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Memory Beta, non-canon Star Trek Wiki
Memory Beta, non-canon Star Trek Wiki
Ten ForwardPlan for branching divergences between STO and Destiny (Reply | Watch)

This forum is being started to discuss a plan for branching divergences between STO and Destiny articles, because of the negative feedback MB has received on TrekBBS.

As another user noted, TrekBBS is not a proper place to discuss MB policy. As an aside, Wikia has also been notified, as TrekBBS is also not a proper place to plan grudges, vandalism, or personal attacks against MB admins.

So we are here.

I'd like to suggest a continuation of the "one Trek universe" policy, with a branching exception for articles describing persons, places, things and events taking place after the Destiny-era events, loosely defined as approximately 2380 in the standard timeline. This would not affect any articles except those noted from an in-universe POV as being an alternate timeline. Basically, everything in the Trek universe would emain articled as is, except for the JJ Abrams alternate reality, the mirror universe(s), and the diverged post-2380 eras.

I know that many favor a complete fracture of universal structure to support multiple character interpretations, but I strongly believe in maintaining unified structure in all cases that do not contradict canon.

Basically, some articles as affected now:

  • Kathryn Janeway - stays as is, but ends at approximately 2380
    • Kathryn Janeway (STO) - describes janeways life after 2380 in the STO timeline
    • Kathryn Janeway (Destiny) - describes janeway's Destiny fate
    • Kathryn Janeway (mirror) - mirror Janeway, but with multiple variations in subsections chronologically based on separate mirror continuities
  • This may or may not include transcluding prime-Janeways's history into her two divergences....

Now, I know that many favor more changes, but I feel that massive changes to things from before the divergence will not be a good use of data - there just aren't that many cases of things that are actively contradictory except for these divergences that occurred mainly because different licensees are taking different directions in the absence of continuation by canon.

Hopefully, we can discuss this here based on the facts of what this will mean to the wiki rather than going around in circles on disconnected talk pages. -- Captain MKB 08:54, February 17, 2011 (UTC)

I'm new to posting here, so forgive any formatting issues. I'm not sure that a "One Trek Universe" policy makes much sense on the whole for something with the breadth that is "Star Trek". There are numerous examples of multiple universes, timelines, and continuities within what most would call established canon (The various TV Series and Films)

Why not just break everything down by where the information came from?

If this info about Janeway came from a Videogame place that info under the Videogame Section and then specifically which game under its own sub-section.

If that info about Spock comes from a comic book from Marvel but another tidbit comes from a comic published by IDW, why not keep all the info in the "Comic Section" and then separate it into sub-sections for Marvel Comics, IDW Comics, etc.

One of the main reasons I used memory beta so much when I started reading the DS9 Relaunch and then later discovered the comic books, was that I wanted to see how certain stories I was reading might connect and overlap and yes even possibly sync up occasionally.

Memory Beta always felt to me like a great resource which could help me in constructing my own 'personal' Star Trek Universe based on a multitude of information from a myriad of sources and mediums, but by putting forth the "One Universe" model, I don't really see how Memory Beta is as much a tool to be utilized as it instead becomes its own thing, preestablished and not to be contradicted. Technobuilder 19:53, February 17, 2011 (UTC)

Our existing policy, which adheres to the "one universe" model also allows for contradiction when it exists. The reason I have always supported maintaining this system is because the vast majority of the time there are not contradictions. All the tie-in media is designed to complement the main canon universe, and for the most part works together well because of that central core; comic A, novel D, and video game H can all work in perfect harmony, and just because a minority of other sources do not work together doesn't mean that most cannot.
Why make a comic section, a novel section, a whatever section, and force the cohesive Star Trek universe apart when instead you can have all that information feeding into a single article that gives a well-rounded fleshed out description of any given subject.
The minority of times there are contractions, we have systems in place to detail information from both conflicting sources, and those systems stipulate that there should be no bias. I don't see what is wrong with that, or how that could lead to Memory Beta crafting its own narrative.
re: Mike;s idea to make separate articles for versions of characters in the STO and Destiny timelines. I would rather not see that. At the moment, and likely for at least the next few years these divergent histories are mainly a minority of a character's history towards the end; I think that can be comfortably accommodated into a single article. Take Donatra for instance, a good example of a character with a significant one universe backstory which forks towards the end of her history (also a good example of how we deal with other conflicting sources before the more major split), I think that article works very well as is. --8of5 20:46, February 17, 2011 (UTC)
As a participant in the initial STO discussion that led us to this policy, I have to say that I primarily agree here with 8of5 -- the character can remain focused in their one page and then have two subsections for this divergence. My first preference has been to maintaining current status quo as previosuly ratified. The plan presented here is very much a concession to the elements who want to challenge me personally for my enforcement of this policy, and was very much added under a bit of duress. -- Captain MKB 21:43, February 17, 2011 (UTC)
I don't think I was around while the original STO discussion was going on, so I'm not completely up-to-date on the discussion and outcomes of said discussion. However, looking over the possible suggestions, I agree that 8of5's suggestion would be the best way forward and taking the communities concerns into it. --The Doctor 23:38, February 17, 2011 (UTC)

In brief: It was a big issue for a while because the two timelines were existing side by side without explanation. Then at about the same time a novel and a magazine article handily came along and labelled them as two timelines (in-universe), and thus it made it easy for us to apply our usual treatment for alternate timelines, and just treat them as two separate realities. Rather than having to worry about compatibility issues of conflicting continuities (real world). --8of5 23:54, February 17, 2011 (UTC)

Aha, thanks 8, thank god for that article! While I'm not so much worried about the STO stuff on a personal level, as I've never played the game and never read the book, so I'm unlucky to contribute such a novel. My concern would be with stuff set in different novel continuities, notably the Crucible trilogy. Taking McCoy for example, would every snippet of information from his life prior to the trilogy be in the "bulk" of the article, and then stuff after the "divergence" be included in a Crucible section? --The Doctor 23:58, February 17, 2011 (UTC)

I've not read Crucible to be familiar with the level of divergence there, but that sounds about right. I think there are two basic rules: If there's no contradiction, there's nothing to point out (for instance with the Destiny/STO thing, if a character has only been given a story in one timeline so far, then it's a straight linear progression for them, they don’t need to be labelled as entering one or the other, as they’re only in one (so far)). And, all sources are equal, except canon which trumps all; All the non-canon stuff exists to compliment canon stories, and they are no more correct than any other.

I think when we decide two continuities are incompatible we have to be very careful not to over-separate them. Baring in mind that just because Book A and Book B don’t fit together doesn’t mean Book A doesn’t get along just fine with Book C. If we make Book A and island all the time it starts to feel separate from everything else, when really it’s connected to lots of it, just not Book B. What we also need to remember is we can always use talk pages to discuss the particular application of such judgements. --8of5 00:10, February 18, 2011 (UTC)

That's great, thanks. I'll certainly use the talk pages if I find myself being tied in knots :D. --The Doctor 00:21, February 18, 2011 (UTC)

To summarize another format here, Doctor, read on -- and also at the end of this comment I suggest a plan:
Crucible was discussed as a matter of 'contradiction where no alternate timeline exists' -- quite simply, there was no reason (no time-traveling Romulans, etc.) for it to be a 'timeline' -- the characters just had different histories. At the time written, it was consistent with canon but inconsistent with other licensed Trek, but now it contradicts both other sources and canon in that Kirk's parents are different, etc. in the backstory.
There is a confusing factor in that there is also alternate reality involved -- it describes the evolution of McCoy's time in the altered timeline where Kirk and Spock never retrieved him from history,etc -- but the timeline change(s) doesn't explain the contradictions, its an unrelated factor. It's not like Kirk's childhood/parents were different because someone changed history. it was different because the writer chose to disregard other licensed sources.
Discussions involving this led to a edit procedure of regarding 'canon' above things like this. In cases where a licensed source contradicted canon, we would start with the canon source as the backbone of the article, incorporating in all licensed sources the reference the subject, and marking with background-note material stating that the source didn't agree with the canon. I prefer to do so in a separate subsection with an in-POV name wherever possible. Some prefer to put the name of the source as the subsection name, and I've cautioned against breaking POV like that, but in some cases it seemed unavoidable
For example, An article would list the canon and licensed history, perhaps as an 'introduction', followed by 'childhood history' and then perhaps have a subsection that describes the unexplained contradiction, then a background note that explains that the differences are not in keeping with canon -- but then the next subsection would go back to describing the canon-agreed/licensed history.
Perhaps the ruckus has been from a simple need -- to adjust/mark these subsections with a sidebar template clarifying the source, or make the background note formatting more intense, perhaps outline the section with a style code so that these can exist as little "boxes of alternate history" interspersed through the article - clearly identifiable by a border or background to pacify those who argue so strenuously against alternate history remaining in the article. Would anyone support this as a new plan? -- Captain MKB 00:35, February 18, 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying about Crucible, Mike. I've only just started reading again for the first time since 2006 and already spotted the contradictions such as the destruction of the Guardian, his death etc. With regards to "alternate history" boxes, that sounds like a really great idea. I've seen a similar thing done on some websites (not wikis though) which has a red border and a different color background in this box which makes it stand out. Great suggestion. :) --The Doctor 00:42, February 18, 2011 (UTC)

I like your backbone description Mike, that's a good way to explain it. I think that is more or less what I just did in reformatting the Terran Empire article. The backbone there is the episode "Mirror, Mirror", with other canon taking precedence but several other alternate continuities also existing. (The MU is probably some of the most complex continuity issues we have) These are examples where, as what you are describing in Crucible, these different stories simply cannot get a long, so have to be separated. But that's more often not the case, take Borg Incursion of 2366-2367, many sources from many media, and not a single contradiction!

Alternate history boxes sound kind of confusing to me... --8of5 00:49, February 18, 2011 (UTC)

I can't speak for anyone else, but I for one like the idea of "alternate history boxes." I think it nicely solves the problem of delineating when information comes from conflicting continuities, and it avoids the need to develop an entirely new article for a subject for each continuity. -- Sci 00:53 18 FEB 2011 UTC

I don't understand how putting something in a box makes it any clearer than the current systems in place on articles such as Borg history (for the multiple origin stories), Christopher Pike (for the different childhoods), or Terran Empire (for the many different elements of history)? --8of5 01:01, February 18, 2011 (UTC)

Here's the thing -- the people editing the articles are strenuously advocating a way to mark such things as divergences and contradiction. One of the most disruptive parts I find is the "moving to the bottom" approach. Sometimes you end up with more 'at the bottom' than you do 'at the top' and the article doesn't read well -- my main concern in trying to approach these articles that are being distorted by such moves. Historical narrations in articles are divided into subsections when lengthy, anyway, and delineating them without moving them would be a fix that could maintain the users' desire to mark things without disrupting the chronological order I find it important to maintain.
I'd like to identify possible confusion points then, 8of5, to find out how to alleviate problems with applying this -- I think with a number of supporters it could become a standard. But I definitely want to make it as approachable as possible, if just to avoid newbie mistakes in coding it. Perhaps a template, similar to a citation, that could be placed at the beginning of the subsection, and would isolate the section with a shade of gray (for example) as backdrop and perhaps a small (one or two line) box in the upper right corner of the subsection. As long as the code worked with a one (or two) tag system of templates, we would just need to identify material appropriate for such subsectioning. This would require a way of weeding out misconceptions and mistakes (non-alternate continuities) that shouldn't use the modification. -- Captain MKB 01:09, February 18, 2011 (UTC)

Well the examples I gave are all one where stuff isn't shifted to the bottom. What are we actually suggesting here? On the Borg history one for example would the entire origins section be in these boxes? On the Terran Empire article pretty much everything on the page?? --8of5 01:14, February 18, 2011 (UTC)

I suppose in cases like that there would be a
  • subsection start ('early history')
  • description of canon knowledge (unboxed)
    • subsubsection (boxed, perhaps headered as "-name of contradicting source A-"
    • subsubsection (boxed, perhaps headered as "-name of contradicting source B-"
  • next subsection start ('later history')
Etc... the advantage of 'boxes' would be that in between the two continuities, a clear divider would exist - the original background.
You're correct -- many articles (like Borg history) we've approached without shifting-to-bottom -- and would not have to be completely revamped since they are already in chronological order re: the preexisting approach. We'd just be adding a formatting to the existing chronological descriptions.
I haven't thought of the cases where two contradictory licensed sources both agree with canon but not to each other, but this would be an issue too (sorry, literally planning this as i write) -- Captain MKB 01:26, February 18, 2011 (UTC)
Maybe, if its technically feasible, a sample page could be created with the box so we could see how it would work. Probably the best move before we vote one way or the other. --The Doctor 01:28, February 18, 2011 (UTC)

It's not just STO and post-Destiny novels that cause these divergences of continuity. There's the histories in the FASA rpg and the LUG/Decipher disagreeing with each other and various other pieces (leading to four different Orion historys). There's the umpteen versions of Rigel and the Rigellians, and there's the differences within the tv show itself (TNG Trill vs DS9 Trill being a minor point). The problem is rife throughout the whole series, television and licensed.
I think creating separate articles would be far too unwieldy and time-consuming. Taking Donatra as an example, if another source (say a comic) appears that features Empress Donatra in a story that could fit into either the STO version or the Destiny histories, that information would then need to be duplicated across both articles. A current example would be William Riker and Thomas Riker; the former is going to receive much more attention to his early life, even though they ought to be identical (by rights, Thomas Riker's article should begin at the Nervala IV incident).
I think the current method of a single article with branching subsections works well enough. When consistently and fairly used, it's neat, clear and obvious to the reader, doesn't duplicate information or lead to a proliferation of articles. If something does get too long and unwieldy, to the point where its unreadable or barely shares anything with its alternate, then a split article could be considered. A box might be hard to code, especially for new and unregistered users.
My two credits, anyway. I thought I should chip in. BadCatMan 03:05, February 18, 2011 (UTC)

I like the idea of separating things by canon, then putting the contradictory sources in a seperate box. I think a good example of this would be the way they do things on wookiepedia, where the put a warning about a non-canon source at the beginning and end of that sources material. For example in all of the different Mirror Universe histories we would start with canon material, then put up some kind of marker saying that we are going into the next chronological source, then put down everything from that source, then put a marker down identifying the end of that sources material, and then do this for each other source. –JDB 03:36, February 18, 2011 (UTC)

JDB, that is exactly our current policy; canon is the core, we build upon that with non-canon sources, and on the limited number of occasions those contradict we detail both outcomes. Whether we put it in a colourful box or not that is what we are already doing. I think this whole debate is a bit of a storm in teacup, and our strategy needs to be not to worry about changing a policy that does work, but identifying articles where it is not being properly implemented and correcting them. The Terran Empire article that kicked this all off has now been completely rearranged to avoid biasing, and I think works better as a result. If we just implement the existing policy properly we have no problem.
Badcat, addressing your specific examples, the various Rigel articles already seem to note several alternate continuities. If they need a bit of cleaning up to improve the presentation of that information, let’s get it done, but they seems to be working for the most part. This hypothetical Donatra story which could fit into either continuity would simply need to be inserted in appropriate place to reflect that possibility; looking at the Terran Empire article, the 25th century resurgence could be an outcome of several timelines, and as currently arranged allows that to be the case as well as not insisting that is it definitely the outcome of any one. It's a similar set up. And the Thomas Riker article is an oddity that I think is long overdue sorting out, I agree, we do not need to duplicate Will Riker's shared early history. --8of5 15:30, February 18, 2011 (UTC)
Rigel: I know, I was doing the Rigel sorting. :) It's what got me thinking of other contradictions.
My Donatra hypothetical was for the issue of creating multiple pages for multiple Donatras.
The Terran Empire is less a divergent continuity and more of a collection of different bits of string, with different beginnings, middles and ends, with only "In A Mirror, Darkly" and "Mirror, Mirror" being canonically real. (I suppose a parallel universe is allowed to have its own parallel universes.) It's probably the best example of something unwieldy enough to be split up into different pages - but would be an unspeakable mess if it were. That said, it's probably in its absolute best state right now, thanks to your work there, 8of5. BadCatMan 07:33, February 19, 2011 (UTC)