Wikimedia TV/Neutral point of view

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The neutral point of view[edit]

The neutral point of view is a means of dealing with conflicting verifiable perspectives on a topic as evidenced by reliable sources. The policy requires that, where multiple or conflicting perspectives exist within a topic, these should each be presented fairly. None of the views should be given undue weight or asserted as being judged as "the truth", in order that the various significant published viewpoints are made accessible to the reader, not just the most popular one. It should also not be asserted that the most popular view, or some sort of intermediate view among the different views is the correct one to the extent that other views are mentioned only pejoratively. Readers are allowed to form their own opinions.


NPOV requires views to be represented without bias. All editors and all sources have biases. A bias is a prejudice in a general or specific sense, usually in the sense of having a predilection for one particular point of view or ideology. One is said to be biased if one is influenced by one's biases. A bias could, for example, lead one to accept or not accept the truth of a claim, not because of the strength of the claim itself, but because it does or does not correspond to one's own preconceived ideas.

A simple formulation[edit]

Assert facts, including facts about opinions — but do not assert the opinions themselves. By "fact" we mean "a piece of information about which there is no serious dispute." For example, that a survey produced a certain published result would be a fact. That there is a planet called Mars is a fact. That Plato was a philosopher is a fact. No one seriously disputes any of these things. So we can feel free to assert as many of them as we can.

By value or opinion, on the other hand, we mean "a piece of information about which there is some dispute." There are bound to be borderline cases where we are not sure if we should take a particular dispute seriously; but there are many propositions that very clearly express values or opinions. That stealing is wrong is a value or opinion. That the Beatles were the greatest band in history is a value or opinion. That the United States was right or wrong to drop the atomic bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a value or opinion.

Wikipedia is devoted to stating facts in the sense as described above. Where we might want to state an opinion, we convert that opinion into a fact by attributing the opinion to someone. So, rather than asserting, "The Beatles were the greatest band," we can say, "Most Americans believe that the Beatles were the greatest band," which is a fact verifiable by survey results, or "The Beatles had many songs that made the Billboard Hot 100," which is also fact. In the first instance we assert an opinion; in the second and third instances we "convert" that opinion into fact by attributing it to someone. This is not the same as the "some people believe..." formulation popular in political debates. The reference requires an identifiable and objectively quantifiable population, and should be attributed to named individuals who are regarded as reliable.