Unlike Wikipedia we do not strive to present a Neutral Point of View in pages. The value of diversity in a community based wiki helps to present many points of view and opinions that are all valuable and reflective of the community. Freedom of speech is tied to a certain expectation about responsibility of speech; you can't have one without the other.

Traditionally, a wiki is entirely composed of commentary. I.e., the stuff "up top" is written by people with views, expressing those views. So are the comments at the bottom, it's just sometimes easier to toss a oneliner than hit "Edit". Ideally, enough people weigh in to balance everything out (sometimes that will mean, if the community as a whole really likes something, the end result will be enthusiastically positive, and visa versa). In this way, the wiki comes to represent the cumulative viewpoint of the community as a whole. Wikipedia is not a wiki, but rather a project to write an encyclopedia using wiki software. They are popular, so there's this mistaken notion that wikis are supposed to be written like encyclopedias (no original research, cite everything, no opinions). But those notions are all from the "-pedia" part of Wikipedia, not the "Wiki-" half. If there were a popular "Blogpedia" that used blogging software with no opinions allowed in the blog posts, it wouldn't follow then that all other blogs must eliminate opinion in their posts. To try and capture the essence of a community, but to strip all of the community perspective from the topics turns the wiki into a mere listing of trivia and a business database. And there are better, more comprehensive databases out there than the Wiki. The Wiki is Davis from the Davis perspective.

See our MPOV page for further details.


From Mace Ranch Park:

  • No need for a neutral point of view, but a little balance to the bias is a good idea. NPOV doesn't allow for things like reviews or blunt commentary (which is why Wikipedia is NPOV, and DavisWiki isn't). Unbalanced bias isn't a good thing either. I like the term "Cumulative POV": the different bias (and opinions) of all the editors eventually removes the barbs, but not the points. Put in a point about the owls, make a counter point, and be done. Anger over the conversion of a wilderness area to a groomed park (or enjoying the new facilities of the park) is part of the community and certainly should be part of the entry. — jw
    • It seems as though there are three options here:

I'd be the first one to argue for the CPOV. It's amazing how falsely compelling an argument can be if one has only heard one side. Yet what I am seeing recently are people saying that this is not an NPOV wiki, but what they put in its place is an OPOV rather than a CPOV. —CovertProfessor

  • A quick count (rough) was 11 good, 3 neutral, 3 neg comment/reviews. The term "most people" implies not all - adding "but not all" is silly. I'm against weasel words, and think that has little to do with the POV of the article in question. Personally, I'm for CPOV as well, but there's a balance between cumulative opinion, and weasel words being added to balance everything. This edit transition is what I mean. They basically say the same thing, but what it was edited to is more smooth, much less weasel-like, and is still the accurate representation of the comments. -Edwins

I suggest you count a little harder (or if edits were made after your count, my apologies) but I am getting closer to 9 up and 6 down when it comes to the food. There seems to be a general appreciation for the quality of service but a fast burger with a smile isn't necessarily a good burger. I should also note that I am giving you both the veggie burger and the only in SB comments and not giving myself Rob's which was kinda hard to tell.

Regardless, my main problem here is that the main body of an article has a feeling of additional credibility than the rest of the comments and can easily taint peoples view when they first visit. I don't see how keeping the body to basic facts while opinions stay in comments undermines the nonNPOV aspect of the site. This way weasel words aren't really even needed because the cumulative aspect of the comments does the job. - CF

    • Because editors are free to add their opinion directly to the entry here on DavisWiki. Comments are generally slowly integrated into the entry itself or, after they are over a year old and have started to pile up, they are moved to a comment archive to make room for more. Talk pages are deleted when done. The entry stays around and evolves over time as the subject does. If you have an opinion, feel free to add it to the entry... then somebody else comes along and does the same thing. I'm not saying that these are rules, but they are rules of thumb that have been developed over time as what works. You are free to avoid adding your opinion to an entry, but another editor is also free to add their opinion. What causes problems is when people start removing opinions. NPOV works for Wikipedia because they are trying to encyclopedically document things, which is a very worthy goal. DavisWiki isn't documenting "things"... it is a resource to the community about the people and things within the community written from the community perspective. That involves a heck of a lot of documentation and opinion. Different goals, different editorial policies, different results. Jack in the Box notes that the hash browns are "hot and greasy like a construction worker in midday summer", which captures their poetic essence in a very Davis-like way. Davis is full of poetry and art and strong opinions. The wiki also contains those things... which means it is doing a good job of capturing the whimsy, the anger, the attitude, the essence... and the opinions... of Davis itself. — JabberWokky
      • I think this page is a good example of CPOV — it captures the multiple points of view without weasel words. Yes? —CovertProfessor
      • I agree for the most part here. I in no way way want cause a dilution of the community flavor aspect of the wiki. There are 3 things that I would like to point out though. First, the pages JW and CP mention have had time to gather comments to come to a general overall opinion. It really seems to me at least to be misleading to write quality assessments over all before a fair amount of info has been gathered. This one is easy though, someone else just needs to edit it down and then up again when comments are added, heck I will probably give it a shot myself today. Secondly some pages become more personal battlegrounds that really end up goinng nowhere. Most of the revert wars I have seen since I began reading the wiki have been a see-saw between one guy's lopsided POV and another's. I think this gets into your point that the removing of opinions is the major problem but it also gets into my third concern. There seems to be a scale of people who use the wiki. Super frequent editors and page creators, generally active participants but not frequent to the point of recognition, commentators, and non member users who just look at the pages. The concern I have here is that the people who are on all the time have a disproportionate say compared to others. I think the general population would normally fall into the commentator to lightly active participant range and are not willing to do major edits of body sections. Really I think my reaction here was to the power trips of some editors who ignore the possibility of other opinion. I think CP has a good take on it. Thought I would just through on some more food for thought -CF
        • Yeah. It's a major problem of not ever really being "consensus". There's been major revert wars over random stuff over the last couple of years. It's claimed to be consensus, but typically it's whoever is loudest/most persistent. Even in a "1 vs Majority" type revert war (and I'm talking about before SteveO used the wiki), the one would often end up getting mostly his or her way, or at the least what they wanted. That sucks, and so does the fact that whoever is most persistent 'wins'. Then both sides end up editing the page to shreds trying to influence their way, and the page ends up being hurt by it. Thinking of Ikea and the Sam's Med Politics pages in particular. -ES
  • I think there's more than three options. Using a phrase like "CPOV" makes it seem like it's compulsory inclusion of all points of view, too, which is not always desirable. I think it's important to not be dogmatic about this either way, and just try and be fair, objective, and interesting to read. —PhilipNeustrom
    • In characterizing CPOV above, I did not mean to imply that including all points of view was compulsory (note I said, "allows" for expression of different points of view). What I was objecting to was people insisting on OPOV in the name of non-NPOV. This was particularly striking in the Habit Burger case because of the contrast between the reviews and the main body text. (My count of opinions is closer to CF's than ES's). The description can include more than one point of view. —CovertProfessor
      • My objection was to how it was included. I love the Sophia's page because it does it best in my opinion. Sophia's Thai Kitchen was the first Thai restaurant in Davis and many consider it to be the best food stop in the entire town. At the same time, some consider their food to be the most mediocre of the city's five Thai restaurants. While these polarizing opinions exist and are hotly debated, there can be no argument to the popularity of the establishment, where wait times on any given night can stretch to 45 minutes or more. It includes two vastly different opinions in the main body, and it works great. This works fine due to the vast amount of comments and over time people integrating them into the body. The problem I object to is that the recent trend seems to be that as soon as someone summarizes some opinions into the text, certain people attempt to balance it by adding a counter. Some bias is ok. Opinions in the article are encouraged, if they're fair. (By fair, I mean representative of the comments and not just someone adding their own). Even if you were to say "9 to 6" (and I'd disagree with 6), the majority still were favorable. I think "generally considered" or something similar is enough of a qualifier. "Most people, but not all". "Some people like X, but some people do not." There are people editing in such things as a counter to many pages, and to me it seems redundant and unnecessarily silly in most cases. There are obviously places where it's wanted, such as the Sophias example quoted, but on most pages with far far less comments.. -ES
        • I agree with you about the Sophia's page — so, apparently we agree on what the ideal should look like. Where we seem to disagree on, then, is what the existing comments on Habit Burger are saying. I'll say right up front that I haven't been to Habit Burger yet, and one of main reasons for that is that, to my eyes, the comments don't seem very promising. But, that is neither here nor there — we're talking about non-NPOV, not Habit Burger. Perhaps, then, what we're striving for is RPOV (Representational Point of View)? And what you and I are disagreeing about is whether the text represented the existing comments? —CovertProfessor
          • RPOV is exactly like what the wiki has strived for (cumulatively based on comments/edits).
    • Agreed. It's hard to talk about things like this because when you summarize "what works", or "here's how we've done it", it makes it seem like a hard and fast regulations. That's the reason I specifically said that nothing I stated was a rule, but rather a rule of thumb. I glean my ideas from observation — i.e., keeping what you say opinion free is okay, adding multiple opinions usually works, but removing opinions tends to cause problems. That's why I call it de facto, because the mechanism of the current community tends to work that way. Here's another observation: this topic pops up about once every year, and it seems to be the community of active editors checking each other's opinion about opinions. I don't think archiving this or summarizing it would help or even be a good thing to do: next year, it would be ignored and the whole debate start again with slightly different faces. I think that's probably a good thing. We — as editors — sometimes try to make things easy, meaning we would like comfortably solid rules, simple shortcuts and when somebody gets a burr up their butt, we would like them just to accept what everybody else is saying and just shut up. Not making things easy means we have to actually work at every single action... we have to put in effort rather than always slap a macro band-aid on it... we have to actually talk to each other and resolve issues for real rather than just sweeping the problem — and the person — under the rug. Yes, it is harder, but that's the way it works if we really want to maintain a truly open editorship. We have to all learn to come to an agreement (happy or not) on every single edit. Damn, that's a monumental task, and one that we are accomplishing with incredible, near unprecedented success. If you doubt it, look at heavily authoritarian sites with heavy fisted administrators and long "Site Rules", and consider how much grand high dicketry goes on at those sites. From a practical view, the reason there isn't NPOV here is because we're all opinionated, we're the ones writing the content, and we're all equal as editors. If you want to call what we have CPOV, APOV, ZPOV, it doesn't matter... what we really have is a bunch of men and women all working together, and where we disagree, we find some way of getting along. Sometimes we make friends along the way, sometimes we find a person who we respect, and sometimes we grind our teeth at night as we think of the stupidity of some of our fellow editors. Just like an Italian family dinner, we're all at the table shouting, whispering, kicking under the table, gossiping and periodically kicking up arguments... and somehow we're also calming them down and finding a solution together. We don't have any type of "POV". What we have is each other, and the things we each write. Is it any wonder at all that an entry on a high class corporate fast food joint would have a myriad of conflicting editorial input? Of course it does... and it is hard to resolve them. But we will, and the end result will likely reflect a bunch of different editors. That's why I called it de facto: when that entry tumbles to a resting spot, it will have had everybody tossing their flavor into the pot. Not because that's The Law, but just how things happen to wind up getting accomplished around here. Now, somebody want to pass the spaghetti, post some pretty photos, hand me a new napkin, and bitch about what constitutes "authentic food" again? I think that... well... back to dinner... —JabberWokky

When I first started here, the idea of editing the main text of a page was intimidating to me, because it was so far from just adding a comment. I didn't want to step on anyone's toes, piss anyone off, or break any norms. Now that I'm far more familiar with the wiki, though, I find that sense of gravity attached to the "main entry" to be somewhat disturbing. It severely undermines the whole idea of collaborative editing, and it reinforces the division between casual editors and the more frequent editors who are more familiar with the wiki. Whatever the name for it, different points of view belong in the "main entry." When the point(s) of view appearing on a page aren't representative of the ideas held by the community, those who feel differently will add their ideas. If no one (snicker) is taking issue with the POV presented, it's probably a sign that, at present, it covers community views on the issue reasonably well. Comments are great and have their place. They increase accessibility to those less computer savvy and/or less invested in the community. But their existence shouldn't be an excuse to steal the energy and vitality from the so-called "main entry" of a page. The two can coexist, happily, and I think it's a terrible idea to exclude something from the main text of a page simply because opinion is more densely packed elsewhere. —TomGarberson


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2007-08-29 12:36:01   IMHO, the problem with non-NPOV entries is that it's often hard to tell the biased from the unbiased. Some pages are balanced, others are not and the blend is deemed acceptable bceause we don't do NPOV here. IMHO, we should strive to provide an informative and neutral section of a page and then a separate area where comments, accusations, flames, trolls, are clearly in a space that indicates opinion. That would let me read pages and believe the information in them, as opposed to having to figure out if someone wrote the description from a biased point of view and not knowing if it was true or not. Agreed upon text can be read as agreed upon. CPOV or other less-than-agreeded upon text could be read as informative, but not necessarily a complete set of views and may not be taken as absolute truth. Right now, it's the blur that cause the problem, not that multiple expressions exist. —WesHardaker

  • That would be my sense of how things ought to be done, too. Since others seem to feel strongly about keeping opinions in the main text, I'm urging that when there seems to be a fair amount of disagreement, that the disagreement be represented in the main text. But I wanted to register my support for your POV. :-) —CovertProfessor

2007-08-29 13:25:39   Can we somehow limit revert power? —JamesSchwab

  • Agreed. I'd even say that one revert per page per person per day would be plenty. If someone is reverting the same page multiple times, I'd say their issue would be best served on a talk page. —JoseBleckman

2007-08-30 00:29:40   DWiki needs an overhaul if it doesn't care about POV, because there seems to be an general understanding that POV belongs in the comment sections of a page. This would be fine except that DWiki has such a messy commenting platform. There's no threading, pages very quickly end up being tl;dr, and, yes, we need moderators who are ready to drop the banhammer at a moment's notice. As the wiki grows and there's no set standardization, things will just get worse and worse. —JesseSingh

  • 2007-08-30 07:51:52   I don't think there is a general understanding of that. The above argues that negative statements in the text are acceptable if they're deemed the majority opinion or haven't seen controversy. Resturants can be labeled as "over-priced", etc, at the whim of the author and it's deemed acceptable until challenged and acceptable after that with rough common agreement. However, the wording choices are still an opinion being represented in the main text. —WesHardaker
  • Then the system is a failure. Most people visiting the wiki don't edit the wiki. The majority of users who do spend most of their "edits" leaving comments, perpetuating e-drama, and editing vanity pages. The meaningful changes are made by a small handful of people. Now throw POV into the mix and it gets further muddled. I'm willing to bet all the money in my pocket versus all the money in your pocket that most people who do "use" this site use it as I do: To find the locations of institutions, their closing times, and links to their website. If you're here for a deeper scale of information, you're really relying on the whim of an inconsistent horde. Literally, on whoever edited it last. The rest of us don't have time to be babysitters. —JesseSingh

2010-03-28 20:23:29   I support a non-dogmatic version of the CPOV: one in which all points of view are allowed but not compulsory. Things should only be deleted as a very last resort. This seems to be the spirit of this wiki's introduction and of many people's views up above; therefore, I'm not sure why some people are so eager to get rule-crazy, deleting big chunks of entries at anything that seems even mildly suspicious. —ScottMeehleib

  • Deletion should be used carefully, but at the same time, people seem almost afraid of it around here. I don't think we want the Wiki to be polluted with a bunch of crap that's suspicious but ambiguous. Deleting information because someone doesn't like the information is a bad thing. Deleting suspect reviews when several editors feel they're suspect is taking out the trash. It's phenomenally easy to revert or re-add that information if it turns out a mistake was made. —TomGarberson
    • Anything deleted too fast is generally reverted back. Anything changed in a bad way is usually reverted back, or changed again. Eventually, the page finds equilibrium. If a change is controversial, it generates a Talk page. There's no strict consensus about what belongs or when something should be altered, but the system is self correcting in that if you make a "mistake", others will change what you did in a hurry. There is a certain notion of precedence - if something has been modified in a certain way, and the community did not mind the change, then making the same change elsewhere is not likely to create a problem. But if there was a negative reaction, then it is more likely to cause a problem. On the other hand, precedence isn't strictly followed here either. —IDoNotExist
      • The system is only self correcting if there is enough concern over a given page that has been deleted. For example, I could care less about churches so I'm not going to revert that Adventist page even though I think it was a bad delete. —ScottMeehleib
        • But not all editors work that way. —hankim
          • It's a participatory, highly democratic system. If you disagree with a change, you can change it again. If you don't participate, you give up your ability to guide it in the direction you want. If people make changes and *no one* changes anything they do, then they chose and effectively own the content. The process works best when you contribute your ideas. —IDoNotExist
          • Allegedly. I've yet to be convinced. What's democratic about engaging in a last-man-standing revert war? I know it might not have happened, but I certainly wasn't game for it. IDE, you made a talk page for the Adventist Church, in which opinion was somewhat mixed, so why did this give you the confidence to delete most of the page anyway? I think that the process works best when you contribute your ideas, as you suggest, instead of deleting controversial paragraphs on a whim. -SM
            • As I said previously, I was probably too quick to delete that paragraph. However, it looked to me that people did agree with the changes, and no one has made any subsequent changes to the page. I should note I created a talk page a week ago for deleting another page where the *entire page* appears to be completely unrelated to Davis. There were no comments on it, and I haven't deleted the page as of yet (although I think it should be). I've also suggested many many changes to pages in the past (through talk pages or elsewhere) where people agreed with me and I took no action. And I've changed pages unilaterally without asking anyone's opinion at all. There's no standard for how long you have to wait before making a change, or how many people have to agree with you. But if you don't like a change, you can always make another change! You STILL can make another change if you want to. Or you can suggest a different way to include the previous content on the talk page if you like. By the way, I don't do revert wars. I've probably done no more than 5 or 6 page reverts total in almost 3 years. —IDoNotExist
              • There are very few editors here who engage in revert wars. And those who do (from what I've seen) will respond via a talk page if one gets going... eventually. But if you object to the way things work, what would you propose as a solution? —TomGarberson
                • Maybe more unofficial votes of "yes" or "no" to decide whether somebody should delete more than a couple paragraphs of text. It's not a perfect solution, because of sockpuppets and editors who might not be around at the time, but it's another tool to protect some people's legitimate hard work. I wouldn't adhere dogmatically to votes either, but it can gauge the general will of the editors who might not want to speak up so much on a talk page. Again, I think that it's fine to delete some pages without talking to anybody else, but if there is some controversy or doubt, why not take some extra caution? -SM
                  • For at least the last few months, any time remotely serious controversy springs up, that's what happens if people can't come to a consensus without it. I can't speak to what's happened before the time I started poking around. I guess my point is that if you have an issue with an edit someone made, fix it or talk about it. When people do that, it tends to work itself out. -TG
                    • okay, i will revert pages more often if i disagree with deletions and try to talk it out. -SM
            • Actually, I agree with Scott here. Come on guys, you know this: what we can do as editors and what people actually do as editors differ. No one wants to be the one to make the unpopular edits, otherwise I would have blasted a whole lot of pages. Even more unpopular is just removing entire pages, and I've done a few of those, but there were more I could of gone for, especially whole pages I think just don't fit well on the Davis wiki. Also, we've had tons of last-man-standing revert wars over the years and we still have one man-revert teams. Wiki editing sometimes becomes a war of attrition. -ES

Look, the system isn't perfect — it's people working together, and it will always be imperfect. But we can strive to improve. So, now that we've had this conversation, if there are pages you think that need changing (even if you don't care much about them), change them. If others disagree, work with those editors to come to a resolution. If poll of opinions seems necessary, take one. But I don't see any point in imposing a rule about how we should always do things — that would be to pretend the system is more perfect than it can be, and to impose an unnecessary rigidity to the process. —cp

2011-12-07 00:57:09   Reading through this page tonight (its been referenced a lot in the past weeks), there is a lot of valuable commentary supporting more inclusive points of view. There have been many comments regarding opinions in the pepper-spray protest page, and a lot of the text here would support the more objective editing that has appeared there. Also this page is clearly a multifaceted, ongoing discussion. Many people have referenced this page in defense of the non-NPOV on the pepper-spray page. However, lots of people have, and are continuing to say, the non-NPOV approach is not, and should not be, a set rule. In fact, many of the arguments here are for fair, unbiased, objective editing. Many editors like unbiased edits (I definitely do). I won't say there isn't a call for opinions, there is undoubtably a desire for many diverse and thought provoking opinions, but the its seems like a good number of us want fewer biases in the the main text, and where opinions are included, they are qualified as such (the Sophia's page, for example, was cited multiple times as a notably successful work). All and all, I think this page is presents many good arguments for calling out opinions and removing biases from the main page. —jefftolentino