Memory Alpha is not Wikipedia. Our policies state that Memory Alpha is intended to present information from Star Trek, and is not to present an excess of "real world" information. Related to this, articles at Memory Alpha should be named as per their use in the Star Trek universe, and not be named in the same manner as Wikipedia.

Methinks that we should note that Memory Alpha is not Wikipedia. Ergo, we shouldn't always name our articles identically to their articles (especially when they're referred to in-canon under a different name). This also covers the issue of too much "real world" information, when a Wikipedia link would better serve the purpose. I don't want to outright add this myself without the agreement of anyone else but... well... me, so I figured that I'd raise the issue here first. -- Sulfur 17:08, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Forum:List of Star Trek actors who have appeared nude in films or print

What do you think about having this as a list on this wiki? --Babaganoosh 16:29, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it is necessary or relevant. Appearances as such are for the most part (with some small exceptions) not in Star Trek, and there is no reason for us to make articles and lists devoted to things not related to Trek canon or production. An article like this would probably also be an invitation for vandalism. --OuroborosCobra talk 16:45, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Not necessary -- although an in-startrek one might be useful. - Llyfr 16:52, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
I think the only time one has performed fully nude (though not visible on screen) was Patrick Stewart in TNG: "Chain of Command, Part II". All other 'nude' scenes were most likely performed with concealing cloths. - V. Adm. Enzo Aquarius 16:55, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
True, but I would also include 'partial nudes' in this list. - Llyfr 17:00, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, there was T'Pol, and there was that art model, but that is about all I recall. If we start including "partially nude", we are going to get into a serious problem of people disagreeing over what counts as "partially nude" and what does not. We could see some people trying to list all the Dabo girls, for example. Also, as I said originally, this would be a magnet for vandals, and I feel would not do that much, just like attempts at making a list of times Sisko lost command. This just won't benefit Memory Alpha enough to be worth the trouble in my mind. --OuroborosCobra talk 17:05, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
I think Babaganoosh was asking about a list of Star Trek actors who have appeared nude in any film or show, not just on Star Trek. If that is the case, then you have Marina Sirtis (in her three earliest films, The Wicked Lady, Blind Date, and Death Wish III), Denise Crosby (in Playboy and in a few films, as well as Red Shoe Diaries, I believe), Jolene Blalock (Diamond Hunters, although you can't see much; she also did a few photo shoots where she's not nude but her attire doesn't leave much to the imagination), Terry Farrell (there are one or two nude spreads of her out there), and Chase Masterson (Digital Man, among others). As for an individual list on Memory Alpha, though... no. It'll never happen, I assure you. ;) --From Andoria with Love 17:26, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Wouldn't mind a catalogue of dabo girls. - Llyfr 17:30, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
We have one, at Dabo girls. --OuroborosCobra talk 17:33, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
Shran, please don't make it easy and list actual nude appearances here. The discussion is about whether a page on this topic would be relevant.--Tim Thomason 21:50, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
It's not relevant. I said that. But that doesn't mean I can't answer the man's question. Oh, btw, I forgot Ashley Judd, too. She appeared nude in a few things. Norma Jean & Marilyn comes to mind. :D --From Andoria with Love 02:49, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Shouldn't this be moved to MA:TF? - Patricknoddy Talk 22:56, 4 May 2007 (UTC)
Not really. Ten Forward is for discussing policies and MA operations. Actually, since this is discussing the addition of something to the site, maybe it does belong at TF more than at the reference desk. Technically speaking, though, this forum shouldn't exist at all. --From Andoria with Love 07:04, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
This is certainly a discussion for "what MA is not..." --Alan 05:52, 24 March 2008 (UTC)


I'd like to expand #3 in what an article is not to:

Advertising for websites. If your personal site focuses on the same subject as an article, then it is acceptable to add the site to a list of external links in that article. However, use your judgment and make sure that the context is appropriate – spamming is not tolerated. In addition, pages on unofficial web sites are too subjective... Memory Alpha is an encyclopedia, not a directory. Our focus is on what we see on TV, not what websites we like to hang out at.

As it stands, we have at least two articles on unofficial websites. Admittedly, these webpages both provide useful information, news, and interviews, but where do we draw the line on what webpages are acceptable, and which are not? How about the webpage creators? I know that at one point, we had an article on the main creator of one of them. That page was, fairly quickly, PfD'd and dealt with, but what's stopping people from adding more? -- Sulfur 12:44, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Stealing Alan's comment and turning it into a policy... I like it! But don't tell Alan, 'cause then, you'll know, he'll want credit and all that. --From Andoria with Love 03:13, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
Oh, and I agree with the policy. Have at it! ;) --From Andoria with Love 03:14, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Nitpickers guide

I added a section that I feel is long coming about MA not being a nitpickers guide. I hope no one objects to my boldness, but this has been an agreed upon practice over a year ago, an it feels silly constantly citing the forum thread where this was agreed by the community. About time it was actually stated in the policies, I say. --OuroborosCobra talk 22:57, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Too ambiguous; the text doesn't define what a nitpick is. It shouldn't have been added as policy without a draft to consider. Production errors and continuity problems should have a place on episode pages and background notes as this has become just as much of a realworld encyclopedia about the episodes and production as an encyclopedia of the fictional universe. --Bp 23:10, 4 August 2007 (UTC)
Continuity errors, maybe; we're supposed to point those out anyway (although that should normally be done on an in-universe page regarding whatever subject involves the error). Production errors, however, are typically nitpicks in themselves and have been removed in the past. Although bringing this up for discussion first to "fine-tune" it, as it were, probably would have helped, I don't think it's hurting anything to add it prior to discussion in this case since it was an "unofficial" policy we've been following for quite some time. Now, it's official. As Cobra said, it's been a long time coming – the discussion regarding it was started over a year ago! I agree, though, we probably should specify what "nitpicks" cover. --From Andoria with Love 03:17, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Captain Mike makes a good point at Talk:The Man Trap#Nitpicks:
Things which seem to be exceptions to a rule can be noted, i believe (i.e. "this was the only episode this effect/premise was used/not used.") or notes about the production (as i've said before, "The set was reused from another planet set/another movie set.." etc.", "The costume lacked the patches used in later appearances..", etc) -- it becomes a nitpick when the writer attempt to correlate it to some problem they have with the note (i.e. "How are we supposed to believe these two aliens have the same wall decorations?", "The costumes are all wrong because they don't correspond to Navy rank systems..", etc..). A production note tells you that something happened or appeared a certain way, but a nitpick implies that there is a problem with it doing so. Keep in mind that specific observances could be moved to the separate article, and should be removed from the "background notes" of the episode page -- for example, if a phaser beam is blue instead of red, maybe it goes on phasers' page(s?) -- Captain M.K.B. 19:38, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Mike explains what a nitpick is, and what we are trying to avoid. The current "policy" basically just says there is this thing we don't want that is hard to define. There are errors that are interesting and important and need to be included without criticism. --Bp 04:04, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
That seems to be a requirement for nitpicking, that is, criticizing it. In that sense, the policy already covers this. But I believe the consensus was to not include these errors at all. If we want the policy to specifically say pointing out errors is allowed, but criticizing them is not, we would need to discuss it further and see if everyone would agree to that. So, let's see what people say. --From Andoria with Love 04:15, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
We must include production errors such as inconsistencies. How many moons does Bajor have? How many decks does the Enterprise-E have? What about the characters with different ranks in different episodes? What about the names of species, or universe anachronisms spoken in dialogue? What about the color of Klingon blood? An error that is on screen is non-trivial enough to be included, as any other "important" fact is included if it is on screen. --Bp 04:25, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
The problem is, is that at times, nitpicks tend to be written by the ignorant or the pompous. Obviously the Klingon blood thing was done for a reason, to keep the film PG-13, and that should be noted as a production decision, I don't think it needs to be explained or justified in canon as some weird mutation or mistake. I guess, above all, we whatever we do, it should sound encyclopedic. --Alan del Beccio 04:42, 10 February 2008 (UTC)
So shall we reword the nitpick policy to say that criticizing & evaluating production errors are not allowed and that the errors should be listed and nothing else? --From Andoria with Love 21:47, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm still opposed to that. I don't think we should become a catalog of errors. I do think that forum discussion we had expressed opposition to this. I also think that a large percentage of "errors" people put up turn out not even to be errors at all. Things like the Klingon blood aren't errors, they are intentional production decisions, we know why they did it (the PG-13 stuff). Things like pink slippers or communicators falling open, we don't. --OuroborosCobra talk 21:51, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
A nitpick needs to be defined if we are going to have a policy that allows anyone to delete something they consider a nitpick. We can't have a policy that says there is this thing that we don't want, you decide what it is, delete it without procedure and cite MA:NOT. There has to be some guidance for us and for future editors that were not involved in any of these discussions.
Now, about what the definition should be: I would point out that this is an encyclopedia of a fictional universe. The only evidence for the "facts" we catalogue are in canon. If there is an error that leads to a contradiction of these facts it should be noted. If we know why it happened it makes a good background note. This is important and interesting information. I'm not saying we have to explain it in-universe. I also think it should stay encyclopedic tone, that is why I suggested Mike definition, because it defined a nitpick by the way it is presented, not simply an error for which there is no universal standard of "trivial". This whole site is trivial. What even-more-trivial information are we excluding? Data using contractions after we are specifically told he can't, is fine in a background note. Klingon blood that was changed for ratings, is a good background note. I don't see any problems as long as it is presented in a nuetral, encyclopedic way. Bajoran moon count, decks of the enterprise, great BG notes. We don't have to explain them in-universe but they shouldnt be deleted either. Bascially, I want to clear up a policy that is extremely vague about what is allowed to be quick deleted with simply "WP:NOT". --Bp 22:13, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
My take on it is the following:
  • Any note questioning story logic or character's stances on an issue is a nitpick. (eg. Janeway says X, but her actions in Y and Z seem to contradict this.) The problem with these is they ignore the fact that characters don't always act rationally, or may be hypocritical. Likewise, there may be factors at play that prohibit our heroes from doing what you think they should do. It IS acceptable to neutrally note an omission, preferably with explanations from a citeable production source, or an explanation that involves minimal speculation. Pretty much, this fits Mike's def: the first is criticism and thus a nitpick, the latter is not.
  • A production note is not a nitpick if it is neutrally worded. Things like re-used sets/props, costume/rank mismatches should always be allowed. However, I think we should remove any "notes" that describe ridiculously trivial/banal production occurrences. Like the following gems I removed from "Is There in Truth No Beauty?":
    • A crewmember in a corridor appears to be chewing gum.
    • After Kirk confronts Dr. Jones in sickbay, watch Diana Muldaur trying to keep from laughing by biting her lip.
    • In this episode and "The Empath", Leonard Nimoy has some serious nasal congestion.
They may not be nitpicks, but they're stupid and unencyclopedic.
In short, I think we should adopt Mike's def, plus note that we don't list every triviality.– Cleanse 05:22, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
I think an important point mentioned above is the fact that we, first and foremost, do not want tons of nitpicks to be dumped to some section of an episode page. If a good way could be found to add an individual bit of information (neutrally worded) to some "content" article - why not. If we'd just end up with more unsorted lists of nitpick-y information, filled with personal speculation and stupid assumptions - no, definitely no. -- Cid Highwind 19:05, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Memory Alpha:Nitpick, Memory Alpha talk:Nitpick. --Bp 15:30, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Promotion of personal projects

from Forum:Star Trek: The Continuing Mission

A section of the "non-canon productions" page should be added for "Star Trek: The Continuing Mission".

Star Trek: The Continuing Mission is a new, audio only independent production based from ( - It is set to premier this Christmas Day with the pilot called "Ghost Ship" --SebastianProoth 16:08, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Is it licensed by Paramount? --OuroborosCobra talk 16:19, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
No. If anywhere, it should have a one sentence blurb on the Fan page with audio crap. It would be suited to addition on ST:EU however. And anyhow, have you not figured out how to add it yourself? It isn't really that tough. -- Sulfur 16:21, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

That is an entirely unprofessional attitude "Sulfur." We are a professional production and I didn't think it would be appropriate for me to add information about my own show. Until you have listened to the production, you have no room to say that it or any other production is crap. To answer your question Cobra, no it is not Paramount Licensed. But we do have plans to seek the license. We have guest stars from the show in the first episode and have had interest from major press etc including CNN etc. We have also been covered by TrekWeb and TrekMovie in the past. Please check out our website at for more information. The preceding unsigned comment was added by SebastianProoth (talk • contribs).

Well, that attitude comes partly from your prior actions here on MA/en. And 99% of the fan-wanking fiction is crap, and honestly has no place here on MA. ST:EU? Yes. Anyhow, all of the other fan "productions" were usually added by the creators of the work. It's a wiki. As long as it doesn't sound like advertising and reads in a somewhat unbiased way, then it's likely OK. Oh, and bragging that you got on CNN? Thrilling. Really it is. Must've been a slow news day for them. :) -- Sulfur 16:28, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
SebastianProoth, you have to understand that "seeking a license" isn't enough. In order to qualify for having your own article as a non-canon production, you must HAVE the license. Otherwise you get an entry on the fan productions, as until you have the license, that is all you are. A very good one, perhaps, but there are other quite good fan productions out there. You can have all the CNN interviews you want, and while it is really cool, it doesn't change your status. Neither does having guest stars from the show. Of God's and Men (I think I have that name right) has countless Trek performers, and is directed by Tim Russ IIRC. It is still considered a fan production. Until you get the Paramount license, you aren't getting your own article on MA. --OuroborosCobra talk 16:36, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your reply. I didn't ask for its own article. I asked for it to be put on the fan productions page but felt it was inappropriate for me to write the details myself as that is not consistent with the Wiki ethos. Also, We are a production (I tend not to use the term, "Fan production" as to not conjure up images of poor production), certain productions excluded from that generalisation. I was only asking that someone add our show to the existent list of fan productions here on Memory-Alpha. If you look above I said " add a section of the non-canon productions page" as in the sections for Of Gods and Men, New Voyages, etc.--SebastianProoth 16:42, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

It seems a section of the page in question has been created. I will add some basic background information to the description. Thank you.--SebastianProoth 16:45, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

It ain't the "non-canon" page that New Voyages, etc are on. It's the "Fan films" page. So, I'm not entirely certain why you're attempting to cut OC down there on that one. You never brought up NV or OGaM until the end. Fan films. Non-canon items are licensed. Fan films... not. Oh, and keep it to no more than a couple of sentences. Like the other items. If you want to go into more detail, put it on ST:EU. -- Sulfur 16:48, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

I wasn't trying to be unpleasant to "OuroborosCobra" he has been nothing but helpful over the last half an hour with this. Just because I got the terminology wrong "non-canon" VS "fan production" (which in the media sense mean the same thing) in my inquiry doesn't give you license to be rude. There is a difference between being rude and precise and you are continually crossing that line in this previous inquiry. Thank you again OuroborosCobra for you help. --SebastianProoth 17:02, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Point being. Be clear with your request. Don't assume that people are savvy in your "media sense". Of course, the "media sense" is that most things are the same when they really aren't, but that's a discussion for another day.
Also, please note talk pages. Specifically where it relates to indenting responses. -- Sulfur 17:07, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia again

There seems to be a recent trend in copying content from Wikipedia over to Memory Alpha, going so far as replacing existing articles with ones from Wikipedia. Take a look at Pon farr, Kruge, and others. At first I did not know why, but there is a pattern, as made apparent by The Adventures of Captain Proton and its edit summary, "evacuate matter from the Wikipedia page, which has been deleted". All of these pages have in common being deleted from Wikipedia, or AfD notices that make it obvious deletion is coming in the near future. This is being done by multiple anons now. What I think is happening is that people are treating Memory Alpha as some sort of recycle bin for deleted Wikipedia content, which of course we are not (particularly when we have our own content already). I propose an addition to this page about Memory Alpha not being Wikipedia's recycle bin. --OuroborosCobra talk 22:47, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Would that actually help, or just be more text on a guideline page to read? I guess it's the latter, so I'm hesitant to adding that. -- Cid Highwind 01:42, 12 December 2007 (UTC)


We're currently having a discussion about articles that "analyze" and "create" instead of just present available information with proper citation here. The term "essay" has been coined for such articles - I think "No essays" would make a good addition to this list. -- Cid Highwind 13:59, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

I think so too. It would stop a lot of heartburn from innocent people writing these articles since such articles are usually subject to heavy criticism (which I guess they should be). A firm policy would eliminiate this kind of thing from ever happening again. -FC 14:19, 19 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure. I think analysis is a key element of an encyclopedia, and MA's backlash against it has been a serious flaw, not something we should enshrine in policy. --- Jaz 15:33, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
For example, I don't think it would be out of line to have articles like Protrayel of Women in Star Trek or Cinematographic Style of Star Trek provided they were properly cited and used academic sources (ie no original research). --- Jaz 15:45, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
There are parts of my failed "military reference" article which I think can still be on this site. For instance, there should be nothing wrong with a simple list of episodes and films where the military has been referenced. I was disappointed with some of the attitudes about the military reference article, in particular how some long standing users starting "breaking their own rules when they became inconvenient" with one person in particular degenerating into some small scale personal attacks. But then, that's exactly why we should outline what kind of essay articles can't be on this prevent that from happening again. -FC 17:13, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

If this is supposed to stay a mature discussion, it might be best to not "fuel the fire" any more than necessary. Also, I'm taking the liberty to remove links from both of your responses (two suggested essay article from Jaz, the quoted text linking to the episode article for "The Measure Of A Man" in FC's case).

Anyway, on topic again, I'm not sure if the initial suggestion has been understood by everyone. This is about articles that do not just present readily available information, but articles that analyze, draw connections, basically "make up" new facts. And, to be honest, I haven't seen a single encyclopedia that does that. -- Cid Highwind 17:31, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

I didn't mention any names for exactly the reason you stated (fueling the fire). My whole point is that unpleasant situations like the one I just went through can be avoided by having a concrete policy. I think we should go ahead and make one. And I love that line from "The Measure Of A Man"! I use it all the time in the real world; it's a classic! -FC 17:46, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
You don't need to name names to fuel the fire, particularly if you are going to mischaracterize (again) the situation. --OuroborosCobra talk 17:48, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
That situation is closed; I have no wish to reopen it. I am just saying that I am completely in support of a policy here. It will help prevent similar situations from arising and make deletion of improper articles a lot easier. -FC 17:57, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
If the situation is closed, then don't reopen it by kicking the bees nest. --OuroborosCobra talk 18:00, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Which is a really great comment - now, everyone stop kicking the poor bees now, before this discussion is run into the ground completely. And I hope it's clear what "everyone" means, right? -- Cid Highwind 18:03, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Fine by me (Buzzzzz) :-) I do think we should now focus on writing the actual policy "Memory Alpha is not a place for independent essays" or something like that. And with that, I am going to listen to my favorite song: "Just walk away Renee..." and walk away. -FC 18:19, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
How about Memory Alpha is not a forum for original research? This would still enable discussion in areas where legitimate academic papers have been published (ie, Portrayal of Women in Star Trek). --- Jaz 22:32, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

I think it's a wholly different question whether we want to have these type of articles. As I see it, we're still, first and foremost, an in-universe encyclopedia for the "canon" (more or less) Star Trek universe. After that, we are (or are becoming) a real-world encyclopedia for the production part of that "canon" Trek (which is, of course, not a bad thing). Trying to also become the place where completely independent research on the "Star Trek" phenomenon is being listed, on top of what we do first and second, would be something I'd oppose.

In other words, I see a fundamental difference between the article type we were originally talking about ("original research" to find out existing real-world influence on some specific part of Trek "canon", as for example military structures) and the article type that is now being dragged into this discussion, which really hasn't been up for discussion before. Can we please concentrate on the one type, and save discussion about whether we even want the other for a different time and place? -- Cid Highwind 11:32, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

To help clear up my own confusion here, is Shakespeare and Star Trek an appropriate article for this site? It was brought up several times during the discussions about military references but wasn't removed or deleted after the military discussion came to an end. This would help clear up the type of article we are discussing here. -FC 11:53, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
In addition, would this be allowed (as a list) where this clearly wouldn't be since it draws original conclusions about influences on the show. This is the area I'm getting hung up on. -FC 11:59, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, my personal opinion is that the "references" parts of both articles could very well stay (how and where would obviously need to be discussed as/if the surrounding article gets removed) - it's just the "essay" part that I don't think has a place here. In the case of the Shakespeare article, I believe that sections #1/#4 need to be removed/outsourced (it seems as if #1 even is based on an existing off-site essay already!), while #2 could stay as a simple list article (a reference to the off-site essay could be added here, then), and #3 could be reworked into it's own article about the Pocket Books book. -- Cid Highwind 12:10, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. Also, I realize that this is incredibly simplistic question to ask, but why again is it felt we need essays, at all, in an encyclopedia? Growing up reading my parent's hardbound "Funk and Wagnells", I recall finding nothing but page after page of biographies and histories of one specific topic or person, while completely void of essays. Why is (should) MA (be) any different? I'm not finding 'between the lines' anything suggesting "essays" in our goal: "a collaborative project to create the most definitive, accurate, and accessible encyclopedia and reference for everything related to Star Trek." Regarding the military "list" of stuff, so much of that can (and already is) be parred down into the specific articles they refer to, like the Marine Corps page, and so forth. In fact, I could even envision the miliary analogies or references tied into Starfleet on the "Starfleet" page in some section about its' function. What's wrong with spreading out information to the articles that could use it, instead of builting one super essay article off of the shoulders of lesser articles that could use the attention in the first place? --Alan 12:36, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
I haven't been following the earlier discussions, but just for the record, I am firmly in the "no essays" camp. MA is primarily an in-universe encyclopedia of the Star Trek universe. Secondly, there is a focus on production and history of the show. But even there, those pages are only created if they have some direct relation to something in the 'in-universe' encyclopedia. I don't think essays or studies on various subjects as they relate to Star Trek is something that has a place on MA. It's like using the encyclopedia to study something, and then putting the results back into the encyclopedia. A page like Shakespeare and Star Trek should not belong on MA, IMO. The lists are nice, but could easily be combined with William Shakespeare. So, in very short: essays - no, thematic lists - only if it fits on some kind of page that is more than just that list. For example, there is a page called Militaries, which could be home to the 'military themes' with some more explanations (but no original research). My 2 cents. -- Harry usr tlk 13:38, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
The founder hath spoken. So let it be written. So let it be done. :) For the record, I, too, am against "essay"-type articles in an encyclopedia for the exact reasons pointed out by Harry, Alan and others above. Look in an encyclopedia and you will find biographies and histories, not analyses and essays. That's because they're encyclopedias... and MA is no different. And I'm just sound like a broken record, so I shall end, now. :P --From Andoria with Love 06:01, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
You owe me a penny and a half. --Alan 06:05, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
I brought up our discussion here on Memory Alpha:Pages for deletion/Shakespeare and Star Trek. I think we should formally add that "Memory Alpha is not a collection of essays" to this page and state that subjective essays which draw conclusion about Star Trek which have not been mentioned in canon are inappropriate for this site. If people agree, I'll add it in. -FC 15:56, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
With plenty of agreement above and in total absence of disagreement in response to FC, I'm adding it now. --TribbleFurSuit 17:42, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Speculation (was: The Wire)

Moved from User talk:Morder...

RE "The Wire" -- OK, speculation is perhaps not the best source of entry BUT I've seen no alternative suggestions for the title, since there's no mention of wires in the episode itself and the implant has almost exactly the same function that it has in Ringworld. I'm protesting the deletion in the absence of any reasonable alternative explanation. CraigG 11:33, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

There doesn't need to be an alternative explanation. Lack of an alternative is not proof that yours is correct, or was writer intent. As a good Klingon judge said, "Colonel Worf, we are interested in facts, not theories." --OuroborosCobra talk 14:52, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
You are free to protest the deletion of material, however, the guidelines laid out on this site clearly spell out what is and isn't allowed on Memory-Alpha. I know, nobody reads them, that's why we usually explain why we remove items in the summary and move the deleted text to the talk page of that article. Hopefully this also helps you out. — Morder 17:49, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

It may be that there is a larger issue here. I started reading SF as a pre-teen in the early '50s, growing up on Heinlein and van Vogt and Ellison. I'm currently watching the DS9 episode "Explorers" (season 3). I'm only a few minutes in, and I haven't read the MA summary BUT I would maintain that unless the "light sails" technology is credited to such luminaries as Jerry Pournelle (The Mote in God's Eye), Neil Smith (Henry Martyn) and, even earlier, Cordwainer Smith (short story The Lady who Sailed The Soul), MA is shortchanging its audience. The Star Trek saga has survived as American myth, and continued typically long beyond the short attention span of Super Bowl Commercial audiences, primarily because unlike "Quincy" or "Lou Grant" or even "MASH", the writing held up through many long seasons -- because the writers were not afraid to incorporate the best or most intriguing ideas from classic SF. (And of course, Ellison and many other major and minor SF novelists paid their bills writing screenplays for TOS.)

If you arbitrarily deprive Star Trek fans of the sense that they are part of a larger literary culture -- speculation, specific mention, or other bureaucratic guideline be damned -- you are impoverishing their lives and their sense of history. Americans have far too little sense of history already. If in fact MA's guidelines discourage this sort of exposition, I would maintain that the guidelines should be rethought. And if speculation is to be expunged from Memory Alpha -- what then is the point of Science Fiction in the first place? To what extent is Memory Alpha a robotic fan site and to what extent is it a cultural adventure? What would be left of Data if his subroutines precluded his striving to become Human? – CraigG 01:30, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Why don't you take this to Talk:MA:NOT. While we all discuss the proposal for that change in policy over there, please form a pile right over here for all those authors you're talking about - our scheduled monthly book-burning is a little light on fuel this time around, you're just in time. MA is no more a cultural adventure than Wikipedia is. Any encyclopedia requires verifiable references. --TribbleFurSuit 02:05, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Cobra: My original entry -- in the "trivia" section -- consisted of the following:

  • The "Wire" of the title may be an oblique reference to novelist Larry Niven's Ringworld universe, in which some characters have implants capable of direct stimulation of the pleasure centers of the brain, which are activated when they plug them in to a source of electricity. They are disparagingly referred to as "wireheads."

The relevant MA guideline reads as follows:

Any speculation must be based on canon facts, should be limited to a few sentences or a paragraph, must be clearly marked as speculation, and should be separate from the main article space.

Now please explain whether my entry was not based on canon facts, was excessively long, was not clearly qualified as a possibility rather than a canonical certainty, or was not separate from the main article. Thanks.

Trib, we already have one Wikipedia, for which I -- and I assume all of us -- are grateful. But if MA's ambition is to simply repeat Wp's entries in more detail and with greater enthusiasm, then I respectfully submit that we may have set our sights too low.– CraigG 02:19, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

I don't believe that the cultural adventure that you want is compatible with an encyclopedia. No original research. If anything, MA has set sights pretty high for encyclopedicity. Star Trek now has wikis for encyclopedias of canon, of licensed works, of unlicensed fan productions, and now even a wiki for creating and publishing fan works. Maybe that one would welcome the literary culture analysis, hypotheses, exposition, and essays like this, or, if not, why not a new wiki for covering that stuff? I'd join it. But I reject the criticism that MA is "arbitrarily depriv[ing] Star Trek fans of the sense that they are part of a larger literary culture -- speculation, specific mention, or other bureaucratic guideline be damned [...] impoverishing their lives and their sense of history". Please - some things aren't in our mission. Do you want to lobby to change that? Here's the place for it: Talk:MA:NOT. --TribbleFurSuit 03:20, 5 November 2008 (UTC)


I'm afraid we'll just have to accept our disagreement on that point; I stand by what I've written. As to the forum, my principal experience (over a period of two decades, going back to Fidonet and passing by the destruction of internet news) is that these exchanges mostly offer a limitless platform for those whose most important role is to decrease the signal-to-noise ratio of serious discussion. I am not a democrat in any sense of the word, and I'm grateful to Mordor for sacrificing this much space on his page to a concentrated discussion of the issues we've raised here. OTOH, I'm far too cynical to believe that any of this discussion will actually change anything.

As to MA's mission, it seems to be

... a collaborative project to create the most definitive, accurate, and accessible encyclopedia and reference for everything related to Star Trek.

... with the constraint that

Speculation is limited to very obvious conclusions and always explicitly marked as such - please adhere to the systematic use of the subjunctive, of "could, would, might be" and little words like "if" or "perhaps." Unlike most other websites and especially many databanks, we don't make up any information, even if this leaves wide gaps in the lists and charts.

This is all eminently reasonable; what we appear to disagree on is the interpretation. My interpretation is (I hope) clear from what I've said above. Further exposition of your interpretation would be welcome.

PS -- The writer Jack Vance developed the idea of a solar sail in a 1962 short story:

The pressure of radiation, of course, is extremely light - on the order of an ounce per acre at this distance from the sun. Necessarily, the sail must be extremely large and extremely light. We use a fluro-siliconic film a tenth of a mil in gauge, fogged with lithium to the state of opacity. Such a foil weighs about four tons to the square mile. It is fitted to a hoop of thin-walled tubing, from which mono-crystalline iron cords lead to the hull. -- Jack Vance, Sail 25

Thanks to

CraigG 03:51, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Seriously this needs to be taken elsewhere as I get an email each time this is updated and it's irrelevant to me specifically. The rules have been laid out for a long time and have been debated for a long time as well. There's no need to continue this discussion here and there's really no need to continue this discussion at all since everything is clearly laid out. — Morder 04:54, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Granted, Morder, and I thank you for your patience as long as it lasted. The interpretation of MA's mission is a question of fundamental importance and I look forward to conversations here. –CraigG 05:22, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

That's the spirit :) Morder, it appears that everything is not laid out clearly enough, after all, and might warrant discussion. CraigG welcomes exposition of my interpretation, so here goes: Maybe the policy does need an update, so that it's more clear what kind of speculation stays. I mean, in my own opinion, NO speculation should, but I didn't draft or write the policy. What's relevant to the policies you're quoting, CraigG, are in-universe speculations ("Any speculation must be based on canon facts", "Although there are a great many gaps in our knowledge about the Star Trek universe, Memory Alpha articles are not the place for personal opinions"). Speculation on production details is not included in the policy. If there were a quote from a writer or producer that documented the lightsail inspiration from a Jack Vance story, for example, then there'd be no speculation and we'd go ahead and record it and cite it. Otherwise it's speculation about the real world. Jack Vance's Sail 25 is not canon or part of the ST universe.
On the other hand, from the in-universe perspective, the kinds of things that (I think) are intended under the policies you quote are along the lines of the following examples: see italicized text under Hail#Frequencies, see discussion of a second Romulan-Klingon Alliance; Roger Lemli's service rank; and discussion of which "initial contact" Spock referred to, in the Federation-Klingon Cold War article; and whether Tricobalt devices are considered to be illegal subspace weapons.
So, to answer the question you asked Cobra above, "please explain whether my entry was not based on canon facts", yes, Ringworld is not based on ST canon facts. Besides that, you did note the constraint that "speculation is limited to very obvious conclusions" - in my interpretation, "the title may be an oblique reference" does not pass this test.
Regarding your 20-years-old bad experience with collaboration, I should point out that no extant MA policy was born without discussion, and that many have indeed been changed through discussion over time. Many times, it's the newer contributors/members who bring the ideas that yield these changes. This is actually not a forum at all, but a page for working on [What Memory Alpha is not]. Me? I think that this is indeed a serious discussion, and that there's plenty of signal in the ratio. I may be loud, but hopefully never noisy. Personally, my preference would be for less speculation, not more, but I absolutely encourage you to make a proposal. --TribbleFurSuit 07:05, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
Well my feelings on that is simply that any speculation not based on any facts what-so-ever doesn't belong. That's what I get from MA:NOT and don't see how anybody could really think otherwise. It comes down to this, if you speculate and I speculate and everybody speculates then we have nothing but a page full of everyone's differing viewpoints on what something may have been rather than what it actually is. But continue this discussion at your leisure however I will abstain since I feel that speculation really speaks for itself. — Morder 07:47, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, if everybody speculates then we have nothing but a page full of everyone's speculations - or worse, a page subject to constant over-writing and reversions by people with different and contrary speculations. I don't feel that allowing even some speculation at all, even if it's based on some facts rather than none what-so-ever, is helpful in that regard. Nor encyclopedic. I liked that our Nitpickery guidelines were recently distilled from scattered Forum, Talk: and policy pages and elevated to a full-bore Policy with its own mature page. I'd like to see the same for Speculation, and as long as we were at it, to update the prevailing attitude toward it so that all Speculations of every kind would be treated the same. Can anyone make a good case for excepting some speculation from the ban? --TribbleFurSuit 15:59, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Given that all SF is speculation in the first place, and (as I pointed out above) neither the writers nor Roddenberry himself have ever operated in a cultural or traditional vacuum, I maintain that "origins" speculation has a place MA, and that the appropriate criteria for it (in addition to clarity and brevity, as already stated), should be a) that it be directly relevant to the topic, b) that it should be reasonable, and c) that it should be interesting. The difficulty, of course, is that all three of these requirements are highly subjective.

I would, though, suggest the following thought experiment: It happens that in one of the "Special Features" on the DS9 4th Season DVD set, a writer mentions James Bond in connection with the episode "Our Man Bashir". But suppose that specific mention had never been made on the record: the Bond/60s wild spy thriller connection would still be obvious to any reasonable person, and the detailed discussion of the genre which (quite properly) constitutes the current article on the episode would still be appropriate. Under the rigid interpretations of the guidelines suggested above, nearly all of that article would have to be deleted. (I'm sure there is also some mention in a Companion book, but the point remains.) – CraigG 15:02, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

I haven't read every single line of this discussion. I will say, however, that fan speculation, regardless of how connected to canon it is, does not belong on Memory Alpha... and encyclopedia. There's a reason writers of professional encyclopedias don't speculate on the material: because it's not encyclopedic. Speculation typically springs out of opinion; one person's opinion (and hence, one person's speculation) likely won't match another person's opinion (or speculation). As such, it is not fair to just have one fan's opinionated speculation and not others, nor is it prudent to include everybody's speculation. --From Andoria with Love 19:49, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Wait a minute, which article would have to be deleted? --TribbleFurSuit 00:07, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

"Our Man Bashir". I note that the "background" sections of many episodes contain what can reasonably be regarded as speculation -- e.g. a remark in "His Way" about the origins of the story in Cyrano de Bergerac, even though the essence of the Cyrano story is that Cyrano himself was in love with Roxane, which was clearly not true of Vic and Kira -- but I regard that as harmless, particularly given the universal Internet ethos of each individual evaluating what he finds there on the basis of his own knowledge and reason.– CraigG 18:24, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, you're right about that. But "nearly all of that article"? Not even close. Not even close to close. Not even nearly all of the Background. --TribbleFurSuit 19:33, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I take it back - I was looking at the His Way article. It's true, most of the Our Man Bashir background is uncited apparent O.R. Still, I really thought you were talking about deleting nearly all of some article. --TribbleFurSuit 19:37, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Quite right, I should have specified "background." Sorry. – CraigG 22:01, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

I hate to jump in midstream, but the conversation is so long I can't really catch up so I'll just address my thoughts on the parts I was able to read.
By trying to assign motives to the writers with a comment, you are getting out of bounds. By simply citing a statement, you'd do better.
For example, saying "The writers might have been referencing this novel about a wirehead" -- you're speculating and you are wrong to write it here.
However, if you said "The concept of a xx device in your brain causing xx whatever was originated in the 19XX sci fi novel by Whoever." you are making a concrete statement about the episode theme without trying to ascribe a motivation to the writers.
Does this make sense? -- Captain MKB 19:44, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

It makes perfect sense to me, Cap'n, and I would regard it as an eminently reasonable compromise. But then I'm not the one arguing here for a strict interpretation of the guidelines. Trib? Mordor? Cobra? – CraigG 22:29, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

I personally don't think we should be mentioning where plot elements or concepts might have originated from unless we know for a fact that such material was the inspiration. That's what an encyclopedia does. Otherwise, the episode pages would be loaded down with such references, which seem to mostly be a statement of coincidence unless someone involved in Star Trek has stated that it was their inspiration for XXXX thing.--31dot 00:12, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. We shouldn't mention it unless we know it was intentional. Guess what, concepts from sci-fi are recycled and re-used since the days of Jules Verne and HG Welles. We don't need to note every re-use that we do not know was intentional, or we get bogged down with fairly useless minutia and trivia. --OuroborosCobra talk 01:42, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
"The concept of a ray gun originated in H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds" - that's along the lines of what we talk about in the Essays subject above. It just doesn't belong in the Phaser article, and that is what Mike's compromise would encourage. To me, this isn't about "strict interpretation of the guidelines", though I'm pleased our guidelines are clear enough that the variety of potential interpretations isn't really too broad. The point is that MA has a philosophy, and random connections to realword coincidences, or pages full of every contributor's speculations, aren't it. Happy Thanksgiving! --TribbleFurSuit 05:25, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, I can't disagree with the potential dangers pointed out by my distinguished colleagues above but, in all objectivity, and with full readiness to duck before the inevitable full spread of photon torpedoes, I have to point out that by any reasonable criteria, fairly useless minutia and trivia is the very essence of Memory Alpha. The question is what are appropriate limits given its technical nature. – CraigG 08:25, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

OK, I grant that. But the very essence of MA is not any old minutia and trivia, it's for minutia and trivia that matches the philosophy of the project. MA is also not for stuff that isn't verifiable or canon minutia and trivia at all. I mean, why not load it up with minutia, trivia, speculation, essays, chitchat and fanfic about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, James Bond and Britney Spears? --TribbleFurSuit 17:30, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Mmmpf. Nobody on this thread anyway has advocated essays, much less fanfic; chitchat we have in the talk and/or forum pages; James Bond we got already (see above), Buffy maybe if a case can be made for relevance, but isn't there some universal law of Internet discourse to the effect that all possibility of rational discussion ends at the first mention of Britney Spears? – CraigG 19:27, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Heh, heh, you're close. --TribbleFurSuit 20:20, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

Memory Alpha is not... Your Talent Agent

What has recently taken place on Evan English, and in the past took place at David Orange I think underscores a policy we've been missing; we should explicitly prohibit real-life people (or there representatives) from making substantive edits to their own pages. At the same time, we should encourage such people to point out any errors or major omissions on the talk page. --- Jaz 06:44, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

I think that we need some sort of policy in this area, but I am unsure if simply banning such people from posting is the best solution. I do think that should not allow the removal of information or the altering of information for someone's personal benefit(as was done on Evan English, where the word "background" was removed by someone claiming to be Mr English). However, if they want to add truthful and accurate information about themselves, I don't see why we should stop them.--31dot 10:11, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
A question- does Wikipedia or other wikis have such a policy?--31dot 10:27, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia doesn't formally ban it, but it is strongly discouraged. Also, the community will tend to impose an embarrassing "Wikipedia Editing Controversy" section to a biography or page for a corporation if self-editing occurs. Like my suggestion, they suggest people give ideas on the talk pages, but leave the editing to others. --- Jaz 03:18, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Well, allowing them to remove information is crucial as long as it's invalid information. We should deal with it like we deal with any editor that makes changes that don't match what is known. Talk to the user and then revert. They should definitely respond to the talk page messages as well so that we can get a dialog going with them. Talking to these people, who were a part of the creation of Star Trek, is a valuable resource for behind the scenes information. Sure some of them might pad their listing but no serious talent scout person would take a community edited wiki seriously. The Evan English example, which I witnessed and reverted a few times could have simply been rewritten (and I think it was in the end) to "uncredited" - which basically means they're a background extra - sure some major stars go uncredited but they're already major stars :) What I would suggest is that we have a policy to encourage the people who worked on Star Trek to contribute here rather than scare them away.Morder 07:15, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
I think a good example of positive contributions by a Trek person to thieir own page is Mike Sussman who is registered as User:Mdsussman, who has edited his own article quite properly. He has also provided worthwhile information on the productions he has worked on. Morder is quite correct that we want to encourage this type of contribution. As to the other side, I don't mind "padding" {removing "background" when they were such) of articles too much, but putting definitely false information should be discouraged. On the Evan English page someone (who I assume was Mr. English or a rep) changed "uncredited" to "credited", which is quite easy to determine the truthfulness of. Maybe we don't need a different policy, but maybe it could be restated with an emphasis on those who edit their own articles.--31dot 18:29, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Items for sale

Upon seeing this forum I'm wondering if we should add "Memory Alpha is not a marketplace" or otherwise state that this isn't the place to advertise things for sale. That's not really part of our mission. 31dot (talk) 14:04, August 18, 2012 (UTC)

I agree. This should be included. Tom (talk) 15:09, August 18, 2012 (UTC)

I would like to formally propose the following wording, which I would like to place after the "not a discussion forum" line:

  • Memory Alpha is not a marketplace. As an encyclopedia, we are not a forum for discussion in the trade or sale of items, even if Star Trek related. Numerous sites are available for that purpose. 31dot (talk) 02:27, August 19, 2012 (UTC)
Community content is available under CC-BY-NC unless otherwise noted.