often as you'll see a unicorn. Trying to achieve NPOV - truth contrary to the current, if incorrect, common knowledge is a pipe dream. Tilting at windmills without the cool song..
Solution: Good enough
The solution is simple; abandon any hope of a truly 50-50 or proportional WP:POV when WP:Consensus is running the other way. You Can't Always Get What You Want. Is it right? Fair? Probably not. But sometimes you get what you need: persistently, politely and ensuring the
true minority viewpoint is included in the article is good enough. Readers truly seeking the full story will find the information whether it's in the lead on the tail of the article. Consider it the Good Enough Point of View.