Measuring quality (narrow focus)
I have a problem with #2, on neutrality. The problem is, in articles that present highly specialized knowledge, an average or uninformed outsider cannot jusge whether the article is neutral. At best, they can judge whether it has the appearance of neutrality and for anyone who has lived in the US, this is precisely why so many people make fun of FOX news and even some CNN or other cable news shows, because they use certain techniques to provide the image of neutrality but to anyone who knows the topic, it is not neutral.
In order to judge real neutrality, one has to be able to know how to know what is or is not a fringe view. Also, neutrality may not be achieved by producing "both" sides (which is why in many articles on complex topics committed editors often have to argue with newbies (at least, to the article) why a "criticisms" section would not be appropriate.) Diverging views often do not fall along a one dimensional axis. What is more important than providing a pro and a con side, is providing multiple views that emerge and carry weight in particular contexts. This is common in the social sciences and humanities. When it comes to a host of social science issues, there is a popular debate over "nature versus nurture" and predictably people expect there to be three views (nature, nurture, or half and half). An uninvolved or typical user may see these three sides provided in the article on race and intelligence and confirm that the articl is neutral. But to sociologists studying differences in average IQ scores between Blacks and Whites in the US, there are many debates, none of which have anything to do with nature versus nurture. Geneticists doing twin studies to calculate the heritability of intelligence also are debating a couple of hot issues, that are really not well-explained using terms like nature versus nurture. A sociologist or geneticist reading the article would see it as a typical article addressing common questions lay-people have, but doing nothing to educate the general public about current scientific research. You would need someone who knows something abour sociology or genetics to say YES - this article is providing a neutral account of the different views of sociologists and geneticists on the issues they are debating.
As far as I am concerned this is a really serious issue - but it only concenrs may be 1% of the articles. For this 1% one needs indeed to invite experts etc, but for the purpose of tagging the quality I am inclined to say - ok, let us have a special tag "highly specialized article where the neutrality can not be checked", and then put this tag and draw an attention of the specialized project.
If we're going to distinguish between "baseline quality" and "featured quality", we're going to have to distinguish between "basically neutral" and "completely neutral".
A rigorous report might survey all the major economists on health care to come up with a fair weighting of perspectives. They would cover the different economic/ethical/political viewpoints, leave out some fringe views, and support it all with substantial data. If it was significant, they would give some weight to emerging perspectives, noting that it is a reasonable but frequently debated viewpoint. That's a completely neutral article. It achieves our highest standards of "NPOV".
That means that a basically neutral article might have systemic bias. It might be CNN's facile "here are two perspectives", with no supporting data to critically evaluate those perspectives, and no interest in a third or fourth perspective that doesn't fit neatly into the X vs Y storyline. "Liberals assert that public health care is the best way to cover everyone, but conservatives note that this would be costly." No economic studies about costs, economies of scale, pooled risk, monopsonies for pharmaceuticals, etc... If you're lucky, some anecdotes about a few people's bad experiences with different health care systems. I would never present this as an authoritative source about health care. But would it be basically neutral? Probably. (Unless someone cherrypicked CNN stories to prove a point).
I shudder to concede that it would be "basically neutral". But I think that's what we mean when we say "baseline standard". It's basically trustworthy, with a few asterisks* that would need to be expanded upon.
Concur with Yaroslav. This is a baseline intended to help improve the 2 million articles and establish an expectation that all articles quickly meet a baseline standard. The few articles where an average user cannot judge good baseline, are outliers (ie, exceptions, or "1%" as Yaroslav says). They aren't in any way the majority or even a large minority. They will surely need specialist editing and review as Slrubenstein says.
The aim here is to establish "should/must meet baseline" as THE expectation, for all content, to the point ideally that no editor would think of allowing articles to not meet that standard, like no usual editor would think 3RR is inactionable. A bright line.
The fact that bright line will not sufficiently check 100% of articles but only 99%, is not necessarily a problem for the while. I think it was Philippe who said "perfect is the enemy of good". Once we get most content that way and the expectation that "all articles must be quickly made to meet baseline and kept that way", then we can look at what more (if anything) is needed for the exceptional cases.
@ Randomran: agree in principle. Perfect NPOV is not trivial because it means reviewing and knowing the field neutrally. But a basic level of neutrality should be attainable as a minimum, to the point where a reasonable editor peer reviewing the article feels it's not glaringly unbalanced. As you say, a can of worms, but the guiding principle is a good one and will help. We can discuss the rest in a few years time, once that step's achieved :)