A problem has come up that I would like to discuss. I am not sure if there is a policy existing on this, but if not I think one may need to be made. Recently, a couple of articles have had very long background notes added to them. I would not call them notes so much as short essays. I feel that it is not necessery to have such long background notes. Some of them seem to on the verge of being "nitpicky" as it is, but others are simply very long and just don't seem to belong. Here are two examples (in both cases, the notes, or essays, have been removed to the discussion pages):
- In this case the "essay" was about 20 to 25 times longer than the article itself.
- That is my intention exactly, with the discussion added to the "Discussion" tab of that article. I find the background information that was added to be opoinion and not in the nature of maintaining an accurate and concise Star Trek Wiki.
- While some details on logic itself should be spelled out, it should still avoid presenting opinion.
- - Dracorat 21:49, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
The impression I get from skimming through the articles being discussed, is that we have an instance of an academic trying to flesh out the details of his field as it is represented in MA. This is an interesting discussion for me, as I have been looking at the language/linguistics-related pages and thinking they could be improved.
That being said, I think there are definitely two things to keep in mind:
- Be Concise: MA does not seem suited to long pieces of expository prose.
- Observe Canon: Unless a person has been referred to on screen, their real-world contributions should not be noted in MA. Sorry, Quine.
I do not wish to completely invalidate the work done by Skon, as much thought has clearly been put into it, but I agree that some changes need to be made so that it fits better in this framework. A brief discussion on the interpretation of the First Law of Metaphysics as a part of Vulcan philosophy does not seem any more out of place than do an entries defining such things as doors, pens, paper, or even profit (why not loss too?). Where I feel the discussion steps outside the realm of MA acceptability is the padding of the text with too much extraneous jargon and comparison of real world philosophy. Oh, and it says that Spock does not exist. Totally unacceptable in MA, and I have been in a room full of semanticists trying to decide the (non-)existence of fictional characters, so the matter is clearly open for debate in the real world, and certainly not here. Exolinguist 23:21, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
- As I explained in Talk:Kiri-kin-tha: "Articles are not [a place for] arguments, opinions (personal or otherwise), theories, reports, comments, essays, critiques, or anything else irrelevant to the topic. This includes the background section, which should only include production information related to the topic. If Gene Roddenberry, Rick Berman, Leonard Nimoy, or anybody else [associated with canon Trek productions] gave comments or descriptions regarding a subject, those are acceptable. But the theories or evaluations of a person not affiliated with the production is not acceptable... in fact, it's not even relevant for the purposes of this wiki." And that's all I have to say about that... --From Andoria with Love 01:52, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
- That may all that Shran has to say about the subject, but I'd like to add another point against such exposition: if we allow one opinion piece (or essay, critique, etc.), then, in all fairness, we'd have to allow all such articles, or be in a never-ending battle about which one is valid and allowable, and which isn't. That would be a huge can of worms to open (not to mention a lot of disk space!)... and like Shran said to begin with, that's not what MA is here for. -- Renegade54 02:02, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I concede that it would not be a good development if Memory Alpha were filled up with lengthy scientific essays and comments. I also endorse a highly visible distinction of canon material, production notes and relevant real-world background information in the articles. Now, a lot of Trekkers are knowledgeable people with broad interests in science, philosophy and much more. And a lot of Trekkers enjoy discussing relations of Trek facts to real facts and potential inconsistencies of the two. Or am I mistaken? But it is hard to incorporate scientific background discussions into articles in such way that the background does not get much longer than the main article. I see that problem and that it is a highly debatable matter what a good proportion of canon to background would be. Some users seem to think that the right proportion is to keep anything from the real world at a minimum, which is in most cases: deletion. That is an opinion which is not entirely justified by the official policy statements.
The best solution would be, in my opinion, to have a separate section of Memory Alpha devoted to scientific background information on Trek matters. It would be nice to have main articles linked to their respective scientific background articles, if existing. But the scientific background section shouldn't be a free discussion forum or something like that, where you post things like: "I didn't see how they could get out of that transwarp-inversion-subspace-rift bubble in episode... " Such a section should be subject to the usual Wiki and MA quality standards, where real-world science background is properly referenced, as well as Trek material. I also don't think such a section should contain near-duplicates of corresponding Wiki articles. The standard format for science background articles could be: State science fact - state canon Trek fact - point out interesting relationships or incompatibilities between them. And an important guideline would be: Do not create an article consisting for the most part of information which can already be found in the Wikipedia.
Skon 14:28, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I have no problem with my contributions being criticized, moved or deleted, if there is reason for it. But I got a bit irritated by editors editing my contributions on the basis of their personal hunches. Simply stating that articles are too long or do not comply with MA policy or contain personal opinion is not equivalent to giving reasons. "Too long" is subjective. If there is conflict with MA policy, please cite MA policy. If there is opinion in an article, cite the statements expressing opinions and point out where the lack of fact resides. In some cases this was done, but only after I complained about insufficient reasoning for edits. Contributors usually invest some time and effort in their contributions. So it is inappropriate in my view to edit contributions quickly and without effort. I do not want to revive the respective discussions of particular articles with my comments. I just want to express what I think isn't right about some edits. And no personal offense intended, of course!
Skon 14:46, 1 September 2006 (UTC)