[Foundation-l] Misplaced Reliance, was Re: Paid editing, was Re: Ban and...

SlimVirgin slimvirgin at gmail.com
Sun Oct 24 20:39:42 UTC 2010

On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 13:57, Fred Bauder <fredbaud at fairpoint.net> wrote:
>> The pro-scientific-point-of-view editors have rewritten NPOV to make
>> it easier for them to exclude non-scholarly sources. They cite the
>> UNDUE section, arguing that non-scholarly perspectives represent undue
>> emphasis. Some of the same people are currently trying to change the
>> sourcing policy, Verifiability, in the same direction. I think what is
>> needed at some point quite soon is a wiki-wide discussion about
>> whether as a project we still support the idea of protecting
>> significant-minority POVs. I always saw that as the point of NPOV.
>> Sarah
> They can argue, but if we keep our heads, they cannot overturn a founding
> principle. As in the Atorvastatin article when patients are running to
> their doctors, saying, "My God, I can't think", and it is observable by
> medical practitioners that indeed they can't, it's a significant event.
> However, it does need to be put into proportion, serious effects to a few
> hundred people must be weighed against efficacious help for millions.
> http://www.theheart.org/article/843115.do
> Note the reference to a Wall Street Journal article.
> If our inclusion of this information in a Wikipedia article and placing
> undue emphasis on it results in thousands of deaths because people are
> afraid of the drug, then we need to look at the way it is handled, not
> just to a conclusion that there can be no negative information about
> useful drugs.
> Fred

On the other hand, failing to include it could be leading to deaths.
The point is, we can't know. What we have always done is simply report
(responsibly) what the reliable sources are saying, and that has
always included the high-quality media, because they represent a
significant source of majority or significant-minority opinion. The
academic journals are often very slow to report problems.

You are right that they cannot overturn a founding principle. But they
can ignore it, or persuade new editors that their interpretation of it
is correct, and after a few years of this the spirit of the founding
principle gets lost. Fighting them is a tremendous amount of work, and
increasingly few people have the stomach for it.


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