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What to base MA onEdit

The dilemma:

  • Memory Alpha is a reference source. We need to have a definitive set of source materials in order to provide a reliable set of information for fans.
  • But... Trek isn't worth much without its fan contributions. It's ultimately only what we make of it.
  • Not all fans have read or seen everything. Adding too much information in some articles would overdo things.

I think what we need is to have some kind of dividing line. Even though articles like James T. Kirk won't have blow-by-blow accounts of everything that happened. I'm not sure how feasible this would be, but I think that the canon episode articles need to be only canon. Other articles for novel or game stuff would be separate. Would that work? MinutiaeMan 20:38, 26 Nov 2003 (PST)

I think we should base Memory Alpha on strictly canon sources. Otherwise everything could very quickly dissolve into a chaos of uncontrollable facts and conjecture. But there is no problem with mentioning secondary (ie everything that is not a ST episode) sources strictly separated in an article. So you could have a normal, strictly canon article on James T. Kirk, with a section called something like Other adventures with things like "In Marvel Comics #212, Kirk fought a Bug Eyed Monster from another galaxy" (that's just an example of course ;)).
Harry 14:23, 29 Nov 2003 (PST)

The problem with that, however, is that once you start writing an "Other Adventures" section in Kirk's article, there will have to be wiki links to other relevant topics. Many of those articles will be based completely on non-canon info; and THAT'S where things will get confusing! -- MinutiaeMan 07:53, 12 Dec 2003 (PST)

Perhaps there's a compromise. I don't know enough about Wiki to say for sure, but is there a way to alter the color of text or something like that; that would allow the separation of cannon and non-cannon material within each article. Are there plans to cite every fact (i.e. Spock gave blood to Sarek [Journey To Babel]) If that's the case, then could citing be enough to distinguish?
Just some thoughts -- Thunderbyte 07:13, 16 Dec 2003 (EST)
Certainly, citing non-canon sources would be a necessary thing. I don't think the DITL-like text-coloring would really help in distinguising canon from non-canon. Anyway, at least for the foreseeable future, we'd like to limit MA to canon. Just to get a canon basis of information and a 'trusted' core of editors. In the future, we might open up to the entire expanded Trek universe. -- Harry 07:34, 16 Dec 2003 (PST)
Perhaps we could create seperate canon and non-canon sections. Have the cannon sources first and at the end of each article have links to that charcters non-cannon section. And at the begenning of each non-cannon article have a link to the cannon article. That is if the software will allow us to do this.
- tiepilottillard1701 17:26, 16 Dec 2003 (PST)

State of canonEdit

July 2004: Memory Alpha's article namespace is still free of most all non-canon. However, apocryphal (non-canon) data is still being included in articles, in separate sections. This keeps the pages informative, but makes a clear distinction what is the article and what is not. Meta articles (those about Trek from a real life or production perspective, abound, and remain informative and fairly non-biased and neutral.

As this wiki's editing continues, there are a few places where the ever growing and changing Memory Alpha:Canon policy are being tested. I'll list them, in case anyone wishes to continue discussions about them (if you follow a link and post on a talk page, put a link back to it here please so that archivists may keep up with the discussion, sign with 3 or 4 tildes if you please ('~~~' '~~~~')).

  • The writings of Rick Sternbach
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual is pretty well accepted as a canonical data source around here. After about season four of TNG, the producers pretty much accorded this manual "factual status." Latter season dialogue is peppered with technical quotations that are usually lifted directly from this manual by producers and scriptwriters alike. However, we have usually not referenced the manual in completion, we have simply used data from it which referenced canonical articles (example: we have used TNG TM data in the type 15 shuttlepod article because the shuttlepod depicted in the book was seen in canon oncreen appearance, but we haven't created new articles for type-9a cargo shuttle and type-16 shuttlepod). However, starship data from the manual transfers over differently. We recognize USS Hokkaido with an article without an oncreen mention. Does this mean we should include equipment, aforementioned shuttles and species information from the Tech Manuals? Sternbach's other works are in issue:
      • USS Gih'lan has been deleted, since it was not canonically mentioned, it was only mentioned in an article Sternbach wrote for Star Trek: The Magazine. However, we still have USS Hauck from a different writing in the same source? Should we recognize both, or neither?
  • The writings of Franz Joseph
    • Star Fleet Technical Manual This is topically a similar situation. Technical information, but this book was commissioned, not made by production personnel. However, it was regarded with canonical consideration and honored onscreen with similar references as its TNG descendant. However, bad business dealing between Gene Roddenberry and F.J. made Roddenberry bitter to the point where, the next time Roddenberry had creative control of a Trek production, he instruction technical and creative staffs to not only disregard this, but to attempt to disprove this. So we are bound to honor the later canonical references and disregard anything that has been disproven. However, there is some resistance to including neutral (unproven but uncontradicted) technical data from here (such as tech and history on USS Columbia and such..).. One point I argued was the existence of the Cygnus-class, however I am willing to admit now that a more neutral interpretation might be required under current policy (the actual TM is ambivalent on these 'subclasses' so interpretation is possible, but not desirable in an attempt to remain unbiased...). I'll withdraw one of my edits about that class that has been the center of a factual accuracy dispute.
  • The writings and graphics of Michael Okuda and company.
    • OK, Okuda wrote the Star Trek Encyclopedia and Star Trek Chronology and is a great artistic influence on all post movie era productions. However, he was a little careless in "filling in the blanks" in his writings and illustrations. Many of the registries, biographies and techology he has been responsible for have been disproven by dialogue and later references. They are a rough estimate only, and many of the silly registry problems and unreferenced class names which frequently turn contradictory are from his judicious "rethinking" of trying to fill blanks that might have been better left blank. However, we keep most of his registries and ship info, simply because no contradiction would ever be offered by a canonical production. The creative staff honors all his lists (even when they are typos...).
    • The registry numbers of the Constitution-class.. Okuda used the FASA registries derived from Greg Jein's really silly "Court Martial" chart reading that was published in fanzines in the 70s. One of the main reasons he did this, was that the studio wanted F. Joseph's book disproven, so none of his registries were desirable to use. This site sometimes uses them in article bodies, sometimes does not. Would we like to see the Okuda numbers recognized as official article-space, or restrict all of them to footnotes..
    • I found some Excelsior studio model pics labeled USS Hood NCC-2541. This indicates that Okuda must've completely missed the ILM use of the model for early TNG appearances, because he assigned it the registry NCC-42296 commonly seen in the mission status charts, and such. Since the Hood was accidentally labeled with Lakota's registry in its CGI appearances, the commonly accepted 42296 has possibly never been seen onscreen!

I'm being an agitator here, it's been weeks since there's been discussion about the canon issues in these articles. (some might percieve this treatment as "uneven" since i'm taking a few different positions on the ways these articles have evolved. I think i'm testing the boundaries and it pays for me to be a little unpredictable when debating here, since some of these debates are quite useful in determining future content... )--Captain Mike K. Bartel 01:09, 20 Jul 2004 (CEST)

A question here... (Stoney3K) Edit

Should we include a separate section (possibly under [[Trekkies]] or [[Star Trek Fandom]]) to include several fan-made series and maybe an RPG index of some sort? If we put it under a separate set of articles, we needn't make any changes to the existing articles as they are now, only possibly a few edits where canon characters are being used in fan fiction, and even those can be left out if not wanted, and we still can cover the entire "large" Star Trek universe.

For the foreseeable future, no. It's hard enough trying to fill in the enormous amount of data that will be given for canon sources, let alone what would happen if we were to allow that. Everyone is familiar with the canonical sources, but adding non-canon would lead to accuracy problems and problems distinguishing between canon and non-canon. Therefore, Memory Alpha is restricted to canon articles, with the exception of Meta-Trek articles on the books, comics etc. (restricted only to the items themselves, and not data points emerging from them). We're starting to see apocrypha creep in as it is, which I'm not particularly happy about, since that then begets the question of what can be added in that area. -- Michael Warren | Talk 20:28, Aug 11, 2004 (CEST)

Contradicting canonical information?Edit

What if two canonical information contradict each other? Which one should be used in the main body of an article? The one that was more prominently featured in an episode or the one that makes more sense? And what about canonical information that isn't contradicted by anyhting but we know it is based on an error/oversight.--62.46.68.31 22:56, 20 Feb 2005 (GMT)

If both bits of information are equally valid (both really are first-hand information, no speculation or assumptions based on such info), then use both and make note of that discrepancy in a short comment (an indented and italicized paragraph) without adding too much own speculation. -- Cid Highwind 23:03, 20 Feb 2005 (GMT)

Star Trek: The Experience? Edit

The video segment in Star Trek: The Experience was filmed under the official 'rules' of canon, does this mean that the events or at least refrences in Star Trek: The Experience are canon? Especially due to the fact that the Klingon time-travel scientest Korath appears in both the Experience and "Endgame" (VOY).

Non Canon vs. Semi Cannon vs. Apocrypha (moved from Memory Alpha:Ten Forward) Edit

Do we distinguish between Apocryphal material (disproved by onscreen evidence) and Non-Canon material (unsupported by on-screen evidence)? For example fans called the Reliant 'Avenger Class' = Apocrypha. Various computer games gave names and registery numbers to ships of this class = non-canon.

Furthermore, what do we with background material that was written and utilized by the production team, but not see on film? Here I'm thinking of the background alien descriptions in ST:TMP and ST:IV.

As far as I know, apocrpyha and non-canon sources are one as the same. As for background info, that can be added to the article, but it mst be seperated from the rest of the text, indented, and italicized. For large amounts of background info, a "Background" section in the article will be necessary. I hope this helps.
In the meantime, I think this question would be better suited for Ten Forward, as the reference desk is for questions pertaining to incidents within the Trek universe. Hope this helps, too. :) --From Andoria with Love 07:28, 4 Jan 2006 (UTC)
Yes the term "apocrypha", by the dictionary definition, means "anything not in canon." However, there is a divide in apocrypha, into two types:
  • licensed works - this means a work licensed by Paramount to use the Star Trek name -- ideally, i feel only licensed comics, novels, collectibles and games should be put into the articles those words link to.
  • unlicensed works - this refers to fan fiction, fan film, fan publishing, etc.. -- these books are unlicensed and unauthorized. Many will say so, such as a critical review or fanzine. Some have been sued or at least stopped production because Paramount forbids companies or persons from earning profit of the copyright to the name and marks of Star Trek. This is an area MA is just starting to examine.
I think its an important distinction to make. -- Captain Mike K. Barteltalk

Policy suggestionsEdit

I'd like to add a note to the policy here about licensed sources that are not considered "valid resources" on this site:

  • If an addition to a MA article is determined to be non-canon by discussion, or is admittedly from a source that is part of the licensed media we catalog here (novels, games, comics, etc.) -- it should probably be removed from the page, or moved to an apocrypha section. Since we have been adding lists of references directly to individual novels entries and so forth, this lessens the need for non-canon to interfere in the main articles -- the apocrypha section of USS Intrepid, for example, would not have to list details to the appearance of that ship in novels -- it would only list a link back to the novel, and the non-canon USS Intrepid should be defined there.
  • This could lead to the creation of some kind of boilerplate to place your links in -- a small box or browser at the bottom of USS Intrepid could disclaim that all other appearances of the ship are non-canon, and then list them accordingly.
  • In cases of a repeated addition of a non-canon subject, a disambiguation could be created to direct the user to both a canon policy explanation, and a list of links to novels or other media -- basically, when a user intending to add non-canon information goes to USS Jupiter, for example, there will be an explanation that we aren't creating an article with that name, but the jupiter was listed in more than one licensed resource and a definition for it should be placed there. If a subject appears in only one work, the disallowed article could be a redirect back to the game or novel it was mentioned it -- for example USS Sentinel (NCC-1733-B) redirects back to the game it appeared in.

Also, I consider some of the discussions on this talk page to have come to some conclusions about how this policy works -- i'd like to change the text of the policy page to reflect Cid's discussion below, i feel some good conclusions have been made and can be added to the policy, since they are moderately already in effect over the site. -- Captain Mike K. Barteltalk 17:49, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Canon Policy on the Technical ManualsEdit

I think Memory Alpha should come up with a canon policy on the Tech. Manuals now, because I've encountered some problems concerning these books recently. (See Defiant-class page -> Warhead). Ottens 11:50, 29 Jun 2004 (CEST)

Canon?Edit

I have to admit that any attempt to redefine canon (or even define something like semi-canon) gives me a major headache. ;) I know I am arguing semantics here, but I think we shouldn't try to define various shades of canon (the article "canon should suffice), but instead concentrate on defining the ressources that are accepted by MA.

My suggestion would be to combine sections 1-3 into one paragraph stating that Memory Alpha is accepting everything canon, and additionally "official" material (reference works, interviews etc.) in the Background section of any article. -- Cid Highwind 10:35, 5 Feb 2004 (PST)

Perhaps 'semi-canon' was a bad choice for the title of that section (I'll fix it now), but we need to have a firm and clear statement about what Memory Alpha considers canon, since that is the point of the Policy article. The FAQ already says that everything in MA is canon, but how can we say that if we don't clearly state what is and isn't canon? Canon itself isn't all too clear about it, especially since it says that TAS is non-canon, yet we regard it as canon. See the dilemma? And it isn't redefining what canon is (since it follows the Paramount definition (excepting TAS)), simply clarifying. I take it you don't actually disagree with the divisions I've made, but rather the style? -- DarkHorizon 10:51, 5 Feb 2004 (PST)
What I mean is that, to use your example, we essentially shouldn't accept TAS as canon, but accept TAS as a valid resource although it is not canon. This might sound like a minor difference, but helps avoid confusion, I think. Thus, we should define the term canon in exactly one place (the article canon; official definition), and then use this page (perhaps even under a different name), to explain what resources we do or do not accept. -- Cid Highwind 11:52, 5 Feb 2004 (PST)
Hmmm. I see what you're getting at. Perhaps a simple change is required. 'What is considered a valid resource' and 'What is not considered a valid resource', perhaps? Something other than using the word 'canon'? - DarkHorizon 12:13, 5 Feb 2004 (PST)
Much better. ;) -- Cid Highwind 13:53, 5 Feb 2004 (PST)

In addition, I think I should probably wait for Dan or Harry before proceeding any further with changes. I've already made the valid/non-valid changes, but I'd best stop before I rewrite the whole rulebook, and I've only been a sysop for a day... :D -- DarkHorizon 12:25, 5 Feb 2004 (PST)

Hmm, this is difficult. I think I agree with Cid's suggestion to "accept TAS as valid but not canon." That would be most compatible with the Encyclopedia and Chronology. However, to my knowledge there's not much that contradicts later shows outright (with a few unusual exceptions). If anyone wants to dispute that, that's fine by me -- I'm not the foremost knowledge on TAS. ;-) At any rate, I think that TAS is something that, as a TV series produced by many of the same people involved in TOS, it deserves special exception.
As far as other references are concerned, maybe what we need to do is develop a hierarchy of the types of resources, going further than the episodes, the scripts, the references, the background books, and so forth. But what DarkHorizon's added so far looks good, concerning the differences between Trek universe and Trek franchise.
I've just thought of a new potential section for many articles... what if we had a header for "rationalization" in addition to "background"? Just a thought there, but that might help explain some things in certain circumstances. Either that, or let the genie out of the bottle for every random fanboy's theory on some obscure techie tidbit. Maybe that's not such a good idea after all. Anyway, this looks like it's starting to take shape. :-) -- Dan Carlson 18:29, 5 Feb 2004 (PST)

I've run into what I see as a minor stumbling block. The main 'Trek' entries (the ones viewed as 'in' the Trek universe) must be canon, with non-canon facts corralled into the 'background' sections, out of the main body. In this way, we can include large amounts of non-canon info about canon articles, without disrupting the article's canonical sanctity.. but what if it is an article that is completely unreferenced by canon trek. I just wrote Mackenzie Calhoun, but limited myself to only wiki linking titles that were canonical.. yet when i ported over to novels i found the titles of every NF book were wiki linked.. should I wiki link the titles of other non-canon licensed works (like comics) and then, furthermore, how important does a non-canon person place or thing have to be to deserve an article.. i believe Calhoun qualifies (read the article) but should there be an article on his non-canon homeworld and species, and new command?

No, there should not. The Calhoun article shouldn't really be there either. His only mentions are non-canon, and therefore not valid for inclusion. A 'Meta'-Trek article on Star Trek: New Frontier would be the best place to include that information.
A non-canon person would have to have a mention in canon/TAS to get an article. Simple as.
The novel articles are 'meta'-Trek, (see the Millennium article for a developing example), purely from the perspective of them being novels, and not 'real Trek' events; they would not link to places/people that are only in the novels. You should link comics if they are important, for example, a Meta-Trek article on The Mirror Universe Saga or theThe Worst of All Worlds arc would be good to have.
In addition, the non-canon mentions in canon articles should be strictly limited, such as Event/person/ship x is expanded on in the non-canon game/novel/etc. y, but not whole paragraphs describing the involvement of said event/person/ship in that game/novel/etc..-- Michael Warren 18:54, 16 May 2004 (CEST)
well, i defend the Calhoun article as 'Meta-Trek' because of his status of crossing over into comic and toy media, but i agree, that sounds like a decent policy concerning other non-canon articles being started, they would become a clutter here.. --Captainmike 02:39, 17 May 2004 (CEST)
I agree with Michael here - the Calhoun article is definitely not Meta-Trek. To qualify as such, an article mustn't describe persons/objects that are a part of the Trek universe. Articles about episodes, novels, actors writers etc. are Meta-Trek. An article about a non-canon character is not. I'd also like to repeat what Michael said in his last paragraph. Non-canon backgrounds of canon articles should be very limited. We don't need a complete sub-article spanning several paragraphs for that. -- Cid Highwind 11:33, 17 May 2004 (CEST)
I agree with Michael and Cid, that the definition of "meta-Trek" articles does not include non-canon character descriptions. The article on Calhoun is definitely well written, but it simply doesn't fit with what Memory Alpha is supposed to include at this point in time. Mike, I'd definitely suggest that you hold on to a copy of the article for future reference, because I think there may come a day when we start accepting articles of that sort. That just isn't going to happen right now, though. -- Dan Carlson 17:24, 17 May 2004 (CEST)
That is a shame really. My thoughts on the issue: One can never have to much information. If info isn't fit for mention in the article body, we move it to background. But if it isn't even fit for background, what then? I suggest the Talk pge (or maybe even a new kind of sub-page for every article, but that may prove to difficult). Just add whatever info you think is relevant, and have the reader make out for himself/herself what he/she wants to read or not. Of course things would clutter up fairly quickly if just anything is allowed, but for a suggestion: info like that of Calhoun could be added to a special talk page (of fan-fic for example).
In any case, don't just throw info away! Gather every bit you can find, even if it isn't fit for MA yet. A day may come when it is relevant. As long as you mention clearly that info isn't canon or official, there's no harm in mentioning it anyway, as long as it doesn't get in the way. You have to give people the whole story, or they will have to look for it elsewhere. And our goal of course is also to be complete. That includes non-canon info.
Anyway, I have an idea for how to display this extra material. Check Ten Forward. I'll continue the discussion there. -- Redge 11:02, 15 Jun 2004 (CEST)


I have one suggestion. It might be simpler to accept everything thats been approved by paramount unless something on screen contradicts it. As I recall some time ago Paramount gave a statement to that effect, giving the novels a cannonized status unless something on screen proved the information false. These now non-cannon novels were then placed on an alternate reality status. Now I understand that this might make it difficult to pour through all the volumes of Star Trek history thats been printed, which I think many people would be willing to assist with, but I think it would give Memory Alpha a more comprehensive source of information and give the writers credit for their work. The preceding unsigned comment was added by Cpt Kaziarl Nanaki (talk • contribs).
That's what Memory Beta is for. They take all licensed material and have created a wiki covering that. The big issue for MA is that a number of the novels, while well-written contradict each other, and a number either contradict or have been contradicted by on-screen material. And that's a problem that we don't want to deal with... so we've chosen to stick to just the on-screen material. -- Sulfur 14:31, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Unclear itemsEdit

I think a decision finally has to be made regarding the tech manuals and Star Charts, as info seems to be slowly creeping into usage. So, a sort of community poll:

  • Other sources (such as publications or interviews) by Okuda, Sternbach and Drexler (authors of above, TNG and DS9 tech manuals) (this section may apply to all published Trek staffers: Gene Roddenberry, Jeri Taylor, etc)
    • Star Trek Encyclopedia: only recognize starship class information and registries devised here (or relayed from behind-the-scenes), disregard the unnecessary speculations and poor research --Captain Mike K. Bartel
    • Only recognize materials authored during or after their involvement with the shows (eliminating Drexler's fandom days Officer's Manual and Goldstein/Sternbach's 70s era Spaceflight Chronology (this might be a grey area, Sternbach wrote it during TMP production) --Captain Mike K. Bartel
    • Ignore references contradicted onscreen, however individual data points seem to all require discussion at this point. Example: Some data from Sternbach's magazine articles have been mostly shot down (USS Gih'lan), but some are still here (USS Hauck), etc. --Captain Mike K. Bartel
  • Star Trek Star Charts
    • Do not permit as valid - too many contradictions with canon/non-canon speculation. -- Michael Warren
    • Include data from Star Charts in Background section, though, as notation, but not in article bodies unless proven by filmed evidence. -- Captain Mike K. Bartel
  • Scripts and "behind the scenes" material (drafts, designs, unreleased footage)
    • Use if not canonically contradicted, may require discussion if an info was cut because it is contradictory --Captain Mike K. Bartel
    • What about TOS/Movie area behind the scenes events that are highly unlikely in the current perspective, like Arcturians being cloners (contradicts tng era federation policy, or Nomad being launched in 2002 (oubviously didn't happen in the real world)? Should these be treated more critticly than other behind the scenes info?-- User:Dog with meat

Anything to add to the above can be done, please sign contributions to the list with three tildes. -- Michael Warren 20:54, 11 Jun 2004 (CEST)

That all looks good to me. It's pretty much what we've been doing anyway. ;-) -- Dan Carlson 21:36, 14 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I agree on everything I see. Feel free to reword or discuss anything I added --Captain Mike K. Bartel 23:34, 14 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I won't comment on each of those items seperately, because my opinion is the same for all of them. In my opinion, none of this information should simply appear in the main section of an article. It's fine if it is included seperately, whether it is using an inline note (indented italics), the existing Appendices/Background subsection or another, yet to be defined, style (subpages, as suggested by Redge, for example).
My main reason for this is the fact that new Trek is still being produced, and we all should be aware that this information is not being used in that process. Much of the Star Charts info already has been contradicted (some of it was erroneous right from the start), for example. This means that such 'second class' (for lack of a better term, not trying to judge its quality) information might be contradicted at any time, in which case we would have to constantly check and rewrite our articles.
Additionally, the availability of such information has to be considered. I guess each one of us has near-instant access to a good part of all Trek episodes, which makes it fairly easy to check information presented here. The same can't be said about other resources. Not only were some of them only published in the US (I think), others even are out of print.
Third and last, but definitely not least: Do we really want to have a policy that allows info from this book but not from that book, a little bit from this interview but nothing from that scene cut from the movie? The result of this discussion should be a short and understandable rule, not a long list of exceptions and special regulations for each and every publication. -- Cid Highwind 12:41, 15 Jun 2004 (CEST)
My opinion is that we Trek fans are used to complexity. I don't think it's a huge problem to have complex rules concerning various publications, as long as they're clearly spelled out and we have a vigilant member base keeping an eye on articles.
Concerning the availability of the various resources, IMO the whole POINT of Memory Alpha is to make the information from those kinds of less-well-known resources available to a wider fan base. Of course this partially conflicts with the canon policy, I know, but that's not necessarily a reason to not include the stuff. -- Dan Carlson 15:14, 15 Jun 2004 (CEST)
It's not only the complexity I'm afraid of, it's also the idea of something that arbitrary that I don't like. If we decide that one publication should, but another publication should not be included, we can do it for two reasons: a)' because we like the first, but not the second, or b) because an underlying, small set of rules tells us that the first one is appropriate while the second one is not.
Reason a) is itself clearly inappropriate for a neutral encyclopedia, and if it is reason b), we should try to spell out that underlying set of rules instead of listing its outcome.
Regarding conflicts with the canon policy, I can only repeat my opinion. What I especially liked when I first visited MA was its clear policy regarding non-canon material: only canon, nothing else. In my opinion, this is a big part of what makes MA so special - to be able to trust the information on this page. We shouldn't compromise that by allowing such conflicts; the least we should do is to separate this information. -- Cid Highwind 16:54, 15 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I also have come to expect (and enjoy contributing) to the canon-only atmosphere of MA, but at some point you must include information that the creators themselves used as reference. For a while, it seemed that the creators were willing to disregard old filmed data, but would latch right onto any ideas from the 'offical texts' This was true of the Franz Joseph material that made it onscreen, this is even more true of the Sternbach & co. Tech Manuals.. the TNG TM made such an impact that many stories focused on cencepts presented there, such as the saucer landing scenario, escape pods, and captain's yachts. All of these seemed to be introduced based on their original invention in that text. This is why we must determine the relevance of these sources now. The type 18 shuttlepod article wouldn't have a name if Tech Manual data points werent allowed. I think that a lot of what everybody thinks that they know about canonical facts isnt derived directly from the screen as they think.
However, including all "licensed" works would be a free for all. That's why we are drawing these lines. I don't want to see entries from obscure novels and comics just yet, not without some solid division (like a subsection). The creators of the show have always used the concept of canon to avoid answering to the whims of media that are beyond their control (like licensed games, novels and comics).. however, the references they themselves create are not out of their control, they give and have given them massive amounts of credence and i feel we are responsible for doing the same, in a responsible manner. --Captain Mike K. Bartel 17:10, 15 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I have to agree with Cid, that Memory Alpha's goal first and foremost should be to become a provider of clear and accurate canon information. So far, we've done pretty well, but there are some ways that we can improve on that issue. (What we're discussing now is the best way to do that, IMO.) However, I also agree with Mike, in that a lot of the background information that was created by the production people and writers and never made it onto the screen. For lack of a better description, this stuff could be called "official" but not "canon." (This includes stuff like the TNG:TM and DS9:TM, among others.)
I think we're all on the same page here, though. We just need to come up with a way to accurately define the policy. -- Dan Carlson 21:01, 15 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I put up a policy suggestion here. Much of it is reused from the existing canon policy. I tried to restrict myself to three different categories of resources: Valid, Invalid and Restricted (anything between the first two). I still think we shouldn't get any more detailed/complicated than that. The suggested policy allows to include any information from "official reference works" as long as a) the subject was mentioned in canon Trek at least once and b) it appears in a somehow separated section or note. This should satisfy both those that want to have their information as complete as possible (read everything) as well as those that want their information as "canon" as possible (read only main text without indented parts). What do you think? -- Cid Highwind 20:45, 16 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I've made a couple of minor additions and clarifications to the policy, and (more importantly) added a section to the Manual of Style concerning background information and notes. Also, I came up with (IMO) better names for the two types of articles: "Trek Universe" and "Trek Franchise" articles. (I never exactly liked the term "meta-Trek", myself. -- Dan Carlson 02:17, 17 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I would like, once again, to suggest the /extra page concept. In practice it would mean that much more background data can be allowed, but that is seperated from the original article and displayed on a seperate page. E.G.: When writing an article about the Redge-class, you write only a few lines which state that Data mentioned it once during long hours of his ceaseless babling, then creat a Redge-class/extra page where you cite the Yet-Another-TM 's official specs and data on the Redge-class. This way, people who want their info complete can visit the page, while people who want their info canon can only read the article itself. -- Redge 11:27, 17 Jun 2004 (CEST)


I think that Computer games & books should be allowed to be used, but put as non-canon. There should be a section of the article that has the non-canon information, but it should be labeled like this:

"The Following information is NOT canon."

Articles about non canon subjects should be allowed, but there should be a notice stating that it is non canon. Luke80 - 23/7/2004.

I disagree, I do not believe that we should clutter this site up with worthless information. We should be sticking to what is said and seen in episodes and films. I appreciate that fans like to expand the Star Trek universe for themselves, but that doesn't mean that a Miranda-class Starship is suddenly X metres long just because some guy on a website said so. Alex Peckover 09:12, Jul 23, 2004 (CEST)
That's great in theory, but in practice you end up with problems like Mackenzie Calhoun mentioned above. This isn't some guy on a website—it's an officially licensed series of novels, included in several other cross-show novel series, with toys for God's sake, that nevertheless isn't officially canon. I do agree that we shouldn't accept J. Random Trekkie's opinion just because he can write in wikicode, but there's a good amount of almost-canon material out there that we ought to cover. —Brent Dax 10:04, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Well, I'm pretty satisfied with the solution I've come up with -- if you look at novels and comics articles like The Wounded Sky, After the Fall, Star Trek: Titan or Enterprise Log 1, you see there is plenty of room to include descriptions about non-canon topics and ideas -- but they are restricted from being mixed with canon data in the main articles -- for example, "The Wounded Sky" has a description of the replacement USS Intrepid, with links to other appearances of the ship in novels, but without confusing the reader by adding a large chunk of non-canon text to the "USS Intrpeid" article itself -- keeping it "pure" if you will -- the article will only contain the canon data, with a possible small background section with links to the non-canon extra info.
Perhaps we could even design a template, a browser or attention tag that would be like "Further information" and have a link to a description of the canon policy, and a link to all novels and comics that mention a USS Intrepid -- thereby allowing us to remove all noncanon info from the article, except for the links to the various other USS Intrepids from novels, and easily inform the reader about why novels are separate. -- Captain Mike K. Barteltalk

Deleted scenes? Edit

Is information from deleted scenes seen as canon? --Defiant | Talk 23:36, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

I'm not exactly sure myself. We have several articles like USS Hemingway, USS Ticonderoga, Martin Madden, and Denab system, mostly from deleted scenes from Star Trek Nemesis. However, the scenes also claim Beverly Crusher left to head Starfleet Medical, and I've been adamant about keeping that as background information in Crusher's article. To be fair, all of the aforementioned articles are clearly tagged as coming from deleted scenes... -- SmokeDetector47 // talk 02:50, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
I've made lks to Deleted scene. That will give us a place to compile them as well as another place to address the issue. Jaf 16:20, 26 April 2006 (UTC)Jaf
It's a delicate debate because there were many production ressources that were accepted. The problem here is that there are 2 categories of deleted scenes : those refused because the producers changed their minds and those deleted because of time consideration or rythm of the episode. The fact that the Hemingway towed the critically-damaged Enterprise-E to drydock doesn't conflict with the universe and could be easily added in a new version of the film, other ressources (books...) probably refer to the Hemingay in that way because it was decided so by the production staff. The fact that Crusher leaves the ship for Starfleet Medical could result as a production decision that it should better not be stated in case of a futur movie, as Sulu who takes the command of the Excelsior in an early movie (don't know which). So the distinction is very hard, I'm hoping a future DVD version will include them (some DVD enable to include directly deleted scenes in a movie or not) - Philoust123 14:39, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Phase IIEdit

I have been working under the impression that info from the unmade series Star Trek: Phase II is non-canon, and I have marked Xon (Spock 2.0 for those of you not familiar) for deletion. Do we have an official policy on Phase II? Jaz 22:28, 8 Jan 2006 (UTC)

Update to Canon PolicyEdit

Below are the two current suggestions for a new "canon policy". I personally believe that it would be more productive to just work on one instead. As suggested somewhere below, this could be achieved by first working on "Suggestion 1" until that one captures all the fine points of our current "inofficial code of conduct", then, in a second step, try to find the best phrasing for that. If possible, try to merge the two suggestions somehow, and please don't create more suggestions... -- Cid Highwind 13:32, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Suggestion 1Edit

Suggestion 1 commentsEdit

Over a year ago Cid Highwind posted a policy suggestion here. Given some recent discussions I have had as regards how we know what we know about the Trek universe (see the discussion pages on Earth-Romulan War and Picard family album), I feel it is important to update the Canon Policy to clarify what counts - and does not count - as valid source material. Whether that is resurrecting and updating Cid's, starting with a new one, or something else altogether, something is needed to be proposed, finalized, and - where necessary - enforced by editors. I have only been active on this site for a little over a month, and already I am weary of endless discussions of what should count as valid sources solely because of a lack of clear guidance on the issue. I am willing to invest some time on it if it would make any difference; as an attorney I understand something of the process of establishing the relative weight and admissibility of evidence. But I'm also willing to simply comment on someone else's work. I would just like something to be final and conclusive, inasmuch as is possible, so we can move on with the task of working to better the site. Aholland 20:58, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

That's a very good idea. Since the suggestion you linked to is a slightly rephrased version of the one that already exists, with some "inofficial" guidelines added in that were valid at that time (and probably still are), it might be the most viable option to "resurrect and update" that one. I did some minor cleanup already (no content change), the rest could be discussed here, if necessary. If anything this policy regulates has already been discussed and decided elsewhere (although I can't think of anything special at the moment), link to the relevant discussion here. -- Cid Highwind 21:16, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm up for an update of the policy. Allow me to chime in on what I believe should be allowed as valid sources. For the purposes of this wiki, I think any and all production info made for a production, regardless of whether they were seen, should be considered valid resources, so long as they are IDENTIFIED as not having been seen or used (i.e. in italics or as background info) and so long as it does not interfere with any concrete, established canon information. This seems to have been the accepted standard at least for the past several months. Otherwise, we're gonna have a lot of deletions/revisions to make. That said, had such work not already been put into the inclusion of production info, I probably would agree to leave it out. And that's all I gotta say about that... for now. ;) --From Andoria with Love 22:20, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Which unseen production info has been accepted, and is it really that widespread? Has there been any form of discussion about these inclusions? Some links would help, because simply allowing "any and all" production info seems a little much to me, especially in the light of just having had a discussion where the final consensus apparently was to not use all "production info".
However, I'd like to start small and add to the policy that scripts are considered valid resources regarding any spelling issues, as far as this "script spelling" is not overruled by on-screen evidence. -- Cid Highwind 22:37, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Plus, as a recent comment on another page reminds me: I think that production resources of objects seen on-screen should be considered valid: for example, some display graphic that was definitely seen, but not legible. If we have access to a higher-quality version of the same graphic, we should be allowed to use that. I don't know if that is what Shran means, perhaps? -- Cid Highwind 22:42, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I support a hierarchy of validity, however, I think we should remain critical, adaptable and democratic. Jaf 22:51, 14 February 2006 (UTC)Jaf
Among the unseen production info I speak of are Aaamazzarite, Zaranite, and Thomas Vanderbilt, just to name a few. Also, I do have a higher-quality version of the graphic used in the show, which I will upload as soon as I am finished with my "rounds" (going through the recent changes). --From Andoria with Love 00:28, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Proposed Canon Policy
In an effort to help the cause, I've taken Cid Highwind's proposal of last year, updated it based on recent discussions and this page, and placed it here. Please feel free to review and comment on it. If nothing else, it can be a forum for discussion of what does and doesn't work. Aholland 03:13, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

I'd like to question novels, games and comics being lumped in as completely unreferenceable (as opposed to official reference works) -- a number of articles have benefitted because a novel has named an unnamed character or starship, as long as this information is kept completely in the background subsection or paragraph (not the main in-POV article body). As far as fan fiction, I agree that those particular reference works or other media should be referenced as little as possible -- possibly not from canon, in-POV articles at all. (The wording is obviously lacking, it mentions publishers Titan (UK), Simon & Schuster, and Pocket, but leaves out Decipher and Ballantine, Bantam, DC, Heyne, etc. -- all of these companies (and more) have been allowed to publish under the name "Star Trek").
The thrust of that old policy statement was originally to discourage both non-canon and fan fiction from being included as in-POV article data, obviously we've made no doubts known on our policy that no information from a novel or game should end up in the article body or be treated as canon. I think that anything that has a relevant history in licensed non-canon publications (i.e. novels,comics,games,reference works,collectibles) should be footnoted as such. Kind of like a "further reading" list. If there's a starship that's been featured in 5 novels and 2 comic series, that would be an extra couple of line of comma separated links -- and non-canon references don't need to be expounded upon, even in the background section body.
By recommending a form now, it could prevent a lot of future disputes about how to deal with users adding non-canon info -- it would be a simple addition by a copyeditor that non-canon info should be and has been removed to another location. -- Captain M.K. Barteltalk 03:37, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Interesting. I'll put something in and people can see whether they like it. Aholland 04:12, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm impressed with the Proposed Canon Policy. Two suggestions; 1) The stlye of hierarchy in the Valid Resource section should also be used in the Restricted Validity Resources section. As these need not be exclusive, an overall hierarchy of validity can easily be created. 2) A middle ground exist unoffically between things deemed "legitimate in-article citation" and things deemed "background information", this is done by way of in-article text that is indented and in italics, this should be continued and accounted for. Jaf 04:34, 15 February 2006 (UTC)Jaf

Thanks - I appreciate your kind words and your ideas. It's a little late tonight, so it might not be my finest work, but take a look at the update in a few minutes. Aholland 04:59, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I have not yet had the chance to go through every single part of the policy (although, I must say, it looks very professional -- which is hardly surprising taking into account who wrote it). However, I will say this (again): Any policy involving the complete removal of information created for production but dismissed because it just wasn't seen (either clearly, or at all) should be removed. If it isn't, then we can say good-bye to, oh, just off the top of my head:
  1. Aaamazzarite
  2. Arcturian
  3. Betelgeusian
  4. Betelgeuse II
  5. It's Federation Day!
  6. K'normian
  7. Kazar
  8. Kazarite
  9. Natha Kell
  10. Megarite
  11. O'Ryan's Planet
  12. Georges Picard
  13. Rhaandarite
  14. Rigellian
  15. Sarahd
  16. Sauria
  17. Saurian
  18. Shamin
  19. Solar News Network
  20. Thomas Vanderbilt
  21. Titus Cleet
  22. T'Jen
  23. USS Hawk
  24. Zaran II
  25. Zaranite
Obviously, this is only a select few of the pages that would be affected or even removed by any new policy restricting unseen background information. The fact that it was not seen is unimportant; the fact that the production staff took the time to make the information is, as that means, regardless of whether it was seen or not, it was there all the same. Deleting all these articles is simply out of the question. Keep in mind, this is a wiki for all things Trek; we're striving for completeness here.
Also, anything suggesting that a certain part of an episode or film has to go because it contradicts with something else and is therefore considered "invalid" has got to go, for obvious reasons. There should be no argument that anything clearly shown on-screen is canon and valid.
Lastly, as for the historical archive image: obviously, the individual who supplied us with the image wishes to remain anonymous for personal reasons. We're gonna have to accept that. Like it or not, however, this is what appeared – appeared, mind you – in the episode, and we have to deal with it. Pushing it to the side as though it never existed is, obviously, not an option. --From Andoria with Love 15:22, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

I appreciate your listing those - I'll take a look at them for context, as it is not my intention to have a clearer policy result in wholesale deletions. On the artwork you were able to get (if you have more you should consider posting them as a group on an image site - very rare and very nice), my point was that had it been a consistent, thoughtfully prepared piece, I would have gladly accepted the dates and facts - even if they didn't quite fit with my existing understanding. But I think as a practical matter it was thrown together hastily and was intended as mere background in the Mirror episode. I submit it shouldn't be relied on too much as guidance for canon. Aholland 20:15, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Okay, he's the thing. First off, this canon policy is waaay too long; the way it is now, I doubt many would take the time to sit and read it. It's probably longer than any of our other policy pages. As Tim told me on the IRC, "Too much policy is (usually) a bad thing." Is there a way we can slim this down a bit, and put it in simpler terms? That said... is a new canon policy really necessary at all? All we really needed to do was establish that unseen background information is not acceptable for the main part of the article, and for the record, I don't believe this new one settles the Tech Manual issue. The previous canon policy, with the exception of defining that unseen background material is not acceptable, worked just fine; I don't really see any need to drag it on like that. Note that I'm not saying it's badly written; it's very well done and very detailed. But it's just a bit too much.
That said... I oppose any change in the policy that discounts anything seen on-screen, anything contained within deleted scenes, and anything contained within official scripts and other documents (i.e. backstage notes). I am not sure whether the information of It's Federation Day! counts in this respect, but it would be great if it does. But, as I said, I oppose any policy that discounts these items, and since this new policy can't move forward unless all issues are resolved. (At least, I think that's how this works -- that's how it should work anyway). Besides, the thing that needs to be kept in mind is that the POV is In-universe; it doesn't matter whether we can see it, but whether the crew can see it. --From Andoria with Love 00:51, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
I "concur" with most of what Shran said (including the quoting). The proposed policy reads a little too much like a "contract" with invariable loopholes and stuff (not a lawyer, sorry). Aholland did take a lot of time with his proposal, and it's a good read, but I don't think there was much need for such a thorough "upheaval." There's the old addage of "if it ain't broke don't fix it" and other than the supposed "Tech Manual" part everything has been solved and worked well for the last 2 and a half years. I believe that some things need to have an italicized note indicating their source (which I have added to all sources based on It's Federation Day!), but I think the already used canon policy which states that we should discuss these matters on the sources talk page is good enough for me. Now, Aholland seems to be the only one currently having problems, but I suggest that he currently try to work with the current policy, maybe by working on some purely "canon" subjects, and then in a couple months, when he is fully "used to" the policy, he should either update his proposal and re-propose, or, even better, offer suggestions for additions to the current policy.--Tim Thomason 01:36, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Just for the record, I did not initially suggest a revision to the Canon policy. Cid Highwind did over a year ago; it's just that little happened since then.
The problem is that there IS no real canon policy. The page starts out with an apology that it is merely a draft. Then with virtually every section heading it says "this is under discussion or in flux". That is not a policy; that is chaos on the hoof.
The only clear part of the entire existing policy, the only section without a proviso that "this doesn't really count", is that background information from the production staff - which would include all the reference works and such - cannot form the basis for an article but has to be put into a background section. But that's it; everything else is in the air.
It is possible to have a simpler canon policy, but I don't think it would make people happy. The simplest is: "if it is not clearly said or clearly visable on screen, put it in background and do not base articles on it or use it to bolster statements about the Trek Universe. No books, no scripts, no production art." Or the other way; "Anything goes." I submit that anything beyond that immediately gets complex.
I just did an analysis using my draft of Shran's latest graphic here. It would let it come in, at least in most part I think, which is more than the current policy would do. But the way it does so, the process of thought to get to a conclusion, is - in my opinion - much better than endless discussion about whether it is good, bad, or indifferent. Only to start up again after it appears settled.
I agree that it is longer than the current draft policy. But it is clearer too, and addresses directly many of the areas not addressed today.
I do not know who ultimately decides if the current non-policy stays, gets updated with something like mine, or gets updated into something else. But I would like to find that out - it makes a bit of a difference whether I keep trying to provide something that might help the site, or whether I just give it up and accept that there isn't a policy, just a kind-of-mostly consensus of sorts on most, but not all, resources. Aholland 02:02, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm sorry, I was a little harsh (had a long and bad day). You're right about current policy being "incomplete" but I'd like to point out that the stuff about background information is under the "unclear" section which implies that it is in "flux." I think this is a simple "inclusionist" vs. "exclusionist" debate. I believe the list of "what is not a valid resource" should be enough to tell us what not to use, as everything else is clearly taken directly from episodes (in front of or behind the scenes). I think with clearer citations (in italics and indented, or in a background section), there shouldn't be any problem with using seen or unseen production-made info, regardless of clarity. Even the silliness, which should be explained in background, shouldn't stop us from including info. MA is about everything officially "Star Trek" and even non-canon stuff gets at least its own page (info from them can be listed on valid pages with an apocrypha section). As for the last part, sorry, there is no one who decides if the current policy is changed, replaced, or kept, it's a community decision, just like everything else.--Tim Thomason 02:48, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

No problem, Tim; I've had a long day too and am hoping it doesn't come across here. The place where the inclusion/exclusion gets dicey is when material like the graphic Shran recently posted has data that could be the basis for factual claims about the Trek Universe (from an "in-universe" perspective). If it is simply included in a background section - making it second-class data - some interesting elements of the universe may be lost. If it is simply proclaimed as "truth" and used indiscriminately, the careful script continuity issues over the years could be overturned in an instant by some careless mistake by the art department. Balancing those two extremes in a reasoned, fair, and - above all - predictably consistent manner is where policy comes in. And I propose that clear, enforced, policy will make the authoritative nature of the site that much stronger. Whether the policy be my concept or someone elses. Aholland 03:12, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I like the idea of this new policy and I like most of the proposed set-up, it needs to be hammered out and it needs a lot more community imput, but overall it would be a step forward for us. But, I do worry that it may become too ridged. The problem is that many of us feel that props (such as view screen info) and parts of scripts that were not aired should be included in a way that gives them a little more credibility then background info, we often do this by citing in indentation and italics, Zimbata for example. An expansion of this technique is used to create whole pages, such as Aaamazzarite. I agree with this procedure and would like to see it continued, but it is all completely unofficial according to the current policies of MA and a lawyer has called us on it, a correct move on his part. The next thing we need to do is measure community opinion. In light of this I would like to remind everyone of odd situations like Rasiinian and ask if we would like to continue dealing with the unique on an issue by issue basis. Jaf 03:30, 16 February 2006 (UTC)Jaf

The Rasiinian article is an interesting example. My proposed canon policy would say that the existence of an alien like that (in both episodes) is a valid resource, but any information on his background, name, etc. would be a Restricted Validity Resource. That's because the information would be behind-the-scenes or production material not included in the episode. There is then a provision that if the resource meets certain criteria (e.g., no conflicts and a minor part of the Trek universe), which this one clearly does, an article like this can be created pretty much just like it is now. Well, with one exception: the current episode citations don't really point people to where the information contained in the main body of the article is; it points to episodes where only some of the information lies. But fix the citations and it would fall neatly within the proposed canon policy, and be permitted without a huge fuss. All this without an exceptions-based approach - just as part of the normal policy.  :) Aholland 06:18, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Anyway, I just want to address some of the details right now, surely not the whole discussion. Regarding necessity, I think that an updated policy is definitely necessary. As Aholland correctly pointed out, what we currently have is not only "not a good policy", it isn't even any policy - the page states at the top that the following is just a draft that needs to be discussed and refined, and that statement has been there for two years now! The only reason why this even worked for the whole time is the fact that we are a relatively small group of people, most of which don't even come close to the issues this policy should regulate. That doesn't mean it has to stay like this in the future, and if there's a possibility to put in policy form what now only exists as dozens of consensus decisions on unrelated pages, can there be anything wrong with that? Truth is, this is not turning out as something that disallows behaviour that was allowed before - it is exactly the opposite: many articles we now have don't really adhere to what is currently on this policy page, and this is a big chance for everyone to get these articles validated (so to speak). Contribute to that process instead of working against it...
Regarding verbosity: It's true the new suggestion is one of the longest policies we have - on the other hand, the "Canon policy" is also one of the most important policies we have. It can't hurt to be verbose in that case. To address this concern, we could add a "summary" of the policy to the top of the page, for example saying that "generally, everything that appeared in an episode or movie can be used as a resource for an article. More specific details and exceptions can be found below." Or something like that... -- Cid Highwind 11:54, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Hangs head in shame* I think I may be an indent-failure. Sorry. But I was having the very same thought of a summary very much like Cid has suggested. I'll add something later tonight for people to look at. Aholland 20:36, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Aholland's draft proposal is far longer than Tim's, but it is also far more precise and I find it much easier to understand. As a newbie, the revisions or reversions senior archivists made to my early faulty contributions was baffling and frustrating, and getting the hang of MA's subtle conventions wasn't so easy. Tim's comment above (on a bad day, granted), suggesting Aholland wait a couple months until he's "used to" the policy, illustrates the problem quite well. As it stands, new archivists are expected to acclimate through osmosis. It's not efficient – for the new contributors, nor the senior players who have to correct their work. I'm glad Cid brought up the summary idea, because that the leaves the body of the policy free to be densely precise. I read Tim's draft and "got it" because I've spent time here recently, but I think I would have been scratching my head over some of the more ambiguous bits just a couple of months back. Aholland's formal language and structure is daunting at first glance, but we can handle it, and MA will benefit from the clarity.
As for a substantive suggestion, since canon is so closely linked to the speculation bugaboo, I'd like to see a line in the "Conflicts in Valid Resources" section address references that may have the highest canon credentials on the surface, but are not necessarily reliable within the universe. For example, sources based on a specific character's claims may be mentioned, but should be weighed in context of that character's nature and interests. Specifically, if Picard told Riker that 5 Federation starships patrolled the Romulan Neutral Zone at any given time in 2372, it would be fine to note the deployment in an appropriate article. If Tomalok told Picard that 47 warbirds patrolled his side of the Zone, the information is suspect. A simple. "face-value" estimate of Tomalok's statement ("Tomalok claimed 47 ships patrolled the Zone") could reasonably be included in the body of the appropriate article, without the label of speculation.
I'm not saying we aren't doing this kind of thing now, but if a common practice is a de-facto policy, we might as well codify it for the sake of everyone's, especially newcomer's, understanding. I'm sure there are better examples of MA's conventional wisdom regarding canon that we might take for granted, but deserve clear explanation. --Aurelius Kirk 18:51, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I think Aurelius Kirk's point is valid, although that Picard is a pretty tricky fellow. :) The cleanest thing would be to require that all claims be attributed, as we know that statements of "truth" - even in-universe - can be bogus. (Janeway's ancestor in "11:59", for example.) But that makes the articles somewhat rough as a read. Let me try putting something in as guidance and people can see if it works for them. Aholland 19:14, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I've already stated that my main concern is the length and breadth (same thing, just being articulate) of the proposal, but I do have other some concerns with the content that I'll go over:
Summary of policy: The summary's alright, if a little too summarized for this work.
Article types: The two article types is the same as what we have already, and I agree on them.
Citations: Now it's starting to read like a contract, but I at least agree somewhat, and it's just trying to be thorough. I'll discuss the restricted validity when I get to that section.
Resources: This is what I mostly covered under my proposal, as it seems to be the main "issue" we are dealing with.
Episodes: The episode list matches everyone elses (maybe add a link to Star Trek films). I disagree with the note that says we can't create articles based on things which aren't seen/heard in an "episode," as I stated elsewhere about my opinion that production material created for an episode can be used bla bla bla...
Valid Resources: again disagree with you on the production material stuff but yeah, okay.
Restricted Validity Resources: Now, your adding a level of precedence within this "category" that could cause confusion, and I'm not sure but I think you could probably shorten/summarize this section.
Restricted Validity Resources and Initial Article Creation: This seems to go against what was stated under Episodes. What defines a "minor point" or "script idea" in the Star Trek universe? A simple discussion or "common sense?" Some people might think the Romulan War is of little importance (it might be to the Rasiinians), so this is too subjective for me, especially in an "in-universe" point-of-view.
Non-Canon Resources: I don't see anything wrong with using the occassional non-canon image for an apocrypha section (it's not really done though), especially for big articles. I also don't see what's wrong with adding to as many articles as possible information from a non-canon source (in an apocrypha section), as long as you don't repeat information.
Invalid Resources: I agree with leaving out Fan made stuff from in-universe articles.
Conflicts in Valid Resources: I don't think this needs to be described in so much detail, again we should trust the discussion method somewhat.
Conflicts in Restricted Validity Resources: What if the "Restricted resources" are equal?
Tolerance in Valid Resources: I easily agree that not of this should effect validity.
Demotion of Valid Resources: I don't know about this "demotion" thing at all. How do we know if some material is "nonsensical" or built to "amuse" the staff? Do we ask a staff member if they were amused? What constitutes an "obvious joke" or "absurd image?"
Uncertainty: Again, how can you tell if the production crew "took sufficient care" of something?
Deleting Invalid Articles in Whole or in Part: I don't think you should be working on changing the deletion policy as well as the canon policy. Clearly, if they fit under the deletion policy, then they should be added to the VfD page as always.
The main problem I see is the length, breadth, and the fact that is doesn't really cover what MA currently has. I don't think we should make any drastic changes, just work around what we have, which is the site that I've been using with glee for over a year now, and hope that everyone else can understand, if they don't agree.--Tim Thomason 00:53, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Tim, my original request was that you tell me the outcome you wanted on "questionable" resources and I could then see if the policy was too inflexible to net you the desired outcome. But I can also deal with the above, too. I'll try to hit each point where you had issues, and ignore the things you were all right with.  :)
  • The general prohibition on creating articles based on something other than what is seen and heard is an episode is a short-form Paramount version (what you have as the basis of your policy, and one reason I find it a bit internally conflicting). That is also the current Memory Alpha draft policy (only the episodes themselves are valid as resources). There is a single exception to that rule later in the proposal that says that Restricted Validity Resources (a term I admit I stole from Cid Highwind's draft) CAN form the basis of an article if they hit certain criteria. So I THINK that resolves the issue for you. I hope.
  • The production material things and valid resources section reflect my understanding of the current Memory Alpha draft policy, and seem to reflect current practices.
  • I put in the levels of precedence in Restricted Validity Resources at the request of a user during an earlier collaboration with the community. See above.
  • In the Citations section I stated that the exception to using valid resources for an article was in the Restricted Validity Resources and Initial Article Creation section. I can put another cross-reference under Episodes, but I figured the reader would have already known that from above. But it is an easy add - just makes it a tad longer.  :)
  • "Minor point" was intentionally subjective and open to interpretation. The problem is articles like "Cait". I would be just as happy if the article didn't exist; it was never mentioned anywhere except a writer's guide. Yet there are people who desperately want articles like that to flesh out the background of Trek. I'm fine permitting them, just label them as non-canon and we're done. The problem is without some kind of minimization test we would be stuck with having "He Walks Among Us" - an abortive script idea from TOS that was worked on a bit and scrapped. From an anlysis standpoint the two points of data are about the same: both unused production work. So "minor" was my attempt to introduce some guidance, while explicitly excepting out scripts and such. The only other alternative is to let everything in, which is not current draft policy or practice. (And the Romulan War is spoken dialogue, so wouldn't be at issue here.)
  • The prohibition on non-canon images was based on my understanding that Memory Alpha doesn't want to turn into a picture gallery. If there is enough server space, I'm okay removing that point. I was just trying to keep the cost of the site down and follow existing practice which does not have book covers in other than Trek Franchise articles. (Can someone who actually knows weigh in on how much of an issue more images are?)
  • Again regarding non-canon, my understanding of current draft policy and current practice (and what makes some sense to me) is that non-canon coverage is NOT the primary goal of Memory Alpha. If we allow in as much non-canon as people want, the non-canon could easily overwhelm the canon and turn the site into a free-for-all as regards expansive and meandering articles. Even if contained in a single section.
  • The conflicts in valid resources was put in to provide guidance and a couple of rules on how to have a discussion about conflicts. Else everything is equal and endless debate ensues. I don't see that as a valuable use of time, so am trying to instill some order to the analysis.
  • Restricted resources being equal is not a real problem. They can all have equal weight since they go into a separate section. It was, again, a result of a user's request and does provide some general guidance on how to think about which conflicting Restricted resource "should" win out. But does not mandate it.
  • Demotion is, I think, absolutely necessary. If you can think of another way of removing just the hamster wheel from the Enterprise-D engineering cutaway, or removing the door label silliness, please bring it up. Otherwise they are valid resources (since seen) and clearer images exist of their production art. The other alternative would be to say that production art cannot be used for any purpose, that only what you see on screen counts. However, that is not the best solution in my opinion.
  • The "took sufficient care" was intentionally vague. For example, in VOY: "11:59" there is a closeup of a newspaper article. If you freeze the frame you'll see that everything other than the headlines are repeats of the same paragraphs that have nothing to do with the headlines. Sufficient care was not evident there. On the other hand, but for the hamster wheel and such, sufficient care was clearly used in the Enterprise-D engineering cutaway. I don't know how to include one and exclude the other without some kind of subjective test like that.
  • The deletion section was there because it is in the current draft policy and I was following format. It seems to make sense to keep it, but I can be talked out of it.
Tim, you close by saying that the current version of the policy I initially drafted (different than now, as I added/deleted based on community feedback) makes drastic changes to Memory Alpha. I will again ask: please let me know of examples of articles that exist (or that you wish existed) that would be materially affected by this draft. I am not trying to be dense, but I genuinely do not think it the problem you do; I think it sets out basic current practice as the norm. And keeping the existing approach is not really an option - without some clear and non-draft standards of conduct and practice, the site will devolve into a free-for-all which benefits no one. Aholland 16:09, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

Implementing policy change?Edit

Given the foregoing collaborative changes to the draft policy, my not hearing any additional concerns about this codification of many existing practices, the need for a real policy, and my understanding of the way policies work around here (propose, collaborate, post), I will post it to the main page shortly. Just thought I'd give a heads up. Aholland 16:40, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Has proposal number 2 been withdrawn or have these two been merged? If not, shouldn't there be a vote or something between the two proposed policies? Also, my question concerning the Jeri Taylor of course also applies to this proposal as well. Kennelly 20:49, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Under the current draft, no novel would be considered a valid resource, including Jeri's. (Also, why Jeri's and not Roddenberry's on the Paramount site, I don't know.) They may be referenced in Trek Universe articles, but should only appear in "Non-Canon", "Apocrypha", or similarly and clearly identified sections of articles. And not take up too much space. But they can be Trek Franchise articles (as are other books today).
I asked about the process for updates earlier (votes, editorial board, that sort of thing), and the response I got was to the effect that people just "do" things and then others yell or don't yell. This notice was sort of my way of suggesting a "pre-yell" period, and if I don't hear a lot of complaints and desires for further discussion I will post and see what comes of it. Aholland 21:11, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't know if I already stated it in this discussion, but I definitely did in discussions elsewhere - I believe that in its current form, this draft does not "disallow" any articles that were allowed before, and covers most of what is current "inofficial code of conduct". A small number of existing articles are not "valid" according to this draft, but they weren't exactly valid before, either. There has been some discussion between Tim and Aholland regarding possible differences between the suggested policies, but that discussion seems to have died down as well. I don't see a problem with moving this draft to the policy page itself. Any deletion resulting from this new policy would be discussed on the Vfd page anyway, and if it becomes apparent that there's still some serious "bug" in this policy, I'm sure we can fix it. -- Cid Highwind 21:46, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

So, if I understand it correctly both proposed canon policies are still on the floor,right?If this is so, I seriously object to put this proposal on the Main Page just because there is no longer any discussion. If Proposal 2 has still the support of its creator and the differences were not merged into a common draft policy, there MUST be some kind of vote in my opinion because as I see it there has been similar opposition to both proposals. I think the Canon-Policy is the most crucial thing on MA and should not be decided in the usual "informal" way. Kennelly 23:27, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

For all the reasons in Cid's note above I went ahead and posted it; it seemed the most logical way to move forward. If there remain concerns - theoretical or practical - with the policy, please bring them up here so we can discuss and address them in a timely way. Aholland 14:11, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Suggestion 2Edit

  • Memory Alpha:Canon policy/temp2

I have just posted an alternative to Aholland's proposal that I feel should cover most, if not all, of MA's current pages and still work without the unnecessary "non-canon"-based pages. The proposal is located on my user page if someone wants to check it out, and comments are welcome here or on my talk page.--Tim Thomason 00:42, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Suggestion 2 commentsEdit

I just read your condensed new canon policy. I think it is extremely well done. Very thourough, and more importantly, consise. You have my full support. Jaz talk | novels 01:10, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

I support this new policy. It's short, sweet and to the point, and touches all bases. Good job, Tim. --From Andoria with Love 01:27, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I took a look at Tim's draft and have a few initial comments, referenced to its numbered paragraphs:
1. The definition of "canon" is dealt with separately in Memory Alpha. It is both different from and more detailed than the Paramount version (at least the one I am aware of at [X]wbm.) So Memory Alpha already breaks Paramount's canon definition. Additionally, referencing the Paramount one is problematic as theirs is stated as a "rule of thumb" instead of an actual policy. Valid sources are mentioned, but not defined (although it is possible the remainder of the policy is supposed to describe them; it's a little unclear).
2. This paragraph requires that all supplementary material not "clearly shown" in the episodes themselves (Shran's most recent production art, all other production art from reference books, etc.) be separated from the main body of articles and made, essentially, side notes. This would indicate they could not be used as the basis for articles themselves or used to bolster information otherwise viewed. This is the current Memory Alpha policy in that regard, that I was under the impression was at issue with some people.
3. Conflicting with, but not referencing, paragraph 2, this paragraph would permit articles to – I think – use and be based on information from all the episodes, the Animated Series, all deleted scenes (which, of course, would include outtakes, alternative takes, and all other raw footage), all drafts of all scripts (including unproduced story treatments?), all production material of any type "meant for canon" (not sure what that means), material "not clearly seen in canon" (not sure what that means, as it would include actual cardboard props), and all graphics material produced, regardless of whether it was used or not. Precedence is to be given to canon first, but what that means as a practical matter (does it mean the other material is then removed?) is unclear. This is an extraordinarily broad scope of allowed sources and does not reflect the current practices within Memory Alpha.
4. I assume an 'official work" is a Paramount-authorized source. As such, this paragraph would permit any information from any of the chronologies, technical manuals, art books, novels, comic books, playing cards, models, toys, and the like to be used to fill in gaps "when necessary". What constitutes a gap, or when it is necessary to fill it in, isn't clear. With the broadest definition of a gap, an absence of information, this would appear to allow in all information that supplements or adds to canon. This, too, is an extraordinarily broad scope of allowed sources and does not reflect the current practices within Memory Alpha.
5. Inconsistencies are to be "dealt with", but how and to what end is unclear.
6. This paragraph seems to say that all the material in paragraphs 3, and 4 would have to be identified as non-canon and put in either an Apocrypha section or a non-canon "source page" (a term I don't understand, I'm afraid). It is unclear the relation between this requirement and the one in paragraph 2, where it appeared such data could be put in to background or indented. And it is unclear whether non-canon could form the basis for an independent article (which may be what is meant by source page).
7. This paragraph introduces the concept of "in-universe" and "meta", which require an explanation if part of a policy. I do not understand the distinction being drawn between "created" and "exist" in the first sentence. Valid sources, a critical concept here, is not defined or identified by reference. The use of the word "official" to describe every Star Trek project (which, by including non-canon, would mean the fan based shows on the web too) is not appropriate.
8. All jokes and culture information would be "meta" articles. This one makes sense, but the sentence could use a restructure for clarity.
As a practical matter, I believe that the policy as drafted is not reflective of current practice, is unclear on its face, is internally inconsistent, and is unworkable in real life. For instance:
  • what of Shran's new artwork? (Not to harp on it, but it is recent and illustrative – not to mention interesting.) Under the policy it is not canon, would be allowed (but I can't tell for what purposes), would have to be identified as non-canon, would be trumped (and thereby removed?) by canon information, and if it survived – even if consistent with canon – would end up in a background section or Apocrypha. Or maybe get an article on its own - I can't tell and can't do a structured analysis on it.
  • What of novels and games? They seem fair game for coming in (again, for some purpose – not sure what) under some combination of paragraphs 4, 6, and 7.
  • Conflicts are simply to be "dealt with"; but there is no guidance as to in what way.
  • It is unclear, but I think that the policy would require that all articles that are not based on the episodes as shown be included only in background or Apocrypha sections. In other words, the list that Shran developed for my review of those articles he feared would vanish would, indeed, vanish. This would include "Cait", Aaamazzarite, Arcturian, and Betelgeusian, to name a few. If they could get their own articles, there is no guidance or limit on how many other non-canon things could get their own article.
  • If deleted scenes are allowed, how do we deal with two different versions of, say, Kirk's death? Bloopers?
  • How can we tell if production material was "meant" for canon?
I want to make clear that I am not nitpicking or finding holes because an alternative to my proposal has been posted; I don't care where it comes from or who ends up drafting it. I really just want something that makes sense and works to avoid conflict and promote standardized approaches. But in my opinion any suggestion has to at minimum be workable, clear, essentially reflective of current practices (if not policy), and capable of being consistently applied. I believe that this draft does not meet any of these criteria. I submit that a more detailed and understandable policy is what is needed, and I humbly suggest that making any further identified changes to the one I proposed might get us there. Aholland 03:53, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Of all the responses I was expecting, yours was the most anticpated. I realize I have no experience with writing an "airtight contract" like you do (no offense intended, I actually wanted to be a lawyer once), but I'll attempt to correct my "draft" based on your suggestions, and will attempt to respond with what was intended:

  1. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I believed that "canon" was defined that way by Paramount (probably one of those urban legend Trek fan things). Even if its a rule of thumb, I placed precedence on the so-called "canonical" subjects, which I defined based on the common knowledge I believe is agreed upon.
  2. I'm sorry, you caught me on this one. The material shall be "cited" with an indention and so on, not solely relegated to "background" stuff. After a second reading, that is confusing. That should "solve" this problem.
  3. Yes, all information from what I call "valid sources" is allowed, as long as it doesn't conflict with what I believed Paramount calls "canon." I should probably separate drafts to final drafts to avoid unnecessary confusion amongst the Valid sources. "Meant for canon" means the certain production material was created to be used specifically on an official "canon" (according to my misconception of Paramount's policy) Trek production, including things that may need external sources to ascertain what might have shown on TV, if we had HI-Def back then or something (bad joke, please don't use against me). If the production took the time to create a graphic for Star Trek, we should take the time to cover it in our "encyclopedia." What I mean by the canon precedence, is that if an inconsistency pops up strictly between canon and valid sources, canon should win every time (In my opinion).
  4. I specified official reference works, such as the Star Trek Encyclopedia and Star Trek Chronology. By filling in "the gaps" I don't mean using the unnecessary speculation or conjecture, I mean the material presented in these works to add to already created pages (with an indention and all that jazz). A gap is missing information, however, these works shouldn't be seen as "valid sources" just used to add to already valid sources if necessary (if the info isn't already there from a canon or valid source).
  5. Inconsistencies are to be "agreed upon" (a hard thing to do, I realize, on MA) on the talk page of whatever has inconsistent information. I already explained that canon "trumps" valid sources. Conflicts within canon or within valid sources do need to be discussed and figuring them out on a policy page could lead to some information not being used to the fullest extent possible.
  6. Sorry, you're mistaken. The paragraph specifies "information other than televised or theatrical projects." Paragraph 3 is all dealing in some way with these projects so they don't count as "non-canon." Paragraph 4 may have "non-canon" material (mostly in the background speculation), but as reference works they are supposed to be limited to "canon" (and valid) info. Apocrypha or "non-canon" applies to all official (authorized by Paramount/Desilu) including but not limited to, novels, video games, computer games, photobooks, official website games, and the like. When I wrote, "shall only be placed in various "Apocrypha" sections on pages created from canon or valid source citations, and/or on the "non-canon" source page," that meant we shouldn't create pages about subjects introduced and only used in "Apocrypha" but can add them to canon or valid sources pages under "Apocrypha" sections. For example, information about James T. Kirk from the novel Spectre can go under an apocrypha section on his page, but information about a ship only used in Spectre cannot.
  7. I'll be willing to expand upon the "in-universe" and "meta" definations, I just thought they were already covered under other policy pages. This section specifically requires that only Canon (as described) and "Valid Sources" (as described) are to be used when creating pages. When I say "exist," I cover already existing pages that would otherwise be exempt (lawyering enough for ya?) I defined Valid sources earlier (in paragraph 3), and that definition is "valid" throughout the whole policy. The use of the word "official" still covers any project authorized by Paramount, whether it falls into the "Canon," "Valid," or "Non-Canon/Apocrypha" sections. Fan-based stuff shouldn't count.
  8. Well, if it makes sense then I don't see no need for "re-structuring" however, I'll give it a go.

Now, without getting into your commentary (I respectfully disagree, but then again I made it), I'll move onto your questions:
Under this policy, Shran's new artwork is a valid source, and could even be used to create new pages, such as Ecoterrorism. It was production material created for a canon project (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II"), so it falls under paragraph III (or "3" as I call it) as a "valid source." Any inconsistencies will be taken out by canon (stuck in an italicised/background note somewhere), but the everything else is valid.
Novels and games are covered by paragraph 7.
Conflicts are to be discussed on the talk page of the conflicted article, and agreed upon. Any more guidance is unnecessary and detracts from the community and wiki ideals (in my opinion).
Hopefully I have helped you understand more clearly (I will try to update my draft some more). I may need more guidance on how to include some FASA stuff, but it is my understanding that Aaamazzarite, Arcturian, and Betelgeusian are covered under valid sources (production info created for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, although not seen onscreen).
Well, Kirk's death is easy. Canon takes "precedence" in that it is more acceptable than "valid sources," so the death you and I saw in theaters is the one that counts. The other one can go in a background note for completeness. Any material from Kirk's death or bloopers that can be added to the Star Trek universe is great, but the conflicting stuff should not be used.
Well, I realize that some things are most assuredly "hastily" done or are "silly" but those are opinionated statements which may not reflect the true meanings of the production staff. We shouldn't try to "tell" if it was made. We should try to use any and all production material, known to be made for a television series (whether or not for legibility), and then "deal with" the conflicts that will undoubtedly arise in the manners that I propose.
Thanks for taking the time to "nitpick" (I know that's not what you're doing, but nitpicking can be fun) my proposal. I look forward to hearing from you again.--Tim Thomason 05:19, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Besides all those comments on the second suggestion regarding possible loopholes or misunderstandings, let me just ask: Why do we even need a second suggestion (and, if that continues, a third and fourth one)? This is not a competition for "who gets to write the new policy" - instead, we should work together on one of them to first define what exactly should be acceptable and what shouldn't according to a new policy, and second find the best possible way to put that into text form. I think Ahollands suggestion already does a very good job regarding the first task, and isn't too bad regarding the second. One of the reasons for that is the fact, that this discussion has already been reviewed, discussed and rewritten for some days now. I'm personally a little hesitant to start that process all over again for another suggestion - if there are still problems with the first suggestion, can't we just work together to fix those instead of simply creating another, parallel discussion? -- Cid Highwind 11:28, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
The problem that I still see with the alternative suggestion, even with the explanations (and thank you, Tim, for them), is that it has fundamental structural and analytical shortcomings that will take a lot of discussion to get it to a point where it does no more than reflect what has already been collaboratively created. Started by me, but modified to address others' concerns and current practices. I agree with Cid Highwind: let's get the substance of the matter right in the one already being worked. After it substantively gets where it needs to be we can look at whether there are better ways of expressing it; there may or may not be. So I, too, propose to abandon second, third, and more parallel discussions at this time. I suggest that Tim (and others) instead bring up any issues, suggestions, and - especially - hypotheticals that can test the current redraft and see if the outcomes desired are met by it. Aholland 13:03, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

The reason for the proposal in the first place was two reasons: first, offer an alternative, which you suggested was for the best; second, offer a less "legalese" version that allows flexibility and is (in my opinion) easily read. I deeply apologize for implying that your opinion doesn't matter (the whole "couple months" thing), as a "wiki"-community your opinion matters just as much as mine, or Alan's, or Cid's, or Aurelius's, or Harry's, or Mike's (well maybe not as much as Mike's). I apologize if I haven't offered much to help your draft, but I feel that my suggestions would probably be best summed up in another policy. I still feel your policy is too rigid, but I don't know how I could help fix that.--Tim Thomason 20:11, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Tim, thanks for your concern but there was no harm done, no apology needed, no hard feelings. :) I would ask that you do one thing for me, though. If you believe that the proposal I have out there is too inflexible, can you give me a couple of examples you are concerned about? Sort of a "here's the resource, and here's how I would like to see it used." Don't bother analyzing it under the policy (although you certainly can if you want), I just want to understand the result desired. I figure if you can describe your worries a little more, we can all better determine whether, indeed, the proposal is too inflexible or whether it nets you the result you have in mind for various situations. Aholland 20:37, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Alright, I'll respond above under Suggestion 1 comments (so Cid doesn't get mad).--Tim Thomason 20:56, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Just something to consider right on paragraph 1. As far as I understand it we use the Paramount Canon as a base and expand it (TAS for example). What's our policy on the two Jeri Taylor novels "Pathways" and "Mosaic" then? I understand the Paramount canon on StarTrek.com that these two are included in their canon, so shouldn't we do likewise? Of course again, filmed material takes precedence when contadictionsc arise, for example on the name of Chakotay's ship. Kennelly 13:14, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
No, we used a list of all episodes and movies as our "resources" from the beginning. First declared "canon", then later called "valid resource", the term that is still in use. At no point did we use a definition of "what StarTrek.com calls canon, plus a little more", and I don't think we should now start to use that definition, especially in regard to the two novels. -- Cid Highwind 21:00, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Non-Canon?Edit

Why do we need to mark certain articles as "non-canon," which we do according to the Restricted Validity Resources and Initial Article Creation section? If they truly are "non-canon" they shouldn't have an article in first place. I was under the impression that the pages with "Restricted Validity" have a questionable "canonicity" (not none) and a note providing the source should be enough to allow readers to make up there mind on whether it should be canon or not.--Tim Thomason 06:00, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

IMO this whole "new system" (which I didn't know about until just now) is confusing and convoluted. So umm, I say we have a recall vote. At least as long as we don't end up with another Governator. --Vedek Dukat Talk | Duty Roster 06:14, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
not sure what any of these comments mean -- please use examples, descriptive languages, etc intead of arnie jokes. thx. -- Captain M.K. Barteltalk 06:41, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I didn't do any Arnold Schwarzennegar jokes, nor do I approve, I just asked a question, in what I thought was a descriptive manner, and am awaiting an answer from anybody.--Tim Thomason 06:51, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, for starters, which articles are being marked "non-canon" ?? -- i havent exactly been involved heavily in the new policy, just wondering which articles you mean. are there any that come to mind? i havent seen any major changes to any of our standard ops... -- Captain M.K. Barteltalk 07:09, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

This is a simple question on the policy (hence it being placed here) and not necessarily on any articles which may or may not have been affected. The policy specifies under the section marked "Restricted Validity Resources and Initial Article Creation" that an article created from a Restricted validity resource must clearly cite its sources and identify itself as being "Non-Canon." I am questioning this with my first statement above, as I don't believe we should mark valid, or restricted valid, resources as "non-canon."--Tim Thomason 07:17, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

If something is "non-canon" then we should not have the page in our database. If something comes from a "valid reference" or "resource" then it should be noted as such, but certainly not listed as "non-canon". If we are stating that a source comes from production art or a background source, person or text then we have fulfilled the obligation of citing the source of the sentence, paragraph, or article. Leave the amibiguity to the reader instead of forcing today's policies down thier throat. --Alan del Beccio 07:25, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
I think the last part - forcing policies down people's throats - is what I was getting at. Have any of you tried reading the new canon policy with your layman's caps on? It reads like a contract, i.e. all the fine print the lawyers include to cover their butts in the event that someone doesn't use common sense. The previous policy worked perfectly well and was as complete as it needed to be; its application required common sense, unlike the current policy (which requires wading through a sea of legalese), but it worked. Come on people, this is supposed to be fun! The current changes - with all due respect to Aholland - are completely unnecessary, and frankly, the current canon policy is the kind of thing that gives Trekkies/Trekkers a bad name. --Vedek Dukat Talk | Duty Roster 08:43, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
The old policy (or what was there that was called a "policy") did not work well, and surely not perfectly so. It identified itself as being in limbo regarding many aspects and did not identify many resources that came to be used "as valid" in the last months. Where's the "common sense" in using production photos of display graphics or dedication plaques that have been seen out of focus for two or three frames, and use the info from that production art to create dozens, if not hundreds, of articles? This has nothing to do with common sense - it simply is a decision that has been made, and as such should be noted on the one page we have to list "allowed" and "disallowed" articles, so that any new user (and reader) can read what is expected from him, and what he can expect from information here.
Of course, the "new" policy was written by a lawyer, but it isn't something that he thought up himself sitting at his desk and forced upon any of you - and I'm really, really tired of hearing this bullshit again and again here and, for example, on IRC. It simply is a codified form of ~95% of the behaviour that already existed here, with the 5% being some special cases that weren't allowed by the old "policy", either. If someone can find a way to express the same content with less legalese, feel free to suggest it - but I don't think it is that bad as some of you make it out to be, especially with the existing "summary" for everyone who doesn't want to know about the details. Can we now please stop discussing that tangent and get back to the original topic, which was about marking articles as "non-canon" or something? -- Cid Highwind 11:30, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
As to "non-canon" (which Cid correctly brought the conversation back to), there are really only two basic alternatives: (1) allow articles that are based on things never seen on screen, never discussed on screen, and never heard on screen or (2) don't. I - personally - would be fine with the latter; however that has not been the practice at this site to date. Thus there is the portion of the policy that says it is okay if it hits the criteria listed (designed to provide a framework to help understand the intent of the production staff). However, this site is not intended to simply push data at readers; it is designed to summarize, explain, and categorize. To just tell a reader a source of data without a consistent categorization into canon and non-canon is the lazy man's out; it does the reader a disservice and creates an atmosphere of allowing articles on anything at all with the attitude of "just let the reader figure it out". The goal of this site is to sort out the informaton and present it in a consistent and coherent manner; labelling marginal items as non-canon does just that, is consistent with a lot of current practice, and increases the site's credibility as "the" go-to site for verifiable Trek information. Else it becomes little more than fan fiction and wishful thinking. Aholland 12:33, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
One other point: failure to characterize data as clearly non-canon can be misleading as well. All a reader has to do is find one example of data presented from an in-universe standpoint as factual to the show when, in fact, it comes from some marginal third party source that an archivist just happens to like and the entire credibility of the site is damaged. And that problem exists even with full disclosure of sources - which is one reason why novels are not included here as canon. If, though, there is a consistent structure that specifies what is canon and what isn't and clearly identifies the latter when included at all, the credibility of the site's claims of what counts from an in-universe standpoint can only be increased. So clear identification of non-canon articles is crucial to maintaining this site's claims of accuracy. Aholland 16:45, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I remember why I stopped participating in this discussion in the first place. I really frown on the use of inappropriate language by both Captainmike and Cid, as I try to remain civil on all matters and I applaud Aholland and Gvsualan for remaining civil as well. Conversation not dealing with the subject at hand ("non-canon"-marked articles) should have been dealt with in one of the above sections and not here, as that seems to have sent emotions high. I think Aholland might be going off on a tangent there (although he does a good job of addressing my question) and Gvsualan has eloquently rephrased my opinion, which apparently we share. Anyways, my question has been addressed somewhat by Aholland and Shran has made an attempt to address my concerns, so I'll just sit back and hope this conversation has ended.--Tim Thomason 01:29, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

sorry to make you frown (Tim)... no idea what you mean though? -- Captain M.K. Barteltalk 01:46, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Please don't use such nicknames or "wtf" in policy discussions. The former is akin to "Mr Vulcan" and the latter is just... no. --Vedek Dukat Talk | Duty Roster 01:59, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Sorry about that, then -- i actually had been patting my back for censoring myself and saying "wtf" instead of a more descriptive reading of that idea, Mr. Cardassian Vedek. I hadn't even realized anyone would be offended by the shorter version.
On Arnie, I just was interested in maybe visiting some of the "problem" articles (or the "problem" portion of the policy) and seeing what was meant by the questions begun in this subsection. I was looking for a more meaningful distillation of the original comment. -- Captain M.K. Barteltalk 02:19, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
I mentioned this on talk:Titus Cleet-- which seems to be one of the references that this discussion may be intended to cover-- and I want to mention it here too, as it seems to apply to this talk page as a whole. My take on it is that if this is an "encyclopedia" written in the "character's point of view" and the "character saw it" (whether we did or not -- and we know it existed in production materials) then it fits into the criteria of existing "in universe." As long as it does not conflict with established canon, it should at least be considered and somehow carefully included in our "encyclopedia" for the sake of the "character's perspective". If necessary we can create a template disclaimer to post at the top of these pages that say something to the effect that "the following information comes from a secondary source," or something equally descriptive without overkilling the subject of its validity. In addition we can create and include a link held within that disclaimer that defines these various sources and reference why they are being included. --Alan del Beccio 03:24, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
For what it is worth I think that most people have acted fairly rationally about the whole thing - despite the occasional - shall we say - colorful emphasis.  :) I believe what is truly at heart in this discussion is a different view of what Memory Alpha is, and what it should be. I believe strongly that the only thing that distinguishes Memory Alpha from the thousands of other sites on the web that claim to contain Trek universe data is that Memory Alpha claims to only include what is unequivocably part of that universe. Not unidentified speculation, not fan fiction, not wishes of what would be canon, not filling in holes for fun, but only the real deal. Dilution of that uniqueness would be a loss, and I strongly urge people to avoid it. In short, let's keep this site's identity intact and in those limited instances where non-canon articles are allowed, label them accordingly; clearly and consistently. The credibility of the site, and its reason for existing, literally hang in the balance.
Titus Cleet is an excellent example of the problem. I understand Alan del Beccio's desire to chronicle everything a character saw, felt, or touched in the Trek universe for the sake of completeness. There are a few issues, though, with Titus Cleet. First, we know that at least four different props were created of the Picard family album; we do not know if all four were identical in all internal respects for those areas not intended to be filmed, or whether the one we have details of was the one held by Stewart in any of the scenes filmed. Second, these things are props; representations in a Hollywood studio of "real" Trek objects. So the wooden phaser isn't really wood in the Trek universe, despite the fact that that character saw it clearly as wood. The newspaper article that has just a valid headline but is otherwise jibberish isn't "really" jibberish. These were simply made that way since from the distance intended to be filmed it didn't matter and we shouldn't lose sight of that. Third, the album contains obvious in-jokes made for the amusement of the production staff and never intended to represent the "real" Trek universe at all - yet there they are, hidden in the book that Stewart held; that shouldn't automatically make them canon. Fourth, there is nothing in the movie to indicate that the character Picard ever looked at the Titus Cleet page, thus removing it from his "in-universe" perspective. Labeling it non-canon and stating the citation clearly indicates to a reader its status in the Trek universe - one that can be demoted in a heartbeat from a "maybe" to apocrypha by a throwaway line in the next film - but preserves its inclusion in the encyclopedia. It seems, pardon the phrase, the best of both worlds. I therefore propose we maintain the notation of non-canon for such material as in the current policy. Aholland 04:11, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, if we were to label articles as non-canon, then we would end up having to delete the articles anyway since having articles dedicated to non-canon information goes against our policies. Therefore, I recommend we simply say that the canonicity of these articles are "questionable", as i have done with Titus Cleet and USS Rabin. This way, we don't label the article as non-canon (which would in turn cause it to end up on the votes for deletion page) but we also don't label it as "absolute" canon, I guess you could say. In other words, we let the reader make up his/her own mind. ;) --From Andoria with Love 04:47, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Additionally, Aholland, the entire reason Harry and Dan founded the site was to create an encyclopedia from a Trek point of view. As such, I think you, not Alan, are the one who's dealing with what it is vs. what you'd like it to be (with all due respect). --Vedek Dukat Talk | Duty Roster 04:53, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
To Shran: The current canon policy does not require deletion of non-canon; it expressly says that you can use Restricted Validity Resources on a limited basis for Trek universe articles - just label it non-canon under certain circumstances. It is thus wholly within policy. Merely saying "we aren't sure about this one" at the top of an article as suggested may stop this discussion, but it is - forgive me - an intellectual cheat that avoids the issue rather than addressing it directly. I again say, if Memory Alpha is to be unique and of value, it needs to take a stated editorial stance on canon and allowed resources from which to build articles and be consistent about it; not say it is too hard to do and ignore it.
To Vedek Dukat: With all due respect I think I do know what the site is, and I think the current canon policy reflects about 95% of the practices in place today. It's that nagging 5% we are going around about. If the site administrators - Harry and Dan? - would like to ask me to stop attempting to help with the approach taken to resources from which to build articles, and how to note the nature of those resources, I'll be happy to comply. Short of that, I think the site has far too much potential as the one place on the web for verifiable Trek canon information to simply give up on it and allow it to slowly devolve into fanon through a lack of consistency and direction. Aholland 05:22, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
It seems as if there's still some misunderstanding about the meaning of terms like canon, non-canon, valid, invalid. From this and other discussions as well as edit summaries I get the impression that some of you think that "if it is called non-canon, it needs to be deleted". This is simply not true, and hasn't been true for the last years. Please re-read the section "Canon?" on this talk page. There we decided, two years ago, that we won't use the canon/non-canon distinction, but instead valid/invalid - because "canon" was and is defined by someone else and we already had non-canon articles at that time that we wanted to keep: TAS is non-canon, for example.
Standing policy is, and this isn't a new invention either, that "if we, after discussion, come to a consensus that a resource is valid, then we use it". That doesn't mean that this resource cannot be "non-canon" at the same time. If a resource is "borderline-valid" and/or "definitely non-canon", it can only be a good thing to mention that in the article:
  • "This information is non-canon..."
does just that, while
  • "The canonicity of this information is questionable. ..."
is simply wrong. The "canonicity" of that data is not questionable. It is clearly non-canon per definition, although it might or might not be "valid" here. -- Cid Highwind 11:23, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, when you put it that way, I guess labeling something as "non-canon" isn't so bad. ;) I, however, was under the impression that we cannot include non-canon at all (that being what I thought was our definition of non-canon, which I guess I thought were, essentially, what is actually invalid). I misinterpreted the terms and how we at MA use them, and for that, I apologize. With that said, I am officially done with this whole canon debate. :) --From Andoria with Love 16:24, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Confusing Canon & Point of View policiesEdit

I think it is a big mistake to confuse those two policies and state that as long as "the character saw it then it fits into the criteria of existing in universe". This is not compatible with the new canon policy, it wasn't compatible with the old canon policy, and it only becomes a point that even needs to be discussed if one interprets MA:POV as a policy trying to regulate content instead of style (which it was never meant to do). -- Cid Highwind 10:20, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Remaining issues Edit

I still have some small issues with the policy. First off, the imaginary terminology (i.e., Restricted Validity Resource) has got to go. The first time I heard something was from a "Restricted Validity Resource", it raised an immediate question mark in my head. Where did this term come from? Can't we write a policy using existing terms? For the record, this term is so unique to MA that it might as well be copyrighted to Aholland (he already has an acronym for it -- RVR. Very nice. :P)

Second, I'm still confused on this policy's take on the matter of canon and non-canon resources vs. valid and invalid resources. Cid and Aholland attempted to explain it to me, but apparently I'm too dumb to understand it. Currently, there is a hot debate whether or not to label articles based on production notes and what-not as "non-canon". I beleive we've come to a consensus that they can be labeled as non-canon but from a valid resource, but I could be wrong...

(For the record, I, and the majority of us, oppose labeling articles from valid sources as non-canon as it could seem a bit confusing, regardless of how it is labeled. If the article's there and can stay, is it really necessary to point out "Um, yeah, uh... we're not too sure about this here, um... so, don't read too much into it." I would think that, if the article is there, it's obvious it comes from a trustworthy source. If it doesn't, then it'll be put up for deletion. Simple as that. That said, if it must be labeled as non-canon, then I prefer it be along with the description that it at least comes from a valid resource.)

And lastly, the policy still reads too much like a legal document. It's just too long. There must be some way to limit the amount of info yet keep the basic rules and policies intact. As Alan pointed out, "Our life is frittered away by detail...Simplify, simplify." (H.D. Thoreau) --From Andoria with Love 09:01, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Regarding your first point, I agree. "RVR" is a good enough description for this policy page - it's a resource, it's considered valid, but only under restricted circumstances - but it doesn't have to become widespread terminology on other pages.
In addition to that, regarding your third point: As I pointed out, "Suggestions, suggestions!". What would you do to simplify the policy without turning it into an incomplete guideline relying on individual discussions on talk pages again?
Regarding your second point:
  • Canon - basically a definition made by the guys who own the rights to Star Trek, saying "this is what we try to adhere to while making new episodes". See: canon.
  • Non-canon - anything that is not "canon" as defined above (D'Oh!).
  • Valid - obviously, we're not the guys who own the rights to ST, so if we want to use something that is not "canon", we shouldn't call it "canon". Thus, we came to the conclusion to call it "valid" or "a valid resource" instead.
  • Invalid - again, everything that is not "valid".
Examples: TOS and the other live-action series are canon AND valid. TAS is non-canon BUT valid. Mosaic is, apparently, canon BUT not valid...
So, how should we label things that are "non-canon but valid"? First, I think we should label these things - try to see MA from the perspective of a casual reader instead of a permanent editor for a moment. That reader will visit MA for information about a specific Trek detail and will most probably rely on the fact that the information is "definitive and accurate", as advertised on our main page. Is an article really accurate if it mixes canon and non-canon/valid information without stating that it does? I don't think so. To stay "accurate", our goal should be to keep the necessary differences between "canon" and "valid" as small as possible and mark the information resulting from the remaining differences in some way. Simply saying the the information is "non-canon" is one of the shortest and most accurate way of doing this (because, in fact, that information is "non-canon"), but if there's a better way... See above, "suggestions, suggestions". -- Cid Highwind 11:08, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, that pretty much answers all my questions. Thanks, Cid! :) At present, however, I have no suggestions how to make the policy shorter (I was hoping someone else had some :P) nor do I have a better suggestion than labeling articles as "non-canon but valid". If I do, though, I'll be sure to bring them up. Thanks again. :) --From Andoria with Love 13:05, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I think what makes this issue confusing is the fact that TAS is non canon, just like all of these other Valid References of Dispute, yet MA has more or less drawn an imaginary line in the sand that says "TAS is canon on MA" but "everything else" that is relatively speaking, "likewise valid", is still non canon. So to simply tag an article as "non canon", from the perspective of many of those lost on this issue, is to say that it virtually "apocrypha", but that is where the whole adding "but this is a valid (re)source" seems to correct the potential of "non canon" being interpreted as a misnomer. I'm not sure I see the err in stating something along those lines to differentiate it from "aprocrypha", but to also differentiate it from "canon" -- "aprocanon". :)Otherwise, why are we not tagging all TAS article/entries "non canon" as well? Just because MA decided it's "canon"? If we have other "valid (re)sources" that are also on par with our "TAS canon" why are they being singled out as "non canon" but not TAS sources? Can't this site christen them the same way it christened TAS? --64.235.131.10 12:39, 7 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, the entirety of TAS is non-canon (according to TPTB), but its a valid resource here -- so that is what is non-canon but valid. Since this is clarified in the policy, i think it would be wasteful to mark every article from TAS as non-canon -- because we accept the data, i reject any attempts to classify it differently -- anyone who wants to read further will click on "TAS" and take it from there. There's no need to make a pointless note in a few thousand articles, when they all link to an article that has a note like that.
What else is "non-canon" but valid? People are saying that this includes background artwork and signs, but remember than that "official" reference sources (Star Trek Encyclopedia/Technical Manual/Chronology, as well as StarTrek.com) all report that this information is used as canon except when someone wakes up and feels that it isn't (example: Constitution class registries read off the screen in Court Martial, Star Trek VI, etc).. we've extrapolated that this info is allowable all the way up to the visible portions of Archer's bio and Picard's family album.
The ST Encyclopedia for starters, has treated all background sign art within as canon (i.e. Darien Wallace's name, Star Trek VI registries) but disregards TAS. This is the difference between that resource and us -- we treat both TAS and the signs that have appeared onscreen as valid. I missed the discussion where someone declared them as "restricted", but since that really means nothing, whoever supported that measure really wasn't thinking on how to implement that, were they?
Why not just include a note that "this information is derived from a piece of background artwork/Picard's viewscreen/a scrap of paper on Kirk's table". Remember, we have no real "official word" from TPTB whether they consider new background art "canon", so calling it "non-canon" is blatantly untrue. Various background signs have always been called "canon" by the STEncyc and others. This is why we should decide whether its "valid" or "invalid" -- because none of us works for Paramount, nor do we have the authority to invoke "oh, this isn't canon because of some other thing i think about it"...
Basically, instead of being obtuse and saying "This is from a Level 5 Resricted Validity Resource of Canon Factor -9.2", we could just say "This was printed on the PADD that Commodore Mendez handed to Kirk"... i'm not sure if this complicates the issue enough to satisfy some people, but it seems the most truthful and honest way to cite our sources. And since "canon" is something that is decided by TPTB (and not us), why invoke the term? If someone sees that "Daffyduckium, with other "in-jokes", appeared on a screen in "Rascals"", can't they read on to really determine what kind of information they were reading... especially since the exact source would be specifically spelled out for them? -- Captain M.K. Barteltalk 12:48, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

That's a pretty good point, one which I agree with. But I think I'm done with the whole canon policy issue now. Aside from the labeling of articles as non-canon and the length of the policy, I have no real qualms with it anymore, and I'm not gonna make a big deal out of those remaining issues. I will be extremely peeved, however, if anyone marks information on a certain fish as "non-canon", especially since it's been accepted as "canon". --From Andoria with Love 13:17, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

From Vfd discussionEdit

The following was copied from a discussion on MA:Vfd:


The Istanbul class-name is referenced on page 319 of the original encyclopedia, in the "starships" list, as part of the reference for the USS Constantinople. --Alan del Beccio 00:04, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

The Encyclopedia is prone to speculation, I believe. I just thought I'd point that out. But I guess since it's made by people involved in the productions, it's considered a valid source (albeit non-canon), so Istanbul and any other speculative prototype listed in the Encyclopedia are fair game and should be kept... I guess. I, personally, was under the impression that we didn't follow what other Encyclopedias did, no matter how official they are, but I guess I was wrong. :P (By the way, I vote to keep all USS Intrepids) --From Andoria with Love 01:06, 8 March 2006 (UTC)
Even I would be okay with basing the ship on the Encyclopedia (as a permitted non-canon resource, like you said), but apparently only the class of ship is in there; not the USS Istanbul itself. Aholland 03:42, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

I disagree with these statements, and just want to bring them up here to see if the policy needs clarification in that regard. Especially:

  1. it's considered a valid source (albeit non-canon)
  2. a permitted non-canon resource (both comments in reference to the Encyclopedia)

According to the old canon policy, the Encyclopedia is not a valid resource. End of story.

According to the new canon policy, the Encyclopedia is not a valid resource, either, but may see some "restricted" use - which means as background information, not as an own article. Furthermore, an own article might be created under specific circumstances, which I just don't see fulfilled here. For example, I don't believe that "the resource was created by the applicable production staff during the creation of the Episodes of the relevant series."

Am I misinterpreting anything here? -- Cid Highwind 11:04, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Okay, this is getting really complicated now, lol! I know we previously didn't include info from the Encyclopedia, but the current policy states that it is allowed in special cases, at least that's what it says to me. Perhaps the term "Restricted Validity Resource" needs a more thorough explanation? Of course, that would just make it even longer, which is something we don't need. Like I said, a plain English version of the policy is definitely needed... anybody here remember Tim's policy? Anybody here wanna take a crack at the current policy? I don't write the rules, I just break... er, follow them to the letter. ;) --From Andoria with Love 11:12, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, apparently the reference to "indented italics" a.k.a. background information didn't survive the editing process completely, although the next sentence delivers some of the necessary context ("Background" section instead if it is longer). I will clarify that. -- Cid Highwind 11:16, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

First, Cid's insert is a fine clarification.
Second, here's my understanding of how it is supposed to work. The Encyclopedia is a Restricted Validity Resource. That information can be used to create an article - on its own - if certain criteria are met. Those criteria are (summarizing): no conflicts; it was created by production staff; highly likely that the info would have been used if the story needed it; it is a minor point in the Trek universe; and its use wasn't intentionally avoided by the production staff. Absent this sort of thing, articles like the United States of Africa, "Cait", and Livingston could not exist because their only source material is NOT a valid resource. I'm actually fine with that approach - it is a lot easier. But my understanding was that people would weep at those losses; hence the limited use of the material if it seemed right, didn't conflict, and was - in the scope of things - minor.
And third, with that being said, an Encyclopedia article on the USS Istanbul as a ship would count, I think, under "Restricted Validity Resources and Initial Article Creation". Aholland 12:34, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Removal of Discussion NoteEdit

I was wondering: how much time has to pass without substantive discussion before the "under discussion" note on the face page of the article can be removed? Aholland 05:00, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Since no other policy that is "under discussion" has an "under discussion" sign (and, yes, the discussion has pretty much become inactive again), I'd say we just remove it now. -- Cid Highwind 10:15, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Well... I really don't want to go prove a POINT, but now that Mike reverted my edit to re-add a messagebox that no other page has - should I go and add some big, funky, red-bordered messagebox to each and every policy that I was discussing in the last 6 months? Why is it important that this "policy under discussion" has one while every other doesn't? :) -- Cid Highwind 21:54, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
I didn't design the box Cid.. sorry you don't like the color scheme...
why?: Because i like attracting attention to this discussion. I personally think that changing the canon policy could help us keep a lot of articles that are being questioned due to the awkward form the policy is in..
(in short, i don't like it) -- Captain M.K.B. 22:01, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Re-addition of "discussion issues" noteEdit

I re-added that note for discussing further matters.

Apparently, the clause about "data removed from scripts" by the producers is being misunderstood -- for example, if the producers build and film a model which can be seen onscreen (USS Chekov is an example), but then change the way he ship is referred to in a later edit of the episode -- are we supposed to assume their intentions that this changes the existance of the ship?

The language describing the circumstances of these actions should be clarified so we aren't trying to imply intent to the producer's edit, where non is known. Example:

  • a dialogue reference to USS Chekhov was removed from a dramatic moment because the producers felt it would disrupt the scene.
  • a model was labeled USS Chekov in the ship battlefield. we have examined behind the scenes pictures from numerous sources and know the vessel was present.
    • does the producers' removal of one dialogue reference imply that the ship doesn't exist -- or simply that they wished to alter the way the character were perceiving it. I think the latter. -- Captain M.K.B. 21:45, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
This is a carryover from the USS Chekov page. I believe that there is no permitted resource for that article. I have no problem citing the existence of a ship based on a model - except we do not have any clear photos of the model. Not from the episode, and not from outside the episode. I'm checking my other reference material when I get home, as there are many other potential permitted sources for this data. If I come up dry I will likely nominate it for deletion and the conversation, and my full rationale, can move to there. Aholland 22:16, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
I gave you a link to a site with a photo of the model, sir, but i have now posted a temporary illustration of said photo on the talk page itself. -- Captain M.K.B. 23:44, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

OK, let's cut the chit-chat, and get to the point - which isn't the exact phrasing of any of the policy versions, but its intention. The old policy basically didn't allow resources that weren't directly from the episodes. That hasn't been enforced each and every time, but still, it was the official canon policy that articles should have been based on for the last two years - which includes USS Chekov. The new policy, while more verbose and "legalese", actually allows more than that, as long as there's some connection to on-screen data. Now, my question, not only directed at you, Mike, but also all the others that have had problems with this policy and are now being invited to this discussion by Mike:

What do you want Memory Alpha to become in the future?

Do you want it to really become the "most definitive, accurate, and accessible encyclopedia", as advertised on our main page, or do you want to stray even more from that goal by allowing more and more obscure resources as time goes by?

I feel that, if an item (here: a specific starship) wasn't seen, wasn't mentioned, wasn't heard of in on-screen Trek - and apparently even was removed from scripts before filming started - we shouldn't have an "in-universe" article about it. Background info on the episode page, perhaps on the Battle of Wolf 359 article, surely - but pretend it really was an existing starship if there's nothing to support this - why? -- Cid Highwind 22:40, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

That's the thing, though... it was seen. It's name may not have been visible, but I don't believe that should be incentive to believe the ship never existed. --From Andoria with Love 23:27, 16 March 2006 (UTC)
Cid, if you think that the "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" is an "obscure resource" that we shouldn't research further, then I'm not sure if there is a future for MA... -- Captain M.K.B. 23:49, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

No, Mike, don't misinterpret what I was saying. I think that "Michael Okuda's portfolio and an interview" - which, in addition to a pretty generic link to the homepage of EAS instead of at least a direct link to some specific article there, were the only sources you gave on that talk page - are "obscure resources" in regard to MA's goal. I even asked you, directly on that talk page, and indirectly both here and there, if the model this is all about was seen, somehow, in the episode, because this was still unclear to me - yet it took two other editors to answer that question. Additionally, as an aside, I think it would help both you and everyone else if you cut back on the snide remarks in these discussions... -- Cid Highwind 00:12, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Cid, I haven't even begun to get snide -- so don't invite me to by singling me out like that. While you have always had a special knack for baiting me like that, I believe that i've taken a few breaks when i was tempted to snide things up here, so I hope that what I have written is clearer for it. If you have any specific problems with my work, discuss it with me..
I'm trying to present the data here, and to comment that this policy seems like an attempt to change the entirety of MA.. there have been too many deletion discussions now where the pronouncement that a consensus doesn't matter in the face of this policy has been the final word, yet there are several people who seem to think this policy is Memory Alpha's biggest problem right now.
The reason I did go ahead and ask other archivists to help me present the data is that, between my daily life and need for rest, I have been only coming to the computer for brief periods in between my other activities. I'm really grateful that others have stepped up to the plate and helped me narrow down the kind of proof that is needed -- its great to see there are archivists here that can participate in discussions and provide resources, rather than practicing deletionism and ignoring what i have written -- or impatiently blowing right by it. -- Captain M.K.B. 00:27, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Speaking of resources, I've checked the resources I have and here's what I've found:

  • There is no mention of the USS Chekov or Chekhov in the Star Trek Encyclopedia, Star Trek Chronology, or Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual
  • There is no mention of the USS Chekov or Chekhov in any series or movie.
  • There is no clear photo of a ship with a name that says "USS Chekov" or "USS Chekhov" in any series or movie. (The photo added to the USS Chekov article is too indistinct.)
  • There is no clear photo of a model of a ship that (1) clearly corresponds to one seen on-screen and (2) clearly shows the name "USS Chekov" or "USS Chekhov". (The photo from ex-astra scienta, while nice, is so low-resolution that a name can only be guessed at.)
  • There is a reference to a "USS Chekhov" in the script for BOBW, II, but the line was discarded and changed to another Russian author, Tolstoy, for the final show.
  • There is a mention of a Rigel class "USS Chekhov" on page 139 of Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion by Larry Nemecek as a replacement name for the "Tolstoy" in the final script. Note the spelling. (Apparently the production staff went back and forth on this point.) Note also in the referenced Okuda interview that he said "Larry's list in the Companion was info that I provided to him." (And note that this book is not a permitted resource on Memory Alpha.)

Unless someone can produce a nice photo, clearly showing "Chekov" and with a configuration that matches what is seen on-screen, I submit that any attribution of a name to the smudge in the episode is unwarranted. And as Cid said above, this really boils down to whether Memory Alpha is to be a definitive site for guaranteed information, or just a collection of fanon and wishful thinking. I'm going to put the article up for deletion unless any further discussion here nets anything new. Aholland 00:46, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Canon policy revision Edit

In response to the issues being discussed with the current canon policy, I have taken somewhat of an iniciative and created a new page for the sole purpose of revising the policy. Anyone wishing to make revisions to the current policy can do so directly here. --From Andoria with Love 18:34, 18 March 2006 (UTC)


Okay, so I did some thinking and I believe I've come up with a "layman's terms" version of the canon policy which also addresses the other issues at hand. Note that this is not in the wording that should be used if it were to actually become the official policy, so some work will need to be done in that area, but it should basically say the same. For example, there will be referring to our recent discussion on the USS Chekov, but those can be removed later or replaced with another example. Note that this does not include the introductory paragraph, the differences between universe and franchise articles, or the deletion of non-canon articles; I think those sections are fine the way they currently are in the canon policy. Aside from those and what's listed below, I do not believe we need any more detail in the canon policy. Okay, so... here goes.

Canon ResourcesEdit

Canon resources include:

In other words, everything that is seen and heard in any and all Star Trek episodes and films. Conflicts should be noted as in the current canon policy.

Non-canon ResourcesEdit

Novels, games, etc. developed by Paramount. Information from these resources should be listed either as background info (if only a small amount of text) or as apocrypha (if there is a large amount of background info already present). Those non-canon resources not distributed by Paramount are considered fan fiction and do not belong anywhere within articles.

Secondary ResourcesEdit

Secondary resources are those made by production staff involved with the movies and episodes which were not clearly established in said movies or episodes. These include reference materials as the Star Trek Encyclopedia, Star Trek Chronology, and Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual. These materials should only be used to supplement canon resources, not to substitute them. Everything listed under canon resources takes presedence over reference materials. In other words, if a model used in an episode has a different registry number than what is used in the Encyclopedia, the model's registry takes prescendence as that is what was seen in the episode!

  • Info from scenes which were cut from scripts or from a filmed product may be included, so long as it is noted that the scene was not in the final version. The only exception to this are alternate scenes which conflict with what was seen on-screen (i.e. Kirk's alternate death scene from Generations), which should be noted as background but should not be given any reference in an article's main text.
  • Secondary resources include all verified background information pertaining to all movies and episodes, i.e. models, graphics, scripts, etc. However, if dialogue in an episode conflicts with a graphic from another episode, the dialogue should take prescendence (i.e. Silva La Forge vs. Alvera La Forge). However, where there is no conflict (i.e., the USS Chekov being seen on-screen in "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" and the USS Tolstoy being referenced in dialogue – obviously, in-universe, they were two different ships), both have equal prescedence and therefore have equal right to have their own article.

Invalid ResourcesEdit

Fan-fiction, fan websites, etc. These do not have any place in the Trek Universe articles. The only exceptions to this are those websites that are reputable and have varifiable information from those who worked in Trek productions. Note that only information, images and other details from those who worked on the productions should be admitted as a valid, canon source; all other information is invalid and restricted.

And, I think that's basically it. Again, the wording needs a little work for it to become official, and yes, some things may need a little more elaborating, but I believe this will take care of any confusion evident in the current policy. Let me know if I missed anything, though. --From Andoria with Love 05:47, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

I'd support adding any or all of the changes here, possibly with the "secondary resource" definition for verifiable studio materials, as i defined in your temp policy. -- Captain M.K.B. 06:12, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
That sounds alright to me, and I've implemented the change. Still need to see what others say, though. --From Andoria with Love 06:44, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Running down things:
  • Canon Resources. Including scenes that were cut as anything other than pure background is ignoring the intentions of the creative staff. Things are often deleted for a reason, even if no conflicts exist. Including all graphics, seen and unseen, also ignores the creative staff's intentions. Some things are made to be seen from one view or as background only. Models should never take precedence over other information, including Encyclopedias written by production staff; else we will need to include bits on the reverse writing on the Enterprise from TOS when filmed from the different side. It makes no sense to do that, as the models are supposed to be representations of the creative choices of the writers and producers; not the other way around.
  • Non-canon resources. Fine. I think this is essentially current policy.
  • Valid Resources. Saying everything created, whether used or not, or shown or not, counts is ignoring the intentions of the production staff. If all that is meant is those books (and similar material), then fine - I think that is essentially what the current policy says. Except, again, models shouldn't take precedence over information recorded unless we are prepared to accept errors in models as being more important than in-universe fictions that are clearly set out.
  • Fan Fiction. This is essentially the current policy.
I will say again: the further we get from the episodes as aired in terms of sources of information, and the further we ignore choices made by the creators of Trek to include or show things, the further we dilute the value of Memory Alpha. I would not modify current policy in that regard. Aholland 06:53, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Thank you, Aholland, for enlightening us as to the intentions of the production staff. I was not aware of your experience in working with them or your ability to read minds. Okay, all sarcasm aside, it should be noted that most, if not all, of scenes cut from final episodes are due to time constraints, not due to creativity. Also, I'm not saying everything created is used; if dialogue is in clear conflict with something seen on a graphic or a model (clearly not the case with Chekov), then dialogue takes prescendence and everything else is background info, as is explained above. :) --From Andoria with Love 07:11, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

From Aholland's last post I read that information like that on casulty report or the Yesterday's Enterprise tactical situation monitor are not supposed to enter into this database?? That is stupid! Of course such data will never make it into any version of the Encyclopedia, but that is the advantage of Memory Alpha: Here we will be able to enter it in the database quasi on the fly! -- Kobi - (Talk) 11:44, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Kobi: no, the information on the casualty report (seen on a graphic, I believe) is fine for Memory Alpha under the current policy; it was prohibited under the prior policy. Shran: Sarcasm really doesn't help here. Regardless, scenes are cut (from scripts and filmed material) for many reasons - time being just one of them. And whether due to time, due to dislike for the material, or due to something else altogether, cut means cut. We do the creative staff a disservice by disregarding that and elevating the information to the same value as that which was not cut just because it gives us something to write about. Aholland 12:10, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I was a bit snippy last night, my apologies. But, if the production staff didn't want the cut scenes to be seen... then why include them on the DVDs? I don't believe we're doing the disservice by including information from scenes they took the time to make but ultimately couldn't use for whatever reason. If those cut scenes drastically conflict with what was shown in an episode or movie to the point an explanation for the conflict is almost impossible (i.e., alternate scenes), then sure, those shouldn't be included. In any case, the cut scene policy was the only thing I could think of which would allow articles such as Martin Madden to continue to exist here. --From Andoria with Love 17:42, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Vote of no confidence, hiatus on information removal edits regarding Canon Policy Edit

I'd like to call for an immediate hiatus on edits removing information from article main body text on the basis of "restricted validity" resources clauses added to the canon policy. This is for administrative reasons, to reduce the number of current talk page discussions about removing this data -- they all seem to have the same tone, and I generally think they should be the same discussion.

The Canon Policy needs to be changed. I'm calling a vote of no confidence in the canon policy as it stands and is being quoted by users suggesting the removal of data from articles. I call for a suspension of the policy until a reworked version, that allows for the kind of data archivists on the site are adding.

The kind of data i'm talking about is derived from research. I have drafted a new research policy, also to the approval of a majority consensus of archivists, for helping to cite data that is derived from behind-the-scenes info so that we can verify and include what is verifiable, with limits, and reject that which is unverified, to reduce the number of "uncertain" and "gray area" comments about judging data obtained from numerous sources behind the episodes. I think that when this data pertains to the in-universe POV of the storyline, it should be included as "in-universe" POV article information (for example, if it was designed to appear in an "in-universe" POV perspective, like information on viewscreens, or behind the scenes prints of them that can be verified) -- Captain M.K.B. 04:13, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

I've placed some comments on the "Research Policy". At heart, it is a bad idea for the site, unless the desire is to turn it into something other than its stated purpose of an authoritative supplement/substitute for the Star Trek Encyclopedia. I was also unware that policies were to be discussed at Ten Forward rather than the policy page. Or that a single person could direct everyone to stop questioning the validity of citations in articles. I do not support this "confidence" vote in concept, and so will not state my support for existing policies; I will reserve that for the policy pages themselves. But I will say that reverting to the prior canon policy will net you losses in articles you care about, while no new policy that makes sense has yet been proffered. Aholland 04:42, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
I dont really care about articles, but I am just sick and tired of hearing of this 'canon policy' stuff everywhere I go on ma. Whopper 04:49, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
It's a pain, but it might get us somewhere if everyone stops taking it so personally. I have no problem with a hierarchy of resource as long as the community is involved, we have background sections for a reason. Jaf 04:55, 19 March 2006 (UTC)Jaf
My one and only suggestion, should there be a consensus against the new policy for whatever reasons, is to go back to the old canon policy and start enforcing that one. Amendments to that policy should then be discussed in detail before being added to the policy. I'm absolutely against allowing even more resources than the new policy allows (and for the umpteenth time, the old one allowed even less), and should this become policy in opposition to what is defined as MA's goal on the main page, I will think twice about staying here. -- Cid Highwind 12:39, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm voting below and laying low for a bit to see where this all falls out before determining my future participation here as well. Aholland 12:46, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Well there are two sides of the issue 1. a large sum of people will ban the project, and 2. If we do indeed make the right choice, we can get thousands more users. There is a 50/50 % chance we(both sides) can make the right choice, I too, want to see how this goes. 68.21.130.72 15:16, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

VoteEdit

Comments elsewhere plz
No confidence
  • No confidence -- Captain M.K.B. 04:11, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Whopper 04:16, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
  • stop the edit wars, stop the edits -- Kobi - (Talk) 10:12, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Yes. Kennelly 11:56, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
  • So long as Captain Mike doesn't become the next Palpatine. --Vedek Dukat Talk | Duty Roster 15:57, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support. - Intricated 02:49, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
  • --Illwill 18:33, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
  • No Confidence. --Alan del Beccio 06:26, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support (oppose policy). Makon 20:13, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Weyoun 20:24, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
  • It's definitely a mess. --Broik 21:30, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
Oppose
  • Oppose -- Jaf 04:52, 19 March 2006 (UTC)Jaf
  • Oppose -- Cid Highwind 12:39, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- Aholland 12:46, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- Aurelius Kirk 01:55, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm abstaining from this vote for the simple reason that I really don't care anymore. The main issue at hand is whether or not we should include production sources (scripts, models, barely-visible or jokey graphics and labels, cut scenes, etc.) as valid resources to use in articles. If we can't, then articles such as USS Chekov and Martin Madden technically shouldn't exist here by themselves, and Livingston will become Unnamed lionfish in Picard's ready room, or something just as absurd. Well, just so long as the latter never happens, I'm fine with whichever way the canon policy goes. I attempted to revise the policy for both readability and to address remaining issues, but it wasn't good enough for the absolute supporters of the current canon policy. Therefore, I remove myself from any further dealings with the canon policy. If this is something that is going to divide the community and force some to leave, then I want no part in it. Alan said just last night, "I remember when we wrote articles [not talk pages].". Similarly, I remember when this encyclopedia was all in fun. I miss those times, and therefore, I'm letting go of this issue once and for all so I can finally enjoy Memory Alpha again as I did before. If the issue of the canon policy is going to be this big, I say we just hang it up here and now. If Memory Alpha's Trek universe articles are supposed to only cover what was seen and heard on-screen and absolutely nothing else at all, then so it should be. Merge articles such as Chekov and Madden and any other of the hundreds of articles created from material cut from scripts, episodes, or movies with their respective episode/movie pages and be done with it. Just don't kill Livingston. --United we stand, divided we fall. From Andoria with Love 18:16, 19 March 2006 (UTC)


Well, technically, Livingston is also the "actor's" name, so... :) All kidding aside, I really don't know what to think at this point. I haven't had much time to make any edits lately but I do review the recent changes, VFD, and other pages at least once a day and I agree, I think we've shifted our focus perhaps a bit too much from writing and creating new content to deleting everything and anything the least bit questionable and having to source the entire article down to the last period. (And even more unfortunate, people seem to take such matters a bit too personally.) To be honest, I really took everything stated in Captainmike's research policy for granted. I thought that's how things worked around here; stuff that's absolutely verifiable on-screen is placed in the main body, while things which are apocryphal or from other sources explicitly stated as such and italicized or separated in a "background information" section.

Articles like Martin Madden, USS Hawk, etc. did once bother me as not within the scope of MA. However, I've come to realize that those subjects deserve an article if they were somehow (verifiably) connected to one of the six series or ten movies, and if it is clearly stated that the info comes from a deleted scene or draft of the script or whatever. And still, when some sort of backgroundish-info conflicts with other info (i.e. registry numbers or class of a starship changing) it can still be mentioned in the background as an interesting fact. We are a reference to everything canon Trek, and that includes that type of behind-the-scenes info. We really can't grow if it stops at things mentioned on-screen only. Plus we can delete and move stuff but a new user generally comes back and adds it again anyway. :)

Of course, there are gray areas where drafts of scripts were completely rewritten, eliminating or changing whole characters, but that can be dealt with on a case-to-case basis and I thought we had grown enough as a community where we could work this out together without much of a problem. And obviously, articles for novel, comic, fan fiction, etc. based things are not allowed and can be deleted according to policy.

All that said, I'm somewhat confused and don't think I'm informed enough to make a vote, simply because I don't really think there's much to vote on. I just thought that everything mentioned on this new research policy page is how it's always been. And, I might add, it's worked fine up until now. I'm also worried that we're heading down the path of too much bureaucracy... both Gvsualan and Shran have it right. Legislating every little action and writing meticulous rules will take the fun out of the project. I want to see other thoughts on this, but if it comes down to it, I would most likely support adding something similar to the canon policy just to make it official. -- SmokeDetector47( TALK ) 04:10, 20 March 2006 (UTC)


There's enough bureaucracy on this page to satisfy even the Sheliak! I don't think this is going to be resolved in one day, or even over a number of weeks. Granted, there are many cases when its blatently obvious what's from an on-screen reference, and what's not, but in a small number of cases, its not so obvious. Those cases should be taken individually and discussed. Maybe we could have a page such as "Memory-Alpha: Canon dispute", where people can comment on whether a certain point should be included or not.

The casual user wouldn't even think of looking for policy pages to read anyway, so they'd still go around blissfully unaware of any changes that were made to policies. This would eventually entail one or probably all the admins going around like the police, reminding everyone about policies and the such, until we get no more casual trade at all.

As Shran, SmokeDetector and Alan have all said in one way or another, this is meant to be fun! Surely you guys get enough of following rules and regulations every day, either at work or at school... Zsingaya 21:31, 21 March 2006 (UTC)


Not to be offensive, but I think the individuals with OCD need to calm down a bit. What has always made memory alpha great is that you can find out things like: The major Kira character was originally supposed to be Ro Laren; as well easily find out which episodes mentioned the "Treaty of Algeron". I think there is a place for it all. This site is supposed to be about about how much we love everything Star Trek. I'm not saying that we should get rid of all the rules but, too many rules and regulations are taking away from the heart of the site. The current practices are adequate . Besides, nobody (especially not casual users) reads the policy pages anyway. I've used ths site for years and I only just registered an account a couple of months ago. The only time I even glance at the policy pages is when I want to see out what everyone is arguing about.--Illwill 08:15, 22 March 2006 (UTC)


I wasn't sure whether I should comment on all of this again or just let this continue uninterrupted. Call it "OCD" if that increases your necessary "fun-level", but I just have to comment. I'm leaving the sorting of this discussion to someone else, though...

  1. To everyone thinking this is a good idea "because we have enough rules": You do realize that this is not a suggestion to remove a policy, but a suggestion to rephrase one and add another which might otherwise simply be included in the existing ones?
  2. To everyone thinking that removing a policy will stop edit wars, or that something like a "Canon dispute" page for even more discussions is a cool idea: You do realize that only a consistent rule about something will stop endless discussion or edit wars between two different, subjective points of view?
  3. To everyone thinking that "a policy is bad because it is too detailed": You do realize that most people don't even read any policy? Or that most people, who just add "common knowledge" (as in: material clearly from the series), aren't even affected by any sensible form of canon policy simply because they are well within the "white area"? It's only those few who are working near the line, in the "grey area", who might be affected by this. And for those few, the policy doesn't need to be "as short as possible" while outsourcing each individual problem to its own, crowded discussion page - it needs to be all-embracing and consistent.

-- Cid Highwind 17:02, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

I was never in a grey area personally, as I'm not into things like the Okudagram in the background or the name of Picard's goldfish, but what irritates me is the labelling of things as "non-canon but from a valid resource". That just sounds silly to me, because people know Memory Alpha has its own unique canon policy (a la TAS and company), so they expect things included here to be accepted as canon unless it's a novel or other form of apocrypha, not the neologism "coming from a Restricted Validity Resource" or "an invalid resource". The latter was supposed to apply to works like fanon, not novels, which are apocrypha. That's my main beef. That and this whole situation reminds me of an old saying: "The beaurocracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding beaurocracy." --Vedek Dukat Talk | Duty Roster 18:27, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Because the above comment (Cid Highwind) appears to be at least partly in resonse to my comments point of view, I have fashioned a bit of a clarification. In response to the first point, I don't think that we need to stop adding or adjusting rules; the clearer they are the better it is for us all. A concise policy is the only way to maintain MA. I just think that sometimes we let small nitpicks as well as individual opinions take away from what's fun about MA. That being said, I think the current spirit behind MA policy should stay the same ie: we should try to include as much relavent info as possible while, excluding speculation. As long as that is maintained, you could clarify policy as much as you like. Like you said, most info added is well within the indisputable canon range so clarification of the actual policy shouldn't have much of an effect on 99.9% of articles. I just would hate to see small facts like that of Major Kira (Mentioned above) disappear. My original comments were meant to make sure everyone remembers what this site has always been about, not to suppport one side or the other. Again, I'm not voting one way or the other, I just think that whatever is decided should try to maintain the current spirit of MA.

  • Thuogh its probably (read hopefully) not neccesary to say this, I hold no ill will towards any user and all of my comments are made in the spirit of improving the site. Live long and prosper --Illwill 18:33, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure if you're misunderstanding this or not, so just in case, I think you should know that background information (such as Kira's character originally planned to be Ro Laren) is not in danger of being removed. What is in danger of being removed or altered are those articles written or partly written based on things such as production notes, production-made graphics (such as bio-screens, schematics, door labels, etc.), scenes that were filmed but cut from a film or episode, items cut from early drafts of scripts, and, of course, models that were used and seen in the series/movies but not clearly visible (coupled with proof that said model, production info, etc. exists). This means that such articles as Livingston, USS Hawk, USS Chekov, and Martin Madden are in danger of being deleted or altered (possibly to label them as "non-canon"). And... I hope I explained that clearly. I can never really tell. :P --From Andoria with Love 00:23, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

So it's been not quite a week since the topic of whether or not the current canon policy should be followed was brought up. I've hung back and watched, and from my review of the above it looks like there really isn't a consensus for change or the addition of yet more policies. If that is so, can we please put this behind us and move forward with the current policy, including identification of material that's canon? I would like to begin to contribute again based on the policies in effect at the site. Aholland 19:20, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Well, there's a consensus that, as I said, the beaurocracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding beaurocracy, but no one is quite sure how to fix it. I plan to move forward using the old common-sense approach:
  • "Canon" is material we include in the main article - all of it - including production information.
  • "Apocrypha" is material from licensed publications and other official works.
  • "Valid resource" is anything in either of the above two categories.
  • "Invalid resource" is anything else, e.g. fan fiction.
  • "Restricted validity" (if we must use that term) is the process of screening info from the chronology/encyclopedia to see if it conflicts with established facts.
I'm not sure why that's such a hard distinction to make. --Vedek Dukat Talk | Duty Roster 20:29, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

It is, of course, circular logic to say that "we can only include canon in the main article" and "what is in the main article is canon". :) That is why any policy exists, and why it is crucial: to tell people what can be placed in the main article and how. But my main question is still: are we done with this discussion such that we can return to writing based on existing policies? Aholland 21:03, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Circular logic should fit in, as the entire excercise in futility already feels like one big circle jerk. Although I'm not sure where you got that argument from, as I was simply stating that if it's included in the article, it's considered canon, i.e. no notes about how it's not canon but we like it anyway. --Vedek Dukat Talk | Duty Roster 06:13, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Suggestion for the new policy (made without using confusing and inaccurate terms like "canon") "What can be placed in an article body: researched information about Star Trek episodes and movies, from the POV of Star Trek. This includes anything immediately observable from an episode or film. This should also include anything pertinent that was designed and created to be filmed, even if it wasn't perceivable during its appearance, as long as it did appear."
This way, the policy helps to define what kind of data we can use -- and makes sure that there is a definite limit to what can be included. We still won't be using details like names and other distinguishing characteristics from uninvolved sources like comics, novels, original reference works, games, collectibles or other fan fiction -- none of them have the "authority" to make up a detail like a registry number or to name any unnamed people.
However, I feel it is our responsibility to include, as "in-POV" article info, things that were specifically designed to appear onscreen, but couldn't be defined from the episode or film itself, unless they were intentionally removed or overtly contradicted.
"this ship is unnamed because the name was removed from the episode because the producers decided Klingons shouldn't have warbirds", or more proven: "According to the Star Trek: Encyclopedia, Bob Justman said not to call the character Spack and removed the name from the script.", or, the contradiction/in-joke -- "Although called "Captain Superdood" in the script of his first appearance, every episode thereafter called him "Homer" in dialogue."
This creates a level of ease in creating and propgating articles, and gives MA an edge on other fan-sites -- we have the manpower and resources to really dig up raw data on whether or not there are registries specifically designed for blurry ships in the background -- whether minor characters were named in makeup department sketches but not the script or dialogue -- we've accepted data like this before, and I think that the way its being researched and used is responsible.
I think the way this information is used is not covered properly in the canon policy, since it is being quoted as allowing removal to background information for things that are verifiably used onscreen (like names assigned to minor species in makeup department designs, registries detailed on starships filmed and seen onscreen, etc). I think that researching what is actually from the studio's own production is important, so that other sources can be excluded.
I believe that the majority consensus on Talk:USS Chekov complies with what i have set forth -- a registry number not seen onscreen, but visible in a photo of the actual studio model, obtained through an interview of the supervisor of the modeling, interviewed by a Memory Alpha admin, should be used as the accurate, "in-POV" registry of that ship.
I believe that this vote, as meaningless as it may be (it didn't have any specific "aim" except for halting continued information removal and circular discussions), shows a majority supported halting the information being removed from an article body to background sections, even with several abstaining. I also believe it supports an admittedly minor change to the canon policy to help us include as valid resources: script, production illustration, set/model/prop artwork that is sometimes, but not always visible onscreen, and further, to help make sure we only allow this inclusion for those things verifiably seen onscreen and created with the intention of being part of the production's POV. I'm sorry for any trouble this may have caused. -- Captain M.K.B. 05:04, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
Three points:
  • (1) Let's move any discussion of proposed changes to the canon policy to the canon policy Discussion page. I will reserve judgement on the suggestion above of "What can be placed in an article body" until it is proposed in terms of exact text to be inserted into the canon policy. The reason is I see a lot of potential unpleasant implications from the words used, but I realize it was an "off the cuff" proposal and so shouldn't be overly analyzed until proposed as part of the canon Discussion page.
  • (2) Scripts, production illustrations not seen clearly, and set/model/prop artwork not seen clearly are permitted resources under the existing canon policy; they are just not "valid resources" (they are "Restricted Validity Resources"). I am going to assume that it was not being proposed to elevate those resources to the same value as scripted dialogue. If so I would strongly object to such a proposal, and that suggestion of including in the main body of an article data further and further away from the shows as presented on screen is the very thing that is causing some of us to reevaluate whether we want to remain affiliated with Memory Alpha at all.
  • (3) I suggest we get back to writing articles using existing policies, including being honest with readers and appropriately including/excluding and labelling information accordingly. If there's an argument regarding the including of data, look to how the policy deals with it, not whether it is desired or not on a personal level. That way we can consistently report on Trek as presented to us as a final product, not how we might have liked it to be shown. Aholland 13:39, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
It seems to me that Aholland is in denial about the fact that public opinion is against him. Nearly 75% of the votes are against this policy, so if anything, we should take your advice with one exception - continue working as if the changes to the policy didn't exist. Seems to me that would be the best option at this point. --Broik 21:38, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

The other side of the coinEdit

With the policy now, again, being discussed in regard to potential "information removal", I'd also like to request that, for the time being, no special effort is made to include new information that is obviously borderline (regarding all canon policies that were ever in existance here) - especially by those contributors that are fully aware of the existing problems. I believe this would only be fair... -- Cid Highwind 12:17, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

At what point... Edit

...do the members of this community get their say? It seems like nearly 75% (one vote short of it) of the votes were in favor of no confidence in the Restricted ValidityTM version of our canon policy. My parliamentary skills are a bit rusty, but doesn't that mean we can get rid of it? At what point is it a consensus? --Broik 00:40, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Broik, as I pointed out on your talk page this is not like a vote to delete an article where a majority cleanly rules. Policies are consensus, and from the above we have various people saying they have "no confidence" in the policy (whatever that means), some saying they like the policy as is, some saying they are abstaining, and some describing what they think about the whole thing. There is no clear consensus to change anything, and if changed what to change it to. But even if there was, reversion to the prior version would mean many more articles will be deleted as the current version is more lenient than the old one. If that is your intent - to have more articles like Livingston deleted - then please so state. If not, you really need to read the prior and current versions for content rather than simply engage in switching text back and forth. You will see that the current version will allow more sources. And if you have a concern about a particular source or hypothetical, PLEASE bring it up here for discussion and resolution. Aholland 00:45, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
You are both acting like 2-year-olds, alternating between reversions and leaving comments on one another's talk page about how right you both think you are. Broik wants the original policy with a disclaimer, Aholland wants his policy with no disclaimer, but what is wrong with Aholland's policy accompanied by a disclaimer? That is what Broik's latest revision was, and Aholland reverted it again.
Aholland: Edit wars don't solve problems.
Broik: We have established that the community wishes to change the policy. What we have not established is what to do about it.
You are both in the right from your own perspectives (Broik on the fact that there is a consensus about the policy, Aholland about the fact that we need to discuss this, although I again don't understand why we can't have the current policy with a disclaimer). However, edit wars are not tolerated on Memory Alpha.
I am going to put the current policy in place with a disclaimer about the fact that its future is uncertain; then we can figure out what to do about this quagmire. --Vedek Dukat Talk | Duty Roster 01:01, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
At this point i'll support going back to the old policy and enforcing the mass deletion that that entails just to see something done. (I'm being half sarcastic) Jaf 01:36, 2 April 2006 (UTC)Jaf
FYI: The reason I kept deleting the inserted note was there was the exact same discussion above wherein the approach instituted was not to have the note because other policies with discussion do not have similar notes. If that was in error, I apologize. Aholland 01:42, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
Well I think it's safe to say other policy pages are nowhere near as controversial as this one. It's clear that we can't simply throw everything in the new policy out the door, but I do think it's amusing that both sides are worried about "mass deletions" if they don't get their way. As an inclusionist, I favor a policy that doesn't delete things one way or another, so long as we're not including apocrypha like novels, comics and card games. This debate has run off some of our most valuable contributors though, so I think the question of canonicity will be our undoing. --Vedek Dukat Talk | Duty Roster 01:50, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

It certainly has that potential. I believe that I have contributed to the site in ways unrelated to the policy, and I believe that I have value yet to offer. But if - as at least one person has suggested - policy should be changed to allow information from websites, comics, novels, notes on napkins, unseen props, deleted scenes, and any stray thought that ever crossed the mind of anyone who was ever attached to a Trek production to become the source for claims of what the Trek universe is . . . then I believe my time here would be at an end. What's the point, after all, of describing the Trek universe through use of things never part of the shows as presented? Heck, I'd write a novel if I wanted to do that. At least that's my take on it. Aholland 02:14, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Where do we go from here? Edit

I would like to know what people want (and don't want) our policy to be. Could the people involved in this debate each state that clearly? (Keep it short and to the point, there are a lot of us) Jaf 02:59, 2 April 2006 (UTC)Jaf

  • Okay: current policy; as is. Aholland 03:19, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Trying this another way Edit

Okay, as everyone probably noticed, I've taken the initiative protected the policy page to prevent this crap from getting more out of hand than it already has. Now, here's what we're gonna do. Forget this "no confidence" stuff; instead, we're going to try to work this like adults and try to form some sort of community consensus as to what about the current policy is fine and what needs to be changed. Here's what we're gonna do: each user will comment on what they like about the current policy, using one bullet to seperate their comments from those of others. And I don't mean complaining about the length and "legalese" of the policy; that's already been established, we don't need to hear anymore about it. If you have suggestions on how to shorten the policy or on how to make it more readable, that's great, but don't post them in this section. This is for explaining what parts of the policy you like and what parts you feel needs to be changed. Maybe this way we can figure out what is bothering each individual archivist and try to work on it from there. You may also want to suggest ways of improving the parts you have concerns with. We'll wait a few days (five, maybe?) and then we'll check it out and see what we come up with. Anyways, I'll start and we'll see how it goes from there.


  • I feel that the policy, in general, is sound. My main concern is the labeling of articles based on production info rather than on-screen references as non-canon. I just feel that this is kind of pointless, as the articles should already state that certain info came from a source other than what was seen on-screen. I also felt the labeling of articles as non-canon would be a bit confusing to some, as MA is supposed to only be an encyclopedia of canon info (we do have a wiki specifically for non-canon Trek, after all; we are for canon Trek). That said, the fact that the part about it being non-canon is followed by a statement that it's from a permitted resource should help to quell such confusion. I feel that production sources are just as canon as on-screen sources, except in cases where they are contradicted. That said, I realize that this non-canon labeling is a compromise of sorts; I'm sure folks like Cid and Aholland would rather not have such articles as part of the encyclopedia, while we want them to be left alone. Labeling them as non-canon but from a valid/permitted resource seems like a pretty fair compromise. One more thing about the policy though: the term "Restricted Validity Resource" has to go. This is more of a personal issue, actually; I'm tired of seeing the term; it's completely made up and means absolutely nothing to me. How about something like "background resources" or "production resources"... or even just "semi-valid resource" or something? Anything but "Restricted Validity Resource". :P --From Andoria with Love 04:55, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

  • That makes perfect sense to me. I really hate the sound of "restricted validity resource" and think it should be removed. there are a majority number of contributors who agree (see above, and above, and also above), and numerous pages state that policy pages should be governed by majority consensus. Reverting edits without discussing them isn't going to save the failed canon policy, nor are reminders that the previous canon policy didn't contain safeguards to keep data in articles. in that case neither the old nor the new should be used, but a draft of rules set by a number of contributors, rather than just one contributor. -- Captain M.K.B. 05:03, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

  • (1) I have no issue in renaming the term from "Restricted Validity Resource" to . . . something else. I would actually suggest scrapping the current categories entirely because of emotional associations and instead calling them: "Primary Resource" (in lieu of the current "valid resource"); "Secondary Resource" (picking up on M.K.B.'s term and applying it to what is now RVR); and "permitted resource" to describe both or either.
(2) Shran is absolutely right (at least as to me) about the labelling approach being a compromise. But I think it is a workable compromise that serves everyone well and I support its continued usage.
(3) When all is said and done a policy is no more effective than the ability for it to be interpreted and enforced. May I suggest that there be a "Canon Board" of three archivists to actually hand out final, unappealable determinations on any question of how to handle things per policy? That would make questions short lived and not become the time-wasting thing they are now. I think it would have to be experienced administrators (rather than schlubs like me!) who have shown detached restraint in this whole thing. I would suggest Shran (a reasonable soul who likes his canon kind of expansive), Cid (another reasonable man who likes his canon kind of narrow) and SmokeDetector47 (with whom I've dealt with very little but whose statements seem middle of the road about including things like deleted scenes.) Questions would be brought up to them, discussed amongst themselves in private with 2 out of 3 winning, and the answer provided and implemented. I recognize that fiat is not necessarily the "wiki way", but sometimes it is a better choice on controversial topics. Just a thought. Aholland 07:27, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Ok, first my very own pre-amble: The above mentioned "no confidence vote" was intented to halt the information removal until the debate is settled (something that is now again started with Efrosians on VfD). So please halt any childish debate about any article's canonicity (sp?).
    On with the text: I again (tried to) read Holland's version of the policy after I had made up my own minds. I classified what I consider canon into different classes
  1. 99.99% Canon: everything that can be derived from on screen information
  2. Hidden infos: filmed but cut material and display readouts or models/props that is free of conflicts (like Martin Madden, but not all parts of USS Voyager dedication plaque, which states Earth Station McKinley as construction place)
  3. Background info: Production drafts and scripts, Series bibles, technical manuals and alikes, but again it needs to be noted that they are free of conflicts (United States of Africa would be permitted, but information that Scotty has no siblings obviously not (because of TWoK), likewise USS Reliant as Picard's former posting would be allowed)
That is, so I believe quite the original state of the customary law. Without misleading labels like "Restricted Validity". I also may take the chance and note that the presentation of more information is in my opinion better, because if the source of the information is made clear the reader can cancel it out in his personal canon, if there is no information at all he can't. That said I may say that Holland's {{NonCanonValid}} was a good approach, but I think that something like "SemiCanon" (This information is semi-canon and originates from SOURCE) would create less confusion than the (for me as non-native-speaker) current text. -- Kobi - (Talk) 11:00, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

  • OK, for what it's worth... I like (from top to bottom):
    • the explicit statement that each and every resource needs to be cited.
    • the separation of "Trek universe" and "Trek franchise" articles.
    • episodes and movies (and nothing more) as "valid resources" as well as the explicit statement that
    • "Articles should not be created for subjects that are not seen or heard of in an episode."
    • the fact that the way of how to deal with reproduced graphics (better readability) is codified ("use if the original was seen on-screen, even if not readable").
    • that there's an explicit statement about what to do with "restricted validity"/"secondary resources" (use in background info only).
    • the explicit statement of where to insert background info ("in the most relevant" article only, not everywhere).
    • sections "Non-canon resources", "invalid resources", "Conflicts in ...", "Tolerance in ...", "Demotion of ...", "Uncertainty" as they exist at this moment.
  • I don't like, or could do without:
    • the title "restricted validity resources" (because it implies "some" validity in regard to "canonicity", where there is none.
    • the fact that "material intentionally not in episodes" is among those material of "restircted validity"/"insert new name of choice here". If something was intentionally left out, it shouldn't be used in in-universe articles.
    • the section "RVR and Initial Article Creation". In my opinion, if there's no "valid" information about something, don't create a separate article for it.
  • I also don't like:
    • Using the phrase "canon" in any other context than what is defined here: Canon. Using "canon" to describe everything that is canon - yes; using "non-canon" to describe everything that is not - yes; Using "semi-canon", "half-canon", "perhaps-canon", "might-be-canon" for any classification that we invent for our own purposes - No.
    • Using information that is "non-canon" / "invalid" / "semivalid" / "non-canon-valid" / "whatever-you-want-to-call-it" in the main text of an article just to step back in the next sentence and state that "this information is (insert phrase of choice here)" - this is done by both sides active in this debate, and I just don't know why. Wouldn't it be just so much simpler to actually make that information "background information" in the first place?

--Cid Highwind 11:38, 2 April 2006 (UTC)


I like the idea of a hierarcy of acceptability, where contradictions are checked against things that are 'more' reliable. I feel there is a middle ground between what is canon and what is not canon and that that gray area is not black and white. I feel this is not complicated because we indent and italicize things tht are not quite 'background' such as deleted scenes that do not contradict. Furthermore, absolutly everything must be cited exactly. Jaf 14:07, 2 April 2006 (UTC)Jaf


The above are all very fine points, and as I predicted, this may prove very difficult do to the opposing positions on what should and should not be canon, but I believe we can find a way to make everybody happy. What that way is, I have no idea. Right now, we need to work on a way to bring the above issues together to revise the policy to everyone's liking (language included). I recommend somebody (other than Aholland :P) begin a temp page for the policy which accomodates for all the issues above and which others can discuss and edit reasonably. None of this edit war crap; before making changes to the temp page, they should be discussed first. When creating this temp page, the parts of policy that are not at issue should only be revised for wording, if needed; otherwise, they should be left alone. Now, I can tell you that I am not going to be the one who starts this temp, as I have already worked on two proposed revisions to the policy, both of which were rejected. I also seem to remember taking a stance against getting involved with the issue again, but that changed after two of our archivists decided to have an edit war against each other, prompting me to propose this plan to bring everyone's though together in an orderly fashion so as to better understand what everybody's gripes are concerning the policy. I stand by my original decision not to get involved in the formation of the actual policy, however; this was merely an attempt to stop the insanity and form some kind of consensus. The first step to forming that consensus has been completed: we now know what everyone thinks is right or wrong about the policy. Now someone needs to take the time, read through all of the comments, and create a revised policy accounting for everyone's issues. Again, this won't be easy and it will likely take a while to come to a complete consensus, and there will probably have to be a lot of comprimises, but I believe we can get the job done. I will participate in the temp page if it is created, but I won't be the one creating it. I'm done revising and translating policies; it's someone else's turn. And I soooo do not envy 'em. Aholland's suggestion of having more than one person working on it seems like the way to go, but I won't be one of 'em. Now, with all that having been said – get to work! :D --From Andoria with Love 15:57, 5 April 2006 (UTC)


If there is a different draft, here are the basic results that I think need to be obtained before I think I would support it (just throwing in my two cents, and "episodes" include movies):

  1. The site needs to be divided between Trek Universe and Trek Franchise. Canon rules only apply to Trek Universe.
  2. All statements of fact in Trek Universe articles need to be cited to a resource.
  3. Anything clearly seen or heard in an episode is a resource.
  4. Material seen but NOT clearly seen in an episode can only be a resource under very limited and clearly specified conditions.
  5. Material NOT seen or heard in an episode can only be a resource under very limited and specified conditions, and must either be in a background section or explicitly identified as non-canon. This should explicity include published material from the production staff DURING the production, but exclude material from non-production staff.
  6. Articles cannot be created about things not seen or heard in an episode EXCEPT in VERY limited and specified circumstances that would permit Livingston, permit minor character names, permit minor species names, but exclude conjectural ships, exclude actual props to the extent not seen on-screen, and exclude deleted scenes not later incorporated into a full DVD version of a film (i.e., not simply available as a supplementary file on the disc.) These would have to be noted as non-canon.
  7. Comics, fan materials, novels, websites, games would never be a resource, but some limited information could be included in Apocrypha or background.
  8. Conflicts in resources should be addressed.
  9. Jokes in resources should be addressed with the ability to ignore them for canon purposes.
  10. A presumption needs to exist that if the creators of the show didn't clearly state or clearly show something, odds are they didn't want it to be clearly said or clearly shown and its canon value should be dealt with appropriately.
  11. Automatic deletion standards should be addressed.

I look forward to reviewing whatever is developed. Until and unless it is developed, can we PLEASE remove that "do not pay attention to" note from the policy. It gives the impression there is no policy and invites people to disregard it until and unless changed. Aholland 16:49, 5 April 2006 (UTC)


Aholland, I must say that the above sounds very reasonable and I think we can assume everyone agrees that 1-5, and 7-9 are clearly in. I personally have some problems with number 6 (but that is because I had to read the paragraph two times ... it is a bit complicated). 10 is also good ... I think it would address things like the giant tribble on the Ent-D's Engineering chart? 11: I have a problem with "automatic" there should be no automation ... vfd is a vote ... ;) Regarding the note: indeed an interesting choice of words, but do reflect the facts -- we are working on it.

On another note (again to Aholland and Encyclopedia references): I had a look at your recent changes, and got the impression that you are adding data from Encyclopedia and cite that as the origin. However I believe that we should cite the Encyclopedia if and only if we are trusting it that the information is canon (ie. that a registry or class designation was seen somewhere, but we didn't detect it). -- Kobi - (Talk) 10:05, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Kobi: FYI I don't trust the Encyclopedia as canon at all - it may be right about some stuff, but it is not - itself - Star Trek. However, under current policy the Encyclopedia is - as a book about Trek - a piece of reference work produced during a production by the production staff. As such it is a resource that can be cited . . . but has to be identified as non-canon. I, personally, try to use it sparingly to support information otherwise immediately available from the episodes. (If I'm using it overly or inappropriately, drop me a note on my Talk page with an example or two so I can think harder about it - I certainly don't want to overdo it!) Current policy treats every piece of production information (scripts, production personnel reference books, production art) the same - and unless there is a proposed distinction among them I would suggest we continue to treat them the same: non-canon, used sparingly to support minor bits, etc. Aholland 11:38, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Holy crap, Aholland, you just summarized the whole canon policy in layman's terms, lol! Perhaps we can use that one? :D With a little bit more detail for certain parts, of course. But, yeah, so far as I can tell, the only major issues are whether or not to label certain things as non-canon. Canon, for our purposes, is described as "a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works". I think the problem lies in that since these articles are sanctioned/accepted here on Memory Alpha, listing them as non-canon comes off as a bit confusing, which is why it is also specified to come from a permitted resources. However, listing items in this manner seems to be a reasonable compromise, especially for Cid, who doesn't want to see articles about subjects not seen or heard in an episode or movie, regardless of what production source they come from. I definitely don't think using something like "semi-canon", "partially canon" or whatever is the way to go; I think there is only canon and non-canon, no real in-between. The names of the sections of the policy are also an issue, but that is easily taken care of with Mike's & Aholland's suggestions of "primary resource", "secondary resource" and so on and so forth. If these are the only primary issues, I suggest merely implementing any needed changes in the current policy, unless someone wants to take a stab at seriously revising the policy for language and so forth, in which case a temp page probably should be created so we can discuss any potential issues that may arrive in the "translated" version. And... I think that's all I have to say. If I've missed something in regards to the issues at hand, please let me know, otherwise... Have at it! :D --From Andoria with Love 15:03, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps it would clear the debate up a little if we were a little clearer on the purpose of having a canon policy. Are we just trying to save space? Do we just want to summarise and cross-reference all the details from the episodes and movies? Are we trying to create a comprehensive in-universe encyclopedia? I get the impression that half the argument here stems from people disagreeing about the basic purpose of MA (or perhaps simply being uncertain of it themselves). People have discussed separating in-universe and franchise material, but that doesn't completely resolve the problem that it'll all have to fit on the same site, follow the same policies and be written by the same people (very few of whom have the split personalities necessary for coping with a straight-forward division of that sort). It's another tricky question, but it's essential if this canon policy question is ever going to be resolved. So I ask again: What is the intended purpose of our canon policy? - Spatula 23:03, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

The purpose of the canon policy is to specify the permitted sources of information from which someone writing an article describing the Trek universe as though it were a real thing can be drawn. It exists because of conflicting data (and serious lack of quality control in some cases) contained among and between the various novels, games, comics, artwork, commentaries and other material not presented to the audience in the TV episodes and movies. Absent a policy restricting such sources, people could make conflicting, exaggerated, and speculative claims as to what the Trek universe is without hope of resolution. Thus, a policy. Aholland 13:06, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Speaking of policies, I have posted here an alternate version of the Canon policy. Broadly speaking it has similar restrictions to the current one, and addresses many of the points above, but has been written in a way that - I hope - is easier to follow. Please feel free to leave comments, etc. for it if you want. No problem if you don't want to, but it was just my way of trying to help achieve finality for this topic. (And I regret not being able to promise to timely respond to any questions or the like, but my next week or so will be quite full.) Aholland 17:14, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
Your new policy proposal seems to basically say (in the words I used above), "summarise and cross-reference all the details from the episodes and movies". Is that really what you want? Because I think we'd really be limiting ourselves that way. Take the Aaamazerite background info, for example. It may not be canon info in the strictest sense, but it was created specifically for official trek use, it influenced the appearance of the Aaamazerites on screen, and it certainly doesn't contradict anything else. So what's the harm in including it? - Spatula 21:43, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Um . . . yes, that's what I believe canon is - both from a Memory Alpha and Paramount perspective - the episodes and movies. Think of it this way: each episode and movie of Trek is the culmination of many creative choices. What to show, what not to show, what to say, what not to say, and how to express on screen each of those. Many, many pages of thoughts go into those choices - some brilliant and some . . . not so brilliant. To say that ALL the background information that was created and intentionally NOT included is as valuable a tool to understand the Trek universe as that which WAS included is to essentially ignore the wishes of the creative staff's collaborative effort. Aaamazerite shows this very well. If there was ever another Trek production in which that alien makeup was used and the script called for them to be called the "Boohbahs", there would be no conflict in canon because of the discrepancy; the Aaamazerite name, never having been used, would thereafter just be a footnote - rather like "Starship Class" when describing the Enterprise. And under the existing canon policy it CAN be included as an article; it just can't be called "canon". Take a look at a very long but very interesting article here if you want a more in depth and researched answer to why just the episodes and movies are the best choice for "canon". Aholland 10:28, 14 April 2006 (UTC)
Aholland, your policy makes a lot a sense. Whatever we decide, we need to make it short. If we want a sub-page that goes into more details, that's okay, but we need something that can be quickly and easily read and deciphered. The longer a policy is, the less likely it is to be read, and therefor less likely to be followed (basically more rules = less order). Jaz talk 18:52, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Removal of LabelEdit

Since it has been nearly three weeks since anyone has said boo about this, and over a month since any substantive discussion was had, can an administrator please remove the label that implies the policy is not currently active? I know that isn't the case, but it sure would be nice for people new to the site to understand that too. Aholland 18:50, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

I aggree totally with Aholland. I just spent three hours reading through the Cannon policy Talk page just to find out that the policy is pretty much NOT under debate. It took me an hour to figure out that the first articles weren't debating the policy as it now stands. I think current policy is very well written and basically agrees with everything I know about Star Trek cannon.
-- Commodore Sixty-Four 09:12, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
(Clarifying the above: Yes, there are some finer points which people disagree with, but they are mostly insignificant to anyone but administrators. Also. this talk page is really, really long. Perhaps you could relocate the earlier parts of the debate to another talk page, perhaps Talk:Old Cannon Policy, so us newbies won't have to read what no longer applies.
-- Commodore Sixty-Four 09:29, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

I am removing the warning. If there are any objections, let me know. Jaz talk 20:50, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

Defining a Purpose Before a DefinitionEdit

What is canon needed for?

If DesiLu, Paramount, and whoever owns the franchise twenty years from now keep changing their stories and definitions as suits their commercial purposes (Trials and Tribble-ations), why create some contorted rule-bound conflicted attempt to codify that?

Star Trek is a large body of fiction with conflicting components.

I'd say:

  • If you want to be descriptive, do that, label it as such, list sources.
  • If you want to speculate on possible fictional explanations for inconsistencies, do it and label it as such.
  • If you need to define which part of a fiction is real or legitimate, you may well need to stop living in your parents' basements.

If you have that level of need to organize and define, your accuracy will likely improve if you organize and define something that is real enough to have consistency all by itself. www.IraqBodyCount.Org perhaps, or www.camerapedia.org. (Of course, you may not care about accuracy).

If you desire to manufacture fictional consistency from inherently inconsistent fictional sources, it may be a fun endeavor, and other folks may think it is cool, but do you really need policy statements, and a label that normally is applied to matters of whether or not you are going to roast in hell for eternity?

OK, you can say that one is as fictive as the other (I'm not Christian, so I won't be offended), and I guess it's no weirder than making the world's largest ball of string, or memorizing (or even caring about) major league baseball stats, but really, why draw a definition which will never be accurate and will probably always be contentions and create divisions and arguments? (Unless you think divisions and arguments are fun, of course).

Roddenberry didn't care; if the costumes from the first movie sucked, make new ones for the second movie. No explanation needed other than "we decided they were lame". The actors don't care; when Shatner was making TJ Hooker, he thought it was just as good and important as Star Trek. The copyright and trademark owning corporations don't care; they just want to make money. The fic writers don't care; they are making their own stories.

So, uh, why do you care enough to debate policy documents? Why not just label sources and move on?

                             (akb4, no wiki account here, 15-may-2006)
The above is an argument for simply cataloguing the elements of Trek, noting sources, and moving on. Fine as far as it goes, but what it doesn't do from a philosophical standpoint is consider that a series is more enjoyable and of greater value as a whole if viewed as an interconnected and consistent series rather than a collection of discrete events having no relation to each other. See this site for a very nice philosophical discussion of canon, and to some extent why it matters at all. At heart, though it is a choice: choose to work to construct a consistent universe out of disparate pieces, or choose to view it as little more than a series of random facts and events having only coincidential relation to each other. I find the former to result in a much richer, rewarding and more engaging experience, and believe that this site is a testament to that. So I think for purposes of this site that the question of whether canon matters has been firmly resolved: it does. Aholland 23:01, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
This is stupid. I last looked at this debate months ago, and it hasn't progressed a centimeter. As Commodore 64 puts it, it's not even a debate anymore. So I suggest we either find something more substantial to argue about, or we start a page on Talk:Canon Philosophy and Theory for people to mess around with. The talk page for canon policy should be for actual policy discussions, not more abstract stuff. - Spatula 10:36, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
I suggest you try the non-canon, or the expanded universe star trek wikis. We stand by our policy. Jaz talk 21:16, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
(Um, Jaz, who was that directed at? Cos it doesn't really seem to have much to do with any of the previous few comments. It also sounds unnecessarily hostile. Whoever it was aimed at, perhaps you could be a bit more polite in future?) - Spatula 22:22, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
This is not meant to be hostile Spatula, however, I do not feel that we need to prove the worth of our system to every new user that pops up. There are 2 wikis dedicated to non-canon trek -- if you think the canon is too restrictive, they would certainly enjoy your assistance in their projects. Memory Alpha will remain canon. Jaz talk 23:01, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Restricted Validity Promotion On Scienftic GroundsEdit

Recently there was a small issue in the "Mars" article as to whether or not the moons of mars, Phobos and Deimos, exist in the ST universe and whether or not they should be listed. One editor listed the number of moons as None and, in line with the Memory Alpha's Canon policy on making Restricted Validity Resource references background information, listed the two moons in italics and emphasizing that we have yet to have confirmation of their Trek existance. However, after checking, I noticed that in many cases in ST things that we have established as 21st century fact could only be listed as background information under the Wiki's current policy. For example, the planet Uranus has no reference in the ST universe whatsoever, except in Restricted Validity Sources such as the Star Charts. So as far as the Star Trek canon is concerned, we have yet to establish if Uranus even exists. The only evidence to support it's existence is the ship named Trinculo, but that could very well have been named after the character for whom the moon was named.

We have seen throughout ST history that TPTB often do their best to preserve Earth history and science as it has happened in real life. Yes there have been incursions into the past, deviations in the timeline, newer forms of science such as warp physics, but there has always been more or less a scientific and historical "common law" if you will. The planets still formed, the continents are in the right positions, WWI and II still occured, etc.

I would suggest we allow relevant historical and scientific data to be used in an article and not cited under background information, but in the article's main body. We would still have to identify somewhere in the article that it is non-canon scientific or historic conjecture, but it would allow users to create more accurate and thorough articles, and it would also save a substancial amount of information that should already have been deleted due to current restrictions (ie, the mass of Earth which has never been mentioned on the show, or for that matter the entire sideboard charts of data). Of course these "promotions" would still have to meet all the previous Restricted Validity Resource requirements as well, especially the one that prohibits information that conflicts with established canon.

Here's an idea for the language of the clause should the powers that be feel it appropriate for this to be added:

"Restricted Validity Promotion On Scienftic Grounds"

Scientific and historical information currently established as real-world fact may be presented as non-background, but non-canon information in Wiki articles, given the information meets certain requirements.

  • The information must not conflict with any scientific or historical canon information.
  • For the information to have an independent article it must be directly related to Star Trek.
  • For the information to be part of an article it must be directly related to the article's subject and directly or indirectly related to Star Trek.
  • The information must be considered established-fact by the general public and the scientific community.
  • The editor must include in the article a footnote that the information is non-canon conjecture based on real-world data.

Let me know what you guys think.

--Matt72986 23:53, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that it would be advisable to include science that we know today as anything other than background for an article. This database is not for general information and should not be looked to for scientific accuracy. And the number of accepted moons in the solar system - heck the number of accepted planets - is in scientific flux in the real world anyway. So I would keep any real-world information not specifically mentioned in Trek as background only. No change needed to policy. Aholland 02:44, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Aholland. No change is needed. Jaz talk 02:48, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Animated Series CanoncityEdit

What of the editorials on StarTrek.com, and pack in material in new Animated Series DVD release treating or calling the animated series as part of the overall star trek Canon? Should this article be updated to reflect this new stance. [X]wbm[X]wbm[X]wbm-69.225.0.102 06:06, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, that seems acceptable. --Alan del Beccio 06:17, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

2006-12-12 changes Edit

See here.

Where's the change to allow non-canon dates from? -- Cid Highwind 11:01, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, I figured since we need to allow some references not seen on-screen for naming purposes, we can also use those references for establishing certain dates. If not, then we'll have to say that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier all took place in the 2280s, since the dates of 2285, 2286, and 2287 is speculation from the Star Trek Chronology. So, I figured, dates for some events mentioned on-screen but only given a year in a script or a reference work could be included. --From Andoria with Love 11:08, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Is this really necessary, though - or just another step away from "a most definitive and accurate encyclopedia"? In most cases, everything that is not exactly "canon" could as well be moved to a background comment. That doesn't mean we lose information, just that we have the same information in a different place in the article, while at the same time clarifying what exactly our source for a bit of information is. I see article titles as a necessary exception not because we want this information to become "sort-of-canon", but simply because we want to avoid countless "Unnamed X" articles if we actually have a possible name. The same isn't really necessary for dates, I think - otherwise, why stop there? We might as well reintroduce all those starship classes and registries we just moved to background sections, for example. -- Cid Highwind 11:17, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, stating that their inclusion was for completion was due to lack of a better description of the reason; if you wish, please change it. As for the dates, I don't really think they're the same as the non-canon starships. For example, if we don't accept 2285/86/87 as the dates for the movies, then a lot of articles are going to have some of their information changed: "The Enterprise-A was launched in the 2280s; "David Marcus was killed in the 2280s; Spock died and was resurrection in the 2280s; Jean-Luc Picard assumed command of the USS Stargazer in the 2330s; also, keep in mind that the reason we label TNG Season 2 as being in 2365 is because the Chronology says it is, based on Data's remark in the last episode of TNG Season 1 that the year was 2364. But how do we know that the end of season and the beginning of season two weren't set in 2364? We don't, but the Chronology/Encyclopedia/etc. assumes it was and therefore, so do we. But if we don't accept it, suddenly all the episodes from TNG season 2 through TNG Season 6 are set in the 2360s and all episodes of TNG Season 7 is set in 2369/2370. Seems pretty chaotic to me... if I'm missing something in your suggestion, though (which is likely, given the hour), please let me know... --From Andoria with Love 11:34, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

...mainly the fact that, whatever we do, we shouldn't "create canon". If we don't know the exact date of some event, then yes, we shouldn't claim we do. And if that means that content articles need to be changed from some exact (but non-canon) date to a less exact timeframe (plus a background note stating the exact year), I don't really see the problem with that. Episode articles are different, I think, because they are production POV anyway... -- Cid Highwind 13:41, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, I can't say I agree, but I do see where you're coming from. I'm just not looking forward to the changes that not allowing certain dates is gonna bring. Maybe if we just allowed the years for setting of episodes? I dunno. In any case, I think the policy is less confusing now as it states, specifically, what is allowed and what is not, with no gray area. All we gotta figure out is whether or not to include dates from production/reference materials. --From Andoria with Love 04:27, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm going to do something entirely out of character for me, and be loose on "being totally strict to on-screen canon". Here is the thing, if we do not accept these years, how many things are we really going to have dates for? I can't think of almost anything outside of Enterprise where they state the actual year. We are going to loose a lot if we do not accept the dates, and it will be harder for people looking at our information to place events before and after each other. I know this really is going to sound not like me, but I suggest we make an exception to allow using these dates. --OuroborosCobra talk 04:52, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

I see where you are coming from, but in the end, it doesn't really change the fact that it is "not canon". See Deleted scene#Forum:Deleted scenes: scripted, performed, filmed, canon? for my reasoning why "being canon" is a good idea for MA. I don't know if we need to add this to the policy or remove date references fomr some pages, but I'm sure that, in any case, there should be more discussion about this, and if we keep that, a more prominent note about the fact that we use dates although they are not strictly canon. -- Cid Highwind 18:28, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Alrighty, I'll reword the policy a bit and we can continue discussing this. In the meantime, in order to prevent another situation like the one we had with Briar Patch, I think we should also add a quick line stating that, when in doubt, use simplicity and common sense. ;) --From Andoria with Love 07:32, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Archive Edit

The whole canon policy discussions are more and more confusing. This talk page is so long that we still can't understand which problems remains. Furthermore, there are many discussions on other talk pages or forum pages, that are even not mentioned here or redundant. Is it possible to archive all the outdated elements and incorporate here all the actual debates (or at least put links to specific debates). - Philoust123 12:37, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Eh, just wanted to add that I agree that this talk page needs to be archived, as I said (in other terms) over a year ago. I almost am ready to attempt the archive myself, since no one has objected in 6 months. But rest assured, if I do archive, I'll do it properly (in subpages) rather than at Talk:Old Canon Policy. 8-) [See my previous post to get the joke]
--Commodore Sixty-Four(talk) 09:04, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's surprisingly simple... having read through this entire mess here, none of these problems appear to remain in the actual policy at hand. However, I don't really see the need to archive things. Sure, there's a lot of discussion here, but it's all completed discussion. To understand the policy, you shouldn't need to read the talk page, only the policy page. The talk page is for suggestions as to how to change the policy, what's wrong with it, etc. The policy however... is the policy, and that's what is followed. -- Sulfur 11:34, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
I realize that there is now no reason to look at the talk page to understand the policy. However, if someone wanted to make a suggestion to canon policy, I think they would be intimidated by what you yourself call a "mess".
Anyways, my main reason to archive is that at least half of the discussion is about a version of the policy that has been completely replaced (the onscreen only one), and most of the rest are heated discussions about the wording of Aholland's policy. The fact that these discussions are "completed" is the exact reason I want to archive; to communicate with others who visit them not to try and resurect them.
(By the way, if I did archive, I would like to make summaries for the pages, to ensure any new suggestions don't tread upon old ground. I'm pretty sure I could summarize the discussion in a couple of paragraphs.)
Finally, (and I know I'm being verbose) I'm just not sure why you don't want to archive. To summarize why I think it should be: (a) The conversations concern an old version of policy. (b) New comments should not be added to these old discussions. (c) A potential suggester would be less intimidated by a more orderly (and less lengthy) talk page. But don't worry. I won't archive until I get approval (from you if possible, otherwise, by other consensus).
--Commodore Sixty-Four(talk) 07:12, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Archiving some of this would be helpful. This is a difficult read.– StarFire209 18:22, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Starship Shooting ModelsEdit

There's just way too much of the "canon/non-canon", "valid/invalid" discussion to get through. Sorry if this is wordy but I'm trying to find straightforward answers to a couple of questions and I want to make sure the issues are spelled out.

As I understand it, the models used to represent ships are production material and therefore are valid only as background material. I'm not talking about on-screen models like NCC-7100 but the ones used for screen shots ("shooting models", "studio models"). I see them used as if they were valid factual resources in the creation and maintenance of articles.

Where the shooting model is seen and the name and number are not visible and no dialog specifically references that shooting model as bearing that name or number, is it valid to state that the shooting model always represents that name and/or number?

The answer here has to be no. If you see an unidentified starship in a screenshot, the fact that the shooting model says Excelsior might be an interesting background note but it's speculation, not proof, that the Excelsior was at that location at that time. And the logic needs to be consistent. Even if the shooting model has a name that has not been seen before.

Where the shooting model is seen and the name and number are not visible and no dialog specifically references that shooting model as bearing that name or number, is the presence of a name and/or number on a shooting model a valid source for the assertion that a ship bearing that name and/or number exists in the StarTrek universe? (This refers to ships such as USS Alka-Selsior and B-24-CLN and others.)

The answer to this question should also be no. I see no problem with articles about these "ships." My problem is with the assertions that these are "real" ships. They show up in a list of Federation starships. Allowing this gives background material the same weight of authenticity as confirmed "sightings." It is speculation.

I know this affects a lot of ships but how many ships and what ships are affected are not the issue. The implementation of changes by 'no' answers isn't the issue. How accurate is the information presented in MA is the issue. (If there are clear answers to these questions, please point me to them, thanks.) – StarFire209 18:22, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

NonCanonValidEdit

"Valid resource" is the wrong term. If it came from a valid resource it would be canon. Instead you are looking for the term "Restricted Validity Resource". Nothing hurts to give an explanation (although it is not necessary), but let's get it right. If that is considered too precise for people's tastes, how about simply "This information is not canon, but comes from a permitted resource." Aholland 07:08, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

Evidently simplicity is all VedekDukat was looking for in the first place. A simple description on a simple template that can be simply placed on an article to simply describe why this type of "non-canon" is acceptable and yet not necessarily considered "apocrypha". Otherwise, describing something as coming from a "restricted validity resource" is fine, in terms of "precision", when explained on our policy pages, but articles are not policy pages, and most casual visitors to this website don't want their minds boggled the nuances of our policies. Frankly, they are going to read that and wonder what the devil that terminology is all about, considering it is 100% unique to this website. --Alan del Beccio 07:13, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
Er... okay, now I'm confused. Cid told me that an article can be considered non-canon but can still remain because it's from a valid source. If the articles which are in question here are neither canon nor valid... what are they? (It has already been established there is a difference between canon/non-canon and valid/invalid resources, btw.) --From Andoria with Love 07:14, 5 March 2006 (UTC)
Cid is correct; the difference lies in the source data used. Using the terms in the canon policy, everthing - canon and non-canon - has to be cited to a "resource". That resource can be a "valid resource" or a "Restricted Validity Resource"; they are simply different types of resources Memory Alpha allows articles to be based upon. The non-canon articles are generally (and I think exclusively) based on Restricted Validity Resources (RVR), else they would be canon. So . . . articles based on RVR are non-canon but permitted; articles based on valid resources are fully canon. As before, I have no problem with not saying RVR in the template note, but we should not confuse the issue by using a term like "valid source". "Resource" is fine, "permitted resource" is fine, but use of the word valid muddies the water. Aholland 16:07, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

Canon?Edit

Here we go again declaring something "not canon"... This template needs to be altered to remove this definition.

It isn't up to us to state that this was canon or not -- we have no reliable source for stating this is canon or not -- making this template completely uninformative. Recommend changing it to state (more truthfully) that this is from permitted resources, but didn't make it into dialogue or visual inspection in the episodes. -- Captain M.K.B. 14:33, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Memory-Alpha has, by necessity, defined what is and is not canon for purposes of Memory Alpha. It has been like that since at least 2004. Your issue is not with the template (an idea first proposed by Vedek Dukat as a standard way to note something in accordance with policy); your issue is with the policy. That is because the policy clearly draws a distinction between canon and non-canon and requires appropriate labels. Please discuss it there. Aholland 15:20, 18 March 2006 (UTC)
This label is misleading -- There could be better names for example NonCanonButValid, SemiCanon or whatsoever. It is like the new policy or the recent tendency to doubt the accuracy of every article that cannot be confirmed first hand -- Kobi - (Talk) 15:29, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

More than dicussing the canon policy, i recommend removing most of the language and reverting the policy back to one that is workable to the site. None of us are lawyers, we don't know how to defend our work when the policy is longer than we can read in one sitting -- especially when many of us like to edit on the run. And its really a shame that a site that welcomes free submissions should suddenly become so strict that a layman can't contribute anything without having to strenuously defend their work. -- Captain M.K.B. 15:32, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

I fail to believe that anyone who can understand and write about arcane tidbits of information on 10, 20, or 40 year old televison shows would find it hard to read one policy.  :) The earlier version (prior to the most recent major change) would require the deletion of the USS Chekov article. Without discussion or appeal. Is that truly what you are proposing? Aholland 15:47, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Documentary canonEdit

Should we have pages on every Star Trek documentary there is?

There are 14 documentaries listed on the Star Trek documentaries page. Paramount was involved in producing only at least 6 of them. We could shorten it to official, Paramount-released programs and have others listed on the documentaries page in a way similar to parodies and fan films, or there could be some other criteria I am not aware of.--Tim Thomason 01:23, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it is a matter of "canon" at all. It is not as if a 'fact' or 'story' told in a Paramount is any more or less accurate than a non-Paramount documentary 'fact' or 'story'. --Alan 02:20, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

The canon is only in the thread title, and not to be taken literally. What I'm asking is should we have an article for every single documentary made about or concerning Star Trek? I don't think so for the reason that anyone can *make* a documentary and post it online or whatever (or even a local news story), and it shouldn't carry more weight than, say, a professionally produced fan film. If we limit it to Paramount-involved documentaries, plus the documentaries page for other major ones, then that would cover all bases.--Tim Thomason 02:34, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

I think there is a big difference between a documentary "made by anybody" and a professionally produced documentary containing interviews with Trek actors and production staff. If it was just a segment of a documentary covering a larger scope than just Trek, then make it a section on the documentaries page. --Alan 03:13, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Star Trek XI and canon...we need to get ahead of the curve Edit

Moved from Memory Alpha talk:Policies and guidelines

The new film is going to open up a whole brand new can of storming controversy, I fear. Despite constant statements of "we're following what was laid down" and "respect for what's been done before", if you read the interviews and press materials closely enough, then you'd see that at MOST they are talking about TOS (and MAYBE TAS) when they refer to the canon they respect. The mood at CBS/Para is "back to basics", and that will have PROFOUND implications for MA.

Will we have to disregard TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT and remove them from our articles? Or will we start a whole new set of "Second Universe" articles to cover the JJAdams and after canon?

Decisions need to be made NOW so that we can be ready when the movie hits.Capt Christopher Donovan 04:46, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, I think we already made that decision, years ago. When two facts are contradictory, we're using both equally, and eventually make note of the contradiction in a background section. We're doing that even now, and I don't see the need to get nervous now about something that might not even be that big of a contradiction in December 2008... -- Cid Highwind 11:03, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
In addition, remember that one of the writers is a die-hard fan of TNG (the other prefers TOS), while Abrams is a huge fan of both TOS and TNG and has stated that he owns the DVDs to all the series (including DS9, VOY, and ENT). Plus, the writers themselves may have been doing their own research into canon, utilizing Memory Alpha itself (see Talk:Star Trek (film)). And, although you may interpret that they are only speaking about TOS canon, I think they're intelligent enough to know that, when the say canon, they mean the whole kit-and-kaboodle. I also think they're smart enough not to do anything that would turn countless Trek fans against them. So, yeah, like Cid said, no need to get all jittery about it. Stand down from red alert, Captain. ;)
Also, this may have been better placed at Memory Alpha talk:Canon policy. Eh... oh, well. :P --From Andoria with Love 12:43, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Besides, they have claimed they use MA for researching the movie, which means they will actually read this, gasp! ;-) --Jörg 12:46, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Kinda dangerous to get ahead of a curve whose shape you can't even see yet. I can't imagine that a single movie, reportedly designed to fill in a very specific gap in the timeline, will be able to definitively erase the post-TOS Trek universe. There's just not enough time in an hour and a half to do that. (Well, not if the primary intent of the film is to tell a good story that will bring first-time viewers into the cinemas). So I really wouldn't worry just yet. CzechOut | 15:46, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Which becomes canon?Edit

Hypothetical query - if something in the 2009 movie very obviously contradicts what we saw in TOS (say, oh...the look of the NCC-1701, which at least in the teaser appears different), which would Memory Alpha consider canon? Which becomes in-universe 'fact', as it were, according to this site? --Mada101 00:35, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Same as we treat current contradictions. Note both and leave it at that. We'll deal with that when it arises (since the trailers and teasers are not canon :) ) -- Sulfur 00:44, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
The reason that the Enterprise looks different is something to do with Nero creating an alternate timeine. So the new look of the Enterprise should be mentioned like with other alternate timelines.The preceding unsigned comment was added by Icecreamdif (talk • contribs).
Please see the discussion about this subject here.--31dot 23:31, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Pathways and Mosaic Novels Should Be Canon Edit

I understand all novels are considered non-canon on MA, but I think this is a mistake with regards to Pathways and Mosaic by Jeri Taylor.

Consider this. She co-created Voyager and its characters. Therefore these are her characters. Therefore is she or another co-creator not the best person to write about them and their early histories before joining the ship's crew? Since they are hers, what she says about their early histories should be considered canon, don't you think? This isn't some writer who decided to write a Voyager novel about the characters; this is one of the creators of the characters themselves. If Gene Roddenberry had penned such a novel about the TOS characters, I certainly do not think that would have been considered non-canon.

I further quote from MA's Background Information section of the MA article on these books:

Pathways was considered canon by the writers and producers of Star Trek: Voyager following its publication. Many of its plot details made their way into episodes. However, like "Mosaic", it has been superseded in some cases by events in later seasons.

Mosaic was considered canon by the writers and producers of Star Trek: Voyager following its publication. Many of its plot details made their way into episodes. However, like "Pathways", it has been superseded in some cases by events in later seasons

Of course, what is seen onscreen is to be considered canon above all else, but for events in the characters' early histories that the show says nothing about, I think (as MA's articles clearly support) that these books a should be considered a canon resource–the only, and I stress that word–ONLY such books.

Just something to think about.


Watching... listening... 20:44, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

No detailed response at this time... other than to note that Roddenberry penned the novel for the Motion Picture. And he never stated that he considered it canon. He always stated "only what's on screen... other than the Animated Series" :) -- Sulfur 21:28, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Star Trek is not about what is in books, it is about what is on the screen. There are many books written by production staff and actors which are not considered canon.(Roddenberry, Shimerman, and Andrew Robinson). There are even books which were considered canon at one time but are no longer. Star Fleet Technical Manual) The same could happen in the future with Okuda's reference books, despite them being used by the writers of TNG-on. I would oppose letting these books be considered canon. If someone really wanted to, MA already has Background sections where information from these books could be added.--31dot 21:37, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Canon: precedenceEdit

I'm going to assume that the tvshows/movies take precedence over technical manuals and other "canon references" but I'd like to know from the rest of the community. – Morder 10:21, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Per our Memory Alpha:Canon policy, tech manuals and the like aren't "canon references". Paramount doesn't think of them as canon, and neither do we in this case. They are a "permitted resource", but limited to background sections of articles only. That is why on many of the starship class articles you will see the technical specs from the DS9 TM in the background section, and not on the article sidebar. --OuroborosCobra talk 11:13, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Great. Thanks. I'd undo my change but someone else took care of it. I'll remember for the future. – Morder 11:51, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

...where "permitted resource" (at least as I see it) doesn't mean "we absolutely have to include this", but rather "why not, as long as it's separated from the main text". :) -- Cid Highwind 13:44, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Is the film canon — now? Edit

I started a discussion at Memory Alpha talk:Spoiler policy#Dealing with film spoilers about dealing with spoilers from film pre-publicity (the trailer, interviews with film personnel, spoiler reports and so on). In that discussion, it was suggested that the film is not canon until its release. I can see that argument, but there's nothing in the canon policy that states this explicitly. (I proposed a counter-argument that the film is canon before its release, but as its contents are not yet known for certain it exists in a state of quantum flux... well, it made sense at the time.)

I guess I'm doing three things here. One is pointing readers of this page towards the discussion on the spoiler policy talk page. The second is asking whether people agree that the film is not canon until it is released, or whether it can be considered "canon but not known". The third, which is dependent on the answer given to the second, is asking whether something should be added to the canon policy, clarifying the status of material not yet released. —Josiah Rowe 06:37, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

I don't see what part of...
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 (for example, 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.
...this is unclear - since the movie hasn't aired none of that information could be see/heard. Since the Trailer isn't the movie it doesn't count...let's also keep the discussion where you started it - or where it belongs - let's not move it around. — Morder 06:49, 19 November 2008 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) This seems to basically be the same conversation in the page you linked. At least, it certainly seems like you're looking for the same answers. Please keep discussions on one page; it makes things much more easier. Having said that, no, a movie is not canon until its released, because no canon has actually been released. As stated in our spoiler policy, we contain spoilers on in-universe articles from released material only. If it's not released, then there's no in-universe information to add. Anyway, since I can tell already that this discussion is going to go the same route as the one you linked, I would advise just keeping the discussion there. :/ --From Andoria with Love 06:51, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Fair enough. I only came here because TribbleFurSuit suggested that it might be a more appropriate venue. And for what it's worth, I don't see anything in the policy as it stands now that explicitly says "released material only" — there's a bit about "material intentionally not in episodes", but that's not quite the same thing as a film that's completed but not yet released. I don't mean to push the point, though. —Josiah Rowe 07:14, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

FWIW, I think this point is moot, anyway... Our "Canon policy" is just one of several policies that govern what material we accept, and what we don't. Even if we considered the content of an unknown film "canon" (whatever that would mean, really) - we still shouldn't add that "canon" material to an article if another policy has a problem with that. :) -- Cid Highwind 10:07, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

"Countdown" exception Edit

Should "Countdown" be included in the "canon resource" section despite it's not being a filmed depiction? The associated materials with the comic declare it the "Official Movie Prequel". The story comes from the screenwriters. Also, it is listed on the backblurb "JJ Abrams, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman (and the 'scriptwriters for the comic} present the origin of Nero..."

I've listed this as a question on the "Ask JJ" section which would give us a definitive answer, but all available evidence says "Countdown", unlike other comics, IS canon.Capt Christopher Donovan 13:35, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I present, as evidence Pathways and Mosaic. I'd say... no. -- sulfur 13:41, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd also ask how many novels are written by writers of episodes? I'd have to say 'no' as well. — Morder 16:14, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I would also say no. I think that Abrams has said that it is not neccesary to read the comic in order to understand the movie, which would suggest that he doesn't think its canon.--31dot 17:52, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the above, and would like to add the following for consideration: If we allow each new producer to define what we will need to consider "canon" or "non-canon", we potentially have much rewriting to do each time a new producer comes aboard. In fact, it seems as if Abrams view of the Trek universe doesn't contain everything that is considered canon right now. In this regard, it might be a good thing that we already have a policy for "valid resources" instead of "canon vs. non-canon". I'd say, let MB handle that comic, while we handle the film. -- Cid Highwind 20:21, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

"Isn't necessary to read" does not = "isn't canon", IMO. He's just saying that you don't HAVE to read it, not that he does or doesn't consider it "what really happened" prior to the film.

If Abrams is the new "creative force" behind Trek, as is the case here, then hasn't he become the new "keeper of the canon" as primary creator? Paramount, by signing off on it (by producing it) would be considered to have given it's tacit approval to his decisions in the matter.Capt Christopher Donovan 21:37, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Paramount is the only decider of canon. (especially with the recent addition of TAS to it - thought we had an exception because of our what was seen on screen is canon) Adding an exception to one print comic is a slippery slope with regards to people asking "why not this one" or "why is this novelization not canon". We have novelizations of films that aren't canon that contain a lot of information not seen on screen. They're official novelizations. Even if J.J. does say "it's canon" - he's not paramount and only to him is it canon. There might be a new director for the next movie there could be a change in writers, lots of stuff can change...so I still have to say 'no'. We have an Apocrypha section for stuff that is deemed important (though i think we should remove it - who gets to decide what's important enough to list here - and have links to MB as we do everywhere). Anyway - this is what MB is for. — Morder 21:55, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Confusion! Edit

Abrams has stated that Star Trek happens right before the five year mission. So the ship design goes against canon! What will happen to all the new non-canon facts on MA? The facts are in a different universe now. Just like the non-canon Mirror Universe. --24.15.28.179 16:17, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

See here: talk:Star Trek (film)/Ten Forward#Star Trek (film) - SPOILERS - Where to place new information (pre-release discussion) -- sulfur 16:26, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, the Mirror universe is not non-canon. -OuroborosCobra talk 00:16, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Altered Canon or Parallel CanonsEdit

At several points existing canon was altered (?)

Examples:

For the so-called 'Directors Cut' of The Motion Picture the dimensions of V'ger were drastically reduced.

With the 'Remasterd' episodes in 'The Enterprise Incident' one of the Klingon type ships was altered to the Romulan type ships seen in 'Balance of Terror'.

In 'The Ultimate Computer' the space station originally was a sister station of the one seen in 'The Trouble with the Tribbles'.

What is your point of view here? Is old canon being destroyed or do we simply see canon of a parallel universe?

And if the latter wasn't the case, is there now a change of heart if you look at more recent developments. I'm of course referring to the big event of this year, and certain interviews that have been given by people connected to that event. --Doctor Zeppo Dunsel 17:22, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

To avoid further spoiler spilling, let's have this discussion after said "big event", or in one of the forum topics already existing for this purpose. Thanks. :) -- Cid Highwind 16:54, 5 May 2009 (UTC)


Okay! --Doctor Zeppo Dunsel 17:22, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

In terms of TOS stuff being changed, we're simply acknowledging the change and making a note of it. No mention of destroying past canon or parallel universes. -- sulfur 17:43, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Canon confusion Edit

You considere canon his first name but you don't "canonise" the jonathan Archer's death date !!! Sometime your policy is hard to understand !! can you explain me C-IMZADI-4 21:24, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

You should ask this on the canon policy talk page as it pertains to that and not this article. — Morder 21:27, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
Oh...and read this...
  • Richard Robau was portrayed by Faran Tahir. His first name comes from official production material, including his dossier profile on the official movie site. According to his profile on Intel's Starfleet Shipyard site, Robau was born in Sagua La Grande, Cuba, and his Starfleet Service Number is SA-476-2549-CM. Ambassador Spock's commentary about George Kirk's survival of serving on the Kelvin in the unchanged timeline indicates that Robau probably had a longer life in the unaltered chain of events as well.
Morder 21:28, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Thank you, I already read this, because I've just made french version ! but first name come from material production, and for jonathan it was in scenes cut, if my Memento is good ??? I'm french and "medium in english language and my policy page is not complete, can you be clear (in 2 words) ? why Richard and not jonathan death date , C-IMZADI-4 21:54, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

The relevant section is:
"The only exception 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. For example, names such as Livingston and Neural were not mentioned on-screen, but are derived from production sources. The primary reason for this is to avoid creating a large number of "unnamed" subject pages when an official name already exists."
In other words, names of articles can come from production sources; any other data cannot be included in-universe. -- Michael Warren | Talk 04:35, 12 May 2009 (UTC)


I'd like understand:

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, and in our Canon policy FAQ

you told me one day, script is accepted, but in this sentence you read, scripts should be noted in background section... I know, I know, I must read... but I'd like a real explication with Canon material accepted !!! I'm french and my english is not super perfect !!! Thank you C-IMZADI-4 19:32, January 24, 2010 (UTC)

A name from a script can be used as canon material (as long as canon doesn't contradict it). But, if that's done, it must be noted in the BG what the source is (ie... the script). Things in the script cut for time (ie, deleted scenes) only get BG mention. In short, See DarkHorizon's comments right above yours. -- sulfur 19:44, January 24, 2010 (UTC)

Background Policy QuestionEdit

If a Star Trek producer or writer (or some other production personnel) is ask to speculate about something in the Star Trek universe, is that speculation automatically considered background information? The reason I ask this is because I've seen a lot references lately pointing to interviews with people involved with the making of Star Trek. However, in these interviews they are often developing answers to questions that they had never considered when they were making the movie. In other words they are speculating after the fact. Is this acceptable? This isn't unique to Star Trek either.--Hribar 03:31, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, I'd call it background, as we've done with the Ronald Moore interviews. --OuroborosCobra talk 04:04, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Geographic minutiae Edit

I think with the recent series of geographic articles about places which were not clearly seen and/or not seen for more than a fraction of a second, we may need to create some sort of policy about this issue. I'm not sure how it should be worded or anything, but I think we need to mention it.

In the case of some of the pages I've suggested for deletion, a map from "The Cage" is offered as evidence that it existed. If you ignore the fact that it was on screen for a miniscule period of time, most of the places like Ottawa cannot be seen on the map. Taken to the extreme, since the entire Earth has been seen in canon, every geographic feature on Earth could have an article. I don't think that's what we want.--31dot 12:32, 19 May 2009 (UTC)


Real World Canon Policy Edit

What is the MA policy concerning events, persons, places and things that exist in the real world but are referenced in Star Trek? Is the knowledge base of these subjects strictly limited to what is derived from canon resources? Same thing with background information.--Hribar 17:27, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

In short, yes. It is best to limit the content to the reference. Establishing context is ok, if necessary to establish context and motive, but it shouldnt go much beyond what was flat-out stated or implied. Ronald Reagan is a fair example of addressing this (although I am not sure about the necessity of the actual years he was president) as well as what makes relevant background information. --Alan 17:44, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Authorized Fiction by Production Staff Edit

There currently is some confusion if Star Trek: Countdown can be used for articles or not, for example "Hobus" or Teral'n. In the case of Teral'n deletion was already rejected on that basis. But per our current policy, this comic is NOT different from any other even if AK+BO contributed to it. We need to be consistent with this! So, maybe this event is the point to reopen the debate whether authorized fiction written by production staff should be elevated to the same level as other production materials- no new articles but naming on-screen "things"-we could get Lori Ciana for example. Kennelly 17:44, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

There's no confusion. It's not canon unless Paramount says so. Simple as that. In the case of the Teral'n, there is a source for that name besides the comic(the script). You are correct though that if it was the only source for the name of an object, it might be permissible to use it for that particular instance. I don't know of a situation like that, though.--31dot 22:41, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, according to Paramount TAS canon status is ambiguous (or was for a long time), so I'd really reject simple statements like "Paramount says what is canon"!And according to Teral'n talkpage, the sources for naming are the comic, the novelization and the toybox (!) produced by people allegedly having access to the script, but certainly so did Gene Roddenberry when he did TMP's novelization? Kennelly 16:30, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
To follow on Kennelly's comment, I bring up (as usual), the novels Pathways and Mosaic. -- sulfur 00:36, 25 May 2009 (UTC)


What is Canon?Edit

So, I've asked this before, and it didn't really get explained well. Or I didn't understand it. What exactly is considered canon. I know anything on screen is canon, thats not the issue. I also know that certain documents released in close cooperation with production staff is considered canon (I.E. the single nacelle ship from BOBW named as freedom class in the encyclopedia, or the rest of the encyclopedia for that mater as much of it didn't appear on screen.) So why is one document released in close cooperation with production staff canon, but another is not? (Encyclopedia vs. Countdown)Cpt Kaziarl Nanaki 10:04, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

The Encyclopedia is not canon - if you read the article, it makes it quite clear: "The various "official" references (such as the Star Trek Encyclopedia or the Star Trek Chronology) may be used as a guide to canon information, but are not canon in and of themselves." Only the episodes and movies are canon. And, furthermore, canon is solely intended to define what must be adhered to by authors of licensed material. -- Michael Warren | Talk 10:12, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Ok, so I got the terminology wrong, but my that on the talk page where this came up I was told that information from sources where the production staff is involved then it could be used here. So whats the difference between the two sources? Both involved the production staff. Thats the part I'm not getting.Cpt Kaziarl Nanaki 10:17, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Firstly, which talk page are you referring to? Secondly, we don't define canon, we define what references we can use in our articles. Again, this is quite clear - information from production staff can only be used as background information. Information from licensed works, like Countdown or novels, can be used in the background information, but are usually put under an "Apocrypha" section. I'm not sure where your confusion lies. -- Michael Warren | Talk 10:25, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

It was the talk page for the Hobus star. I was the one posting without logging in, I had forgotten my password till earlier today. Someone questioned the validity of the page considering it was not seen or heard in the movie, which I understand. When I asked the question of why it was not ok, but the previously mentioned freedom class was, (not the ship it self, but the name of the class,) I pretty much got a "cause it is" type of answer. So I thought I'd come here and ask for clarification.Cpt Kaziarl Nanaki 12:28, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Right, I think I see where the issue lies. With the Freedom class, we have actual information from the production staff that they derived the name and used it for that particular ship. With Hobus, all we know is that it is used in Countdown, which is not a production source. The writers of the comic (who are not production staff) may have been the ones to come up with the name, in which case the name does not from a production source. -- Michael Warren | Talk 12:30, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

But Orci and Kurtzman were intimately involved in the countdown comics, doesn't that make it at least somewhat credible? I guess thats mainly the part of it that gives me the question.Cpt Kaziarl Nanaki 12:34, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

A different example: the Star Trek Star Charts were produced by Geoffrey Mandel, who was also involved with several Trek productions. However, that doesn't make each and every bit of the maps "canon" (or "valid"). First, he didn't create these maps in his function as a Trek production member. Second, parts of the maps weren't even created by him, but by others. The same applies here: if Orci/Kurtzman were using the name "Hobus" in an earlier script version, and it just didn't make it to the screen, there may be some validity to it. If they were just suggesting it for use during an unrelated production, the validity becomes less. And if "random guy" who wrote some of the comics dialogue invented the name, even less. -- Cid Highwind 12:59, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Ok, now see... THAT makes sense to me. Thank you. Cpt Kaziarl Nanaki 13:03, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

I am wondering why Memory Alpha has decided to declare the works of employees of Star Trek to be non-canon. Thats like saying the book of Matthew is not of the bible even though God wrote it. To me, anything that an employee of Star Trek (Real Life, production etc)created or wrote or filmed for the series (All series except Abrams) is Canon. Remember my biblical reference. I at first was excited about Memory Alpha but after the junk about the USS Constitution I have lost my excitement. For a long time I have understood the USS Constitution NCC-1700 was a Constitution Class ship. I even asked Gene Roddenberry at a Convention about it and he said "Yes the USS Constitution is NCC-1700". Now who in their right mind would question "god"? Also I feel it does not matter weather the person who was an employee wrote the work or created it during their time on the set or decades later at their home. So I feel those charts are canon because a person who was a current or past employee wrote them. On the same note, are you saying, if Gene were alive, if he wrote a book about Star Trek it would not be canon?
Thats my view. Magnumserpentine 02:00, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Completely off topic, Why did the Wiki put my last comment and signature in a box?Magnumserpentine 02:01, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Because you put a space. As for your statement, the roddenberry quote isn't canon because it wasn't stated on screen. the ramblings of someone who is associated with the show isn't necessarily right. The writers all have different ideas, for instance, and they want to do things their way but then someone higher up would say 'no' does that make the idea canon? no. especially since most stuff like that can't be proven or backed up. your statement about "All series except abrams" just goes to show that people have different views. The simplest, most verifiable answer is simply what our canon policy currently states. — Morder (talk) 02:11, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
We also didn't make this decision. MA didn't decide it, Paramount and Roddenberry himself did. --OuroborosCobra talk 02:21, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

It should be noted that, by definition, "canon" is defined as a body of fiction that is accepted as "true" by the masses. The most conservative version of Star Trek Canon states that anything labeled "Star Trek" after Roddenberry's death is not canon, as the creator did not sign off or agree to it. In the context of this wiki, it is the users and administrators of this wiki that decide "what is Canon". It's entirely possible that over the course of time, what is considered "Canon" may change- the acceptance of the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie, for example. And although it is given significantly more "official" support and weight from studios, actors, and Star Trek writers, the Star Trek Online game is not considered canon yet. As noted elsewhere, a lot of non-canon work has ended up becoming incorporated. Essentially, "Canon" is what we make it to be. Nestaja 22:53, February 19, 2010 (UTC)

Our definition of canon has been set by Paramount, not by "the administrators and users" of this wiki. JJ Abrams work is accepted as canon already, so nothing needs to change to accept them. If Paramount wishes to change the status of video games, or single out STO, then we can change it here. --OuroborosCobra talk 23:02, February 19, 2010 (UTC)
We definitely need to move this page to "Resource policy", as has been suggested in the section above, to avoid things like these popping up again and again and again... -- Cid Highwind 16:18, February 20, 2010 (UTC)
This would make the idea that we do not decide what is and is not canon seem even less valid.
Of course, it isn't valid. We decided to accept the Paramount definition. For a while, we did not, as TAS was considered a valid resource before it was officially declared as canon by Paramount. We even explicitly stated it as an exception.
I don't see how a rename would do anything to cause people to not disagree with our choices. A real reason for a rename would be so we could have a separate "Canon Policy" page that just said {possibly in better words) "For the purposes of this wiki, canon is as is defined by Paramount. If you have a problem with their definition, take it up with them."
Commodore Sixty-Four(TALK) 04:37, July 2, 2010 (UTC)
Huh? We already have a page that describes what exactly canon is. That page is an article, named Canon. We don't need a third page besides that article and our policy regarding "allowed content", because that third page could just reiterate the fact that "yes, canon is what the other page says canon is". Where's the policy part in that statement?
The idea behind renaming this page to "Resource policy" is the fact that it contains statements about our resources (which may or may not be what someone else has defined as "the canon"), and not statements about what is or isn't canon. -- Cid Highwind 10:46, July 2, 2010 (UTC)
I didn't know about that page, since it is not in policy namespace. That was the only place I looked. With the existence of that page, I question why this page was ever named Canon Policy in the first place. My guess is that this page came first.
I agree we don't need three pages. Canon is sufficient. But I do not believe the assertion you are making here is the same as the one I was responding to. You may have meant that, but that's not what I got. You said it needed to be renamed to avoid what happened above, which was someone challenging canon. I'm saying that changing the name will not avoid this, as there will always be people who disagree, whether with our policy or even Paramount's description of canon. —Commodore Sixty-Four(TALK) 06:52, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

Canonicity of Interactive movies Edit

There is a section on the Star Trek: Borg discussion page that discusses the canonicity of the work. I would respond there, but not only is the discussion old, but Cid said the appropriate place to discuss it was here.

The title of the work calls it an "interactive movie", not a game. That's a pretty good reason to at least not lump it with the games, which are decidedly not canon. This means we haven't any explicit policy on whether this and Star Trek: Klingon are canonreliable sources.

I could not find anything from Paramount either way, but, even if I could, I think we should have an explicit policy for these. I would base it on whether any of the events have been mentioned in current reliable sources.
        —Commodore Sixty-Four(TALK) 06:21, July 2, 2010 (UTC)

Still "games". -- sulfur 10:15, July 2, 2010 (UTC)
It's technically a game, as the user controls the outcome. If you just sat and watched it, that's another matter, but that's not the case here.--31dot 10:28, July 2, 2010 (UTC)
Oh, and that discussion was from 5+ years ago. :) -- sulfur 10:33, July 2, 2010 (UTC)

And yet none of this is in the policy. Why is it better to argue that definitions exist that you did not bother to write down, rather than flat out say it in the policy itself?

I don't know why the age has anything to do with it. If anything, the age means there's more likely a chance that consensus has changed. Especially since I brought new information. The people I knew here mostly seem to be gone. But, even if they weren't--minds can change.

But I didn't even come in here prejudging it. I inferred that you would say that they weren't an acceptible resource. I just wanted permission to make it explicit. After knowing for sure that Paramount does not consider it canon, since, again, we catalog canon, not decide it, as you guys have asserted above.

Commodore Sixty-Four(TALK) 06:41, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

I think the key here is that this is a solution looking for a problem- there are no issues with people creating articles or adding content from these two interactive movies(which are pretty old now). We shouldn't add to policies unless there is some sort of major issue warranting it. As these interactive movies are basically games(and were sold with the games) I think the existing policy covers it enough.--31dot 09:53, July 7, 2010 (UTC)
Star Trek: Borg has many elements which contradic the established "canon universe". Like it begins in 2377, but all crew personnel are wearing TNG-style uniforms, which became obsolete at least 4 years earlier (of course the game was made in 1995, before Star Trek: First Contact), while back in 2366 all people are wearing DS9-VOY style jumpsuits with DS9 Season 3+ combadges, which is too early for that time period. But, I guess Enterprise is treated as canon on this site, which contradicted established facts as a routine... Although I still say "interactive movies" are non-canon.--Ltarex 12:06, July 7, 2010 (CET)
They may be called "Interactive movies" by some, but they're still games. And that's covered (explicitly) under the policy. If we had to sit down and explicitly list everything that's not canon or an allowable resource, we'd spend more time creating that list than actually maintaining the wiki. -- sulfur 10:16, July 7, 2010 (UTC)

Deleted & unreferenced content? Edit

This page clearly states: "Articles should not be created for subjects that are not seen or heard of in an episode or film," yet we have multiple pages in Category:Deleted material and Category:Unreferenced material. So, I think more info should be added to the line here, though I'm not sure how to phrase it; could anyone help? --Defiant 13:28, January 29, 2011 (UTC)

The intent of those categories (originally) was to list things that were in canon, but also had references in deleted scenes, and such. Over time, it expanded a bit, and when there was a significant amount of information, a "real world" page was created. As such, a decision should really be made as to what constitutes a reason for mention here (ie, how much information, what kind of appearances, etc). -- sulfur 13:54, January 29, 2011 (UTC)

Stupid question re Non-canon section Edit

(Warning in advance: dumb question) What does the following, contained in the "Non-canon" section, mean?

"Simple name-dropped references should not be mentioned, only instances where information about the subject is expanded."
I don't think it's likely I'd violate this policy, but it'd be nice to know what it means just in case – I might otherwise violate it in the future. (I have begun to add quotes from production staff interviews, so....) Cepstrum (talk) 14:23, February 25, 2011 (UTC)

"X is mentioned in Y". That kind of thing. So, "Miral Paris is seen in Star Trek Online" is not acceptable. "Miral Paris is seen in Star Trek Online as the commander of Deep Space 9" is. -- sulfur 14:30, February 25, 2011 (UTC)

Thanks! Cepstrum (talk) 16:59, February 26, 2011 (UTC)

Enterprise-F Edit

The Enterprise-F page has been deleted because it is non-canon. However, CBS has said that when it is chosen it will make its way into actual canon like the series and movies. Yes, it was asked to be made by the devs at STO, but CBS did not create it for that sole purpose. Whilst Star Trek Online is not canon (I have no problem with that), I do have a problem with that the new Enterprise-F isn't considered. Some of you are reading this and have different opinions on it and frankly, I kind of expected it to be not included here at Memory Alpha. Shall we discuss? --Ooiue 07:56, May 6, 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you want to discuss- you seem to be saying you know it isn't canon and you "expected it to not be included here at Memory Alpha". So what's the problem? An "Enterprise-F" is not canon until it appears in an episode or movie. I think this is unlikely, as they will probably make shows or movies derived from the Abrams universe of the new Star Trek movie.
If it appears in a game, it can be discussed as part of that game's article, but it can't have its own article. You may be interested in Memory Beta, which does cover all Star Trek licensed works, canon and non-canon.--31dot 08:41, May 6, 2011 (UTC)
As to STO being canon, we've had that discussion before.--31dot 08:44, May 6, 2011 (UTC)
Sorry need to be more clear. I mean is that the Enterprise-F has been said to be considered canon once it has been chosen. Since it has been chosen and CBS stated it would be canon, you'd expect it to be on here however the page for it has been deleted on the basis it isn't. Since it is canon, it should have its own article and shouldn't be considered part of STO because the contest wasn't soley about putting the next Enteprise in the game, but about choosing the next Enterprise to be part of the rest of the TV series and movies. There may not be much to say in it however it does need its own article. --Ooiue 09:27, May 6, 2011 (UTC)
It's exactly this shaky definition of what's "official canon" that led us to rather talk about "allowed resources" in this policy. Once the E-F is seen in an episode or movie, we will of course be happy to see an article about it. In the meantime, we don't want to have articles about topics that are just dealt with in a game - MB is a better place for that. -- Cid Highwind 12:36, May 6, 2011 (UTC)

Reception resources Edit

See Forum:Inclusion of websites that collate viewer ratings.

I don't see how "reception resources" have anything to do with... "canon". It might be better to simply move that policy note added here (to "canon policy") to the end of the forum discussion as the "consensus", and archive that discussion to the policy archives.

In fact, it might be worth going through the various archived discussions there and summarizing them with the consensus. -- sulfur 13:33, May 14, 2011 (UTC)

I'm not even sure why this is still called the "Canon policy" when we seem to have a consensus above to rename it to either the content policy or resource policy (still waiting on a reply to my question there). Summarizing the archived discussions is all well and good, but we shouldn't have "guidelines" that aren't located somewhere on a policy page. - Archduk3 18:50, May 14, 2011 (UTC)
I agree that something as specific as this (concerning about 2% max. of our articles) shouldn't become a part of this policy - whether it is called a "canon", "resource" or "content policy". As I think I already stated in the other discussion, what should be added instead (if it isn't part of the policy already) is something to explain that we generally don't want information that is fan-based, biased and/or "unscientific". I'm going to move the addition to this talk page for further discussion for the moment (see below). -- Cid Highwind 08:27, May 18, 2011 (UTC)
My questions are when do we want information that is fan-based, biased and/or "unscientific", and how should this have been worded to be unspecific enough? I think it's pretty pointless to not provide an example when the whole problem was a difference of opinion on what is considered biased and unscientific. - Archduk3 09:11, May 18, 2011 (UTC)
Providing an example - and even using "reception resources" as such example - would be fine. However, as currently worded, the section is not an example of some generic "no biased stuff" policy, but simply a specific-purpose policy just for ratings. After re-reading the policy, the problem seems even worse, because it explicitly states that "Trek franchise articles [including episode pages] are not covered by the canon policy." We'd need to start a bigger rewrite of this page, if there isn't a better place to add the ratings stuff. -- Cid Highwind 10:07, May 18, 2011 (UTC)
I'm fine with writing an entire other policy for the real world articles if this one doesn't cover that, and that could be the Resource policy, while this one would still cover the in-universe material. There would be some overlap, but I don't think there should be any major changes where they would. - Archduk3 10:15, May 18, 2011 (UTC)
We already have a failed draft concerning a research policy (which could form the basis of the suggested new policy after a severe rewrite) - and we have Memory Alpha:What Memory Alpha is not (which could be used to add something about ratings if a whole new policy is not considered necessary). I'm not sure about calling that suggested new policy our "resource policy" while keeping restrictions about "valid resources" in this policy. That doesn't seem like a sensible split. -- Cid Highwind 10:28, May 18, 2011 (UTC)
My thought was that this would be part of the "resource policy" (What can be used as real world information) with this covering what MA considers canon (What can be used as in-universe information), with MA:NOT being part of the resource policy as well, since all of these things deal with what should and shouldn't be used in MA articles. I'm fine with a combined policy as well, it's just that there seems to be resistance to changing the name of the policy that deals with "canon". - Archduk3 07:49, May 19, 2011 (UTC)
Avoiding the phrase "what we consider canon" is what brought up the rename debate in the first place - so I still think that this policy should get a new name, whether it is "Content policy" or "Resource policy" (or even "Xxx policy (in-universe articles)" if we decide to split this policy and need the same title for both pages).
That said, it might really be the easiest way to resolve this: Keep this policy about in-universe ("canon") stuff, and create a new policy draft by rewriting Memory Alpha:Research policy and merging Memory Alpha:What Memory Alpha is not to it. This policy should then reference the other, because that one would also be the relevant one for background information in in-universe articles. -- Cid Highwind 09:06, May 19, 2011 (UTC)
I'm fine with that rewrite, since we don't seem to really have any policy for real world articles. What MA is not covers things for both in universe and real world articles, so it should be linked to from both, but not merged with either one yet. - Archduk3 15:15, May 23, 2011 (UTC)

Reception resourcesEdit

Reviews and ratings from professional, published sources are acceptable as background information, while public reviews and rating polls are not. For example, reviews and ratings from the "all critics" section on review aggregator websites like Rotten Tomatoes are acceptable, while reviews and ratings from the "audience" section are not acceptable.

Nielsen ratings should be limited to the first airing of an episode. Reviews from film critics should be used sparingly, generally with a single blurb on either side for neutrality.

Orci interview discussing canon Edit

The comments in this interview are likely to be brought up by others; especially the "VP from Paramount who said the upcoming Star Trek movie game is canon from their perspective" and Orci's comments about canon. Where do we go from here, if anywhere? 31dot (talk) 10:04, July 17, 2012 (UTC)

"At this point in time, Memory Alpha only treats the television shows and movies as canon. This decision may be revisited in the future."
There are some big issues with this...
a) Countdown (and Nero) are contradicted by the movie,
b) A Paramount VP said that Star Trek Online was canon too,
c) We don't know how much of the ongoing comic will be contradicted when the new movie comes out.
I propose we take a "wait and see" viewpoint on this matter. -- sulfur (talk) 11:51, July 17, 2012 (UTC)
It might be worth adding this and the STO stuff to the FAQ, as in we're aware that these things were said but haven't changed the policy because of the many issues with doing so, even for the relatively small amount of material we're talking about (and I'm including the two VOY novels as part of this as well, since those were at least suppose to be canon at one point). I don't really see a reason to change the policy either, as I doubt anyone at Paramount would dismiss anything approved by them as less than the real deal. There simply isn't any one person, or even a group of people, who are "in change" of the franchise to a point where I think the people after them would at least feel obligated to remain true to what they may have decreed. That said, I remain open to different ways of displaying and incorporating non-canon info here. - Archduk3 21:58, July 17, 2012 (UTC)
Thus the reason for my "quoted" sentence. I do agree that we should acknowledge the interview and the STO comments, and completely thrash them down at this point in time. Changing our own particular canon policy would require a revisit of some of the prior suggest "canon" items and non-canon items (ie, novelization of the first movie, possible removal of Threshold and STV, etc). -- sulfur (talk) 03:26, July 18, 2012 (UTC)
While I understand that official announcements made by Paramounts leadership should be taken into account overhere, I cannot refrain from making a personal observation. I strictly speaking for myself do not take too much stock what the Paramounts "suits" have to say. They would declare their limo's drivers canon, if they would think they could squeeze a buck out of it...Case in point, the in my view unfortunate canonizing of TAS, a so obviously base money driven decision. Do not get me wrong though, Paramount is a corporation that needs to turn over a profit, nothing wrong there, and their decisions did fund the franchise. But throughout Trek's history the suits (with the very rare occasional exception) have shown a thorough lack of understanding of what Trek is all about, and their random purely money-driven canonizing left and right, always through highly publicized events where they express their professed concern for the franchise contents, smacks of hypocracy, making me at least sick to the stomach. I could have summoned up more respect for them if they would have be more honest about their roles, i.e. looking after the bussiness aspects of the productions, instead of constantly trying to rewrite history about their "visionary" roles in the franchise...Okay, got that off my chest--Sennim (talk) 12:41, July 24, 2012 (UTC)
With further followup from Orci in the comments to that interview... he, for all intents and purposes, backtracks from his comments almost completely, suggesting that he was browbeaten into saying that. -- sulfur (talk) 14:20, July 24, 2012 (UTC)
That does not surprise me. To be perfectly clear, I was not referring to the actual producers of the shows/movies such as Orci, Bermann, Justman etc., but to the higher-ups in the food-chain, the ones that are lurking around on the top-floor of the corporate buildings, and at one time, like Michael Eisner, commanded salaries that even made Wall Street bankers recoil in shame. If anything, after reading through tons of Trek history it has given me a renewed respect for the producers, always caught between a rock and a hard plate, who had to perform Houdini juggling acts to balance the needs of the suits, who wanted less, and the creative staff, who wanted more, in the process shielding the creative staff from the upper floor meddling..--Sennim (talk) 15:25, July 24, 2012 (UTC)


I believe that Roddenberry's statement takes precedence. 'If it happens on screen, it's canon'.
Gene already gave us a mirror universe and its existence is canon so I believe that the "existence" of Abram's alternate timeline is canon but should not in anyway affect what we already 'know' to be canon just like what happens in the mirror universe doesn't affect what happens in the Prime universe unless characters cross over.
Thus, we 'know' that Spock didn't die in the Prime universe but went to an alternate timeline. Within the Prime universe, Spock is likely considered dead.
A possible solution for MA would be to disregard most of what the Paramount suits think or say about canon for now and keep listing things as "Alternate Timeline" within concerned articles until such time as there is enough A-T material to start a new wikia just for that.--Aemielius (talk) 19:10, August 24, 2012 (UTC)

We already do those things- and as for a separate wiki our mission is to be "the most definitive, accurate, and accessible encyclopedia and reference for everything related to Star Trek" which includes the Alternate Reality. Certainly someone could create such a wiki, but that is no reason to stop referencing it here. 31dot (talk) 23:44, August 24, 2012 (UTC)

Uh, aren't you talking about Memory Beta? I'm pretty sure they cover what you're talking about. There's also the STEU but we're a whole different ball game. --Kevin W.Talk to me 01:59, September 3, 2012 (UTC)

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