Wikiquote:Neutral point of view

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This page is an official policy on Wikiquote.
It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that all users should follow.
Big changes to this page should be talked about on the talk page before changing.


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Wikiquote has a strict neutral point of view (NPOV) policy, which means that we don't write as if one point of view (way of thinking) is right or wrong. We try to show the facts in a fair, neutral way. We can talk about the points of view that people have, without saying that they are right or wrong: just saying that that's what those people think.

This policy is on all Wikimedia projects.

"Neutral point of view" is not the same as "point of view of an international organization like the United Nations". Even a point of view that many people believe is still just one point of view, and some people might not agree.

It can be difficult for one person to write in a neutral point of view. We work together to make pages neutral.

NPOV on Wikiquote

Quotes in Wikiquote do not need to be NPOV, because they show the point-of-view of the person saying the quote; but, NPOV is still an official policy, and we still need to follow it on Wikiquote. All writing on Wikiquote except quotes, (and except userpages and with limitations in the Wikiquote namespace) should be NPOV. The beginning of quote pages that tells about the person, templates that people will see in the main namespace and where they should be, the contents of the Wikiquote namespace should all be NPOV. They should not say things for or against any point of view.

The original formulation of NPOV

A general purpose encyclopedia is a collection of synthesized knowledge presented from a neutral point of view. To whatever extent possible, encyclopedic writing should steer clear of taking any particular stance other than the stance of the neutral point of view.

The neutral point of view attempts to present ideas and facts in such a fashion that both supporters and opponents can agree. Of course, 100% agreement is not possible; there are ideologues in the world who will not concede to any presentation other than a forceful statement of their own point of view. We can only seek a type of writing that is agreeable to essentially rational people who may differ on particular points.

Some examples may help to drive home the point I am trying to make:

  1. An encyclopedic article should not argue that corporations are criminals, even if the author believes it to be so. It should instead present the fact that some people believe it, and what their reasons are, and then as well it should present what the other side says.
  2. An encyclopedia article should not argue that laissez-faire capitalism is the best social system. [...] It should instead present the arguments of the advocates of that point of view, and the arguments of the people who disagree with that point of view.

Perhaps the easiest way to make your writing more encyclopedic is to write about what people believe, rather than what is so. If this strikes you as somehow subjectivist or collectivist or imperialist, then ask me about it, because I think that you are just mistaken. What people believe is a matter of objective fact, and we can present that quite easily from the neutral point of view.

Jimbo Wales, Wikimedia founder

Neutral point of view elsewhere