Positive tone

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A suggested extension to neutral point of view. Things should be presented in terms of facts rather than opinion, but an article can still radiate an implied stance through either selection of which facts to present, or more subtly their organization - refuting everything as one goes makes things look a lot worse than collecting them in an opinions-of-opponents section. It seems to me that a fair bit of stuff ends up as fairly partisan commentary even while presenting both points of view.

Therefore I am suggesting that we avoid the problem altogether and not write articles from the tone that a position is a bad one. We should instead start with the attitude that such and such is a good idea, except that the supporters of said view overlooked such and such a detail. If you don't think you can do that, you are probably about to write with enough contempt that edits are going to have a hard time doing anything but veiling it. This applies to articles not just in politics, and abortion but any field where there is considerably controversy and both sides have started on reasonable ground.


If I understand what you are saying, Josh, I agree completely. (How's that for a really hedged statement? :-)) --Jimbo Wales


Postive tone is a good idea except in cases where postive tone implies approval of generally bad things (e.g., slavery).

I still think the same general approach can be taken. An article describing slavery as a sick degradation of human life and listing some of the worst instances would be deserved but not particularly informative anyways. Instead one could begin by saying slavery was predominant throughout the ancient world and picked up again in early modern times, that the conditions under which slaves lived and worked varied but were generally dismal, and that for such reasons slavery is now considered a violation of human rights and has widely and thankfully been abolished.

I would remove the word thankfully from the previous; I agree that it's a good thing but this is a personal opinion.

That doesn't condone slavery but still presents the neutral (if not positive) first and comes off the better for it. What got me thinking about slavery and positive tone was when Disney was trying to start a theme park in North Carolina (?) themed around colonial America where the press release read something like.... "Disney ? will make things like a, b, c, d, e, slavery, f, g, h, ... fun".