Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia  
WikiProject iconThis page is within the scope of WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles that are spoken on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.

Undermining WP:NPOV through Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard[edit]

WP:UNDUE demands covering major viewpoints published in reliable sources according to their weight. WP:BIASED, from the other hand, further explains that a reliable source does not ought to be "neutral, unbiased, or objective". These two parts of POV policy provide the possibility of using sources which are not part of the mainstream media, perhaps functioning to reduce the level of a massive systematic bias. However, if it would not be possible to use a state media for the state's POV, then editors have no option left but to use the POV of those mainstream sources. But there is a recent trend aimed at muting the voices that are out of the so-called mainstream media. These discussions are kinda removing the sources not matching the liberal-democrat standards for reliable sources. The trend started by acting against the Russian media, now is dealing with the Iranian outlets and probably will go to Chinese and Arab sources in near future. The long term consequence of such an approach would be nothing but an even stronger systematic bias.

However, if the community has changed its position on WP:UNDUE and WP:Biased, so that the media which run or support by nonliberal-democratic states are considered as unreliable sources even for representation of the position of those states, then this new consensus which undermines the current explicit terms of WP:NPOV should be discussed here. Finally, we need a broader consensus to remain the current policy and neglect those case by case RFCs or rewrite the policy. I mean, it is clear that the community should not follow an approach which clearly contradicts with the main policy, unless after revision of that policy.--Seyyed(t-c) 05:07, 28 July 2020 (UTC)

RT and PressTV are state propaganda. This isn't about "liberal-democratic" it's about state propaganda. Levivich[dubiousdiscuss] 06:06, 28 July 2020 (UTC)
Exactly. According to the current policy, the state propaganda is necessary to narrate the state position from its own viewpoint.--Seyyed(t-c) 08:38, 28 July 2020 (UTC)
Sa.vakilian, you presuppose that certain points of view are available only in unreliable sources. That's rarely true. Normally, there are reliable sources that comment on the unreliable sources and provide context. We use those instead.
There are plenty of independent sources for Russia and Iran. Guy (help!) 11:55, 28 July 2020 (UTC)
@JzG: It is clear that if there is a better source, then we should use that one. However, most of the local issues does not cover by such international media. In addition, even when the issues are covered by those media, they usually narrate them from their own viewpoint. Thus this trend will lead to undermining the WP:UNDUE and replace it with this one "The viewpoint of reliable news source (based on reliberal democratic standards for media) is regarded as the main viewpoint and even the opposite viewpoint should be narrated from their views."--Seyyed(t-c) 12:16, 28 July 2020 (UTC)
Sa.vakilian, no, we don't drop our sourcing standards as needed in order to include stuff we want. That would be insane. Guy (help!) 15:02, 28 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Assuming that DUE has been met... Minority viewpoints that are contained only in questionable sources can be presented, but must be presented with (or hedged by) in-text attribution. Don’t say “Fearless Leader is the best” (and cite State Media)... instead say “According to State Media, Fearless Leader is the best” (and cite State Media).
Doing this shifts how we use the questionable source. from being used as an unreliable secondary source about Fearless Leader, it goes to being used as a reliable Primary source about what State Media’s view of Fearless Leader is (primary sources are considered reliable for statements about their own content). Blueboar (talk) 12:37, 28 July 2020 (UTC)
  • Curbing the use of state propaganda sources (i.e., state media that lacks editorial independence) brings us closer to NPOV, not further away from it. It is not correct to say that this policy "excludes important voices," nor is it correct to say that "state propaganda is necessary to narrate the state position." If a statement is noteworthy, it will be picked up by actually independent sources, which provide proper context, as JzG noted. Examples are abundant. Reuters, for example, frequently reports on Iranian officials' comments, including those originally made to/channeled through state media (for example, example 1; example 2; example 3. We use sources like those rather than unfiltered foreign propaganda. Neutralitytalk 22:44, 28 July 2020 (UTC)
  • I view WP:RS/N as a major noticeboard with a wide audience, and decisions made there by definition cannot be against policy, because decisions on what our policies and guidelines mean are made there. – King of ♥ 03:40, 29 July 2020 (UTC)

According to @user:JzG, the Consensus we have reached based on the current policies is this:

The consensus is, as far as I can ascertain it, the traditional Wikipedia fudge. There are precedents for this in treatment of other government-controlled news organisations and other news sources with a long history of ideological bias (e.g RT, the Daily Mail). In general they are sources to be treated with caution and the default should be not to include: they may be acceptable, subject to prior consensus, for uncontroversial facts or as a reflection of the views of the government in question, but are rarely, if ever, appropriate for contentious claims where the ideology of the source may be in conflict with neutrality. It's especially important where the subject is a living person. It is wiser, overall, to avoid using these sources: genuinely significant information will generally be available from a less biased source and claims which are uncorroborated – especially if they have failed active attempts at corroboration – should be clearly identified by attribution and certainly not treated as fact. Guy (Help!) 07:38, 17 April 2015 (UTC) [1]

There is another consensus which contradicts with the former one:

There is general consensus that RT is an unreliable source for Wikipedia content, and that it publishes false or fabricated information and should be deprecated along the lines of the Daily Mail. MastCell Talk 19:03, 27 May 2020 (UTC)

However, if the position of the community has been changed, then it should be mentioned in the policy. --Seyyed(t-c) 06:47, 29 July 2020 (UTC)

@Neutrality: OK. Then please clarify in the policy or guideline that the wikipedia community has changed its position and at present, there is a consensus about total restriction on usage of the sources which promote state propaganda.--Seyyed(t-c) 07:01, 29 July 2020 (UTC)
Sa.vakilian, the two statements are not in tension. These are unreliable sources, but can be included if there is a pressing need and unambiguous consensus. But the bar is high, because they are unreliable. Even an accurate story will be wrapped around with propaganda. We have a small number of citations to Breitbart, for example, but this is done with care and only by exception. Guy (help!) 08:09, 29 July 2020 (UTC)
@JzG: It is clear that considering the source as deprecated» is more harsh than what you conclude in 2015 as there is written in Effects of deprecation. --Seyyed(t-c) 08:46, 29 July 2020 (UTC)
Sa.vakilian, the effect of deprecation depends on how shitty the source is. Sources that spread conspiracy theories are handled with more prejudice than those which are merely unreliable. It's also true that five years of experience have shown that we have to be more blunt with people who don't really get the whole concept, and choose to interpret cautious language as a green light to include a shitty source because ti says a thing they think needs saying. Guy (help!) 09:00, 29 July 2020 (UTC)
If we notice to several coups which are guided or carried out by CIA such as 1953 Iranian coup d'état, 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état and 1973 Chilean coup d'état as well as what has done to justify Iraq war and what is done by the US President at present, is it strange that a news source believe in a system for conspiracy? Is it justifiable and neutral to mute opposite voices? Do the mainstream sources cover all aspects of reality? (For example the real number of Casualties of 2020 Iranian attack on U.S. forces in Iraq?) However, if the community has reached the consensus to mute non main stream sources, I just want to clarify it in the this policy.--Seyyed(t-c) 09:41, 29 July 2020 (UTC)
Sa.vakilian, Wikipedia is a mainstream encyclopaedia. Mainstream is the opposite of fringe. But these sources were not deprecated for not being mainstream, they were deprecated for not being truthful. Including state sponsored propaganda to provide criticism of events that are already the subject of substantial scholarly criticism is completely unnecessary and actually degrades the articles – bad faith state actors are worse than Randy from Boise. Guy (help!) 10:16, 30 July 2020 (UTC)
Nobody is saying that all pro-Iranian government sources should be deprecated, as I noted in the RSN discussion there are plenty of other English language Iranian based sources, including Islamic Republic News Agency, AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA), Tasnim News Agency, Fars News Agency and Iran Press, many of which are closely alligned to the Iranian goverment and can be used in the place of Press TV, In the same way TASS can be used for the voice of the Russian government instead of RT. Hemiauchenia (talk) 16:40, 29 July 2020 (UTC)
@Hemiauchenia: What are the criteria?--Seyyed(t-c) 17:46, 29 July 2020 (UTC)
@Sa.vakilian: Islamic Republic News Agency is a direct organ of the Iranian Govt and is therefore equivalent to Press TV, and can definitely be used as a replacement. Is there anything valuable from Press TV that isn't covered by IRNA? Hemiauchenia (talk)
  • WP:NPOV says "All encyclopedic content on Wikipedia must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), 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." If the views are only presented in a non-reliable, state propaganda source, then they should not be included, and by definition that is not a WP:NPOV violation. For the same reason, we should not cite Nazi propaganda directly, instead using scholarly sources that discuss it. (t · c) buidhe 21:12, 29 July 2020 (UTC)
@JzG and Buidhe: Let's clarify the situations. 1- If there are substantial scholarly writings then we do not use weak sources. Even in such cases we do not use main stream news media. Because scholarly writing is more valuable. For example, we prefer to use Academic works instead of BBC to cover World War II. 2- For the current issues, there is not substantial scholarly writings, thus we use news media. In such cases if all of the viewpoints are covered by main stream news media, then we do not use other media to cover minority viewpoints. 3- There is a current event which is not covered by the unbiased or main stream media. For example, 2020 Iranian attack on U.S. forces in Iraq is an example for a current event that main stream media can not cover it comprehensively due to some restrictions by the authorities. In such cases truth is not clear. The governments of US and Iran, each one try to promote their own propaganda. Now, what should we do in this situation? 4- There are a lot of local events which are not important for international news media to cover comprehensively. This may happen for many events in Africa. What should we do in these cases.--Seyyed(t-c) 04:55, 31 July 2020 (UTC)
Sa.vakilian, the "situation" doesn't need clarifying. These are unreliable sources. We don't include them unless there is a compelling reason. The fact that they are the only source presenting a specific perspective will never be that compelling reason, because they are unreliable sources. If something is not covered in reliable mainstream sources, it has no place on Wikipedia. We are not a newspaper. You don't provide "balance" by introducing unreliable sources, that is false balance, and normally indicative of POV-pushing. If mainstream sources don't publish The Truth™ then we don't include The Truth™, because it's probably not, you know, true. Guy (help!) 08:24, 31 July 2020 (UTC)
Adding to that, my feeling it that "scholarly writings" aren't necessarily appropriate. The important thing is sources with a reputation for fact checking and accuracy, providing an independent view. WP:NPOV#Bias in sources gives good guidance. . . dave souza, talk 12:25, 31 July 2020 (UTC)
Buidhe is correct. A balanced view is based on all reliable sources not all sources. No reliable sources = no need to cover. If an event is not adequately covered by reliable sources (e.g. if you're right about the 2020 Iranian attack) we remain silent rather than go to non-reliable sources. We're not a newspaper, and we can assume reliable sources will emerge in time. BobFromBrockley (talk) 15:17, 31 July 2020 (UTC)

The WP:Biased says: Wikipedia articles are required to present a neutral point of view. However, reliable sources are not required to be neutral, unbiased, or objective. Sometimes non-neutral sources are the best possible sources for supporting information about the different viewpoints held on a subject. Common sources of bias include political, financial, religious, philosophical, or other beliefs. Although a source may be biased, it may be reliable in the specific context. When dealing with a potentially biased source, editors should consider whether the source meets the normal requirements for reliable sources, such as editorial control, a reputation for fact-checking, and the level of independence from the topic the source is covering. and WP:NPOV says: A common argument in a dispute about reliable sources is that one source is biased and so another source should be given preference. Some editors argue that biased sources should not be used because they introduce improper POV to an article. However, biased sources are not inherently disallowed based on bias alone, although other aspects of the source may make it invalid. Neutral point of view should be achieved by balancing the bias in sources based on the weight of the opinion in reliable sources and not by excluding sources that do not conform to the editor's point of view. This does not mean any biased source must be used; it may well serve an article better to exclude the material altogether.

However, as it clear some people who participate in RFCs in Notice Board propose different understanding which we can paraphrase like this: There are some sources which are totally unreliable due to their political or ideological viewpoints like antisemitism. In other words, the reliability of a source depends on particular interpretation of Political correctness which is common in main stream media. --Seyyed(t-c) 12:21, 1 August 2020 (UTC)

Holocaust denial is not a viewpoint. You need to go to core policy (see WP:GEVAL) to understand that nonsense ideas are either (a) presented with a mainstream framing or, (b) not included at all. Alexbrn (talk) 12:42, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
@Alexbrn: Apparently, there is a misunderstanding. I did not we add Holocaust denial can be added from those sources. I mean some wikipedians discredit the source totally, due to Holocaust denial. For example, if the source has such a viewpoint, does it affect its narration about Pakistan's election?!--Seyyed(t-c) 15:47, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
That where another core policy, WP:V, comes in. Readers must be able to see that citations used are to reliable sources. If the citation is to a source which is known to be howl-at-the-moon daft (because e.g. it promotes Holocaust denial), then WP:V is not satisfied. Of course, even whacky publications are "reliable" for their own pronouncements, but then WP:WEIGHT comes in: if such pronouncements are not covered in reputable secondary sources, then there is no WP:WEIGHT to them. Alexbrn (talk) 16:10, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
  • A general issue I have found with how NPOV and RS is editors do become far too focused on just what RSes say and perhaps forget the forest through the trees, though as many have said, we still have to be careful of what sourcing we can use. We don't have to be blind to what the whole of a problem or controversy is just because part of it isn't covered in RSes, even if that's FRINGE. For controversies that have had the test of time (decades), and coverage in academic sources to be readily disproven like flat-earth or Holocaust denial, this is where we don't have to worry about anything else. But for those fresher controversies that are still going or still yet "decided" in enough coverage by academics, instead our goal should simply be to document the controversy without trying to decide a winner, with the only stipulation being to apply WEIGHT to which side has more prevalence. And to this end, this might require dipping toes into weak or non-RSes to get statements if the RSes aren't giving sufficient coverage to that.
As a hypothetical and extreme example, we can take the way China is treating Hong Kong as a current controversy. If we stuck to RSes and ignored those run by Chinese-state owned media, the near-predominate view is that China is clearly trying to usurp the HK's autonomy and bring it back into China which every nation in the world sees as a crime. If we wrote our article and left it at that, without explaining any of China's rational for doing what it's doing, we'd be failing our NPOV mission. And as I said, if in this hypothetical if the only way to get that was from dippin7g into the state-run media, so be it. We'd simply add appropriate attribution for that, and use only just enough to establish those reasons. Obviously in the real situation, we don't have to do that (China's reasoning is well covered), but this is the type of thing that we need a bit of common sense for, at other cases. We are not so beholden to RSes to have only a tunnel view on what they say, we only want to keep as much of our information coming from RSes as possible, and only turn to non-RSes if that's necessary to complete a NPOV action. --Masem (t) 16:37, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
I think it's interesting *that the "hypothetical and extreme example" doesn't shift the argument because "Obviously in the real situation, we don't have to do that". I suspect in reality this is always the case. Can any editor point to a real instance where not being able to use some ${shitty source} is harmful to the encyclopedia? Alexbrn (talk) 16:44, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
A case that I can attest to – but also why I also now soapbox on NOT#NEWS and RECENTISM and waiting some time before getting too deep with any type of opinion/analysis of a breaking controversy – was with Gamergate. Until about 6 months when things got really really ugly, there was at least apparently a side of the story that , from the 60,000 ft level, that appeared to say that part of the controversy was more than just "ethics in video game journalism" (but wholly unrelated to the BLP-related charges that were plaguing it). Points that would clarify why some parts were calling themselves part of a movement and had reasonable justification, but that were being mostly ignored because the other 90% of Gamergate at the start was going around harassing women and the media was deadset on that facet. You could go to weaker RSes and get their story points, which I had suggested early in the article development but this was solidly refused because both not RS and claims that it was against UNDUE. Now, hindsight, that part long since vanished, and the way sources looking back now seem best to describe that as a possible smokescreen for other factors, so at the end of the day, the fact it wasn't added was good.
That case gave me clarity of what we should be doing in nearly all similar controversies is to try to wait for the dust to settle before we get hands dirty on writing about who is right or wrong, and stick to the facts. If we have to describe the controversy's basis, we need to give some weight to both/all sides – not full blown opinion or analysis but enough of "A said this, B said that", and that type of brief summation should be possible through RSes (if those RSes are doing their jobs), but we need to be aware and not closed minded to the slim chance that a non-RS may be needed to source this type of statement. We always should try to use the RSes, and we should inform what we know what the non-RSes are saying so we can look for the RSes to include, which is key. We don't want to be a walled garden and pretend there is no worthwhile opinions that exist outside the body of RSes. It's basically an IAR-type situation this might come up, no change needed in any policy but there's that very very slim chance consensus may deem it required. --Masem (t) 17:04, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Here's an actual example of how deprecating PressTV could harm NPOV (Alexbrn and others). Last year Iran sanctioned the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which our article describes as a neo-conservative and hawkish think tank. This was covered by the Atlantic and the Jerusalem Post, but compare their coverage with PressTV's:
    • Both sources only briefly cover why Iran sanctioned the group. The Atlantic agrees that FDD helped design some sanctions against Iran, but doesn't mention their devastating humanitarian impact. Only PressTV mentioned that the sanctions "have endangered the lives, health, and freedom of the Iranian people". (Numerous other sources would agree with PressTV on that "US Economic Sanctions Harm Iranians’ Right to Health", but it would be WP:SYNTH to use two sources to make a point).
    • Both mentioned that Iran implicitly threatened violence against the FDD, yet in the PressTv version the statement was "the Islamic Republic will resort to any legal and legitimate means to defend the 'fundamental' rights of its citizens in line with the norms of international law". Neither The Atlantic nor Jerusalem Post mentions that Iran is promising to following international law in this context.VR talk 14:29, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
      • I think that example actually works against your argument. Nothing from the PressTV sources fit into the category of "accepted knowledge" we are meant to be reflecting. In the first case, we should use the "numerous" decent sources; in the second case the supposed "promise" of the Iranian regime is (knowing their record) just propaganda. Alexbrn (talk) 14:54, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
In the first case, we are prevented from using those "numerous" sources per WP:SYNTH. PressTV is the only source I found, in this context, that highlights the well known reality of US sanctions hurting Iranian people.
In the second case, you seem to be letting your personal views get in the way of neutrality. Here the Iranian government's statement contradicts allegations against them, and so it's pertinent for us to quote that part.VR talk 01:40, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
Oh, so if this claim is not covered by "numerous" sources, but by PressTV alone, it has no reliable source and shouldn't be relayed; same for the second example. What you are essentially arguing is "only this crap source says some things which aren't covered by reliable sources". So, by definition including these things would violate WP:NPOV, which requires that we mirror significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic. Alexbrn (talk) 05:20, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
@@Alexburn:, he did not say either of those things that you said he did in your responses, and I honestly don't see how picking out two or three word phrases from an editors post and arguing against only those couple of words while ignoring the rest of what was said, and thereby misrepresenting the meaning of what they wrote can be anything other than bad faith.
What @@Vice regent: said can be summed up like this: There are numerous reliable sources that cover both A and B separately, but none that cover them both in the same article. PressTV is the only source that says Iran's action B was in part due to facts A (which by themselves are already well documented to reliable sources, but not in connexion with B). I hope that was explained clearly – if not, apologies.
On the second point – it sounds as if you're trying to make the case that if 'reliable sources' say 'Iran threatened violence', but do not report the actual words of said statement, which is available from PressTV but no other source, AND which, as it turns out, contain no such threat......then, Wikipedia practice ought to be to report false information/accusations – which are clearly shown to be so – for no other reason than that they are from 'RS'? are reliable sources permitted to report false information with impunity, by virtue of their most excellent reliability? Surely you did not honestly mean to say that... Firejuggler86 (talk) 12:27, 14 September 2020 (UTC)
@Alexbrn and Vice regent: Please take care that this discussion is about the interpretation of this policy, therefor please move the what relates to Press TV case to Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard#Discussion (PressTV). Thank you.--Seyyed(t-c) 08:24, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
PressTV is merely an example, and pertinent to this wider discussion. Alexbrn (talk) 08:35, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
  • I think the "Many Voices, One World" by MacBride would be clarifying here, which according to my understanding says mainstream media are mostly headquartered in the developed countries and hence don't pay as much attention as the developing countries should receive. That's why I fully concur with the idea that tending to use the mainstream media, without paying attention to what the rest say, would be against the NPOV. Needless to say that these so-called mainstream media have shown questionable performance throughout their histories (for this one may check the works like "Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World" by Edward W. Said – I think the title is itself indicative of the content, so I'm not going through the details). So, as Masem said, we should let other voices be heard under some circumstances. That's how the Wikipedia may (should?) enjoy the benefit of creating a balanced collection of viewpoints. Any more than necessary adherence to the words may be against the soul of the policy, i.e. adding all major viewpoints according to their weight. Finally, I agree that we are not in "a walled garden" and think this should be highlighted somewhere in the policy. Maybe it worth trying an RFC. --Mhhossein talk 12:20, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
    • NPOV policy does not require us to reflect "mainstream media", but reliable sources. Which is why terrible sources like the Daily Mail (which in many senses is thoroughly "mainstream") are deprecated. Alexbrn (talk) 12:34, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
      • Finally there would not be so much difference in the subsequent result. Btw, the first lines of NPOV: "All encyclopedic content on Wikipedia must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), 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." --Mhhossein talk 13:50, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
      • For all purposes, our "reliable sources" covering current event are "mainstream media, less the tabloid journalism". Which, for purposes of trying to be reliable, is great, but as I am cautioning, can be poor at covering certain viewpoints in the world that are not fringe, with Islam being probably a good example. Not that smart news outlet have not worked to bring reporters with expertise in this area, but that only goes far; there are still far far more journalists that know how to maneuver and analyze Western politics than Islamic ones. And that's just a systematic bias, because these English-language sources are serving those audience. Arguably we (WPians) could be better by getting into the non-English reliable sources (which are allowed, no policy against those outside reliable translations) and build out, but this is rarely the step take; most article end when Google's English search results stop.
      • This is why I go back to my soapbox that it is far better that we do not get too far involved in trying to include the analysis and opinions on a fresh controversy where most of the NPOV issues will start to arise (which side has more WEIGHT, etc. ) and just report as best as we can the fundamental conflicts, the base claims of why the controversy exists, which if our RSes are truly good sources, should be stated this at the top and we shouldn't have to dig. Wait for academics or sources written in hindsight to help establish the analysis and opinion stages well after the controversy has died down. We should never have to go outside the RSes, but we can't be blind to what is outside (which I have seen argued at times), and we have to be prepared to a concensus-allowed IAR use of non-RS at times where it makes sense to logically complete the base picture of the core of the controversy if for some reason the RSes simply don't cover it, which I could see happening if it were sometime related to Islam, to something in central African countries, or the like where Western media simply don't have that knowledge set. --Masem (t) 14:11, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

Missing Image[edit]

The file File:Verifiability and Neutral point of view (Common Craft)-en.ogv is the most-used non-existent image on Wikipedia. Can anyone reupload it? TheThingy Talk 22:39, 4 September 2020 (UTC)

MOS:GENDERID being used in place of WP:Article titles and for category arguments[edit]

Opinions are needed on the following matter: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style#MOS:GENDERID being used in place of WP:Article titles and for category arguments. A permalink for it is here. Flyer22 Frozen (talk) 20:46, 13 October 2020 (UTC)

Asserting Objective Falsehoods vs Explaining Objective Falsehoods[edit]

In the last several years, a journalistic practice has emerged in which news analysis and spot news reports will assert false equivalencies or objective falsehoods rather than explain false equivalencies or objective falsehoods. For example –

– instead of –

This is a recent evolution in journalism responding to a political communications strategy by which an outrageous claim can be made and the journalist, rather than describing the outrage of the claim, is required to source the perspective of the other side, creating the impression that the outrageous claim is equal to the factual one. A less discussed reason has to do with the economic limitations of journalism, that is, it takes no resources to make an outrageous claim but significant resources to rapidly counter-explain such a claim.
Without getting into the argument as to whether this is good journalism – because we are not a journalistic endeavor – I would like to briefly discuss whether this is good encyclopedia writing. This practice has crept into many of our articles.
On WP we have never obligated ourselves to rapidly respond to evolving news stories and we have no space limitations on our articles. Should we, therefore, be asserting objective falsehoods or explaining objective falsehoods? On the one hand, we "go by what RS say," however, we also recognize a stylistic dissymmetry between journalistic writing and encyclopedic writing, as described in WP:NEWSSTYLE. I think we've reached a point where these two maxims have become incongruous insofar as this specific, recently popular, phrasing is concerned.
I am not making any specific suggestion or proposal. This thread is merely to seek input and opinion. Chetsford (talk) 04:23, 23 November 2020 (UTC)

  • If it's not clear, my preference is that we should start moving away from asserting falsehoods; falsehoods should, instead, be explained. For a person coming to WP seeking to find reliable information on a controversial topic, the use of this blunt and commanding language can be very off-putting and disincline them to consider underlying facts, undermining the very purpose of those who choose this phrasing. It creates the appearance of non-WP:NPOV and, even though it may not be POV, I believe it does our readers a disservice when even an appearance of partiality exists. It has the odor of WP:RGW when it is applied even though the conditions created by its use in newswriting don't exist here, as previously described. We should assume a basic level of intelligence in our readers and have the faith that they would be able to comprehend and identify a falsehood if it is clearly explained without us needing to assert it. I think this is consistent with our WP:PURPOSE. Chetsford (talk) 04:38, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
    Chetsford, neither NPOV nor RGW applies when stating that bullshit is bullshit. I don't object to the idea of explaining why it's bullshit, but only after we say it is.
    Your second formulation above frames "the sky is green" as a valid (or good faith or at least defensible) assertion contradicted by some people. It's not: it's bullshit. So either you need a better example, or you're falling for the false equivalency that has kept climate change denial and antivaccine activism alive for decades. Guy (help! - typo?) 09:02, 25 November 2020 (UTC)