Requests for comment/Neutrality of Wikipedia

Neutrality of Wikipedia, or NoW, is a global initiative proposal to ensure the neutrality of Wikipedia, which is an encyclopedia, will be protected against politicization. Its main goal as of 2015 is to prevent political interventions on the web pages that host its content, from banners to censorship.

Those who support NoW assess that they believe Wikipedia should be maintained free from ads and banners that entice users to act politically in such projects as Freedom of Panorama in Europe in 2015. They believe that whether or not these initiatives are important and right, there should be no sign of them on Wikipedia itself, except, if needed, in the communities' discussion pages.

NoW's raison d'être being neutrality, its supporters are not asked to act in any specific way. You do not have to write to your MP or to that member of the Wikimedia Foundation that proudly supports Wikipedia becoming a political organ. We do not pressure people. We simply stand there, proud of Wikipedia's neutrality.

Because NoW is a constant reminder that Wikipedia is nothing but a neutral encyclopedia. Which, by the way, is already absolutely awesome!

Why NoW?


Wikipedians are somehow left unprotected against initiatives that play on emergency to bring them to political action. These initiatives are well organized and sometimes use dramatic colors and words to make them believe threats to Wikipedia are huge and awful.

So we needed a page that would also appeal to those who believe in both Wikipedia and action.

This page is for those people. This is just to say: 'Hey! You're about to act on a political level. Please think twice. And don't impose politics on Wikipedia! Stay calm. We will still be there in 100 years.'

There are a lot of geeks on Wikipedia. This page is to tell them: 'Don't be like the Galactic Senate, who sacrificed its most cherished value - freedom - in order to protect it against a phony threat'. Don't actually sacrifice the neutrality of Wikipedia because there is a supposed threat to it.

How to help?

  • Make this page better.
    • Make the text better.
    • Create a no-frill but good-looking logo for simple use.
    • Translate this page to your language.
  • Make NoW known!
    • Every time someone suggests we call MPs and put banners on Wikipedia, make NoW known to them and calm them.
    • Mention it on your user page if you feel this is important to you.
  • Calmly contribute to Wikipedia, the neutral encyclopedia!

What if I still believe there is a threat to Wikipedia and I don't want to let it happen?


Then you are welcome to act and try to protect Wikipedia! The thing is NoW simply asks you not to pollute the page of an encyclopedia with your point of view.

Turn to the members of parliament of your country, or to the local chapter of the foundation. Print t-shirts, mugs or whatever to claim your political position. But simply stay away from the articles of Wikipedia and the pages that host them! People who contribute and read them quietly do not necessarily want to be involved in your business.

Remember that administrators sometimes block activists because they put political content in one or two articles of the encyclopedia. But a banner or a blackout impacts every single page! Some might see this as the most widespread vandalism ever.

Supporters (that want to be known as such)


Opponents (that want to be known as such)

  • User:Xavier Combelle from French Wikipedia
  • --g (talk) 11:36, 28 June 2015 (UTC) (we have a Vision and we have a Mission, and we always had)[reply]
  • --Gestumblindi (talk) 13:52, 28 June 2015 (UTC) (Admin on German-language Wikipedia and on Commons) A neutral point of view is very important for Wikipedia as an encyclopedia, it is fundamental indeed. NPOV applies to encyclopedic content. But the community shouldn't shy away from political questions that affect their work directly, e.g. freedom of panorama. The Wikipedia/Wikimedia community can't be forced to "neutrality" or an apolitical stance in such matters. The current freedom of panorama initiative (including the banner) in German-language Wikipedia is an initiative coming from the community itself and has its overwhelming support.[reply]
  • Yerpo Eh? 14:56, 28 June 2015 (UTC); Gestumblindi beat me to it. My thoughts exactly. The very existence of Wikipedia and its sister projects itself is "political" by this definition, so you'd have to scrape the project alltogether if you wanted to have a truly consistent "unpolitical" stance. Instead, it is sensible to push for societal changes that would enable us to further our goal.[reply]
  • Kumʞum quoi ? 16:22, 28 June 2015 (UTC) (regular editor on fr.wp and tr.wp) ; why not fork the project? After "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia", "Wikipedia, the neutral encyclopedia"?[reply]
  • The purpose of Wikipedia and any other Wikimedia project is to make knowledge available to the world for free to be used for educational purposes. If there is a serious threat against that purpose then it would be a mistake not to act. --MGA73 (talk) 17:41, 28 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Neutrality doesn't mean to accept pathetically what's imposed on you by political organs that act for the profit of corporate interests. --Γλαύκος (talk) 06:14, 29 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Precisely what Gestumblindi said — neutrality on an issue that affects Wikipedia's ability to be a good encyclopædia is not only undesirable but foolhardy, imho. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 12:05, 29 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • If fulfilling the mission requires actively supporting a political position, it would be against the principles of this project not to take action in my opinion. Julian Herzog (talk) 17:13, 29 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Virtually all organizations, businesses and movements act in the public arena to promote their goals and values. This does not make them political organizations. Ksig77
  • The obstruction of political action is a political action. The reference to the parliament of the Old Republic is quite funny, though. --WolfgangRieger (talk) 08:23, 30 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Wikipedia should be neutral in its creation of articles on the different projects, but should protect its
    • Vision. Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That's our commitment. means (for example) protecting, even in the political arena, its right to free speech or knowledge can't be freely shared. AND
    • Mission. " empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content..." would be harmed by the legislation restricting FOP - so the WMF and the we as a group have an obligation to oppose it.
    And must use building awareness and/or the political process to do so when necessary. Trödel (talk) 15:08, 1 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • I too believe that our vision and mission are more important than a simple fear of us acting politically. The idea of spreading uncensured information to the whole world is political. Whole nations act in the interest of controlling who spreads info and what is being spread. We should not become a tool in the service of these interests, and therefore we need to protect our right to act without censorship.--Paracel63 (talk) 13:05, 5 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Simon Villeneuve 14:36, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
  • g's reason --Sargoth (talk) 18:07, 26 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • All has been said, I agree with this side. --Okino (talk) 08:19, 30 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • The content of Wikipedia articles should be as neutral as we can make it. The activity of building Wikipedia is not, and cannot be neutral. Undertaking to freely share the sum of human knowledge is an audaciously radical political act, because "knowledge is power". It is to be expected that political forces will, from time to time, directly impinge upon or actively resist this undertaking. We must dissent. Using the influence of our platform to promote and defend the undertaking should not be categorically banned. ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:10, 17 August 2016 (UTC)[reply]