NPOV (Neutral Point Of View) is a fundamental New Orleans Wiki principle which states that all articles must be written from a neutral point of view, representing views fairly and without bias. This includes real-world articles, reader-facing templates, and categories.
The neutral point of view Edit
The neutral point of view is a means of dealing with conflicting views. The policy requires that, where there are or have been conflicting views, these should be presented fairly, but not asserted. All significant points of view are presented, not just the most popular one. It should not be asserted that the most popular view or some sort of intermediate view among the different views is the correct one. Readers are left to form their own opinions.
As the name suggests, the neutral point of view is a point of view, not the absence or elimination of viewpoints. It is a point of view that is neutral - that is neither sympathetic nor in opposition to its subject.
Debates are described, represented, and characterized, but not engaged in. Background is provided on who believes what and why, and which view is more popular. Detailed articles might also contain the mutual evaluations of each viewpoint, but studiously refrain from stating which is better. One can think of unbiased writing as the cold, fair, analytical description of all relevant sides of a debate. When bias towards one particular point of view can be detected the article needs to be fixed.
Fairness and sympathetic tone Edit
If we're going to characterize disputes fairly, we should present competing views with a consistently positive, sympathetic tone. Many articles end up as partisan commentary even while presenting both points of view. Even when a topic is presented in terms of facts rather than opinion, an article can still radiate an implied stance through either selection of which facts to present, or more subtly their organization – for instance, refuting opposing views as one goes along makes them look a lot worse than collecting them in an opinions-of-opponents section.
We should, instead, write articles with the tone that all positions presented are at least plausible, bearing in mind the important qualification about extreme minority views. Let's present all significant, competing views sympathetically. We can write with the attitude that such-and-such is a good idea, except that, in the view of some detractors, the supporters of said view overlooked such-and-such a detail.