[WikiEN-l] Criticism sections on bios of living people

Michael Snow wikipedia at earthlink.net
Mon May 8 00:06:28 UTC 2006

Erik Moeller wrote:

> On 5/7/06, Michael Snow <wikipedia at earthlink.net> wrote:
>> I'm not at all saying that criticisms should be omitted, or a neutral
>> point of view abandoned. But their consolidation into separate
>> "Criticisms" sections is generally undesirable, I would say.
> That's more of a question of style than substance, and I agree with
> most of your points. However, "Criticism" sections are definitely
> easier to write than a well-consolidated article. It takes a lot of
> skill to avoid an article that reads like a constant back and forth.

It may be a question of style, but stylistic choices can have 
significant and sometimes seriously damaging effects on substance. That 
particular path may be easier, which is in fact part of the problem. 
When an article starts down a long road that leads to an undesirable 
product, it is difficult to back things out and frequently makes more 
sense to start from scratch. That's the approach I've had to take on 
several occasions. Taking easy shortcuts will never get us good 
encyclopedia articles.

It does take some skill to rebuild an article so that things go in the 
right direction afterwards. Unfortunately, there seems to be a 
considerable shortage of that skill in the community.

--Michael Snow

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