Template talk:NotCanon

Older discussion, copied over from Template Talk:NonCanon[edit]

Since Template:NonCanon was supplanted by this template (among others) I copied the content of its talk page here. Frabby 11:34, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Original Discussion[edit]

As I see it, this template postulates wrong factual information. The computer games were produced under an official license, and there is even the occasional nod to original computer game content in the novels; conversely I know of no official source denouncing their canonicity per se. While I do agree that computer games contain minor inconsistencies and inaccuracies, there is nothing to suggest their overall storyline and content should not be straight canon. What we really need is canonicity policy first. Frabby 02:38, 11 May 2008 (CDT)

Read this forum thread. This has nothing to do with BTW needing a canon policy and everything to do with Catalyst Game Labs having one. --Scaletail 08:52, 11 May 2008 (CDT)
Having read the entire thread, I find that computer games in fact *are* considered canon, at least the cornerstones of their storylines that cannot be altered by players. Mendrugo actually produced Gideon Braver taking the Chalice of Herne as an example in reply #38 to that thread, also citing Jason Youngblood's exploits, the renaming of Carver V to Liberty, and other instances. The earlier notion that "compter games are non-canon" was corrected in this way, saying that these things happened, only not in exactly the way a given player may have experienced them over the course of playing the game. Frabby 10:11, 11 May 2008 (CDT)

Answer from Mr. Canon himself[edit]

Seems like Scaletail was on the right track after all, although perhaps not spot on. Following my questions on the issue of canonicity, Mendrugo stressed that he was not an official spokesperson regarding canonicity questions. Herbert A. Beas II, who is the acting CBT line developer and ultimately the person who gets to decide about Canon, wrote (edited for better formatting/readability) [1]:

Computer games and the material printed only in Germany (with the exception of the FOunding of the Clans novels by Randall Bills) are not considered canonical.
We have a rather simple matter of determining canon in-house: Whatever we establish for research material for the authors is canon.
Currently, that list includes:
All sourcebooks and novels produced for BattleTech by FASA and Roc in the United States
All sourcebooks and novels produced for Classic BattleTech by FanPro and Roc in the United States
All sourcebooks and novels (including electronic publications, such as BattleCorps) produced by InMediaRes (and its subsidiary, BattleCorps) in the United States
All material produced by WizKids for the MechWarrior: Dark Age/MechWarrior: Age of Destruction game lines
GENERAL INCLUSIVE NOTE: There are a few select instances where a story or article appearing even in these sources may be considered non-canon, but generally this is because the material was in error (such as date mishaps like original TRO3025's claim that the Zeus emerged from Defiance before the Mackie was even built OR Defiance even existed as such), or it was specifically published as a gag (such as Loren Coleman's infamous "Chapter 6" on BattleCorps)
The list does not include:
Magazines, even "official" ones such as BattleTechnology, 'Mech, and others
The MechWarrior, MechCommander, and MechAssault video and computer games, as well as the various BattleTech games produced for Nintendo and Sega game systems
The BattleTech cartoon series
The BattleTech comic book series
GENERAL NON-INCLUSIVE NOTE: Despite their non-canonical status, we have not gone into total denial about these sources either, but have simply opted to pick and choose what elements there are "canon" and what are not.
For example, the BattleTech cartoon series' events may not be canon, but the characters they contained were, and the series itself has been referenced as an in-universe "propaganda vid" for the children of the FedCom growing up in the wake of the Clan invasion.
- Herb

Based on this information, I concur that a Canonicity Warning template may be called for. However, I suggest to alter the text to read something along these lines:

"Ambigous Canon! Although the source of this information is a licensed BattleTech product, it is not considered to provide official canon; however, official policy is not to totally deny such information either. As such, the topic at hand may yet be determined to be canonical or non-canonical by further publications."

It gets really messy when parts of a non-canonical source were canonized though. So yes, the 1st Somerset Strikers exist canonically and did... something. But it remains unclear what of their alledged exploits is canon, and what is not. Similarly, Jason Youngblood was canoniced by mentioning him among a group of Kell Hound officers in one of the novels - but does that mentioning of the name make his whole backstory canonical? Questionable at best. I shall try to get a yet more definite answer out of Herb, but don't count on anything on this front... Frabby 14:33, 13 May 2008 (CDT)

Upon pestering HABEAS2 (Herbert A. Beas II) a bit more, and about Mendrugo's stance in particular, he agreed that "It looks like Mendrugo essentially has the long and short of it right, yes." when he (Mendrugo) wrote:

As long as a piece of fluff from an official source (FASA, FanPro, Catalyst, Infocom*, Activision*, Microprose*, Microsoft*) isn't directly contradicted, and makes sense, you can assume it to be part of the shared universe.
(*Fluff from these sources is 'canon' in the sense that the story that takes place in the game happened in canon in the same general broad strokes - Gideon recovered the Chalice from the Matabushi-backed Dark Wing; Jason found the Star League cache and rescued his father, then fought with the Hounds on Luthien; mercenaries helped Carver V become Liberty, FedCom forces on Port Arthur disrupted Smoke Jaguar operations as part of Operation Bird Dog, etc. - but the details are likely to be significantly different than the ones you experienced during your gameplay).

To me that means the computer games explicitly are canon as long as they are not contradicted by other canon sources. Other items, especially German-only material and BattleTechnology etc., remain ambigous canon. But canon nonetheless, until explicitly countered. Frabby 15:53, 13 May 2008 (CDT)

"Computer games and the material printed only in Germany (with the exception of the FOunding of the Clans novels by Randall Bills) are not considered canonical." That does not exactly sound "ambiguous" to me. What he said seems to confirm the earlier argument that the events portrayed in anything other than published, English-language books (or BattleCorps) by FASA, FanPro, or CGL is not canon unless it receives publication in one of those sources. I will grant that videogames are ambiguous in that TPTB will not un-canonize a plot that roughly fits into their universe for no reason. That is *not* the same thing as being canon. I mean, the whole point of the original MechWarrior videogame for the Super Nintendo was to kill Jaime Wolf. That obviously did not happen, nor did the Ragnarok BattleMech from it ever reach canon status. That said, my goal with the template is to alert readers who may not know any better that the plots of some things are not accepted by the broader community as "canon." I could accept a compromise, certainly, but think about it. If the plot of a videogame needs to be in a publication to be considered canon, then is the videogame really canon?
P.S. The lack of canonicity for German-only books was somewhat surprising to me, but then I didn't know a lot about how they got published. --18:10, 13 May 2008 (CDT)
My suggestion would be to create two sets of templates: One saying "The following is ambigous canon (refer to talk page)" / "Ambigous canon ends here" and a similar set with "Disputed canon".
Ambigous canon would be fluff from the sources that Mendrugo named with an asterisk, namely computer games which "[can be assumed] to be part of the shared universe [as long as it] isn't directly contradicted, and makes sense". Herb explicitly agreed to that statement, so his position about the non-canonicity of computer games while not totally denying them either is fleshed out in a workable way. The articles about computer games and perhaps certain key characters, as well as the 1st Somerset Strikers, should be tagged in this way.
This leaves original foreign-language (non-english) publications, BattleTechnology, etc. in a weaker position that computer games, something I suggest be denoted Disputed canon and be treated in a similar fashion. I feel the note about the possibility to be declared either (full) canon or non-canon should definitely be included in this tag. Examples to be tagged as Disputed canon would be the Ronin! scenario pack (working on that one, not created yet) and items directly from it like the Kiudo. Unless the latter was also put into Brush Wars, which I cannot check as I do not own a copy of Brush Wars yet. Frabby 01:46, 14 May 2008 (CDT)
I agree with you idea for two templates. One should be for articles on non-canon sources (such as videogames, magazines, and German-language books) and should state that the source in question is not canon, though the information within is reputable in broad strokes, though the details may be different or non-existent. The second would be for an article based on these source (such as characters from games) that would state the information therein is from a licensed, non-canon source.
I would also call attention to the fact that Mendrugo's statement puts the word "canon" in quotation marks, which would seem to indicate that they are not actually canon, but still reputable sources. --Scaletail 18:14, 14 May 2008 (CDT)


Alright, this lack of consensus seems to be holding other projects up, so let's down to it. We need to determine first what is and is not canon, then how we treat non-canon information here.

The above threads at CBT.com are fairly clear about what sources are considered non-canon by CGL: anything that was not published by FASA, Wizkids, FanPro, or CGL; anything not published in English; and magazines. This means that video games, the cartoon series, BattleTechnology, MechForce UK, and German-language originals put out by FanPro - among others - are not canon. If canon sources are in contradiction, the later publication trumps the previous one, unless specified otherwise by one of TPTB.

None of this is in question. The question is what to do with non-canon sources and the material they describe that is not directly contradicted by canon sources. In many instances, the writers tacitly give their collective consent to these sources when they deal with them as obliquely as possible (for instance, FedCom Civil War dealt with the battles that the player took part in in MechWarrior 4 only briefly), but that does not mean they are canon. This is the gray area that this future policy needs to have hammered out.

After much pondering, I stick by my earlier proposal, which I reproduce now for the sake of completeness. "[We should have] two templates. One should be for articles on non-canon sources (such as videogames, magazines, and German-language books) and should state that the source in question is not canon, though the information within is reputable in broad strokes, though the details may be different or non-existent. The second would be for an article based on these source[s] (such as characters from games) that would state the information therein is from a licensed, non-canon source."

I would like to point out that such assertions do not, in any way, lessen or cheapen the information or any persons who have written articles based on this information. If anything, it calls attention to the material. I know that part of Revanche's dream was to have everything BattleTech here, so that this could be a resource even for CBT writers. With that in mind, calling attention to non-canon information makes it easier for them to spot items that need canonization, and may even result in the canonization of such information. While we're a long way off from that, I don't see why we can't start planning and thinking big. --Scaletail 20:12, 7 July 2008 (CDT)

You essentially have my full agreement to what you wrote. I, too, would like this wiki to include as much data as possible and, "thinking big" as you put it, have some hopes that this could turn into a resource to be used by TPTB for fact-checking etc.
The one thing that I have issues with is the naming of what you call the "Gray Area", because I feel the designation "Non-Canon" is incorrect and besides the point (even if TPTB used the term themselves). The whole problem is that we have primary canon and then the "Gray Area", a second layer of official publications that is not included in fact-checking by TPTB yet generally treated as good-until-contradicted; it has explicitly not been fully rejected. That is not Non-canon; it is far more "official" than fan art, for example. If it was pure non-canon then it would not have a place on this wiki. As it stands, players treat the hard facts from comics and computer games as genuine canon, and that is how I feel it should be.
My suggestion wold be to name this "Optional Canon", alternatively "secondary" or "ambigous" canon. And yes, we need a tag for it. Although separating the "confirmed" canonical elements from unconfirmed "optional" canon in articles such as Crescent Hawks will be a nightmare. It is doable and should be done if this wiki is to take itself serious. Frabby 07:11, 8 July 2008 (CDT)
My problem with the phrasing is that is either is canon, or it isn't. I like "non-canon, but official." The thing is that the source has to be considered, which seem to require a more nuanced approach than simply slapping a template on something. There also seems to be another layer that I had forgotten about; that of information released in otherwise canon sources that have been swept under the rug by virtue of their non-inclusion in later sources. For instance, I know of nobody who still uses anything from the Tactical Handbook (though some of these items seem to have been reissued in Tactical Operations). --Scaletail 18:44, 8 July 2008 (CDT)
And that is the point we disagree on. We seem to agree that proper wording is absolutely vital to do the issue justice, but for the same reasons that you insist it must be called "Non-Canon" I strongly feel it must not be called so. Revance seems to be on the right track below, but I still like "Optional Canon" best by far as it comes closest to the essence of the problem. Frabby 08:29, 9 July 2008 (CDT)

Two More Options[edit]

1) Maybe Levels of Canonicity, such as Star Trek has? There, the fanbase sees anything in the shows and movies (with the exception of most the animated show) as Level 1 [I'm applying the title of 'level'], Level 2 as anything in the novels, animation and sourcebooks not contradicted by Lvl 1 and lvl 3 as fan-based. If we created such a distinction here, maybe using reference tags after statements that are lvl 2 or higher. The ref tags would state what level of canonicity is deemed appropropriate, with a possible link to a BTW policy regarding the details of which items are what levels.

2) Personally, I'm one for direct references (only) within each article to the referring material (ala Wikipedia), allowing the reader to decide if the source is canon or not. If we simply tell them where the material comes from, it leaves it up to the reader to decide. Of course, we're a far way from that (and it'll only get worse, as more articles are created). We wouldn't allow fan creations as references (and we don't now), but that way we avoid the whole contentious issue, leave it up to the reader and just supply a policy indicating that we don't take a stand. Otherwise, someone (and probably in significant numbers) will always disagree with any canon policy we put out.

One way to start referencing articles would be to focus on exactly those that bear the extra attention, due to the sources. For example, if the Scaletail and I in a (gentlemanly) disagreement about whether or not something should be included in an article, we'd provide references thoughout the disputed section.

(from Adam Steiner):
Member of a cadet line of the Steiner family who first rose to prominence in a daring reconnaissance mission through territory held by the Jade Falcons.[1] Noted for liberating his homeworld of Somerset in a Trial of Possession against Star Captain Nicholai Malthus (who had developed a personal enmity with Steiner); this victory was soured, however, by the Falcons decision to relocate the world's population before the trial took place.[2]

...where ref 1 was some page in House Davion and ref 2 in 1st Somerset Strikers. Its far from ideal, but in any discussions where someone says, "Yea, but Sarna says [this]," the respondant can always answer with, "Yeah, but the article says that came from Source XYZ, which I don't recognize." It won't determine who wins the canon argument, but it does provide the information and sources, which is the point of BWT. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 20:00, 8 July 2008 (CDT)

Direct and plentiful references are good but also wishful thinking (looking at my own edits). As an idea, the Star Wars Wookiepedia use tags that say "Ambigous Canon begins/ends here". Another thing I though about was colour codes, i.e. using green text for Optional Canon information, could that be done? With references, of course - every article that contains Optional Canon should have a "Canonicity" subsection discussing sources and canonicity of content. Frabby 08:29, 9 July 2008 (CDT)
From a technical viewpoint, yes: colored text can be done. However, if plentiful references are in the realm of wishes, colored text will be doubly so. References are hard enough for people to learn how to do, but I would have to re-visit the color code instructions, and a policy page would absolutely have to be done here, so that others could quickly pick it up. However, I just don't see people making use of color; instead, the BTW Wardens (i.e., us) will have to make those changes when and where we deem it. That's fine, I guess, but in any case, if something is coded to indicate ambiguity, then it definitely needs a reference attached to the end of the colored section.
Ambiguity absolutely needs to be spelled out in a policy. I'm leaning towards a no-tags POV, since to me tags scream, "This needs to be fixed." If something is at a different level of canoncity, then it cannot be fixed.
So, in summary, my druthers are, in order (policy are examples of stance only):
1) Just plenty of references (especially if one Editor disagrees with whether or not something is less valid as a source). Policy (in a nutshell): "BTW does not take a stand on canonicity, but leaves that up to the reader only. References will be provided by all Editors as to the source of the material."
2) Colored text, with a color policy, color instructions and references for the colored sections. Policy (in a nutshell): "BTW employs a levels policy regarding canoncity. In the case of Level 1 canonicity, materials printed by FASA, FanPRO and CGL, as well as the English-language novels, will be displayed in the standard black text. German-language novels and computer games, as Level 2, will be colored green. Comments made by The Powers That Be in a forum, chat or otherwise official capacity are Level 3 and orange. The BattleTech cartoon is recognized as Level 4 (unless directly attributed within the article as a fictional representation of in-universe events) and will be colored hot-pink. While references are essential to all information within an encyclopedia of this scope, all color-coded statements must be followed with a verifiable reference {see References Policy)."
3) Tags, with a very clear policy. Policy (in a nutshell): "BTW has adopted, after extensive discussion, a very clear policy towards canoncity. Anything printed by FASA, FanPRO and CGL, and in the English-language novels, is considered canon. German-language novels and computer games and comments made by The Powers That Be in a forum, chat or otherwise official capacity are considered ambiguous are are to be labeled with the following tag: (Ambiguous Canon Tag Name) The BattleTech animation is not considered canon, though we recognize that some Editors and Readers would appreciate including information from the series on BTW. In that case, the following tag will be applied: (Non-Canon Tag Name)" --Revanche (talk|contribs) 13:02, 9 July 2008 (CDT)

Any feedback? Scaletail? Frabby? --Revanche (talk|contribs) 18:17, 16 July 2008 (CDT)

I'm sorry. Apparently I missed your comment originally. I completely dislike option two, especially the color-coded commentary. I think BTW should look a little less amateurish than that. More importantly, I think its best to keep it simple. A four-step grade of canon is probably confusing to anybody who doesn't already know the deal. I guess this comes down to who our audience is. If we mean to inform people who have only a passing familiarity with BT about BT, then I think we need a clearly labeled delineation concerning what is and is not canon. If we are only here to serve the hardcore fans, then, no, we can expect them to be able to discern between what sources are more trustworthy than others.
It is my desire that any non-canon information that is part of an article that also includes canon information be in its own section labeled as such. Articles composed entirely from a non-canon source (or sources) should have a tag, whether that is a template box or not. Sources that are not canon should also be labeled as such. The reason I say this is because I have seen a lot of users register themselves and write "I played Mechwarrior 4 and I liked it. I want to help add stuff," then proceed to contribute using sources that are not canon. This is simply because they do not know better and so would not be able to discern between what sources are canon and which are not.
There is also something that seems to be missing from this discussion. If we do not take a stand on canon, then how do we tell somebody that their info is wrong, never existed, has been retconned, etc.? We would have endless edit wars between editors using new books vs. those who used old books, not to mention people arguing about more widely varied sources. Clearly there are cases where the sources contradict themselves, and the canonicity issue affects that as well. The simple fact of the matter is that the people who write for, produce, and develop CBT have a way of determining what sources are canon and which ones are not, and in what order to trust information. There is no reason, given our notability policy, that any non-canon information should be excluded, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't use the same method to give some information priority over others. --Scaletail 19:16, 16 July 2008 (CDT)
I respect completely what both of you have to say regarding methods of guiding BTW thru such a turbulent process. I need to get that out in front immediately. However, I have grave concerns that -with only three of us- we still have such varying opinions. Bear with me: that may actually be a good thing, because even if the three of us were in lockstep, I'd be concerned that we were establishing a policy with too little input representing the larger whole (of the CBT community).
With that note, we have two tasks:
#1: establish a canonicity policy (what is primary canon, on down) (i.e., Policy:Canon)
#2: establish a policy on how to represent it within the BTW articles.
With that, I propose we tackle the first one first, and then proceed to the second. And, I further propose, we do so by limiting discussion to the talk page for the new Canon policy to just what is BTW canon. When we have that hashed out, we'll move onto the policy of displaying it as such, via BattleTechWiki:Manual of Style, after discussing it on that policy's talk page. I don't mean to be too forward, but I'll open the canon talk discussion, with Herb's quote from above. Thank you, gentlemen; see you at talk page hopefully. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 08:55, 17 July 2008 (CDT)


Based on the discussion regarding tags for licensed sources on Policy Talk:Canon, I applied the banner to MechWarrior I. Please take a look at it; read it from the perspective of a first time visiot who comes into the BT 'verse from the MW games. Can we word it so it'd be a bit friendlier, but also get the point across a bit clearer? --Revanche (talk|contribs) 18:54, 22 July 2009 (UTC)


  1. House Davion Sourcebook, pg. 1,234
  2. 1st Somerset Strikers, pg. 4,321