PortlandWiki:Facets

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This is a proposed policy and may be in active development. Please see the talk page for discussion and planning.

Background

Portland is a city full of opinions. Everyone who has been to the City of Roses takes away a different experience, and these personal experiences have just as much value as cold hard facts like the location of Powell's Books or media perspectives like those found in The Oregonian or OPB.

Wikipedia is, by its policy, an encyclopedia of neutral facts, and only opinions from reliable, third-party sources are allowed. By necessity, the opinions of its readers and editors are systematically excluded as original research (in theory if not always in practice). This makes for a useful, fairly straightforward reference tool when just the hard facts are needed, but lacks personality and character, as well as any useful perspectives that happen to not have been published in reliable sources.

But PortlandWiki is not Wikipedia. Learning from the successful Davis Wiki, the best local wikis have personality Wikipedia lacks.[1]

But can anyone submit their own opinion in a wiki and expect it to remain? On Wikipedia, the expectation is that editors' opinions will be excluded from articles, unless they can be documented as reflecting widely-held opinions, in which case they will be carefully referenced and balanced with differing opinions. One reason for this is the one-page-per-topic model. Different opinions vying for attention in the space of one page have been the source of endless conflict on Wikipedia. On the rare occasion where an attempt is made to devote a page to one viewpoint or set of viewpoints (as in wikipedia:Objections to evolution), conflicts abound between editors attempting to control the message.

The proposal

One possible solution, originally proposed by User:MarkDilley, we're tentatively calling facets.

Facets would be subpages of an article where an individual or coherent group of people (such as an organization) could give their own views on the topic of the main article. In these "facet" pages, any viewpoint would be allowed, no matter how wild or tongue-in-cheek (the more humor and personality the better, in fact). Factual information could still be added into the main article by anyone, but personal opinions ("The food there is like fried navel lint") would have a home in one's own facet. All facets would be prominently listed on the main article in a "Facets" section, and people would be discouraged from editing others' facets.

Ideally, creating a facet would be easy and convenient for even the least wiki-savvy contributors, invisibly automating the technical process of creating a subpage and adding a link on the main article. Prominently displayed on every page, there could be a button labeled "Share your opinion on this topic" or something similar, that would enable the user to add their facet in one or two steps.

This concept has similarities to "comments" (as found below blog entries, videos, etc). Like comments, facets are personal and individual (except in the case of group facets), and facets are intended for personal views and opinions. The main difference is scope. Comments generally are very limited in both length and formatting: links, bullets, bold, etc are usually disabled, and embedded images and media are out of the question. With facets, formatting and length are as limitless as the main article they are in response to. Anyone can build a fully-featured article on the topic, with only their own perspective. Additionally, comments are often permanent and unchangeable, long after the commenter regrets their words. With facets, the author can change it at any time, and a quick request to an administrator is all one needs to get it deleted.

With their editorial freedom and prominent visibility, facets could be a huge draw to participation and readership, and may also prove to be an easy solution to many content disputes.


This proposed policy is under development, so please offer your suggestions and feedback on the discussion page. Feel free to make any improvements directly to this page. If there is good support for the idea, the Blue Fairy will turn it into a real policy!