|This page is considered an official policy on TESWiki.
It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that everyone should follow. Except for minor edits, please make use of the discussion page to propose changes to this policy.
NPOV, an acronym for Neutral Point of View, is a fundamental TESWiki principle which states that all articles must be written from a neutral point of view, representing views fairly and without bias. This includes real-world articles, in-universe articles, reader-facing templates, and categories. Neutral point of view is one of TESWiki's two content policies—the other being verifiability. By extension, it refers to the tone in which articles are written. To maintain an air of professionalism, and to remove the reader from the context of the article's wording, all articles need to be written from third person indirect perspectives, although some exceptions are excusable.
The neutral point of view
The neutral point of view is a means of dealing with conflicting views. The policy requires that, where there are or have been conflicting views, these should be presented fairly, but not asserted. All significant points of view are presented, not just the most popular one. It should not be asserted that the most popular view or some sort of intermediate view among the different views is the correct one. Readers are left to form their own opinions.
As the name suggests, the neutral point of view is a point of view, not the absence or elimination of viewpoints. It is a point of view that is neutral—that is neither sympathetic nor in opposition to its subject.
Debates are described, represented, and characterized, but not engaged in. Background is provided on who believes what and why, and which view is more popular. Detailed articles might also contain the mutual evaluations of each viewpoint, but studiously refrain from stating which is better. One can think of unbiased writing as the cold, fair, analytical description of all relevant sides of a debate. When bias towards one particular point of view can be detected the article needs to be fixed.
Fairness and sympathetic tone
If we're going to characterize disputes fairly, we should present competing views with a consistently positive, sympathetic tone. Many articles end up as partisan commentary even while presenting both points of view. Even when a topic is presented in terms of facts rather than opinion, an article can still radiate an implied stance through either selection of which facts to present, or more subtly their organization—for instance, refuting opposing views as one goes along makes them look a lot worse than collecting them in an opinions-of-opponents section.
We should, instead, write articles with the tone that all positions presented are at least plausible, bearing in mind the important qualification about extreme minority views. Let's present all significant, competing views sympathetically. We can write with the attitude that such-and-such is a good idea, except that, in the view of some detractors, the supporters of said view overlooked such-and-such a detail.
If something is in-universe, or is described as such, it belongs to the Elder Scrolls universe exclusively and not to the real world. Characters, for example, are in-universe, but the actors who voice them are out-of-universe. Pseudohistory is an integral part of in-universe treatment of canon material.
The only section where out-of-universe information is appropriate is the "Trivia" section and its subsections of an in-universe article. See below for more details. Try to remember that this is not just a strategy guide, it is an encyclopedia about the Elder Scrolls series.
As a direct result of all this, first and second person words such as "I" or "you" respectively should almost never be used in articles, excluding quotes. Articles need to be written from a third person, objective point of view. Instead of using words such as "you" or "I," substitute them for indirect wordings. Phrases such as "The player," "The Dragonborn," or "The Hero of Kvatch" are tolerable, as not everyone possesses the writing skill necessary for making the tone completely encyclopedic. Optimally, the subject of the article should be placed away from the "who" and onto the "thing." For instance, instead of saying, "You can receive the item by beating the quest." say, "The item can be obtained by beating the quest." This takes the focus off the reader and onto the topic. All articles should be written about the topics and should not engage readers directly.
Out-of-Universe refers to the perspective in which an article is written; it is the opposite of in-universe. Something written from an out-of-universe (OOU) perspective is written from a real life point of view. It will refer, for example, to real life publications, actors, authors, events, and so on, acknowledging that its subject is fictional. In contrast, an in-universe perspective will strive for verisimilitude; that is, it will be written as though the author existed within the Elder Scrolls universe. Articles about any in-universe things, such as characters, creatures, terminology, or species, should always be written from an in-universe perspective. If a section in the article is not, such as the listing for a character's published appearances or trivia details, it should be tagged as such. In contrast, articles about the games, books or other real-life Elder Scrolls material should obviously be written from an out-of-universe perspective, but should still be noted as such. Basically, in-universe articles should never refer to the Elder Scrolls series, or any other real life things such as books, developers, or the like.