Please read through the policy below to familiarize yourself with our common practices and rules.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or complaints, please post them on the talk page.
To be the most definitive and accurate encyclopedia and reference for Star Trek, it is necessary for us to restrict to some extent the type of information we accept. Ultimately, this will ensure that Memory Alpha remains useful and authoritative for the widest possible range of fans.
Memory Alpha does not promote any particular view or critical judgment on the various Star Trek related material; this policy only exists to permit an orderly cataloging of the data into manageable categories with a minimum of conflict and a maximum amount of fidelity to the material. With that in mind, archivists should at all times be tolerant and respectful of other viewpoints, opinions, and conclusions.
Summary of the policy
Articles need to cite each resource used as the basis for their information. Generally, everything seen or heard in any Star Trek episode or film can be used as a resource for a in-universe article.
Information from other valid resources can be used in an appendix section, or in a real world article. For example, dialogue in scripts that was cut from the finished product or information from the Star Trek Encyclopedia should be noted in the relevant article's background information section, while information from official novels and similar publications would be included under an apocrypha section.
On Memory Alpha, we differentiate between two types of articles:
- In-universe articles or Star Trek universe articles. These articles are written about subjects inside the Star Trek universe, using an "in-universe" point of view. Subjects can include events, objects, or anything mentioned in an episode or film. They must adhere strictly to the in-universe POV.
- Real world articles or Star Trek franchise articles. These articles are written from a "meta" or "real world" point of view, and are written about the Star Trek franchise. Subjects can include articles about the production of the episodes and films themselves, as well as articles about novels, games, and other official materials, as well as pages about the actors and actresses.
In-universe articles require that all statements of fact be supported by a reference to an identified valid in-universe source. Failure to identify a valid source, or use of a source that is not considered in-universe, may result in removal or revision of the associated statement and/or article.
Real world articles should have citations as necessary, but the citations only have to be from a Memory Alpha valid resource.
The following are valid resources from the episodes and films and may be referenced in in-universe articles as citations, in descending order of precedence:
- Spoken dialogue (what is said)
- Visual material (what is seen)
- Aural material (what is heard that is not dialogue)
Images used in in-universe sections of articles should be from a valid source. Visual material seen in Star Trek universe resources can be supplemented by clearer images of the identical material seen (for example, production art identifiable as being the same as shown on screen but more legible) if the image is from a valid supplementary resource or otherwise generally and publicly available from a verifiable production source, and if the clearer image does not break the POV. Recreations of valid material (for example, images of rank insignia or signage) should strive for complete accuracy of the source material.
There are a few exceptions where material not directly seen or heard in an episode or film may be used in a section considered to be in-universe. These exceptions are for clearing up ambiguity about material that was seen or heard for encyclopedic purposes, and not for adding material that wasn't in an episode or film. The exceptions are:
- To name items or people that were seen or referred to on-screen but not referred to by name. This is to avoid having people, places, and things on unnamed lists when there was a name for the subject.
- To "complete" names for people where promotional material used a "more complete" name than what was given in an episode or film. This is to meet production and reader expectations where the general public was given more information than what made it into the episode or film before release. See the naming conventions for more info.
- To date certain events in the Star Trek universe where no specific date was given. This is to avoid having a number of events as happening in a decade instead of a specific year.
- To settle other ambiguities in material on screen, for example: species, spelling, gender, retcons, production mistakes, etc.
A background note explaining the source for the information must be provided if any of these options are used.
In the event that any of this information is contradicted by on-screen information, the information on-screen has precedence.
Production and reference materials
The following resources may be referenced in Star Trek universe articles in an appendix section, or formatted as a background note as described in Memory Alpha's Manual of Style, in descending order of precedence:
- Materials from a production:
- Any writer/director's guide for a Star Trek series, aka "Writer's Bible"
- Any writer/director's technical manual for a Star Trek series, aka "Which Button Do I Push to Fire the Phasers?"
- Any scripts of a production, with the provisions that spelling can be used, but will not take precedence over spelling seen on-screen, and that script versions take precedence in order of date
- Deleted or alternative takes of scenes from productions as compared to those from the most complete release, such as the difference between a remastered or director's cut when compared to an original or theatrical release
- Portions of sets, props, makeup, costumes, special and visual effects that were designed, produced and/or utilized, but were ultimately not seen on-screen in a production
- Film and television teasers, trailers, or other promotional material
- Materials from undeveloped projects and episodes, such as Star Trek: Phase II
- Any other behind-the-scenes or production material
- Materials from members of a production:
- The Star Trek Encyclopedia
- The Star Trek Chronology
- The Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manuals
- Information from the production staff, for example, After Trek and The Ready Room discussions, interviews, and material added directly to MA from verified production staff
- Supplementary home video materials, such as audio or text commentary; anything that is not the production itself
- Closed-captioned dialogue, with the provision that spelling can be used, but will not take precedence over spelling seen in a script or on-screen
- Materials about a production:
- The Star Trek: Star Charts
- Journalistic coverage of Star Trek, documentaries, and "making of" publications
- Press releases and official statements that are not promotional material
- Portions of the Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual (seen on-screen)
- Portions of the FASA's Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update (exclusively for the source names of Federation member species)
- Any authorized non-fiction reference works, for example, the Star Trek Blueprints or Delta Quadrant
- Information from aftershows and StarTrek.com not already covered
Please note that text from these works should not be repeated verbatim in articles. The relevant information should not be referenced in every possible article, but only in the most relevant one. For example, include information about Spock's species on the page for Vulcans, and not in every article that mentions Spock.
Reviews and ratings from professional, published sources are acceptable, though not required, 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 generally 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.
The following resources may be referenced in Star Trek universe articles, but should only appear in an "apocrypha" section, or formatted as a background note as described in Memory Alpha's Manual of Style.
- Authorized fiction books
- Authorized comic books
- Authorized games
- Care should be taken regarding the quantity of such information included as Memory Alpha's primary purpose does not extend to detailed coverage of "extended universe" Star Trek. Archivists should use the section more as guidance for further independent study by a reader outside of Memory Alpha than a comprehensive review or extensive description.
- Generally, cover art and similar imagery should not be used except on the Star Trek franchise page for that material.
- Apocrypha resources are not to be the basis of an independent Star Trek universe article if not mentioned in or part of an episode or film (for example, characters, ships, and events not part of the episodes are not to have primary articles created for them).
- As with production and reference materials above, relevant information should not be referenced in every possible article, but only in the most relevant one.
- Simple name-dropped references should not be mentioned, only instances where information about the subject is expanded upon.
Tolerance in valid resources
The following matters will not affect the validity of a resource:
- Different actors portraying the same character (for example, Saavik).
- Differences in actors' appearance over the years (for example, Frakes in "These Are the Voyages..." and Frakes in "The Pegasus").
- Sophistication of optical effects (for example, streaming stars at warp, CGI).
- Use of interior sets for exterior locations, or other such matters due to film production capabilities
- Production mistakes (for example, microphones in shot; differences due to different "takes" being used in editing; post-production errors or artifacts; etc.).
- The archivist's assessment of the trustworthiness of the character who is the source of the resource (for example, Harry Mudd), or the archivist's assessment of the overall accuracy of the information contained in the resource. Archivists are, however, free to describe the resource's data in the article as "Character X stated that..." if there is a desire to imply that the resource may not be entirely accurate; though any further commentary on the perceived accuracy of a resource should be confined to an appendix section rather than in the body of the article)
- Conflicts in valid resources. In writing articles, archivists should be guided by the principle that to the greatest extent possible valid resources should be construed so as not to be in conflict, unless no other explanation is reasonable under the circumstances. A valid resource with a higher precedence can, but does not always have to, be given slightly greater evidentiary weight for the purposes of writing the article from a Star Trek universe standpoint. The conflict still needs to be noted, though.
The following resources are considered invalid and should generally not be referenced in any article on Memory Alpha:
- Blueprints, specifications, or diagrams not seen in a valid resource, including such items as Ships of the Star Fleet
- Fan fiction of any kind, beyond general coverage of the topic
- Fan reference works of any kind
- Editorials, such as non-polled top 10 lists or "Star Trek is broken/not broken" YouTube videos
- External sites, except for citations and properly formatted external links in appendix sections or real world articles