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Background informationEdit

I think we will be going for an all-knowing Star Trek universe perspective (like the paper Encyclopedia did). That would mean that episode titles and 'meta-information' should not be in the main body of the article. Behind-the-scenes info should go in something like ==Background information==. It also means that episode names themselves should probably not be used in as a point of reference (the closest ST-universe equivalent are Stardates, so you could create links like [[Episode Name|Stardate]]). --Harry 10:55, 1 Dec 2003 (PST)

Whatever happened to this idea? --OuroborosCobra talk 19:02, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

More appendicesEdit

The following two appendices are used regularly and should be included. Suggested wording:


Related topicsEdit


A list of episodes/movies in which the article subject appeared. List only those episodes that aren't already referenced in the article text, but yield important additional information about the subject.


Further information about the subject, originating from official but non-canon materials such as interviews, technical manuals, encyclopedias, novels, etc.. Avoid putting fan speculation here.


External linksEdit

Comment and/or discuss below. If there's no disagreement, I will add those in 5 days. -- Cid Highwind 18:40, 6 Jun 2004 (CEST)

I'd like to support a site-wide initiative to unify the section names, we have Background, Background info, and Background information, and Background Information, Background Info, BACKGROUND, etc.
How about simply 'Background' I think its easier to look at, and link to if it is one word. --Captainmike 18:45, 6 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I picked "Background information" because it seems to be in use most often, but simply "Background" seems to be as good as that... Unless someone provides a good reason to use the former, we might as well go with the shorter title. Suggestion updated. -- Cid Highwind 19:01, 6 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I think it's a little too much to ask every episode in which a certain subject was mentioned. I would propose only to name those episode which have given important information (like when you say the Federation has 150 member worlds, you note "Star Trek: First Contact" either between "(..)" or at the end of the page) on the subject. -- Ottens
Suggestion updated, please check. -- Cid Highwind 19:01, 6 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I don't agree with this. I think that in-line references should also be listed under Appearances, if only for the sace of completeness. If you don't know all episodes to list under this header, you can ask people in your edit-summary or the Talk page. -- Redge 11:48, 17 Jun 2004 (CEST)
PS: Things like Shields and Phasers and such generic topics excepted of course, you'd get a complete episode listing of a series ;-) -- Redge 11:50, 17 Jun 2004 (CEST)
What exactly is it you don't agree with? The "either/or" clause or the "important episodes only" one? I think the latter one is necessary for exactly the reason you gave in your PS - for something that was shown "often", we only want those episodes listed that added something relevant.
The first one follows from that - if an episode added something relevant, this should be described in the text anyway; in this case, a list of "important" appearances also serves as a Todo-list. -- Cid Highwind 17:13, 17 Jun 2004 (CEST)
By the way, I don't think that the Edit summary should generally be used that way. If you want to ask people for help, it would be best to do it on the appropriate talk page. The summary should first and foremost describe what you did ("started section -Appearances-; still incomplete"), not describe what you did not do ("please help me here"). -- Cid Highwind 17:19, 17 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I don't agree that we shouldn't post references we already made in-line. All relevant episodes etc.. should be listed under appearances, except in very common subjects such as Data or Phasers. In cases such as Prometheus class, you should list every episode that starred a Promethues class, whether you already mentioned the link in the text or not. And asking help through the edit summary is IMO very efficient. That way everybody who reads recent changes sees the question, and only the person with the answer has to open the appropriate page, and people who don't know it don't have to visite both the article itself and the talk page. -- Redge 20:02, 17 Jun 2004 (CEST)
As to Appearances, I feel that such a list should include all episodes something appeared in, even if they've already been cited. Take Michael Rostov for example: he's cited for many episodes he wasn't in, as he's mentioned a lot, and having a list at the bottom of where he actually appeared seems a fairly useful idea.
On the other hand, having Appearances lists for things like phasers or shields is stupid in the extreme; obviously in those cases the section should be called References or whatever, but ideally I think we should avoid References lists, and just keep the episode citations as in-text parenthetical notes. --Steve 21:36, 22 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I agree with Steve. The appearances list should be conplete and the in-text notes should not effect them in any way. It's very useful to have a complete chronological list at the bottom, especially when the in-text citations aren't in any real order. Can't we get a vote on this or something?

I would appreciate if Cid could elaborate more on what is to be listed under references and Related topics, because the way they are used now, they are one and the same thing. -- Redge | Talk 17:41, 12 Aug 2004 (CEST)

Can do... :)
    • References, as I see it, should contain links to related official material except other episodes/movies (which goes to Appearances) or (probably non-canon) websites (which goes to External Links). Most of the time, these would be the various official reference books, but I also used it to refer to a novel here.
    • Related topics should be a list of links to other MA articles that are in some way related to the article you are editing - prefereably articles that haven't been linked to in the text already. For example, Bajoran wormhole could have Wormhole, Celestial Temple, Denorios belt etc. as related topics... -- Cid Highwind 19:41, 12 Aug 2004 (CEST)
Very good, but I'd use another term for references. We also use that term to describe the notes added to paragraphs to show which episode the info came from, and the term is used mix mashed all through the databse. -- Redge | Talk 19:49, 12 Aug 2004 (CEST)

Further suggestionsEdit

Additional suggestion: All appendices should be subsections in a section Appendices (see example above). Reasons:

  1. Better separation of content and meta information.
  2. Readability of TOC.
  3. Allows 'in-universe' sections with the same name (Maquis has a section Background, for example).

-- Cid Highwind 18:52, 9 Jun 2004 (CEST)

I like the == Appendices == idea. One section title i've been considering is a word that comes along with Trek fans' appropriation of the term "canon"... instead of === Background ===, we could create a section purely for showcasing data from credible but non-canon sources: === Apocrypha === . Anyone like this? --Captain Mike K. Bartel
I like the /extra page idea better, because it provides better readability of both canon and non-canon info. And what does Apocrypha mean? -- Redge 13:20, 21 Jun 2004 (CEST)
The term 'canon' was originally derived from biblical study (which is why it is a bit comedic to use sometimes), apocryphal is from the same context, meaning the same as the word 'non-canon.' Okuda liked to use this word a few times discussing canon in his Encyclopedia. --Captain Mike K. Bartel 23:03, 21 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I like this whole Appendices thing; I noticed Mike had been using it, but was unaware of why. I also like differentiating between "Apocrypha" and "Background." I think we should make sure we go light on Apocrypha, though. I've used it very sparingly: the USS Bozeman article and to mention a few names not given in episodes (ex: trellium mining planet or Xindi-Insectoid councilor). Other than small mentions of significant facts, we should try to avoid it. --Steve 21:36, 22 Jun 2004 (CEST)


By the way Cid, I notice that you added the note about italicization to this policy, but I seem to have missed it being discussed here, because I certainly don't support that, especially since many articles written before it show the italicization supported in the old policy. Is there some technical reason the policy needed this change, or can users discuss it. --Captain Mike K. Bartel 23:06, 21 Jun 2004 (CEST)

I didn't see that as a rule change, but as a clarification (see edit summary) of an existing 'implicit' rule - as Steve noted here, most of us don't and didn't ever italicize info in separate 'Background' sections (as far as I am aware, there never was any 'old policy' defining that style). In my opinion, italicization alone can't be used to mark background information, because it is also used for quotes or, generally, emphasis - that's why both italicization AND indentation is used for inline notes, for example. If you feel that this needs further discussion, feel free to do so. -- Cid Highwind 00:22, 22 Jun 2004 (CEST)
I feel that the use of italicazation&indentation to differentiate in- and out-of-the-box info is too vague; I think we should always use a "Background" or "Apocrypha" section. I also feel that parenthetical episode citations should not be italicized, since their status as out-of-the-box info is pretty obvious.
Doing this could potentially free up italicization&indentation to be used for alternate universe info; or maybe we should come up with something wholly new for that.
--Steve 21:36, 22 Jun 2004 (CEST)
Still, I'd like even less to see italics used for alternities, but i have to disagree on the italics.. i think NOT italicizing makes it look clunky for episode titles and backgorund paragraphs. I'd support indenting AND italicizing such data --Captain Mike K. Bartel 22:19, 23 Jun 2004 (CEST)
Regarding alternate universe info, I think I&I should depend on some specifics of the alternate timeline - if the information is unknown to inhabitants of the original universe, it should be indented/italicized; if the information is known, this should not be done.
Take T'Pol as an example: The "Twilight" timeline basically didn't happen - info about it should be i&i'd. The events of "" are known to the crew, so info about that should just be a normal part of the article. This makes sense if we think of MA as an encyclopedia written by an in-universe person in Trek's future.
Regarding other italicization, I generally agree with Steve - it could make sense to italicize episode titles, but not to italicize whole, separate blocks of text (and even less to indent those!)... -- Cid Highwind 15:00, 25 Jun 2004 (CEST)

Perhaps we should only italicize info that is meta-trek. I don't see why alternate timelines don't just deserve an own section. -- Redge 21:12, 26 Jun 2004 (CEST)

Background vs. Apocrypha Edit

OK, I guess we've had this discussion several times already, but let's follow it through this time. Do we need both sections? Why do we need both sections? What is the difference between them?

The original suggestion for an "apocrypha" section (see above) reads as if it was just meant to be an alternate name for the same section as "background information" - although the scope of an "apocrypha" section seems to be a little more limited than that of a "background" section. Since then, "Apocrypha" has been added to this guideline page, but from its description, it is absolutely unclear what the meaningful difference might be (and if we manage to describe a difference, why it is necessary to separate two different types of background information from each other). Compare:

  • Further information about the subject, originating from official but non-canon materials such as interviews, technical manuals, encyclopedias, novels, etc.
  • Writings in different medias (principally in books and comics), the authenticity of which is questionable.

Both explicitly mention tie-in novels as a main resource of information to be put here. Both explicitly mention the "non-canon" nature of such information. The possible content of both, for all intents and purposes, would be a "reader's digest" of the more extensive Memory Beta article about the same topic.

So, unless someone has a good answer for the above questions. why' don't we just combine these sections back into one? -- Cid Highwind 13:42, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

I first of all am presuming you're talking about the two sections on normal, in-universe pages. On ep pages, for example, having an apocrypha subheading under Background Information often makes perfect sense where there's other subheadings (eg. Script, Cast, Effects).
I disagree that Background and Apocrypha are the same. To me, "Apocrypha" should deal with all non-canon (but licensed) material on the subject. Background information should then cover all other "background" such as: who played a char, that a ship was a re-use, that a name came from a script, mentioning inconsistencies (not nitpicking)...etc.
Having said that, I agree that "apocrypha" is not particularly necessary on in-universe pages, for "Background Information" can cover all of that. – Cleanse 23:58, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
To me, "Background" information is stuff about the actor behind the character, where the character's name came from, that kind of thing. Apoc is stuff from novels, games, etc. It strikes me that rather than merging things, we should be making the distinction more clear on this guide page. -- Sulfur 16:50, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Arranging bginfo Edit

I feel it would be extremely helpful if we have a written consensus over whether we should arrange script info before actor info or vice versa. At least IMHO, the former method is a sensible, rational system which has been shown to work well. I believe the latter arrangement, on the other hand, is a random, overly sentimental and non-encyclopedic method, as it deviates from the natural order in which things actually happened. This topic has already been addressed on my talk page (here), but it's not completely certain (apparently) whether that discussion reached a conclusion and, if it did, what that conclusion was. Personally, I was quite content to follow the guidance, at Memory Alpha:Editing guidelines, which states, "Different editing styles are encouraged," and not insist on either of the 2 arrangements. However, this is clearly unsatisfactory for some other editors, who demand that 1 or the other method be institutionalized. So, it would be very helpful to find out your opinion on this issue, specifically whether you prefer the actor-script method, or the script-actor order. --Defiant (talk) 12:03, December 5, 2015 (UTC)

Fine, as much as I dislike instruction creep, and as much as you've NEVER needed it prior to the last ten days or so, let's base it directly on the layout of what we've been doing in PRACTICE for the last 10+ years.
The first item in a main BG section is the actor/actress. Then, the rest of the BG information follows in whatever order makes the most sense to people (whether that be chronological by actual timeline, by timeline in a particular BG resource, whatever).
We've been going over this for almost a week now, and everyone that's chimed in has pointed out exactly the same thing. Actor/Actress first, then the rest. -- sulfur (talk) 14:23, December 5, 2015 (UTC)

I really dislike instruction creep too, but this discussion was created at the insistence of ThomasHL. You're right about me having never needed this, as I've been quite happy to edit my own way for many years, arranging script info before actor info, and to allow other users the freedom to edit their own way, in compliance with the editing guidelines. Since it has finally become clear, a clarification process which I agree took an overly long time, that this is not what the community wants, I have no problem accepting that. However, it will take quite a lot of work, I suspect, to rearrange all the incorrectly ordered bginfo sections. It's a shame it's taken so long for the community to come clean about their truly restrictive feelings about how bginfo should be structured, but c'est la vie. --Defiant (talk) 15:50, December 5, 2015 (UTC)

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