On Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 2:27 PM, Wjhonson <wjhonson(a)aol.com> wrote:
For actual quotations from sources, you should quote the source exactly.
Then you will never be using original research.
You are going the next step and summarizing and interpreting. Don't do that.
But selecting what quotations to use, what parts of them to use, and
in what context one uses them, and the language one uses to present
them, is a not a mechanical or necessarily neutral endeavor. It cannot
be done without summarizing and interpreting.
Certainly in Wikipedia and everywhere else the world also,
unrepresentative of partial quotations are used to propagandistic or
controversial effect--sometimes even deliberately, but more often
because the particular quotation and manner fits what the editor
desires to express. A person in the course of a long career will say
many things on their main interests, and some will be at least
partially contradictory. Selecting what represents the person's true
views, what represents a true change of opinion, what represent
erratic misstatements --all of this require decisions which amount to
what we call original research and synthesis. It is not possible to
write any but the most trivial article without research and synthesis.
Preparing a summary of the state of a question intrinsically requires
it. Deciding of the balance of an article necessarily involves having
a POV--if one approaches a subject where one has none initially, by
the time the article has been finished, one or the other position is
sure to have been found more appealing, and a non-neural POV is sure
to have developed.
The writing of secondary and tertiary works are inevitably
associated with bias. The way by which we avoid its worst
manifestations in Wikipedia is not by being free from bias, but by
having articles written collectively by a diverse group of people.
What we lose in elegant prose we gain in objectivity. This is why it
is important to continually increase the number of active
editors--not just to increase the scope, but to ensure adequate eyes
on the articles.
But even so, the different Wikipedias will be inevitably different.
(Attention has recently been called on the list to
.) We need in particular more people with
multiple language ability to incorporate the diversity in the
individual encyclopedias. This is one reason why it is critically
important to develop Wikipedias in the non-Western languages, so their
views too can be represented not just in their own language, but
throughout the project.
DGG at the enWP