Abstract - The Information Society 27(1)

Wikipedia’s “Neutral Point of View”: Settling conflict through ambiguity

Sorin Adam Matei and Caius Dobrescu

This paper discusses how one of the most important Wikipedia policies, the “neutral point of view “ (NPOV), is appropriated and interpreted by the participants in the Wikipedia project. By analyzing a set of constitutive documents for the Wikipedian universe, including discussion about NPOV, the authors conclude that ambiguity is at the heart of the policy process on Wikipedia. The overarching conclusion is that ambiguity on Wikipedia is not extraneous, but a central ingredient of this wiki project’s policy making. Ambiguity naturally develops from the pluralist and non-hierarchic values of the culture that brought Wikipedia to life, and this conclusion requires that we reconsider the nature of “neutrality” practiced on Wikipedia.

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