Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view

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Do we prefer academic sources?[edit]

I've been looking at some of the bickering at COVID-19 articles, and specifically the "lab leak" question.  One of the difficulties with this subject is that one 'side' is more prominent in the existing academic literature than the other 'side'. I'm here to ask what I think is a simple question about determining WP:DUE weight and avoiding WP:GEVAL fallacies. (Perhaps if I'm lucky, you'll be able to show me that the question is not so simple.)  Here's the question, in a true/false format:  "When sources disagree, editors should generally determine due weight by looking at high-quality academic sources instead of popular press."

If you think this is a true statement, then in has these implications:

  • Something a scientist says outside of the formal literature (e.g., in news media, an open letter) gets much less weight than something a scientist publishes in the formal, peer-reviewed scientific literature.
  • Something a politician or government official says in (e.g., a press release, a political magazine) gets much less weight than something that appears in an academic journal or a book published by a university press.
  • Something an economist says in the popular press (e.g., in a daily newspaper, in a blog post) gets much less weight than something that an economist writes for an academic publication.

If you believe this is a false (or oversimplified?) statement, then it has these implications:

  • Something a scientist says outside of the formal literature is (sometimes or always?) just as important and valid as something a scientist publishes in the formal, peer-reviewed scientific literature.
  • Something a politician or government official says is just as important and valid as something that appears in an academic journal or a book published by a university press.
  • Something an economist says is just as important and valid as something that an economist writes for an academic publication.

From the perspective of how this affects editors:

  • If you believe this statement is true, then:  When there is a dispute between sources, you should discard (most/nearly all?) lower quality sources, and use only (primarily?) the highest quality sources.  
    • For example, in the "lab leak" question, you would determine due weight by considering only peer-reviewed scientific literature, and not letters to the editor, scientists quoted in the news, etc.
    • For example, in articles about the Holocaust, you would determine due weight by considering only peer-reviewed academic literature and books published by university presses, and not articles in popular magazines or content generated by politicians.
  • If you believe this statement is false, then:  When there is a dispute between sources, you should include perspectives from all sources, regardless of whether they are low-, medium-, or high quality; whether they are academic or popular sources; etc.
    • For example, in the "lab lead" question, you would determine due weight by treating politicians being interviewed on talk shows, scientists quoted in news articles, etc. on equal footing with peer-reviewed literature.
    • For example, in articles about the Holocaust, you would determine due weight by treating the claims of politicians or stories in the popular press on equal footing with academic works by historians.

(Obviously, my question assumes that the subject in question is something that academics study, but perhaps there is an equivalent to "academic sources" for subjects that don't attract much academic attention.)  

It might be simplest to treat this as a WP:Straw poll:  Is my true/false sentence true or false? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:42, 7 June 2021 (UTC)

Do we prefer academic sources? Yes, and for some good reasons. It is not an absolute rule, but a preference. Academic sources tend to be more reputable.
"When sources disagree, editors should generally determine due weight by looking at high-quality academic sources instead of popular press." Yes, easy. Popular press sources are not so reputable. They are in fact the least preferred acceptable sources.
"Something a scientist says outside of the formal literature". A scientist may be a good source of non-independent secondary source comment in their primary source publications. It is great when this happens, because journal publications are not easy reading. I dispute the validity of the question of "less weight". A secondary source scientist TV interview does not support or contradict a primary source journal publication, but interprets it. Unless you have the scientist asserting the publication is in error, in which case you have a scientist gone rogue.
Something a politician or government official says? Well yes, one does better to never trust a politician or government official, not unless you know for sure their underlying motivation for making the statements.
Something an economist says in the popular press? Both the scientist and economist are academics. Reputable academics do not assert primary source material in the popular press, TV or magazine. Over a beer, yes; being recorded, no.
"If you believe this statement is true"? Question: Why would I "believe" a statement? Answer: because it is published in a format with a reputation for fact checking. TV and popular magazines have less reputation for fact checking than academic journals. This is a rule of thumb, some popular media does "fact checking" and some journals are disreputable.
"For example, in the "lab leak" question". This example is characterised by the complete lack of reliable primary sources. The topic transforms into "beliefs on the lab leak hypothesis". If and when the virus source is discovered, disproving the lab leak hypothesis, all pre-proof sources will be discarded, old speculation-based Wikipedia articles might even be deleted.
"in articles about the Holocaust" This is a worthy example. The Holocaust features many facts and many opinions, and much analysis. I would only "trust" academic sources, but popular media is useful for determining notability of subtopics.
Easy true. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 10:05, 8 June 2021 (UTC)
There's a line at WP:MEDRS that says "Primary sources should not be cited with intent of "debunking", contradicting, or countering conclusions made by secondary sources." Would you subscribe to a similar line that said something like "Non-scholarly sources should not be cited with intent of "debunking", contradicting, or countering conclusions made by scholarly sources"? WhatamIdoing (talk) 05:37, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
No. This is slipping into poorly defined motherhood language. A "primary source" is well defined at primary source. What is a "non-scholarly source"? I think "scholarly" is different to "academic"; scholarly referring to methods and rigor of methods, in research but more so in logic and writing. I think "non-scholarly sources" is synonymous with "bad sources", and "scholarly" with "good". "Bad sources should not be cited with intent of "debunking", contradicting, or countering conclusions made by good sources"? SmokeyJoe (talk) 07:20, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
The wording "If you believe this is a false (or oversimplified?) statement, then it has these implications: ..." is telling me in advance the possibly-bad results if I tick the false box. Thanks, I prefer to figure out implications myself: by ticking false, I'm suggesting that I respect editors who don't just tick boxes. Peter Gulutzan (talk) 13:04, 10 June 2021 (UTC)
@Peter Gulutzan, I have not generally had good luck with discussions that don't involve clear examples. I end up with editors telling me things like Coca-Cola's website isn't written and published by Coca-Cola, Inc., because multinational corporations employ too many lawyers to self-publish their own marketing materials. I would be happy for you to tell me what I've gotten wrong or nuances that I've overlooked. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:40, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
I think that it is perfectly clear that we prefer academic sources for the type of topics that academics study and write about. For medical assertions or claims, sources that comply with WP:MEDRS should be mandatory. On the other hand, there are many notable topics that are not covered by academic sources. If a professional baseball pitcher throws a no-hitter tomorrow, coverage in major reliable newspapers' sports pages is perfectly adequate for updating the biography. If a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine dies tomorrow, then that same type of newspaper is a reliable source, and we should not require a MEDRS source to update their biography. In the case of the COVID-19 lab leak hypothesis, we are dealing with, in effect, a hybrid topic that combines medical content with political and sociological content. We cannot expect MEDRS compliant sources to deal with the sociopolitical aspects but we ought to insist that only MEDRS sources be used for any of the overtly medical content in articles covering this topic. However, there are excellent sources in the popular press that can be used to discuss the sociopolitical aspects until academics get around to writing books that are then published by university presses on this topic in years to come. I do not think that the comparison to the Holocaust is very useful here, because that catastrophe ended 76 years ago and we have a plethora of outstanding published academic work that covers it thoroughly. The lab leak hypothesis, on the other hand, is still developing and the final story is yet to be told. So, I think that it is acceptable to use high quality, in-depth newspaper and magazine articles as references for the sociopolitical aspects of this developing topic, while simultaneously insisting on MEDRS compliant sources for the medical aspects, with the understanding that the article will be updated and improved as better sources are published. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 01:41, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
I agree with Cullen. Sure, yes we should determine due and undue using scholarly sources .... for the type of topics that academics study and write about. Bonewah (talk) 13:50, 11 June 2021 (UTC)
I would hope the answer is true, although it seems exaggerated to me to say that Something a politician or government official says is just as important and valid as something that appears in an academic journal or a book published by a university press. follows from the negation of When sources disagree, editors should generally determine due weight by looking at high-quality academic sources instead of popular press. (Disclaimer: As above, I am fairly new as an editor. I felt I should wait for more more-experienced editors to comment, but few seem to be doing so, so I guess I will.) —2d37 (talk) 03:12, 16 June 2021 (UTC)
In a way there are always problems with sources. Academic does not guarantee good. Non-academic sources do not guarantee bad. There may be journalists writing articles about WWII topics relying on memories of people still living and producing quality material about matters historians have not dealt with and in such cases I would trust that journalist more than historian who has not gone deep into some minor issue. Also, if there would be material in scientific journals about some subject that contradicts the materials in other journals about different matters, what should we do then? Two examples: geological sources state a source of ther term to be a place that has never ever existed. Well stated, academic sources, but their field just is not geography and history... Also, lots of history journals have described a certain river in our country as a winter road, as rivers usually were. And yet there are laws of geography that state such rivers can never be used this way, as the ice on rivers that flows put of big shallow lakes can never be thick enough to be used in such way - but historian's role is not to know all the facts about the way the rivers freeze. This fact has been mentioned in popular journals, while it contradicts scientific journals, of which none deals with that problem as it is quite unique situation in our country and the rule is not widely known. Thus my answer would be "false", but not in the strong sense. I would not go with your implications but number two. In lab leak question I would go by first, in holocaust questions go by number two. And that is : yes, things are not simple. Nothing is ever easy. Scientists are specialists, not magicians who know everything, and thus there can be better specialists than they are in subjects that do not fall strictly into their speciality. Or We may call it true, but then we have to add: but be careful. Be very careful.Melilac (talk) 19:00, 10 July 2021 (UTC)
My takeaway from the above fairly long discussion, as far as it has gone thus far, is that the Due and undue weight section of this policy is unclear on this point. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 14:37, 11 July 2021 (UTC)

I know this is an old thread, but wish to add my view on this interesting discussion. This discussion reflects an apparent contradiction in the policy. One statement in the policy is: "If a viewpoint is held by a significant minority, then it should be easy to name prominent adherents." Another statement almost immediately after is: "Keep in mind that, in determining proper weight, we consider a viewpoint's prevalence in reliable sources...". The first statement says that what matters is the notability or prominence of adherents, not the reliability of journals. This apparently conflicts with the other statement. There is many ways to remove this apparent conflict. For example, it does not conflict if by reliable we mean reliable in reporting correctly the point of view of these prominent adherents. Often it is not what is meant by reliable sources, but some times it is what is meant and what it should mean. It's good to keep in mind that when the NPOV policy was created in 2001 (and even in its previous forms), the notion of reliable sources was not part of it. It's only around 2003 that the need for it was felt. Progressively, the policy was modified to put an emphasis on reliable sources. This is fine as long as the meaning of "reliable sources" is highly dependent on the subject and is consistent with the first statement mentioned above, when necessary. In particular, the WP:MEDRS application of the NPOV policy through its definition of reliable sources is perfectly fine, but we must avoid the tendency to generalize it to all subjects. I see the notion of reliable sources as an important notion separated from the notion of WP:due, but related. I see it as a notion of relevance, which must come before the notion of weight of WP:due. In the context of WP:MEDRS and in similar contexts, the idea is that, if we cannot see that the sources as the required expertise and is writing in a proper context (reliable journal), then it's not relevant to the subject, irrespective of WP:due. WP:due must still be applied, but it comes after. The second statement makes plenty of sense in that context. Dominic Mayers (talk) 17:20, 7 November 2021 (UTC)

How do you measure majority view?[edit]

How do we find an accurate way to measure majority view? Like let's say you find 50 reliable sources say 2+2=5. But, Google makes it hard for you to find 150 sources that say 2+2=4.

When I research a certain topic a certain view seems mainstream at first glance but the more I did it becomes more clear the idea is fringe.

I know this sounds weird but it happens.CycoMa (talk) 08:19, 18 June 2021 (UTC)

I suspect that this is a case of much of the popular press, and possibly politically biased or activist sources, saying one thing while the peer-reviewed literature of relevant experts says something different. GMOs are one topic like this. In such cases ignore the popular press (people should always be ignoring the clearly politically biased sources but some don't) and go with what the peer-reviewed sources say. If they conflict, follow WP:DUE and WP:FRINGE. Crossroads -talk- 21:53, 18 June 2021 (UTC)
@CycoMa, one approach that seems to work for academic subjects is trying to figure out which authors you should be considering, rather than which documents. It's tough in some fields, especially controversial fields, but try putting something like foremost expert in intersex into your favorite search engine, and see what you find. Mine suggests that you might want to start by looking at Sharon Preves and Eric Vilain.
Also, consider contacting your local library and asking if you can talk to a reference librarian. If you tell a reference librarian that you're looking for "mainstream scientific sources", you may get a few good leads. (I'd specify "mainstream scientific" so they realize that you're not looking for autobiographies, political stuff, etc.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:01, 8 July 2021 (UTC)

Are you talking about a political topic or a technical/scientific topic? On "political", IMO as we moved into the post-objective-journalism era, the wp:due section has moved from one from what was merely unusable (expecting editors to do a synthesis tally of sources) to one that has an unusable foundation and thus provides no answers until it is repaired to emphasize expertise and objectivity on-the-topic. On the technical/scientific side there is more hope before then per the guidance provided by Sharon Preves Crossroads and WhatamIdoing. North8000 (talk) 01:33, 8 July 2021 (UTC) North8000 (talk) 12:41, 8 July 2021 (UTC)

North8000 well I Edit articles and research relating to religion and the biology of sex/sexual reproduction.
Let’s just I see a good amount of fringes views regarding these topics. Especially in the biology of sex where I see source make outlandish claims just to please some political group. Like there are sources claiming there is no difference between males and females. I could bring up more examples but, I’m afraid of offending anyone.CycoMa (talk) 05:50, 8 July 2021 (UTC)
Based on just taking a quick look IMO those are some areas that are a blend of science and politics. I don't see direct factual conflicts between the two, instead it is over the (re)definition of words and leaving out some straightforward scientific info due social or political goals. Hopefully the advice from Crossroads and WhatamIdoing can help.North8000 (talk) 12:44, 8 July 2021 (UTC)
CycoMa, if you give us some concrete example of a viewpoint of unknown weight, I hope I will be able to demonstrate how that problem should be approached. --Paul Siebert (talk) 02:32, 31 August 2021 (UTC)

What if other editors refuse to listen to your arguments?[edit]

Here is something that I have always been considered about.

Editors have their own personal beliefs and points of views, at times it hard to convince them why a certain source is reliable or whether on how mainstream a certain view is.

I’m not entirely sure where I should comment this at.CycoMa (talk) 05:31, 25 July 2021 (UTC)

The best evidence of being right is having others agree with you. Do not attempt to convert your opponents, try to convert their audience.taken from User:DGG SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:54, 25 July 2021 (UTC)
In my experience, if you feel like your arguments are being ignored, there is often some miscommunication. Maybe the other person didn't realise what the significance of your point was, or maybe they have a reason why it's irrelevant and you don't understand that yet. In any case it may be worth simply asking directly about that ("Okay. What about my point about XYZ?"). This way you don't only kind of force them to respond to it, you're also showing that you are interested in what the other person has to say. But that's just my two cents. ―Jochem van Hees (talk) 10:12, 25 July 2021 (UTC)

Using non-neutral terminology in an article because it's the name of the article being linked to[edit]

I'm looking for help in finding an NPOV-related policy, guideline or advice that can help with answering the question as to whether it is acceptable to use a non-neutral, but common term, for a subject in another article simply because it is the common term and is the name of the subject article.

The specific article that I am concerned with is Treachery of the Blue Books, which is apparently the common name for the "Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales" (which is one of the subject article's redirects). There are many articles referring to this report, and there is a bit of a dispute going on between myself and Llywelyn2000 as to:

  1. which term should be used in the other articles when referring to the reports
  2. if the full name is used on its own in another article, whether the link should be directly to the redirect or piped to the common name
  3. if the full name is used first in another article, whether the common name should always follow it with the link made there
  4. if both names are used in another article, whether the link should be placed on the first-used term or the second - or both

All I've managed to find so far is stuff about using common names for articles and about the creation of redirects for other terms. I cannot find anything related to the NPOV aspects of using the common name in other articles or in the piping of links to the common name.

Thanks for any help with this. -- DeFacto (talk). 13:16, 3 September 2021 (UTC)

At last, you show the true colour and reason for your last 2 weeks of editing on Wikipedia, DeFacto! Interesting! 350 edits based on two articles: Welsh Not and Treachery of the Blue Books between 20 August and today 4 September. You started with the Welsh Not, in tandem with User:Cheezypeaz, then went on to the Treachery of the Blue Books. In order to change the title of this Wikipedia page, which for some unknown reason is offesive to you, you created a new redirect here, and subsequently changed around 15 links in other articles to your chosen term. This, shows that your opinion was set out from the start to change the course of history. Unbelievable! Here's ac example whereby you deleted the de facto term 'Treachery of the Blue Books' and added your own. Same with this one and a multitude of others! This is pov, and goes against what is said in the sources, over the last 150 years, in both Welsh and English literature.
NB The term was first used in Welsh, Brad y Llyfrau Gleision; 'brad, here can be translated as 'treachery', 'treason' etc
To answer your basic question: sources, sources, sources. For over 150 years, the term used has been 'Treachery (or 'treason') of the Blue Books' (which reflects an older Welsh term: 'the Treachery of the Long Knives'), and the report is named 'Blue Books report', or similar. The report's title hardly appears, only on facsimiles of the actual report etc . There are 11 sources on the page. In order:
  1. BBC - Not once is 'Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales' used. However, Treachery of the Blue Books is used.
  2. Snapshots of Welsh History - The relevant chapter is called 'The Treason of the Blue Books'. The book also contains the words: The Report, known throughout Wales as 'The Treason of the Blue Books... but no mention of DeFacto's 'Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales'
  3. A Union of Multiple Identities - Not once is 'Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales' used, other than once in the article's notes. However, Treachery of the Blue Books is used 3 times in the book's text.
  4. The Tempus History of Wales - Not once is 'Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales' used. However, 'Treason of the Blue Books' is used 5 times.
  5. National Library of Wales - Article Heading is Brad y Llyfrau Gleision (Treachery or Treason of the Blue Books). Mentions the report's heading once and 'The Treachery of the Blue Books' and Blue Books twice each.
  6. Geoffrey of Monmouth and the English Past - no mention of either
  7. The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales - I have a signed copy by all three editor, Welsh version, so the English translation of this book might be different. Main chapter title: Treachery or Treason of the Blue Books. Mentions the title of the report once, and 'Blue Books' throughout.
  8. For Wales, See England - Not once is 'Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales' used. However, it does mention, "Published in 1847 and popularly known as the Treachery of the Blue Books (Brad y Llyfrau Gleision), the report portrayed Wales as an immoral, unclean and backward nation"
  9. 'Presenting Saunders Lewis - I can't access this book.
  10. Llanellen's almost forgotten hero of the Welsh language - Not once is 'Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales' used. However, it does say: The "Blue Books" (published in 1847) were the official reports of a government enquiry into the state of education in Wales. And 'Blue Books' mentioned 7 times.
  11. 'Why Wales Never Was: the failure of Welsh nationalism - I can't access this book; requested from library.
The above books mentions the 'Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales' only 3 times.
More importantly, the main modern historian on Welsh History, John Davies, author of The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales and the Penguin classic History of Wales, says that the name 'Treachery of the Blue Books' "took hold of the public imagination to such an extent that ever since the report has been known by that name."
It is irrelevant what DeFacto's opinion is, or mine for that matter, Wikipedia honours solid, reliable sources. Treachery of the Blue Books has been used and referenced over the last 150 years, in the overwhelming majority of sources. Defacto asks: which term should be used in the other articles when referring to the reports. Linking and piping too: sources in the context of the individual article. I say: sources, sources, sources, otherwise we get lost in povs and politics. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 08:08, 4 September 2021 (UTC)
Llywelyn2000, you miss the point. I totally support using common names (whether neutral or not) for article titles and have never argued, and never intent to, that non-neutral names should not be used for article titles if they are accepted to be the common name.
My question is about the policy on the use of the non-neutral names in other articles. My view on that is that the name used in other articles should fit the context and comply with NPOV, which in the examples you gave would probably mean using the proper name of the report.
And please don't personalise this, just keep to the point: should the name used in other articles follow the principles of WP:NPOV or not? -- DeFacto (talk). 08:49, 4 September 2021 (UTC)
Llywelyn2000, DeFacto There is something wrong with the name when you are trying to link to the report but have to say "Treachery of the Blue Books". Having said that I don't care. Just out of interest I checked your first two examples. The BBC site has to explain what it is referring too and your second example includes the report's full name in the first paragraph. Someone did suggest splitting the article into two. One for the report and the other for the reaction. To repeat myself : I don't care. Cheezypeaz (talk) 09:02, 4 September 2021 (UTC)
DeFacto: You say, "don't personalise", yet you say, "you miss the point"! My remarks are directly aimed at links in other article; you will have seen that I wrote, 'Linking and piping too: [importance of] sources in the context of the individual article", both of which are discussed. POV is dependent on sources. 'Non-neutral names' are quite acceptable if that is what is used in academic sources. Stick to reliable, academic sources, and NPOV will be achieved. [Sorry about the bold text, but I've said this now four time in our discussions, with no avail.]
Cheezypeaz: I get your point here. The way the above sources deal with this, is to mention 'The Treason of the Blue Books report' or simply 'the Blue Books reports', rather than list the whole hog. I agree the BBC source doesn't use the term 'Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales'. 2nd source - that's exactly what I said!
I'll speak generally. If something is not right, it's this: that an user can work the wiki system, and change links, hide / delete words they don't like by piping links etc, and then, when they have enough links using their chosen term they will change the article's title - without any regards to the sources - and without the enwiki community being aware of it, or just ignoring it. That's pov.
Lastly, DeFacto, why do you say that the words 'treachery', 'treason', 'blue' or 'books' are "non-neutral names"? And which one, please, is the innocent offender? Llywelyn2000 (talk) 14:13, 4 September 2021 (UTC)
Llywelyn2000 To clarify 1) The point I was trying to make was that whenever the report is referred to as the "Treachery of the Blue Books" that source then has to go on to explain what the phrase actually refers to. 2) The "Snapshots of Welsh History" linked above states "the 1847 Report of the Commissioners of Enquiry into the State of Education in Wales" before it says "The Report, known throughout Wales as the Treason of the Blue Books..." Cheezypeaz (talk) 19:42, 4 September 2021 (UTC)
Llywelyn2000, but you do miss the point, totally. This isn't the WP:NPOVN board where the POV used in an article is discussed, this is the talkpage of the WP:NPOV policy. where I'm asking for advice on the policy with respect to the labels used on links to articles which have non-neutral titles (but perfectly legitimate title per WP:COMMONNAME). We can discuss the specifics of the article on the article talkpage, not here on the NPOV policy talkpage. What we want here is advice as to which policy points apply to that discussion. -- DeFacto (talk). 19:49, 4 September 2021 (UTC)
DeFacto -My advise to you on "the policy, with respect to the labels used on links to articles which have non-neutral titles", is that the overriding reliability of sources should be the deciding factor. You raised the "specifics of the article" yourself, when you mentioned Treachery of the Blue Books in your second opening sentence! My advise is relevant to all articles and to all links to articles. It is the granite of reliable, neutral sources that gives the second pillar its strength. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 05:16, 5 September 2021 (UTC)
Llywelyn2000, where reliable sources may be ok for facts, the opinion or agenda of their authors is not necessarily neutral.
I came here to seek advice about policy, and the first response is traditionally "which article has this problem ocurred in?" I tried to pre-empt that, and to also pre-empt the next common question from other parties involved in any dispute by pinging you as a matter of courtesy. However, I didn't anticipate the wall of irrelevant text that would ensue though, and which has possibly deterred watchers of this page from chipping in with constructive tips. -- DeFacto (talk). 10:09, 5 September 2021 (UTC)
I also note, DeFacto, that you didn't answer my question: why do you say that the words 'treachery', 'treason', 'blue' or 'books' are "non-neutral names"? And which one, please, is the innocent offender? Thank you. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 08:15, 5 September 2021 (UTC)
Llywelyn2000 sorry, I assumed that question was rhetorical! It's my opinion. "Blue books" is factual, the reports came in blue books, so there's no neutrality problem there. It's "treachery"/"treason" that, in my very humble opinion, is the problem - that is a point of view, so possibly one of many. Sure it became a common name for the reports in Wales, which might be enough to justify the article name (WP:COMMONNAME allows non-neutral names if they are demonstrably the most common name) but that does not mean it it suddenly becomes neutral enough to stand alone as the name used to refer to the reports in any other articles. -- DeFacto (talk). 10:27, 5 September 2021 (UTC)
So, you believe that 'treachery' and 'treason' are offensive; if so, against who? Who is offended? The Welsh? The church clerics? The British establishment? In my view, both terms are completely neutral; but please, I'm very interested to hear your opinion. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 14:50, 5 September 2021 (UTC)
Llywelyn2000, this is not relevant to this discussion which is intended to be about which policies apply. I'll happily discuss it on the talkpage of an appropriate article though. -- DeFacto (talk). 15:35, 5 September 2021 (UTC)

That's your opinion. End of my input here. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 16:46, 5 September 2021 (UTC)

reading this long discussion makes me wonder ... As someone who never heard of these "Blue Books" before, the word treachery does seem to imply a POV. I am assuming that the authors of these books did not consider themselves to be traitors at the time and that their position is no longer popular enough to be represented in modern reliable sources. The victims of the treachery of the long knives also were not around to write their history so it is no wonder that their story is considered a myth rather than a fact. My question to both of you is: Can you reach a consensus on using a short and concise phrase like "Blue Books" as the text that links to the full article? Using either of the longer titles can disrupt the flow of the reference that uses the link. Annette Maon (talk) 11:59, 10 January 2022 (UTC)

WP:POVNAMING is also relevant to other articles. Correct?[edit]

WP:POVNAMING's policy on the choice of name used for a topic, is also relevant to other articles.

Example: the widely used names "Boston Massacre", "Teapot Dome scandal", and "Jack the Ripper" are legitimate ways of referring to the subjects in question within other articles. These names have been discussed by their communities, and have been accepted. Their use therefore is acceptable in other articles. Is this correct? Llywelyn2000 (talk) 04:34, 7 September 2021 (UTC)

Is this a general question or is this being asked due to a specific dispute? If it’s the latter it would be best to let people know what precisely the issue is.-- (talk) 04:48, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
If it is relevant, then the policy needs to be changed, and could therefore effect all articles. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 05:14, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
I'd guess it was prompted by the specific dispute seen in the section currently preceding this one (permalink to current version). —2d37 (talk) 07:57, 8 October 2021 (UTC)
Llywelyn2000, imho, that is incorrect as the NPOV policy applies to the content of all articles, and trumps consensuses made in any other article about that other article's common name.
The way subjects covered in an article with a poetic or otherwise imprecise (but common) name are described in other articles depends on the context they are being described in in those other articles and NPOV will apply to that context. -- DeFacto (talk). 08:12, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
  • POVNAMING mostly applies to article titles, where we are limited to choosing only one of several possible names to use as the article title, and where alternatives are made into redirects.
In the running text of articles, we can be more flexible (and informative). When something has multiple names, best practice is to incorporate all the names into the text. How we do so depends on context. Often all it takes is a parenthetical - “NAME1 (also known as NAME2 and NAME3)”, but there are other ways to do it.
When balancing neutrality against being informative, try for both (but informative does ultimately win out). We definitely should not omit a COMMONNAME, even if it seems Non-Neutral. Blueboar (talk) 12:42, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
Blueboar, yes, I agree with you there. But that's only within the article with the controversial name.
I think the question here is about the way the subject is referred to and linked to in other articles. Specifically whether the fact that there is a consensus to name the article a certain way means that that name should therefore always be used when mentioning the subject in another article, even if it is a non-neutral and/or a poetic or otherwise non-intuitive name. -- DeFacto (talk). 12:52, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
No, we would not omit a COMMONNAME, even if that name is potentially Non-Neutral. This would apply to any article. Again, we can be flexible in how we include it, but it should be included somehow. Blueboar (talk) 13:04, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
Blueboar, would you replace "crashed" as the word linked to the "The Day the Music Died" article in this sentence from the "1959 in aviation" article: "Rock music stars Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper die when the Beechcraft Bonanza they are traveling in crashes during a snow storm in Iowa." ? -- DeFacto (talk). 13:20, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
I would actually link that through the text "Rock music stars Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper die", as that's why the term "Day the Music Died" originated from. The crash itself has less of an impact from an aviation standpoint (compared to a commercial airliner crash) as to have an article about it. --Masem (t) 14:04, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
Another possibility would be to expand the sentence to: "In what has become known as 'The Day the Music Died', rock music stars Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper die when the Beechcraft Bonanza they are traveling in crashes during a snow storm in Iowa." Blueboar (talk) 20:01, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
Blueboar, yes, in this case it might be worthwhile, but would you be in favour of distorting the wording like this to include a non-NPOV title rather than just link to neutral non-loaded wording? -- DeFacto (talk). 20:27, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
I don’t think “distorting the wording” is what I was suggesting. Rather it was “adding relevant information”. Obviously, each situation has unique context, so there is no single “correct” way to do this. Blueboar (talk) 21:36, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
I think we need to be clear that a name which may have a non-neutral term or phrase in it, but which has been readily accepted among reliable sources for a sufficiently long time so that COMMONNAME applies, is not a non-neutral title. Eg: the Teapot Dome scandal will always be called the "Teapot Dome scandal" in references from other articles because it clearly is the accepted name for the event, even though that "scandal" is a non-neutral term. What we do want to avoid are non-neutral names that have yet to pass the test of time - eg WP:NEO. For example, there are a lot of "-gates" that get quickly named in the wake of events but unlike things like Pizzagate or Gamergate, don't have lasting coverage, and thus it would be inappropriate to refer to those events (assuming we have articles on them) in their "-gate" form on a different article unless that's essential to their coverage. --Masem (t) 20:43, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
Absolutely right. Specifics always matter. We should not include potentially POV names just because one or two sources use them… but we should include them when they are routinely used by a substantial number of reliable sources. And we should favor the terms used by academic historians over the terms used by journalists. Blueboar (talk) 21:36, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
Agreed 100% as well. We use the terms RS'es have used, even if they're non-neutral, because that's what NPOV policy itself says: "... which means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic." Not too far a stretch to say that a name is a view, and I think that's how we sort it. Jclemens (talk) 22:23, 7 September 2021 (UTC)
Jclemens, wouldn't that mean, for some subjects, using several non-neutral terms each time the subject is discussed in another article, to cover all views? Is that really necessary if there is also a straight flat factual term that covers it unambiguously? -- DeFacto (talk). 06:00, 8 September 2021 (UTC)
If we are talking a case where there is no readily accepted COMMONNAME, and on the topic about the event there are multiple possible terms some which are non-neutral in language, it would not be correct to include all those other names at other pages. Ideally the page about the event is named in perhaps the most neutral manner (maybe the least concise of options - for example, I know there are a lot of other short names people refer to the 2021 United States Capitol attack as, but they don't have the test of time to make any COMMONNAME.) and so that's how it should be used on other pages, while any discussion of other majority viewpoints specific to the topic should be on the topic's page. But that part needs to be kept in balance with NPOV and to avoid false balances --Masem (t) 12:39, 8 September 2021 (UTC)
It depends… WP:UNDUE comes into play here. We have to assess how prevalent the various alternative names are in source usage. Alternative names that are rarely used by sources (even if they seem more “neutral”) can be omitted. Alternative names that are relatively common should generally be mentioned as alternatives (at least the first time the topic is discussed).
That said… please note that WP:POVNAMING is really talking about names that are so routinely used in sources as to be almost overwhelming. In such cases, it would be both non-neutral and UNDUE to substitute some other (potentially more “neutral”) alternative - yes, we might mention the alternatives (in passing) in the primary article, but in other (related) articles we probably would use only the POVNAME. Blueboar (talk) 13:23, 8 September 2021 (UTC)
Masem and Blueboar and I appear to be of one mind on this; I have nothing to add to either follow-up statement. Jclemens (talk) 16:32, 8 September 2021 (UTC)

Thank you for your time on this. It's common sense really, and shows the importance of the sources and the test of time. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 03:23, 9 September 2021 (UTC)

Llywelyn2000, it is common sense, but policies seem to be needed as a stick to deter those who would otherwise disrupt articles by using them to push a particulat agenda.
At the top, after being asked: "Is this a general question or is this being asked due to a specific dispute?", you replied: "If it is relevant, then the policy needs to be changed". Do you now think that it was "relevant"? -- DeFacto (talk). 07:10, 9 September 2021 (UTC)
A change in policy would confirm the above consensus, should Blueboar, Masem and Jclemens have the will and the time to do that.
Example which could be included in the policy:
The Good Friday Agreement (Common name) was printed with the title 'The Agreement - Agreement reached in the multi-party negotiations' (Alternative name).[1]. A hypothetical, imaginary user comes along with their own agenda of deleting all references to religious names, words and phrases. To do this they change the Common name on other articles and they create links and redirects using the alt words 'The Agreement - Agreement reached in the multi-party negotiations'. This behaviour would be an obvious attempt to alter the neutrality of the article, and should be avoided.
Thanks again. Llywelyn2000 (talk) 07:50, 10 September 2021 (UTC)
Shouldn't the discussion be formally closed by an uninvolved editor before any policy changes are made, to reduce the likelihood of disputes about the validity of any policy changes, especially to a policy as important and prominent as this one? -- DeFacto (talk). 08:08, 10 September 2021 (UTC)
I don't think there is any need to change the polcy. Blueboar (talk) 11:54, 10 September 2021 (UTC)


Edit request[edit]

At Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view#Due and undue weight, because WP:Due and WP:Undue is redirect there, I want to add hatnote to link to Wikipedia:There is a deadline, Wikipedia:There is no deadline and Wikipedia:The deadline is now. Because due also mean deadline, for example: Due Saturday, September 18, 2021 11:59PM mean deadline is Saturday, September 18, 2021. 1Way4Together - J. Smile | Please comment on content, not on me 13:16, 17 September 2021 (UTC)

I get the confusion for WP:NODEADLINE, WP:YESDEADLINE, and wp:NOWDEADLINE but I would like to suggest that WP:RSUW Should be linked in the section WP:WEIGHT. I Am Chaos (talk) 00:12, 20 October 2021 (UTC)
There was no response to enact this change, so I am closing this edit request as declined. Z1720 (talk) 04:25, 20 November 2021 (UTC)

Islam in Finland has an RFC[edit]

Islam in Finland, which is within the scope of this WikiProject, has an RFC for possible consensus. A discussion is taking place. If you would like to participate in the discussion, you are invited to add your comments on the discussion page. Thank you.

Bookku, 'Encyclopedias = expanding information & knowledge' (talk) 15:03, 7 October 2021 (UTC)

Feedback requested at Talk:British pet massacre[edit]

Hello. Your feedback would be appreciated at Talk:British pet massacre#Non-neutral, regarding how best to move forward with an article that was rewritten by a block-evading sock with an activist agenda (now site-banned). Thanks, Mathglot (talk) 00:52, 5 November 2021 (UTC)

Adding a notice that requests for input regarding specific articles will be moved.[edit]

I just came here to see what kind of improvements to the policy are discussed. I quickly realized that the page is full of requests for advices about specific articles. That is confusing. The page says clearly:

I suggest to add a warning in this notice that says "Requests about a specific article posted in this talk page will be moved to the appropriate noticeboard" and that we actually do it. Dominic Mayers (talk) 15:15, 7 November 2021 (UTC)

Good and unbiased research ?[edit]

WP:BESTSOURCES starts with a description of "Good and unbiased research". What's this referring to - the stuff found in sources or the stuff editors here are meant to be writing? If the latter, seems a bit off to call it "research" and also to predict it will be "unbiased". It will be just as "biased" (or not) as a proper use of the sources determines surely? Alexbrn (talk) 14:34, 18 December 2021 (UTC)

NPOV vs NOR[edit]

WP:YESPOV starts with the words:

"Achieving what the Wikipedia community understands as neutrality means carefully and critically analyzing a variety of reliable sources and then attempting to convey to the reader the information contained in them fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without editorial bias."

Sometimes, "analyzing a variety of reliable sources" means that a user, or a group of users, collect many sources at a talk page to create some hierarchy of acceptance of the views expressed in each source and to come to an agreement about the most neutral representation of competing viewpoints. However, very frequently, I (and some other users) face a situation when such an activity is characterised as "original research". Unfortunately, this type accusations are rather frequent. I think we need to clarify our policy (either NPOV or NOR) about that. Paul Siebert (talk) 16:55, 24 December 2021 (UTC)

WP:BESTSOURCES encourages selection of the best sources, and the first paragraph of WP:NOR has "This policy of no original research does not apply to talk pages and other pages which evaluate article content and sources, such as deletion discussions or policy noticeboards". So only somebody who does not read the policy would invoke it in the way you describe, and no amount of re-drafting will solve that kind of problem! Alexbrn (talk) 17:15, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
I fully understand that, but I have to quote this phrase again and again during talk page discussions. Maybe, we need to add some clarification to NOR? Paul Siebert (talk) 17:21, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
It could hardly be clearer. It's one of the common misconceptions on Wikipedia, true - but the problem is with people, not the WP:PAGs. Alexbrn (talk) 17:25, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
When few people misunderstand the policy, then the problem is with those people, not with policy. However, if some misconception is common, then the policy in not clear enough, that means that is becoming a policy problem.
The only remaining question is whether this misconception is really common. That is why I am asking this question here. Paul Siebert (talk) 18:17, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
I think it’s more a case that too many people think they know what the policy says… but have never actually read the policy. No amount of “clarifying” will help if people don’t actually bother to read it in the first place. Blueboar (talk) 19:42, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
alas, maybe, you are right... Paul Siebert (talk) 20:16, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
Are you quoting them again and again to the same editors, or to new editors every time? Levivich 19:43, 24 December 2021 (UTC)
If it was a problem with the same user, I would hardly bring it to this page. Paul Siebert (talk) 20:15, 24 December 2021 (UTC)

Add the phrase "atheism" to the section on criticising religion.[edit]

I feel that for the sake of universality and inclusion, the first sentence in the Religion section should also mention criticism of atheism. This would mean that the criticisms are more balanced between these opposing points of view and it would prevent people from claiming that wikipedia supports any form of religious veiwpoint, including atheism. Tiggy The Terrible (talk) 11:12, 8 January 2022 (UTC)

Opinia of RS about neutrality of Wikipedia articles[edit]

Hi, there is some interesting issue that I would like to discuss. The recent AfD ("Mass killings under communist regimes" article) drawn a significant attention outside Wikipedia, and one RS cited the opinion of one renown historian about neutrality of that article. According to that scholar, the article is pretty balanced. In connection to that, I am thinking about this situation in general: if some RS says that some concrete Wikipedia article is pretty neutral (or non-neutral), how should we use that information in a discussion of the article's neutrality? Should we listen to what some concrete author say, or our own rules have a priority? Paul Siebert (talk) 22:01, 15 January 2022 (UTC)

Upon last question, yes to both. Anyway, experienced Wikipedians do not conflate NPOV with false balance, like many journalists tend to do. tgeorgescu (talk) 23:43, 15 January 2022 (UTC)
Based on that AFD Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Mass killings under communist regimes (4th nomination) the question primarily raised was not about NPOV, but about synthesis of the topic ("there are communist regimes", and "there are mass killings", but the combination was put into question of whether that was synthesis by editors. My quick scan of the AFD shows that there appears to be no synthesis involved since there were plenty of sources to point out that the intersection of the topics have been discussed by social science academics, but the writing approach to our article probably needs some work. But that's something to be tagged and corrected as it was clearly salvagable, not put to AFD. We do need to be careful with topics like this that appear, without any other context, to be non-neutral in title (eg the same reason we try to avoid standalone "Controversies of X" type articles) but if that title/concept is proven neutral as a whole, there's no issue with. --Masem (t) 00:09, 16 January 2022 (UTC)
Two necessary things to note:
  • There is a clear difference between a subject matter expert about the topic finding the article relevant to their topic and field to be "careful and balanced", and a whole another to have a random scholar with a strong bias commenting on an article which is outside his field and expertise, as is this case. You can see my response about the article's issues, in particular NPOV but also SYNTH and why they are still relevant, here.
  • The source linked by Siebert is used to dismiss our legitimate concerns about the article, and essentially to overturn the AfD's closure that "the Wikipedia editing community has been unable to come to a consensus as to whether 'mass killings under communist regimes' is a suitable encyclopaedic topic" and this RfC's closure. Davide King (talk) 23:01, 16 January 2022 (UTC)