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Romulan GuardEdit

This article has the same problem as the Cardassian Guard article. The user who created it extrapolated the name of the military based on one ambiguous reference by Neral: "I've never liked titles since I was a lowly uhlan in the Romulan guard." How do we know that it wasn't just the name of the branch Neral was serving in? This is not fanfic. There is zero room for giving more meaning to names than is present in the canon. – NotOfTheBody 15:34, February 18, 2010 (UTC)

Yes, the meaning is:
A. Neral served in something called the "Romulan Guard" as a uhlan.
B. Uhlan is a real-world term referring to Polish cavalry officers, and, as in the past, we should assume uhlan is used as a rank or title equivalent to the Earth term uhlan.
C. If a uhlan is the closest equivalent to describe Neral's old job, then the "Romulan Guard" must be similar to the Polish Cavalry or Military.
We don't know if the Romulan Guard is the specific branch of the Romulan military, the military itself, or even a general term used to describe all Romulans guarding their homeland (probably not). We shouldn't speculate more than what the information gave us. However, unlike Cardassian Guard, I can't find a mention of "Romulan Military" that'd replace the one of "Romulan Guard" so I don't mind using the article to cover the scope of the Romulan military, especially since the Guard is or is a part of said military.--Tim Thomason 20:30, February 18, 2010 (UTC)

B. Uhlan is a real-world term referring to Polish cavalry officers, and, as in the past, we should assume uhlan is used as a rank or title equivalent to the Earth term uhlan.

No, we shouldn't assume anything, since this is an encyclopedia and we need to report verifiable facts, not merely best-fit hypotheses that would make Occam happy. Your interpretation could easily be correct, but then again it could also be a native Romulan title which just happens to sound like an Earth rank. We just don't know, since there isn't enough data on the term as used by Romulans.

C. If a uhlan is the closest equivalent to describe Neral's old job, then the "Romulan Guard" must be similar to the Polish Cavalry or Military.

Again, it's quite possible, but we just don't know for certain.

However, unlike Cardassian Guard, I can't find a mention of "Romulan Military" that'd replace the one of "Romulan Guard" so I don't mind using the article to cover the scope of the Romulan military, especially since the Guard is or is a part of said military.

I mind, since we don't know for sure what the name represents. It would be a creative leap and therefore beyond the scope of this encyclopedia, which is primarily about reporting solid facts, with any speculation clearly designated as such (though I prefer removing all speculation, since it could easily be misrepresented on other sites and turned into myth). I don't see a problem with using generic designations if we don't have formal names - after all, what about the <famous ship name>-type usage for classes with unknown names? If we spell it "the Romulan military" as opposed to "the Romulan Military", the meaning will be clear. – NotOfTheBody 22:52, February 18, 2010 (UTC)

No matter how encyclopedic we get, some assumptions have to be made. We just have to minimize them, only make logical ones, and make sure everything is spelled out, at least in the background sections. The writers (in this case, Michael Piller and Rick Berman) used the term "uhlan" (a regional variation of "cavalryman"). Uhlan is an Earth term just as valid as Captain or Lieutenant (or Soldier or Helmsman). Since we know what Uhlan means, we make the logical assumption that it means the same thing in the show as it does outside of the show, just like any other word. Since we know what Uhlan means, we know that "the Romulan Guard" has to be some sort of military organization or unit, which is also easy to gather from its name, per logical assumption.
A military man was a member of the "Romulan Guard." It's just as much an assumption to assume the Guard is *not* the entire military as it is to assume the Guard *is* the entire military. Should we have a page on the Federation military (troops in "Nor the Battle to the Strong") or the Earth military (probable MACO overseers)? What about the Klingon military? I only find two mentions of "Defense Force(s)," one referring to the agency Korris was involved in, and the other stating that Chancellor Gowron commanded them. Should all Klingon military be under that umbrella, even if most appearances didn't even reference the KDF?
I don't know. No one does, and the writer(s) can't be bothered to spell everything out for us. In my opinion, Memory Alpha can only be encyclopedic to a point. For the rest, we have to be logical (only make assumptions, e.g. names and content when necessary to make sense and consolidate information) and entertaining (not funny, but a good fun article). We don't make canon here, but like any other source, our mission involves interpreting canon (or valid sources). In the past, it was interpreted that Berman/Piller's statement referred to the entire Romulan military. Is that today's interpretation? I don't know.--Tim Thomason 03:30, February 19, 2010 (UTC)
I don't see a problem with pointing out that an assumption was made here, something like "the Romulan Guard may be the name of the entire military, or just a branch of it, as it was never made clear on screen." Either way, we are making an assumption, especially since there seems to be little in the way of other evidence in this case. - Archduk3 03:56, February 19, 2010 (UTC)

No matter how encyclopedic we get, some assumptions have to be made. We just have to minimize them, only make logical ones, and make sure everything is spelled out, at least in the background sections. The writers (in this case, Michael Piller and Rick Berman) used the term "uhlan" (a regional variation of "cavalryman"). Uhlan is an Earth term just as valid as Captain or Lieutenant (or Soldier or Helmsman). Since we know what Uhlan means, we make the logical assumption that it means the same thing in the show as it does outside of the show, just like any other word.

The huge difference is that we've seen dozens of lieutenants and a number of helmsmen, so there is no ambiguity about the meaning of those words. In addition, those terms are much less obscure than uhlan, which means that the writers couldn't have reasonably expected the viewers to think they're Romulan terms, which could well have been the case with uhlan. There is no pressing need to explain what uhlan could mean, or probably means, or almost certainly means - Neral was an uhlan in the Romulan guard. In the background section, you can note that uhlan is also a cavalry rank on Earth, without speculating what it might mean for Romulans or whether the writers wanted us to take it literally. If the reader wants to speculate further or write fanfic based on your factual information, he can do so.

Since we know what Uhlan means, we know that "the Romulan Guard" has to be some sort of military organization or unit, which is also easy to gather from its name, per logical assumption.

Again, there just isn't enough information on the subject. Your interpretation is quite reasonable, but there is no certainty because we have only one line to go by. Neral was an uhlan in the Romulan guard - that's it, there is no pressure to say more about it.

A military man was a member of the "Romulan Guard." It's just as much an assumption to assume the Guard is *not* the entire military as it is to assume the Guard *is* the entire military.

Yes, it is, which is why I am saying that we must not make either assumption. This is one possible phrasing which avoids assumptions:

Romulan Guard

Neral was a uhlan in the Romulan guard.

End of article (one which I don't feel is necessary anyway).

Should we have a page on the Federation military (troops in "Nor the Battle to the Strong") or the Earth military (probable MACO overseers)? What about the Klingon military? I only find two mentions of "Defense Force(s)," one referring to the agency Korris was involved in, and the other stating that Chancellor Gowron commanded them. Should all Klingon military be under that umbrella, even if most appearances didn't even reference the KDF?

We must decide carefully on a case-by-case basis. I can't answer all of those questions since I'm not an expert on the various militaries in Star Trek, but I can say that a title such as "Klingon military" is obviously generic and does not contain any unnecessary assumptions. Certainly, we should use formal names wherever we have proof (e.g. the formal name of the Federation is the United Federation of Planets), but if not, we must never sacrifice accuracy because of formality.

I don't know. No one does, and the writer(s) can't be bothered to spell everything out for us. In my opinion, Memory Alpha can only be encyclopedic to a point. For the rest, we have to be logical (only make assumptions, e.g. names and content when necessary to make sense and consolidate information) and entertaining (not funny, but a good fun article). We don't make canon here, but like any other source, our mission involves interpreting canon (or valid sources). In the past, it was interpreted that Berman/Piller's statement referred to the entire Romulan military. Is that today's interpretation? I don't know.--Tim Thomason 03:30, February 19, 2010 (UTC)

No, it doesn't need to be encyclopedic to a point. Yes, I see that there is a lot of pressure to make this into an in-universe fictional encyclopedia, one where everything should naturally have a known formal name, but we must resist such pressure. I see that a lot of the general public is using Memory Alpha, which is why it is extremely important not to turn it into fanfic, by making unnecessary assumptions simply because of the pressure to have formal names. If you really don't want an article named "Romulan military", we can merge it into the section on Romulans - after all, there is little information here anyway. However, I really don't see what the problem is with using such generic but accurate designations, or with avoiding the temptation to make assumptions. – NotOfTheBody 09:31, February 19, 2010 (UTC)

Same question as on the Cardassian Guard talk page: it's been a couple of days, so is it logically clear by now that this article on the Romulan military shouldn't be named Romulan Guard, since we have only Neral's ambiguous line to go by? Let's use the safe and generic title Romulan military, since the article is discussing the military in general, not merely Neral's line. – NotOfTheBody 16:37, February 21, 2010 (UTC)

Hrm. No. It's still not logically clear either way. How about we deal with Cardassian Guard first, then continue this rather than trying to sort both out simultaneously. -- sulfur 17:30, February 21, 2010 (UTC)

Can you be more specific? The commenters above agree with me that the episode doesn't offer proof that Romulan Guard = Romulan military, which is what the creator of this article simplistically assumed. It's just that Tim Thomason, for example, doesn't have a problem with making this assumption, and I do. I'm not sure about the other commenters. Can someone explain why a generic, descriptive, obviously non-formal title such as Romulan military would be a worse choice than stepping into creativity with a title such as Romulan Guard? – NotOfTheBody 19:26, February 21, 2010 (UTC)

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