On Wednesday 20 April 2005 02:31, Andrew Lih wrote:
I'm glad you brought up NPOV vs. unbiased.
The term is what it is, though in coming to understand it, and now explain
it, it is off. Though, it is off in a useful way, it provides a nice
sedgeway into what it *is*. (e.g., "A chickpea is neither a chick nor a
In the essay, Larry mentions
that this newfangled NPOV as a term was unnecessary, as the term unbiased
Neither is appropriate; rather, without slipping into relativism it
abstracts to a meta level of representing what people think they know
(i.e., a consensus theory of truth) rather than what is (i.e., a strict
A misunderstood notion about Wikipedia is that much contention arises from
its Neutral Point Of View (NPOV) policy (Wikipedia 2004wnp): that debates
arise from this seemingly impossible requirement to remain objectively
neutral. Yet, the NPOV policy is quite the opposite and instead recognizes
the multitude of viewpoints and provides an epistemic stance in which they
all can be recognized as instances of human knowledge – right or wrong.
The NPOV policy seeks to achieve the "fair" representation of all sides of
the dispute such that all can feel well represented. Articles should
explain without advocating, characterize without engaging, and honor the
intellectual independence of the readers by refraining from dogmatism.
Hence, the clear goal of providing an encyclopedia of all human knowledge
explicitly avoids many entanglements. ... Consequently, while the
perception is that NPOV is the source of much debate, it may act rather as
a heat shield: reducing conflict and otherwise channeling outstanding
arguments in the productive context of the primary goal of developing an
encyclopedia that is representative of many viewpoints.
It is important to note that this stance does have important ethical
implications. The policy of only reporting on what it is well-known has
significant implications for minority views. This is acknowledged and
debated within the Wikipedia community and the present norm is that
Wikipedia should be fairly representative and proportional to the
phenomenon it seeks to capture.