Jump to content

PV of a Science of Nature editor

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
(English) This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

Some Wikipedians think that scientific articles on Wikipedia should be written according to "Point of View of a Science or Nature editor", and not strict "Neutral Point Of View". Both these points of view are biased. PVSNE is biased towards science and facts; strict NPOV is biased towards political neutrality and political correctness.

Scientific articles make big portion of every encyclopedia. If "strict" rules of neutral point of view were followed, such articles would be very hard to use. Most people reading article Earth don't care about people claiming it's flat, most people reading about World War II don't care about it being punishment for sins of humanity and most people reading article Evolution don't care about creationism, "humanity was created by aliens" and other non-scientific theories. Therefore strict NPOV must be limited if it conflicts with usability or facts.

Maybe controversial issues should have a front page listing the pages that describe the different points of view that exist about them, science being among them. Even within science there sometimes are competing theories about certain phenomena.

So we could have: Origin of life theory

what do you think?

I think this POV has been discussed to death on talk:creationism and that a strictly biased POV should not become wikipedia policy. I for one would consider forking the pedia, to create an effort which accommodates various POV, before I'd let this happen.

You might or might not know that the stated Wikipedia policy has been from the beginning the neutral point of view. I, and I imagine Jimbo as well as most participants in Wikipedia, are no more seriously considering changing this than we are changing the fact that this is an encyclopedia. This is one of the constraints on a successful international, collaborative encyclopedia.

We cannot reasonably expect people to follow a policy that they don't understand, however, and this policy is really very easy to misunderstand. It does not imply any controversial positions about epistemology or metaphysics; it asks (to put it rather simply) that we do our very best to represent competing points of views fairly, and that we do not make the article espouse some "official Wikipedia view." We "go meta" whenever there is any significant dispute, and describe the dispute. Now, if you don't want to call what we ask "neutrality" or "nonbias," then call it "schmeutrality" or whatever you like.

SNPOV is biased towards political neutrality and political correctness.

This is just false and represents a simple misunderstanding of what the policy says. The only thing that the nonbias policy is biased in favor of is the idea that it is possible to state competing views fairly within the same article, within some very reasonable constraints on what is to be considered fair.

If you want to get into a debate about the policy, it would be great if you would give a concise summary of the arguments that have been raised against the neutral point of view. I would be only too happy to reply to help develop a draft and to develop replies. I am firmly persuaded that very many objections to a nonbias policy stem from a failure to understand it properly. I'm looking for something similar to what was done on Wikipedia subpages pros and cons. --LMS

See also : Wikipedia commentary