Unlike Wikipedia, which strives to have a Neutral Point of View (NPOV), the Davis Wiki aims to represent multiple points of view (MPOV). Thus, whereas Wikipedia bans opinions entirely (because it is an encyclopedia), the Davis Wiki not only includes opinions, but in most cases includes them anywhere in the page, whether in the so-called "main entry" or the so-called "comment section." (The comment section is really just a section created by the comment bar, whose purpose is to make it easier for new editors to contribute — it is not meant to banish opinions to the bottom of the page!)
In order to maintain multiple points of view with certain contentious topics, it can be helpful to introduce elements of NPOV in parts of the page to move from prolonged conflict to more collaborative editing. In these cases, editors may be encouraged to post opinions in more structured opinion sections with a more neutral introduction section. These cases occur on a minority of pages, however, and cooperative editorial collaboration and freedom takes precedence on most pages.
The main point here is that the Davis Wiki is not an encyclopedia, and thus, is not a dry collection of facts. Rather, the Davis Wiki is "an interconnected community effort to explore, discuss and compile anything and everything about Davis — especially the little, enjoyable things." Those little, enjoyable things include Davisites' opinions about parks, organizations, restaurants and other businesses. They give the Wiki flavor and make it interesting, fun, and useful to read.
Here are some ways that opinions can be incorporated into the Wiki:
- Have an opinion? Put it in the main entry. You can even sign it. Of course, others may come along to edit or to disagree. The Wiki is edited collaboratively, and so no edit is cast in stone.
- See a trend in the comment section? Summarize it and put it in the main entry. Sometimes there really is widespread agreement about an issue (while acknowledging that universal agreement is rare).
- Find an opinion to be truly controversial? Try to ensure that different sides are represented fully and fairly, remembering that there may sometimes be more than just two sides!
Note that including opinions is not an opportunity to promote your favorite business (whether it's your business or someone else's). The Wiki Community/For Profit Restrictions still apply. See also Welcome to the Wiki/Business Owner. That's not to say that opinions can't be in praise of a business; they can! Sometimes, there may be a fine line between praise and promotion; editors will have to work together to resolve borderline cases.
Unfortunately, business owners cannot remove personal opinions about their businesses, even if they think those opinions are false or harmful. And it is challenging for them to respond to a criticism that is embodied in the main description. So it is better to put an adverse opinion, something that you may have experienced in a particular instance, in the comments section and sign it. That way the business owner can, possibly, identify your situation and respond to it. In some cases there have been repeated patterns of poor business practices, and comments have brought those to light. So your experience is useful. Some negative edits about a business may not fall under personal opinion, or overwhelm an entry with a single point of view. These are either removed or changed to create a more realistic and/or inclusive writeup.
An opinion is also not an opportunity to make a personal attack. The wiki is not intended to be a weapon, and these sorts of edits are often removed if deemed appropriate. Similarly, accusations of something extreme (illegal behavior or racism) without specifics to support such a position may be removed. Edge cases are usually best brought to a talk page for community discussion so that a plurality of people can determine if removal is appropriate. Doing so can also be helpful for editors who have a possible conflict of interest.
MPOV has essentially been the policy of the Davis Wiki since its inception. However, discussions of it would crop up from time to time; see here and here. This page was created after an informal poll in March 2013, where the majority of editors who chose to weigh in supported MPOV policy. The goal of this page is to help clarify policy for new editors and reduce frustration on all sides. Prior to this page, new editors would often insist that opinions be deleted from the main entry, whereas other editors would insist those opinions were legitimate, causing unnecessary conflict. Like most Wiki policies, editors could decide at some future time to change this policy, especially if it seems as though it is being abused.
Its Still Ok Use and Promote the Neutral Point of View Aesthetic
Despite the traditional tendency toward MPOV on Daviswiki, many editors still prefer the NPOV approach when using and/or updating pages. Many editors believe that opinionated content should be relegated to comment sections or clearly marked opinion sections. Some even believe that opinions should be avoided altogether, (though defining what constitutes an opinion can often create its own set of problems). Still, if you feel inclined to edit with, or promote the use of, a NPOV framework, you are encouraged to do so. MPOV is not a strict policy, just an approach that editors have tended to favor in the past. The wiki is an ever evolving animal though, and editing styles will continue to mutate over time.
While this is true, editors should also consider taking a step back before diving into the MPOV vs NPOV debate. Some editors may wish to argue over each and every appearance of an opinion, no matter how minor. Other editors may wish to post links to this page at even the slightest mention of NPOV. Whichever the case, you should always decide if this is time well spent, or whether it is better for the wiki to edit productively and to save one's battle's for more egregious cases.