[Wikipedia-l] pitching an idea

Steve Lefevre lefevre.10 at osu.edu
Sun Apr 17 16:36:45 UTC 2005

David Gerard wrote:

>Multiple forks save edit wars, but I'm entirely unconvinced they're a good
>thing for the reader. I think NPOV is Wikipedia's really startling and
>useful innovation, on a par with attempting to write an encyclopedia by the
>wiki process.

I don't think NPOV is that startling -- hasn't that idea been around in 
journalism for the past century? I would think that most other 
encyclopedias make that claim.

Furthermore, I don't buy any claims to NPOV. Language is inherently 
biased. One bias is what gets mentioned. Wikipedia is more comprehensive 
than other encyclopedias in another realm, but  Another bias is what 
gets mentioned first. Wikipedia articles are currently serial, so there 
is always an order to the mentioning of any topic. There are also biases 
in the wording and terminology of 'controversial' figures and unpopular 
viewpoints. Who arbitrates who is controversial, or what is unpopular? 
In the sign-off system I propose, we actually have hard numbers as to 
what is controversial and unpopular.

Language did not evolve as a mirror of the truth. Writing that purports 
to come from a neutral point of view comes off as stilted and awkward. 
Language is a way to debate, argue, and convince. I say put language to 
its best use and let proponents make their case.


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