Here is a link to the wikipedia article about David Bain which is called the Bain family murders.

Neutrality a key principle

Wikipedia has strict policies about the nature and quality of pages on its website. Articles are supposed to be written from a neutral perspective, presenting all the major points of view, especially on controversial subjects. This is how wikipedia describes neutrality

“All encyclopedic content on Wikipedia must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), which means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic…  

Biased (or one-sided) information can usually be balanced with material cited from other sources to produce a more neutral (or balanced) perspective,..

When reputable sources contradict one another and are relatively equal in prominence, describe both points of view and work for balance. “

Wikipedia also has a policy called BLP – biographies of living persons. It says:

“Editors must take particular care when adding information about living persons to any Wikipedia page. We must get the article right… Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid: it is not Wikipedia’s job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people’s lives.”

Wikipedia also notes that:

“In some cases, the choice of name used for a topic can give an appearance of bias.”

The title: ‘Bain family murders’

In David Bain’s case the title of the wikipedia page is Bain family murders.  The word ‘murders’ obviously implies that all those who died, including Robin Bain, were murdered. It therefore points the finger at David. In so doing, it negates the real possibility put forward by the defence, that Robin Bain killed his family and then committed suicide.  In other words, the title of the article itself breaches wikipedia’s neutrality policy because it only presents the prosecution’s side of the case (that David was guilty of murder) rather than ‘all significant views’ on the subject. Because David is still alive, it also breaches the BLP policy – ‘biographies of living persons’.

The page should either be called David Bain, which, by itself, does not accuse him of anything. Or it could be called the Bain familicide which is how family killings are described by criminologists. Such a title would not point the finger of blame at any one person.  

The article also contains five times as much information describing  the prosecution case and guilty verdict at the first trial than the non-guilty verdict at the second trial. In other words, the article is not balanced in its treatment of the issues.  Balance is part of wikipedia’s neutrality policy. More detail here.

Take Action

Every wikipedia article has a Talk page where concerns about the content of the article are discussed by those who are interested in contributing to it. If you would like to point out to wikipedia editors that the Bain family murders article is not neutral, you can express your concerns on the article’s Talk page here.