<CPOV> Something I've written about the development of the NPOV principle on en-wp

Dror Kamir dqamir at bezeqint.net
Wed May 25 23:44:41 CEST 2011

I'm going to read it of course (as I said, I still have a lot of work to 
do with this "thesis" I am going to present), but just to clarify 
something - I wasn't thinking too much about the rationality issue, in 
fact. What bothered me more is the undermining of the "meta-principle" 
that NPOV is a desired byproduct of collaborative work (to be more 
exact, collaborative work is the meta-principle which caters to the 
three basic principles of WP, NPOV included) and the transition of NPOV 
from being independent, even dominating principle to its subduing to the 
"verifiability" principle (which is not exactly verifiability rule imho).

The latter shift is dramatic, first of all because it puts WP under the 
somewhat post-modernistic approach that there is no truth but rather 
people's talks about truth. When I went to "Wikimania 2006" in Boston I 
had a strong feeling that WP rejected this notion and tried to return to 
the modernist "search the truth" approach.

Secondly, this shift brings pseudo-academic requirements to WP, 
something that it tried to avoid for a long time. The idea of Wikipedia 
was (at first, as much as I can judge): it is the academy that needs to 
adjust to the new system of knowledge flow and to the new technologies, 
rather than trying to restrict the new media to their old-fashioned rules.

Indeed the changes in the pseudo-"verifiability" rule gave people with 
knowledge of academic norms and access to (Western universities-based) 
academic libraries a huge advantage. Perhaps this another explanation 
why issues related to Africa (for example) became even harder to write 
about, as Heather Ford and Mark Graham showed in their articles. More 
importantly - it shifted the discussions on Wikipedia from arguments 
about the truthfulness of statements (while bringing all kind of 
academic, non-academic, written or visual proofs) to arguments about 
whether a certain statement can be backed up with a "reliable source" 
(whatever this means). The possibilities it opened for manipulations and 
"gaming the system" incidents is truly amazing.

Dror K

בתאריך 25/05/11 20:09, ציטוט Joseph Reagle:

> It seems that your primary objection is the subsumption of NPOV to the Verifiability policy, as well as a shift away from worrying about "rationality"? I actually think this makes sense as the earlier formulation then prompts questions as to who was being rational or not. What, then, is the standard? But by saying Neutral Point of View, verifiability, no original research are actually different manifestations of a single epistemological stance remove such subjectivities and contentions. If you're not familiar with it, you might also be interested with my discussion of this in Good-Faith Collaboration pages 53-58 on the history of the term.

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