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Generic article names

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Since there hasn't been a lot of feedback on the Cardassian Guard and Romulan Guard talk pages, I thought I'd generalize the discussion away from those pages and start it here, since we have exactly the same problem in both cases, so there is no real need to discuss it twice anyway. Hopefully, more people will be able to contribute this way.

The point of contention is that certain users do not mind making an assumption that particular terms such as Cardassian Guard or Romulan Guard are names of the respective military services, even though there is no proof in the episodes that these apply to the entire military services (and the Encyclopedia doesn't portray them as such either). I propose using safe and totally generic designations such as "Cardassian military" and "Romulan military", since MA doesn't have the license to make creative leaps, only to document the facts as stated in the canon; however, for whatever reason, those articles are still titled Cardassian Guard and Romulan Guard, and we need to move this forward in order to prevent further spread of information that isn't strictly derived from the canon.

Hopefully, we can come to the conclusion that accuracy overrides formality, that the in-universe style of using formal names is not as important as making sure those names are absolutely accurate - when we have proof, as with "Starfleet" for example, we can use formal names, but otherwise we shouldn't sacrifice accuracy for the sake of formality. – NotOfTheBody 19:01, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

Or perhaps review Memory Alpha:Naming conventions before dragging this topic out any further. --Alan 19:40, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

There is no naming convention on the subject. This is the closest guideline:

Be sure to check your facts – don't include false or non-canon content in an article.
If you need to check a fact, good places to start include the Star Trek Encyclopedia or the Star Trek Chronology. If necessary, go back to the original source – watch the episode again.

NotOfTheBody 20:20, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

"Be precise. Ambiguously-named articles will likely create confusion for readers." seems to fit this occasion. Frankly, though, I see nothing wrong with either name and won't contribute to this discussion any more than this... — Morder (talk) 20:42, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

That particular note might also work, since I'm confused. The show hasn't established unambiguous formal names for these services, and now MA is using titles Cardassian Guard and Romulan Guard without proof, instead of sticking to precise and generic titles for articles discussing the military services in general. How is this consistent with not including false or non-canon content in the article? – NotOfTheBody 21:00, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

NOTB, not be jumping into the fray but quite frankly I find this whole argument of yours a bit taxing and confusing. It's simply nomenclature. I don't udnerstand why you would be raising such a fuss with the Admins over simple phrases. I believe their response, which I agree with, is that it's not SPECIFICALLY stated in canon that the Guard organizations are actual military organizations with the Cards and the Romulans. I would say that if the admins are asking you nicely to simply let the matter be, to let it be. We're all trying to get to a common place on this website. Don't get discouraged either, learn and adapt. Happy writing!--Obey the Fist!! 21:24, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

The titles "Cardassian military" and "Romulan military" are safe, generic and accurate for the current articles on the subject. The ones currently used on MA are risky, since they may or may not be correct. Why use risky titles, which could very well make MA step into unlicensed creativity, by spreading fanon meaning all over the internet, meaning which cannot be strictly derived from the canon according to all the available evidence? I haven't received a satisfactory response yet. – NotOfTheBody 21:58, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

Another good guideline to keep in mind would be to "let the readers beware": there's nothing stopping you from adding a background note, stating that the more specific phrase was used just once - and in fact, at least the Cardassian Guard article contains exactly this note at the moment. What else do you want? Even if we moved the article, the other title would stay as a redirect - unless there's some motion to create two separate articles? -- Cid Highwind 22:20, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

No, it's not just the frequency of use - neither Neral nor Jasad gave us proof that the guards they referred to were in fact the names of the entire military services, so the phrases are hardly more specific than "Cardassian military" or "Romulan military". There are two possibilities for the redirects - create tiny articles in their places mentioning Jasad and Neral, respectively, or delete the redirects after all the referencing articles have been moved to the new links (I'd happily edit all of them myself). – NotOfTheBody 22:33, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

The latter of which is not a proper possibility to consider. The title "Cardassian Guard" was used, so not making that title lead to some article (whatever that article will be at the end of this discussion) is not a valid option. -- Cid Highwind 22:40, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

Ok, I don't really care: I have no problem with accurate one-line articles. However, I'd still have to revise all the referencing articles so that they point to Cardassian military if they refer to the Cardassian military in general, and the same in case of the Romulans. – NotOfTheBody 22:49, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

The [insert name] may be the name of the entire military, or just a branch of it, as it was never made clear on screen.
The [insert name] may actually be the name of the entire military, as it was never made clear on screen.
All I've gathered from this is that NotOfTheBody would like the second bg note as opposed to the first, and the title of the article is everything. I've said as much before, but I still don't see how the title of the page is going to confuse someone when the article is going to point out that there simply isn't a definitive answer either way. - Archduk3 23:40, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

Well, the second bg note would apply only to a Guard article which doesn't assume it's the military, but the title really is everything. A lot of pages link to the article using its title, and if the reader doesn't open the article and read the bg note, he'll assume from the context that the Guard is the military. For example: "Donatra was an officer in the Romulan Guard, commander of the warbird IRW Valdore." No proof.

Include a number of such references in various articles, not to mention articles on websites outside of MA which need not actually link to the main article, and you're already spreading the myth all over the internet that the canon has established the names of the Cardassian and Romulan military services, whereas we don't actually know whether it did - not even the ST:Encyclopedia makes such an assumption, and it usually is more liberal about the canon than I'd like. However, if Donatra is merely an officer in the Romulan military (lowercase), we're not saying anything about its formal name, so we're safe. – NotOfTheBody 05:50, February 23, 2010 (UTC)

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