User:DGG/NPOV

re:ignoring the enemyEdit

With the 'late at night' disclaimer, which article/discussion are we talking about? [[User_talk:Piotrus| 07:39, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Update: ok, I've figured that out :) Note that I use 'crank' only because I am citing a guideline using it, it's not a word I'd chose myself otherwise (per WP:CIV issues). That said, if a minor scholar's work is mostly ignored and only severly criticized in the only two academic reviews that look at it, I fail to see how it can be considered reliable enough to cite anywhere but in article about that minor scholar or his views. A good analogy is: if I get a PhD from history, go to work at some minor NGO or governmental outlet, publish a book at a minor/unknown publisher with some controversial claims not confirmed by any other source and get heavily criticized in two academic reviews by more reliable scholars: are you saying my work can still be cited on Wikipedia?-- User_talk:Piotrus 07:51, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

my viewEdit

Well, yes, it can, and if the topic is discussed it should. But the articles by other people attacking the work should also been cited , and the arguments of both sides briefly presented. Since your work-- as postulated-- will have been erratic and incompetent, the arguments against it will be very strong, and the arguments for it, no matter how well presented, weak. the readers will realize it & judge for themselves.
This is not my original idea; I follow in this very closely the classic liberalism of J. S. Mill. Intellectual honesty, whether in academic writing or in public discourse, requires all arguments to be presented as well as they can be; otherwise it counts as propaganda. In most academic writing or public advocacy, one of course then draws a conclusion about the relative strength of the argument. In writing for a newspaper or an encyclopedia, one does not draw an opinion, but simply presents both sides. The only place a newspaper can express its opinion is in its editorials, which are mere arguments and carry no authority as evidence for anything except the newspaper's opinion (or that of the named writer) . There is no place where an encyclopedia can properly express an opinion, though it can and should honestly quote the opinions of others--all others.
This is NPOV. I am concerned with it myself in one particular controversy, where the editors of an article on antisemitism do not want to quote the admittedly odd opinion--based on what he considered to be sufficient evidence--of an individual academic specialist in the field that some of the worst medieval antisemitism was justified. In this case, it's one step more complicated: the reaction to his book was so hostile that he renounced his opinion. The only honest thing to do in WP is to quote both the original opinion and the retraction, and to present very briefly his evidence and the opposing view of those who think he has misread the evidence. This is particularly tricky, because the originally expressed view is of course being used unfairly by many bigots. Personally, I too have read the original evidence he focussed on, and I think it does not support his original view; but WP cannot draw that conclusion, only say that everyone who has discussed it disagrees with him--and any honest reader will understand. The ones looking to support their intolerance would find the book anyway.

I understand the provision to omit totally weird positions to mean that if nobody has noticed the author's theory but the author, then it need not & should not be presented--the usual WP standard of notability. You will understand that most but not all of the editors in that particular position want to ignore the book; as some of them are powerful around here, they will probably get their way in the article. DGG 15:23, 26 June 2007 (UTC)