OrthodoxWiki talk:Style Manual (Point of View)

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Biased Bias

When the world wants information on the Coptic Orthodox Church, or the Syric Orthodox Church, or the Indian Orthodox Church, or the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, or the Armenian Orthodox Church, or the Assyrian Orthodox Church, or the Sudanese Orthodox Church, they will NOT be looking for Chalcedonian bias.

To say all the world is looking for Chalcedonian bias when searching for Orthodoxy, is very biased indeed.

The publication Theandros has been linked on OW by one of the OW editors to the Nebraska Eparchy. (Theandros itself says it is independent of any jurisdiction.) The self-proclaimed "Orthodox", of which Nebraska Eparchy seems to be an example, have never had any historical connection with world Orthodoxy. They are quite different from the Pre-Ephesian Orthodox, the Pre-Chalcedonian Orthodox, and the Chalcedonian Orthodox.

If the policy is to exclude the self-proclaimed, then that should be quite different from excluding the Pre-Ephesian or the Pre-Chalcedonian.

Perhaps the policy could be clarified and the self-proclaimed distinguished from historical Orthodoxy.

Hopefully the anti-pre-chalcedonian bias also can be removed or at least substantially toned down.

If the anti-pre-chalcedonian bias cannot be removed, then obviously there is a need for a WorldOrthodoxWiki which does not have this bias.

chrisg 2006-05-31-1253

For the reader: the Theandros link to Nebraska Eparchy is discussed on Themistocles (Adamopoulo), the page on which the link is made. Also, afaik, there is no intention to outright exclude.
Regarding independant groupings - If an article on the Nebraska Eparchy was created, and have the independant template placed on it, then this would be (as far as I can see, anyway) a welcome addition to OW. However, it is standard practise to have the independant template even on user pages of those who edit on OW but are part of (or lead) an independant group (example). This, however, is specific to the independant groups.
There are a lot of pages on Oriental Orthodox including the church bodies, dogmatic positions and whole articles by Oriental Orthodox personalities. No special attempt is made to censor these, and the main difference is having the Oriental template, saying that it may be different to Eastern Orthodox understanding. — sτévο, at 23:32, May 30, 2006 (CDT)

The Project Page says this.

Additionally, the administration feels that the bias is warranted along what might be termed "definitional usage" lines—that is, the rest of the world, when looking for information about Orthodoxy, tends to think definitionally in MCB terms. That is, it would probably look for an article on the Church of Russia (i.e., the Moscow Patriarchate) rather than one on the so-called Suzdalites when searching for "Russian Orthodoxy." Thus, the MCB helps prevent confusion.

I think it is incorrect to say "the rest of the world, when looking for information about Orthodoxy, tends to think definitionally in MCB terms."

That is defining the term in terms of itself. And the term itself a priori is biased. It is illogical. It is also unhelpful for the recovery of lost sheep.

The simplest thing, is to use the term Eastern Orthodox when talking about Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox when talking about Oriental Orthodox, and to use the term Orthodox when talking about both Eastern and Oriental Orthodox.

Most educated non-biased non-Orthodox interested in Orthodoxy as a form of Christianity, are interested in both Eastern and Oriental Orthodox. So in that case, current OW policy is either to perpetuate confusion and bias, or else to promote one variety over another. That is most inappropriate for a non-confessional encyclopaedia.

However, if OW intends to be a confessional encyclopaedia, let it widely announce it, so no-one is deceived.

chrisg 2006-05-31-1613 EAST

Least important first: pedantically, fwiw, to say that the term defines itself in terms of itself is incorrect - that would be 'MCB includes those who are Mainstream Chalcedonians'.
The entire rest of the world doesn't necessarily think in MCB? Very likely; in Ethiopia or parts of India, for example. However, this being an English wiki, with an American bias in names and categories and other official things, there is little question that MCB is the standard in the English-speaking word: The use of the word 'Orthodox', done mainly to avoid the unfortunate cultural associations of Greek or Eastern, is overwhelmingly towards the "Easterns". This differentiation that you put forward also discounts the Western Orthodox, as well as for those who cannot stand any cultural inference (ie that one must be *ethnicity* to be Orthodox). IMHO, most educated, non-biased (and therefore hypothetical) non-Orthodox have no problem in differentiating between Eastern and Oriental.
And, OW was always intended to be a confessional encyclopedia; otherwise Wikipedia, being larger and having more members, is doing a far better job.
However, I think that all this is about expressions of a fundamental difference in belief - that the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox are the one Church. This view is not shared by most, best exemplified in the fact that there is no intercommunion (even of laity), except in (large parts of?) the Church of Antioch, something done for, iirc, pastoral reasons. — sτévο, at 04:09, May 31, 2006 (CDT); edited at 4:26 (CDT)

My firend, if you or anyone else wants to think the Orthodox Churches, Chalcedonian and Pre-Chalcedonian are the One Church, then I respect your right to hold that opinion. I personally don't hold to that belief and do not know anyone in the Antiochian or Alexandrian Patriarchates who do. However, both the Alexandrian and Antiochian Patriarchates, perhaps because they do not live in homogeneous monoethnic Orthodox-majority nations, feel it necessary to get on with their neighbours. That is why the Greek Orthodox Patrriarchate of Alexandria decided to recognise the validity of marriages performed in the Coptic Church, among other things. [1]

If you feel that means the Greek Orthodox are in communion with the Coptic Church, then I will respect your right to hold that opinion. Personally I think it simply indicates a desire by the Greek Orthodox to overcome the divisions in Christ's Church caused by political machinations in the distant past and perpetuated over the centuries by ignorance and ethnic intolerance.

I know the Coptics believe in the Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and I understand the Alexandrian Greeks do too. If you do, may I wish you a happy Ascension today, and for ever, and to the eons of eons.

chrisg 2006-05-31-2017 EAST

For whatever it may be worth, the administration has essentially been through all of this before. I'm not even really sure I understand what your position is, but in any event, the MCB is a part of OrthodoxWiki policy until such time as the administration feels it necessary to change it (which they currently don't).
OrthodoxWiki has, indeed, always been intended to be confessional in nature, that is, it is a site whose basic presupposition is that mainstream Chalcedonian Orthodoxy is the one, true Church of Jesus Christ. Allowance has been made to have non-Chalcedonian and non-mainstream information included on the wiki, but its inclusion cannot violate that basic presupposition. What this means is spelled out pretty clearly in the official policy. —Dcn. Andrew talk random contribs 06:47, May 31, 2006 (CDT)


Hello, I'm new here and am interested in helping you guys reduce bias against anybody (whether Oriental Orthodox or Eastern Orthodox). I've noticed these tags (which some of you mentioned before) that tell people if it has an Oriental Orthodox POV and may differ slightly with the Eastern Orthodox POV. Yes, I'm alright with that, but I see a lot of Chalcedonian-biased articles which don't even warn you. Firstly, I think that there MUST be a tag for this too. And secondly, there needs to be other sources which are used to create or revise articles that have the Oriental Orthodox POV too, so that it has both sides of the story. As a devout Coptic Orthodox Christian, I do find it outrageous that some of the articles (eg: ecumenical councils) have completely biased sources (which are almost always in favour of the Chalcedonian P.O.V.). No offense to my Eastern Orthodox brethern (& hopefully none taken)...

Let me give you an example. I found an article that is called "Fourth Ecumenical Council". We Non-Chalcedonians consider the Fourth Ecumenical Council to be the "Second Council of Ephesus", but the Chalcedonians claim that it is in actuality the "Council of Chalcedon". Also, Chalcedonians call the "Second Council of Ephesus" the "Robber Synod" or "Latrocinium", and insist that it is not a true ecumenical council the same way the Non-Chalcedonians say about the "Council of Chalcedon". I have what I think may be a solution. Why not say "Second Council of Ephesus" and "Council of Chalcedon" instead of just numbering it to avoid confusion? Then you could have everybody's POV in the same articles to make it Neutral. Just have Non-Chalcedonian & Chalcedonian POVs on every article. That's where it will be neutral! If you have Q's or suggestions, feel free to go to my user page. Sorry for the long post. Thanks a bunch!--~ Troy 20:22, July 11, 2007 (PDT)

When OrthodoxWiki was begun, we formulated the Mainstream Chalcedonian Bias (MCB) precisely because that was the vision of the site, i.e., it is not a site whose purpose is to unite or balance Chalcedonian and Non-Chalcedonian views (which would require a massive renovation of much of the site), but rather simply to present Chalcedonian views. Non-Chalcedonian material is also presented here, in a labeled fashion, as a courtesy and also to indicate the forming relationship between the two bodies. Of course, many of us do personally desire the reunion of these two ancient communions.
Pure neutrality has, however, never been the aim of OrthodoxWiki (even if such a thing exists!), but rather being as balanced and direct as possible, in an encyclopedic way, assuming the Chalcedonian Orthodox Christian point of view. There are a lot of reasons we chose to do things this way, not the least of which is that the owner of the site is a part of the Chalcedonian communion. But it's also simply much less of an administrative hassle.
The MCB is foundational to the purpose and nature of OrthodoxWiki and has been since its inception in 2004. This is not to say that we wish to denigrate Non-Chalcedonians or any other communion (indeed, N-Cs are specifically privileged here in a way no other communion is). It's simply a result of the kind of site it is and has been intended to be from the beginning. The bias is not "against" anyone in particular, but simply for Chalcedonian Orthodoxy.
In short, these are the rules, and unless the site owner (FrJohn) thinks they should change, this is what they'll be. He of course has the option of listening to any advice he likes (whether from an admin or not).
You may also find it useful to discuss this issue with Arbible, a Coptic Orthodox Christian who is also our administrator in charge of Oriental Orthodox issues. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs 13:20, July 12, 2007 (PDT)

Well, thanks for clearing that up. I, of course, understood that there are small issues, and that there are usually good intentions. I also plan on fixing any bias against anyone; although as time passes by, I see that a lot less often. Thanks for understanding. ~ Troy 12:39, July 14, 2007 (PDT)
Please rest reassured that nobody here is biased against the Coptic (Orthodox) Church. It is much better and more positively fruitful to fully acknowledge and confess errors rather than try to conceal them or embellish the truth. In Christ, --Arbible 04:41, July 15, 2007 (PDT)

No worries, it was just a nagging thought that I wanted to ask. Truth be told, most of the differences are either political issues or are written in the history books. I'm glad to be here — it was an interesting conversation. I have to admit, the historic situations are quite intriguing. ~ Troy 09:28, July 30, 2007 (PDT)