Last modified on 14 April 2009, at 21:28

Wikiquote talk:Neutral point of view

Return to the project page "Neutral point of view".

POV issues in selection of quotesEdit

As Jeffq pointed out in the VFD discussion for Mel Gibson, this policy currently doesn't make any direct mention of POV issues in regard to the selection of quotes on each page (though this could easily be inferred from the opening paragraphs). I think that it's a relatively important issue that should probably be addressed in the policy, because it's very easy to list only certain quotes that are not representative of a person's opinions, or that, by their selection, express or imply a viewpoint that the person may not have had, especially when context is missing or misleading. I would rephrase the relevant part of the "NPOV on Wikiquote" section as follows:

Since Wikiquote is a collection of quotations, NPOV writing is less frequently required. This does not mean that NPOV is any less an official policy, or that it does not apply on Wikiquote. The substance of quotations included in Wikiquote do not need to conform to NPOV, as they are reflections of the point-of-view of the quoted individual. The choice to include or omit a quote, and to include or omit surrounding text that may provide context, should be done with a mind to conveying the original intent, not selectively choosing words to express a view not present in the original source. Also, all non-quote text on Wikiquote (excluding userpages and with limitations in the Wikiquote namespace) should conform to NPOV. This includes intro text on quote pages, templates intended for the main namespace (they should not express preference for or against any view, etc.), and where relevant, the contents of the Wikiquote namespace.

Of course, the particular language should probably be refined a bit, but I think this is a good start. Any other opinions? —LrdChaos 13:56, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

This issue also needs to be addressed for another reason: all those people who delete quotes based upon a notion of "balance," which is assumed to be defined by Wikipedia guidelines. See Talk:Christianity for an example of this, with replies by Kalki and myself to such complaints. The most common grievance of these editors is along the lines of: "How can you call this an NPOV article when it has such a predominance of negative [or favorable] quotes? Isn't Wikiquote obligated to have Wikipedia's standards of objectivity and neutrality?" What I tell them is that although balance and fairness are the ideal here, it is based on the gradualist confidence that eventually this will be achieved by an accumulation of quotes; it will not be achieved by reversions, by edit wars or by requests for arbitration over deletions, subtractions, explanations, editorializing and so on. If you think that an article does someone an injustice, I will tell them, the solution is always in your hands: add more notable quotes, preferably with sources, providing what you believe is a more complete or well-rounded view. Addition, not deletion, is almost invariably the answer. [Rather predictably, these complainers drop out altogether when they find they are not allowed to preside like judges over an article's choice of quotes. Their notions of fairness are apparently inseparable from a proprietary sense of control.]

Therefore I would add to what is already written here the idea that fairness is achieved by the counterbalance of quotations and not by fighting over what quotes stay. There are not that many legitimate reasons for deleting a quotation: vandalism, hoaxes, copyvio, etc. Even quotes found out to be erroneous may be kept as Misattributed.

Moreover, we can't simply expect that editors have an exhaustive knowledge of what someone has written and said. It may well be, in fact, that someone adding a quotation knows little or nothing of the person being edited. If an editor does indeed have a general or thorough knowledge of a subject, that's a bonus; but it happens rather infrequently. The average contributors cannot be expected to provide fairness and balance - certainly not of the NPOV variety - when they wouldn't have the knowledge to do this even if they wanted to. Once again, balance and fairness are accumulative; they cannot be achieved by demanding that a quote be added only if judiciously chosen to represent a person's habitual or ultimate beliefs. - InvisibleSun 15:22, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
Lots of good points above. I'll add a a few minor points myself:
  • Quotes may be removed for their apparent inanity ("Hello!", "What's up?").
  • To the best of my knowledge, en:Wikiquote has never had any dispute go as far as formal arbitration, which is good because we don't have such a system yet. (This has also had the effect of losing contributors who can't work within the existing system and state of the relevant articles.)
  • We might want a link to w:Quote mining in our policy, and consider its content when rewording our NPOV policy.
One major distinction I'd like to draw is the difference between quoting out of context and narrow quoting, both of which are used to promote POVs. LrdChaos specifically addresses out-of-context in his suggested rewrite. InvisibleSun suggests eventualism to overcome general POV imbalance, but I'd like to make the "moment-in-time" problem explicit, as it has bearing on articles like the recently created Mel Gibson. It is not necessarily bad to add a bunch of sourced, in-context quotes that focus on a single incident, but it is obviously a very lopsided article creation when the subject is well known for other things. InvisibleSun is ultimately correct, but we do wind up using VFD to prod editors (including VfD's frequent participants) to balance the articles, so as not to misrepresent the subject by a narrow slice of quotes. I feel that any changes to WQ:NPOV should mention the need for this kind of broadening.. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 17:05, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

Starting to draft a revised policyEdit

With a mind toward some of the issues previously discussed here, I have started a draft of a revised NPOV policy at Wikiquote:Neutral point of view/Draft. I would appreciate any and all input and help, with discussion for the draft taking place at Wikiquote talk:Neutral point of view/Draft. —LrdChaos (talk) 19:25, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Completing the policyEdit

The policy currently is not sufficiently adapted to Wikiquote. I have translated (with some modifications) it.wikiquote policy in Wikiquote:Neutral_point_of_view/Draft, also to respond to some of the issues raised above (more than two years ago!). We found this policy very useful to decide on difficult articles and train newbies, in some months of application. In fact, that is the result of several years of experience on Wikiquote. I think that it will be useful for you, too. --Nemo 09:32, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

I reverted a major revision of this Official Policy page because it was done without discussion. This is a procedural action, without prejudice to the proposed changes, because substantial policy changes should have enough input to formulate and to demonstrate community consensus. The draft and discussion could be advertised at the Village Pump to garner wider participation. (I will comment on the draft at a later time, as I am busy offline today.) ~ Ningauble 14:47, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
I had already linked the draft from the village pump. I dared to add the text beacuse I consider it not a major revision but only an explanation. However, you're right. I hope you'll consider the draft. --Nemo 21:28, 14 April 2009 (UTC)