Memory Beta, non-canon Star Trek Wiki

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Memory Beta, non-canon Star Trek Wiki
Memory Beta, non-canon Star Trek Wiki
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From Memory Beta's homepage: "Memory Beta is a wikipedia-style database for licensed Star Trek works, including novels, comic books, RPG sourcebooks, video games and any other licensed works." (quoted as of 15-Apr-2020).

A recent discussion on merging content from the Star Trek Online game has expanded beyond its scope by talking about the purpose of Memory Beta, or the type of content it should and shant cover.[1]

Summarizing, one point in this discussion is that Memory Beta aims to cover everything there is about licensed Star Trek. While there are several Trek-based Wikis out there, all of them have a narrowed focus. For example, Memory Alpha only covers canon Trek information, STOWiki and Star Trek Timelines wikia cover information from their source games at the exclusion of other sources. Thus, Memory Beta is the only wiki in existence with the scope to cover all of licensed Trek.

The counterpoint presented in the discussion is that Memory Beta covers licensed material but should focus on content relevant to the overall Trek narrative. The example is that "random" ships from games like Star Trek: Armada are lumped together in lists and templates with ships that appear in a particular story and have a particular history, thus making it hard to look for something with a story attached to it rather than a random in-game item. I'd like to include a pertinent statement nicked from another talk page[2] that illustrates the underlying reason for this argument:

"over the past couple of months, multiple novelists -- Greg Cox, Dayton Ward, KRAD, Christopher Bennett, and others -- have informed me that they no longer use Memory Beta as a resource because it's either not updated or too hard to find the relevant information these days -- all those articles on randomly-generated ships from games like Armada drowning out the "real" ships in any given category or navbox is one commonly-repeated example. We've gone from being a premiere resource for novelists and comics and RPG writers and constantly being thanked in their acknowledgement sections to being considered useless by them"

The core question is what Memory Beta is about: Should it aim to be the encyclopedic database of every licensed Star Trek material, or narrow its focus?

For the sake of argument, I subscribe to the former position. Kind regards, -- Markonian 12:26, April 15, 2020 (UTC)

I agree that Memory Beta should include every character, ship, race, location, organization, technology and item from every licensed Star Trek story or product, including episodes, movies, video games, novels, comics, video games, RPG games, card games, trading cards and action figures. Even if Memory Beta's original purpose was to focus on the non-canon stuff. Other franchises like Doctor Who and Star Wars have a single wiki devoted to the entire franchise, so I think Star Trek should also have at least one wiki that is complete.
However, I don't think we need an article for every card or action figure. That would be going too far. One article for every card set and every toy line should be good enough. There are other wikis like CardGuide Wiki and Figure Realm for people who want an article for each individual card or toy. --NetSpiker (talk) 12:53, April 15, 2020 (UTC)
I think the stated mission statement is on point, obviously. The most major narrowing of focus that was done was to eliminate fan-fiction, unpublished/undocumented material, and meta material dealing with episodes and movies.
  • Fan fiction is anything that wasnt rightfully published - licensed. this eliminates a lot of the internet's Star Trek.
  • unpublished/undocumented - this has been a talking point more often than other things. If ST Picard shows something, its canon, we write about it - pretty simple. But if the showrunner posts on social media additional details that didnt make it into the episode, that information does not have the same value. it didnt make it into the episode. even though the person is a writer, and wrote the official version, the fact that their social media post is not a publication is why the line is drawn. info in the episode or publication is valid, things they post on their own time is not.
  • meta material is what Memory Alpha does. lists of actors from the shows, stuntmen, cast lists and call sheets. all behind the scenes and all of it dealing with episodes and movies, and not publications. we have a meta section for performers in video games, however. Colm Meaney has never been in a video game or audio book, so he's not represented in our meta POV. the rest of the DS9 cast HAS appeared in video games. that's there that line is drawn.
Now in terms of STO, there is a ton of "behind the scenes" data - meta, but about a publication - STO is a game which counts as a licensed thing. so yes, this is covered under our current policy. however, as my comment about POV indicates, this info needs to be organized.
As to the rest, we had a pretty big introspection a few years ago about continuity versus inclusion - which means we should be taking every step to make sure that if a reader needs to be informed theyre getting to a section about STO or Armada or another book - that each piece would be separate and cited, and in cases where it seems like there are different continuities at play, it would be noted. its a practice that is evolving and being constructive about it is the best approach rather than re-hashing the the status quo of a past era when different aims were at play. we have to look forward, not backward - looking at the less organized version of the wiki will only discourage us, so lets imagine a better one where future novelists will find it more relevant rather than re-hashing years of criticism for a form of the wiki that no longer exists -- captainmike Site-logo.png 13:03, April 15, 2020 (UTC)
Something else just came to mind. Should we have a separate article for every duty officer in Star Trek Online, even though there are more than 36,000 of them? Each one is technically a separate character, but this would mean years of work for whoever chooses to set this task for themselves. And by the time the work is finished, Star Trek Online may not even exist anymore (since MMOs do sometimes get shut down) making the whole endeavor pointless. --NetSpiker (talk) 13:06, April 15, 2020 (UTC)
Captainmike, I agree with what you said about writer's or showrunner's comments online, with one sole exception: I think author's annotations should be used if they identify an unnamed movie character with a named novel character. Christopher L. Bennett's Ex Machina annotations contain many examples of this. --NetSpiker (talk) 13:17, April 15, 2020 (UTC)
Well, so much for me taking a break. I was writing all of this when Mike made his edit here, so forgive me if he's already covered some of this.
Popping back in here to clarify something, because I feel it's important, even though I desperately want a break from this place. We write from an in universe perspective, and the only real world articles we have are about the sources of in universe material. Therefore we do not cover memorabilia, because there is no "in universe" way to write about t-shirts, mugs, or anything like that, even if they are licensed. We also specifically do not seek to reproduce the work of Memory Alpha. We do not cover aspects of fandom or the history of the "Trekkie culture," despite their massive importance to the Star Trek franchise (that's part of STEU's remit). We are not the "Everything Star Trek Ever" wiki, nor can we ever be. It simply is not our purpose, nor is it feasible. The example NetSpiker used earlier about being like TARDIS wiki also does not apply to us, for several reasons. The nature of Doctor Who "canon" is different than that of Star Trek or Star Wars. The official position of the BBC and the Dcotor Who creators is that every licensed story written about Doctor Who actually happened, somewhere, somewhen. So either "it's all canon" or "there is no 'canon'." That is not true of Star Trek, nor has it ever been. Also, though TARDIS wiki covers most of the Doctor Who franchise, they have an entire list of things they consider "NOTVALID." TARDIS wiki believes that only stories, only narrative, creates the world of Doctor Who, so they do not acknowledge the reference books as anything other than background, or the RPG materials at all; nor any of the many stageplays or choose-your-own-adventure stories because they're either "different every time" or "open-ended." Also, for various idiosyncratic reasons, there are entire licensed DW spin-offs that they choose to ignore, like Vienna. They also do not cover memorabilia. The are not the "everything Doctor Who wiki" anymore than we or Memory Alpha are that for Trek. The focus, for all of us, writing from an in-universe perspective, is on the narrative content.
To clarify something about my comments that Markonian quoted above, I do not want to remove data about STO or the Armada ships, or anything of the sort. I simply do not want that data to overwhelm the rest of what we have, to drown it out and bury it. When it comes to the procedurally-generated ships, a list of them by class/type would be of far greater efficacy than dozens/hundreds of articles saying "there is no history for this ship, only a randomly-generated name for a ship of this class." That would maintain the data, provide it with context, and make sure that the categories are populated with articles on ships that have actually been written about/featured/developed in something. It would solve the "signal-to-noise" ratio problem, while still keeping the relevant data.
If the action figure lines, for example, include bio cards or "in universe" content the way the old GI Joe figures did, then yes, an article on the line should be here, so the source can be cited when that material is included in, say the Jean-Luc Picard article. But we do not need a "Jean-Luc Picard (Playmates)" article to describe the action figure itself, because it cannot be written about from an in universe perspective. We handle the the CCG and The Official Starships Collection in the proper manner, as NetSpiker says, we don't need an article for every card, nor do we need a "USS Voyager (Eaglemoss)" article to describe the model in order for the content of its magazine to be referenced. The list article for the collection suffices. Individual stuff like that belongs on a Memorabilia wiki, of which there are several (I think there's even one specifically for Trek memorabilia; if not, there should be).
Likewise, when material from STO gets to the point of being too in-depth to really be useful here, I would much prefer it included in some form of list, and direct readers to STO wiki for the more in depth articles about it there. Just as with Memory Alpha, we do not want to duplicate the work of another wiki so intensively. Hull materials while arguably an in universe content are not particularly relevant to anything other than a player looking to use them on their ship, and STO wiki is the proper venue for an in-depth examination of them. We should definitely have a list, and some example pictures. But we like the ships from Armada, I do not believe we need a separate article for every one, nor for every vanity shield, or anything like that that serves no purpose in the world of the game or Star Trek as a whole, beyond a cosmetic feature for players to enjoy. If the material is lacking on STOwiki, by all means add it there, and go as in depth as you want -- they actively want people to contribute in that fashion. But we don't need to reinvent their wheel, for the sake of "completeness" here. --TimPendragon (talk) 13:24, April 15, 2020 (UTC)
I think annotations is more of a case of the author clarifying something they wrote into their book - the named novel character is in the book, and the annotation supplies an association, not new info. if they annotated some character that wasnt mentioned in the book, then it would fall over the line
STO characters our cut-off has been: obviously player characters arent documented. players and ships are ephemeral and uncitable.
If there are 36,000 NPCs, then i think that is an area for exploration. If the characters share enough in common, a single template could automatically populate their pages from a list - so the work could be minimized. however, we would need the list to be robust before we initiate an automated character article generator. alternately we could just maintain the robust list of NPCs in a smaller group of articles.
I also think automatic population is the way to go for those Armada ships. its a much more finite list and i absolutely disagree with demoting them to any lower status than having their own article. they can be cleaned up and cross referenced and do not represent the noise problem theyre made out to be
since it has been brought up that Memory Beta should be USEFUL - which is a dangerously vague criticism - then listing the 36,000 in some form would be a "yes" - as role-players, etc would want to grab these NPC names for their own purposes, a novelist would want to write about them, etc. obviously we want some usefulness for active novelists here (maybe not retirees who havent written a novel in years but instead spend time to complain about fandom wikis ^__^ )
as to collectibles - we absolutely do things with them - when they have in-universe data for us to mine. if a Gul Dukat action figure has his serial number listed on the action figure card, then we have his serial number from that. if a ship on a Burger King glass has a registry number, thats in universe data. we'll take it
you're correct we don't need meta collectibles - the Jean Luc Picard figure doesnt need his own article -- but a list of playmates figures would have a line item for him. its a matter of degrees captainmike Site-logo.png 13:39, April 15, 2020 (UTC)
To clarify, that's 36,000 duty officers, not 36,000 NPCs. Duty officers are basically "character cards" in a "crew roster" that you can send on "duty assignments" and get rewards, they don't exist as in-game NPCs with a body in any location that you can interact with or even see walking around. But they are characters of a sort, sometimes with a line of "history" or a quote provided, so yeah, I think series of lists of them would be appropriate, but again, I'm against so many single paragraph-length stub articles when STO wiki already has them. A list of "Bajoran duty officers," "Benzite duty officers", or listing them by specialty, would work well for us, I think. --TimPendragon (talk) 13:45, April 15, 2020 (UTC)
If you don't want to "demote" the randomly-generated game ships into list format, can those articles at least be put in a sub-category rather than the main category of that class? And put in a separate line on the infobox templates for ships of that class? It's about making which ships are "real" (ie, developed concepts, not simply a random name for a random mob in a game) more apparent. --TimPendragon (talk) 13:55, April 15, 2020 (UTC)
Looks like we are all on the same page with regards to treating memorabilia, at least. As with the 36K duty officers from STO, the solution is also straightforward: (1) a couple hundred or so a specific, derive from specific missions and have a personality-defining quote (like: Hakeev (mirror)) - we can cover them as any character; (2) some are a generic list of traits - we could list these in a table; (3) at least the duty officer system was launched, some were impermanent, procedurally generated (like planets in the old, old Exploration Clusters) - there's no point in covering something irreproducible. Kind regards, -- Markonian 14:03, April 15, 2020 (UTC)
That sounds like a good plan for the duty officers to me. And yes, the randomly generated ones (most of the common rarity ones) really can't be described, other than the "default" few that exist. --TimPendragon (talk) 14:11, April 15, 2020 (UTC)
The duty officers are not impermanent. They were originally procedurally generated but each one now exists as a discrete entity within the game, so if you get a duty officer named Shitathon, he will be exactly the same as every other Shitathon in the game, with the same species, appearance, specialization and traits. The bridge officers, on the other hand, are truly random, with a new one being created every time someone gets awarded a bridge officer. --NetSpiker (talk) 02:10, April 16, 2020 (UTC)
In that case, I revise my earlier suggestion. All "generic" DOffs go into a list/table with character image, name, rank, faction affiliation, profession. Special ones, like "Maela (Doctor)" get to have their own page. I don't know how special those sold by Lt. Ferra are. Kind regards, -- Markonian 07:38, April 16, 2020 (UTC)


  1. Talk: Prometheus (material)
  2. Talk: Volan III, statement from 22:52 14 April 2020