[WikiEN-l] systemic bias

charles matthews charles.r.matthews at ntlworld.com
Mon May 8 18:46:43 UTC 2006

"Raphael Wegmann"  wrote

>> So, Wikipedia editors need not self-censor, while engaged in writing the
>> encyclopedia articles.  As decent people, they will self-censor in talk 
>> page
>> discussion.  Self-censorship is of course a basic social requirement.
> So decency in article pages is forbidden, even if you
> can be decent without loosing any informational content?
> The problem with this approach is, that you will loose a lot of
> readers and editors that way. Some of you will even be happy about
> that, but NPOV is in severe danger, if you are offending
> editors, who are members of a cultural resp. religious minority.
> In the end you will have an American/British/Christian encyclopedia.
> If this is what you're aiming at, I would not be interested.
> You'd waste a big chance for intercultural exchange and
> a true neutral point of view.

Too many assumptions.  I don't know why you think that Christians might not 
be offended, at some things: experience suggests otherwise.  A secular point 
of view itself offends some religious people.  I would certainly defend the 
idea that you can be secular and 'decent'.  Who knows, even Richard Dawkins 
might be offended by something here.

I don't want to lose editors from any point of view.  But there is a real 
problem with modifying articles, in order to incorporate the sensibilities 
from any one side.  Think for example if we had to write about Armenia, in a 
way so as not to offend any Turkish readers.  Or Nanjing, in a way so as not 
to offend any Japanese readers.  The list goes on.

Actually the only way not to offend anyone is  to avoid all controversial 
topics.  It was decided, long ago, not to do that, and not to give the kind 
of treatment you might find in government-approved history books.


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