Battlestar Wiki talk:Standards and Conventions/Archive1

Discussion page of Battlestar Wiki:Standards and Conventions/Archive1
Archive - Between September 10th, 2005 and November 31st, 2005

This page is an archive. Do not edit the contents of this page. Please direct any additional comments to the current talk page. Post replies to the main talk page, copying the section you are replying to if necessary. (See Battlestar Wiki:How to archive a talk page.) Please add new archives to Archive 02. Thank you. Shane (T - C - E) 12:30, 24 June 2006 (CDT)

Verb Tense[edit]

(moved from Battlestar Wiki:Characters)

What about it? Some pages are written in the present tense, some in the past and some switch. I, personally, prefer past tense. That way, in ten years, it doesn't sound like the show just aired. What do others think? --Day 04:24, 31 August 2005 (EDT)

I favor present tense, which is traditional for discussing fictional characters ("Achilles kills Hector in Book 22 of the Illiad, not "Achilles killed Hector in Book 22 of the Illiad".)
The battle summaries would be a possible exception to this - as histories, the narrative flows best in the past tense, but as fiction, the events are "always" occurring every time the viewer watches - but that should be dealt with elsewhere. --April Arcus 04:29, 31 August 2005 (EDT)
Hrm. Point. I was thinking, though, that when you read, for instance, the Lord of the Rings, "Gandalf said" rather than "says" and "Frodo did" rather than "does." However, this is a concern to more than just character pages... So where do we put it? --Day 05:31, 31 August 2005 (EDT)

When speaking of works of fiction, technically either past or present is correct, as long as one stays uniform. More traditionally, you would speak of a fictional work in the present tense (if you were giving a book report, for example) beacuse the work is considered timeless. If I review The Illiad today, someone who reads my review 50 years from now can read the book. I feel the same applies here.

In response to Day's concern about where to put it, there seems to be no central point for the guideline once it's decided. We could have a general "BSG Wiki Standards" page that would outline the preferred methods for future editors. Anyone else have any thoughts? Colonial one 21:25, 1 September 2005 (EDT)

A good future idea, but I'm not ready to go there yet. --April Arcus 21:30, 1 September 2005 (EDT)
Okay, I'm game. --April Arcus 01:24, 9 September 2005 (EDT)
Check this out, then: Battlestar Wiki:Standards and Conventions. I hope no one beat me to the punch. I've not put much on it, but I'll move this discussion to it's talk page, at least. --Day 05:07, 10 September 2005 (EDT)

Ship Naming, Abbrevation and Capitalization Standards[edit]

I find myself a stickler on the use of "Twelve Colonies" or "the Colonies" rather than "12 Colonies" as it appears more as a country's name, such as "United States." Other items, I feel, should be reviewed, such as placing ship names in italics per print convention (such as Galactica), the use of "Mark" when referring to the Vipers ("Viper Mark VII" and not "mk. VII" or "Mk. VII"). Likewise, "Colonial" should always be capitalized thusly, although "colony" remains uncapitalized for the same reason we do not capitalize "state" when referring to one of the United States. Perhap military rank abbreviations should also be looked into. Any more of these for debate or discussion? Spencerian 20:02, 12 September 2005 (EDT)

I agree on the Twelve Colonies. I have no opinion on the italicization or not of ship names and will go with whatever the consensus is without complaint. I'm not sold on the issue of "Mark" vs. "Mk." I like the way "Viper Mark VII" looks, but I think we should go with whatever current military notation is for things like this. I can't come up with any current tech off hand that uses the "mark" version numbering, but if it's common in the US (or whatever other) military to use the abbreviation, then I think we should also allow it. I agree on Colonial and colony. Could you elaborate on what about military rank abbreviations should be looked into? You mean just to make sure we've got the right ones and to make note of them on this page for reference, or... what? --Day 20:42, 12 September 2005 (EDT)
I believe that Mk. and Mark can be used interchangably but, at least in the Royal Air Force, Mark was always abbreviated Mk. in the official designations eg. Spitfire Mk. 1. Now they just drop the Mark altogether, like Vampire FB.4. Definitely agree ship names should be in italics. The rank abbreviations should just be like the modern US military eg. Cpt (Captain), CPO (Chief Petty Officer), etc. --Talos 14:21, 13 September 2005 (EDT)
I like the way "Mark" looks, but I wouldn't mind "Mk", either. Maybe future episodes will reveal which they use in the BSG universe. I agree on the other points under discussion. --Fang Aili 14:52, 13 September 2005 (EDT)
Well, in the mini, the signs in the Galactica museum say Viper Mk. 2. Personally, I feel that Mk. II looks better. In the RAF, the aircraft designations in the years around WWII used Roman numerals until about 20 so Spitfire Mk. VII, Seafire F. Mk. 32. --Talos 22:00, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
I think we should do it the way it's done on the show, but we don't have to go by one sign in one scene. I'm really of no opinion on this at the moment. --Fang Aili 22:48, 13 September 2005 (EDT)
In my capacity as resident Concision Fairy, I obviously prefer Mk. --April Arcus 22:59, 13 September 2005 (EDT)
So say we all. "Mk." it should be, O Concision Fairy (though that title sounds a bit painful to me...) Spencerian 19:46, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
Updated the Viper page. --Talos 23:22, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
Ship names should be italicized. Commercial vessels are referred to with a definitive article ("The Rising Star"), but military vessels are not ("Galactica"). There are grey areas - the Astral Queen has been referred to both ways, I think. Question: in the series, is Galactica a "she" or an "it"? --April Arcus 04:36, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
Well, in the miniseries, Tyrol refers to the hanger deck as a she, "Let's get the old girl ready to go and..." The Galactica is probably a she, at least in my opinion. --Talos 11:19, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
"She" appears to be the common way that all capital naval ships are deemed, and Galactica seems not to be an exception. Unless there's any further objection, I call for these standards to be added to the project page by our Concision Fairy. Spencerian 19:46, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
I'm no Concision Fairy, but I went ahead and added the above mentioned guidelines to Spelling and Ships. Did I miss anything? Should we make a note about rank abbreviations, too? --Day 21:30, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
Yeah, seriously. You can always do it yourself, Spence :-) --April Arcus 22:11, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
I wrote a list of the abbreviations on the BSG rank page, I'll add it to the talk page there for now. --Talos 22:27, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
For quick reference, Talos' rank abbreviation idea is here: Talk:Military Ranks --Day 03:04, 15 September 2005 (EDT)

PLEASE NOTE: Use of "Mk." is not mandated just acceptable. So don't feel compelled to go changing all the instances of "Viper Mark II" to "Viper Mk. II." Both are fine, so don't make more work for yourself than you have to. That is all. --Day 01:56, 16 September 2005 (EDT)

It's mostly in the titles and captions like the pictures in the Viper page. I'm also cleaning up the mks and such. I think there was a really bad mkVII I fixed. --Talos 06:40, 16 September 2005 (EDT)

Should we use the definate article or not? That is, is it "The Galactica" or "Galactica"? Characters say both throughout the series. Is there indeed a standard convention or not? There is an actual way of solving this without just guesswork: seeing as BSG is grounded in realism by RDM, I think it should use whatever standard they US Navy uses. But I don't know how to look up something like that. Still, do US Navy ships get referred to by the definate article? (I really only started noticing this on Star Trek around the time of Voyager and Enterprise: Next Gen referred to the ship as "The Enterprise" and DS9 called their ship "The Defiant". However, Voyager routinely called the ship just "Voyager" not "The Voyager" and Enterprise switched to calling the ship "Enterprise" constantly. Why this was done I don't know. What is the proper standard? Any help would be greatly appreciated. --Ricimer, 19 Sept, 2005

In response to this I went to the official websites of several US Navy ships. None of them used the definate article. This is a quote from, "Enterprise is currently undergoing an extensive yard period in Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard in Newport News, Va." --Talos 21:22, 19 September 2005 (EDT)
That was what we concluded in the earlier conversation on this topic, and is reflected in the current guideline. --April Arcus 21:33, 19 September 2005 (EDT)

Signing Your Work[edit]

I've noticed some pages are signed by the "Colonial Archivist" which is actually a pipe-link to someone's user page. I can't recall if it's always the same person or not, but--This is not preferred, right? If I see an article (episode guide or anything), I can take this out without fear of reprisal, yes? --Day 14:39, 13 September 2005 (EDT)

I've been deleting it. No article or section of article belongs to any one person. Cheers, Fang Aili 14:41, 13 September 2005 (EDT).


(moved from Battlestar Wiki talk:Welcome, newcomers)

Do we want to prefer Americah or British English spelling in this Wiki? I am seeing a confusing mix of both in many pages. --Laven 02:40, 1 Aug 2005 (EDT)

American spelling, whenever possible. -- Joe Beaudoin 13:24, 1 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Single-name Address[edit]

There are two currently active characters who share the same last name: Bill and Lee Adama; and Saul and Ellen Tigh.

It is often tempting to refer to Lee and Ellen by their first names, and (Bill) Adama and (Saul) Tigh by their last. I personally find this somewhat condescending. Jeanne Cavelos, author of the only good Babylon 5 tie-in novel "The Shadow Within", had this to say on the matter:

I used first names ... to differentiate between Anna Sheridan and John Sheridan. If I'd called them both Sheridan, that would have been a bit confusing. One person who read an early draft didn't understand why I didn't called John Sheridan "Sheridan" and Anna Sheridan "Anna." To him, this seemed the obvious way this issue should be handled. This, unfortunately, has been the standard for a long time. The man is known by his last name while the woman is known by her first. I found this totally inappropriate. Anna and John are equals, and should be dealt with on an equal level.

In my opinion, especially on their own bio pages, characters are entitled to use their last names alone to refer to themselves. Elsewhere, I would advocate disambiguation by using first names, as Cavelos suggests. Evidently Spencerian disagrees with me, based on his recent edit to Ellen Tigh. I'd like to hear his opinion on the matter. --April Arcus 22:31, 13 September 2005 (EDT)

I definitely agree that addressing women by their first names is totally inappropriate. Come on, we live in the 21st century. Characters should always be referred to by their last names, except in cases of ambiguity (as you mentioned). --Fang Aili 22:46, 13 September 2005 (EDT)
I have the same intuition as Cavelos' friend. Doesn't mean I'm right. Just noting. I agree that on Lee's page, he's Adama and on Bill's page, he's Adama. However, I think Saul gets more weight than Ellen on the name Tigh for one reason: He's Colonel Tight. She's... uh... Mrs. Tigh, I guess. And, if I had to pick something, I'd say that Bill gets precedence because he's older than Lee and because he outranks his son. However, I'm mostly playing devil's advocate, here. --Day 23:59, 13 September 2005 (EDT)
I understand the convention that April states and appreciate Fang Aili's thoughts as well. But Ellen is a secondary character, so the level of ambiguity between she and her husband was mashing me in the face as I read the page. But, if we go by the same standard that Fang Aili stated on the inappropriateness of using the first name for a female, then using Saul's first name alone is equally inappropriate unless we have a double-standard on this. So, to satisfy both conditions, I recommend we use "Saul Tigh" or "Colonel Tigh" in full whenever he is mentioned in the article, with "Tigh" referring to his wife. If we get an consensus, one of us can edit those changes in, unless there's another option that needs more discussion here. Normally on the Adama pages, I use first name or rank to differentiate the two Adamas. Since Ellen has no rank, her last name is all we have beyond using pronouns. Spencerian 16:10, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
So we'll change her back to just "Tigh" in the dialog snippets? --April Arcus 16:23, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
You and I understood Fand differently, Spence. I took the inappropriateness remark to be refering to women by their first names because they're women, not that it was inappropriate for other reasons. Thus, we can call Ellen Tigh "Ellen" as long as we also call Saul Tigh "Saul". Take my meaning? I mean--half the time I call Starbuck "Kara" without any need for disambiguation at all. I don't feel that's inappropriate (obviously), but I also don't think Fang was asserting it was. --Day 17:01, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
The page Ellen Tigh contains a number of exchanges between her and Tom Zarek. Right now it takes the pattern Elllen (Tigh), (Tom) Zarek. My point is that it should be Ellen and Tom, or Tigh and Zarek. Since the page belongs to Ellen Tigh explicitly, there's no need to disambiguate when referring to her by her last name - it should be the default assumption. --April Arcus 17:22, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
I concur. Those should be Tigh and Zarek. I think we should use last names in all cases where it's unambiguous and on a character's own page and only use first names when there is a possibility for confusion. --Day 18:06, 14 September 2005 (EDT)
If we have a consensus, I'd like to add this to the main page. --April Arcus 00:18, 22 September 2005 (EDT)

Episode Links and Formatting[edit]

We're frequently inconsistent with how episode names are shown in pages. In episode synopses, we usually place the name in parentheses (Like This). The period should be after the parentheses, not before if I remember my English style correctly. When we're talking about an episode in a sentence, such as in "Flight of the Phoenix" when Starbuck gives Racetrack's face a crash into a table. There are quotations around the episode name sometimes, sometimes not. Early on, I placed my episode names in italics but stopped that when I realized very few others did. Any thoughts on how this should be done? Spencerian 13:49, 22 September 2005 (EDT)

I've been using the same convention as you. It seems to work well --April Arcus 14:08, 22 September 2005 (EDT)
Cool. I don't think I've had occasion to mention episode names much, but these conventions seem good to me. I kinda like italics, but I'm easy. So... After a few days of this being up in case someone wants to dissent, I think we should go ahead and add it to the actual page. --Day 21:43, 22 September 2005 (EDT)

Proposed Guidelines for Dispute Resoluton on Speculative Matters[edit]

Note: This topic was tabled without implementation.

Cooked this up with an eye toward the kind of arguments we've seen from time to time. Weigh in if you find the suggestion agreeable, or if you don't think it's necessary. --April Arcus 18:42, 12 September 2005 (EDT)

Battlestar Wiki encourages speculation in areas where you believe your thoughts may be of interest to others. However, it is sometimes possible for contributors to hold two divergent and contradictory interpretations of the available material on a particular subject. This is a proposed set of guideliens for dealing with such conflicts.

  • When debate on an article threatens to consume it at the expense of other valid areas, it is suggested that the debate be spun off into its own article, with a footnote linking the existing article to the debate. An example of this is Cylons and Twelve Cylon Models. This guideline is relevant for articles like Cylons with broad coverage of many equally important topics.
  • Where two or more serious, diverging interpretations exist, they should be presented in the following manner - an comprehensive and NPOV list of evidence, with quotations, episode references, cut scenes, pod cast mentions, images, etc; followed by headers for each interpretation and a persuasive argument.
  • Although the wiki process naturally devalues individual ownership of contributions, many people grow personally attached to their opinions in cases such as these. In order to avoid offense, please be tactful and judicious in your modifications to arguments which other contributors appear invested in.
I like the way this looks in my head. I mean--assuming I'm getting it right, and I think I am. However, I don't know that it should go on the Standards and Conventions page, so much as a policy page of some sort. Maybe you can convince me it belongs here, though. --Day 19:01, 12 September 2005 (EDT)
I think it's got merit, too. However, there may be too much jargon in what you're trying to say. "Exegesis" isn't in most people's vocabulary (it's not in mine!). For instance, if I were to rewrite the paragraph starting with "Where two or more serious, diverging interpretations exist..." it would be simpler to read as: "When two or more interpretations exist, writers should edit the page with "pro" and "con" arguments on the topic, with aired information and official statements from the producers given more weight than personal point-of-view." An excellent evolution of that was the Gaius Baltar-is-a-Cylon argument I added to that article, which extended/derived itself to the Humano-Cylon page. An important caveat to that should be, "When an argument can be fully refuted based on aired episode and official statements, the refuting information should be placed in the topic and its source. Deletion is not preferred since Battlestar Galactica is a "live" work that can and will change the information in unexpected ways." Someone today, for instance, deleted a item on Starbuck as a possible bioCylon after sufficient evidence was given in "The Farm." However, deletion there wasn't the best bet--somebody might come up with that idea again and we have that ping-pong effect of adding/deleting. This policy could resolve the matter. If we have a preferred page size, too, this could be a gauge for whether an article is going overboard. Spencerian 19:48, 12 September 2005 (EDT)
Spence: I added another colon to the front of your post for readability. Maybe I've a simpler understanding of how things usually go, but I think it's usual to add one more colon than the preceeding post. Anyway, to topic: How long after something is disproven should we leave the proof up? I mean--right now there are very few characters about which we couldn't have a <name>-is-a-Cylon theory, but if it turns out that in the next episode there is some kind of conclusive proof that, say, Chief Tyrol is not a Cylon, how long should we leave the annotated Tyrol-is-a-Cylong theory up? If it can be proven he's not, based on aired material, then I think it's a waste of server space to leave it up long at all, really. Now, debatable stuff, which is subject to interpretation is another matter, of course... ---Day 20:38, 12 September 2005 (EDT)
For this particular matter, we could have an article on characters whose humanity is undisputed. This would be a white-list - as characters are convincingly demonstrated to be human, they'd be added. This would have to be based on a fairly strict interpretation of the evidence - Starbuck and Helo are obviously in the clear as a result of the hybridization experiments in The Farm.
In a subsequent section, we can note very strong probabilities - ie, anyone whose existance can be verified 30 years or more before the start of the series is probably also in the clear - (after all, the Cylons were only gone for 50 years, and must have taken a considerable amount of time to develop from "chrome toasters" to the human models). Likewise, characters whose parents can vouch for their natural birth (e.g. Apollo) are probably also safe.
Any character in the very strong probability section who is convincingly disputed could be removed, but I am most definitely not a fan of the logical contortions that lead to Starbuck-is-a-cylon scenarios. I also don't think there's a compelling need for a paragraph in Humano-Cylon on every single character whose humanity isn't 100% verified, so that tempation should be resisted. --April Arcus 21:19, 12 September 2005 (EDT)
I concur on most of that and some of iut should probably be noted on the Characters project page. Uhm... However, didn't someone have some theory about Starbuck? I don't remember it quite solidly, but I remember thinking it was odd, but not dismissable out of hand. Which is to say, I doubt Starbuck is a Cylon, but because of this theory I would not have a fit if RDM called me up and told me, no, Starbuck is actually a Cylon. Maybe the theory I'm thinking of held less water than I think it did. Maybe I dreamed it. Anyway, I guess this is getting off-topic, so to speak. I agree that we should shy away from <so-and-so>-is-a-Cylon theories because the volume could become enormous. Cally might be a Cylon. I'm not sure what advantage having someone with her personality type and limited-access would server the Cylons, but she MIGHT. We don't need an article on that, though. Certainly not on the Humano-Cylon page. Maybe, if it were going to be more than a note that her humanity was unconfirmed, it could go on her page. And, if we have a handful of people with rather elaborate humano-cylon theories, we could link their pages from the main page... WOW, I'm getting off topic. I'm done. --Day 21:27, 12 September 2005 (EDT)
Yes, let's stay focused on dispute resolution. The who's-a-cylon game can continue on the Battlestar Wiki:Characters. --April Arcus 21:31, 12 September 2005 (EDT)

UPDATE: Day and I have put together an example of this at Sacred Scrolls. --April Arcus 03:13, 14 September 2005 (EDT)

The sample on the Sacred Scrolls page is a good example, although long interpretations could render it something that needs a separate page. On the problem with the weight on speculative observations: There seems to be a preponderance of information that either supports or refutes a POV speculation. For instance, the Baltar-as-Cylon information is still open-ended as we still do not know what or if anything has happened to Baltar before, during or after the blast that leveled his home, and his behavior also supports this idea. On the other hand, Starbuck's origin is all-but-sealed. For any new theories, there has to be a reason why such speculation is germane and evidence to base the speculation, whether it be data that has interpretations with different results, or new information that opens up new questions on matters recently believed as undisputable. There has to be a way to define this to a standard. Spencerian 15:03, 25 September 2005 (EDT)

After two and a half months, I don't think anything very practical is going to come of this. I think we should table it and archive the conversation. --April Arcus 23:54, 30 November 2005 (EST)

All disputes should be settled by Thunderdome. --Ricimer 11:58, 1 December 2005 (EST)
Hey is that gender bias since technically, only men enter Thunderdome except as part of the MC duties or calling for or resolving problems of busting deals?  ;-) Lestatdelc 23:02, 1 December 2005 (EST)

Quorum of Twelve[edit]

Are they Delegates or Representatives? --April Arcus 03:52, 15 September 2005 (EDT)

Well, the Magazine refers to Tom Zarek as the "Representative for Sagittaron on the Quorum of Twelve". So, I guess there's that, for what it's worth. --Day 01:09, 14 October 2005 (EDT)
Well, here's the tally.
  1. McManus: "Every delegate she's chosen so far has been a Roslin cronie."
  2. McManus: "Sagittaron have chosen the delegate for the interim Quorum of Twelve."
  3. Thrace: "You've been selected as Caprica's delegate to the Quorum of Twelve."
  4. Roslin: "We need a candidate. Someone who will quickly win the delegates' support."
  5. McManus: "A number of the Quorum delegates have now shifted their support to the scientific genius..."
  1. Grimes: "Mr. Zarek is a representative of the people, and we are the people."
  2. McManus: "We’re here with Dr. Gaius Baltar, representative of Caprica."
  3. Baltar: "I'm just trying to do my bit, you know, as the elected representative for Caprica."
It seems like delegate is the more precise term. I think we should standardize on it. --April Arcus 23:50, 30 November 2005 (EST)
I concur. The last three quotes seem rather loose in meaning, as if they're using the word "representative" in its normal meaning because, after all, delegates tend to represent some grou0p of people to some body or other. Standardize away. --Day 16:59, 1 December 2005 (EST)


There isn't much confusion on this, but just to clarify: When content must be disambiguated based on continuity, the appropriate namespaces are:

  • (TOS) - Original series
  • (RDM) - Re-imagined series
  • (Video Game) - 2003 Video Game
  • (1980) - Galactica 1980
  • (SDS) - Singer/DeSanto continuation
  • (SC) - Richard Hatch's "Second Coming" attempt

I'll leave this for comments for a few days before posting it. --April Arcus 02:41, 2 October 2005 (EDT)

Just added the (SC) above. Hope that's alright. --Day 12:48, 1 November 2005 (EST)