Neutral point of view is a fundamental Fossil Wiki principle and a cornerstone of the Fossil Wiki. All Fossil Wiki articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. This is non-negotiable and expected of all articles, and of all article editors.
"Neutral point of view" is one of Fossil Wiki's three core content policies. The other two are "Verifiability" and "No original research". Jointly, these policies determine the type and quality of material that is acceptable in Fossil Wiki articles. Because the policies are complementary, they should not be interpreted in isolation from one another, and editors should familiarize themselves with all three. The principles upon which these policies are based cannot be superseded by other policies or guidelines, or by editors' consensus. Core content policy pages may only be edited to improve the application and explanation of the principles.
Explanation of the neutral point of viewEdit
Neutral point of viewEdit
The neutral point of view is a means of dealing with conflicting verifiable perspectives on a topic as evidenced by reliable sources. The policy requires that where multiple or conflicting perspectives exist within a topic each should be presented fairly. None of the views should be given undue weight or asserted as being judged as "the truth", in order that the various significant published viewpoints are made accessible to the reader, not just the most popular one. It should also not be asserted that the most popular view, or some sort of intermediate view among the different views, is the correct one to the extent that other views are mentioned only pejoratively. Readers should be allowed to form their own opinions.
The neutral point of view is neither sympathetic nor in opposition to its subject: it neither endorses nor discourages viewpoints. As the name suggests, the neutral point of view is a point of view, not the absence or elimination of viewpoints. The elimination of article content cannot be justified under this policy on the grounds that it is "POV". Article content should clearly describe, represent, and characterize disputes within topics, but without endorsement of any particular point of view. Articles should provide background on who believes what and why, and which view is more popular; detailed articles might also contain evaluations of each viewpoint, but must studiously refrain from taking sides.
Neutrality requires views to be represented without bias. All editors and all sources have biases (in other words, all editors and all sources have a point of view) — what matters is how we combine them to create a neutral article. Unbiased writing is the fair, analytical description of all relevant sides of a debate, including the mutual perspectives and the published evidence. Editorial bias toward one particular point of view should be removed or repaired.
A simple formulationEdit
Assert facts, including facts about opinions—but do not assert the opinions themselves. By "fact" we mean "a piece of information about which there is no serious dispute." For example, that a survey produced a certain published result would be a fact. That there is a mosasaur called Tylosaurus is a fact. That Tyrannosaurus was a dinosaur is a fact. No one seriously disputes any of these things, so we assert as many of them as possible.
By value or opinion, on the other hand, we mean "a matter which is subject to dispute." There are many propositions that very clearly express values or opinions. That stealing is wrong is a value or opinion. That aetosaurs were the coolest archosaurs is an opinion. That ammonites are cephalopods is a fact. That Triceratops was a carnivore is an opinion.
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