Wikipedia talk:Neutral point of view

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Poor example[edit]

For example, an article should not state that "genocide is an evil action", but it may state that "genocide has been described by John X as the epitome of human evil."

In one discussion someone quoted the NPOV policy including this piece. At least two persons did not recognize it as part of policy and viewed it akin to a frivolous argument "ad Hitlerium". Further, this example teaches using bad style. A professional encyclopedia must replace the phrase "genocide is evil" with "genocide is crime against humanity", i.e., it is evil, but not simply because John X says so.

Of course, I understand what example meant to say, but IMO it is poor choice. This example must be replaced with the one in the area which is clearly the matter of opinions rather than established facts. In the talk page I mentioned I made the following suggestion:

Instead or writing "the movie sucks" it is better to write "John X says the movie sucks". Still better, there are reviewers which aggregate the reviews, so the article may quote them to say, e.g. "65% reviews say the movie sucks".

I didn't realize it was policy quoted, so my suggestion was sloppily phrased. Please consider its merits apart from wording. My version has an additional benefit of suggestion to search for something more than a single wise man say, which is IMO an important part of NPOV. -M.Altenmann >t 18:03, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

I think you make several good points. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 06:28, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree, and I'd like to add an additional reason: genocide is a very controversial event about which most people unilaterally agree is both evil and wrong. Although it isn't Wikipedia's place to make moral assertions, using such a controversial one will lead to misunderstanding and controversy. It's best to use a less morally charged example. As for how a professional encyclopedia would word it, I'd say that it would be worded that "genocide is considered to be a crime against humanity". Some encyclopedias take a more direct stance and state a moral opinion like in your example, but others (including Wikipedia) tend to distance themselves from these claims to be completely neutral and disinterested in every instance. But yes, I agree with your points, and I do think this should be changed. Perhaps something like:

Instead of writing "this movie is bad", it is better to write "John X thought this movie was bad". Better still, "on Date A, John X believed the movie to be poorly made", preferably with a quote from John X describing his opinion. Since many sites aggregate reviews, it may be better to simply document these aggregates instead, as in "On Metacritic, 65% of reviews rated this movie poorly, stating that it was 'A', 'B', and 'C', among other reasons".

Perhaps not the best suggestion, but a thought. ―Nøkkenbuer (talkcontribs) 17:53, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I think that using a serious and difficult example, rather than a pop culture example, helps people understand the point. This isn't really about attributing opinions when it's really obvious that it's an opinion that people could disagree about; it's about separating the subjective (and cultural) from the objective.
Also "Genocide is considered to be evil" should be rejected a garrulous, WP:WEASELly failure to use WP:Brilliant prose. It's not "distancing" and "being neutral"; it's just slightly sloppy writing. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:45, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

Allowing more than a single viewpoint in an article[edit]

I recently proposed here that when a topic has both a significant or notable minority view, and a majority view, that Wikipedia articles ought to allow both sides of an argument to be fully and fairly laid out. I apologize for making the edit before the discussion, but I thought that this might be the best way to clearly state the proposal. Thoughts? Scott P. (talk) 15:30, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

This is an incorrect description of your edit you linked. -M.Altenmann >t 18:50, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm not certain what you mean... Why do you feel it is incorrect? Does this mean you think that there should, or should not be two points of view fairly and fully laid out in such articles? Please clarify. Scott P. (talk) 19:08, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I am not expressing an opinion about the policy. I am stating that your description here incorrectly (possibly unintentionally) renders your edit, by omitting certain subtleties which IMO are critical. Therefore, to exclude misunderstandings and the resulting waste of time, please state your suggested change here in full, in this form:

old text

new text

Please also keep in mind that, first, this is a policy, not an article, so we usually don't need to footnote it with references; and second, argumentum ad Jimbonem are good in talk pages, but not in policies, where consensus counts, rather than authority. -M.Altenmann >t 19:46, 25 April 2015 (UTC)


OK, in the hope of clarifying that Wikipedia does ask that the two conflicting views typically found within "significant or sizeable minority view topic articles", both be fairly and fully laid out, I propose that the current NPOV text:

In articles specifically relating to a minority viewpoint, such views may receive more attention and space. However, these pages should still make appropriate reference to the majority viewpoint wherever relevant and must not represent content strictly from the perspective of the minority view.

Be changed to read:

In articles specifically relating to a minority viewpoint, such views may receive more attention and space. In articles relating to viewpoints that fall somewhere between true "fringe/ distinct minority" views and "mainstream" views, both sides or contending views should be fairly represented, allowing the reader to "think for themselves". Such pages should never limit content strictly to the perspective of the minority view.

Scott P. (talk) 20:14, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

Why? Is there an article where the above proposal would help the encyclopedia? It is likely that the only outcome from the proposed change would be to assist those pushing fringe views and other nonsense. Where authorities on a subject differ, their views are recorded, so what is the problem? Johnuniq (talk) 01:09, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I believe there is such an article that could easily serve as an example of the many articles that could be helped by this policy. I arrived at this article by simply scanning the recent comments on this talk page. Please check out the Circumcision article. There, the editors have tried to make it appear that all medical opinion recommends against circumcision, yet the fact of the matter is that it is an "undecided subject", and a very significant minority recommends for circumcision. There I have tried to include the fact that it is not a "decided" subject in the article, but I have been fully reverted out of that article. We will see how my most recent edits and arguments there will fare.
There on the article's talk page you can see the debate, obviously unsettled for years, raging on. There seems to be this idea that Wikipedia's role is to not only inform people, but also to make up their minds for them. This idea of making up people's minds for them in such cases is RUBBISH. We need to encourage truly "Balanced" articles, which show both sides of such debates, not "Slanted" articles, which intentionally give the mistaken impression that there is only one side of such an argument. Thus the need for the edit to the policy that I have suggested above. Scott P. (talk) 09:50, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
It's an issue that has been discussed many times before... advocates of fringe views often claim that an "argument" exists (and that their side of that "argument" is not equally represented), when in fact there isn't much argument at all. It's really just a few vocal advocates shouting in the wilderness. On the other hand, I have seen advocates of mainstream views try to suppress legitimate minority viewpoints as being "fringe", when in fact they are not.
Which is which is not something we can answer in the abstract... because a lot depends on the specifics. The underlying question is this: How much weight should a specific minority viewpoint be given? If it really is a fringe view, then (per WP:UNDUE) it should not be given much weight at all. It's not our job to promote fringe views. On the other hand, if it is a legitimate minority view, then we need to note that the view exists, and what it's proponents say.
So how can you tell how much weight to give a viewpoint? You examine what the independent sources say about it... how much they discuss it. Set those involved in advocacy (for and against the viewpoint) to one side... If the independent sources spend a lot of time either discussing the view point (whether to support or debunk it), then we should give that viewpoint a reasonable amount of space in our article. However, if they more or less ignore it, then we should do so as well.
That said... once you determine how much weight to give the viewpoint (whether that is a lot, a little, or none at all), you can then go back and examine what the advocates (for and against) say on the issue, and use them to flesh out what we say about it. Blueboar (talk) 12:29, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
Agree with Blueboar here, well stated. In the particular case Scott is talking about, the edits are getting reverted mainly because they're making the article misrepresent the sources. Can we agree that before we start considering NPOV we first have to 1) identify the reliable sources and 2) represent them accurately? Zad68 13:46, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
It actually has to all be considered at the same time... because there is a wrinkle to consider: There is no such thing as a 100% completely unreliable source. Fringe advocacy sources actually are reliable for statements of opinion (ie an attributed statement about what the advocates say)... even if they are not reliable for statements of unattributed fact. Which means we have to do more than just identify "the reliable sources" in some abstract sense... we also have to identify which types of statements any given source appropriately supports. However, there is no point in identifying what type of statement the source might be reliable for if the opinion it expresses is so fringe that we will omit it in the first place. That's where NPOV and UNDUE come into play... figuring out whether a specific statement of opinion should be noted in depth, noted in passing, or completely ignored. Blueboar (talk) 14:34, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
@Blueboar:, please consider making your exegesis part of the policy. Since the issue pops up now and again, it probably means that the policy is insufficiently clear/ understandable. -M.Altenmann >t 16:33, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

Blueboar, right, the reliable sourcing I'm referring to here is authoritative, independent secondary sources. Independent secondary sources are needed to be able to determine whether a particular viewpoint is being given emphasis compliant with NPOV. Yes, any source is a primary source for itself, but you cannot determine how much weight to give it without a secondary (tertiaries can help too). Any advocacy group can produce self-published sources and plaster them all over the Internet, cluttering up your Google search results with the top 50 result placings, but unless that group's views are covered seriously by authoritative, independent secondary sources, they shouldn't be included at all. This is what current policy says, and it produces the desired result. Zad68 21:10, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

A fringe article is a minority view (albeit a small one - applying the ancillary article exception) and thus is covered by "In articles specifically relating to a minority viewpoint". We make no distinction there between a "significant minority" and "extremely small (or vastly limited) minority". The point of that statement is that the scope of an article changes the focus of the weight. At a higher level, fringe views get no place in an article - weight is placed based in proportion to the prominence within the larger context. As you create sub-articles describing minority views, the body of sources changes to focus on fully exploring the topic scope, and while they will describe their place in regard to the larger topic (as the policy states), the viewpoints that make up the minority view become more central to the article, thus gain more weight in relation. This is no different when the article focus is a fringe view, except the sources often become more primary and sometimes self-published (if discussing itself). In any case, the content should represent a complete understanding of the topic, which means fully describing the viewpoint and the various positions on it. Thus, I don't see what the change accomplishes. Morphh (talk) 21:50, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

I'd like to remind y'all that articles such as Whig Party and Zoroastrianism, which both reflect minority points of views, exist, and probably do not link back or discuss the current majority points of view (which I guess would arguably be Republicanism and Catholicism, respectively). I know you scientists out there, staring down at your microscopes, are offended by some people say the world is flat, other people disagree type articles, but there exist whole other realms of thought out there!

But on the larger point, per WP:YESPOV, by all means, include multiple points of view where possible. -- Kendrick7talk 22:10, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

Bad examples. These are belief systems, not scientific theories. --NeilN talk to me 22:17, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  • strongly oppose i cannot see any place where this would ever be a benefit to the encyclopedia and i can see a gazillion places where it would be horrible. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:38, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
Red-Pen, could you please keep to the subject of the specific article being discussed. How would you see it as being "horrible" in the Circumcision article? Scott P. (talk) 22:55, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
No, we do not tweak policy wording based on one article. If you want to change wording, all implications must be considered. --NeilN talk to me 23:00, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
You are correct, but we must start with one article, no? Scott P. (talk) 23:06, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
The article on Circumcision is all about the science of medicine. Is that not an acceptable artlcle to start with? Scott P. (talk) 23:11, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
No. You can propose changes and other editors are free to comment on how those changes will affect other articles or a broad spectrum of articles. It's no good working on wording for one specific article in isolation. It's like building a factory to produce one size of a shoe style in one specific color when you have to manufacture shoes for the entire market. --NeilN talk to me 23:53, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
The only reason that I chose the Circumcision article to start with was simply because it was listed just above on this page as an article where editors have just complained that the "minority view" is being stifled there. Low and behold, I inserted a tiny reference to the "minority view" which happens to be the view of the World Health Organization and of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and which happen to be views listed prominently in the Britannica article on the same subject, and my small mentions are quickly reverted with the explanation that they are supposedly "misleading" but with nobody able to answer my question, "specifically why are the views of the WHO and the AAP misleading?" That article, indeed only fairly presents one side, even though they fail to fairly represent the largest association of pediatric doctors in the US, and the WHO. Britannica knows how to fairly represent two contending views. Why can't we? Why we have to play second fiddle to Britannica because we don't know how to fully list two opposing views fairly in a single article? Scott P. (talk) 00:04, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Wouldn't WP:NPOVN be a better forum for this? --NeilN talk to me 00:07, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Jumping Jack Flash on a pogo stick, Scottperry, the reason you kept getting reverted was because you were not representing the sourcing accurately. You can't make the article say something the sources do not and then complain about NPOV policy because your edits didn't stick. Zad68 00:12, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Exact quotes from both organizations are "inaccurate", sure Zad. I'm trying to point out that this is a systematic error with Wikipedia policy. Not that it is merely a problem in one article. The editors of the Circumcision article correctly followed NPOV policy and carefully weighted their article in favor of the majority view. That left the WHO and the AAP as supposedly "misguided organizations", whose misleading views were not permitted to be fairly explained on the page. Britannica knows how to weave more than one viewpoint into an article. Why can't we? Scott P. (talk) 00:18, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Sorry to be a party pooper, but it's my bedtime.... Night. Scott P. (talk) 00:22, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Neither time did you quote the AAP as you claim, and it's the AAP's position that you misrepresented both times. Until we resolve this misunderstanding, we can't get anywhere. G'night. Zad68 00:23, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

I believe all three of us editors at the Circumcision article are now on the same page. Thank you kindly, all.Scott P. (talk) 00:55, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Allowing more than a single viewpoint in an article (post Circumcision article-interaction)[edit]

I have two question for those here who are in "opposition" to this proposal that Wikipedia policy should have a section which specifically describes how "minority views" should be treated. They are:

  1. If you feel that all articles should automatically be "weighted" to favor the "majority view", and that minority views don't even deserve a separate policy section to describe how they should be presented, then are you saying that you believe that essentially, the only views that deserve any real consideration in Wikipedia are majority views?
  2. If you feel that minority views are not worthy of any specific Wikipedia policy about how to best represent them, then without any policy addressing this question, what is there in our policy to prevent such views from being essentially "unfairly squelched"?

Thanks, Scott P. (talk) 00:55, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

I believe that one very major reason why people seem to prefer Wikipedia over Britannica is because on any given subject there is generally more information available on Wikipedia than in Britannica. As for myself, I like to read articles where "there is an abundance of pertinent information, but not an "over-abundance" of it. It seems to me, that this idea of providing an abundance of pertinent information, but not an over abundance of it, could serve well as a "guiding principle" in determining what should and what should not be included in Wikipedia. That is, would a reader see the information as being "helpful" or as mere "clutter"? Currently, our policy seems to try to focus more on very abstract principles that read something like "does the majority of the opinion of the published community support this idea?" Why can't this be simpler, and only ask, "does it seem more likely that a typical reader would see this information as being helpful or as being mere clutter?"
For me the article on Circumcision is a sort of a case in point. Whoever wrote the Britannica article on circumcision probably determined that including both some pro-circumcision-views and some con-circumcision-views would most likely be found by typical readers as being "helpful" information, and thus he included both perspectives in his article. In our article on the same topic, our editors, duly following our policies, could only justify fully explaining what they apparently find as the majority-view which was the con-circumcision-view. Thus, they systematically deleted anything that attempted to fully explain the pro-circumcision-view, as they apparently determined that this policy was a "minority view, and therefore "not worthy" of a full explanation in Wikipedia.
It seems to me that our policies are drifting away from trying to meet the needs of our audience, and are becoming a rather convoluted means of trying to debate "ultimate truth" amongst ourselves, when that is not supposed to be the purpose of an encyclopedia, a "well rounded" view, not a "difinitive single view". Thus, I feel it is time we started a section of policy that focused on the proper presentation of minority views, so that we can present more "well rounded" articles, and not "difinitive single perspective" articles. Scott P. (talk) 11:02, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Scott... You seem to be exclusively focused on the circumcision article. It is never a good idea to try to change policy based on one single article. We need to write policy with all articles in mind. So... to better prove your point, can you come up with a few other articles where you see a similar problem... and could you give us an example of an article where you think the policy is being applied appropriately? Blueboar (talk) 11:47, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
As I wrote above, I believe the editors of the Circumcision article were following our "weighting of articles" policies appropriately. Our "weighting policies" encouraged them to "weight" that article with no explicit restrictions on how much to "weight" it. Ultimately they were so zealous in weighting the article in favor of the perceived majority, that the article even included a false statement, heavily laden with med-speak to make it difficult for most lay people to even understand, in "weighted" support of the majority view. It took thousands of words of talk-space discussion to even correct that mis-statement of the facts, so zealous were the page editors to "weight" the article, and to make sure no minority view was fully laid out. Which specific WP policy do you feel is written to prevent the "over-weighting" of articles in favor of the "majority view", that they violated? Scott P. (talk) 16:29, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Blueboar, do you feel that there is already some Wikipedia policy in place to assure the fair representation of noteworthy minority views? If so, which policy might that be? Thanks, Scott P. (talk) 16:49, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes... its called WP:NPOV. which states that we should present: ...all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic.
The key word, of course, is "significant"... there are often disagreements between editors as to whether a particular view should be considered "significant" or not - advocates of minority views will often argue that their view is very significant, while opponents will often dismiss them as being not significant at all. The way we resolve the disagreement is to look at reliable independent econdary sources to see how much they discuss the view. If they give the minority view a lot of attention (even if only to disparage or debunk it), so should we... If they ignore it, so should we. That's called giving it due weight.
You might also look at our WP:FRINGE policy... that goes into more detail about both when and how to mention views that are at the lower end of the "significance" spectrum. Blueboar (talk) 12:20, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Our NARTH article[edit]

Here is an article where the actual views of an Association (which are apparently held by our editors to be the "minority view") are completely omitted from the article. This is an article about a professional association, for which there appears to be a PC (Politically Correct) consensus, that this organization is fundamentally "evil". Thus the Wikipedia article on that association clearly reflects the weighted-PC view of that Association and refuses to actually fairly represent the true views of that association. People should not come to Wikipedia to get PC-correct views regurgitated back to them. They should come to Wikipedia to get actual information.

So "Ok, get to the point, what is the name of this organization?" you ask. It is our article on the NARTH association. You can read that article before my last edit which removed a certain false statement here. After reading their Wikipedia article (before my first edit), I was mistakenly misled by the text of that article to believe that NARTH was an organization attempting to categorically claim that homosexuality was always simply a "choice", and a choice that is always "reversible". I believe that such is probably the PC-correct view of NARTH. After actually reading the NARTH position statement on this, it turns out that such is not the case, yet our article erroneously misleads the reader to believe it is. The NARTH position statement clarifies that they believe that more research would have to be done to determine at which point along the "continuum of sexual preferences" that one's sexuality is or is not a truly malleable choice. The fact that NARTH's actual position on this question is in fact somewhat more reasonable than what their implied position was as shown by the article, seems to me to be a disservice to our readers.

As in the Circumcision article, WP policy regarding the mandatory "weighting" of articles had encouraged the editors of this article to actually make an "overly weighted" claim that was essentially false within the article, yet nobody caught it. This was the article's former claim that NARTH policy "disagreed" with APA policy regarding whether or not homosexuality was a "disorder". I have since deleted this false statement from the NARTH Wikipedia article. We will see how loudly the PC-correct editors over there clamor to reinsert it, based on their guidance from a WP policy that requires the proper "weighting" of all articles. I can almost guarantee you that if I put in the actual NARTH position over there, and the editors over there were left on their own, within three months, that view would be deleted by zealous editors duly "re-weighting" that article in favor of the PC-weighted majority view. Scott P. (talk) 16:15, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Note: Actually, it didn't take 3 months. The false statement was just re-inserted into the article by an editor who was obviously diligently following Wikipedia "article weighting policy" to the letter. Shame on the editor who would have the audacity to defy the PC-weighted view! This time, unlike in the circumcision article, I'm not going to waste 2 days of my time just to get an article to be honest. Policy needs to change, not individuals trying to make Wikipedia honest with a conflicted policy in place that doesn't back them up. Scott P. (talk) 17:36, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

"Conflicted policy?" you ask... Why does a policy section that is supposedly about "neutrality" strongly advise that all articles must be properly "weighted"? Isn't the word "weighted" implying "favoring one side"? So, a truly neutral article must favor one side? What is this, some kind of fancy-schmantzy double-speak designed to confuse newbies, and to give supposedly seasoned veterans who can "understand" double-speak some kind of upper-hand? This terminology makes no sense to me. Why can't neutral simply be neutral, and not "favoring one side"? I'm sure someone will say to me, "You don't have the proper understanding." I say, if you want a slanted article, why not use the word "slanted," not "weighted"? What is the difference? Scott P. (talk) 18:47, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Because giving the same weight to a minority view as we do to the majority view isn't actually neutral. Doing so would actually favor the minority view.
Let me ask - do you really think we should spend half of our Earth article discussing the views of the Flat earth society? Should we really spend half of our article on Apollo 11 discussing the various Moon landing conspiracy theories? Blueboar (talk) 13:15, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Certainly not. But do you not care about the "false statements" that unrestricted weighting/slanting of articles now seems to be occasionally producing? Can we not rationally discuss where weighting/slanting of articles should start, and where it should stop? How much weight/slant is too much? Wikipedia seemed to work fine for its first 7 years without any requirement for "due weight" on all articles. Then, around 2009 the new concept of "due-weight" was extended from the "undue weight" concept. I haven't looked at what the arguments were back then, and I wasn't aware of the shift at the time, but I am wondering if sufficient consideration was given at the time to what in reality amounted to requiring the weighting/slanting all articles. Once the "due-weight" concept was introduced, not only was it important that minority views not be "over-inlflated" (which makes perfect sense to me). It also began to become more and more important that majority views be sufficiently "inflated". I do not really enjoy having to review the argument from 2009 when the concept of "due-weight" was first introduced here, but I am planning on reviewing it closely. It simply seems rather odd to me that my initial proposal that "noteworthy minority views be treated fairly" was fully "shot down" without anyone offering any explanation of what policy protects the fair treatment of noteworthy minority views. This seems to me to indicate a potential shortcoming in policy that is worthy of a rational discussion (where we attempt to understand one another, not to merely out maneuver one another). Scott P. (talk) 17:14, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for asking[edit]

Scott, explain how you determine whether a minority view is being treated "fairly". Current policy says that a minority viewpoint is being treated "fairly" when the emphasis in the article matches the emphasis found in the reliable sourcing. To me that sounds like a pretty reasonable and encyclopedic approach that should produce good results. What do you find wrong with that part of the NPOV policy (if anything), and what is your alternate proposal? Zad68 17:32, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

I very much appreciate your thoughtful questions Zach and Blueboar. You have pointed up some legitimate considerations. After considering your questions, I have reformulated my proposal. I am proposing that wording that was included in our NPOV policy in 2008 be re-inserted in our NPOV policy now. This wording once read:
Minority views can receive attention on pages specifically devoted to them—Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia. But on such pages, though a view may be described, the article should make appropriate reference to the majority viewpoint wherever relevant, and must not reflect an attempt to rewrite majority-view content strictly from the perspective of the minority view.
This would certainly address my concerns. Certainly in our Earth article, the flat earth view may not even deserve mention (reasonable), but in our Flat-Earth article itself, it does deserve to be fairly laid out, even if this might require exceeding the space that a properly "weighted" explanation would require, no? People do not go to the "Flat Earth" article only to find proof that the Flat Earth theory is wrong. In all likelihood they mostly go there to find out exactly what reasoning could have led people so far astray! Why not let them find that information? They are not a bunch of idiots, easily swayed by any stray theory found blowing in the wind, and we are not the 'keepers of the gates of reason'. We are here to provide well-rounded information for those who seek it, allowing people to think for themselves whenever possible without creating an actual misrepresentation of the truth. Scott P. (talk) 18:13, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Alright so you're saying that you're really concerned about articles dedicated to minority views, correct? The wording you're proposing wouldn't affect anything at Earth but would at Flat Earth?? Zad68 18:45, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Our Flat earth article is written without undue inflation of the majority view. I see it as having been written that way for two reasons:
  1. The topic is not perceived to create any true "threat" to the majority view, thus those who hold the majority view feel no compulsion to slant/inflate/weight that article against its own topic.
  2. Since that topic is endlesslly used as an example in theses policy talk pages, editors of that article are far more careful in that article not to make it seem that the majority view was unduly slanted/inflated/weighted against the minority view.
Certainly that article would be the last place in Wikipedia that we would be likely to find undue slant/ inflation/ weighting. Trying to even have a rational discussion here on this talk page seems to me to be nearly impossible because of the way our Wikipedia neutrality policy has been so hacked to death in the last few years. It has gotten so bad that the "guardian editors" here cannot even think clearly themselves. It is becoming the "cult of Wikipedia" where neutral means slanted, and where "minority view" always means the "ranting fringe view". Thus I am automaticlly treated here as if I was a lunatic fringe editor to be silenced because I am the unfortunate messenger pointing out that "the emperor has no clothes ". I suggest that the words "weight" and "proportion" are "weasle words" which actually mean slant, inflate, and "remove neutrality".
I rationally ask here if there is any policy to prevent "over inflation/slanting/weighting/proportionizing" of the "majority view", and I am treated here as if I were an "enemy of the state". An article like our circumcision article is a perfect candidate to exemplify how our neutrality policy is being gutted before our very eyes. The thinking has gotten so cultish here that in the minds of the "guardians of this page" they read "evil fringe lunatic", each time I attempt to simply ask why a policy like the one I just proposed above was deleted from the NPOV page, and replaced with weasel words like "weight" and "proportionate".
Why does Wikipedia treat the WHO, the largest health organization in the world, as if it were a "fringe group" over at the medical article on circumcision, refusing to even clearly lay out its position? It is because it is supposedly a minority (read fringe) group. Why is the Britannica article on circumcision actually balanced, and ours slanted? It is because we have a double-speak, conflicted, kooky, neutrality policy and Britannica clearly has a more sane and rational neutrality policy, capable of preserving true neutrality in their articles. But apparently nobody here has yet picked up on that or seems to care, and all here merely stand by silently watching, as our neutrality policy, over the years, piece by piece, is actually replaced with a policy which in fact advocates for "bias"!
This discussion has wearied me. OK, I give up then. Isn't the emperor wearing a most splendid robe today? Isn't it so brilliant how the editors over at the Wikipedia NPOV policy now require all editors to "properly balance" all of their articles by "properly weighting" them over to the politically correct side? I used to find it to be such a bore over at Wikipedia to have to read through anything that dared to speak clearly against my stylish PC views. Aren't all of Wikipedia's articles so much more helpful and thought provoking now that their neutrality policy asks them to only clearly present a single well rounded view, which oddly enough, for some strange reason happens to always agree with my own rather wonderful PC view?
Zach, thank you for asking the one reasonable question here and not just repeating the party line, "oh, but then all of the fringer's will deluge us", when I specifically stated in the beginning of this section that this was not focusing on fringe articles in the first place, it was meant to focus on significant minority views that are not true "fringe". We are not even allowed to mention in hushed tones important non-fringe minority views on our NPOV page, as such views do not really exist at all. But that's right, according to our NPOV page, only two types of views exist, PC and fringe. I also think its absolutely stunning how the emperor's tailors can make those tight fitting pants which the emperor seems to like so much, a little more "anatomically correct" each day. Bye. Scott P. (talk) 09:04, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

Vacuum science[edit]

In Wikipedia truth once actually had what you would now call "weight" here in and of itself. When one hears/ reads truth, there is usually a certain recognition, no matter what its source. Now, current policy actually completely ignores the "weight" of truth itself, in favor of the majority view. If the fringe took over, and gained control of the press, and became the mainstream view, then WP would automatically be forced to censor out, slant/weight against what was once the mainstream view, regardless of whether or not it was true, in favor of the fringe (now mainstream). Doesn't that sound like a lap-dog policy? Ideas no longer can be allowed to stand on their own here, unless they are the single monolithic view of the mainstream. I once had a debate with a Wikipedia editor who supports the new PC-view-only policy. I asked him, what if science were at the stage just before it made the leap of recognizing that interstellar space was not filled with ether, and recognizing that it was primarily vacuum? The ether scientists would be in the mainstream, and the vacuum scientists in the minority. Here is a sample of that dialogue:

"So you believe that it would have been "correct" Wikipedia policy to "censor out the vacuum scientist?" ...... Yes, ..... he would not be covered as anything other than a curiosity. We dont make any effort to predict what is going to turn out to be true and what is going to turn out pure crap, we just follow what the mainstream has agreed."

Thus, the current policy clearly mandates that there are only two views, fringe (pure crap), and PC (supposedly true), and truth itself can at times easily become a casualty of that. The world is all black and white. Mainstream vs: fringe. Us vs: them. And Wikipedia which systematically attacks all that is not mainstream, i.e. fringe, is the world's new arbiter of Truth. It was once better than that. Before 2009, Wikipedia policy once allowed shades of gray. But slowly the policy began to demand more and more weighting/slanting of all articles in favor of mainstream, and against all others. WP's sophomoric witch hunt against the fringe is the new norm. Witch hunts are so much more fun. Before 2009, Wikipedia would have probably been one of the first places to find an article dedicated to the new "Vacuum science". With current policy, now it would be the last. Now Wikipedia neutrality can't even hold a candle to Britannica's neutrality. One day that may blow up in Wikipedia's face. Scott P. (talk) 12:15, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Note, this section was just "hatted", and I was told to go elsewhere... I have since restored this section. Protonk, please explain to me what logic is faulty in my reasoning rather than deleting me. There is no other place to debate specifically about NPOV policy. Logic and reason should prevail over brute force and censorship in Wikipedia. Scott P. (talk) 13:01, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Because this isn't a blog for your opinions about NPOV. I'm really surprised you haven't been topic banned from this page, given how unproductive the bulk of your commentary here is. Protonk (talk) 13:10, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps it is because there might be some actual "truth" in what I am talking about? This is not a purely one sided monologue as you claim, questions are being asked and answered. Please don't do this. Scott P. (talk) 13:14, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Don't do what? Look, I don't particularly care if you edit this page all the live long day, but we're trying to have an actual discussion above with some concrete outcomes for editors working on a page. I'm glad that you've moved this section out of there, thanks for that. Protonk (talk) 13:17, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks Protonk, Scott P. (talk) 13:19, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

How our "Due Weight" and "Proportioning" policies have degraded some articles[edit]

The current NPOV policy requires the "weighting/ proportioning" of all articles to match the "weight/proportion" of the sources, which is normally roughly equivalent to the "majority view". The fact that our NPOV page, which is allegedly about "balance" actually requires the "imbalancing" or "weighting" of all articles, would seem to make for at least some confusion. Wikipedia survived and did quite well without any such "weighting" or "proportioning" policies at all through 2009.

With perhaps 99% of all articles, where there are no controversies or unsettled questions surrounding the page's topic, this type of "balance" between competing views is not relevant. Thus for these articles, this policy does not result in imbalanced/ weighted articles. Still, in a very small percentage of articles that cover "controversial" or "unsettled" topics, the requirement of "weighting" such articles becomes a problem, sometimes resulting in imbalanced, non-neutral, and biased articles.

In articles which cover such controversial or "unsettled" subjects, the requirement of necessarily favoring only one view, the majority view, begins to cause imbalance and can apparently become a "polarizing" dynamic amongst the editors of such pages. This is because our current "neutrality policy" tends to pit those editors who believe they are representing the majority view, against all other views, and to essentially give them carte-blanche to "weight" such articles in their own favor. Sometimes such "weighting" can result in a seriously imbalanced, biased, and single POV article. In 2010, our NPOV policy first created and clearly defined the new principle of "Due Weight" as opposed to our old and faithful "Undue Weight" policy. In that year, Due Weight was added to the title of the former "Undue Weight" section. The former section had been titles as the "Undue weight" section, and it was then renamed as the "Due and undue weight" section.

By selecting a certain range of articles whose quality, I believed would be likely to be seriously degraded by the new "Due Weight" policy, I would like to demonstrate how such articles have in fact been degraded by our newer "Due Weight" policy, and by its sister concept, "Proportionatizing". Also, I have compared these same articles below with how Britannica treats the very same subjects (Britannica being a less detailed encyclopedia, the Britannica articles are mostly much smaller than ours.)

Alternative medicine: Anyone who reads the lead section of our currently "embarassing" article on this topic, is treated to no less than 15 heavily weighted, harsh, and judgmental statements, that clearly reflect only one certain POV. Our 2009 article made the fair, neutral and balanced statement that, "Alternative medical practices are generally not accepted by the medical community" only once in the article's lead. The more recent insertion of all of the POV in this article's lead, is indeed "weighted towards the majority view". Anyone coming to our article on Alternative medicine will leave feeling more that they have just been "preached to" than informed. As Jimbo has said about other such "aborted" articles, it: "reads a series of judgments telling them what to think, but no actual information to allow them to think for themselves."

  1. Please see our 2009 version of this article at: Alternative medicine 2009
  2. Please see the Britannica version of this at: Britannica- Alternative medicine
  3. Please see our current version of this at: Alternative medicine 2015

Parapsychology: The lead of our current article on this topic lists four heavily weighted negatives in the lead, without a single true positive. Our older article from 2007 lists three mild positives and three mild negatives in the lead.

  1. Please see our 2009 version of this article at: Parapsychology 2009
  2. Please see the Britannica version of this at: Britannica- Parapsychology
  3. Please see our current version of this at: Parapsychology 2015

Circumcision: As the medical question, "To circumcise at birth, or not to circumcise at birth" is an unsettled matter, I suspected that this article would be likely to show degradation and increased bias/POV towards one side or the other pro or con, (depending on which group of editors might have gained control of that article.)

  1. Please see our 2007 version of the circumcision article.the current article on this at: Circumcision 2007.
  2. Please see the Britannica version of this at: Britannica- Circumcision
  3. Please see our current version of this at: Circumcision 2015

I could go on and on, and have fairly easily identified 8 other similar articles that have been turned into soap-boxes upon which the preaching of a certain single POV is being performed, with no evidence of any genuine neutrality or balance at all. I call these articles POV-abortions, but unless our policy is fixed, I have no reason to believe that such degradation to our articles will not only continue at an even faster pace.

Wikipedia did fine during its first 6 or 7 years without any "Due weight" or "Proportionatizing" policies in place. The word "weight" in this "neutrality policy" is no different than a horse race bookie who "fixes" a horse race. Nobody wants to attend a horse race where they know the race is "fixed" in advance. Similarly, if Wikipedia continues to have such a "weighting/ balancing" policy, it will undoubtedly deter some readers, and ultimately it may end up making a generally bad public image for Wikipedia. Ideas are like horses in a race. Let the fastest horse win on his own. Let competing ideas be expressed fairly. In the free marketplace of thought that Wikipedia was designed to be, why do we have to "fix" all of our races. I propose that it is time we either seriously rewrote our "Due weight" and "Proportioning" policies, or else delete them all-together, going back to the safer ground before these policies began to degrade many of our articles. Scott P. (talk) 11:11, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Please pick one article and identify one example of some text that is "wrong". What text would be better? Why? Referring to other articles may be of interest, but it's far too vague for any meaningful discussion. The fact that there are so many alternative medicines demonstrates that at least some of them deserve "harsh" descriptions—it is useful to directly tell readers the facts. Johnuniq (talk) 11:51, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
OK, regarding the first sentence of the 2015 Parapsychology article, which makes the weighted claim that Parapsychology is pseudo-science. Throughout the rest of the article, not a single cite lists a single major academic or professional association that officially holds the view that parapsychology is pseudo-science. Anyone can find 6 individuals who support any view, but such is not sufficient proof to essentially invalidate an entire discipline. Please tell me you haven't yet had time to review the links above. Or have you reviewed them and you find no degradation of the Wikipedia articles? Scott P. (talk) 15:26, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

From a 2005 version of NPOV: "Now an important qualification. Articles that compare views need not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views, and may not include tiny-minority views at all (by example, the article on the Earth only very briefly refers to the Flat Earth theory, a view of a distinct minority). We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by only a small minority of people deserved as much attention as a majority view, and views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views." and "None of this, however, is to say that tiny-minority views cannot receive as much attention as we can possibly give them on pages specifically devoted to those views. There is no size limit to Wikipedia. But even on such pages, though a view is spelled out possibly in great detail, we still make sure that the view is not represented as the truth." and "The task before us is not to describe disputes as though, for example, pseudoscience were on a par with science; rather, the task is to represent the majority (scientific) view as the majority view and the minority (sometimes pseudoscientific) view as the minority view; and, moreover, to explain how scientists have received pseudoscientific theories." So no, weighting principles have existed far before 2009. --NeilN talk to me 12:04, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Neil, thanks for actually seriously looking back at earlier policy, and also for reading the links on parapsychology. Regarding our 2005 NPOV policy, I'm not sure if you personally consider Parapsychology as an illegitimate science, but it seems to me here that you may be operating under the assumption that a discipline for which countless hours of real scientific research has been undertaken, and for which no major academic or professional group has ever described as "pseudo-science", is in fact "pseudo-science" (read essentially an illegitimate science). Since when has Wikipedia begun to tolerate the making of such sweeping and essentially dishonest generalizations in the lead of its Parapsychology article? Only since the introduction of the "Due weight" and "Proportioning" policies in NPOV. Scott P. (talk) 16:42, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
PS, please also see further in my reply just above to Jonuniq regarding the Parapsychology=pseudo-science claim. Scott P. (talk) 16:45, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
There's an entire section on Pseudoscience in the 2005 version which has relevant commentary. The gist of the policy has changed little over the years. Fringe views get little or no attention in mainstream topic articles. Articles on fringe topics need to explain how mainstream science receives the claims. Regarding Parapsychology, have you used the talk page to make the case the 2009 version of the intro is superior? --NeilN talk to me 16:49, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I am arguing here that sweeping generalizations discrediting an entire discipline without any stated support by any academic or professional organizaitons should not be made in the name of "the proper weighting" of articles. It seems to me that the easy bandying about of such unsupported judgmentalism only begins to make Wikipedia look like a "pseudo-encyclopedia". Regarding the Parapsychology talk page, no, I have not taken up that cause there, as I see no point in trying to fight a difficult battle there, when I have no clear policy to back me up, and when I see that article as only one of many with similar claims, all seemingly properly supported by the "Due weight" policy. I write that Wikipedia begins to seem pseudo-reliable only because I care about Wikipedia, just as you obviously do. Scott P. (talk) 17:00, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
Scott is this a fault of the policy itself or of the application of the policy to this article? Zad68 17:02, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
Zach, I find it as the result of policy failure for two reasons: 1. Prior to 2009, editors seemed to instinctively know that such a biased statement was biased. Now they no longer seem to understand it. With a policy that describes "balance" as "weighting to one side", it is "no wonder" to me. 2. Because while we have many policies now in place encouraging the "weighting" of articles, nowhere do I see anything describing how to determine exactly when "too much" weight has been injected into an article. Scott P. (talk) 17:11, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
Sorry Scott you're proposing to replace a sensible heuristic with "instinct", and ignoring what's in the actual policy. Consequently I find this conversation fruitless and very unlikely to yield consensus for a policy change that will improve Wikipedia. Zad68 17:14, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm proposing a return to a policy that seemed to work better than the current seemingly conflicted policy. The WP policy that essentially states that "Balanced articles = Weighted articles" still makes no sense to me. The last time I bought something that had to go on a scale to calculate its price, I was not comfortable having any additional "weight" that did not belong there put onto that scale. Admittedly, storekeepers who unfairly weight their scales probably make more money. With Wikipedia, the only benefit of the "weighting" might seem to go to various POV pushers who are "weighting articles" in favor of their own particular POV's, but in so far as I can see, Wikipedia itself only gets short-changed in that process. It seems to me that we need more clarity in our neutrality policy, and fewer contradictions. I apologize for apparently not being able to make the oxymoronic nature of the wording of our policy clear enough for you. Have to go to work now. Thanks, Scott P. (talk) 17:17, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

For all of these many discussion sections, the underlying assertions that either something fundamental changed in the policy in 2009 or thereabouts, or that the current suboptimal state of certain articles is the fault of policy (as opposed to the application of policy), haven't been supported. Also although the complaint has been made repeatedly that there's some other way of writing policy that would result in improved articles (and how would we tell they're improved?), no serious suggestion has been made, and without that this discussion can't be driven to a conclusion. Zad68 13:04, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Per above, I propose that it is time we either seriously rewrote our "Due weight" and "Proportioning" policies, or else delete them all-together, going back to the safer ground before these policies began to degrade many of our articles. I take it that you disagee with this recommendation? Did you not see any degradation occurring in the three articles listed above? Thanks, Scott P. (talk) 15:56, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

I would classify all three of those articles as greatly improved over the previous version you've cited. And in general most topics with fringe elements are largely improved by not pretending to grant equal time. I don't see a real problem with the current policy or its application. Protonk (talk) 23:38, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

I agree with Protonk. The three articles are better now than they were in the past, so I see no need for a policy change, and most certainly, no need to accommodate the advocates of presenting pseudoscience as legitimate. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 01:59, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Since the "mainstream" view is apparently make the articles say what the majority of people say, and squash all other POVs, then you are right, and if that is the right thing to do (it isn't, by the way), then no change is needed. However, call it what it actually is, and none of this "properly weighted" bullcrap, *mob-rule* in the past was never a good idea and it is still not a good idea now, especially in a place that is supposed to be an information source. The problem may be in the policy itself, or it may be in the application, or varying combination of the two. However, the fact that it is being done is the issue here, not trying to place blame on a specific part. All that does, I am guessing intentionally on some people's parts, is muddy the issue, when facts which somehow do not coincide with what "mainstream" thinks they should be, then they must not be facts.
Don't give any weight to any viewpoint, otherwise you end up going down the same road that the alleged news sources have. Instead of actually presenting just the news, they give you their viewpoint of the news when it suits them. As I believe a line from a movie I saw recently was worded, "If you want truth, the philosophy class is down the hall." Let the articles present the actual, unbiased, unweighted FACTS. If someone believes something other than the mainstream on a subject, post that as well. "Some people believe this to not be true" or however it would work for that specific article. Let the reader of the article determine how much weight that THEY give the different viewpoints, not decide it for them. 32.212.104.223 (talk) 01:46, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
the only "problem" i see is that some people see it as a "problem" that we as an encyclopedia stand on appropriately representing the mainstream academic views as the best perspective for accurately representing how the subject is viewed. You want to represent something else? An encyclopedia is not the place for you - take it to your blog and let the whole world hear! -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 01:53, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

Changes in editor preferences[edit]

(Neil, I moved your last reply down here for the sake of easier navigation.) Scott P.

I think you're failing to recognize that a majority of the active Wikipedia community want it that way. A small detour: There's a weekly science radio show that's been running for decades where I presently live with hosts that stay for years. The past host occasionally had segments on fringe topics, carefully disclaimed and presented. That changed when the current host took over, with "harder" science topics being covered and the fringe stuff dropped. The tone of the show was dictated by the host as the tone of Wikipedia is dictated by its editors. These editors have chosen to emphasize science and rationalism as the mainstream as opposed to a more uncritical view of beliefs. I don't think you're going to change that. --NeilN talk to me 21:06, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Good point. Still, undoubtedly there are certainly a lot of editors out there (possibly a majority of editors) who, if given the chance, would love to use WP as their personal soap-box to stand on to preach whatever message they'd like to preach. I personally am probably guilty of this as charged. What better platform to preach the "good news", whether that's atheism, skepticism, Hinduism, or Christianism. Shouldn't a truly good policy here prevent this tendency, and not enable it? There is a shift since 2009, but is the shift towards more true balance in our articles, less true balance in our articles, or neither? If it's a shift towards less true balance, then perhaps it's a shift in the wrong direction. By the way, just a hunch, but I bet the new radio guy's ratings aren't as good as the old one.... Scott P. (talk) 22:08, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
It sounds like equal time is wanted—at evolution we could have a section from biologists followed by a section from creationists and let the reader choose the reality they like (with a button to like whatever aligns with their upbringing). Re your response to me above: Parapsychology starts with a very short paragraph including the obvious "pseudoscience" and finishing with [1] which appears to have all the notes anyone could want. Do you doubt that parapsychology is pseudoscience, or do you just not want the reader to be informed? Johnuniq (talk) 23:19, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
The creationist view is already noted at the Evolution article. And that is about all of the space it needs. I recently mentioned at the Human brain article that intelligent design is WP:Fringe, and that the scientific community overwhelmingly supports evolution. Flyer22 (talk) 05:48, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
I agree 100% with Flyer about the evolution article. I also like the "neutral" way that Creationism was described in the evolution article, letting the voice of the expert (RS) essentially nullify Creationism, and not using the voice of the editor to do that. Smooth and classy. Regarding the Creationism article, after reading our currently "silly" article on Creationism, in which the voice of our own WP editor assumed the role of the judge, jury and hangman of the theory itself, I feel that that our article on Creationism does a great disservice to both Wikipedia and to our readers.
The greatest disservice is done when editors themselves assume the role of judge, jury, and hangman, and in the voice of Wikipedia, state unequivocally that "Creationism is pseudo-science". In articles on significant controversial and unsettled topics, passing judgment or POV should not be the role of our editors, no matter how silly the topic. When using the "voice" of the editor to condemn the fallacy of Creationism, WP moves from the respected role of the neutral observer, to the far less respected role of the partisan backer of the PC view, and thus we compromise our own credibility.
It's like watching a murder trial and listening to testimony from a bystander to the crime who has no relationship to the defendant or to the victim, vs: listening to the testimony of the defendant's mother. WP has no business taking sides in any such argument! Please see how Creationism was treated in 2009, vs: now. In 2009 our editors knew how to assume a truly neutral role, which made us far more credible than taking sides. Our current article looks like it was written by a preachy propogandist. The 2009 article retains neutrality, and thus, makes the case against Creationism much more eloquently and believably than the current article, which looks like it was written by Richard Dawkins, not by a genuinely neutral encyclopedia. In 2009, our editors seemed to naturally understand this concept. Since adopting the WP-Due Weight policy, our editors seem to have forgotten this responsibility. This concept of true neutrality should be ingrained in all editors, and it baffles me that it is no longer understood, even by our policy editors. (This post slightly revised to correct spelling, grammar and wording at 13:46, 6 May 2015 (UTC))
Scott P. (talk) 11:41, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Okay, I'm probably out of this discussion as there are so many things wrong with that sentence and your other statements. I'll probably comment on any wording changes to the policy if/when you actually make them. --NeilN talk to me 13:20, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
I'd like to point out that Scott P. has substantially changed his post and mine three times after I replied to it. [1] Doing so is at best uncollegial and at worst deceitful. --NeilN talk to me 13:47, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
There were serious spelling, grammer, word usage and syntax errors in the old post. I only moved your post to a clearer location as far as I know. If in any way I changed your wording, I have no idea how that happened. Sorry. Scott P. (talk) 13:50, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
It's pretty clear from the diff you changed content and removed my quote of one of your sentences. --NeilN talk to me 13:53, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
If you want, we can revert to before I edited my post, then I will strike it all out, then post my corrected post below. Please look at the version before I started to re-edit the post, you will see that I made no changes to your wording. Maybe there is some server error, but I deleted nothing of yours.Scott P. (talk) 13:57, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
What is done is done. But look at the diff. Do you not see you removed the leading quote from my post? --NeilN talk to me 14:02, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
I see. You are entirely correct. Most certainly my mistake. Thanks for bearing with my own bumbling. I will be more careful from now on. Scott P. (talk) 14:07, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I have to go back to work now, or my employees will "string me up". Will return later today. Thanks, Scott P. (talk) 14:11, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Due to the fact that Creationism has been classified as a "pseudoscience" by several academic or professional groups, the assertion that Creationism is a pseudo-science is legitimately made in the article's lead. In the Evolution article it receives at least limited coverage, but certainly "some" some coverage, which coverage would probably be "weighted" against it, just as it already is, however the evolution article itself would still refrain from using the article's "narrator's voice" to pronounce the heavily weighted claim that Creationism is pseudo-science, instead, it would use the "voice of the actual
Obviously Creationism is pseudoscience, at least to you and I and for most of us. But my case here is that by using the "editor's voice" to proclaim this, does more harm to the actual argument of the page than good. As far as I can see, using the "editor's voice" to label it as pseudo-science preaches to the choir, so to speak. But outside of our little choir here, most people don't come to Wikipedia to be "preached to". The editor himself becomes partial to one side, and thus loses a certain amount of credibility in the eyes of the audience. Pro evolution people like you and I already know that it's pseudo science, and don't need to be "taught" this. Creationists will read the first line of the article, and stop reading any further, and anyone who might be "on the fence", say thinking about "jumping ship" from the Creationist camp will also read the first sentence and stop reading, because just as their mother told them, you and I simply consider them all to be fools, and love to snicker at them. What good does that term do in the beginning? It does nobody any good.
We want our articles to invite all people in to read further. Not articles that make people think they just walked into the Church of Richard Dawkins, and are about to get blasted with one of his sermons. The subtlety of the logical arguments laid out on the page is far more effective than the megaphone approach, announcing in sentence 1, "YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ WHAT WE THINK ABOUT A PSUEDOSCIENCE HERE". Scott P. (talk) 00:40, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
As a devout atheist - I agree completely. Our job is not to draw conclusions, it's to present evidence objectively and comprehensively so readers draw their own informed conclusions. DallyKale (talk) 00:54, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you Dally. Exactly. Our job is not to take sides using the voice of the editor. Sure, the evidence is overwhelming that Creationism is bunk, but our job is to let the evidence speak as clearly as possible itself to the audience, and to get our own personal biases out of the "voice of the editor". I think most readers recognize when they're reading a fair and reasonable interpretation of reliably sourced evidence, and when they're reading something that is the "first hand opinion" of the editor. When I come to any article in Wikipedia and I read anything at all that appears to me as merely the personal opinion of the editor, yet being stated as if it was an authoritative indisputable fact, I instinctively wince, I seldom read any further, and I suspect that I am not the only one.
Sure to you and I, evolution is an indisputable fact, but not to everybody. If the article can at least have the decency of not flipping the bird to Creationists in sentence 1, then maybe one or two of them will be able to wade their way all the way through the article, and who knows, maybe one of them will even decide to start investing in genetic research companies, and divest their shares in that Creationist amusement park, wherever it is? Not to change the subject, but I do truly appreciate your willingness to put up with me and to hear me out, bumbles and all. Scott P. (talk) 01:20, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Scott P. it seems to me that your overall argument is that we aren't being impartial, and we are using WP:UNDUE as an excuse to not be impartial. Am I relatively correct? --Kyohyi (talk) 13:59, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

I think you hit the nail on the head. Scott P. (talk) 14:11, 6 May 2015 (UTC)
Scott P., there is not evidence that Creationism is bunk any more than there is still evidence that the world is flat. There has been theories accepted as fact because of no clear 100% guaranteed way to show to either side, and as such, Creationism AND Evolution are still both theories. That being said, and as I have said before in different words, the WP articles need to present the facts as facts and the theories as that, theories. Let the reader figure out for themselves how much weight they want to give to one side of the coin or the other. 32.212.104.223 (talk) 01:54, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

New discussion segment May 7[edit]

From what I've seen that is a pretty true situation. POV statements being justified as being "Due Weight" is just adopting the dominant narrative. We shouldn't be adopting narratives, we should be describing them. --Kyohyi (talk) 13:46, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
This statement hits the nail on the head on what the problem is, given the articles identified above as well as the situation around Gamergate (see section below). It is very easy to write in the viewpoint of the predominate narrative in WP's voice, and forget that it may not be the right one particularly on a controversial subject ("All these sources have written negatively on this topic, so should we" is what this ends up being). It is best when there is any reasonable doubt to the nature of the predominate narrative to make sure it is only presented as, in prose, attributed to that narrative to stay objective. Obviously there are cases of fringe views - I would not expect our article on the planet Earth to deny the planet the planet is round simply due to the existence of FlatEarthers, given the massive amounts of scientific evidence to show this true. --MASEM (t) 14:15, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Right, I think the issue I have with the policy change proposal is that it would open the door to having our articles fall victim to the "give equal validity" problem. Very well-supported ideas should be asserted in Wikipedia's narrative voice. Take for example Homeopathy, which currently says "It is not effective for any condition, and no homeopathic remedy has been proven to be more effective than placebo." The problem with the suggestion is that this plain assertion might be turned into a "he said/she said" WP:GEVAL problem, "Such-and-such says that homeopathy is not effective, but this-and-that says it is." This would interfere with the encyclopedia's clear purpose of presenting the information clearly and with emphasis that matches sourcing. Zad68 14:32, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

From what I've seen the issue comes more apparent when we aren't dealing with physical sciences, and are dealing with social concepts/issues. When in the realm of physical sciences, we have more hard data and empirical research. Whereas social concepts/ideas don't have the level of empirical research, particularly on new issues. --Kyohyi (talk) 14:55, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
OK that's possible, I really don't edit much at all outside the medicine area. Zad68 14:59, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
"It is very easy to write in the viewpoint of the predominate narrative in WP's voice, and forget that it may not be the right one..." How on earth are we (or any reader) to know what is the right narrative and what isn't? Look, this whole conundrum is solved pretty effectively by relying on verifiability, not truth. Do we know that the arrow of time only moves forward? Is that the right narrative? I have no idea, but I bet every single article on wikipedia is written with the presumption that cause precedes effect. The statement that we should not frame opinions as fact is largely uncontroversial. The idea that we should treat claims from unreliable sources as a font of hidden facts left out of the official narrative is not. Protonk (talk) 15:03, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
If there is a reasonable doubt of what the "correct" narrative is, we should not write as if any narrative is correct, and simply state claims made by the given views as views by those groups in proportion per WEIGHT, and let the reader decide and/or research further. We are only documenting those narratives to the best of our abilities within RS without taking a side or judging the situation. --MASEM (t) 15:16, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
I wonder if this can be analyzed based off of the "strength" of a statement. Is stating something as a fact in wikipedia's voice "stronger" than saying something is an opinion, or even a consensus opinion? --Kyohyi (talk) 17:17, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
"XYZ claims water is wet" is always a more conservatively more neutral and objective statement than "Water is wet" when writing in WP's voice. Understandably that where extreme views come in, such as Flat Earth, weakening statements that are clearly established facts is inappropriate, but most of the examples so far are not "clearly established" as being wrong or right, simply that there's a prevailing opinion towards it. --MASEM (t) 18:04, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
The only times I see editors have a problem with the WP:Neutral policy is when they don't want to follow it appropriately and/or don't know how to follow it appropriately. I am completely fine with the WP:Neutral policy, and I have never had a problem with it (other than minor tweaks that it needed). And because it's such an important policy that people too often misunderstand, I have a section about it on my user page. Flyer22 (talk) 17:28, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
I don't see the need to make changes to the core policies. Articles evolve all the time, and that is part of the beauty of this project. What could have been a great article for someone once, it may have been a poor article for someone else, and a good article today for me could be a poor article for you. Welcome to the wiki and collaborative editing. - Cwobeel (talk)

I apologize, but I have a business trip, and will not be back until May 15. I will not be contributing any further to this discussion until after that date (assuming the conversation remains active at that time). Francis Schonken or any other editor who may wish, please feel free to continue to set up new sections to make navigation in this discussion easier. Thank you kindly to all for at least considering my concern here. I truly appreciate each of your contributions to this discussion so far, and I truly admire and respect what I see as the honest efforts of all here to continually improve the very noble endeavor that WP is. Scott P. (talk) 12:26, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

As after several days of carrying on what I viewed as essentially an argument of one person vs: many, with not a single editor after all of these days yet conceding a single point of logic, and not directly and consisely answering a single question I placed, I hereby withdraw from this discussion, and will refrain from taking up any more of the time of others on this page for the time being. I must say that I did get the sense that all who opposed my suggestion here were sincere and heartfelt in their opposition to my suggestion, and I thank them for that. I feel certain that everyone else here has more imortant things to do with their time, as do I. Thanks to all for your kind generosity with the time you spent with me. Scott P. (talk) 04:39, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Part of the problem with some of the "policies" that are supposed to seem as to be fair is that the end result ends up being anything but. Case in point being the wiki admin not allowing the Neo-Tech system or belief to have it's own wiki page. To me, it would seem that they would just use something like this policy to justify not having certain valid pages that they happen to disagree with, because the only way the page would get written or even started was by someone who was interested in the subject matter. So, and I have seen this on other non-official wikis as well, instead of correcting a page to have it follow the guidelines claimed in the justification for the deletion, because the person who wrote it was doing so under the best of intentions, they just delete it instead. As Johnuniq posted, it might be a "fringe" view, but I have to disagree with the concept John. It might be a fringe view to you, but that does not make it any less valid for others. 32.212.104.223 (talk) 01:29, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Zad, the problem as I see it is the issue being that exists already in the proposed policies that many progressives are trying to force feed the public here in the United States, one specifically being "net neutrality". The problem with this is the actual result is much different than what the name itself sounds like. Their apparent idea of "neutrality" is to force all views to appear to have the same validity by the same weight (by forcing an equal amount of "air time" for lack of a better phrase). Now, here, we have the opportunity to actually just present the facts, good bad or indifferent, and let the individual decide for their own self what they choose to believe as true. If you do not present all facts (not truth, as that is subjective) as facts and beliefs as beliefs, then that is you (collectively) trying to tell the reader what actually is or is not correct.
There is nothing wrong with presenting differing views of a subject, but do not use misnamed policies to justify doing something that is clearly wrong. If for example, there is a policy called "neutral point of view", then actually BE neutral. 32.212.104.223 (talk) 02:03, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

RfC at WikiProject Film[edit]

There's a discussion that partly concerns this policy at WT:FILM#RfC: Do list items need their own WP article in order to be sourced in list articles?. More input is appreciated. Lapadite (talk) 13:58, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Is Talk:Hillary Rodham Clinton/April 2015 move request an NPOV violation?[edit]

A proposal has been made at Talk:Hillary Rodham Clinton/April 2015 move request‎ to change the title of the article, Hillary Rodham Clinton to Hillary Clinton. It has now been asserted that this proposal "violates our neutrality policy". Would such a title change be an NPOV violation? bd2412 T 12:04, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Nope. NPOV should not be an issue in that move request. Blueboar (talk) 13:19, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Hillary Rodham Clinton the Great or Evil Witch Hillary Clinton would be a violation of NPOV. Neither of the proposed versions are. Carrite (talk) 18:11, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
In theory WP:NPOVN, rather than this page, would be the place to ask this question, although I'd recommend keeping the discussion at the move request page, which already has enough participants/eyes on it. Abecedare (talk) 20:49, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Do we consider NPOV issues only within the bounds of what RSes say or the larger picture?[edit]

Responding to the request for closure. To the extent that changes or clarifications to the policy are being proposed, consensus is against them. To the extent that questions are being asked, those questions have been answered. To the extent that this is a content dispute, it should be taking place elsewhere. Enough editor time and attention has been spent here, to the point that continuing this reaches the level of disruption. There are thousands of articles waiting for improvement where this energy could be better spent. Sunrise (talk) 21:25, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

This is an issue that is coming up at the Gamergate controversy article, but likely applies to a larger number of places, and it would be helpful for input or clarification to avoid excessively repeating arguments.

In a modern topic (post-Internet boom) such as Gamergate, a situation can easily arise where the near-majority of reliable sources present a certain view on a topic. The counterpoint may be briefly mentioned or not even discussed in reliable sources. However, one can go to other sites, unreliable for WP's purposes, where the counterpoints are discussed in more depth, be part of SPS blog posts, etc. That is, as an editor, we know what the RSes say, but we can also be readily aware of what is said beyond the RSes that may be counter to those statements.

Clearly, we can't include non-RSes sources, so these counterpoints cannot be included, or if RSes do cover them, they should be covered in proportion to WEIGHT. But in evaluating when RSes make statements that are not explicitly labelled as opinions, in determining whether to present these statements as facts or as opinions, the question has come up if we as editors should use the knowledge of the unusable sources to help make that evaluation.

In other words, when editing with a focus on neutrality, should we strictly limit ourselves to the views as presented by the RSes only, or should we temper that with what we know the overall situation is?

For the most part, this basically means whether, per "Avoid stating opinions as facts", we simply add attribution to avoid having statement be in WP's voice; the lack of RSes with a counterpoint means we cannot insert the counterclaims, but that's not required simply for switching a factual statement over to an attributed opinion statement. But this can also mean evaluating article structure and approach that might better met with the larger picture that RSes are not fully presenting due to some systematic bias or a lack of information. Obviously, if one does consider the whole picture, one still needs to be aware of the weight of voices there. If it is only one person in the whole world countering the RSes, that's pretty much ignorable.

To me, I would think for an objective work, we should be considering what RSes report within context of the larger picture, even if we cannot document or discuss that larger picture in the article. It avoids us being blind to what else is out there. However, there is disagreement that we can even approach articles in this manner, and it would be helpful for clarification and discussion. --MASEM (t) 20:31, 1 May 2015 (UTC)

  • The GG discussion is here, for reference. Protonk (talk) 20:34, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
  • A rephrasing of my comments there, as they're germane: I feel this is flatly unacceptable as a policy choice. A critical reader cannot verify claims if we never substantiate them in the article, nor can they be expected to weight claims themselves if their inclusion is implicitly determined by editors' hidden information about what is true but not verifiable on a given subject. Our core content policies V and OR exist to prevent this sort of thing. Protonk (talk) 20:40, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
If "a near-majority" of reliable sources present one view, and the countervailing view is discussed in few or no reliable sources, then what’s the remainder?
In point of fact, for months on end we have discussed chimerical suppositions that the overwhelming consensus or even the agreement of numerous reliable sources on this topic should somehow be "balanced" by a proper consideration of some other opinion, apparently based on this editor’s private sources or personal knowledge. The reliable sources on the topic are abundant and superb -- the New Yorker, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, and many others, cited in the article at exhaustive length. The line of reasoning proposed here, which I believe is clearly against policy, has been applied to a variety of topics, including speculations on unspecified sexual improprieties of a named individual.
The underlying theory appears to be that most or all reliable sources are biased against the subject of the article. This is, of course, the very definition of a conspiracy theory. Moreover, if this line of reasoning were endorsed, the defense of the project against fringe science would be completely impossible, since every fringe theory would argue what is argued here -- that the reliable sources unjustly neglect the views espoused. MarkBernstein (talk) 21:33, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
The list of sources currently is biased, due to the way they have been carefully selected to promote a specific viewpoint. The controlling group of editors has carefully pruned and edited the list of sources so as to exclude any which present a wider viewpoint. There is no pretense of consistency. Clickbait tabloids appear on the source list, while print magazines are excluded. There is not even consistency within sources. One article from a source will be included, while another more relevant article, sometimes by the same author, is excluded.
The problem isn't the sources per se. It's the controlling group of editors and admins. They've locked the page down and are actively excluding all sources, editors, and articles which contradict their own (highly skewed) views of the article. They've even locked the talk page down, despite considerable admin support for their position anyway. The only reason for a "majority" consensus is that all dissenting editors have been banned(I wonder what the ban count is up to by now?), or excluded by default by page restrictions. In contrast, right now the talk page of the Holocaust article is generally editable, but not the Gamergate talk page. So Wikipedia is able to manage holocaust deniers leaping into talk pages, but finds it impossible to tolerate gamers, with reliable sources, trying to give an article about the video game controversy any kind of balance. It is an absurd situation.
The result of all this is the article in its present form, which is outrageously misinformative and completely biased. The articles and sources for the Gamergate Controversy page don't even reference the "Gamers are Over" article, despite Leigh Alexander appearing elsewhere in the list. The page is factually and intellectually bankrupt and you'd be hard pressed to find a less NPOV page on the site. This is the inevitable result of the page being controlled by a group of editors who aren't gamers, don't understand or follow gaming, or the game industry, who hold biased political views on both, and who have clear and documented positions on the article subject, the persons and issues surrounding it, but who still continue to totally control a page about one of the largest controversies in video games.
It's not about the sources. It's about the people picking and choosing them. That is why the article is biased and POV. AllMyEasterEggs (talk) 21:30, 7 May 2015 (UTC) striking comments of sock of blocked user in violation of block/ban. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:38, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
"Verifiability, not truth" seems particularly applicable here.
Quoting the summary statement above: "when editing with a focus on neutrality, should we strictly limit ourselves to the views as presented by the RSes only, or should we temper that with what we know the overall situation is?". While I completely understand why this question would come up in the given context, consensus interpretations of policy seem pretty definitive on the subject (emphasis below is mine):
  • WP:RS: "Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published sources, making sure that all majority and significant minority views that have appeared in those sources are covered"
  • WP:V: "In Wikipedia, verifiability means that the people who are reading and editing the encyclopedia can check that the information comes from a reliable source."
  • WP:NOR: "The prohibition against OR means that all material added to articles must be attributable to a reliable published source"
  • WP:NPOV: "Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources"
In other words, nobody should be modifying a summary of what reliable sources say about a subject simply because of personal knowledge. Or, to put it in the same terms as the section heading: "the bounds of what RSes say" is the larger picture. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 22:45, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
Let me be clear that the question is not so much modifying what the RS say, but whether we should phrase it as a fact in WP voice (w/o in-prose attribution but obviously with a source), or state is as an opinion by the source. Specifically in light of NPOV's "Avoid stating opinions as facts." and to some degree "Avoid stating seriously contested assertions as facts." What are the resources that we use to make the determine if something is an opinion, a fact, or a contested assertion? --MASEM (t) 23:20, 1 May 2015 (UTC)
The concept that all editors here must now first carefully poll the RS, and then carefully weight their words here to match the majority view of the RS (read PC view) makes Wikipedia the tame lap-dog of the press magnates. Until 2009, there were no such requirements to edit in Wikipedia. Truth was simply truth, and if only one RS spoke the truth, then we would not have to automatically censor out or slant/weight against that one truthful source, because it failed the lap-dog-poll. If the newer NPOV policy that "neutral/balanced=slanted/weighted to the PC view" is kept in place for another 5 or 10 years, Britannica will probaby be restored to its place as the #1 encyclopedic information source, as Wikipedia editors will eventually be seen to only be regurgitating Fox Network/ NBC Network fluff, and self censoring out all else. Pre-2009 Wikipedia editing used to be more of a process of actual thought processing than mere "Politically Correct" information regurgitation. Scott P. (talk) 01:19, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
Isn't "PC view" a bit dated, in these days of iOS and Android? . dave souza, talk
  • As WP:SOURCES makes clear, we weigh quality rather than quantity, and where most coverage is in-universe promotion of fringe views, WP:MNA may be needed to show the mainstream context. . dave souza, talk 10:24, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
In the case at hand, however, the mass of the sources agrees with the quality sources -- the New Yorker, the NY Times, the Boston Globe, The Guardian, and so forth. Some editors have argued for months that these numerous and impeccable mainstream sources fail to grasp the true meaning or nature of Gamergate, which these editors know is not well described in the sources. MarkBernstein (talk) 14:28, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
Except we do do this with our BLP policy, implicitly, as an example. If a high-quality RS makes a claim about a person in an otherwise factual manner without establishing and it is a contestable claim that that BLP objects to in otherwise non-RS sources (such as their blog, a reply on WP, or elsewhere) or that an editor establishes is a contestable claim, we do not include that BLP or we make sure the claim is stated as only a claim to that source. There is no reason this same logic applies to claims, in general, just that without the BLP we don't have as fast an impedius to removal poor claims that BLP implies. We cannot state we are neutral or objective if the bulk of source say something about a group, and that group denies that and we don't properly treat that conflict of statements. --MASEM (t) 17:59, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
If you think BLP requires we make the changes you're proposing, then open a discussion at BLP/N. It's far afield enough from this discussion to be a distraction. There's no need to throw policy after policy against the wall until something sticks. Protonk (talk) 18:31, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
No, I'm saying BLP already has this built it. The contentiousness of a claim against a BLP does not have to arise from a RS, if it looks contentious from an editor's standpoint, it should be removed (and if there's disagreements to how much contentious there is, that's where consensus reviews that fact). So we do have at least one policy that looks beyond reliable sourcing and gives editors to judge RS on their own. --MASEM (t) 18:50, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
Where exactly does it say anything like that in BLP? The closes thing I can see is WP:GRAPEVINE, which doesn't remotely describe a situation like this. Protonk (talk) 19:33, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
You're asking for explicit language whereas BLP is written with common sense in mind and used in practice. If it seems controversial - whether that controversy can be sourced or not - it should be removed. (For example, there is a claim made against Quinn in the GG situation that can be source to two highly reliable sources now; the fact has never been denied by Quinn nor countered by other sources so there's no source to counter that claim, but it is also highly controversial and absolutely not appropriate to include.) --MASEM (t) 19:41, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
If BLP is written with common sense in mind and this is such a common sense interpretation, why isn't there anything like it in that policy? What you are arguing ("If it seems controversial - whether that controversy can be sourced or not - it should be removed") is not in any way common sense, nor does it apply in any meaningful way to the discussion at hand. At this point I'm going to ask you to put up or shut up. Where is the consensus of editors indicating that we should write the GG article in the fashion you describe. Hell, this whole question was asked before at the RFC 1. You didn't get the answer you wanted then and we're discussing it again. Months later. Do you see a consensus here to support your view? I know there isn't a clear indication from the text of the policy to support your view, because that's literally why we're here. Why should we continue to entertain this as though it were novel or important? Protonk (talk) 23:55, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
Policy is not law; it is not prescriptive but descriptive of practice, and BLP is applied with common sense (this is why WP:IAR exists as well to cover cases where common sense is the firstmost principle. No, the previous RFC was a far different question about content balance, and which I have taken to say that WEIGHT is still importance but should be considered in light of the sources. At the present time, there is no way that the GG article can have anywhere close to "equal time" coverage due to the RS sourcing, and that's a result I'm fine with now. But it is understanding that the prevailing view cannot be treated as the "right" view (for purposes of writing on WP) if there actually exists conflicts in that view's claims. That clearly exists, but you have to go to weak RS (eg Brietbart) or SPS RS (like Reddit) to see that. The conflict exists in the real world beyond the bounds of WP. For WP not to consider that these conflicting points exists goes against neutrality, because we need to know the whole picture to know what is the neutral position. If NPOV is specifically designed to only consider the neutrality based on how sources report (which means if there is a unintentional bias in reporting that will seep into the WP article), then so be it, but NPOV doesn't state its approach this way, and a number of other policies and guidelines, and essays like BLP, WP:BIAS, WP:PEACOCK, all point to using common sense and knowledge beyond the reliable sources to put their statements made into proper context. This article on Salon captures exactly what the problem is when we circle the wagons around reliable sources and stick to policies like glue. We repeat bad information as fact. --MASEM (t) 01:17, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
Who is this "we" that knows what the true neutral or "right" view is? And boy it's pretty convenient that we're only reaching out to Brietbart and KiA for all this additional information to serve our readers. Protonk (talk) 01:26, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
The same "we" that determine what are reliable sources, how to summarize without interpretation, and all other factors of allowing original research necessary to write a neutral, objective article. That's a role we take as a tertiary source. --MASEM (t) 01:35, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
That doesn't answer my question. And I'll be more blunt. Why are you proposing we add content based on what gamergate says about themselves and not content based on other sources? Surely there are more non-reliable reliable sources (or whatever your formulation was above) out there. Protonk (talk) 01:47, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
Where have I said in this discussion about adding content? I am simply asking if we write "The press says GG is X" vs "GG is X" in WP's voice (in the GG example) knowing that while the press's viewpoint is the far dominate one in RSes, that there actually exists counterarguments to those statements. Not adding new content from any less-than-good RS, just because aware there is more to the story in judging neutrality of statements. We don't need to include the counterpoints from weak RS simply to write a statement of the predominate view as attributed opinion than fact. --MASEM (t) 02:24, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
Given that WP:Due weight is about weighing quantity, I don't completely agree that "we weigh quality rather than quantity." Flyer22 (talk) 17:28, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
This seems to be in slight contradiction with WP: STICKTOSOURCES which says we should paraphrase the most reliable sources. --Kyohyi (talk) 18:15, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean; I see no conflict at all between the WP:Due weight policy (an aspect of WP:Neutral) and the WP:Original research policy (which houses the WP:STICKTOSOURCES section). Like I stated above, I follow WP:Due weight, and, unlike some editors, I have no problem following it. Flyer22 (talk) 18:43, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
And I certainly was not supporting original research or poor sources with my "17:28, 7 May 2015 (UTC)" statement. The WP:Original research policy is also clear that it does not mean "unsourced." Too many Wikipedia editors cite that policy simply to state "unsourced." Not the same thing, unless it's a WP:Synthesis case. Flyer22 (talk) 18:48, 7 May 2015‎ (UTC)
The contradiction is here "Best practice is to research the most reliable sources on the topic and summarize what they say in your own words", this statement weights "most reliable sources" heavier than other sources. Let's throw out a thought experiment, we have a single source, which comes from a highly respectable journal and is heavily fact-checked making one statement. Against that, we have 500 sources that are substantially less reliable making an opposing statement. Per Sticktosources, we should paraphrase the high quality source, per undue we should paraphrase the common source, quite possibly to the point of excluding the high quality source. This is why I say it's a slight contradiction. Also my apologies if any of this appears to be directed at you, I think your interpretation of UNDUE to be accurate, I just think the way it is written is slightly counter to other policies. --Kyohyi (talk) 18:56, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
I don't view that matter the same way you do. But then again, people always interpret Wikipedia policies and guidelines (and essays) differently, as they do with a lot of other things. Flyer22 (talk) 19:04, 7 May 2015 (UTC)


: > "In other words, when editing with a focus on neutrality, should we strictly limit ourselves to the views as presented by the RSes only, or should we temper that with what we know the overall situation is?"

And how do we know what the overall situation is? Because we have sources, often reliable ones, or at least as reliable as much which is referenced in the page currently. Therefore, to give a reflection of the overall situation, we need only cite those sources.
But this is presently impossible. Not because these sources do not exist, or that they do not exist in sufficient quantity or quality, but because they are being actively excluded by the controlling editors. Often in the full knowledge of what the sources say and the reality they reflect. Controlling editors are deciding what reality, or "wikiality" should be for the page, and one of their primary methods for doing so is to exclude reliable sources they don't agree with. Every wiki rule in the book is being leaned on to support this, the denial of objective reality underlying all this is the root of the present NPOV in the article.
There is a much wider reality which the article should reflect, a reality even referenced in several of the sources which have been permitted. But the NPOV stems from the way the article, sources and all, is being controlled by the editors. Editors with more objectivity would not have a problem producing a more NPOV page, even with the list of sources as they stand, and they could more fairly assess sources and potential sources as well. AllMyEasterEggs (talk) 21:46, 7 May 2015 (UTC) striking comments of sock of blocked user in violation of block/ban. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:38, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
AllMyEasterEggs displays a remarkable understanding of NPOV, the history of Gamergate, Wiki collegiality, and Gamergate conspiracy lore, considering the account has existed for six days and contributed a total of six edits -- 2 in article space. Suffice it to say that their opinion is far, far from representing a consensus at Wikipedia. MarkBernstein (talk) 15:01, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
If an opinion is ignored in reliable sources, then the policy is we ignore it here. In some cases the views in unreliable sources may be mentioned (although not defended) in reliable sources and therefore we can mention them here to some extent, particularly in articles about people who espouse them. We could say for example that many Americans question the Warren Report. As a result reasonably intelligent editors acting in good faith can come to agreement about content and readers are looking for the same sort of information they would find in reliable sources. TFD (talk) 03:41, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
To try to be clear, again: it is not the intent here about adding content or bringing in non-RSes or very weak RSes to establish counterpoints, but simply how to predicate content already given in strong RSes which is controversial when considering the big picture. The specific example related to GG is, for many facets, the press predominately have made statements on GG's ultimate goals as apparent fact (no clear statement being op-eds, etc.) GG supporters have denied/countered what the press has said about them but these denials/counterstatements are only given in GG-related forums/websites which are far from being RSes (or at times, at best, mentioned in very very weak RSes like Brietbart). If you know the whole picture, you know the statements are controversial, which would seem to make some of NPOV's clauses apply when it comes to controversial statements, in this case, specifically stating the press's statements as opinions/beliefs/claims but otherwise not changing what they say. If instead we are supposed to completely ignore the topic beyond what RSes say, then in this case NPOV would seem to require us to keep the press's statement as apparent fact since there's no RS-appropriate counterclaim to this. From the article standpoint, this is simple whether we write "GG is about X" or "The press claim GG is about X", citing the same set of sources but not otherwise adding any new content to support the counterclaim. --MASEM (t) 13:10, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
You have been perfectly clear. You want us to take into account sources that are not reliable when we present content from reliable sources. We do not do that. We do not "hedge" the overwhelming assessment of the reliable sources, either. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 13:32, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
WP:ITA doesn't apply because we're not talking facts that are undeniably obviously correct. For example, forcing the opinion of Flatearthers into the article on the spherical nature of the Earth. Further, it is very hard to dismiss, in this case, what GG thinks of themselves as a fringe theory to what the GG situation is. when that group is central to the entire mess. (GG's opinion of unethical nature of the video game press is definitely fringe in the topic of video game journalism, but that's a different issue). --MASEM (t) 14:37, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Of course ITA applies. You are wanting to hedge ALL of the mainstream sources against inconsequential blogs and your personal knowledge. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 17:01, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Some OR is necessary in the writing of any article to navigate the topic and develop the narrative, which means looking at the 60,000 ft picture which often doesn't happen in RSes; this doens't mean RSes are bad, but they are writing the day-to-day, we're writing for permanency. And of course we have used acceptable amounts of OR to actually decide was is a RS or not. So there is allowed OR in developing an article. And if a group is central to a controversy, you cannot call what that group thinks of themselves as a fringe concept. --MASEM (t) 17:30, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
When the choice is between "some OR to develop a narrative" and "following the sources", we follow the sources and do not make up a narrative that is not present in the sources. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:36, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Most of the time we have to develop that narrative because we are assembling from multiple sources that are typically not broad summaries of a topic, particularly for ongoing, contemporary topics. When no such summaries exist, we are required to create a narrative and that requires us to engage in a minimal amount of fundamental, editor allowed OR to figure out the best organize, which sources are better than others, and the like. This is standard practice. We can't interpret or synthesize things that are not said by sources (that's where WP:NOR enters play), but in figuring out how to paraphrase sources, how to order information, how to determine what quotes or statements are more appropriate to include are all "original research" every editor does day to day. And of course we have to apply NPOV to make sure that we don't use sources to push an agenda, misweight the sources to force inclusion of a minor point, and the like, but NPOV does suggest we have the ability to make decisions if a source is speaking factually or as a claim on a controverial topic as to keep our writing objective and non-judgemental. -MASEM (t) 21:47, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Determining the reliability of sources is not WP:OR - it is using editor judgement, but it is NOT OR. Determining how to structure an article is not WP:OR - it is using editor judgment but it is NOT OR unless we are creating implications which are not in the sources. Leaving gaps in what the reliable sources present because we know there is stuff they are not covering IS WP:OR. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 03:08, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Modern flat Earth societies says that modern flat earth theories are pseudoscience. In their forums and blogs, flat earth society members say that the theories are not pseudoscience. Does this mean that the statement in Modern flat Earth societies is controversial? - MrOllie (talk) 15:48, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Actually, going by our article on them, it says that it is a claim that the press that their ideas are bunk "This is usually regarded by mainstream media either as mockery of the original belief or as a form of denialism." It does not say as fact they are wrong, but that the press sees them wrong, even though, as with GG, the predominant opinion is that they are wrong. We write the statement as if it is controversial. --MASEM (t) 15:56, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
I see that other statement, but I am referring to the two occasions in the lede where the article uses the word 'pseudoscience' in an unqualified manner. Do you consider that appropriate? - MrOllie (talk) 17:44, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
In those cases, we're basing it on the well-established scientific fact (proven over and over again) that the Earth is a globe, so the flat earth theory is pseudoscience, though it does help that we have established by the sentence I quote where this being called "pseudoscience" is coming from. In the case of GG, here, it is basically a situation of "he said, she said" as the truth is far from clear, certainly not the body of science there is for the flat earth theory. --MASEM (t) 17:51, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

A controversial matter is one where reliable sources agree there is a controversy. Here, you have argued -- for months of time and for hundreds of thousands of words -- that reliable sources are all colluding to suppress something -- something you can only source to unreliable right-wing blogs like Breitbart or to 8chan gossip. You have referred the matter to this page, where it has now sat for three long weeks and 4,800 words of discussion -- almost all of it simply affirming NPOV and agreeing that we must follow reliable sources and cannot modify our approach to them because we “know” the mainstream press is biased against the Gamergate conspirators. MarkBernstein (talk) 16:11, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

I have never said the press were colluding (though that statement has been made in other weak RSes). And it is hard to call ourselves neutral and objective when we know there's more to a story than what one side has claimed. --MASEM (t) 16:24, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
while you may have never outright stated that, it is the entire premise behind you neverending POV PUSH . We do not consider our own personal interpretations or content outside of the reliable sources. WP:V / WP:OR pretty damn standard BASIC content principles.-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom
I am under no impression the press are colluding here. Please do not put words into my mouth. --MASEM (t) 17:30, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
You say above that 'we know there's more to a story than what one side has claimed.' Who is the 'one side' if not the press? - MrOllie (talk) 17:44, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
That would the GG supporters themselves, along with a handful of journalists that sit at an extreme political view and thus their writing falls into weak/unusable RSes. --MASEM (t) 17:54, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
The fact that it is from, as you clearly identify yourself, weak and unreliable and unusable sources has from longstanding encyclopedic approach meant that we do not consider it. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 20:56, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
And again, this is not about giving equal time or validity to the viewpoints we cannot use, but instead if we should be considering what has been stated by RSes as fact or opinion based on the ability to look beyond the sources. --MASEM (t) 21:21, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
You can keep saying that 2-3= absolute value of 1, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a negative number. To not give full weight to the reliable sources ... because... non reliable sources is the exact same as giving weight to non reliable sources. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:33, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Again, not what I'm saying. It's not about weight, its whether we summarizes RSes as fact or opinion when we know there exists contention on the statements made by RSes. It is absolutely not a weight issue. --MASEM (t) 21:55, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Since when is "what we know that is not covered in any reliable source and in fact countered by reliable sources" EVER something we work into an article in any way? The is EXACTLY the type of editing that all of our content policies prohibit both expressly and in spirit. I am pretty sure we are done. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:02, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
This is a fundamental aspect of BLP. Even if high quality RSes make claims about somebody, and we know that's contentious or the BLP has denied that, we remove the information. So we have that ability. While GG isn't a BLP situation in that matter, the same common logic and courtesy should extend when a group is denying what RSes say about them, even if that group is primarily anonymous. --MASEM (t) 22:12, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
No, it is not. Fundamental to BLP is VERIFIABLE IN HIGHEST QUALITY SOURCES and APPROPRIATE WEIGHT for given coverage - exactly the opposite of what you are proposing. There is no "except for stuff that we 'know'" in either explicit text or in spirit. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:19, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
If the NYTimes reported that Jonh Q Smith was homophobic, and John Q Smith stated on his blog that he flat out denied that - even if no source picked that up, we would still remove it per BLP. --MASEM (t) 22:24, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
How is that applicable to this situation at all? First of all, I am not certain we would remove it. The NYT is a pretty damn solidly reliable source - we are pretty likely to present the NYT statement while also present Smith's denial under WP:SPS - Smiths authenticated blog is a COMPLETELY reliable source for Smith's statements. But if we removed the "homophobe" , it would be under the SPECIFIED actions of BLP in relation to WP:UNDUE - with only a single source making a claim about a living person, it can be argued that the incident doesnt belong in an article. But that has NOTHING to do with your gamergate example where you are PUSHING to carve out of what MULTIPLE HIGHLY reliable sources have stated because... "you know" better and random irredeemable blogs. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 02:58, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
It is directly applicable. BLP does not care if the one random person's blog is the only counter source to multiple RS making a contentious claim about that person, as long as we have good authority that the person's blog is that person, we would act on that. We should be doing the same for any group that has contested a claim about that group that is otherwise the plurality of sources when a contentious statement is being made about them, because that keeps us neutral and objective and avoids us getting involved in the situation. --MASEM (t) 04:20, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
it is not at all directly applicable. if it is verified as the subjects blog it is the most far thing away from a random non reliable blog. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 05:33, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Since RSes have identified forums where GG people discuss issues, we have affirmation these are the blogs that we can to determine what GG are stating about themselves. Those forums are not RSes, but they are affirmed sites that we know where GG supporters' opinions can be guaged. --MASEM (t) 06:09, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Which blogs? the ones that say "we need to fuck up the Wikipedia article!!!!" or the ones that say "LW needs to die!!!!" ? -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 11:27, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Or the ones that discuss their issues with journalism ethics, or their complaints about the media coverage, or how they are organizing consumer campaigns to try to alter perceptions (eg primarily the reddit forums). Or we can turn to people like Milo Y. or Christina Hoff Sommers who are now identified as members of GG via other RSes. Existing RSes have clearly directly people where to go if they want to read on what GG says for themselves if they want. --MASEM (t) 14:03, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
You do realize the exponential difference between John Smith stating "I deny the statement X that appeared in Y" on a blog specifically identified as Smiths official blog and some post by anon on a board somewhere being taken as the official positions of a group of anons that have stated hundreds of other positions? you are attempting to equate apples to existentialism. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:50, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
At no point has Masem suggested we "work" non-RS info into an article - it's disingenuous to suggest he has. To your point above, ignoring the fact that 2-3 does not equal the absolute value of 1 (which is of course 1) what you're saying is even when we know something to be untrue it should be included in articles as fact so long as it's reported in multiple RS. I don't think you'll find much support for that position here or anywhere outside fundamentalist circles. 168.1.99.206 (talk) 22:28, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

We are asked if we can temper reliable source by our knowledge of "the big picture." What is this big picture? Masem explains (at last!) that is comes from " the GG supporters themselves, along with a handful of journalists that sit at an extreme political view and thus their writing falls into weak/unusable RSes". In the first case, the "big picture" is, it seems, one editor's personal knowledge of what some personal acquaintances believe. We can, I think, pass over this without further comment.

What sort of a handful of journalists possess such extreme political views that their writing all falls unto weak or unusable sources? This is the very definition of fringe -- ideas so extreme that they find no hearing at all in reputable magazines, newspapers, and journals. That’s fairly extreme! George Will, Greenpeace, Karl Rove, Bernie Sanders, Russ Limbaugh, John Conyers, Steve King, Ron Paul, Michelle Bachman -- they all have ready access to the press. And we're not talking here about a subject that lacks for press coverage -- we've had what, a dozen newspaper stories, just about Wikipedia's role in Gamergate! We're talking, in other words, about the arguments of people so extreme that no reputable editor in the US or Europe will publish them.

Keeping in mind that the subject matter in this case is an anonymous conspiracy to threaten to rape or murder women in the software industry, we can perhaps imagine the opinions of these journalists (if they exist) who are so extreme that no one will publish them. But we need not imagine, because we follow sources. There is no "big picture" here. And this is why we've been arguing here for three weeks and on the Gamergate talk page for six months? MarkBernstein (talk) 21:44, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

You just identified the big picture, but it is one unreported by the reliable sources for reasons unknown, but it clearly exists, otherwise you have all these people writing articles on something imaginary. So we can't pretend this doesn't exist. The question still remains if we are so bound to the sources to be purposely unaware that this big picture exists, or use common sense to create a more conservatively neutral article that recognizes that there might be more to the story than what RSes but that we cannot immediately include in the article. --MASEM (t) 22:00, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
We do not cover what reliable sources do not cover. All the content policies are aimed at preventing just that. And we do not create room in the reliable sources coverage for what "we know" they are not covering, either. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:04, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Again, I am not asking for adding material to the article. --MASEM (t) 22:12, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
and again, you are pushing that we need to be hedging content because "you know" better than the reliable sources. You need to stop beating that dead horse. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:22, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
We should know better because we are an objective, neutral tertiary source with no agenda beyond providing a free educational resource. --MASEM (t) 22:26, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Correct - a tertiary source built following the perspectives of the reliably published sources have repeatedly presented about the subject and NOT injecting/molding/pounding under our flippers because "we know" better than the reliably published sources do. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 03:36, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Please stop the personal attacks. --MASEM (t) 04:20, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
It is not a personal attack to state that you keep pushing over and over and over the position that that we should edit from the point that you "know" something that the reliable sources do not when you keep repeating and repeating and repeating that we need to take into account what you "know" and that the reliable sources do not. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 18:25, 30 May 2015 (UTC)
It is a personal attack to call me a GG "Sea lion" implied by the phrasing you state "pounding our flippers". I have repeated said I'm not pro GG, so that's a falsehood. --MASEM (t) 12
05, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Do we agree, then, that we will neither add material to the article nor hedge the content of the article because we claim to know a "big picture" which apparently no reliable source covers? I agree with TRPoD: this is an ex-horse, it is no more, it has gone to meet its maker. MarkBernstein (talk) 23:28, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
There is nothing in policy that says we have to report what RSes say as fact, if the statements being made are contentious. This is what I am trying to ask, and it has yet to be answered. To determine if a statement made by an RS is contentious or not, are we strictly limited to RSes or do we have a full view of the situation. The way most other controversial subjects on WP are written, its clear we look at the big picture and not limit ourselves to RSes but this is not exactly spelled out in NPOV or any other policy. --MASEM (t) 04:20, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, Masem, there is WP:ITA which you have been pointed to several times today and ASSERT: Avoid stating facts as opinions. Uncontested and uncontroversial factual assertions made by reliable sources should normally be directly stated in Wikipedia's voice. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 05:29, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
ITA doesn't apply as already mentioned: there is no way a group's statements about themselves can be considered fringe if they are the central point of a topic - that's like saying for Flatearthers we don't consider their viewpoint all in an article about them. And the fact that the enter thing is called the "gamergate controversy" (in RSes even) pretty much means most of it is based on controversial statements, by default, with no one - GG and press alike - having a right answer. ASSERT doesn't say to limit oneself to only RSes to determine if a fact is uncontested and uncontroversial, but it also doesn't say the other way (to look beyond the sources) either and that's what we need to get clarification on. Are we are to purposely limit ourselves to only the RSes in considering when a statement is controversial or not, or do we consider the larger picture to make that assessment. Again, this is not just GG, but any modern controversial situation where many of the contradictory voices are not those covered in traditional RSes. --MASEM (t) 06:09, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Hi TheRedPenOfDoom, The assertions do not appear to be "uncontested and uncontroversial", they appear to be verifiably contested & controversial (see additional information below the arbitrary break). The issue as I see it is not that we want to consider non-RS, it is that we are filtering what we regard as a reliable sources incorrectly (and in a way which is used to justify biasing the article).
We are basing our decisions on RS to exclude opinions based on our thoughts on the same publishers as sources of fact - these are manifestly different things, with manifestly different requirements. There is no way in which we can possibly justify regarding a blog post or article by an author as not reliably verifying that author's opinion or point of view.
This is an article about a controversy, and we have a great deal of, as yet un-mined, reliable sources for all sides of the issues at the heart of that controversy. We should be using them. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 12:44, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, orchestrating and participating in massive rape and death threat campaigns is "controversial" , but there is no controversy in the sources or analysts about the vicious campaign being linked to Gamergate. And there are certainly no reliable sources that contest that fact. And Masem while you may continue to stonewall to deny that claims of a massive mainstream media coverup are not fringe, such claims are indeed WP:FRINGE and WP:ITA applies. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 12:55, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
There is no logical or common sense to consider the opinions of a group that is the central focus of an article as FRINGE to that article, as that enables editors to whitewash the group. The group's opinions on other matters may be fringe. but not for the topic of themselves (in the case of GG, their statements on video game journalism are clearly fringe for the topic of video game journalism). In the topic about the group, they may have a ton of criticism leveled at them, and WEIGHT does demand that if no one speaks positively for the group, we don't force that in to balance the article. But we also don't purposely ignore what the group has to say for themselves if we are staying neutral, objective, and non-judgemental. --MASEM (t) 14:09, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Hah, whah? why would fringe theories not be considered fringe theories because some bloggers are spouting them????-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 17:50, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
The opinions and statements from group X about their own goals and motivation on the Wikipedia article that is primarily about group X is in no way a fringe theory, but for that and only for that specific page, regardless of how much the rest of the RSes say otherwise. We don't exclude what Westboro or Flatearthers or Scientology on their respective page despite the RSes that paint them otherwise, but we certainly treat their views on other pages as fringe. Same situation here. Everything else the group might state that is not about themselves in other topics is very clearly fringe and sufficiently ignorable, but not when we have a topic they are the central focus of. Of course, in the case of GG there's a lack of strong RSes that go into their view, but we still should be considering their stances specifically about themselves to judge if what is being stated by the strong RSes are controversial statements with that group or not. --MASEM (t) 18:46, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
The Flat Earth Society claiming the earth is flat does not make that any less of a fringe claim. Some random random anonymous postings on one of several boards frequented by gamergate harassment campaign claiming there is a gigantic media conspiracy covering up what they are really about interspersed between dozens of postings about taking over the Wikipedia article and rehashing untruths about LW6 , doesnt make the media conspiracy theory not fringe. Even if there were an official GG website with an official Gamergate posting stating that the media was all being unfair to them would not make it any less of a fringe claim. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:17, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
This misses the point completely. The Flat Earth Society's take on the physical shape of the Earth is clearly fringe in the topic of the shape of the earth and probably several other topics, but their claims on their own group and only their own group as fringe on an article about the group can never be fringe, as it is immediately relevant to the topic. There may be an overwhelming amount of more RS sourcing that is critical of the group as there is in the case of Westboro, for example, but that doesn't mean as an objective, neutral encyclopedia that we completely disregard what the group has stated about themselves. --MASEM (t) 22:23, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Westboro, for example, have an official organization, an official spokesperson, an official website, official membership - you know things grown up organizations have that represent an organization. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 23:40, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Arbitrary Break 1[edit]

Fellow Wikipedians, I will attempt to put together something more detailed on this, but at a high level:

  • WP:NPOV requires that we: not state opinions as facts; not state contested assertions as facts (especially where the Article deals with the disagreements around those assertions); err on the side of treating things as opinions.
  • WP:NPOV is not able to be consensus-ed or WP:IARed around; This policy is non-negotiable, and the principles upon which it is based cannot be superseded by other policies or guidelines, nor by editor consensus.
  • WP:RS standard for reliably sourcing opinions of the authors is manifestly lower than that for the same authors (or publishers) as sources of fact.
  • when covering a disagreement or controversy (especially a polarised dispute), we should include all points of view, attributed.
  • popularity does not make opinions facts.

We simply cannot (by policy) assert things in Wikipedia's voice which are opinions. I hope this helps. Please feel free to ask me any questions that you might have. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 23:35, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

You're not proposing any wording changes to the policy based on the above which totally ignores WP:UNDUE and WP:FRINGE, right? --NeilN talk to me 03:25, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Hi NeilN, Many thanks for your response. You are correct, I am not proposing any changes to the WP:NPOV policy. I am proposing that we should, as we are required to do, follow that policy. It requires that we not present opinions as facts - it does not provide any caveats around this requirement, and explicitly prevents using consensus, WP:IAR or other policies to supersede it.
But lets examine WP:UNDUE, as it is a part of the WP:NPOV policy; Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represent all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources, in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources. This states that we should be including the range of views. It then goes on to talk about Giving due weight and avoiding giving undue weight mean that articles should not give minority views or aspects as much of or as detailed a description as more widely held views or widely supported aspects. There is nothing in WP:UNDUE which suggests that the other sections of WP:NPOV do not apply; nor is there anything to suggest that opinions should be stated, in Wikipedia's voice, as facts. We should be including the range of points of view, stated as opinions, and attributed.
To state assertions as facts in Wikipedia's voice, it is required that they not be controversial or contested (WP:NPOV). It is clearly supported by reliable sources that there is a great deal of controversy & contention about a number of assertions w.r.t this issue.
  1. "Whether the crux of Gamergate is ethics in video game journalism or misogyny among gamers continues to spark heated debate online."[2]
  2. "Gamergate is “a heated debate over journalistic integrity, the definition of video games, and the identity of those who play them,” according to CNN. It is “a movement of sorts,” says The New Yorker. Its focal point is reported as a critique of ethics in video games media—or as a relentless campaign of harassment towards women."[3]
  3. "At its most basic level, it's a heated debate over journalistic integrity, the definition of video games and the identity of those who play them."[4]
  4. "Ethics in games journalism: The #GamerGaters argue that the focus on harassment distracts from the real issue, which is that indie game developers and the online gaming press have gotten too cozy. There's also a substantial, vocal movement that believes the generally left-leaning online gaming press focuses too much on feminism and the role of women in the industry, to the detriment of coverage of games." "The #GamerGaters have some actually interesting concerns, largely driven by the changing face of video game culture."[5]
  5. All of this Slate piece by David Auerbach[6]
Notwithstanding that it is a guideline, not policy, and that WP:NPOV cannot be avoided or superseded, the differing opinions in a controversy are not WP:FRINGE for an Article covering that controversy. We must, as required by policy, state contested assertions as attributed opinions; and we must, as required by policy, cover the range of those opinions. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 12:31, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Okay, I have to ask - why is is this discussion on this talk page, which is supposed to be about the policy itself rather than the application, instead of on Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view/Noticeboard? --NeilN talk to me 12:46, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Hi NeilN, That seems like a very good question to be asking, and I think it probably raises a very good point. However, given the extensive discussion which has occurred here, I think it's probably worthwhile to allow it to continue, and probably counterproductive to try to relocate it.
NB: This is the same discussion as this one; I just threw in an arbitrary break to make navigation easier - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 12:58, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
To point, my original question is non-GG specific: in determining whether a statement made by an RS is considered controversial as to state it as an opinion or fact, do we look only to other RSes or do we consider the entire set of sources even though some of those sources will never be RS. GG is the best example but far from the only one. --MASEM (t) 13:59, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Hi Masem, It is definitely an interesting question in the abstract sense, and certainly one to consider. However, in the specific sense, what I'm hoping to express is that we have reliable sources which verify that this is a controversial, contentious area; consequently, assertions should be attributed. For the question of "Do we state assertions as facts or as opinions" we don't need anything more. WP:NPOV has given us our answer.
I also believe that we have set the filter for "reliable sources" wrong. The requirements for reliably verifying opinions of authors of sources, in which those opinions are expressed, are manifestly different from the requirements for verifying facts. There is no reason that the opinions of either side of a polarised dispute/controversy should be excluded from being used because we do not like the publishers of some of those sources.
I think we have fallen prey to a kind of illogic; along the lines of:
  • A. "source X is not considered reliable for facts" -> B. "source X is not reliable for opinions of the author" (This is a false conclusion, it does not follow from the premise);
  • B. -> C. "no reliable sources support the existence of opinions as expressed in source X". (This is a false conclusion, because the premise is false);
  • C. -> D. "opinions contrary to those as expressed in source X should be considered facts". (This is a false conclusion, because a) the premise is false, b) the conclusion does not follow from the premise).
Hope this helps - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 21:53, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

The tendentious cherry-picked quotes above fail to acknowledge that each reliable source concurs that the ethical concerns are either delusional or deceitful. But of course Gamergate fans are eager to have Wikipedia contradict the opinion of the sources, hoping that they can make their case that harassment is a productive approach to driving women out of their profession. By this standard, any fringe theory is contentious if some Wikipedians decide that it is -- and once they have decided, they can skew the handling of the reliable sources as they please. MarkBernstein (talk) 22:22, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

Editors are invited to note that a search of each of the five sources identified above for the word stems "delu", covering delusion, delusional, deluded, and "decei", covering deceitful, deceiving, deceived, produces zero hits. These sources do not make the assertions claimed in the comment by the editor above. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 03:48, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
Editors are also invited to note that the "By this standard, ..." section is a gross misrepresentation. Wikipedians are not deciding that this is contentious. Reliable sources, only some of which are listed above, have decided. Wikipedians are not attempting to "skew the handling of reliable sources". Wikipedians are attempting to follow the requirements of core content policy - by not misrepresenting contentious assertions as facts. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 11:20, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
We have zero business judging a group's claims as "delusional or deceitful" if we are a neutral source. We must state a group's claims (as can be cited to RSes) without passing judgement, outside of making sure this is the claim as said by the group without acting as if their claim is fact. We will state the opinions of press that make those claims cited appropriately to them. --MASEM (t) 22:34, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Strictly applied, that might make is a little awkward to write an article about Delusional parasitosis. "This group says that they have parasites crawling out of their skin, but this other group says they're delusional" is "even-Steven" but not exactly neutral. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:51, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
Medical diagnoses aren't the type of "opinion" we're discussing. If they were we'd allow sourcing "patient X has delusional parasitosis" to the opinion of bloggers from Buzzfeed, Gawker and The Mary Sue, which we don't. 168.1.75.48 (talk) 03:35, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
It's a good thing we're using sources such as the New York Times, then. PeterTheFourth (talk) 14:09, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
If you'd said "we're only using sources like the NYTimes", that'd be commendable. Unfortunately (or fortunately) including good sources doesn't make content cited to questionable sources any better. 168.1.99.211 (talk)

Only the opinions of reliable sources matter in determining what is WP:FRINGE, what is controversial, and what can be described as a fact (rather than as an opinion) in article text; and changing that would undermine the core of WP:NPOV. To understand why, you only have to look at our article on Evolution; certainly there are many, many people who feel that evolution is controversial or just some people's opinions (and even if we were to poll the public, many areas would find it controversial), but they are not reliable sources on the subject of biology and are therefore largely disregarded in our article on evolution. Likewise, we describe evolution as a fact, since the overwhelming majority of reliable sources state it as a fact, even though many, many people would strenuously object and insist that it is merely their opinion. I'm not just making this comparison for illustration; many of the arguments people are suggesting above would dramatically endanger our article on Evolution by throwing the policies we've used to build it into question and inviting editors to say "well, yes, the overwhelming majority of reliable sources say X is fact, but that's just their opinion, man... here, look, I have some articles that disagree!" This discussion isn't new or unusual; these are exactly the sorts of questions we've wrestled with repeatedly when it comes to articles on evolution, climate change, conspiracy theories and so on. --Aquillion (talk) 20:39, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

"Only the opinions of reliable sources matter in determining ... what can be described as a fact rather than as an opinion"
Logic and the scientific method determine what is fact and what is opinion - not the consensus of journalists. "Vanilla tastes better than chocolate" will never be fact no matter how many reliable sources repeat it. You're ignoring a pretty fundamental and accepted distinction between objective (fact) and subjective (opinion.) 168.1.99.211 (talk) 21:22, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
To nit: Evolution - in the sense of the evolution of life on earth and not the basic scientific principle - is still called properly a theory though one well backed by scientific demonstration of its likely validity. That still leaves the fact that creationism and intelligent design and other origin of life theories to play out against it in a comparative nature at Creation–evolution controversy. In the case of GG, there is no sound scientific study or analysis to understand the situation outside of the review of twitter messages, so there's no sound scientific basic, or the result of any legal case, to be able to say what are "facts". --MASEM (t) 22:15, 23 May 2015 (UTC)
No, our article on Evolution doesn't call it a theory in the sense you mean; the third sentence outright states it as fact in Wikipedia's voice, saying: "All life on Earth originated through common descent from a last universal ancestor that lived approximately 3.5–3.8 billion years ago." Beyond that, even if you feel that we should only weaken WP:RS in the way you're suggesting when it comes to "non-scientific" articles, that leads to similar problems. Our article on the September 11 Attacks states that they "...were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda". We describe Barack Obama as being born in Hawaii, and the Armenian Genocide as something that definitely happened. We describe the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as an Islamic extremist terrorist group (certainly not how they describe themselves) based on the consensus among reliable sources. All of these things (and many lower-profile things contradicted by various conspiracy theories) are statements that significant numbers of editors have argued, repeatedly, are just the consensus of the "mainstream media" and that we shouldn't state them as fact. If we took "there are people on blogs who don't feel this is factual" as the standard for calling that sort of consensus among reliable sources into question, we would be unable to write a reputable encyclopedia. --Aquillion (talk) 15:13, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Except we are talking the people that are being reported by RSes of doing something or being something that they say is not true about themselves. If there was a single named individual involved, we would have zero issue with removing the claims or making sure they are clearly marked as claims as per BLP if we knew that individual countered the claims. Add in that there is nothing anywhere close to the detailed understanding of evolution or 9/11 or the like that we can say which side is "right". It is not weakening the RSes to state that what they say is a claim vs a fact, when the facts are unknown and unestablished in this case, and is the most conservative method of staying neutral and unobjective in a matter where there is no clear answer. (And the ISIL aspect: there is actually a government definition of what a terrorist group is as to be able to act against the group within law, so it is clearly fine to use that language for that purpose. There is no similar "legal" definition here yet for GG, even though many sources want to use the language "hate group" which does have legal ramifications). --MASEM (t) 15:27, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Also on ISIL, keep in mind the group have openly claimed responsibility for various attacks with no question, compared to GG here that have denied various actions they have been accused of. --MASEM (t) 15:34, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Questions like "do the sources indicate that this aspect of the situation is clear?" or "who do we identify as members of this group, and what are they doing or saying?" are things better worked out on the talk page for the article (using reliable sources, of course); they're not really questions about NPOV policy. (I think we've had this discussion before, and for the record I disagree with your implicit assertion that it is clear or obvious what "they say about themselves"; the sources cover a wide range of views and people involved in the controversy, often pushing for different things or advancing disparate agendas. Covering that has been part of the problem; but we still have to rely on reliable sources to untangle it and make broad statements about the overarching direction of the topic.) Regardless, when there is sufficient unity among sources, we can put things as fact in an article which its subject might disagree with; for instance, we describe the political position of the Ku Klux Klan as "far-right racism", which is certainly not how they describe themselves. The article's sources overwhelmingly identify actions which they say are a part of Gamergate and describe those actions the way you see in the article; that is sufficient for us to describe those events as fact. We can and do note that there are other aspects to the discussion, in detail, but eg. "there are bloggers who have used the hashtag and who don't agree with the definition of harassment used by the mainstream media" or "there are bloggers who say that the people identified as committing harassment are all outside trolls" isn't really sufficient argument to describe the overwhelming coverage of reliable sources as non-factual. Trying to change our rules to allow such disreputatable sources to be used to call that coverage into question -- to say, in effect, "no, I speak for the article subject, and this is what's really going on, regardless of what the mainstream media tells you..." -- would introduce problems of the sort I outlined above. --Aquillion (talk) 16:22, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
No change is being asked for here, just clarification because the policy does not specify the answer either way. How do you determine when something being said by RSes (which is going to be included in any situation as a predominant view, not omitted) is considered controversial within the scope of a topic as to label it an attributed claim or as uncontested fact in WP's voice - do you strictly limit it to the RSes, or do you consider all sources, usable or not? The details of how this applies to GG has been discussed before on the GG talk page, but a core matter to this is how this policy is meant to be read and in nature of how objective and neutral we're supposed to be. --MASEM (t) 16:36, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
Masem: the word "theory" used by scientists has a different definition than the laymen's version - that discussion will only confuse things.
Aquillion: Again you don't distinguish between objective and subjective. The examples you give above deal with objective statements: whether Obama was born is Hawaii is true or false regardless of perspective, as are the identities of the 9/11 masterminds and the existence of the Armenian Genocide - it's possible to imagine a collection of evidence sufficient to settle those questions conclusively for all rational observers.
There are subjective statements one could make about each: The international response to the Armenian Genoicide was not sufficient. The 9/11 masterminds were not justified in their use of terror tactics. Discussion of Obama's birthplace was motivated by racism. These statements may be generally agreed upon but they will always remain opinions subject to the perspective of the observer. I hope that distinction is now clear and we can move on.
The WP:NPOV policy recognizes only one exception where non-objective statements shouldn't be attributed: when the opinion expressed is uncontested. Contrary to your suggestion, the Klu Klux Klan is a good example. "Far-right racists" is how they would describe themselves. They may not use those words but if you asked their beliefs on racial and political policy their responses would align with the dictionary definitions of racism and right-wing. "We don't want the races to mix but that isn't racism" is a semantic objection. Gamergate objects not just to the semantic characterization of their beliefs as misogynistic but to the existence of those beliefs . We claim Gamergate is a misogynistic movement to drive women out of the games industry, they would say "not only are we not misogynists, we don't want to drive women out of the industry." It's a fundamental objection to what we state they believe, not a semantic objection to the definition of misogyny. The flat-earthers wouldn't contest the statement they believe the earth is flat, the Klan wouldn't contest the statement they oppose miscegenation. I haven't read a single article, besides Gamergate, where we attribute beliefs to a group in wikipedia's voice which the group contests. If you can link such an article and the general agreement is that it doesn't need correction then we should leave the Gamergate article as is. If not, it should be changed to align with the rest of our articles and comply with policy. Can we agree on that? If your objection is that we can't know what Gamergate says, that's a valid discussion but it's separate from the question of how we handle cases where what we state a group believes (rather than how we describe them) is contested by that group. 168.1.75.52 (talk) 17:32, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
168.1, I can only read this and think that you've never worked through any articles about sexual minorities on Wikipedia. We have a number of articles that essentially read like "Academic psychologists agree that that (fill in the name of small sexual minority group) behaves this way because they find it sexually gratifying to (fill in name of behavior, like wearing a particular style of clothes)", while self-professed members of that group say "This is all wrong. Nothing I do is motivated by sexuality. (Also, please don't tell my mother/children/ex-wife's lawyer/any politicians that being a _____ has anything to do with sex)".
In this situation, the views of academic psychologists that a minority group is ultimately motivated by sex, even if those views were 100% correct, will have damaging consequences in the real world for many of those people: their family members will reject them, their neighbors will stigmatize them, laws will be written to persecute them. Even if those academic views were 100% correct, members of those groups would have many personal and political reasons to remain blind to corroborating information – to refuse to believe the academics – and to publicly deny it, even if they did believe that there could be something to it. The denial therefore rings hollow: anyone, with any basic understanding of how society fears sexual minorities, would deny it. But the fact of a self-serving denial doesn't mean that the academics are wrong. (Nor does it mean that they're right: a denial can be both self-serving and accurate.)
I suspect that the Gamergate people are in a similar bind. They have been strongly and credibly accused of a socially reviled behavior. There is no immediate social or political benefit to them from believing or agreeing that they behaved like misogynistic monsters. There is some (small) benefit to them from denying it. If we assume that they're basically rational, then we can expect the group to deny having engaged in any reviled behavior. Their denial has no bearing (either way) on the truth of the situation in that scenario. The most you could expect in that situation, in a properly written encyclopedia article, is a long description of the widely believed accusations followed by a short statement of the self-serving denial.
The only way to change that balance would be to get an independent, high-quality source that offers a different explanation for the behavior. Then you could have a solid explanation of the "Gamergate is a bunch of misogynistic people who behaved badly" followed by "Gamergate is a collective prank on the mainstream media" (or whatever alternative theory is put forward), and all of that followed by the self-serving denial. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:16, 24 May 2015 (UTC)
"Academic psychologists agree" is the key phrase in your example. Even where it reflects the consensus of credentialed medical experts regarding a medical issue (which doesn't apply in this case) we still attribute it, i.e. we do not definitively claim "X behaves this way because of Y." I've still yet to see an example "where we attribute beliefs to a group in wikipedia's voice which the group contests. " 168.1.75.40 (talk) 18:19, 25 May 2015 (UTC)

An anonymous group of misogynist harassers, without organization or spokespersons, cannot possibly contest a view. What we are asked here is whether a small tag team of editors who claim to possess insight that no reliable source can access may therefore override the reliable sources. That the participants of this page are willing to countenance such a proposition for such an extended period is deeply disturbing.MarkBernstein (talk) 00:07, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

I don't know what's worse: your personal attack on the "small tag team" of editors or the implication that some rather publicly identified Gamergate supporters are misogynist harassers. I'm sure Milo Yiannopoulos and Christina Hoff Sommers would love to hear they've been identified as misogynist harassers on Wikipedia. I suggest you show the same respect for BLP claims about those you oppose as you expect others to show those you support. I'd advise an admin revdel the above comment. 168.1.75.47 (talk) 03:36, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm following the reliable sources in saying that Gamergate is an anonymous group of misogynist harassers without organization or spokespersons. Thanks for playing, IP; which banned editor are you socking for? MarkBernstein (talk) 19:30, 31 May 2015 (UTC)


We are required to be nonjudgemental, meaning we cannot assume the group as a whole is doing something wrong when both members of the group and other RS acknowledge the whole group is not at fault. Even if they were legally marked as harmful such as being a hate group, ignoring the group's voice outright because what they did was immoral is being too judgemental on WP. We as editors must ignore morality for purposes of writing a neutral article. --MASEM (t) 11:30, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
If you agree that we should follow the way reliable sources describe the group, without injecting “perspective” (or, equivalently, “divine inspiration”) bestowed privately on a small tag team of editors but denied to any reliable source, then we agree that the answer to the question you posed at the outset of this interminable discussion is “no”, and we will follow what the reliable sources say without injecting our private “knowledge” that informs us that the reliable sources are all wrong. Can we end this? MarkBernstein (talk) 19:30, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Hi MarkBernstein, We do not have a current policy which allows us to blindly repeat the opinions of sources as fact - there is no "follow the sources" policy. We do have a core policy, WP:NPOV, which says that we must not repeat contentious or contested assertions as fact, but must attribute them to the sources.
The "misogynist harassers" narrative is an important aspect of this controversy, and absolutely should be included in the Article, as attributed opinion; likewise, the "grassroots consumer movement" narrative is an important aspect, and should be included, again as attributed opinion.
I could not agree with you more that we should not rely on "divine inspiration" in constructing our articles. However, we do not need to in this case. There are ample sources which reliably verify the alternate narratives - both those strong RS's which we would accept for "facts" supporting that the varying opinions are contested (only some of which are listed above), and also a number of sources which present the alternative narrative. These include sources by: Yiannopoulos, M; Sommers, C.H; Young, C (Reason, etc); Young, G et al (TechRaptor); Finnegan, L (The Escapist & EveryJoe); Campbell, O (former Games journalist; in the working group to determine the panel for SJP Florida's "Airplay" discussion). The challenge, burden & duty for each of us as WP editors is to work out how best to use the available sources.
I also agree with you that we should perhaps move on from this discussion - Wikipedia's core policy is clear & unequivocal - we must not document contested assertions as facts. We should get on with the business of building an article which documents this controversy fairly & without bias or judgement. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 10:03, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
Restating what a reliable source has said as "fact" as instead a claim to them is in absolutely no way stating that the source is flat out wrong (to do that, we absolutely would need a reliable source, and the case of the Guardian's initial article on the result of the GG ArbCom case is a good example. We couldn't say anything immediately to say that their assumption that ArbCom banned feminist editors was wrong just based on our take of the Arbcom closer, so for that, we would not have reported it as fact but a claim made by the Guardian. But as soon as the ArbCom and the WMF came out to say "Uh, no, we were not banning feminist editors", we would have been able to say the Guardian's story was wrong with clear sourcing to support that. However, they did update and redact their original story in light of these). However, we should also not say they are "right" when the statement is controversial. Hence, using holistic knowledge of the entire topic aids us in writing in the most conservative neutral non-judgemental stance possible. If one limits themselves to only the usable RSes (to Ryk22's point, in that these sources presented are all being rejected as users RSes on the current article), you may be forced into a narrative that is clearly slanted by the well-known implicit biases in today's media. Again, this is not saying the media is wrong, but it is better to not say they are 100% right if we know there is something controversial about their statements, for all topics, not just GG. --MASEM (t) 15:24, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
Masem has been arguing for months on end that facts that reliable sources consistently report as facts, but which he personally believes are not facts based on his personal knowledge and perspective, here argues (and argues, and argues.... 14,750 words on this page and many tens of thousands more elsewhere) that we should change the facts to mere "claims" because "this is not saying the media is wrong." Of course, the whole point is to insinuate that the media are wrong. This is pure conspiracy theory. Wikipedia's core policy is clear and unequivocal: if the preponderance of the reliable sources agree (as they do) that Gamergate is a conspiracy to harass female software developers, that is what Wikipedia should support. If Wikipedia were to permit the preponderant conclusion of reliables sources to be reduced to a "controversial claim", as Gamergate message boards are constantly clamoring for it to do, that would merely invite those reliable sources to ridicule Wikipedia again. Masem reminds us that Wikipedia's missteps in Gamergate (and GGTF before it) have already been widely condemned in the press as well as the research literature; he merely hopes to be given freer rein here to ignore NPOV and RS.
After this principle is applied to Gamergate, imagine how Wikipedia will look when "it is better not to say that [the reliable sources] are 100% right if we know there is something controversial" is applied to Evolution, Scientology, Smoking, Birth Control, Fluoridation .... MarkBernstein (talk) 17:49, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
If journalistic sources had remotely the same level of quality of research as hard sciences there might be a comparison between Gamergate, and Evolution, Scientology, Smoking, Birth Control, Fluoridation. However, they do not. There are definitely narratives being pushed by the media, and it Wikipedia's responsibility to not engage in them. It is our responsibility to be impartial, and Wikipedia should not "support" anything. It should document the positions held. --Kyohyi (talk) 18:07, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
Last time I looked, Scientology wasn't a physical science, and both WP:RS and WP:NPOV were still policies. The question placed before us is essentially whether we should revoke NPOV when one or more editors "know" that the media are “all bias” and should replace the "narratives being pushed by the media" -- that is to say, replace the reliable sources -- with what some editors (here brigaded offsite) know to be the real story. Sigh. MarkBernstein (talk) 18:11, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
Again, that's not what I'm asking for. NPOV says "do not present controversial statements as fact but as claims". But it does not say either direction if the controversy has to be something that is documented to RSes, or that is of the entire picture. Obviously, NPOV does state that to include the counterarguments you do need RSes, and that's likely not going to happen for the GG situation. But to simply state a fact as a claim, NPOV does not provide enough advice to determine if we need to stick to RSes or not, and so this has all be about getting clarity on that fact. --MASEM (t) 18:19, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
You should have followed my link on impartial. That is a part of NPOV policy. Also note, biased sources are RS, but we still have to account for their bias, and write in a npov. --Kyohyi (talk) 18:21, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
(ec)I have never said the media was wrong nor that there is a conspiracy theory in the press. I have said we don't know if they are 100% right, especially in the light that the people that the media are making statements about are saying they are false. I'm not saying that the GG side is right either. I've also warned that there are unintentional and implicit biases that the press have due to being - at the end of the day - a commercial product designed to bring in money through subscriptions. A story that involves young women being harassment is going to see a heck of a lot of light , and add to that this harassment is coming from the Anon/4chan culture which already has a negative connotation in the press, and you basically have a double whammy against the GG side. And that's not by design, that's just how the bulk of the press swings, in any type of topic. That's being aware of the systematic biases in the press, which was already something we were told to watch out for in the previous RFC on GG, that they can exist and we can route around them by consensus.
The problem is that the actual truth is very much unknown - that's why this is a "controversy" to start. On the second point, taking things like Evolution, etc. (save for Scientology) - there's hundreds of scientific articles on all these topics that built upon sound scientific method to present these as facts. We know that there remain fringe views that deny these reports, or present potentially bad science to try to counter these reports, but given the power of peer-reviewed scientific publications, we can pretty much ignore these in determining the above list as fact, and simply note that there are fringe views of these topics. There has be absolutely zero analysis of the GG situation of the same resolution and detail as the above list, outside of what is publicly seen from social media where the harassment has been done. The closest in-depth analysis came from Jesse Singal's attempt to reach out to a core GG group to understand their ideas, and that was far from scientific. The press is not a rigorous scientific method in the first place. As such, we have no factual basis of any ilk to be able to say that that press is right in their assessment of GG, in the same manner that we can readily dismiss fringe claims, for example, Evolution is false. As a tertiary objective source, we should be very much aware of that before we make a claim as a fact. Note this is how the Scientology article is approached. We are not calling their religion a scam in WP's voice, but attribute that as claims made by reliable sources, so as such the article balances what Scientology claims against what people say against it, and does not act if one side is right or wrong. But Scientology is also different in that many RSes can be used to document the Scientology's claims, and we are still on the question if we require controversy to be limited only to RSes or to the entire situation. --MASEM (t) 18:16, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
HOMG! Masem, you are RIGHT. All of those viscous vicious #gamergate harassment posts MIGHT have come from the Xenu lizards - and we JUST DON'T KNOW!. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:40, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
Given that we have RSes that describe the existence of third parties who have no interest in gamergate engaging in harassment just to stir the pot (BBC), then yes, the conservative, neutral, objective stance is that we don't know who is engaging in harassment here. --MASEM (t) 21:46, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
It is not "third party" when it comes from people identifying as gamergate and gamergate consists of people who call themselves gamergate. That is "first party" as the multiple reliable sources state. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:55, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
And we have other sources that state it is from third party sources or from a small vocal minority of the extremist side of GG supporters. That makes the statement of what people are actually engaged in the harassment contentious, and thus must be present that way per NPOV. --MASEM (t) 22:06, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Request to close[edit]

Can someone please close this? it is obvious that the proposal has nowhere near the sweeping support that would be required for such a radical reinterpretation of the policy. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:01, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

I'm asking for clarification that does not exist but that needs to be setttled, not re-interpretation. And that question has not been answered, and we've only had a few other editors opine on this core policy clarification. --MASEM (t) 00:11, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
W.r.t the specific question "Do we consider NPOV issues only within the bounds of what RSes say or the larger picture?", there may not be consensus. W.r.t to the particular application discussed at length above, however, there appear to be sufficient reliable sources for both the assertions being contested, and for alternative counter assertions, to support the assertions being attributed as opinions - per WP:NPOV.
The better question may be "How do we determine if assertions are contested &/or controversial?" - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 00:22, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
No, the question was asked and answered: Do we implement a radical reinterpretation of the policy to include a "white space" around what the reliable sources say because "we know better than the sources"? and there has been nothing like the overwhelming groundswell of support that would be needed for the radical change.
We are done and anything else is merely beating the dead horse. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 02:46, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
No, there is no present language to support "we must only use RSes to determine if a statement is controversial". None. There is also no language present to support "we should consist the entire scope of sources including those that can't be RSes to determine if a statement is controversial". Hence we have a question that has not been answered by people outside the scope of the current GG situation which is why this is being discussed here to gain input. It is absolutely improper to close this by claiming this is a reinterpretation of policy and conseneus has been formed when that clearly doesn't exist. --MASEM (t) 02:57, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Masem, your claim has zero validity. WP:V and WP:OR] clearly answer the questions that you have asked. YES WE MUST ONLY USE RELIABLE SOURCES AND NOT OUR INTERPRETATIONS. And there has been no support here for overturning them. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 04:23, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
There is no language in any policy of what you say that clearly says what you claim it is saying. No policy or guideline or combination thereof says that we must use the situation as only described by reliable sources to determine if a statement is controversial, only for what content actually can go into the article. I've looked, trust me. There's language that implies this, but there's also language that implies the other case as well. --MASEM (t) 04:53, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
  • If you are asking about a specific article, then you are in the wrong place; as it says at the top of the page, "For questions or discussions about the application of this policy to any specific article(s), please post your message at either the NPOV Noticeboard (any neutrality-related issue) or the Fringe Theories Noticeboard (undue weight given to a minority view)." This page is to discuss the overarching NPOV policy and to suggest changes to it, not to seek additional opinions about how it applies to specific articles. The general policy questions you've asked have already gotten extensive answers from numerous experienced editors; "I know those people feel that way, I was looking for other people's views" isn't a meaningful response in this context, because the purpose of this talk page isn't to seek third opinions. Bring it up on the NPOV noticeboard if you want additional views, basically. Anyway, given that you're saying that you are looking for additional voices for that specific content dispute, I move to close this based on this talk page being an inappropriate forum for what you're actually requesting. --Aquillion (talk) 04:44, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Note: I've already tried to close this section, but Masem reverted it. PeterTheFourth has made few or no other edits outside this topic. 04:49, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
I am not asking about a specific article, that's the problem. I'm using GG as an example of a situation where we need to have clarification of this policy, so asking at the policy page is exactly where it is appropriate, but others are trying to isolate the situation to GG. I'm focusing on the broad issues that affects all of WP, not just GG. The few non-GG involved responses that actually address my need for clarification point out that we should look beyond the RS, but I'm certainly not going to claim that's consensus yet, and there's clearly no consensus on the other view from non-GG participants. This talk page is exactly where this discussion needs to talk place but we need to consider the situation at the broad scale, GG just provides a useable example of where the clarification is needed. --MASEM (t) 04:51, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
The policies are crystal clear Masem. We present content as verifiable in the reliably published sources as appropriately representing the views of the mainstream academic voices without our personal knowledge or investigations or interpretations. We do NOT write "white space" into the article to represent something that "we know" that is not held or established by any viable source. And the GG is a clear example of why. The current article version would be a hagiaography of gamergater compared to what the article would look like if it were written around what I know about gamergate that has not been published. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 11:54, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
That is not the question that is being asked at all. In NPOV, it says to not present contentious statements as facts but as opinions. But it does not provide any advice of how to determine what a contentious statement is. So the question is whether we use only the RSes or do we use all possible knowledge to make that decision. And all that impacts in the case of the current GG article is tone and wording choices, establishing more statements in the voice of the press instead of in WP's voice. It is not asking for forced white space at all, new facts, or anything else, as I've repeatedly said. Policy is otherwise silent on this question, though other statements can be read to support either possible answer, and thus needs clarification. Simple as that. --MASEM (t) 13:12, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
The 'new fact' at issue is that a particular statement is controversial. Since policy provides no overriding advice on that specific matter, that should mean that we settle this question of fact the same way we settle any other question of fact: by going with the reliable sources. There is no special case rule, so follow the general purpose one. - MrOllie (talk) 14:49, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
I would say that a "contentious statement" is one that we (the editors of Wikipeida) agree is contentious. This is one of the areas where WP:NPOV meets WP:Consensus. Consensus is not unanimity... a fringe minority of editors crying "this is contentious" can be ignored when lots and lots of editors say "Sorry, no, it is not contentious at all."
When RSs disagree we say that a good way to remain neutral is to "teach the controversy"... presenting both sides of the debate as "opinion". Unfortuantely, this concept gets abused by fringe advocates. They will claim that a "controversy" exists (and demand that both sides must therefor be treated equally as being opinion), when in fact there isn't any real controversy at all. Claiming a controversy when there isn't one is an old trick used by fringe advocates to demand that we give more weight to their views (or to decrease the weight we give to majority views). We need to be alert for that. Blueboar (talk) 15:17, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
You're framing it incorrectly. This is not a case of how we represent fringe views where for example the young-earthers argue the earth is 6000 years old and we're debating whether to represent "4.5 billion" as opinion or fact. It's a case where we claim the young-earthers believe it's 60 years old and a whole bunch of them say: "Hey we said 6000 not 60!" Masem and others are not even arguing so far as to say we should write 6000 rather than 60, just that we attribute the 60 claim. You invoke "fringe" but how could it ever be fringe to source a group's beliefs to the group themselves? If it were then the repeated requests for a single article where we attribute as fact beliefs to a group which the group contests, would be easy to satisfy. No such article has been linked and judging by my searches no such article exists. 168.1.99.218 (talk) 16:40, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
It is no less a fringe claim that the earth is flat just because it is coming from the Flat Earth society as their belief. In addition here, you have the whole issue of the fact that all of the many many many divergent and contradictory claims that have come out under the #gamergate hashtag to select merely the ones that you want to claim as "real gamergate" and ignore all of the others because .... The particular claims that "gamgergate is about X" from gamergaters are still fringe within the claims made by gamergaters. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 18:06, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

This discussion is a sham. The originator asked this page to endorse his novel (!) theory that NPOV would allow him to substitute his own "perspective" for the consensus of reliable sources, and undertook to abide by the outcome. That undertaking, clearly, only applies if the outcome favors his effort to "compensate" for what he says is universal media "bias." Since, he believes, all the reliable sources are "biased," he wishes to qualify the facts they report as mere "claims." Many, many discussants here have pointed out that doing this is contrary to policy, and would have the effect of reopening Scientology, Evolution, and a host of other contentious pages to fresh assault by followers taking a page from the Gamergate playbook. Since the originator will only accept an outcome that NPOV cannot possibly provide, and has been arguing this point for six months and tens of thousands of words, there is little hope it will ever end, but ending it here would, at least, send it back to the fetid swamps of Talk:Gamergate_Controversy where is has been stewing so long. MarkBernstein (talk) 16:22, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

It's already been established how those articles are far different from the example GG situation, in that either there's sound and numerous scientific papers to negate the fringe views, or that there is RSes to address both views of a controversy. So in absolutely no way does the result here affect how those articles should be treated. And I am asking for input from people not involved with GG, not the result I want. We simply don't have that input yet. --MASEM (t) 16:46, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
The only people who are arguing for a position that NPOV can't provide are those who are consistently and tendetiously ignoring NPOV, specifically WP: IMPARTIAL, and Masem is not one of those people. --Kyohyi (talk) 17:00, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Nonsense. Scientology has nothing to do with science, and the belief the Gamergate is really about ethics is every bit as WP:FRINGE -- and the incessant pleas for permission to unskew the biased media is every bit was WP:FLAT -- as anti-fluoridation. This discussion has been dragging on for weeks on end, the question been answered repeatedly, but since it's not the answer the questioner wants the answers aren't applicable and the goalposts (always invisible) move again. If Wikipedia NPOV permitted us to reduce the consensus of reliable sources to a claim because we know something, all the people who say "the second law of thermodynamics is incompatible with evolution" would say, "science is bias!" and insist that their big-picture perspective, like yours, must be applied throughout Wikipedia. After all, you only claim to have insider knowledge of Gamergate; some of them have the Word of their Lord. Good grief. MarkBernstein (talk) 17:28, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
actually, I am also claiming "special knowledge" of what gamergate is really about and if this proposal gains consensus - ha ha ha ha ha - I plan to radically rewrite the article to accommodate the whitespace of my personal knowledge that has not been appropriately covered in the media (due to the legitimate fear that their accurate coverage of what gamergate is " really" about would place them and their families as targets of the vicious vicious harassment spewing from gamergate.) -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 17:56, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Stop the personal and condescending attacks immediately - I never said I have insider knowledge, only that I read what are the open forums that are clearly identified as the GG talk spaces and organizational spaces. And see what Blueboar wrote above - this is all mitigated to be mitigated by consensus, which is certainly a reasonable expectation on all this, and would prevent the situation you describe of "the second law of thermodynamics is incompatible with evolution". --MASEM (t) 18:11, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Actually, Masem, it wouldn't stop the situation I describe. I know this, because it didn’t: see the history of Ravi_Zacharias where this proposition has been reinserted and argued for years. A clear consensus has existed on the nature of Gamergate for seven months, resisted with great energy by a handful of editors abetted by an army of socks and zombie accounts, all relentlessly trying to use Wikipedia to improve the image of Gamergate and to harass Gamergate victims. To repeat what has been said here over and over again (and what you know perfectly well, just as you knew it six months ago): an editor's personal reading of chatrooms or 4chan boards does not provide a "perspective" that allows them to override the consensus of reliable sources, even to the extent of insisting that what reliable sources agree to be a fact is must be describe in Wikipedia as a "claim". This entire topic is addressed specifically in WP:FLAT -- almost verbatim. Please, someone -- anyone -- close this; there is little hope it will ever end, but ending it here would, at least, send it back to the fetid swamps of Talk:Gamergate_Controversy where is has been stewing so long. MarkBernstein (talk) 18:52, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Except that at least a few non-involved editors do say consensus can allow us to override these sources with knowledge available to anyone but just not in RSes to make the article more objective, neutral, and non-judgemental, so it is not as a simple case as you describe. This is by far not a consensus on the answer, no question, and we still need more input on the situation in general not just as it applies to GG. --MASEM (t) 19:01, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
No we cannot. WP:UNDUE is clear. We accurately represent the mainstream reliable sources in the proportions they are held. "Taking into account non reliable sources or our own evidence" will by default create the situation where we are INACCURATELY representing the views as they are held by the mainstream. Overturning such basic application of such a long endorsed and widely held policy takes more than a few "well sometimes maybe" - it would take an overwhelming sea of "Hell yeah! and throw out WP:OR too!". -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 19:10, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Stating that "<Mainstream source> claims <statement>", as long as the statement is an appropriate non-interpretive summary and/or quoted bit from the source, is in no way creating an inaccurate statement made by the source. (This has come up before in the Newsweek twitter analysis stuff). Obviously, there's a point where if there is well-established documented facts and studies that are universally agreed on (like the Earth being round) that presenting as claims instead of facts is poor representation, but we're talking situations where the details have not been extensively studied, particularly about the behavior of living persons. --MASEM (t) 19:48, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
In the example you have repeatedly brought up, we are talking about well documented facts of harassment emanating from gamergate and under auspices of gamergate by claimed gamergaters. To frame it as anything else other than gamergate harassment would be the same a framing the earth as round as a not a fact. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 19:54, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Except as noted there other high quality RSes that do not frame it as solely coming from that group so that fact is immediately contestable in reliable sources, not even having to turn beyond that. So we would say "<Works> claim that the harassment is coming solely from GG supporters, while <other works> state that there believe there are third parties at work." There, that is a objective, neutral, non-judgemental statement. --MASEM (t) 19:57, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Again, that is a content dispute for a specific article, and not appropriate to bring up on this page. Your question (about whether we should rely on WP:RS to determine what is controversial) has been repeatedly answered by numerous established editors; there is an overwhelming consensus here that we can only rely on reliable sources to establish what is controversial. You've indicated that you don't want to accept that consensus because most of the people who have answered you here have also posted on the talk-page for Gamergate (and because, as you said, you wanted "outside views"), but seeking outside views is not the purpose of this talk page. Your questions have been thoroughly answered; if you don't feel the answers are credible, or if you feel that some detail of the specific article at hand makes them inapplicable, you should go to either the article's talk page or to Wikipedia:NPOVN. Your repeated insistence on keeping this open until you get comments from "outsiders" (and your implication that anyone who has previously been involved in the particular content dispute that sparked this discussion is therefore unqualified to weigh in on your general question of NPOV policy) is just not appropriate for this page. --Aquillion (talk) 20:25, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
It keeps on getting to the GG article because others are dragging this discussion there, I'm only using GG as an example. And there is no overwhelming consensus from uninvolved editors. I see 4-5 editors that have commented and the opinion is split. The question has absolutely not been answered. --MASEM (t) 20:33, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
There was a issue that was discussed on the GG page that depended on how this policy was to be handled; the conversation there did not result in anything but stonewalling, so as per proper dispute resolution and per ArbCom, taking it to the specific policy page to ask the specific policy question in general terms is completely in line. We need more input beyond the <dozen voices. That is standard Wikipedia practice. --MASEM (t) 20:45, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
No, this isn't the correct place to ask a question about a specific article. See the notice on the top of the talk page. The place to seek third parties for major disputes is not here but WP:NPOVN; and regardless of whether you ask here or there, expecting more than a few dozen voices is unrealistic (this topic has already received far more opinions and discussion than almost anything else on this page's recent memory.) Regardless, I read an overwhelming consensus among established editors who have commented against your interpretation of the policy; you keep saying that you want to exclude 'involved' editors, but that doesn't have any meaning in this context, because the purpose of this page is to discuss the general policy and not to seek third opinions. Otherwise, a dispute on a high-profile page involving an established rule could drag it on until nearly every frequent editor who cares about that policy has weighed in on that page; then someone could move the forum to the talk page for the policy, argue the same things again, and exclude everyone who previously weighed in in order to cast the policy into dispute, even if there was an overwhelming consensus overall. I am not saying that you are deliberately doing that, but it is the end result of your insistence on asking for a policy clarification here while ignoring everyone you feel was previously involved in discussing the relevant policy with you on another page. This is part of the reason why WP:NPOVN exists -- beyond preventing this page from being clogged up with huge arguments like this one, it also allows you to seek third opinions without running into the problem you're hitting now where you end up with the same people giving you the same opinions in a different forum. --Aquillion (talk) 20:56, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
And once again my question is general tied to no article, though using the GG situation as a context example, it is just that editors have framed their responses as if this was only about GG. GG is not a unique situation, hence the need for broader clarification. If I wanted to be only about GG I would be at the noticeboard and ask about GG specifically. And there is absolutely nothing wrong for trying to get a consensus that exceeds the input already provided from other users, that is what dispute resolution is all about. --MASEM (t) 21:04, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
The definition of "consensus" here is, apparently, "to continue discussing until sufficient SPAs and zombies arrive to claim that there is no consensus" when, in fact, there is an overwhelming consensus that an editor cannot do personal research in 4chan to gain "perspective" and then discount the consensus of the reliable sources because "all the media are bias." That's the route to conspiracy theory, not an encyclopedia. What is this contributing to the project? Since the originator will only accept an outcome that NPOV cannot possibly provide, and has been arguing this point for six months and tens of thousands of words, there is little hope it will ever end, but ending it here would, at least, send it back to the fetid swamps of Talk:Gamergate_Controversy where is has been stewing so long. MarkBernstein (talk) 21:52, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
This is not about GG specifically. It is about NPOV policy, that's why I brought this question here and to be handled in the broad terms for any topic WP may cover in the future. --MASEM (t) 22:27, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
(e/c) And again, Masem, your general question is fully answered by WP:UNDUE (and again in WP:V and again in WP:RS and again in WP:OR) : NO we do not "write around" what the reliable sources have published because of something "we know" or what non reliable sources have said. Asked and answered and asked and answered and asked and reanswered. There is no consensus to change this long established and widely implemented policy. WP:DEADHORSE -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:53, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
No, there is no language in UNDUE, or V or RS or any other policy that answers the very specific question I have. When it comes to including content, yes, all those fully apply - we cannot write content that is coming from unusable, non-RS sources. But there is nothing in any of those policies that say that our tone and language choices as to summarize and write around that content must be derived from RSes only or should consider what is beyond that RSes - the only details that we have written into policy is that we should keep articles neutral, objective, and impartial when it comes to language and tone. It does not say anything to what extent non-RSs should be considered for determine what the neutral, objective, and impartial stance should be. --MASEM (t) 22:27, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes the do apply. You cannot write the article appropriately representing all of the significant, published viewpoints if you are "whitespacing" for non reliable sources and what you "know " has not been appropriately covered by the reliable sources. Doing so necessarily means that the writing of the article then does not accurately represent the reliable sources appropriately. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:33, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Restating a statement made by a reliable source as a claim rather than a fact is not creating an inaccurate summary of a topic, simply moving the tone from being in WP's voice to the source's voice. NPOV in fact instructs us to do this when the statement is contentious. It remains as the question how to judge when a statement is contentious. --MASEM (t) 22:57, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes it is it is an issue. WP:ASSERT covers this specifically. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:04, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
And per ASSERT, that says only to keep facts as facts when "there is no serious dispute". How do determine if there is "no serious dispute"? Do you stick to RSes or do you look to the entire situation? --MASEM (t) 00:09, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Of course it is based on the reliable sources, JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE WE DO. Why in the world would this be the one exception? -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:12, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
No it doesn't say that (but nor does it say to use the entire situation, hence the need for clarification). The reason it would be necessary is to keep the neutral, objecting, impartial aspect of WP and avoid taking a stance on an article, as described above by Blueboar in "teaching the controversy". --MASEM (t) 00:17, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
And we achieve neutrality by presenting the reliable sources in proportion that the the views are held by mainstream sources. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:52, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
This has nothing to do with content, so UNDUE does not apply. This is about presentation, in terms of tone and language choices. --MASEM (t) 01:00, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
How is the presentation or framing of content around "secrit stuff we know that the sources dont" not about content? and if it is not about content then why are you clogging the policy page about presenting content in a NPOV with your endless discussions? -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 01:41, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
It's not about framing content around stuff that is publicly visible for anyone to read, but simply to determine the right language and tone to use in an article where controversy exists. NPOV and related guidelines like WP:W2W are all about mitigating both content (what is coming from RSes) and presentation (how we summarize those RSes). We are talking about our presentation as a tertiary source at the summarizing stage, not the introduction of unsourceable content. It's why we don't outright call something like Westboro BC a hate group in WP's voice despite the numerous sources that state it is, for example. --MASEM (t) 02:00, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Well quite good. We are done here then. Finally. We frame and write the content as the reliable sources present it without taking into consideration what the non reliable source have to say or what "we know " that the reliable sources havent covered. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 02:12, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Fellow Wikipedians, W.r.t the question of "How do we determine when an assertion is 'contested', 'contentious', 'controversial'?", the following might be useful factors to consider:

  • Independent reliable sources describe the assertion as 'contested' (or synonyms thereof).
  • Independent reliable sources describe the topic area as 'contested' or 'debated' (or synonyms thereof).
  • The Article documents a controversy (or synonyms thereof), and the assertions relate directly to that controversy. (cf. WP:UNDUE 2nd & 3rd paragraphs).
  • Noteworthy contrasting/contrary/counter opinions can be verifiably sourced.

Each of these factors are (to my thinking) based on reliable sources. I am not sure that all of these are necessary conditions; some of them may, however, be sufficient conditions. Discuss? - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 04:53, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Our favorite example of gamergate is a case in point. While a misogynistic campaign of harassment and rape threats focused on women is "controversial" , there is no controversy in the sources that there is a misogynistic campaign of harassment and rape threats focused on women and so framing the presentation as if there is any dissension in the sources about this fact would be a violation of NPOV. While in that same article, Based Milo's contentions that there is evidence of journalistic conspiracy have been heavily contested in the coverage (in as far as the claims have been covered) and so presenting them as anything other than "Based Milo said X" is problematic from NPOV grounds.
The "facts on the ground" for any particular instance are likely always going to be such that attempting to limit or prescribe is a futile effort. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 13:10, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
I haven't looked at this particular case, but normally when I see arguments over whether to phrase in WikiVoice or not, I find it usually best to just attribute the content, even if, as NPOV states, you just describing it as a widespread view. If editors are fighting over it, then it's usually safe to consider it a subjective matter. Turn what is argued to be an opinion into a clear fact statement which no one disputes. Editors can sometimes get too tied up and combative in analyzing the weight in reliable sources and over look the simple definition of an opinion. Is the material a judgment, viewpoint, or statement about matters commonly considered to be subjective? If so, just treat the statement as the prevailing opinion and move on. Morphh (talk) 13:36, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
To follow on TheRedPenOfDoom, I also wouldn't describe something as a controversy when no sources support the statement. You can frame a statement as a viewpoint without elevating the validity of alternate views. Morphh (talk) 13:46, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
" If editors are fighting over it, then it's usually safe to consider it a subjective matter." is quite an untrue proposition. FRINGE views ALWAYS have editors "fighting" over content about which there is no legitimate controversy in reliable sources. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 14:03, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Right, but you don't need a controversy to consider something an opinion. So while weight doesn't justify inclusion, it doesn't mean we state the majority opinion as fact. A serious dispute can be held by a tiny minority and something can be commonly considered subjective within a larger context outside of the narrow scope of the sources. For example, if every reliable source we have says Caitlyn Jenner is an attractive woman, do we state it as fact knowing that beauty is commonly consider subjective or do we say that Caitlyn's appearance has been widely described as beautiful? If something is an opinion, then just treat it as such. Saying "Bruce Jenner has transformed into a beautiful woman" is pov, even if the weight presented in the sources doesn't include the viewpoint that some would find Caitlyn unattractive. Morphh (talk) 14:29, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

We now have “discussed” this question for more than a month, using more than 20,000 words. This "request to close" alone now exceeds 5,400 words. I repeat (literally since that's what the originator is doing figuratively): since the originator will only accept an outcome that NPOV cannot possibly provide, and has been arguing this point for six months and tens of thousands of words, there is little hope it will ever end, but ending it here would, at least, send it back to the fetid swamps of Talk:Gamergate_Controversy where is has been stewing so long. MarkBernstein (talk) 17:31, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

I'm asking a question about policy, and seeking input from outside the scope of GG. Other editors keep dragging it back to being about GG which is why the word count is that high. The general policy question has yet to get an answer with consensus, or if anything, that there's no consensus either way. --MASEM (t) 17:37, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Your original proposal "To me, I would think for an objective work, we should be considering what RSes report within context of the larger picture, even if we cannot document or discuss that larger picture in the article." has indeed been addressed and, outside of the socks, there is nothing approaching the overwhelming consensus that would be needed to implement such a radical change of policy in obvious contradiction of well established intent of this policy itself WP:UNDUE and other the other major content policies specifically WP:OR. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 17:54, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Again, the question was the fact that policy lacks instruction of how to determine if a statement is contentious; NPOV does not spell out whether to stick to the RSes or to use all available knowledge. UNDUE doesn't speak to determining contentious of statements made by sources, nor does OR. I was not challenging anything that is already clearly spelled out in policy, which I agree would need consensus to implement. --MASEM (t) 18:05, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

NPOV is quite clear: we follow reliable sources, period. The alternative would allow anti-evolutionists to argue that the second law of thermodynamics is controversial: after all, they know it’s controversial in their church, against which all the reliable sources are biased. The alternative would allow Scientologists to argue whatever they want, because they have the inside scoop. Every fringe and conspiracy theory believes itself to be a controversy and would instantly seize the opportunity that Gamergate so ardently seeks, to use Wikipedia to improve its public image. Since the originator will only accept an outcome that NPOV cannot possibly provide, and has been arguing this point for six months and tens of thousands of words, there is little hope it will ever end, but ending it here would, at least, send it back to the fetid swamps of Talk:Gamergate_Controversy where is has been stewing so long. MarkBernstein (talk) 18:30, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

No, that is not the question being asked, to include material that is not from RSes or against UNDUE to add content to an article. That's been repeated several times that that is not the question. It is how to present existing content from RSes that follow UNDUE in a manner that respects NPOV neutrality and impartiality, effectively whether we add a few extra words to establish a statement as a claim or opinion from a source, rather than a fact, if we know that statement is a contentious one, per NPOV. --MASEM (t) 18:48, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

The only way we can reliably "know" that a statement is contentious is that reliable sources agree it is contentions. We cannot use divine inspiration, original research, or stuff people may have seen on gamergate conspiracy boards to decide what we consider a fact and what we consider a claim. We do not and will not turn facts into "claims" because we know they're opinions -- we'll report them as claims if the consensus of reliable sources treats them that way. Since the originator will only accept an outcome that NPOV cannot possibly provide, and has been arguing this point for six months and tens of thousands of words, there is little hope it will ever end, but ending it here would, at least, send it back to the fetid swamps of Talk:Gamergate_Controversy where is has been stewing so long. MarkBernstein (talk) 19:11, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

Mark, each of your 20-odd posts in this thread (the above included) can be summarized as some combination of the following:
  1. Nothing but the majority consensus RS should influence article content
  2. Consensus opinion should be reported as fact
  3. This thread is too long and has gone on for too long because there's a conspiracy to subvert Wikipedia
You've made these positions abundantly clear to anyone following the discussion. Re-phrasing them repeatedly absent any new points is disruptive and undermines your criticism of the thread's persistence. 104.156.228.89 (talk) 20:49, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

No mention of relevance?[edit]

We tell editors that they should "describe disputes, but not engage in them"... which I totally agree with. However, I think this rule may be incomplete. It assumes that the dispute is relevant enough to be mentioned in the first place. I have seen this over and over again... editors engaging in heated POV debate over relatively trivial bits of background information that are not really important the topic/subject of the article.

My point... sometimes "teaching the dispute" may actually be the wrong approach. When the bit of information being disputed is a minor bit of background trivia, spending article space on "teaching the dispute" may end up giving UNDUE weight to that trivial background information... In such cases it may be better (and neutral) to simply OMIT the bit of information completely.

I think we should mention this approach somewhere in the policy. Thoughts? Blueboar (talk) 14:48, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

That's covered by WP:UNDUE and WP:NOTE, I think. If a dispute is not relevant enough to cover, then devoting time to it is giving it WP:UNDUE weight. Especially see the WP:BALASPS and WP:GEVAL subsections, which specifically talk about how giving all disputes equal validity is not neutral, and how some disputes are so WP:FRINGE that they should not be mentioned at all. WP:FRINGE and WP:PROFRINGE also talk about this; generally citing WP:UNDUE, WP:NOTE and WP:FRINGE is the way to go if you're trying to explain how you feel a controversy is too fringe (and lacks enough coverage by reliable sources) to include in an article. --Aquillion (talk) 19:41, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
Hi Blueboar, Thanks for raising an interesting point. While I'm not sure that I agree with Aquillion that each of the policies & guidelines referenced apply directly, I do concur that the question is covered in a number of different places, including already being mentioned explicitly in this (WP:NPOV) policy. I would highlight WP:BALASPS as directly relevant to the question, and as allowing omitting aspects which are not WP:DUE.
Notwithstanding this, I do consider that WP:NPOV, especially WP:IMPARTIAL, provides the best advice for us in documenting disputes or controversies in a neutral way - and that we should definitely be describing, rather than engaging, in them. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 13:13, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
thanks Blueboar (talk) 20:24, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
Issue being that what some people might not see as relevant might be extremely relevant to others. For example, some people might think that having a trivia section on a page about the United States' July 4th celebrations that lists famous people from other countries who have a birthday on that day might be irrelevant, but others might not. 32.212.104.223 (talk) 02:08, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Hi "32", Thanks for an interesting follow up. I would be inclined towards suggesting that the "list of famous people" is clearly off topic for an article on "US' July 4th celebrations"; but also that it would clearly be on topic for a "List of people born on July 4th". There is similar example in WP:NPOV already, covering the Earth & Flat Earth articles - "Flat Earth" theory being undue for the former, but clearly core to the latter article.
These examples draw attention to WP:UNDUE being contextual to the Article topic itself. Points of view, theories, beliefs, etc are not WP:UNDUE or WP:FRINGE across the whole encyclopedia; and we should not treat them as such.
Hope this helps. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 06:42, 20 June 2015 (UTC)