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Star Trek is fiction and, for various reasons, the "facts" of this fictional universe are often contradictory. As this is an encyclopedia of those facts, it is quite appropriate to note those discrepancies in Memory Alpha articles. There is an anomaly, however, that while difficult to define, is certainly undesirable: the Nitpick.
To decide whether a note on the contradiction of facts should be included, four properties must be evaluated: evidence, substance, neutrality, and placement.
- How well established are the facts that contradict?
- Is the note substantive? How big of a contradiction is it really? How important is it to the character, to the story, to the production, to Star Trek as a whole? Almost all information on Memory Alpha is trivial. Setting a threshold of "too trivial for inclusion" is difficult.
- Does it make judgments about the contradiction? Is it critical of the writers or production staff?
- Where should the note be placed? Most often (always) this will be in production POV sections or articles. It is not necessary to reconcile the disagreement with speculation. Simply state the facts then note the discrepancy with a background note.
Noting an occurrence that contradicts a well-established fact is not a nitpick, but carefully consider where it should be placed, and don't criticize.
Not nitpicks Edit
- Production decisions to change an established fact are noteworthy, especially if the note includes a reason (for example, the color of Klingon blood being changed to lavender in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country so the film would receive a PG rating.)
- Established facts that are later contradicted by what may be a mistake are noteworthy (for example, Data's use of contractions, the number of decks on the USS Enterprise-E, the number of moons around Bajor).
- Anything that starts with "Possibly the biggest goof in Star Trek..." or "Watch carefully..."
- Observations that, although not contradictions per se, suggest something out-of-place; irrelevant observations:
- A crewmember in a corridor appears to be chewing gum.
- After Kirk confronts Dr. Jones in sickbay, watch Diana Muldaur trying to keep from laughing by biting her lip.
- In this episode and "The Empath", Leonard Nimoy has some serious nasal congestion.
- Comparisons or discrepancies between the Star Trek universe and the real world:
- The existence of the USSR during the 23rd and 24th centuries.
- The appearance of seemingly anachronistic items with no explanation
- A 23rd century character wearing a 20th century wristwatch (see Talk:Where No Man Has Gone Before (episode)#Remove watch comment.