Please read through the policy below to familiarize yourself with our common practices and rules.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or complaints, please post them on the talk page.
The goal of Memory Alpha is to be a reliable, concise guide to all readers in its description of the Star Trek universe and associated material. Towards this end, it is necessary for us to restrict to some extent the type of information we accept. Ultimately, this will ensure that Memory Alpha remains useful and authoritative for the widest possible range of fans.
This policy is not intended to mandate a single way of viewing the Trek Universe, and does not exist to promote any particular critical judgement on the various series and movies; it exists to permit an orderly cataloguing of data into manageable categories with a minimum of conflict and a maximum amount of fidelity to the Episodes as shown. With that in mind, archivists should at all times be tolerant and respectful of other viewpoints, opinions, and conclusions.
Summary of Policy
Articles need to cite each resource used as the basis for their information. Generally, everything seen or heard in any Star Trek episode or movie can be used as a resource for an article. More specific details and exceptions are below.
On Memory Alpha, we differentiate between two types of articles:
- Trek Universe articles. These articles are written about subjects inside the Star Trek universe, using an "in-universe" point of view. Subjects can include events, objects, or anything mentioned in an episode or movie. They must adhere strictly to the canon policy.
- Trek Franchise articles. These articles are written from a "meta" or real life point of view, and are written about the Star Trek franchise. Subjects can include articles about the production of the episodes and movies themselves, as well as articles about novels, games, and other official materials, as well as pages about the actors and actresses. These pages are not covered by the canon policy.
Trek Universe articles require that all statements of fact be supported by reference to identified source material that is a "valid resource". Failure to identify a referenced source, or use of a source that is not a valid resource, may result in removal or revision of the associated statement and/or article. The single exception to this is discussed in the Restricted Validity Resources and Initial Article Creation section.
Trek Franchise articles should have citations as necessary, but the citations do not have to be to a valid resource.
Episodes and Films
This includes the following:
- All TOS episodes
- All TAS episodes (see )
- All TNG episodes
- All DS9 episodes
- All VOY episodes
- All ENT episodes
- All Star Trek films
Articles should not be created for subjects that are not seen or heard of in an episode.
The following are valid resources from the Episodes and Movies and may be referenced in Trek Universe articles as citations, in descending order of precedence:
- (1) Spoken dialogue (what is said)
- (2) Visual material (what is seen)
- (3) Aural material (what is heard that is not dialogue)
Visual material can be supplemented by clearer visual images of the identical material seen (e.g., production art identifiable as being the same as shown on screen in an Episode but more legible than what is shown on screen) if the clearer image is a freeze frame from the Episode, contained in an authorized publication, or otherwise generally and publicly available from a verifiable production source.
Restricted Validity Resources
The following resources may be referenced in Trek Universe articles, but should be formatted as background information as described in Memory Alpha's Manual of Style. The resources are, in decending order of categories of precedence, and in each instance with later versions taking precedence over earlier versions:
- (1) Reference Works Created by Production Staff
- (2) Material Used Day-to-Day by Production Staff
- Any writer/director’s guide for a Trek series (AKA, "Writer’s Bible")
- Any writer/director’s technical manual for a Trek series (AKA, "Which Button Do I Push to Fire the Phasers?")
- Any scripts of an Episode; provided that spelling can be used as valid resources, but will not take precedence over spelling seen on-screen in an Episode.
- (3) Other Information Derived From Production Staff
- Information from Startrek.com
- Supplementary DVD materials (e.g., interviews, commentary, documentaries – anything that is not the Episode itself)
- Background information from the production staff (from interviews with Rick Sternbach, Michael Okuda, etc.
- Closed-captioned dialogue; provided that spelling can be used as valid resources, but will not take precedence over spelling seen in a script or on-screen in an Episode.
- (4) Reference Works Created by Non-Production Staff
- (5) Material Intentionally Not In Episodes
- Cut or alternative scenes from Episodes as compared to those originally broadcast (for television) or released (for movies); provided that the feature film on "Director’s Cut" DVDs can be used as valid resources and will take precedence over original film releases where different and conflicting.
- Portions of sets, props, makeup, and costumes to the extent not seen on-screen in an Episode, even if they existed in real life.
- Scripts, series, and other material contemplated but not produced and released (e.g., Star Trek: Phase II)
- Any other behind-the-scenes or production material
Please note that text from these works should not be repeated verbatim in articles. The relevant information should not be referenced in every possible article, but only in the most relevant one. For example, include information about a ship's otherwise unknown class in the article about that ship, but not in every article that mentions the ship.
Restricted Validity Resources and Initial Article Creation
Despite not being seen or heard in an Episode, Restricted Validity Resources may independently form the basis for Trek Universe articles if they have all of the characteristics identified below. Archivists should exercise restraint in claiming this status for resources, and the category should not be used to convert a resource more suited to a Trek Franchise article into a Trek Universe article. The article must clearly cite its sources and identify itself as being "Non-Canon". Use of Restricted Validity Resources in this manner does not alter the nature of the resource for any other purpose under this policy; it is merely to permit a primary article on the resource to exist.
The characteristics are:
- There is no conflict with a valid resource.
- The resource was created by the applicable production staff during the creation of the Movies or the Episodes of the relevant series.
- Due to its nature it is highly likely that, had the need in an Episode or Movie required use of information similar to the resource, the resource would have been explicitly used, without significant change, in the Episode or Movie.
- The resource is a minor point in the Trek Universe (e.g., the birthplace or homeworld name of a character; not storylines or script ideas).
- Use of the resource was not intentionally avoided by the production staff (e.g., use of the resource was filmed and then edited out; the resource was first in and then removed from scripts).
The following resources may be referenced in Trek Universe articles, but should only appear in an "Apocrypha" section of a given article (see Memory Alpha's Manual of Style), not in the main text of the article:
- Authorized fiction books
- Authorized comic books
- Authorized games
- Care should be taken regarding the quantity of such information included as Memory Alpha's primary purpose does not extend to detailed coverage of non-canon Trek. Archivists should use the section more as guidance for further independent study by a reader outside of Memory Alpha than a comprehensive review or extensive description.
- Cover art and similar imagery should not be used.
- Non-Canon Resources are not to be the basis of an independent Trek Universe article if not mentioned in or part of an Episode or Movie (e.g., characters, ships, and events not part of the Episodes are not to have primary articles created for them.)
- As with Restricted Validity References, the relevant information should not be referenced in every possible article, but only in the most relevant one.
The following resources are considered invalid and should not be referenced in any form in a Trek Universe article:
- Fan-made blueprints and specifications (including such items as Ships of the Star Fleet)
- Fan fiction of any kind
- Fan reference works of any kind
- Websites, unless information is also contained in a valid reference; provided that links to non-commercial external websites of interest can be included in an External Link or similar section.
Conflicts in Valid Resources
In the event of a conflict between otherwise valid resources, the preferred approach is that the conflict should be noted and both resources remain valid. But to the greatest extent possible valid resources should be construed so as not to be in conflict. The presumption should be that a conflict does not exist unless no other explanation is reasonable under the circumstances.
In the event that two valid resources (e.g., two spoken lines of dialogue; a spoken line and a graphic) conflict, either can be referenced as a valid resource, provided the other is also included in some manner in the article and the conflict noted. Explanations of the conflict (e.g., suggestions for reconciliation) and the reason for the selection of one resource over another can appear in a manner that is setoff from the main text of the article (e.g., indented italics, or on a discussion page). In writing articles archivists should be guided by the principle that a valid resource with a higher precedence can (but does not have to) be given slightly greater evidentiary weight for purposes of writing the article from a Trek Universe standpoint than the valid resource with a lower precedence. The conflict still needs to be noted in the article, though.
Conflicts in Restricted Validity Resources
Because of the nature of the information in Restricted Validity Resources, strict adherence to orders of precedence is not as critical as with valid resources. Nonetheless, in the event of a conflict among different Restricted Validity Resources, archivists should be guided by the principle that - all else being equal - information contained in sources with higher levels of precedent should be deemed of greater value than those in lower levels.
Tolerance in Valid Resources
The following matters will not affect the validity of a resource:
- Different actors portraying the same character (e.g., Saavik)
- Differences in actors’ appearance over the years (e.g., Frakes in ENT: "These Are the Voyages..." and Frakes in TNG: "The Pegasus")
- Sophistication of optical effects (e.g., streaming stars at warp, CGI)
- Use of interior sets for exterior locations
- Other similar matters due to film production capabilities
- Production mistakes (e.g., microphones in shot; differences due to different "takes" being used in editing; post-production errors or artifacts; etc.)
- The archivist's assessment of the trustworthiness of the character who is the source of the resource (e.g., Harry Mudd), or the archivist's assessment of the overall accuracy of the information contained in the resource. (Note that archivists are free to describe the resource's data in the article as "Character X stated that . . ." if there is a desire to imply that the resource may not be entirely accurate; however, any further commentary on the perceived accuracy of a resource should be confined to the Background section rather than in the body of the article)
Demotion of Valid Resources
To the extent an otherwise valid resource contains any of the following, it will be deemed a Restricted Validity Resource (but only as to that portion that contains the following):
- Material inserted into a valid resource for the primary purpose of amusing the production staff and is, on its face, nonsensical in the context of the Trek Universe (e.g., bizarre text on panel labels; obvious joke material, absurd images, etc.)
- Manifest unintended error (e.g., a clear mathematical mistake, grammar, spelling, use of actor’s real name in spoken dialogue)
- A piece of production art or a prop that contains numerous internal inconsistencies and/or errors
- A piece of production art or a prop that is seen but not clearly seen in an Episode and, when examined in a clear manner through external references, is inconsistent in any respect with other valid resources of a higher precedence value.
If the otherwise valid resource is primarily composed of such matters (e.g., mainly one big joke for everything other than the largest typeface) then the entirety of the valid resource will be deemed a Restricted Validity Resource.
If there is uncertainty as to whether an otherwise valid resource should be demoted to a Restricted Validity Resource, archivists will be guided by the principle that if it was difficult to clearly view, hear, or understand the resource, or any element thereof, in the Episode or Movie of which it was a part when viewed in the original manner intended (e.g., no freeze frames), there will be a rebuttable presumption that the resource was not intended to be viewed as a valid resource by the production staff. The presumption can be rebutted if the resource is not inconsistent with other resources of a higher precedence, it appears that sufficient care was taken by the production staff in its creation that it could have been shown clearly on screen in an Episode, and no obvious in-jokes, anachronisms, or other material clearly inconsistent with use in a Trek Episode or Movie exist in the resource.
Deleting Invalid Articles In Whole or In Part
If a Trek Universe article contains nothing but information cited to other than valid resources, it may be listed on Memory Alpha:Votes for deletion and thereafter deleted in accordance with the then current deletion policy.
If a Trek Universe article contains information cited to other than valid resources, cites a valid resource that conflicts with another valid resource without clearly addressing the conflict, or contains excessive amounts of background or non-canon data (subject to the provision on Restricted Validity Resources and Initial Article Creation), the issue should be noted on the article's individual talk page. After a reasonable period of time for discussion, the article may be revised to include only appropriate citation to valid resources, appropriate notations as to conflicts among valid resources, and/or reduced levels of background or non-canon data. Prior to such reasonable time, and except in cases of vandalism, obscenity, and similar reasons, an article should not be edited to simply delete and/or modify the text.