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Wikipedia:NPOV means neutral editors, not neutral content

An unrealistic image

Reality is not neutral, balanced, or unbiased, and content must mirror it.

Content should be presented without the influence of editorial bias.

NPOV means neutral editors, not neutral content.[1] We don't document only neutral facts or opinions, we write about all facts and opinions neutrally. The expression "neutral point of view" is misleading because NPOV refers to an editorial attitude and mindset; it is not a true "point of view". It refers primarily to editorial behavior, and relatedly to aspects of how they present biased content. Editors must not allow their biases to non-neutrally affect whether or how they include, delete, or present biased content and sources. They must not introduce editorial bias, but must include and preserve content bias, while remaining neutral in how they do it. Content bias must remain evident and unaffected by editorial revisionism, censorship, whitewashing, or political correctness. They must remain neutral toward any existing bias in sources.

There are some types of articles where points of view (POV) are not a notable or problematic factor, but most articles document points of view and biases, and that's how it should be. This essay is primarily about such articles and how to deal with biased content.

NPOV (Neutral Point of View) is our most sacred policy, yet its use of the word "neutral" is constantly misunderstood by editors and visitors who feel that NPOV occupies some sort of "No Point Of View" middle ground. Points of view and criticisms are by nature not neutral, and all types of biased points of view must be documented, often using biased sources, so the resulting content should not be neutral or free of bias.

The due weight distribution in an article should always mirror the unequal balance usually found between reliable sources. Editors must avoid a false balance, because not all points of view are equal. There is no policy which dictates that we cannot document, use, and include "non-neutral" sources, opinions, or facts in an article body or its lead. In fact, we must do this. A lack of such content may be an indication that editors have exercised whitewashing and censorship. It is a serious violation of NPOV to use censorship and whitewashing to remove any non-neutral opinions, facts, biases, or sources. Our job is to document "the sum total of human knowledge,"[2][3] and editors must not leave or create holes in our coverage.

Contents

Summary from NPOVEdit

This summary of a section from the NPOV policy is worth studying in depth:

Achieving what the Wikipedia community understands as neutrality means carefully and critically analyzing a variety of reliable sources and then attempting to convey to the reader the information contained in them fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without editorial bias. Wikipedia aims to describe disputes, but not engage in them. Editors, while naturally having their own points of view, should strive in good faith to provide complete information, and not to promote one particular point of view over another. As such, the neutral point of view does not mean exclusion of certain points of view, but including all verifiable points of view which have sufficient due weight. Observe the following principles to achieve the level of neutrality that is appropriate for an encyclopedia:

Where does NPOV apply?Edit

NPOV applies to the encyclopedia itself, in other words to its articles.[4] By contrast, it does not apply to article talk pages, policies, guidelines, user essays, or user pages. They are not part of the official encyclopedia, but are all part of the behind-the-scenes workplace editors use to aid in production of articles. They are not covered by NPOV or bound by the same rules as articles, and may express the unsourced opinions of editors, use Wikipedia essays, policies, and guidelines as sources, and in other ways are different from articles.

Editorial vs. content neutralityEdit

"Articles must not take sides,

but should explain the sides, fairly and without editorial bias.

This applies to both what you say and how you say it."

Neutral point of view policy

NPOV is an attitude and mindset, not a true "point of view", and refers primarily to editorial neutrality,[1] and only peripherally to content neutrality. In fact, it doesn't mean that content is neutral, but that editors remain neutral in their presentation of biased content. Wikipedia, represented by its editors, must remain neutral in the philosophical sense, in other words, editors must ensure that articles not show any "declared or intentional bias" coming from editors, only the bias found in the sources. Because points of view and criticisms are by nature not neutral,[5] editors must make sure that the opinions and biases found in sources shine through, unaffected by the editorial process.

Wikipedia does not take sides, but the sources often do, and article content must document the sides and explain any conflict between them. Wikipedia does not take part in the discussion between those sides. It merely describes them and does not erase or neutralize any of the sides in an article.

Editorial neutralityEdit

Behavior and mindsetEdit

 
Talk page negotiation table

"The best content is developed through civil collaboration between editors who hold opposing points of view." — BullRangifer

The expression "neutral point of view" is misleading because NPOV refers to an editorial attitude and mindset; it is not a true "point of view". Editors have their inclinations and biases, but when they are editing they must put on their "editor's hat". That "hat" is a neutral attitude and mindset, since NPOV is not a true "point of view" which can be included in an article. Like a referee, they are responsible for presiding over the article with a neutral and objective attitude. As long as their biases don't cause them to violate policy, there should be no problem. While editing, editors must remain apathetic, disinterested, and even-handed towards the subject, regardless of their personal POV.

Editors must be honest and guard against consciously or unconsciously framing material in a manner which misrepresents its original meaning or presents it with a slant or point of view not found in the source. Such misrepresentation may occur by painting a rosier picture, using sophistry, manipulation, or logical fallacies, appealing to emotion, or using propaganda techniques, spin, or weasel words.

This is why the best content is developed through civil collaboration between editors who hold opposing points of view. Everyone is biased,[6] and it is natural for humans to be blind to their own biases; we tend to suffer from confirmation biases[7][8] and the Dunning–Kruger effect. Therefore other editors provide an important counterbalancing service when they spot and correct the consequences of our biased editing. When pointing out such editing errors, it is important to follow the Golden Rule and assume good faith in fellow editors. No one is perfect.

Another quality of the editor's hat is a type of bias which editors are required to adopt, and that is a bias in favor of using all types of reliable sources, regardless of the sources' points of view. Refusal to use a source because "it is biased" is totally wrong, because most reliable sources are biased; they were written to make some point, otherwise they would not exist. After all, persuasion is a major purpose of communication.[9] Writers don't write, and speakers don't speak, just to say "I have no point of view".[10] Of course they have points of view and biases, and our job is to document them. We actually want such content.[5]

Writing for the opponentEdit

Writing for the opponent is an important trait of good editors. They must be able to divorce themselves from their own POV so much that they can bend over backwards to aid in the writing of content which documents views they do not like. They must never block the inclusion of content which opposes their own POV or political positions. If they cannot do this, they should recuse themselves from the topic and edit in other areas. Editors who are unwilling or unable to write for the opponent are incapable of truly understanding or abiding by the NPOV policy. As such they will always cause problems.

It should be possible for an editor to contribute in an NPOV fashion, even though they have strong points of view in real life. Just as "it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it,"[11] it is also the mark of a good editor to be able to understand and present various points of view, including those they find distasteful, without censoring them.

One indication that NPOV is being met is when editors on both sides of a controversial issue disagree with, and are not totally happy with, all the information the article contains, but if they are good Wikipedia editors, they will not be satisfied until all significant opposing points of view have been presented factually and without promotion.

Content is not neutral, so preserve its biasEdit

Wikipedia is not The Princess Bride

"Neutral"?

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride (1987)[12]

The word "neutral" in the NPOV policy is frequently misunderstood by new editors, visitors, and outside critics. To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, "It does not mean what they think it means." They think it means that articles must not contain any form of bias, hence their efforts to remove content and sources they perceive as "not neutral".[5] They do not understand "neutral" in the Wikipedia sense of the word, and think NPOV means content should have "No Point Of View", when nothing could be further from the truth.

The NPOV policy does forbid the inclusion of editorial bias and editorial POV, but does not forbid content bias and content POV, which is the type of bias found in reliable sources,[13] many of which are far from neutral. All significant points of view must be documented, and all types of reliable sources, including biased ones, should be used: "While Wikipedia is required to present a neutral point of view, sources on the other hand are not expected to be neutral."[14] Therefore, content bias must remain evident and unaffected by editors. They must include content bias, must preserve it, and must remain neutral in how they do it.

Without the use of non-neutral sources to document the non-neutral biases in the real world, most of our articles would fail to document "the sum total of human knowledge,"[2] and would be rather blah reading, devoid of much meaningful and interesting content.[5]

A change of the NPOV policy to accommodate such specious reasoning would mean the radical neutering of millions of articles, violation of NPOV, and denial that such points of view exist in the real world. Yes, it's an uncomfortable and sad fact that nonsense exists, but it is our job to document all of it that is notable enough to be mentioned in reliable sources.

Neutrality, balance, and false balanceEdit

 
A false balance

All opinions are not equal, so the scales, and our content, should be allowed to tip so they represent that fact.

In the broad spectrum of opposing points of view, "neutral" occupies the exact middle position between opposing points of view and takes no side in the matter, ergo, neutral has no opinion because it is not a "point of view". Such a position is extremely rare in real life and reliable sources. As such, it is a position we rarely document or include. NPOV does not mean neutral or neutered content, nor does it mean that there should be a false balance between opposing points of view. All opinions are not equal,[15] so they must not be given equal weight.

Attempts to keep an article or its lead balanced and neutral (free of non-neutral opinions) are necessarily based on the subjective opinions and judgement of editors. They are therefore most often an expression of forbidden original research and are usually based on a misunderstanding of NPOV and "due and undue weight". This does not mean that no attempt should ever be made to rectify gross imbalance, but don't react to it by seeking a completely equal balance:

The due weight distribution in an article should always mirror the unequal balance usually found between reliable sources. This will usually favor the mainstream point of view, and that should be the impression received by readers. They should learn that the best sources favor a certain point of view, even when it may not align with their own opinions of what is true. So be it. Wikipedia is more interested in the documentation of reliably verifiable human knowledge, than the determination of subjective "truth".[16] Any attempt to do the latter is a futile endeavor to maintain balance on a slippery slope greased by conflicting opinions. Proven scientific facts, on the other hand, are another matter; they can be nailed down.

The balance found in reliable sources will also affect how we cover weird, odd, and sensational information, stuff we often dub "trivia". Because we document the "sum of all human knowledge"[17] as it's found in reliable sources, if something is weird, odd, or sensational, it will often receive "even more" coverage in RS, and that's why we must cover it "even more", rather than treat it as trivia. It's what we do. We don't cover it because we think it's weird, we cover it because reliable sources think it's notably weird. If they think it's trivia, they will ignore it, and so should we. On the other hand, if they cover it, and we then treat it as trivia and ignore it, we have violated NPOV by using editorial bias to give it a weight that differs from the weight it is given in reliable sources. We must always be guided (governed) by RS, and our idea of "trivia" may not be their idea of trivia, or, alternatively, they just feel like giving trivia a lot of attention, which for us translates to greater "weight".

With the exception of completely unequivocal BLP violations and vandalism, it is considered a bad idea to delete content because of a lack of neutrality. Editing policy indicates it is better to preserve "the value that others add" and improve the content. This can be done through adding content, proper framing, attribution, and better sourcing.

Note that the "NPOV test" of appropriate content balance (in articles which document points of view and biases) is not the presence of positive and favorable content, but the presence or absence of properly sourced negative and controversial content, giving each their due weight. If the latter is minimal or missing, something is likely wrong and NPOV is being violated. The complete or partial removal of properly sourced content is generally not allowed and must be viewed with suspicion. Especially guard against the removal of properly sourced negative material. We don't write hagiographies or advertising brochures.

Like Newton's third law, for every opinion there is likely an equal and opposite opinion out there which should be included. The NPOV test describes biased content which exists in an action-reaction relationship, and we must include both to maintain an NPOV homeostasis. User:Censorship upsets this balance by trying to remove negative opinions and facts.

To make it clear that biased content is not from editors, attribution is essential. The more strong and biased a statement, the more likely it should be an exact quote attributed to the author. These are situations where paraphrasing is usually not appropriate. We don't leave out such content, we simply frame and attribute it properly.

Because Wikipedia is created through inclusionism, another objection to deletion of content is that deletion "goes against the entire basic premise" of Wikipedia: "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing." — Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia.[17] We try to build content, not break it down. Imperfect content is not removed, it is improved. Good faith editors should not be made to feel their work is in vain.

Censorship and whitewashingEdit

 
Preserve the bias

Censorship is wrong, so don't change any existing imbalance. Gold does weigh more than a feather.

The NPOV policy does not allow use of revisionism, censorship, whitewashing, or political correctness. Neither the NPOV nor BLP policies protect article subjects from documented criticism, which by nature is never neutral.

Editors must not exercise censorship; they must present all significant sides of any controversy and document the opposing points of view, and they must not shield readers from such views. To leave out one side amounts to promoting the other side's POV. Wikipedia should include more information than other encyclopedias, not less. Our goal is to document "the sum total of human knowledge,"[2] and censorship seriously undermines that goal.

The point of view and spirit found in sources must be preserved and presented "as is", without editorial interference. Editors must not neutralize the biases and points of view in sources, neither by hiding nor censoring them, nor by giving them more or less due weight than they have in the sources. There are some types of articles where points of view are not a problematic factor, but most articles document points of view and biases, and that's how it should be.

Censorship involves removing, hiding, sidelining, distorting, and/or refusing to include properly sourced content. Active censorship by any of these methods is one of the most blatant violations of NPOV. Wikipedia does not "take sides", but censorship does take sides, and User:Censorship is not a legitimate type of "editor" here. That editor wears glasses which often affect the mental "sight" of editors. It is often an unconscious, rather than malicious, phenomenon. It is one of those natural human faults to which we are all prone, but we must guard against it. Editors must consciously remove those glasses when editing, because they must faithfully document the ideas, biases, and spirit of the sources.

Editors must not use whitewashing to hide uncomfortable views, neither those they don't like nor those which are critical of the article's subject. NPOV requires inclusion of such material. If an article lacks criticism, the fact that a similar article lacks criticism does not mean that criticism should be kept out of the article. That too is censorship. Such a lack of criticism may be a sign that censorship has been at play, either by omission or commission.

Censorship in the real world isn't just about risqué images, pornography, or naughty words, but is often about media bias, political correctness, and suppression of political points of view (think of censorship in China, North Korea, and the United States), and, although Wikipedia opposes it, we do see censorship and whitewashing at Wikipedia. We also see it when editors with a conflict of interest seek to whitewash negative information from articles.[18] This is extremely unwikipedian and must be firmly resisted.

Dealing with fringe subjectsEdit

Censorship of fringe subjectsEdit

While mainstream subjects are based on numerous excellent sources and tend to receive favorable treatment here, there are editors whose legitimate skepticism towards fringe subjects tends to make them deal improperly with the subjects, even to the point of censoring and deleting them. Such actions insert editorial bias into the editing process.

Fringe subjects include quackery, pseudoscience, alternative medicine, the paranormal, health fraud, and fringe science. Their documentation is usually based on poor sources, they lack reliable evidence, and they are therefore neglected by the mainstream and rarely mentioned in mainstream reliable sources. While they deserve the scorn they receive, they are still part of that reality which we must document here. The parity of sources should also be considered when dealing with such articles:

"For example, the lack of peer-reviewed criticism of creation science should not be used as a justification for marginalizing or removing scientific criticism of creation science, since creation science itself is almost never published in peer-reviewed journals. Likewise, views of adherents should not be excluded from an article on creation science solely on the basis that their work lacks peer review. Other considerations for notability should be considered as well. Fringe views are properly excluded from articles on mainstream subjects to the extent that they are rarely if ever included by reliable sources on those subjects." — WP:Parity

A pragmatic viewpoint which harmonizes well with our policies is expressed by David Goodman ("User:DGG"), one of our most esteemed and experienced editors. In real life he is a librarian, and here he is an administrator and member of the Arbitration Committee:

"[I have a] distaste for quack anything: medicine, science, psychology, social science ... I often vote to keep articles on these subjects, because the advocates of orthodoxy here sometimes seem to be even less reasonable than the quacks--and because I think the best way to expose quacks is to let them state their views plainly." — User:DGG#Biases

Goodman points to the real problem of attempts by certain skeptics to delete quack articles. This is a form of deletionism which violates the principles of the NPOV policy, as well as the notability policy (if a subject can establish notability, it has a right to an article here). This is biased editing.

Minority opinions should not be silenced arbitrarily. They should be described, but should be assigned less weight than mainstream opinions, simply because mainstream opinions are backed by more reliable sources, reliable research, and better fact checking. Lack of these things is part of what makes an opinion a "minority" opinion. If it can muster better evidence and documentation in better sources, it becomes a mainstream opinion.

Since articles on fringe topics are required to give prominence to the mainstream point of view, the quack point of view should be stated succinctly, without promotion or advocacy, and the mainstream skeptical view should be stated clearly so as to make it clear that the subject is deprecated by the mainstream. The bias in favor of the mainstream should be clear, because that is the bias found in the best sources, and in most reliable sources.

Fringe POV pushers and sourcing for fringe subjectsEdit

Because Wikipedia has a bias towards use of reliable and accurate sources, fringe POV pushers have a hard time here. While it should not be difficult to include facts about proven reality, it should be difficult to make fringe points of view appear to be true. If fringe POV pushers want to edit here, they should have a hard row to hoe, and they shouldn't be allowed to make life difficult for defenders of proven reality. Advocacy of nonsensical opinions and beliefs is forbidden here, while advocacy of proven reality isn't forbidden. The POV pushing may look the same, but it's allowable to have a bias for reality, but not allowable to frame nonsense with a favorable bias.

Our fringe guideline requires that we avoid a false balance when it states:

"When discussing topics that reliable sources say are pseudoscientific or fringe theories, editors should be careful not to present the pseudoscientific fringe views alongside the scientific or academic consensus as though they are opposing but still equal views."
Sourcing standards for opinions, as well as for normal, medical, and fringe subjects
Our sourcing standards vary depending on the topic matter, and they exist on two levels.
Opinions, normal, and medical subjects
First level
  1. Whatever sources are available can be used to document the existence and main concepts of a notable subject.
After that
  1. All opinions need to be sourced and attributed.
  2. Undeniable facts don't normally need any sourcing.
  3. Generally accepted facts only need generally accepted reliable sources.
  4. Medical claims must use sources of such a high a standard that we have a special sourcing guideline called WP:MEDRS.
Fringe subjects
First level
  1. Fringe and nonsensical ideas may not be documented in mainstream RS, so, per WP:Parity, editors can use fringe and other totally unreliable, and even blacklisted, sources to document their existence and main concepts. Such sources are considered "reliable" only for that single purpose. Failure to use such unsavory sources would mean we fail to document a large part of unpleasant reality. We wish nonsense did not flourish, but it does, so we must document it. It too is part of the "sum total of human knowledge". We are allowed to document these things, but not advocate for them.
After that
  1. If fringe ideas and nonsense wish to argue (advocate) for acceptance as logical, sensible, and true, we demand a much higher sourcing standard; we demand "extraordinary evidence".[19] If they can manage that, maybe they aren't fringe.

When dealing with evidence for claims, and especially claims for fringe subjects, scientists and skeptics follow the basic principles of science and scientific skepticism, and editors should use the same principles in their editing. These involve critical thinking and are a fundamental part of the scientific method. The scientific reliance on evidence and reproducibility is paralleled by, and perfectly aligned with, the editorial needs and demands found in our reliable sources and verifiability policies. When editors use these policies properly, they are applying the scientific method. The following notable quotes touch on these matters:

* "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." — Carl Sagan[19][20]

  • "I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be." — Isaac Asimov, The Roving Mind (1983)
  • "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." ― Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • "A habit of basing convictions upon evidence, and of giving to them only that degree of certainty which the evidence warrants, would, if it became general, cure most of the ills from which this world is suffering." — Bertrand Russell[24]

Both in the real world and here at Wikipedia, the fringe point of view must produce very strong evidence (good sources) if it can ever be accepted as legitimate and true. Those who are so far out of left field as to not understand reality, or to consider nonsense to be true, should have a hard time here, and they do because they lack good sources. To make up for the lack they often use original research and poor sources, and then dare to demand that they be treated in a special manner[25][26] not recognized by our policies and guidelines. Such attempts have been soundly ridiculed and rejected here,[25] and such editors often end up blocked and/or banned.

Impression felt by readersEdit

 
No fringe advocacy

Wikipedia does not cater to "lunatic charlatans"[25] by permitting them to misuse the encyclopedia.

If editors write properly and distribute due weight appropriately (more here and less there), readers should sense that an article includes biases, both in its parts, and as a whole. Those biases must not come from editors, but solely from its sources, and readers should sense that the mainstream and best sources have the weightiest opinions on the subject.

Those opinions are disputed by a fringe minority who regularly attempt to misuse Wikipedia for promotion of their favorite delusions. The dominance by the mainstream point of view will obviously offend these believers in fringe and conspiracy theories, and we regularly see their attempts to change the balance of articles on fringe subjects like homeopathy, ESP, energy medicine, crop circles, 9/11 conspiracy theories, and Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories, to name a few examples.

Wikipedia does not cater to what Jimmy Wales calls "lunatic charlatans",[25] nor does it allow advocacy of fringe points of view, so the fact that fringe believers don't like these articles shows that we must be doing something right.

NPOV is clearly against the unwarranted promotion of fringe theories:

"The neutral point of view policy requires that all majority and significant-minority positions be included in an article. However, it also requires that they not be given undue weight. A conjecture that has not received critical review from the scientific community or that has been rejected may be included in an article about a scientific subject only if other high-quality reliable sources discuss it as an alternative position. Ideas supported only by a tiny minority may be explained in articles devoted to those ideas if they are notable."

Fringe editors do not like this situation, but it's what's best for creating a dependable encyclopedia. Although we oppose POV pushing by fringe editors, we must keep in mind that they may still raise valid suggestions and objections, so it is important to hear them out, and if they have solid, policy-based, arguments, maybe their suggestions can lead to article improvement.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Neutral editors" obviously means "editors who edit neutrally," since no human being is truly "neutral" or free from bias. No one possesses completely "unbiased, unfiltered" perception.
  2. ^ a b c Battles, Matthew (July 12, 2012), Wikipedia and the sum of human knowledge, metaLAB (at) Harvard, retrieved October 22, 2015
  3. ^ Jerney, John (October 22, 2002), The Wikipedia: The encyclopedia for the rest of us, The Daily Yomiuri, retrieved October 22, 2015

    Quote: "In particular, the goal of the Wikipedia is to produce the best encyclopedia encapsulating the sum total of human knowledge.... [It] offers the possibility of everything being written into history, with all of mankind sharing knowledge and information in a way that enables everyone to profit from it." — Wikipedia:Testimonials

  4. ^ This would also apply to the Main Page and certain navigation pages. Whatever would be found in a published encyclopedia is considered part of the encyclopedia. Editorial functions are not part of it.
  5. ^ a b c d This comment, made by a blocked trolling-only account, ironically illustrates both a misunderstanding of NPOV and the fact that points of view are what makes content worth reading:

    Quote: "It is a very well-written article that provides all points of view except the neutral one. But why would we want that. The intelligent debate is far more interesting."[1]

  6. ^ Johnson, Carolyn Y. (February 5, 2013), Everyone is biased: Harvard professor’s work reveals we barely know our own minds, Boston.com, retrieved December 12, 2015
  7. ^ Phelps, Marcy (June 5, 2015), Are your biases showing? Avoiding confirmation bias in due diligence investigations, Phelps Research, retrieved November 15, 2015
  8. ^ Yanklowitz, Shmuly (October 3, 2013), Confirmation Bias and the Ethical Demands of Argumentation, The Huffington Post, retrieved November 15, 2015
  9. ^ Goffman, Erving, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, 1959
  10. ^ Eva Cassidy is an example of the unfortunate consequences of not having a point of view: "'The problem was she could sing a telephone directory, but she didn't have a musical point of view,' says Bruce Lundvall, president of Jazz and Classics for Capitol Records, who considered signing her to the Blue Note label in 1994."[2] He later stated: "I made a very bad mistake. I should have signed her."[3] Fortunately her amazing voice still brought her fame, but mostly after her death.
  11. ^ The quote is attributed to Aristotle in several sources, but, although he may be the inspiration, it is more likely a discombobulation of this quote of his from the Nicomachean Ethics:

    Quote: "In the same spirit, therefore, should each type of statement be received; for it is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits; it is evidently equally foolish to accept probable reasoning from a mathematician and to demand from a rhetorician scientific proofs." — Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1, third paragraph

    See also: Aristotle and accuracy and Philosiblog

  12. ^ "Inconceivable" — YouTube
  13. ^ "Biased sources are not inherently disallowed based on bias alone,..." — Wikipedia:NPOV#Bias in sources
  14. ^ Wikipedia:Neutrality of sources
  15. ^ "All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time
  16. ^ Wikipedia:Verifiability, not truth
  17. ^ a b Wales, Jimmy (August 2006), The birth of Wikipedia, TED Talks, retrieved December 5, 2015
  18. ^ An example of secretive and deceptive COI editing is when the Koch brothers paid the conservative PR firm New Media Strategies to professionally whitewash many articles about them and their political activities. The whitewashing activities were discovered and then reported in the press, yet the Koch brothers/NMS team got away with it without much happening. Their sockpuppet investigation resulted in very short blocks and then nothing! Their currently active meatpuppets, who are named in the press, still guard right wing articles, and it's impossible to make them even close to NPOV. Anything negative, no matter how well sourced, will sooner or later be deleted by them. We're talking about billions of dollars at stake, so these people are serious and use any and all methods to make sure that any controversy or criticism in Koch brother related articles is removed or greatly minimized.
  19. ^ a b Carl Sagan (writer/host) (December 14, 1980). "Encyclopaedia Galactica". Cosmos. Episode 12. 01:24 minutes in. PBS.
  20. ^ While Carl Sagan's version is likely the most popular, Marcello Truzzi had preceded him by a couple years in 1978:

    * "An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof." — Marcello Truzzi, "On the Extraordinary: An Attempt at Clarification," Zetetic Scholar, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 11, 1978

    * "In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded." — Marcello Truzzi, "On Pseudo-Skepticism", Zetetic Scholar, December 13, 1987, p. 3

  21. ^ Quoted in Robert Sobel's review of Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies, edited by Mark C. Carnes
  22. ^ Christopher Hitchens, "Mommie Dearest: The pope beatifies Mother Teresa, a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud.", Slate, October 20, 2003.
  23. ^ Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007) p.150. Twelve Books, New York.
  24. ^ Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian (1927). Watts, London.
  25. ^ a b c d Wikipedia:Lunatic charlatans:

    Quote: "No, you have to be kidding me. Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful. Wikipedia's policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals - that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately. What we won't do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of 'true scientific discourse'. It isn't." — Jimbo Wales, March 23, 2014

  26. ^ Hall, Harriet (September 2015), Evidence: "It Worked for My Aunt Tillie" is Not Enough, Skeptic, Volume 20, Number 3, retrieved November 22, 2015

    Quote: "Science-based medicine has one rigorous standard of evidence, the kind [used for pharmaceuticals] .... CAM has a double standard. They gladly accept a lower standard of evidence for treatments they believe in. However, I suspect they would reject a pharmaceutical if it were approved for marketing on the kind of evidence they accept for CAM."

External linksEdit