[Citizendium-l] Babysitting

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Fri Sep 22 15:25:10 EDT 2006


On 22/09/06, Derek Lyons <fairwater at gmail.com> wrote:

> Pondering....  I suspect the problems at the Wikipedia lie in a
> deeper, and different, place.
> Its no expert v. non-expert, its NPOV.  The Wikipedia insists that
> there is one POV, and one POV only - NPOV.  It has no mechanism for
> fairly and clearly presenting all side of a complex arguement.
> Because of this, people feel they must push lest *their* POV be edited
> out of existence.


I'd disagree. NPOV is not that hard, but appears to be utterly novel
and incomprehensible to activist specialists in many subjects.

I've seen, over and over, activists steered to Wikipedia to push a
particular line that the
libertarian/objectivist/socialist/Zionist/anti-Semitic/FSF/Microsoft
Wikipedia cabal won't give a fair shake to. Some just DO NOT GET the
idea of a 20,000-foot view of their subject and feel they must tell
the world the truth as they know it. Others have a grossly defective
understanding of how the subject looks from 20,000 feet.

(Quite a lot, thankfully, *do* get the idea and go on to guide those
who agree with them in how to write about the subject in a manner that
makes sense.)

I don't mean just cults or Israel-Palestine, I mean wastelands like
[[Linux]]. I don't think half the contributors there give two hoots
about an NPOV encyclopedia - they are only there to evangelise. I'm
sure someone here will produce a hundreds of years history of the idea
of NPOV, but you wouldn't think so from people's reactions. Like
showing a dog a card trick.

NPOV is a subtle and powerful idea and simple when you get it, but I
think it's possibly the most radical idea Wikipedia is offering the
world - much more so than the idea of a website the readers can edit.


- d.


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