Please read through the policy below to familiarize yourself with our common practices and rules.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or complaints, please post them on the talk page.
To be the most definitive and accurate encyclopedia and reference for Star Trek, it is necessary for us to restrict to some extent the type of information we accept. Ultimately, this will ensure that Memory Alpha remains useful and authoritative for the widest possible range of fans.
Memory Alpha does not promote any particular view or critical judgment on the various Star Trek related material; this policy only exists to permit an orderly cataloging of the data into manageable categories with a minimum of conflict and a maximum amount of fidelity to the material. With that in mind, archivists should at all times be tolerant and respectful of other viewpoints, opinions, and conclusions.
Summary of the policy
Articles need to cite each resource used as the basis for their information. Generally, everything seen or heard in any Star Trek episode or film can be used as a resource for a in-universe article.
Information from other valid resources can be used in an appendix section, or in a real world article. For example, dialogue in scripts that was cut from the finished product or information from the the Star Trek Encyclopedia should be noted in the relevant article's background information section, while information from official novels and similar publications would be included under an apocrypha section.
On Memory Alpha, we differentiate between two types of articles:
- In-universe articles or Trek universe articles. These articles are written about subjects inside the Star Trek universe, using an "in-universe" point of view. Subjects can include events, objects, or anything mentioned in an episode or film. They must adhere strictly to the in-universe POV.
- Real world articles or Trek franchise articles. These articles are written from a "meta" or "real world" point of view, and are written about the Star Trek franchise. Subjects can include articles about the production of the episodes and films themselves, as well as articles about novels, games, and other official materials, as well as pages about the actors and actresses.
In-universe articles require that all statements of fact be supported by a reference to an identified valid in-universe source. Failure to identify a valid source, or use of a source that is not considered in-universe, may result in removal or revision of the associated statement and/or article.
Real world articles should have citations as necessary, but the citations only have to be from a Memory Alpha valid resource.
The following are valid resources from the episodes and films and may be referenced in in-universe articles as citations, in descending order of precedence:
- Spoken dialogue (what is said)
- Visual material (what is seen)
- Aural material (what is heard that is not dialogue)
Images used in in-universe sections of articles should be from a valid source. Visual material seen in Trek universe resources can be supplemented by clearer images of the identical material seen (for example, production art identifiable as being the same as shown on screen but more legible) if the image is from a valid supplementary resource or otherwise generally and publicly available from a verifiable production source, and if the clearer image does not break the POV. Recreations of valid material (for example, images of rank insignia or signage) should strive for complete accuracy of the source material.
There are only two exceptions where material not directly seen or heard in an episode or film may be used in a section considered to be in-universe:
- To name items or people that were seen on-screen but not referred to by name, and
- for dating certain events in the Trek universe where no "hard" date was given.
For example, names such as Livingston and Neural were not mentioned on-screen, but are derived from production sources. The primary reason for this is to avoid creating a large number of "unnamed" subject pages when an official name already exists. Dates, such as 2285 for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, that were derived from official reference materials may be used to prevent labeling a number of episodes or films as being set in the 2260s, 2360s, etc, but these dates should be considered "soft". A background note explaining the source for the information must be provided if either of these options is used. In the event that any of this information contradicts on-screen information, however, then the information stated on-screen will take precedence.
Production and reference materials
The following resources may be referenced in Trek universe articles in an appendix section, or formatted as a background note as described in Memory Alpha's Manual of Style.
- Reference works created by production staff
- Material used day-to-day by production staff
- Any writer/director's guide for a Trek series (aka "Writer's Bible")
- Any writer/director's technical manual for a Trek series (aka "Which Button Do I Push to Fire the Phasers?")
- Any scripts of an episode; provided that spelling can be used as valid resources, but will not take precedence over spelling seen on-screen in an episode.
- Other information derived from production staff
- Information from StarTrek.com
- Supplementary DVD materials (for example, interviews, commentary, documentaries – anything that is not the episode itself)
- Background information from the production staff (from interviews with Rick Sternbach, Michael Okuda, etc.)
- Closed-captioned dialogue; provided that spelling can be used as valid resources, but will not take precedence over spelling seen in a script or on-screen in an episode.
- Reference works created by non-production staff
- The Star Trek: Star Charts
- Any "making of" publication (for example, The Making of Star Trek)
- Any authorized non-fiction reference works (for example, blueprints)
- Movie and television teasers, trailers, or other promotional material.
- Deleted or alternative scenes from episodes or films as compared to those from the most complete release, such as the difference between a remastered or director's cut when compared to an original or theatrical release.
- Portions of sets, props, makeup, and costumes to the extent not seen on-screen in an episode, even if they existed in real life.
- Scripts, series, and other material contemplated but not produced and released (for example, Star Trek: Phase II)
- Any other behind-the-scenes or production material
Please note that text from these works should not be repeated verbatim in articles. The relevant information should not be referenced in every possible article, but only in the most relevant one. For example, include information about Spock's species on the page for Vulcans, and not in every article that mentions Spock.
Reviews and ratings from professional, published sources are acceptable, though not required, background information, while public reviews and rating polls are not. For example, reviews and ratings from the "all critics" section on review aggregator websites like Rotten Tomatoes are acceptable, while reviews and ratings from the "audience" section are not acceptable.
Nielsen ratings should generally be limited to the first airing of an episode. Reviews from film critics should be used sparingly, generally with a single blurb on either side for neutrality.
The following resources may be referenced in Trek universe articles, but should only appear in an "apocrypha" section, or formatted as a background note as described in Memory Alpha's Manual of Style.
- Authorized fiction books
- Authorized comic books
- Authorized games
- Care should be taken regarding the quantity of such information included as Memory Alpha's primary purpose does not extend to detailed coverage of "extended universe" Trek. Archivists should use the section more as guidance for further independent study by a reader outside of Memory Alpha than a comprehensive review or extensive description.
- Generally, cover art and similar imagery should not be used except on the Trek franchise page for that material.
- Apocrypha resources are not to be the basis of an independent Trek universe article if not mentioned in or part of an episode or film (for example, characters, ships, and events not part of the episodes are not to have primary articles created for them).
- As with production and reference materials above, relevant information should not be referenced in every possible article, but only in the most relevant one.
- Simple name-dropped references should not be mentioned, only instances where information about the subject is expanded upon.
Tolerance in valid resources
The following matters will not affect the validity of a resource:
- Different actors portraying the same character (for example, Saavik).
- Differences in actors' appearance over the years (for example, Frakes in "These Are the Voyages..." and Frakes in "The Pegasus").
- Sophistication of optical effects (for example, streaming stars at warp, CGI).
- Use of interior sets for exterior locations, or other such matters due to film production capabilities
- Production mistakes (for example, microphones in shot; differences due to different "takes" being used in editing; post-production errors or artifacts; etc.).
- The archivist's assessment of the trustworthiness of the character who is the source of the resource (for example, Harry Mudd), or the archivist's assessment of the overall accuracy of the information contained in the resource. Archivists are, however, free to describe the resource's data in the article as "Character X stated that..." if there is a desire to imply that the resource may not be entirely accurate; though any further commentary on the perceived accuracy of a resource should be confined to an appendix section rather than in the body of the article)
- Conflicts in valid resources. In writing articles, archivists should be guided by the principle that to the greatest extent possible valid resources should be construed so as not to be in conflict, unless no other explanation is reasonable under the circumstances. A valid resource with a higher precedence can, but does not always have to, be given slightly greater evidentiary weight for the purposes of writing the article from a Trek universe standpoint. The conflict still needs to be noted, though.
The following resources are considered invalid and should generally not be referenced in any article on Memory Alpha:
- Blueprints, specifications, or diagrams not seen in a valid resource (including such items as Ships of the Star Fleet)
- Fan fiction of any kind
- Fan reference works of any kind
- Websites, unless information is also contained in a valid reference; provided that links to non-commercial external websites of interest can be included in an "external links" or similar section.