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Memory Alpha
This page describes one of Memory Alpha's policies and guidelines

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.

Information from production materials (such as dialogue in scripts that was cut for the finished product) and reference materials (such as the Star Trek Encyclopedia) should be noted in the relevant article's background section, while information from official novels and similar publications should be included under an "apocrypha" section of the relevant article(s). More specific details and exceptions are below.

Article types

On Memory Alpha, we differentiate between two types of articles:

  • Trek universe articles or In-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.

Citations

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.

Trek Franchise articles should have citations as necessary, but the citations do not have to be to a valid resource.

Resources

Episodes and Films

This includes the following:

Articles should not be created for subjects that are not seen or heard of in an episode.

Valid Resources

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.

Production and Reference Materials

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.

(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

The only exceptions to the exclusion of production or reference material not seen on-screen from the main body of an article is for naming items or people that were seen on-screen but not referred to by name or for specifying the date of an event. For example, names such as Livingston and Neural were not mentioned on-screen, but are derived from production sources. As for dates, although the year 2333 was not specified on-screen as the year in which Jean-Luc Picard took command of the USS Stargazer, it was referenced in a production resource (namely, the TNG writer's bible). The addition of these bits of information is for the sake of completeness on the encyclopeda.

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.

Non-Canon Resources

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 production and reference materials above, relevant information should not be referenced in every possible article, but only in the most relevant one.

Invalid Resources

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.

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)

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, 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.

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