Wikipedia:Neutral point of view | handling neutrality disputes

Handling neutrality disputes

Attributing and specifying biased statements

Biased statements of opinion can be presented only with in-text attribution. For instance, "John Doe is the best baseball player" expresses an opinion and cannot be asserted in Wikipedia as if it were a fact. It can be included as a factual statement about the opinion: "John Doe's baseball skills have been praised by baseball insiders such as Al Kaline and Joe Torre." Opinions must still be verifiable and appropriately cited.

Another approach is to specify or substantiate the statement, by giving those details that actually are factual. For example: "John Doe had the highest batting average in the major leagues from 2003 through 2006." People may still argue over whether he was the best baseball player. But they will not argue over this.

Avoid the temptation to rephrase biased or opinion statements with weasel words, for example, "Many people think John Doe is the best baseball player." But "Who?" and "How many?" are natural objections. An exception is a situation where a phrase such as "Most people think" can be supported by a reliable source, such as in the reporting of a survey of opinions within the group.

Point-of-view forks

See the content-fork guideline for clarification on the issues raised in this section.

A POV fork is an attempt to evade the neutrality policy by creating a new article about a subject that is already treated in an article, often to avoid or highlight negative or positive viewpoints or facts. POV forks are not permitted in Wikipedia.

All facts and significant points of view on a given subject should be treated in one article except in the case of a spinoff sub-article. Some topics are so large that one article cannot reasonably cover all facets of the topic, so a spinoff sub-article is created. For example, Evolution as fact and theory is a sub-article of Evolution, and Creation-evolution controversy is a sub-article of Creationism. This type of split is permissible only if written from a neutral point of view and must not be an attempt to evade the consensus process at another article.

Making necessary assumptions

When writing articles, there may be cases where making some assumptions is necessary to get through a topic. For example, in writing about evolution, it is not helpful to hash out the creation-evolution controversy on every page. There are virtually no topics that could proceed without making some assumptions that someone would find controversial. This is true not only in evolutionary biology, but also in philosophy, history, physics, etc.

It is difficult to draw up a rule, but the following principle may help: there is probably not a good reason to discuss some assumption on a given page, if that assumption is best discussed in depth on some other page. However, a brief, unobtrusive pointer might be appropriate.