Jittery guide: neutrality policy
What is the Jittery neutrality policy?
Editors should strive to not take up arguing a particular point of view on a topic, and instead should seek to remain neutral.
The purpose of this policy is to encourage editors to present information about a topic in a way that is unbiased and as factual as possible. Representing topics and views fairly, is paramount.
An example can be illustrative:
Suppose the topic is the Crusades. Your task as an editor is not to moralize the topic and project your beliefs or opinions at the reader; it's not to proclaim the Crusades as good or bad. Your task as an editor, is to present the known facts about the Crusades and to remain as objective & neutral as possible about the topic. You seek to inform the reader and to be a delivery agent for facts. Telling the reader what to believe or how to think is not your responsibility; it is the responsibility of the reader to form their own conclusions, ideally assisted by well-supported information.
Why is neutrality important?
In the process of working on a topic, without taking up a position of neutrality it is exceedingly difficult to present the topic accurately.
The further you get away from a position of neutrality, the less able you are to treat a topic fairly, the more likely that the accuracy of information will suffer. Bias begins to creep in and some negative or positive aspects of a topic will inevitably be hidden, washed away. For example, an editor that favors a topic and writes from a specific biased point of view, will tend to consciously or subconsciously downplay negative aspects of the topic, presenting those as less important.
This does not require that an editor must agree with a given idea or view on a topic, merely that the editor presents that view accurately when writing about it.
What does it mean to represent views fairly?
Being fair to a view about a topic does not imply agreement with that view. It's about presenting that view in as accurate of a manner as possible. It means to portray the view correctly as it really is, not as a biased opinion may exaggerate it to be (regardless of direction).
Being fair to a view means not arguing either for or against it.
Going back to the Crusades topic: is there a widespread view that the Crusades were immoral? Then it may be reasonable to present supporting information for that. Who believes that? Why?
Jittery as a service does not seek to dictate an answer to the question: were the Crusades immoral? Instead, an editor should present accurate information to the reader that helps them to self-educate about the topic.
Jittery also does not seek to cover every possible view or aspect of a topic. Topics should remain focused on the most important elements.
What is another example of the neutrality policy as applied to a topic?
Flat Earth theory is an example of a topic that is prime for the neutrality policy.
In the case of the flat Earth theory, it is not the task of the editor to project to the reader their belief as to whether the Earth is spherical or flat, rather it is the task of the editor to present accurate information about the topic, leaving it up to the reader to make up their own mind.
A hallmark of an editor failing to adhere to the neutrality policy, is their slipping into a projection voice: projecting their beliefs outward at the reader, in a typically highly opinionated manner. A giveaway to this mistake is if the writing being presented is or can be covered in fragments like "I believe" or "in my opinion" or "I think" and similar.
Who believes the Earth is spherical and why? What is the supporting scientific evidence? What are the origins of beliefs about a spherical Earth? That is the kind of information to present for the reader to make up their own mind with.
What is Jittery's position on partisanship?
Jittery is strictly non-partisan, it does not favor any political parties and does not promote writing in bias toward a specific political party, group, ideology, idea, belief, creed, or topic.
It is understood that many editors will have partisan political allegiances and beliefs. Those allegiances and biases have no place in Jittery's topic pages and should be expressed on a different forum. There are many other sites on the Internet to do that.
What happens to content that does not adhere to the neutrality policy?
If the content of a Q&A (or topic as a whole) is particularly egregious in violating the neutrality policy, it will be deleted or replaced. If a Q&A subtly violates the neutrality policy, it can be adjusted by a replacement Q&A. If it violates the policy to a great degree, it is more likely to be deleted entirely.
What happens to an editor that does not adhere to the neutrality policy?
An editor that repeatedly creates content from a point of view, projecting to the reader what their beliefs should be - how the reader should think about a topic - will be warned to stop. If it continues, the editor's account may be restricted to a mod zero (E0) by Jittery. If the editor is operating in good faith (ie not a troll), typically multiple warnings will be given before the account is restricted.
Last edited September 7, 2020 18:54 UTC