Wikipedia:Add wikilinked sections to balance NPOV
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This essay, Add wikilinked sections to balance NPOV, describes a technique for resolving the age-old question: How can an outrageous claim (from a source) be mentioned, in an article, while also defusing all the wild implications of that claim? For example, sources might state, "Movie star XX had been arrested when a teenager on charges of prostitution." Such a claim, when stated in an article, could imply guilt as noted, unless thoroughly refuted with ample details to counter the suspicions raised by the claim. To omit a major claim, totally, might be a case of censorship, so the problem is how to offset a claim, while maintaining NPOV-neutral balance in the text.
In general, an article can be expanded to provide more balance, in accordance with policy WP:NPOV, by wikilinking to sections which elaborate the details about "The Rest of the Story". As an example, consider the handling of some highly controversial topics within a hypothetical crime article.
Suppose that reliable sources, for a crime article, had reported an extreme viewpoint, of the house seeming "thoroughly cleaned with bleach" but then the article immediately countered that extreme claim, by linking an opposing section, such as "Claims of bleach refuted at trial ". That structure (of point-of-view-1 refuted by point-of-view-2) allows both ideas to appear, side-by-side, as similar phrases, but also connects to a detailed explanation: listing all the details of the trial testimonies, where perhaps 2 housekeepers said the household bleach had remained unused, with no smell of bleach, and investigators found no chemical trace of bleaching or bleach-spots on fabrics at the scene. Luminol testing found no wide areas wiped with bleach, only bare footprints or smaller splotches in separate areas, such as might occur by stepping in spilled fruit juice, or walking through shower cleanser. Such a dedicated section of specific details could be used to provide the NPOV balance, without cluttering the article's text at the phrase where the idea of bleaching was initially mentioned. Totally removing any text about bleach, from the article, would be censorship, as an act of suppressing a notorious controversy in the criminal case.
Sometimes a one-phrase extreme claim could only be fully rebutted by several sentences, and so an equal word-count view, of the overall balance, tends to thwart adding all the necessary details to refute a claim, for an adequate neutral (NPOV) coverage. Instead, a one-phrase extreme claim can be followed by a wikilinked sub-section title which, in much more detail, will then offset the impact of the original extreme claim. For example:
- "Aristotle believed that the Earth is flat, while Plato contended the Earth is a sphere (however, see below: #Aristotle view of Earth as pie plate rotating on edge)."
The initial phrase "the Earth is flat" gives the impression that Aristotle was clueless about the Earth's rotation. However, that would be refuted in the wikilinked sub-section: "Aristotle view of Earth as pie plate rotating on edge". The initial sentence is very short, but all the details would be elaborated in the linked section, of how Aristotle wrote of the Earth as a flat pie plate, standing on edge, rotating on edge (once per day), while Plato, holding 2 opposing views, stated (1) the Earth was a sphere, and (2) the sphere did not rotate (but the cosmos spun around the sphere). Once those details are provided, then Aristotle seems a lot smarter, in recognizing the Earth as rotating on an axis, from ancient Greece circa 330 BC. Again, the technique is to offset-by-wikilink: state an extreme claim, followed by an opposing section title (containing the details). This technique would lead to a similar offset-by-wikilink, in a hypothetical crime article, such as the sentence:
- "They suggested the event began as a sex-game (however, see below: #No evidence of sex-game found)".
Using that tactic, for every time the text must mention "sex-game" then immediately link to the total rebuttal as section "No evidence of sex-game found" (containing perhaps 15 sentences about exhaustive searches which found no sexual items used at the scene). To fully offset an outrageous claim of sex-game, it must be stated that no sex books, no photos, no condoms, no restraints, no lotions, no aphrodisiacs, no wine, none of them, were found there. That is a versatile technique to offset highly extreme claims (which were totally refuted in detail), and offset them every time when mentioned, to sustain a neutral NPOV balance.
Aristotle view of Earth as pie plate rotating on edge[change source]
Aristotle wrote of the Earth as a flat pie plate, standing on edge, rotating on edge (once per day), while Plato, holding 2 opposing views, stated (1) the Earth was a sphere, and (2) the sphere did not rotate. In Plato's view, the entire Cosmos spun around the sphere, fixed in the center.
No evidence of sex-game found[change source]
Despite the unfounded claim, publicized for more than a year, claiming the suspects had met for a supposed "sex-game" (Italian: gioco sessuale or gioco erotico), no evidence was ever found of any sexual items used at the scene. Italian police and CSI investigators found no sex books, no photos, no condoms, no restraints, no lotions, no aphrodisiacs, no drugs, no wine, no alcohol, none of them, at the scene, which was searched twice, 6 weeks apart. The first search of the scene occurred on 2-3 November 1896, and the second search occurred on 18 December 1896. The autopsy revealed no trace of drugs or alcohol either. There was no evidence of a sex game, of any form.
- The above rebuttal, which completely offsets claims of a "sex-game", is the type of section needed to offset a strong, unfounded claim.
Otherwise, per WP:SYNTH, an article could be seen as leading a reader into an unstated conclusion, into imagining that evidence of a sex-game had been found, when in fact, there was no evidence. Not every misled conclusion can be avoided, but in the case of wild claims (of lurid activities), then reader suspicions would be obvious, and so an article should have the extra text to thoroughly offset those claims, based on all aspects noted in the sources.
Hence, a seemingly hopeless character-assassination issue can be directly diffused and avoided in a very simple manner, by linking to an article section which offsets the claim.