Hi. I was wondering if there should be a section mentioning that the Borg are amoral (as referenced by Arturis). That is, they are neither treacherous nor benevolent; they will kill only when necessary. Arturis didn't blame the Borg any more than he'd blame a "force of nature". Chakotay also tangentially referenced the amorality of the Borg when he told the story of the scorpion and the fox. He didn't think them capable of acting in a way outside "their (amoral) nature". Even an evil, say, Romulan would act cooperatively if it were in his best interest: The Borg could not. (They couldn't resist trying to assimilate the inconsequential Voyager even when they were losing billions of drones in their 8472 war, despite it being in their better interest to cooperate fully.)
The Borg wouldn't care to seek revenge, torture, or commit other "evil", immoral actions. But neither would they commit moral, "good" actions, such as helping others. They are just amoral.
I think this is not speculation because we have at least one on-screen description of them this way (there may be more that I'm forgetting.)
--Cepstrum 12:20, October 3, 2010 (UTC)
Can we add sections to this article?
The article has become quite long, and, IMO, has several natural section breaks. These include the first paragraph/intro, the Borg's quest for perfection, their quasi-religious view of particle 010 (Omega Particle), Borg Ethics and Morality, Background Notes, and External Link(s).
Can we discuss this here on the talk page instead of undoing my edits and indirectly discussing it via the "history" section of the article? Thanks! --Cepstrum 11:30, October 4, 2010 (UTC)
- At least an introductory paragraph should be placed before any section header, as that is the norm for our articles (and I'm not yet convinced we need the others). Also, "external links" should be off-site links about the same topic, not some "external see also". -- Cid Highwind 15:14, October 4, 2010 (UTC)
The current intro reads
- The philosophy of the Borg Collective can be summarized as a determination to use any methods necessary in order to pursue a perceived state of perfection. Toward this end, the Borg, originating as wholly organic lifeforms, augmented themselves, beginning just after birth, with synthetic systems and organs, allowing them to achieve heights of physical and intellectual capacity undreamed of by most purely biological species.
I think this really needs to be reworded. For example, the phrase "beginning just after birth" is unclear. What it's supposed to mean is that the Borg place their infants in maturation chambers and begin fitting them with cybernetic implants soon after the infants' birth. The current way makes it sound that infant Borglings begin augmenting themselves, which they don't. I have a few problems with some of the other prose as well. I will try to rework it a little and post the results below when finished. If there are not any objections, I'll then make the change (after a delay). --Cepstrum 11:38, October 5, 2010 (UTC)
I would like to replace the original intro above with the following:
- The principal philosophy of the Borg Collective was a drive towards achieving a state of "perfection" for themselves and, in their view, all life. The Borg attempted this chiefly by two means. Their most typical method was augmenting their organic bodies, beginning at birth, with synthetic systems and organs. This allowed them to achieve heights of physical and intellectual capacities far beyond that of most purely biological species.
- Their other method was the assimilation of other lifeforms and technologies to enhance the biological and technological distinctiveness of the Collective. Assimilation could occur on a small, individual scale but often comprised the assimilation of entire species and their worlds. (VOY: "Dark Frontier", "Hope and Fear" et al.) The advantages gained by assimilating alien species and technology was the primary (and perhaps only, see VOY: "Scorpion") method by which the Borg could innovate and evolve: they would then distribute such new benefits and knowledge throughout the Collective via a network of a collective consciousness. Thus, by combining the advantages of myriad species, they sought to bring themselves and the rest of life closer to an integrated, homogeneous, perfected state. A not inconsequential side effect of this was the elimination of the individuality and autonomy of its members ("drones") and thus a fierce resistance to the Borg by all other species.
- While in general the Borg would try to assimilate most or many species, they were in fact highly discriminating with respect to which species they would assimilate: those deemed unfit for enhancing the Borg Collective were either ignored or, if they posed a threat, destroyed. (VOY: "Mortal Coil")
- When summarizing their worldview and its effects in a general terminology, the entity Q described the Borg as "the ultimate users," and their chosen targets for assimilation as things "they can consume." (TNG: "Q Who"); (Star Trek: First Contact)
I'll leave both versions up here in the talk page and replace the intro with the below, revised version. If anyone objects, please let me know why (and of course feel free to revert to the former version.) Even if you don't care for most or all of the changes, I do believe I was able to improve the prose in certain parts. I hope we can at least retain those changes. --Cepstrum 12:17, October 5, 2010 (UTC)
PS I was going to leave both versions up here for a while to let others weigh in, but I'll try to follow advice given to me and just "be bold" and make the change. It can always be reverted easily. And I tried to preserve the original text when possible.
I'm creating this section based on what Archduk3 pointed out was a lack of citations. The above section is more for discussing the actual changes I made to prose, organization, etc., to the intro. Plus, he noted the entire article is bereft of citations. I hope I'm not violating talk page etiquette by doing so!
Here is the moved discussion:
- "This allowed them to achieve heights of physical and intellectual capacities far beyond that of most purely biological species."
- Where does this come from? Pepe Le Pew could out hop a Borg, I would hardly call that the height of physical capacity. Also, the whole "far beyond that of most" line is also suspect, since at best the Borg are just "improving" on what was already there. As for the mental side, I definitely require a cite for that. These problems aren't just limited to that one sentence either. Every single assertion needs a cite, so generally there shouldn't be a paragraph that doesn't end with a cite. That's not to knock just this section either, the entire article is sorely under cited.
- Also, citations should al be in one set of brackets, (Star Trek: First Contact; TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds", "Q Who") instead of (Star Trek: First Contact); (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds", "Q Who"). - Archduk3 12:56, October 5, 2010 (UTC)
- Thanks for the response. I completely agree. In fact, the phrase you noted was in the original, which is why I left it. I actually think it's a little long, but my goal was to improve the text, add links (I added many), and retain as much as what had been there for, AFAIK, a long time.
- Perhaps you could put in "citation needed" tags in places you deem necessary. Then I could either provide the citation or remove the phrase. How's that sound? I think we could make a good collaborative effort to improve if you put the citation needed tags and I then fix them. Are you up for that? If not, I could try doing it by myself, but it would take me much longer (it's hard to edit on the iPod, and I'm not very familiar with MA's citation policy. It'd be a great learning experience for me.
- Best regards,
- --Cepstrum 14:32, October 5, 2010 (UTC)
Note: in the meantime, based on the above comments from Archduk3, I added a "citation(s)-needed" template message. I'm neither sure it was the right thing to do nor if I put it in the proper location. Please edit/remove as necessary. --Cepstrum 14:47, October 5, 2010 (UTC)
Citation still a problem?
I did a massive overhaul, adding links, removing a lot of speculation, rewriting sections. I'm trying to get the "pna-cite" tag removed. What do you think? --Cepstrum 15:59, October 11, 2010 (UTC)
- I removed it as the citations as a whole look OK. If anyone objects to particular statements they can mention it here or add a Citation needed tag.– Cleanse ( talk | contribs ) 03:16, October 12, 2010 (UTC)
Does this belong?
The following quote etc. from Q was left in from a much earlier version. I didn't see quite how it fits or its relevance, so I added background comments after it. I'm not sure either belong. Thoughts? Here it is:
When summarizing their worldview and its effects in a general terminology, the entity Q described the Borg as "the ultimate users," and their chosen targets for assimilation as things "they can consume." (TNG: "Q Who"); (Star Trek: First Contact)
Should we just remove all of it? Is it necessary?
--Cepstrum 14:59, October 12, 2010 (UTC)
For the Cause
- "Why is the Federation so obsessed about the Maquis? We've never harmed you, and yet we're constantly arrested and charged with terrorism. Starships chase us through the Badlands and our supporters are harassed and ridiculed. Why? Because we've left the Federation, and that's the one thing you can't accept. Nobody leaves paradise. Everyone should want to be in the Federation. Hell, you even want the Cardassians to join. You're only sending them replicators because one day they can take their rightful place on the Federation Council. You know, in some ways you're worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You're more insidious. You assimilate people and they don't even know it."
I realize that much of this concerns the Maquis, but hopefully the Borg material can be used here(?) I'd include the info myself, if I was sure how to phrase it! --Defiant 01:18, October 13, 2010 (UTC)
- Good catch, Defiant! I'd be happy to try to work that in. I was going to hold off editing the article for a day or two, just to give you et al. the chance to correct my stuff, add your own stuff, and to avoid the appearance of an "edit war". If you'd like to incorporate it, go ahead. Otherwise, let me know if you don't mind me trying in a day or two.
- Also, I wanted to change back just one of the many (helpful) edits you made. You changed the clarifying parenthetical state following Arturis's mention from "that is..." to "that was...". I believe the former is correct. Initially I'd put "ie" but decided to spell it out. It needs to read "that is" because it's a clarifying statement, not a past-tense POV thing. But I didn't want to immediately go in and change it (for obvious reasons).
- Plus, I'm an exclusive mobile user and am tied up trying to make CSS adjustments to the mobile skin. I don't know CSS, so when I change one portion to get a part of MA readable, I find then I've made another part unreadable! (right now I cannot really see the revision logs. So if you'd rather take over editing the article, feel free; I can go back to experimenting with CSS. Otherwise, I'll put an "in use" tag on it, edit it offline, and try to incorporate the very salient Eddington quote etc you noted. We need more than just a bunch of VOY references: a DS9 reference would be nice (I just happen to be most familiar with VOY). That way we'd have refs from TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT, and FC. Cool! Let me know what you'd prefer. --Cepstrum 12:48, October 13, 2010 (UTC)
Finally added Eddington section
Defiant (et al.),
I added a section in the background wherein I tried to incorporate your good point about Michael Eddington's rather unfavorable comparison of the UFP's philosophy of "assimilating to that of the Borg.
I hope it's satisfactory! --Cepstrum 00:34, October 15, 2010 (UTC)
Arturis and "ie"/"that is"/"that was"
I changed the Arturis reference to past tense, because the article about him reads "Arturis is presumed to have been assimilated" - i.e., he did exist but likely does no longer. Furthermore, the stated opinion was his, during his encounter with Voyager; even if he survived after the events of that episode, he may have revised his opinion. Therefore, it seems to make more sense for it to read "that was" rather than "that is". --Defiant 09:02, October 14, 2010 (UTC)
- I see your point, though I just happen to disagree. ^_^ I think it's an idiomatic expression without respect to tense; the "destroyed" makes it clear it was in the past. The "that is" just explains that, to him, his people were destroyed (past tense).
- How about this for a compromise (it's how I had originally worded it):
- (that is, destroyed),
- or better yet,
- (that is, "destroyed")?
- That way we remove a direct reference to his POV. Instead, it just clarifies – to the reader – that the mass assimilation of his people was essentially equivalent to their destruction. That was the reason I put it in there in the first place: to inform the reader that the assimilation of a species was really no different from their destruction (except, perhaps, from the POV of the Borg!). The phrase is complete without the parenthetical statement and I believe saying it either way,
- (that is/was, to him, destroyed),
- is too cumbersome. Furthermore, "that was" as a "past tense" of the device "ie/that is" is not used (or very seldom used) in English and is unclear. I'd prefer just a simple,
- (that is, destroyed).
- Or even reword it entirely to note just a few tens of thousands survived and let the reader draw the obvious conclusion instead of explicitly stating it. That might be best.
- What do you think?
- Regards! --Cepstrum 14:59, October 14, 2010 (UTC)
- PS: please let me know if you want me to try working the DS9/Eddington reference comparing the UFP to the Borg. If so, I'll put an "in-use" tag on it, add it offline, and release it sometime soon (I hope!)
Defiant (et al.),
I changed the text in contention to this:
- (in essence, wiped out)
How does that sound? I think it solves my issue of using "that was" instead of "ie/that is" while also ensuring that a past tense POV is unmistakably preserved. You agree? (Not trying to say you should or have to, just hoping it's something that satisfies all. Feel free to improve it, of course!)
--Cepstrum 01:26, October 15, 2010 (UTC)
- Personally, I like this method best. Good work, Cepstrum! :) --Defiant 07:10, October 15, 2010 (UTC)
Few, what a relief! Thanks a lot for the positive feedback, Defiant. I need it. In fact, this represents my first "success" in coming to a solution on an article via dialogue on a talk page, which is something I've been very anxious to do! (I've only just begun making real additions/edits to a couple articles.)
Defiant, you've made my day! I'm always thinking poorly of myself and edits; you have no idea what a nice statement like yours means to me. ^_^
I hope we (et al.) continue to have productive dialogue here to get this in good shape. I'd really like to polish this (admittedly obscure and low-importance) article up to a high standard.
I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback on my addition of Eddington's UFP-Borg philosophy comparison, as per your excellent suggestion, which has allowed the article to have references to all four Borg-containing series, as well as FC. (Please see the section I added about it on the article and on this talk page.) --Cepstrum 12:29, October 15, 2010 (UTC)
It seems I managed to get this article into the very select club of "articles with cramped references" category. Apparently this automatically occurs when there is a line containing five or more references. By my count, this occurs twice. I can try to rectify this, but if someone can beat me to it or think s/he can do a more efficient job than I (after all, it was I who got the article this dubious distinction), then please feel free to "be bold" ^_^
Actually, I'm not sure why having five or six references warrants such a penalty. It must be something I missed in the guidelines. Hmm. Oh well: I want this article to succeed, so I or someone will have to pare down those refs. I've been editing it a lot recently, so I think I'll hold off to avoid the appearance of impropriety – I don't want to give the impression that I "own" the article! I should give others a chance to alter things. If, however, after a reasonable time has lapsed and it still needs fixing, I'll jump back in.
--Cepstrum 02:04, October 15, 2010 (UTC)
Resolving newly-added inline "citation needed" tag in Transhumanism section
Cleanse added an inline "citation needed" tag in the "Parallels to Transhumanism" section. It's probably the correct thing to do – I'm not sure. The section and most of its text was already present by the time I came along to drastically revamp the article.
I'd be happy to fix this problem, but it's difficult for me to do so: I am unsure precisely what the point of contention is/what needs a citation. I hope someone, such as Cleanse, can clarify for me.
--Cepstrum 14:58, October 21, 2010 (UTC) PS I'm concerned about this because I really want to get this article in decent shape.
- A proper citation would be a reference to some interview, Making-Of feature etc. where someone who actually was in charge of developing the Borg states something along the lines of "Yes, we were basing the Borg on Transhumanist philosophies!". If such citation can not be provided, we could perhaps still allude to Transhumanism by having an external link, but should not present it as if that really was the thought process that had been going on. -- Cid Highwind 15:19, October 21, 2010 (UTC)
- To answer the questions on my talk page:
- I was thinking pretty much what Cid said. Without a citation, this is speculation and original research.
- The incite covers both sentences. If a citation cannot be found both should be removed.
- If you hover your mouse over an incite tag (or look at it in edit mode), there (may) be a comment stating what is required. This is a more recent feature, but most tags I add (like this one) have such a comment.
- There we go; I found a citation. In Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 179, Melinda Snodgrass states "The Borg are in many ways Maurice Hurley's. It was his script and he was coping with creating this new villain. We kicked around a lot of different ideas and I realized that what we were really kind of describing was cyberpunk, so I talked a bit about that movement in science fiction, the idea of augmenting humanity."
Cool, Cleanse; great sleuthing! I was going to weigh-in again before you did this, but I think there's really only one remaining issue/question for me: AFAIK, "Transhumanism" did not exist as an explicit philosophy per se back when Hurley created the Borg. I'm "afraid" we might be guilty of employing an anachronistic analogy. Certainly now/today the Borg's philosophy has some commonalities with Transhumanism, but I highly doubt Hurley had Transhumanism in mind when he created the Borg.
And initially, IIRC, Hurley et al. had wanted the Borg to be a more insectisoidal-type race but had to eschew that because of budget reasons (reading about how hastily and haphazardly the first Borg were designed is quite interesting, especially compared to their change in appearance in FC and VOY.). One big difference is the idea of the "hive mind", though it's often referred to as a "collective consciousness", which is clearly analogous to Transhumanism gone awry (ie, our networked minds losing autonomy and rendering us "drones" designed to serve an out-of-control AI).
So how do you think we should handle this? Maybe it's not a problem at all (I'm not sure it is.). But I do believe Transhumanism was not technically on Hurley's mind. Then again, the Borg evolved over the course of Trek and were around towards the inchoate stages of Transhumanist philosophy. Should we at least insert a line noting the Borg concept anticipated Transhumanism (in only some ways, of course!)?
Thanks again, Cleanse. I'm excited about getting this article in decent shape. It's my first attempt to help do so, and thanks to you and some other great admins (Sulfur, Defiant, Cid), I believe (or hope) I'm learning to become a positive MA contributor through this.
Best regards, --Cepstrum 13:19, October 22, 2010 (UTC) PS I'm sorry I couldn't see your first citation-needed explanation: I'm forced to use a mobile device, so I have no mouse that can "hover" over the tag to reveal anything. *_*
Oops: sorry, Cleanse! After carefully reading your new text, I see you'd largely addressed the concerns I noted above. There is still the issue of whether Transhumanism deserves a mention in the context of the genesis of the Borg's creation. Also, I think it would be good and look "cleaner" if we made your notes under a sub-section (possibly on initial impetus and concepts that generated the Borg and their philosophy) to separate it from the text that immediately follows it. I also think we should swap the order of the last two paragraphs. I think ending with a brief sub-section that contains your text would improve the prose – it seems like a fitting conclusion to the Borg's philosophy. As it is, the very last paragraph seems a little out-of-place, especially considering your text is a big departure from the rest of the article as it shifts to discussing production notes and real-world parallels.
Would you (or anyone) object to such a move and sub-section creation? I'll "be bold" and do it myself, but not until I've given others a chance/time to object (and you can always revert it!). --Cepstrum 13:33, October 22, 2010 (UTC)
- To address your concerns:
- Note that it was Melinda Snodgrass who stated that she brought up that "movement in science fiction, the idea of augmenting humanity". While Hurley might not have thought of it in the first place, Snodgrass suggests it was brought to his attention in discussions among the writing staff.
- I don't know much about the history of transhumanism, but according to Wikipedia it existed and had a name prior to 1989. Maybe it wasn't well-known generally, but it was certainly present in the cyberpunk genre of sci-fi Snodgrass cites. If you're really concerned about this point we could quote Snodgrass directly.
- There's nothing inconsistent with being inspired by both insects and cyberpunk/"augmenting humanity" (according to Snodgrass they considered many ideas); the writers were most concerned with making a cool villain, and it seems to me they wanted to combine several different philosophies to achieve that goal.
- Sub-sections aren't really unnecessary in a background section that is only a few paragraphs. I like to keep statements that have citations above more observational/continuity notes. It's also a bit of a chronological conceit - the note I wrote discusses the creation of the Borg, whereas the other one discusses an inconsistency that arose later.
- Background sections are meant to be a "big departure" from the rest of the article - they're real-world while the rest is in-universe.
- Sorry, I was unaware the incite hover text didn't work on mobiles.
- You don't have to put my or anyone else's name in bold. :-)
Consider me mollified! I appreciate your thorough, point-by-point arguments. I'll weigh in:
- I think it'd be best not to mention the genesis of the Borg (insectoids-turned-humanoid for budget reasons) – that belongs in a Borg article, not a Borg philosophy one.
- I really wish we could put in sub-section headings to both make it look more organized and clearer to the reader (and for future expansion). But that's just my own preference; you're doubtless correct given your experience. I defer to your judgment. :)
- I think we should add the antecedent adjective "dystopian" before "cyberpunk". In the 1980s, aside from Trek, it was almost all dystopian (cybernetics, augmentation, and AI) making a mess of things. I think it's clear the Borg reflected that. The external link to cyberpunk will make that clear, but it saves the reader trouble if we preface it with "dystopian", IMO.
- I think we must excise the word "restlessness". I've no idea what that could mean, and it wasn't in the quote you cited from Snodgrass.
- I still disagree with putting the Transhumanism paragraph before the final stuff, but again, that's just my personal preference: I have no doubt you are right in keeping the order (after all, this is really just the second article I've been involved in, and you're a veteran admin!)
- You didn't mention this, but I like how you removed extraneous discussion of Transhumanism vis-á-vis Borg assimilation-through-force. I highly doubt anyone would confuse the two and think the Transhumanists are going to start assimilating people against their will (though many are either skeptical from a scientific POV or simply afraid of Transhumanism, similar to how some are afraid of RFIDs, vaccines, fluoridation, etc.)
- Because Transhumanism per se wasn't referred to, and I highly doubt it was explicitly known to those folks (especially its more modern and common position since the computer/Internet revolution in the 1990s), could we instead say something like, "...dystopian cyberpunk and, indirectly, Transhumanist philosophy." ???
- I have read a lot more background material on the creation of the Borg, such as from the artists responsible for creating the Borg design and who talked about Hurly's ideas. I could probably dig up some quotes from interviews, but that'd take time and likely not be worth it. Thoughts?
- About the "hovering" thing; that's funny. I'm having enough trouble customizing my mobile CSS (I don't know CSS markup), and for quite a while Wikia's constant changes made even reading MA essentially impossible. Things are improving now. I must use an iPod touch because of multiple life-threatening health issues that keep me in bed. I was rushed to the ER last Friday but got discharged a couple days ago. I'm facing a very long struggle with debilitating, life-threatening conditions. I wish I could use a real computer. (Editing on an iPod is a huge and laborious chore.)
- I won't bold your name anymore if it causes offense; I was actually doing it out of politeness in an attempt to highlight your importance as a person instead of just a word. On the TrekBBS, they usually do that. It also helps make it clearer which users I'm addressing. But I'll stop! Sorry.
I look forward to hearing your feedback on the few questions and things I'd like to change/add.
But I must reiterate: very cool job transforming a section I never really liked. (I retained it from the version of the article before I began my massive revamp attempt.)
I would like to continue improving the article, but there's just one remaining pressing issue: getting it out of ignominious "cramped references" category.
Best regards, --Cepstrum 12:50, October 23, 2010 (UTC)
What in the world does this mean?!
I'm really wanting to make this a good article (not so presumptuous to be a FA or even literal GA, just decent). I rewrote quite a bit, and several others (Sulfur, Defiant, Cleanse – sorry if I'm forgetting anyone) have made big improvements after my initial work. Anyway, there is this "leftover" quote that existed before I started working on the article. I didn't remove it, for I assumed it must be in there for a good reason. I did add a background statement immediately after that obliquely expressed my puzzlement. But now I'm questioning whether it belongs at all. I have NO idea what it means, its purpose, or relevance to the article. Can someone either explain why it's useful or support my inclination to remove/rewrite it? Here it is:
- When summarizing their worldview and its effects in a general terminology, the entity Q described the Borg as "the ultimate users," and their chosen targets for assimilation as things "they can consume." (TNG: "Q Who"; Star Trek: First Contact)