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Ten Forward"Real World" articles (Reply | Watch)

User:Servo has been adding a lot of articles on real world subjects, some seem entirely within our scope, others seem to have extremely tenuous links to anything in star trek at all. Servo's contributions can be found here. So where do we draw the line, one article links to another and another and you soon loose the star trek connection but it is linked from something that is? -- 8of5 17:53, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't have a ready answer for that. Until one becomes apparent, I think we'll just have to continue judging on a case-by-case basis.--Emperorkalan 21:27, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Fairy-nuff I was a bit lazy there, all from servo, some have some weak linkage to star trek via being in the temporal montage in Storm Front, but nothing much to do with he material we cover:

--8of5 21:58, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

I seem to remember that Saddam was mentioned in the second Eugenics War book, but a quick look through only found a mention in the "real-world" section at the back when Greg Cox was connecting the EW events to real world events, and Saddam was only used as an example. --Turtletrekker 23:39, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Of those, most really don't really add anything more than what's at Memory Alpha nor anything particular to licensed works. I'd keep Carthage, since there's no MemAlph page, and there's a connection to a ship named in a TLE book.--Emperorkalan 01:55, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Can we please add George W. Bush to the list? Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan would be legit because of the Eugencis Wars books, but not W. --Turtletrekker 04:52, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the W. article is in the same boat as the Saddam Hussein and Tony Blair articles, and should be removed as well (unless someone comes along with a pursasive counterargument).--Emperorkalan 05:33, 3 January 2007 (UTC)


To be fair, I think that, at the very least, Bush and Hussein -- and let's be generous and say Tony Blair, too -- get to stay because of "Make Believe" in Constellations. I'm inclined to argue that Hinduism ought to stay as well, because Trek novels have been dealing with real-world religions more and more lately, and Hinduism is certainly an important one.

I've included articles with tenuous links to Trek, myself; when working on the "EarthNations" template, I honestly thought that if we're going to include the United Nations and the New United Nations, it would be important to also include the League of Nations, even though that organization was never mentioned in any Trek film, ep, or novel to my knowledge -- because it's an essential fact to understanding the real historical situation.

I can understand wanting to make sure that our entries are relevant to Trek lit, but let's not turn into a new Memory Alpha with overly-strict policies, either, eh? -- Sci 09:08 3 JAN 2006 UTC

I understand your concerns, I'm just worried we are getting a lot of real world stuff which is largely irrelevant. If some real world thing is actually mentioned then by all means we should have an article, but it should really only be relating the how it was mentioned with a minimal necessary real world explanation and a link to its wikipedia article. For instance the George W. Bush article, take a look at Memory Alpha's, much more concise and relevant to its source material. I've not read “Make Believe” yet, if he's mentioned there then sure we should keep the article, but eliminate anything that isn't relevant.
On your League of Nations article, I hadn't noticed before, but yes I'd feel the same about that, it's worthy of note in the UN article, being one of those minimal necessary real world facts, but I don't think it should have an article of it's own if it's never been referenced. -- 8of5 21:57, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
See, I think it deserves an article of its own. The set-up of the "EartnNations" template includes a category, "International Organizations," with links to both the UN and New UN articles; consistency demands that the League of Nations get its own, small and concise, article as well -- Sci 01:31 4 JAN 2006 UTC
but let's not turn into a new Memory Alpha with overly-strict policies, either, eh? ' -- Why the hell not? M-A is a great site, and M-B would be lucky to be able to present itself at least half as professionally as they do. I don't see what is "overly strict" about keeping this wiki focused on its supposed purpose. --Seventy 01:01, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't think we should be so quick to imitate M-A in all things. Yes, it's a good site with regards to information -- but it's also a site that has arbitrary standards of what they will or will not accept which are rather ruthlessly enforced. ("Oh, sure, we'll include TAS, and we'll count every single obviously-an-in-joke-and/or-error-ridden detail from an Okudagram, but how dare someone include information from a novel!?!") It's also become a very unpleasant wiki -- one of the issues that the M-A admins are confronting right now is the strong tendency on the part of a small but very notable subset of its contributors to behave in a very elitist, negative manner towards newbies. I want Memory Beta to be more accepting of information, and to be a nicer community than Memory Alpha. -- Sci 01:34 4 JAN 2006 UTC
Why should we be "more accepting of information"? Why do we need a M-B article on Tony Blair, or the League of Nations, or Walla Walla, Washington or the history of the spork if none of these have ever been mentioned in a Trek novel? And, not to point any fingers (since they could just as easily be pointed at me), but it speaks volumes when someone in this discussion suggests Saddam Hussein might be a legitimate topic via the story "Make-Believe", but our article for the story does not list any references. We can be as "nice" to newbies as we like, but this is the kind of thing that's going to make visitors turn around and not bother coming back. --Seventy 03:07, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
I strongly disagree; we should be more accepting of information because we're more likely to attract contributors. One of the things that alienated me from M-A was how unaccepting of information it could be in some areas (while being far too accepting of it in areas that were patently illogical, such as taking every single Okudagram as being a literal part of the canon). Also, a liberal policy towards accepting info is good because it also helps provide background to a given novel or story. "Make-Believe," for instance, works better if you're aware of the basic geopolitical background to the Iraq War, which that story deals with quite poignantly; why not have a brief article on Saddam Hussein, explaining the basics of the Iraq War, when you have a Star Trek story about a soldier in that war? -- Sci 03:59 4 JAN 2006 UTC
You mean, like a "common sense" version of M-A? That would be terrific! I've had edits (that seemed quite sensible to me) reverted over there because of the aforesaid "over strictness". ⇔ ChristTrekker 20:37, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
We are by our purpose more accepting than Memory Alpha, we accept data from any licensed source. I don't see why that means we should start adding content for any willy nilly information we might have a personnel interest in. If a subject doesn’t have a reference in any of the hundreds, if not thousands of episodes, novels and comics we have to work from then it shouldn't be here. We routinely link to wikipedia pages and other relevant websites, if you want to know more about the UN, the Iraq war, etc there is plenty of information directly accessible from this site if it’s relevant.
Why not have an article about Hussein? Because if he isn’t referenced in a work we cover why should we? A page on the Iraq war needn’t be more than: “The Iraq war was a conflict on the planet Earth in the 21st century. <insert relevant references from Star Trek fiction here>.” If “Make-Believe” details the war more thoroughly or relies on general knowledge to explain it, then sure explain it more, if not leave it wikipedia, or waropedia, or politipedia, it’s not what this place is for. -- 8of5 06:27, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm. Perhaps we should phrase the question this way: Does having these pages (assuming they are like the examples above: brief, no images, heres-where-it-was-mentioned-here's-an-outside-link-for-more type pages) consume more time and resources than arguing about whether we should have them? Are we up against some sort of hard constraint here?--Emperorkalan 12:35, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes it takes time, but we should have some sort of quality and relevance control. Put it like this maybe, we don't accept fanon information, it's outside our scope and fills articles up will irrelevance, I see unnecessary real world set up to do just the same. There are other places to look for the real world info, I want to come here and find out about Star Trek. The recent article on the V-2 Rocket, has a justifiable Star Trek link, but half the article is filled with the history the rocket which we needn't know to understand the Star Trek references. I think when we have whole paragraphs sourced by Historical accounts we have to much real world info. -- 8of5 00:00, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Here's my take on the subject... that is, if you're willing to consider something from an overly-rulebound MA person. :) Put simply, valid sources for MA articles are anything shown on screen, with a few exceptions. That's why we end up with articles on obscure (and often tongue-in-cheek) bits of information gleaned from okudagrams, dedication plaques, wall signs, and other various props. If you don't include that information, though, who decides what the writers and directors meant to be seen (and is therefor canon) versus what wasn't intended to be seen? It's easy to say that something was intended to be a joke, and some information obviously was, but different people have different ideas about what is or isn't a joke reference. How about a magazine cover that contains character names as well as real-life names of people obviously put there as a joke or an homage, like the artist's daughter's names, for instance? Do you include the characters but exclude the rest?

There have been arguments about whether or not to include information from deleted scenes, or from scripted information that didn't make it to the screen, or other sources, but everything eventually falls back to whether or not it was seen on screen. It seems to me that MB has a very similar charter, but with a much wider range of acceptable sources: all licensed materials, encompassing not only the TV episodes and films, but reference books, comics, novels, RPGs, and any other printed source. But having said that, if you want to present an authoritative, professional reference to all things in licensed Trek, no more, no less, I don't see how you can avoid have most of the same rules as MA (modified to include the wider scope, of course). If not, where do you draw the line as to what's allowable and what's not? If you look at many of the articles on MA about real world topics in the Trek universe, you'll see perhaps a line or two establishing context (which frequently wasn't stated on screen; we're just assuming, unless proven otherwise, that Saddam Hussein in the Trek universe played a similar role to that in our continuity) and then the information (often scant) that was presented on that topic on screen. We don't use information from real life, such as birth/death dates, unless it was somehow presented on screen, either in dialog or a visual. We do however present the reader with a link to a Wikipedia article on that topic, and to the corresponding MB topic, if it exists, and often to one or more other sites that we think might be informative to the reader. I think that's more or less what 8of5 is saying above. Some of the folks above, such as Sci or ChristTrekker, view MA as overly rule bound, and it certainly often seems that way. How else do you establish the boundaries as to what is acceptable and what's not when your dealing with a community of hundreds, if not thousands, of editors, all with their own unique take on things? Many times we've been confronted with situations where someone puts something in an article, and someone else says we can't accept that, and the author says "Show me in the policies and procedures where it says I can't do that"... and then we end up with another rule, or a revision of an existing one. If you're the only person writing an article, then you have your own internal rules for maintaining consistency, whether or not they're written down. You can't rely on that when you have a community working on every article.

I agree with a policy of being nice to *everyone* (not just newbies, but they *do* often need a little TLC), but being nice, being polite, giving constructive, helpful criticism and guidance doesn't mean accepting anything anyone wants to write. -- Renegade54 22:22, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

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