[Wikipedia-l] Re: wikipedia in China

Anthere anthere9 at yahoo.com
Sun Sep 26 23:42:11 UTC 2004

Christopher Mahan a écrit:

> All I know is that if Wikipedia is fair and balanced, showing in
> thousands of articles the true face of china today, then the Chinese
> government will find no reason to block us, and in fact may
> participate. 

This is exactly what I meant.

I agree with Jimbo when he says that "Chinese editors who are
working on sensitive topics should take *great care* to be sure that
their writing is impeccable", nor libel, nor false, but only true and 
honest reports.

My only point is this one : the chinese goverment does things that most 
of us find chocking, but some people also consider the goverment does 
good things which will help the country enters fully the XXI century as 
a modern state. Just as any goverment, there is bad and there is good.
Similarly, some chinese people did things most of us would consider 
terribly bad, but there are also many great chinese people.

My opinion is that npov has two levels. The level of the article and the 
level of the project itself. NPOV at the level of the articles is not 
negociable. But there is nothing in the requirements about the 
neutrality a project has to achieve overall. Globally.

Now, I think that an encyclopedia is "supposed" to contain the entirety 
of human knowledge. Practically, it will be only a subset of human 
knowledge, and may only at best tend to perfection.

If a project contains 100 articles on history, that all these articles 
are individually neutral, but ALL 100 are about, say, french atrocities 
in Algeria in the 50's, and NOTHING else, then, the articles 
individually will be NPOV, but globally, it would be hard to claim the 
project is neutral. It will inherently follow a political stance if the 
only historical topic treated is this one. If only... a european biais 
that seems to imply that only european history is worth reporting :-)

Similarly, if the chinese (this is an hypothesis) wikipedia is greatly 
focusing in writing articles mostly dealing about chinese gov 
atrocities, even though the articles are NPOV, overall, the project will 
not really be neutral in its description of what human knowledge is.

I just mentionned that the project might greatly benefit from having its 
overall content balanced, and all facets of a country described, rather 
than only one facet described. Imho, this goes toward our general goal 
(well, at least mine) and if that CAN HELP avoiding the site blocked, 
then that doubly helps.

I do not think this desire for overall balanced information should be 
confused with censorship. My goal for most projects is that they are 
complete for all topics, not only focusing on controversial topics. But 
if such a desire to wish for overall neutrality is only seen as academic 
discussion and nothing more, it is not really worth discussing imho.

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