Neutral point of view on Wikiquote

(English) This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.
This is policy on it.wikiquote

Since Wikiquote is a collection of quotations, neutral point of view writing is less frequently required. This does not mean that NPOV is any less an official policy, or that it does not apply on Wikiquote. Quotations included in Wikiquote do not need to conform to NPOV, as they are reflections of the point-of-view of the quoted individual; however, the selection and presentation of quotes, as well as all non-quote text on Wikiquote (excluding userpages and with limitations in the Wikiquote namespace) should conform to NPOV. This includes intro text on quote pages, templates intended for the main namespace (they should not express preference for or against any view, etc.), and where relevant, the contents of the Wikiquote namespace.

Selection of quotes


We must be careful, and remember that Wikiquote is not a personal collection of quotations, but a public collection. For subjects where multiple viewpoints or schools of thought exist, the selection of quotes should adequately represent all of the major views, regardless of whether you personally agree with them or not. Quotes should be selected because they are relevant to the subject; they should not be chosen to embarrass or misrepresent a person or a point of view.

This means that editors should not remove quotes from an article simply because it expresses a viewpoint they do not agree with. Each user should not add quotes to a page simply because he agrees with the sentiment, but because he believes that it is significant to everyone. If you find a passage or a phrase that expresses an opinion or idea that you share fully, this does not necessarily mean that it is a very important phrase; a phrase that you think is particularly well written or brilliant may not be so for everyone (you must be careful to funny quotes: Wikiquote is not a collection of jokes and ridicule is very subjective). If you are unsure whether a quote is significant at all, i.e., not only a "personal quote", it's better to just put it in your own personal collection of quotations (a little book, a text document saved on your computer, your user page). Conversely, even a thought that you don't share at all, or even firmly refuse, may be significant, representative of the author or his work, and useful or even necessary to understand it. Indeed, a phrase of particular disapproval may be particularly strong and significant. If you do not mind this, you may not quote anything from a work such as Mein Kampf, or selectively cite any work, giving a distorted picture.

Obviously, the text should be perfectly faithful to the original, to be neutral. The translations, however, may be partial, even unknowingly, so it is better to quote an official, published translation; translations by users are accepted, but efforts should be made—as always—to be precise, and above all allow verification of translations by entering the correct source of the original text, and possibly the original text itself, in any case if it is not too long or not easily and permanently accessible (at a click distance), for example in another Wikimedia project, typically Wikiquote or Wikisource in another language.

Another problem may be the position of the quotes in the articles: giving raise to a citation within a particular article is implicitly supporting a particular point of view. The problem can be solved by ordering alphabetically or by date all the lists of quotations, and prohibiting any graphic expedient to give greater emphasis to a quotation (e.g., appropriate boxes, bold).

The real difficulty, however, is the choice of quotations that should be included in our articles. How to choose, in a book, a film or work of any kind, or in the whole mass of words pronounced by a person in his life, what is truly relevant and meaningful, as required by the fundamental guideline q:it:Wikiquote:Wikiquote?

Moreover, we must consider that a neutral point of view is also a stable point of view: we must therefore avoid the so-called recentism, leading to exaggerate the importance of recent facts (and words), and ask ourselves whether a citation will also be interesting in ten years, or rather not fall into oblivion.

All these errors can usually be corrected by interacting with other people: in search of consensus; and above all, especially on the basis of authoritative sources to avoid original research.

Presentation of quotes


Often, the manner in which a quote is presented has a large bearing on how it is understood. On Wikiquote, in precisely the opposite of that on Wikipedia, quotes must be widely prevalent on the text of contour, and this applies not only to each article as a whole, but also for every single quotation. The best way to avoid the text of the contour from being not neutral, is not to include it.

The comments to quotations are an exception, so they are well separated from the quotes, in bold italic [in this manner] or in the footnotes. That should not be necessary, however: quotes should be included with enough context, either from the section in which they are placed, or from more extensive quoting from the same source, to make clear their original meaning and application to the subject. If a quotation is so fragmented, short or extrapolated from the context that it needs a long comment or explanation to be understood, then you probably should not include it at all, even if the interpretation is considered unique and not subject to the diversity of personal opinions.

On the other hand, the comments and insights that are not strictly necessary for the understanding of the meaning of the pure and simple quote, to give it a sense, should not be included in Wikiquote, but in other projects, typically a page of Wikipedia, where, for example, you may bring a citation of a novelist as an example of his style, treating the subject broadly, or enter into a discussion of historical context (plot of the story, a work of imagination; or, real story), which will not be summarized in Wikiquote.

Omissions and supplements may be particularly controversial. It is all too easy to take a single sentence or phrase out of context, where it will then seem to apply to a point of view completely unintended, perhaps even the opposite of what was intended, by its speaker. A «[…]» can hide anything, a single important word or entire chapters. By an appropriate size and sewing (quote mining), removing parts of sentences and adding subjects or verbs, you can potentially make to say anything to anyone. Consequently, it is good to use them wisely. Omissions of sentences, phrases, or short texts of length should be avoided at all: better to quote the passage in its entirety, if that doesn't require too much space. If the sentence is somewhat redundant or repetitive, that's not so bad: it can be cut, and used only in its most significant parts, on Wikipedia or elsewhere (including the thematic articles).

If you make long omissions, perhaps of entire paragraphs or pages, you must first clearly signal them, indicating with high precision the pages, the range of pages or paragraphs of the work from which the quotations are taken; then you should evaluate whether the combination of two or more pieces, more or less distant is not arbitrary, and whether they indeed constitute such a compact thought to be considered sort of a sole quotation. Otherwise, it will be better to separate the different pieces, with a bulleted list and separate quotation, specifying the precise position (chapter, page etc.).

Bulleted lists vs. sortable tables


English Wikiquote prefers bulleted lists, except at least advertising slogans. Chinese Wikiquote allows both bulleted lists and sortable tables. Bulleted lists are easier to add, subject to how neutral the presentation of quotes is as described above. Sortable tables have more complex source codes, but they may allow sequencing quotes by when the date, where the place, who the author, what work, which portion of a work to quote, and any potentially useful remark explaining why quote. If Wikidata/Development/Wikiquote becomes a reality, it may considerable change how quotes will be presented.