Comments on this project Edit

Apologies for posting here, but I didn't want to register for the board also. As a former Trekkie I think this project is a great idea and you've done lots of good work in the setup (I like it when projects go live only when they're ready). Some general comments in case you are interested:

1) The background image is a bit unnerving. I recommend a single color background for the content area.

2) Are you sure you want to use the FDL? On Wikipedia, we've often regretted this decision. It's extremely complicated and quite restrictive. For example, to legally use images that are commercially relevant (which applies to most Trek stuff) you need permission to distribute them under the FDL, which most people won't agree with. My personal recommendation would be to use a footer like "All content is in the public domain except where noted otherwise." Then you could add notices like "Copyright Paramount Pictures, used with permission" to images.

Your footer notice "solely intended for non-profit purposes" is problematic: The GFDL explicitly allows commercial use.

The public domain has advantages over other copyleft licenses like Creative Commons in that it is fully compatible with the FDL -- you could move content over from MA to Wikipedia. You could also do it vice versa but would then have to add an FDL notice to the individual pages which are copied from Wikipedia. You have to do this anyway (the FDL requires you to give attribution), so you don't lose much. Of course, if you must have the copyleft effect the PD is not an option. But it will be very difficult if not impossible to change to a different license later on, so you should be aware of the options..

3) I strongly recommend developing a deletion policy like "Wikipedia:Votes for deletion" on WP where pages that are to be deleted are listed, and if there's consensus among regulars that the page should be removed it is done by an admin after a certain period of days. If you have such a policy in place it's a good idea to give all trusted regulars admin status (everything an admin can do can be reverted except for image deletion). Without it, that might be dangerous and lead to deletion/undeletion wars and alienation of users.

4) I heard about this project because I have a Google news alert on "Wikipedia", and it was referred to on some site as "a new Wikipedia". Even on the MB this terminology is used. I personally don't care much, but there are some Wikipedians who get very pissed when the term is used in a non-Wikipedia context. That's because they want Wikipedia to become a trademark, and to prevent its abuse (there are quite a few sites that copy Wikipedia content and slap advertising on it -- if they can also copy the name that might be a problem). This becomes almost impossible if Wikipedia becomes a generic term like "wiki", because such terms cannot be protected. In general it should be sufficient to just refer to the site as a "wiki" and not a "wikipedia".

5) You might want to think now about multi language support. MediaWiki is translated to practically every language, but it requires separate databases (and settings files) for each. On OpenFacts (a MediaWiki I run) I've hacked the codebase to at least use one account database for all wikis, that is reasonably easy to do and should be done before you setup other languages (to avoid the current Wikipedia situation). Of course any code changes make updates slightly more difficult, which brings me to ..

6) I have no idea who's behind this site, but I hope that whoever is has also subscribed to the wikitech-l mailing list for MediaWiki development. If you make any useful modifications to the codebase, we would very much appreciate it to hear about them.

That's it for now, I might think of other issues later. I probably won't be able to hang around here much, but I will check up on the latest ENT episodes. Collaborative review writing could be fun.--Eloquence 20:35, 22 Dec 2003 (PST)

Reference Conventions Edit

OK, I wasn't sure about where to put this, but this looks like as good a place as any.

What should the policy be regarding the placement of episode references? Should the episodes referenced be mentioned at the end of the article, like the background notes, or within the main body, ie immediately after the reference? I've seen examples of both (the Encyclopedia style, and the footnote style), so, one convention to use would be best, I think. I would prefer the footnote style, as it keeps the main article within the Trek universe. If the article is short (but not stubby), I feel no reference should be left. -- DarkHorizon 11:36, 13 Jan 2004 (PST)

I think that we can/should leave enough room for both options. I've personally found the Encyclopedia style somewhat jarring when you're just reading, but I admit it's the most accurate and the simplest to use when writing an article. The other option is just to have the links at the bottom, all collected in a "references" section or something. But I've already seen some of that functionality duplicated (where people have links to the same article in multiple places on a page), so that could get confusing. A possible third option would be to use footnotes and have superscripted numbers, but that's hard to code in the wiki style -- you have to use the HTML which, though short, is still a relative pain. Anyway, I guess we might as well go with what works -- the Encyclopedia style. I still prefer the second option, though. -- MinutiaeMan 13:20, 13 Jan 2004 (PST)

I personally prefer the Encyclopedia style: if done consistently, one can easily identify the source of each bit of information - which is the whole reason of having those references, after all. In longer articles, the text can be grouped by references (one ressource per paragraph, referenced at the end of that paragraph). Some of this information gets lost if all references are lumped together at the end of the article, but I could adopt to that style if it is preferred. What is even more important than having a specific style of reference is having a complete list of references. I don't know if it already is, but it should be common practice (if not mandatory) to cite the sources for each non-trivial bit of information. -- Cid Highwind 03:11, 14 Jan 2004 (PST)
I've used both in some occasions. I guess the Encyclopedia is the most accurate, but a 'Reference' section might be useful for a list of all the episodes something was mentioned, including ones where no actual information was given (like the many TNG-era episodes wich feature Andorians in the background or in dialogue). But I also think that different articles sometimes need different ways of explaining the source of information (for example: USS Bradbury). -- Harry 03:24, 14 Jan 2004 (PST)
I agree the Encyclopedia style is the most usefull, because besides from being accurate it is also more efficient as Cid explained. However, perhaps a Reference section, particullarly in larger articles, would not be such a bad idea. One could for instance use a reference section to refer to important articles to help readers learn more about a subject, less important episodes for background information, and maybe even some selected external sites that speciallize on the topic in question. That way, a certain amount of readability is maintained but at the same time, as much information as is relevant is referred to, even when it isn't cited in the article itself, in which case the Encyclopedia style would overlook giving that link completely. -- Redge 17:43, 14 Apr 2004 (CEST)

Online Users Edit

Is there some way of displaying online users on the Main Page or a seperate article? That way if you need to contact someone, you can check. Also it's nice to know if you've been meaning to have a chat with someone. Maybe just a number of online users. Any thoughts? -- Redge 01:55, 25 Apr 2004 (CEST)

No, there's no way of listing who's online under the current system. I believe that's a feature request for future versions, though. -- Dan Carlson 15:16, 11 May 2004 (CEST)

Memory Alpha:"Village Pump"?Edit

What do you all think about a general purpose discussion page for Memory Alpha, similar to Wikipedia's Village Pump? That page could be the place for important discussions (including some of those on this page, for example) that otherwise would go unnoticed. Similar to the page on Wikipedia, discussions could be moved to other pages once they are resolved.

We have the forum, of course, but I think it would be better to have content and discussions about that content in the same place - what do you think, and what name would you suggest? My suggestion: Memory Alpha:Ten Forward -- Cid Highwind 13:01, 30 Apr 2004 (CEST)

I thought that the forum would be better for this kind of thing, simply because it's a slightly more organized environment oriented towards that kind of discussion. Should we just get rid of the forum, then? If we have a page like Memory Alpha:Ten Forward (I do like that name, BTW), what would the forum be for? -- Dan Carlson 18:50, 30 Apr 2004 (CEST)
As you can see, I took your suggestion under advisement, Cid.  ;-) It's not such a bad idea after all, for several reasons. The main reason is because it's part of the wiki rather than separate, and so it probably seems a bit more accessible compared to the message board, even though registration isn't necessary. Good idea! -- Dan Carlson 15:16, 11 May 2004 (CEST)

Particles Article Edit

I've checked Reference tables, Physics and chemistry but no sign of a list of particles named in Star Trek. Something should be done at once. That article on Elements isn't exactly exact either. I would do something myself, but I don't have a clue where to start looking for this kind of info... -- Redge 00:29, 14 May 2004 (CEST)

Requests should go to Memory Alpha:Requested articles instead. To turn this into something more "relevant" to Ten Forward, I suggest that new entries for Template:Unwrittentopics should also be taken from that list of requests, if possible. "Possible" includes that at least one link pointing to that article should exist somewhere outside of the request page, for example, so creating that link somewhere would be another good way to start this... -- Cid Highwind 01:02, 14 May 2004 (CEST)

Enterprise (??-??) Edit

I tried to find NX-01, to confirm that it appeared on two ships, but I find I can't. My guess would be that the dash is concidered a delimiter, after which the remaining parts are too small. (Hm, there ought to be fee-back on that. Is there a way to get that back to the developers?) As a result, standing on USS Enterprise I can read the text "NX-01", but I can't search for it.

Your best bet for submitting a bug report would be to contact Dan Carlson. Michael Warren 13:54, 19 May 2004 (CEST)
I'm not sure if this is actually a bug or not. I've sent a message off to the MediaWiki admin list to see if anyone else knows what's up. If it's a bug, I'm sure it'll be fixed soon. If not, that'll be a real shame, but nothing we can really do anything about. -- Dan Carlson 15:41, 19 May 2004 (CEST)
Thanks. It might be intentional, but then the bug is in not reporting it. Like the computer of the Enterprises is always programmed to report "Localized Light Emitter failing", etc. a search engine should tell the user things that don't work because they are ignored. (I found that I (now?) can Go to "NX-01", but I can't Search for it. Curious.) Aliter 19:31, 20 May 2004 (CEST)
Perhaps, if you were to try a Google site-limited search in those instances?
There is no canonical confirmation of a second vessel designated NX-01 (I presume you are searching to resolve the Enterprise/Dauntless schism?), but there is some information at the USS Dauntless article.-- Michael Warren 13:54, 19 May 2004 (CEST)
Well, it was just something on my list of things to look into, not yet something to be resolved. But yes, it was about the exceptional low prototype number of the so called "Dauntless". Aliter 19:31, 20 May 2004 (CEST)

BTW, speaking of that page: There are ships there from other fleets than the USS (and one from another USS). This is due to its function as disambiguation page, but it causes a discrepancy with the title. Do we want that? (Should we include the ISS Enterprise here, if anyone can recall anything about it?) Aliter 13:23, 19 May 2004 (CEST)

It is linked from the Enterprise disambiguation page (as Starships Enterprise), so the discrepancy is minor, and most links going to a disambig page are fixed anyway. Since it is only the NX-01 that causes the discrepancy, it is that link rather than the page which is erroneous, but necessary. The ISS Enterprise link should also be there. It is a little confusing, I agree, but unlikely to change, to be honest. -- Michael Warren 13:54, 19 May 2004 (CEST)
I actually expected all disambiguation to be on the Enterprise page, if need be under separate headings, with USS Enterprise giving an overview of the series of ships of that name. Considering the two HMSs Enterprize, the NX-01, and the ISS-Enterprise all pollute the list otherwise, would this be an acceptable change?Aliter 19:31, 20 May 2004 (CEST)

Lists of personnel (How to sort and What to list?) Edit

Right now we have at least three different ways of listing information about personnel...

  • Starfleet personnel (22nd century): Sorted by organization (subsection), then by first name. Names only, no other information.
  • Starfleet captains: Sorted by organization (subsection), then by rank, then by last name. Includes rank, name, assignment.
  • Starfleet admirals: Sorted by series (subsection), then by last name. Includes rank, name, assignment.

I'd like to suggest one format that can be used on all such pages. First, I think that sorting by series should be avoided, because that's meta-information. In all cases, sections and subsections of the list should be organizations. Second, each entry should contain the full name and rank of the individual, as well as an episode reference. Third, entries should be sorted by full name (=article title), not by last name, rank or anything else. Fourth, I'd like to keep assignments to the respective articles due to the problems mentioned on Talk:List of Starfleet captains. A resulting list could look like this:

What do you all think about this? Anything important I missed? If there are no objections, I will start changing those lists in the near future. -- Cid Highwind 17:31, 19 May 2004 (CEST)

There is one minor problem to your sorting method - the vast majority of these captains and admirals are never given first names, therefore we don't know their full names to sort with! Perhaps the list could be subdivided, rather than by series, by time period? -- Michael Warren 19:07, 19 May 2004 (CEST)
I've never liked the sort by first name method, so few supporting first names are known. --Captainmike 19:38, 19 May 2004 (CEST)
Small clarification: With "full name", I'm basically referring to the article title of that character (which should be "first_name initial(s) surname" if known and just "surname" else). That said, I think it is the only valid option to sort by article title, because sorting by surname yields two problems: some characters don't even have something like a surname (Spock, Data, Worf etc.), and if we want to avoid a listing that seems arbitrary, we would have to use constructs like [[James T. Kirk|Kirk, James T.]].
Regarding subdividing by time period instead of organization, this is already done with the various "List of ## century personnel". Does it make sense to do this on the "List of Starfleet rank" or other lists as well? -- Cid Highwind 19:54, 19 May 2004 (CEST)
I'd like to think there's room enough for every form of listing, assuming that someone's willing to do the work. OTOH, Memory Alpha isn't supposed to be just a list of relevant facts -- lists are supposed to be for navigation purposes.
And on a related subject, I've never thought that the "personnel" title has applied. Not everyone who appears in a show can be labeled under the "personnel" category. Shouldn't it be "List of 22nd century characters" or some such title? -- Dan Carlson 22:23, 19 May 2004 (CEST)
Just for the record, I'm not trying to convince anyone of some huge and singular "master list" to replace all the other lists we have now - I just think that one common layout for all lists makes sense, especially regarding site navigation. :) -- Cid Highwind 00:49, 20 May 2004 (CEST)

Concerning images ("placeholders" vs. individual images) Edit

Note: I'm putting this here to (hopefully) get some more opinions. Once this issue is resolved in one way or another, this discussion should be moved to Memory Alpha talk:Image use policy.

I'd like to see the Memory Alpha:Image use policy clarified or extended. The issue which I think hasn't been fully addressed yet is the use of generic placeholders vs. individual images. A recent example is the article "USS Saratoga"), where an image of a Miranda-class vessel (generic placeholder) was exchanged with a new image of the USS Saratoga itself.

My question: Is it necessary and/or useful to have individual images for each vessel of a specific class (or other objects in similar situations)? Please state your opinion and discuss below. -- Cid Highwind 02:08, 23 May 2004 (CEST)

Regarding the finite space and bandwidth of MA, I think it suffices to use the class-image, or even just link to the article about the class (which should include an image). In my opinion, it is not necessary to generally use individual images for each ship/object. -- Cid Highwind 02:08, 23 May 2004 (CEST)
Individual images of individual ships and other locations may certainly be useful in certain circumstances, but mainly where the ships are especially notable for some reason or another. In general, I think that pictures of individual ships is a waste of disk space, and I will treat it as such by continuing to nominate such images on the images for deletion page. -- Dan Carlson 03:28, 23 May 2004 (CEST)
I like to use a 'generic' image of just one ship-image to cover a whole class of ships, i have received some flak for this lately in discussions regarding the USS Saratoga and USS Nebula and USS Repulse articles. I like to save storage space by using a single image, but i feel an exception has to be if the image obviously cant represent what it is a proxy for. for example, i have used a USS Prometheus picture to represent the USS Nebula. since the photo angle does not include the Nebula's pod, it is not 'wrong'.. for the Miranda variants around the Saratoga mess, i say that if a ship is of such a different variation it could not be mistaken for another, then yes it should have its own picture. A gray area here is the Excelsior image someone called me out on. the Repulse model was in the modifications it displayed in Star Trek III, however i used a picture of the same model in its Star Trek VI appearance.. wrong? this one is the gray area. --Captainmike 04:10, 23 May 2004 (CEST)
The situation Captainmike describes is exactly what I had in mind. The Saratoga might be a bad example, because that ship did indeed look different from other Mirandas, but those differences aren't even visible on the image that was uploaded. If, on the other hand, differences are minor or non-existant, the generic (or no) image should be used. Similarly, some guidelines about the use of images of one-time guest characters might be useful. I think we don't need an image for every character, but that, of course, depends on the limits of MA regarding space and bandwidth... -- Cid Highwind 15:33, 23 May 2004 (CEST)
IMO the example of the Repulse is silly -- who's going to notice such tiny differences, anyway? I never have! (Sorry, that's just my opinion.) Those articles should just use generic images, or no image at all. Examples like the Saratoga probably deserve their own image -- but that's mainly because they've got such noticeable modifications. Any image of the Saratoga should definitely show those modifications, though. As for character images, the area gets more dubious the less important the character. I'd rather hold off judgment on that issue for now, until we have a better idea of the trends in bandwidth and disk space usage from month to month with Memory Alpha. -- Dan Carlson 16:37, 23 May 2004 (CEST)
I agree with CaptainMike. There some cases (Nebula variants, Miranda variants), where the use of a seperate picture is justified. In my opinion most pictures concerning ship-articles are useless, since there is a link to the ship's class on almost every Federation ship-page. User:BlueMars