"No original research" (NOR) has its origins in the "neutral point of view" (NPOV) policy and the problem of dealing with undue weight and February 2001, the objective of the NPOV policy is to produce an unbiased encyclopedia
In the two years that followed, a good deal of conflict on article talk pages involved accusations that editors were violating NPOV, and it became clear that this policy, which provided a philosophical foundation for Wikipedia, needed to be supplemented. Wikipedians developed the concept of "established as a policy in August 2003. Verifiability was also promoted as a way to ensure that notable views would be represented, under the assumption that the most notable views were easiest to document with sources. Notability is especially important because while NPOV encourages editors to add alternate and multiple points of view to an article, it does not claim that all views are equal. Although NPOV does not claim that some views are more truthful than others, it does acknowledge that some views are held by more people than others. Accurately representing a view therefore also means explaining who holds the view and whether it is a majority or minority view.
Soon it became evident that editors who rejected a majority view would often marshal sources to argue that a minority view was superior to a majority view—or would even add sources in order to promote the editor's own view. Therefore, the NOR policy was established in 2003 to address problematic uses of sources. The original motivation for NOR was to prevent editors from introducing fringe views in science, especially physics—or from excluding verifiable views that, in the judgement of editors, were incorrect. It soon became clear that the policy should apply to any editor trying to introduce his or her own views into an article. This also led to the refinement and creation of sub sections dealing with the balance of coverage.
In its earliest form, the policy singled out edits for exclusion that:
- Introduce a theory or method of solution;
- Introduce original ideas;
- Define existing terms in different ways; or introduce neologisms;
and established as criteria for inclusion edits that present:
- Ideas that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal; or
- Ideas that have become newsworthy: they have been repeatedly and independently reported in newspapers or news stories (such as the cold fusion story).
As a more diverse community of editors were drawn to Wikipedia, it became clear that other topics besides physics, such as politics, religion, and history, were attracting original research. The need arose to seek a more systematic approach to define original research and guide editors to avoid it. The principles of "verifiability" and "no original research" overlap, and an attempt was made in 2007 to combine the two pages into one (see Wikipedia:Attribution), but it failed to gain consensus.
- Non-bias policy" was drafted by Larry Sanger in spring or summer of 2000.
- Wikipedia's first NPOV policy dates back to 16 February 2001.
- "Avoid bias" was one of the first of Wikipedia's "rules to consider" proposed by Sanger.
- statement about "neutral point of view" in the early months of Wikipedia (within dialogue with other Wikipedians up to 12 April 2001); in subsequent versions of the NPOV policy, Jimbo's statement was known as its "original formulation".
- Original overview Wikipedia policy, as edited by Larry Sanger, on November 1, 2001.
- A more elaborate version of the NPOV policy was written by Larry Sanger, at "Neutral point of view—draft", Larry Sanger's version of 20 December 2001.
- After several comments (see edit history of Sanger's draft at Meta) the version by Larry Sanger et al. was incorporated into the Wikipedia policy some time within the next few days (some edits from around that time are lost). The policy was further edited (see edit history of the NPOV policy), resulting in the current version.
- Original NPOV policy statement on Wikipedia as edited by Larry Sanger on December 26, 2001.
- m:Wikipedia Governance an essay written in 2002 by Jimmy Wales
- Another short formulation was introduced by Brion Vibber in Meta: see Meta's "Neutral point of view", introductory version of 17 March 2003.
- Development of the undue-weight section started in 2003, for which a mailing-list post by Jimmy Wales on 29 September 2003 was instrumental.
- Verifiabilty established on Wikipedia as a policy in 2003
- NOR policy established in 2003
- Jimbo Wales qualifies NPOV as "non-negotiable", consistently, throughout various discussions: November 2003, April 2006, March 2008 (compare also Wales's first statement of principles).