Policy Talk:Canon/Archive 1

The following is an archival copy of the discussion that led up to the current Policy: Canon (November 2009). Please do not change or add anything else to this archive; rather, open up further discussion on the current discussion page. Thank you.

Old discussion[edit]

This discussion page is limited the development (and later refinement) of BattleTechWiki's canon policy. This is a re-boot of the discussion started at Template talk:NonCanon (since moved to Template talk:NonCanonProduct - Frabby 11:35, 8 November 2009 (UTC)).

Starting Off[edit]

Gentlemen, I think to start this off I'll re-introduce Herb's quote from the CBT forums:

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

So, create a new headline for policy concepts. Please address specific concept comments within that concept section (for clarity purposes).

Levels Concept[edit]

Now, Herb's statement is a good starting point. However, its far from inclusive of the material we want to have on BTW. So, I propose we 're-write' Herb's policy to include levels (i.e., Level 1 supersedes Level 2 supersedes Level 3). Levels are already understandable as a concept to most BTers (though it has itself been superseded with the new Core books).

Here's my first draft:

Level 1[edit]

  • All sourcebooks and novels produced for BattleTech by FASA and Roc and 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

Level 2[edit]

  • All of the above materials that have been contradicted by later Level 1 sources
  • "Official" posts held by developers, writers and other employees of the CBT line
  • "Official" live chats held by developers, writers and other employees of the CBT line

Level 3[edit]

  • All sourcebooks and novels produced in Germany
  • "Official" WebZines, such as FanPro Commando Quarterly
  • "Official" magazines, 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

Level 4[edit]

  • All "non-official" creations of developers, writers and other employees of the CBT line, of any format
  • All "non-official" fan creations, of any format

Note: Level 4 material will not be incorporated into BTW articles dealing of Levels 1-3 origination, with the exception of a "See Also" section

Please include your comments regarding my Levels concept. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 09:37, 17 July 2008 (CDT)

Scaletail, you stated the following in the original discussion: "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."
I interpret that to mean you generally disagree with a Level-based policy. I'm hoping I address your issue of confusion for (what I term) Level 3 fans coming to the site by the above simplicity, but I suspect it any dismissal of this concept by you will be directly tied to your establishment of style policy. To answer that, I believe in references, references, references...by source at a minimum and a direct attribution, if at all possible. If we (the BTW Wardens) start using inline citations as a matter of course, then we can inculcate a sense of incompleteness without a source (or at least call into question any additions that come without suitable references that would provide the level of canonicity of the material). The inline citations (and tags for article-wide and sectional references needed) will go along way in establishing -by their very presence- the need to include references. I'd be happy to bring those templates over here, if the style policy discussion calls for it.--Revanche (talk|contribs) 10:00, 17 July 2008 (CDT)

The Frabby approach[edit]

First off, thanks for kickstarting this. I suggest a slightly different approach, based on what Herb wrote and on Scaletail's objections, and suggest the following:


Everything that is cleraly Canon because TPTB say it is. Covers Levels 1 and 2 above. This includes "canonized" Optional Canon such as the Crescent Hawks. And it does include the Animated Series as far as the sourcebook canonized it.

Optional Canon[edit]

All official publications that are not Canon and have not been canonized. Level 3 above, plus foreign-language material that was never published in English.

The most logical approach would be "Canonical unless contradicted" but that is expressly not the stance of the license holders. Alledgedly. Because everything they say points in this direction, leading me to believe there is a legal issue behind their official stance and their actual treatment of the material (see Herb's "General non-inclusive note").

Alledgedly, some of this material (namely BattleTechnology) was positively Canon in its time, and has been de-canonized by the current license holders.


Any non-official publications. Typically, fan-produced stuff. This likely includes articles and scenarios published oputside the license in non-BT-media (roleplaying magazines) and probably quite a bit of stuff from various MechForce sources. It also includes "private" publications from FASA/FanPro/WizKids/Catalyst Lab personnell that is published outside of their official function as professional BT contributors.

Non-Canon is not something we would put up on this wiki, except for custom designs clearly marked as such.

Conflicting information[edit]

As a rule of thumb, go by the following order:

  • 1. Canon trumps Optional Canon (and Non-Canon is irrelevant).
  • 2. Mind the point-of-view - many canonical sources are biased or admit that they provide rumours, unconfirmed or incomplete information. Treat all information as equally valid but not equally strong, and try to find a possibility to interpret/combine seemingly conflicting information.
  • 3. later publications trump earlier publications.
  • 4. Other than that, the more specific/detailed information usually beats more general descriptions.

Frabby 11:59, 17 July 2008 (CDT)

I see your concept of naming to be very similar to the Levels concept, with the exception that it does not automatically include everything as canon. Pros: It will solve disagreements about whether something is canon (or not) on BTW. Cons: Utilizing the specific terminology may allow some to feel as if their material is less than acceptable (same as mine, but more pointedly so). This could lead -if we're not careful- to some claiming BTW is not legitimate, due to its canon policy. I can easily sign onto your concept (dropping the 'Level' term) if we would work on the naming conventions for each type and clearly expanding what is encompassed in each category. (On that last note, I'm going to be adding the German material to the Levels concept...thanks!).
One final thing: I'm...loathe....to include the cartoon's sourcebook as Canon (in your use of the category). No reference provided, but I was under the impression that the in-universe perspective of the cartoon was that itself was a cartoon for Inner Sphere children. The sourcebook, in that respect, would be a sourcebook for the in-universe cartoon, and would not supersede any sources that came before it. That's how it differs: generally newer trumps older, but I could not agree to that in this case. In fact, I'd want place it solidly in your Non-Canon category (because it is 'fiction' within the BTUniverse, though -by definition- it should be in Optional Canon. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 12:21, 17 July 2008 (CDT)
I think we should leave off any discussion on individual sources for later, as this is difficult enough to hammer out as is. These two proposals are very similar, so it seems we're coming to some sort of a consensus. Let me throw a monkey wrench into it. Let's drop the term "canon" altogether. Instead, let's create a "Sources" page that can be a launching point for all policies on source material. One of these sections should be something like "trustworthiness," that can explain whatever we come up with. Since I do not believe we will be barring non-canon information, we shouldn't even use the term.
The problem that I see with these proposals is that every single article needs to have its level labeled. I also don't think it is appropriate to mix levels within sections. Even with citations, no matter what form they take, it will be confusing to readers who care about what "level" the info is. We already have precedence for this with BattleMech articles, as video game-exclusive variants are put into their own section.
In summation, I can sign on to a level-based policy, but every page needs to have its level noted. The exception is when levels are mixed within an article, as it should be noted within each section. --Scaletail 18:36, 17 July 2008 (CDT)
Scaletail, I just want to be clear (and I apologize if you were already clear on this): I wasn't talking about re-iterating the level policy within each article. I was thinking solely of referencing everything with its sources (with this format: [1]), following the relevant sentence or paragraph. The 'canon' policy, linked to on the main page, would quickly indicate to people where that source fell into the 'levels,' as far as BTW is concerned. Anyone in doubt could refer to the link on the main page (though the policy should be as simple as possible). That way, everything can be included in each and every article (in chronological order), and if someone doesn't agree with the information (in their own personal canon policy), they could disregard that particular statement (or paragraph). But, each article would read in chronological order, nonetheless. I don't see a need to have a template/tag at the beginning of every article stating its 'level,' and would in fact prefer to avoid that (since that then could lead to disagreements about the overall level of each article, depending upon each person's personal stake in the article). Having 'levels' applied only to sources limits future debates simply to that particular sources's placement on the 'level' chain, and having our's match so closely to CBT's would seem to alleviate that.
I'm completely amenable to slipping away from the use of 'canon,' as long as we're very clear that we're avoiding labeling anything as canon or non-canon. In fact, as you've stated, everything BattleTech is applicable (including fandom works), its just that some sources trump others. In that, I think the wisdom of avoiding the use of 'canon' is becoming clear to me, as everything is canon (to BTW). I'd still like to call the policy 'Canon Policy' so that people quickly identify the source, and we can have a statement in the policy indicating why we avoid the word 'canon'. As for describing the levels in terms other than 'levels' (ala Frabby's Concept), if we agree that is the way to go, we'll hash out the specific wording with a thesaurus. Edit: re-reading your response, I see where you're going with naming it 'Sources.' I'd suggest creating a 'Canon Policy' link on the main page that redirects to the 'Sources' policy. Likewise, the actual 'Policy: Canon' would also re-direct there, so that there is no mistake. I think this idea merges quite well with the intent of the "Frabby Concept," (a lot better than the "Levels Concept" does).
Re-reading your final paragraph, can you tell me why you want each article itself with a specific label of 'acceptance?' In my view (and maybe I'm in the minority), BattleTech is so rich in its various incarnations that a large percentage (granted not a majority) of the articles on BTW will have information with pertinent sources from various sources (CBT, novels, computer games, comics and cartoons). That's the reason I'm partial towards applying a 'Sources' policy only to the sources temselves, and not to articles. (To be honest, if I were a one-man wiki-writing dynamo, the 'Mech articles would have an article for each variant of each model; if I were only a one-man wiki-writing semi-dynamo, I'd lump all the variants of a model in one article, and then individually reference each variant. I don't personally agree with creating 'source' sections within the 'Mech articles, but I do differ in that regards and respect the group consensus). So, in spite of my 'rant,' can you tell me why we should form a consensus for the specific label for each article? I just don't understand the need.
Thanks for bearing with me, guys. Its great hashing thru this with other Wardens. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 13:25, 18 July 2008 (CDT)
I just want clarity, but I understand the way you envision this now, and I think it can work. The only thing is that we should have an article for any source that is used, as it will be on that sources page that its source level will be denoted. I can think of one or two specific instances where that might be inconvenient, but we can tackle those later. I'm even agreeable to the usage of levels now. --Scaletail 09:26, 19 July 2008 (CDT)
Wow, I think you're absolutely right about having that denoted on each source. At a minimum, then, we can have a note section that states something like: "According to BattleTechWiki's Source policy, House Liao Sourcebook is considered a [top tier] source of information, only superseded by facts from other [top tier] sources printed after it." Or, we can have a tag located at the top of the article, to quickly bring one's eyes to it.
So, if you and I are in consensus, we just need to see where Frabby lies (at a minimum). --Revanche (talk|contribs) 09:52, 19 July 2008 (CDT)

Taking a step back[edit]

Thanks for the wakeup call Revanche, I somehow managed to miss that this discussion had gone ahead. Sorry if I kepty you waiting. As much as I'd like to say we have a solution, I think we (or, at least, I) have to take a step back and ask yourselves some questions (please feel free to add comments to the individual points below): Frabby 10:50, 6 August 2008 (CDT)

What is the relevance of the Canon debate for this wiki?[edit]

I.e., why are we making a Canon policy in the first place? What should be achieved by this? To me, Canonicity determines relevance, and thereby what belongs on this wiki. Non-canon BT material ought to be clearly marked as such, as is already being done with Custom designs; personally I could even do without Fanon here. As it has been put, "think big" and turn this wiki into a resource that even the writers could use for reference. We certainly do have that potential here. Frabby 10:50, 6 August 2008 (CDT)

I agree for the most part, but I think that fan-created content does have a place here. Maybe it could be relegated to user subpages? For example, if I create a custom 'Mech called the Alligator, then CGL creates a canon Alligator BattleMech in a hypothetical TRO:3081, would that real one be relegated to Alligator (BattleMech) by virtue of the fact that there is a fanon one? I think we also need to do something more with fan-submitted content, as I think its too easily confused for the real thing, especially if the editor uses the same format as the one present in canon articles. --Scaletail 18:40, 6 August 2008 (CDT)
I, too, agree with including fan-created material here for 2 reasons: 1) I believe that it was/is Nic's intent to allow it, from the earliest collections of fan rules (and somesuch) in early Sarna, as evidenced by his connection with Neveron, and 2) it already exists. I, too, agree that we do not allow it to be confused with non-fan created sources of BT material. However, I'm opposed to relegating it to sub-pages because 1) moving it when found by a Warden makes it appear to the originator as if his/her creation doesn't deserve main-space billing and 2) it is not found within searches when on subpages. For example, I've stored my own factory creation| rules here on a subpage.... ...nevermind. Still, I think judicious Wardening (I now declare that a word) of fandom should be de rigeur, with appropriate tags (a place where I do feel tags are always appropriate) firmly and quickly placed. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 20:23, 6 August 2008 (CDT)
Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting the removal of Fanon. But it needs to be kept clearly separate from the other content. Agree to what you wrote. Frabby 04:44, 7 August 2008 (CDT)
So we are in agreement then that it stays, but with more visible notices. --Scaletail 18:00, 7 August 2008 (CDT)
I agree. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 21:14, 7 August 2008 (CDT)

How should we tackle the Canon issue through the Canon policy?[edit]

The ideas discussed here so far are fairly similar (which is a good sign). It is a bit unfortunate that a mere three contributors should hammer out the Canon policy for the premier (as far as I'm aware) BT wiki on the net, but there you go. Canon in the BT universe appears to be a total mess. The BT Canon policy needs to provide a good overview of the tangled situation, and approach the issue as broadly as possible - leave it to the individual users to figure out what they regard as Canon and what not based on the information and procedures the Canon Policy can provide. This is essentially the first half of what has been discussed above. Frabby 10:50, 6 August 2008 (CDT)

I agree that I would love to see more editors contribute, but we cannot force them here. --Scaletail 18:40, 6 August 2008 (CDT)
I agree with the sentiment, as well. I came this close [insert your own mental image here] to posting a call for policy contributors at CBT, but realized we'd get a lot of drive-bys, with no intention of remaining behind to reap the 'rewards' of their consensus. However, I submit the proposal that someone, i.e., the three of us (at least), should come to a consensus (and soon), post the policy and then let it grow on its own. Something needs to be out there to reference and -as long as we don't fall into believing its biblical in nature- it will grow and adapt to the circumstances. Maybe not in any way the three of us would now agree upon, but even Nic has taken the 'let the community decide' approach.
Frabby, I'd like to point out that your declaration of the state of CBT's own canonicity policy should be the reason we go with Scaletail's concept of avoiding the use of it. The three of us will never be able to come up with a policy that meets the approval of the vast majority of (potential) Editors and visitors to BTW, as long as CBT-dom's policy remains so fluid and full of life (i.e. multiple sources). (Not that we should feel awful about this: I seriously doubt the vast majority of (potential) Editors and visitors to BTW could come any closer to such a policy for BTW.) I think by declaring everything BattleTech to have a valid place here, then its resource for all (fans, writers, advertisers (search for 'Sarna')) is assured, and they can decide, based upon the references, which is applicable.
Do I understand correctly then that the three of us agree in an open policy towards the posting of materials, with no need to call for whether something is 'canon' or not? Can we agree that BTW will avoid the use of the word 'canon' to describe what is and is not allowed on BTW? --Revanche (talk|contribs) 20:38, 6 August 2008 (CDT)
What I am arguing for is that, as part of the Canon Policy, any and all information pertaining to the nature of BT Canon (namely the various postings on the CBT forums) should be collected and digested. Through this, users should be provided all the information there is so that they can form their own opinion, because I feel there is no clear-cut official stance as of yet. The actual Policy on this wiki would then be to include anything that was ever published with a valid BT license, but I strongly suggest take care to observe two rules:
  • Every article covering a source (i.e. any sort of publication possibly contributing canon) should have a "Canonicity" section explaining its status and pointing to the Canon Policy page for detailed information.
  • Within virtually all articles, any bit of information that is not clearly canon should be marked as such, again with links to the Canon Policy and also to its source where, as per the above rule, a detailed overview of the source and its canonicity status should be found.
Combined, these are the three pillars of the Canonicity Policy as I envision it. Lots of work I admit, but apparently the only way to go. Since I find it hard to explain my thoughts I think I'll be bold and produce content for a Canon article as well as this policy, and see if you like it (feel free to delete or edit mercilessly). Frabby 04:44, 7 August 2008 (CDT)
I will reiterate my previous suggestion of not using the term "canon," in our policies at all, but integrating a "source rating system" into a comprehensive policy on sources. I think keeping sources from different levels in different sections will alleviate a lot of the necessity (see Shootist for an example). I don't think a "canonicity" section is necessary because, frankly, most articles at present are composed solely of top tier sources. I think that the idea of explicitly addressing the source material, as you have often done when writing articles that use scenarios, is fantastic and should be encouraged when using other source material. --Scaletail 18:00, 7 August 2008 (CDT)
I want to highlight a critical hallmark that I feel Frabby has identified: license. Basically, everything falls into either being licensed or fandom. Fandom is clear: it gets a tag everytime and is not incorporated into articles about licensed subjects; it appears we're all in agreement on that. Licensed (whether past or present) material -from this point- is what we Wardens are hammering out. If we make this clear in the Policy, then we've side-stepped the need to use the (I maintain) contentious words of 'canon' and 'canonicity.'
1: I believe Scaletail and I are one on this; Frabby, can your above statement use 'license' instead of 'canon', and
2: Possibly see the "Canonicity" section within source articles (in your above statement) to be addressed as something along Scaletail's "Source Rating"?
Ex: instead of ==Canonicity Determination== maybe ==Source Rating Determination==
Cheers, --Revanche (talk|contribs) 21:14, 7 August 2008 (CDT)
While I see where the two of your are coming from, I do not share your opinion re: Canon/Source rating. While I do agree with the sentiment that it would be preposterous for this wiki to determine what is Canon and what is not, that is exactly what we are deliberately not doing with the Canon policy after all. Therefore, the need to avoid the possibly preposterous naming does not arise in the first place. (I would even explain this approach/attitude within the Canon Policy.) On a more practical level, a new user would probably use the catchword "Canon" to find infos and the wiki policy on the matter. In this respect, a misleading name would even be detrimental. I have found this word to hit the nail on the head in my own edits and would not want to go into lenghty explanations about source rating every time. I feel changing the name tag does not change the matter, it only blurs the subject at this point. Frabby 02:20, 8 August 2008 (CDT)
Alright, how about this. Any information that comes from a licensed source must be referenced (all information needs to be referenced, but this is enforced with extreme prejudice). Next to the first reference the editor must indicate that this source is licensed (except for the main CBT license from FanPro and, now, CGL) with a link to Policy:Sources that explains what a "licensed" source is and how it differs from other types of sources. This frees the need to explicitly state this in the body of the article (though it is still encouraged). While I would still prefer some kind of note or tag at the top, this still denotes the canonicity (or lack thereof) of the source in question for any reader inquisitive enough to check the references, so I can live with it. --Scaletail 16:35, 8 August 2008 (CDT)
Frabby, I'm still open to having a policy named Canon Policy, with a clear statement indicating that BTW does not attempt to declare one licensed source canon, while another licensed one is not. Instead, we'll explain that the various licensed scources (ex: FedCom Civil War (sourcebook)) have priority over other licensed sources (ex: Battletech: The Animated Series, Interstellar Players) within the subject articles (ex: Victor Steiner-Davion), which will be discussed in the appropriate section of each subject article. That section will incorporate a link back to the Canon Policy, for anyone entering the site at that article point. That way, any search for how canon is handled in BTW will result in finding the policy, and individual discussions (on the article's talk page) can help shape views on how relevant a particular scource is to the overall CBT history.
Gentlemen, I think what help me best understand your POVs is if we start demonstrating our particular stances with actual articles. I have no issue with going forth and choosing one or two articles each and editing them into the 'near-ideal' state of what we wish to accomplish. I'd recommend not choosing the largest articles, for sanity's sake, but if we each adopt 'example' articles, we can then present them for each other's review here (reverting/completing when a policy is determined). How say you? --Revanche (talk|contribs) 10:04, 9 August 2008 (CDT)
Gentlemen, I want to assure that I am moving forward with my demonstartion article, on the Brotherhood of Randis. I'm just compiling my source data, and then I'll build the article, employing the canon policy as I view it. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 18:46, 11 August 2008 (CDT)
Similarly, I am preparing improvements for the articles Grig Griez (sole source is amibigous canon) and Kiudo (part of the info is straight canon, some details are ambigous) to illustrate my view. Frabby 09:57, 12 August 2008 (CDT)
Sounds good, Frabby. I look forward to the presentations. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 13:34, 12 August 2008 (CDT)

How should the Canon Policy be applied to the Wiki?[edit]

The trickiest part, and as far as I can see unresolved as of yet. Although it can be an ardous work in some cases I think there is really only one way to go about it: Discuss the canonicity status of a given source with the its article (each and every one should have a "Canonicity" section!), and somehow highlight optional/secondary/arbitrary/dubious/whatever Canon in the article whenever citing information drawn from a non-prime Canon source. I suggest we introduce "Canonicity Warning" tags for entire articles that are purely based on non-prime Canon sources (Fallout comics, computer games) and another tag for articles that are partly prime-canon and partly not (i.e. Crescent Hawks). Frabby 10:50, 6 August 2008 (CDT)

The reason I suggested tags was because I wanted to avoid having to do that for every single article, as is the reason I suggested relegating non-canon information to separate sections (as I have done with existing BattleMech articles). I think we would only need on tag per article, rather than one per section as a I previously argued for, with the tags on sources as long as the article is properly sourced. Simply having the warning should alert users to pay attention to what sources are being used. --Scaletail 18:40, 6 August 2008 (CDT)
Okay, can the two of you please help clarify something for me? Are we talking about tagging only source articles, or potentially all articles?
I personally am opposed to banner-tagging all articles as a policy, because of the transitory nature that the tag itself suggests, as if the article needs to be improved because it does not meet some policy or other set down by others. However, I can compromise on tagging source articles (maybe there should be a source category?), indicating where they might fall within potential BT 'universes.' An example is the fan-tag I originally created (and have updated from its original dire warning/nature). If we can professionally come up with tags that discuss where a source compares to another, I'm all for it. That gets slapped somewhere suitable (at the top?) of the source article. We then pursue a policy of cite-tagging all articles/sections/paragraphs/sentences that are missing references (which does mean the article is lacking something, and seeks improvement) throughout the wiki. A visitor will then discount quicker something that is unreferenced or, if he knows of it, will provide the proper citation. (Exception: fan-creations should always be tagged as such.)
In other words, I do see a compromise regarding tags that I think would improve BTW. Please clarify your POVs, so that I'm certain I understand them. Thanks, guys! --Revanche (talk|contribs) 20:48, 6 August 2008 (CDT)
See above (How should we tackle Canon) for my vision for the Policy. Unlike Revanche I do not regard banner tags as indicating work in progress, but rather as prominent warning flags which is appropriate for a topic as sensitive as canonicity. I like the Template:NonCanon Scaletail made, it appears to be the best approach to me, although the text could be reworked a little. Frabby 04:44, 7 August 2008 (CDT)
I'm now remembering the reason I want non-canon articles tagged with such prejudice. See Talk:Clan_Jade_Falcon_-_Tau_Galaxy for an editor's confusion over a Neveron faction page, which lead me to create Template:Neveron. Though this is fan-created material as well, and thus already tagged, it has informed my opinion in wanting to avoid any confusion for casual users. Let's be honest. Not every single person who uses BTW will read every policy (I think it's obvious that most editors don't start out by doing so), including the one on sources. That's why I previously suggested using tags, but I think Frabby's idea of discussing the sources within the text of the article is better, and I think that doing both would be redundant. --Scaletail 18:00, 7 August 2008 (CDT)
I think I have adjusted my way of thinking now to better understand what the problem is, and -making use of the 'Tau Galaxy' situation above- I think Scaletail's banner clearly marking fandom material is near-perfect (I wish to discuss wording a bit later, after the Policy is nearing completion). I firmly believe any non-licensed material has no place in regular articles, and if an enterprising Editor comes across an uncited nugget of information within a licensed article, it should be removed forthwith, with a summary indicating why (and possibly a call for discussion). No need to leave any material that suggests fandom within those articles for further discussion. If it was licensed material and can be properly cited, then it can always be returned. That should be a core tenant of the Policy.
So, if everyone feels like we're all simpatico, shall we move to a frank discussion of Source Ratings, along the Frabby approach above? --Revanche (talk|contribs) 21:14, 7 August 2008 (CDT)

Fleshing out the actual policy[edit]

I have looked over a number of other fictional universe wikis. The Canonicity approach on [Memory Alpha seems to be fairly much the same that I think we are heading for here. Is that right? Frabby 13:47, 11 August 2008 (CDT)

That link takes you to a definition of the word 'canon,' as the feel the vast majority of Stra Trek fans define it. An example of the site's policy can be found at Memory_Alpha:Canon_policy.
Where I think they differ from us is that they actually establish what is canon for the site with this policy, whether it is licensed or not. If it it does not fall into the site's canonicity (such as novels), then it appears on their sister site, Memory Beta. Fan fiction of note (stories, shows, roleplaying chapters, etc.) is covered by the cousin site, Star Trek Expanded Universe. Our site, however, currently encompasses all things BattleTech, licensed and unlicensed, but (as Scaletail, you and I so far have established) with the unlicensed articles segregated from the licensed articles. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 18:40, 11 August 2008 (CDT)
What you wrote above is exactly how I see it. Guess Memory Alpha was a bad example after all, sorry for that. Do you think the policy as suggested on this project's main page is workable? (It should include the available tags and provide a manual of style of some sort how to mark the articles, once we have hammered that out.) Frabby 10:04, 12 August 2008 (CDT)
Yes and no. I disagree with the tag, as it confuses the issue as it is currently worded. As far as I was understanding, we are making no effort at all to define canonicity, while the nutshell tag implies differently.
I see, however, you have redlinked to a Canon article (not policy, but article), which might be useful if we create a non-BTW-binding discussion about how canonicity is defined in the differing POVs (kinda like what your link to Memory Alpha addressed). For example, this is where we can give CGL's official stance (ala Herb Beas), discuss how the various MicroSoft computer games view canonicity, explain Neveron's flirting adherence to the BT'verse, etc.
But, when it comes to the policy, we start off the article clearly and bluntly: "BattleTechWiki does not seek to define canonicity. Instead, that is left up to the individual guest. BTW allows all things BattleTech into its pages, segregating unlicensed material from articles on licensed subjects." Section 1: We then expand on the differences, with a list of the various Grand Sources of licensed material and the general drift of their products (ex, FASA, FanPro, CGL, MicroSoft, ROC with sourcebooks, rulebooks, scenarios, computer games, novels, etc) against (Section 2) some of the larger unlicensed Grand Sources (BattleTechnology magazine, Neveron. Section 3: We then explain how licensed source articles (articles about individual sources, like games, scernarios, novels) are to be handled (description, with a brief analysis with how it is generally accepted in the overarching canonicity (but clealry not BTW's)), and (Section 4) how licensed subject articles (Capellan Confederation, Hunter DropShip, Atlas BattleMech) are expected to have citations from these licensed sources within their articles. Section 5: We can then finish up with a discussion as to how fandom articles are to be tagged at the top with the following code (blah-blah-blah-code-here) and are not to be included within licensed articles. Instead, a fandom article can be wiki-linked within a licensed article only in a ==See Also (Fandom)== section, so that people can find fan-created material through following the major links. (I'll create an example of this See Also (Fandom) section in my Brotherhood of Randis article.) --Revanche (talk|contribs) 13:32, 12 August 2008 (CDT)
Guys, I went ahead and expanded Frabby's initial start on the actual policy with the bones of what I discussed above. Please have a look. And, once again, I want to say 'thanks' to Frabby for introducing the concept of licensing as a means of defining what we wanted to say. That was a critical point in my understanding our shared goal. Using 'license' and 'canon' as two separate terms helps clear the air on what is to be included and how. It has been immensely useful to me. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 14:47, 12 August 2008 (CDT)
For the most part I like it. The only issue I have is "licensed" v. "canon". Sourcebooks that were published by FASA were not licensed, so I don't think it's appropriate to refer to them as such. Other than that, I like what you've done with it, Revanche. --Scaletail 18:12, 12 August 2008 (CDT)
Ha! You're right. I hadn't thought of that. Hmmmmm....well, if it is alright with you, I'd like to table that until we have the policy near completion. Maybe, once we're happy with the policy itself and are about to introduce it to Nic, we can hash out how to address it? --Revanche (talk|contribs) 20:12, 12 August 2008 (CDT)
Then what about calling it "Official" material, and place a definition of that term into both the canon policy and the canon article that says our concept of "official" material is meant to include licensed material such as Novels, Computer Games and FanPro Germany material (besides product from the rights owners, i.e. FASA, FanPro US, GCL, WizKids).
I also think that "licensed" material includes the Comics and Animated Series, as well as the German-only novels. Because they all have a legal right to publish original new content for the BT universe.
(I also took the liberty to rename this section, as Memory Alpha was increasingly inappropriate.) Frabby 02:48, 13 August 2008 (CDT)
At first glace, I like replacing the term 'licensed' with 'official,' but I think -to some Users- the context it shares with 'canon' may be a just a tad too close, that they may think it is synonomous. We could clearly indicate that when we say 'official' we mean both FASA and licensed material, but my concern would be that we'd have to continue to say that elsewhere whenever we use 'official.' I see two options: a) use a sidebar on the policy forgiving our use of the term 'license', saying while it is understood FASA was the license owner throughout its tenure, the term will be applied both to all products released under license and by FASA, for simplicity's sake, or b) whenever we use the term 'official' on the site, we wikilink it back to the subsection of the policy where we clearly define it.
And I definitely agree with you on the license held by the comics, animated series and German novels. Their exclusion was only because I was trying to quickly build a framework to demonstrate my view of the policy. If something is licensed, it is licensed. No question there. They definitely are not fan-created material.
Other than that, Frabby, how do you feel about the framework of the policy now? Do you feel comfortable with the three of us moving on to discussing individual sections of the policy, and the wording? --Revanche (talk|contribs) 08:15, 13 August 2008 (CDT)
I think I can say yes to your question above Revanche, but with a pinch of salt. The discussion has spread over so many talk pages that I find it difficult to keep track. If and when an issue arises that brings us back to the basic outlines of the policy then so be it.
In this context, I have to ask: What is the difference between BattleTechWiki and Policy pages? From the vague understanding I have I think the canonicity issue belongs to the Policy side, not the integral BTW side of things as it is an issue with the content, not the OOC administration. But that is just my understanding. Frabby 03:25, 18 August 2008 (CDT)
I think everything that we need to discuss regarding a canon policy (if notability means "what deserves to be on BTW" then Canon already has that clarified, and notability should be wrapped up into it) is on this discussion page. As for the other, I think your understanding is perfectly fine. However, if I had my way, all of Policy would fall in the BattleTalkWiki space, as policy discussions seem to be as far deep into administration as we're ever likely to see here. Search on wikis can be limited to certain 'spaces': the source and subject articles all exist on the Mainspace, while images exist on the Imagespace, etc., etc. However, Policy does exist as its own space and I think, when we're done here, this should get moved over to the Policy space, as well.

Now we start discussing thr wording for each section. Lets limit it to one section at a time, so as to keep on track. If you want to get something off your mind about a forthcoming section, please feel free to start a discussion area for that.

Producers of Licensed Material[edit]

Okay, gentlemen: I think we need to list every source that ever held a license to produce BattleTech, in whatever form. It really won't be that hard, but I think it may get added upon as time goes on. Frabby, you can help us with the name of the licensee who printed the German-language novels.

Let's assume for the moment that the note/sidebar regarding FASA being a license owner has been explained, and therefore falls under this section (along with WizKids). Please add to the list:

License Owners:

  • FASA
  • WizKids (a division of Topps, Inc.)


  • BattleCorps (a division of InMediaRes Productions, LLC)
  • Catalyst Game Labs (a division of InMediaRes Productions, LLC)
  • Fantasy Productions (Fantasy Productions Medienvertriebsgesellschaft GmbH in Germany)
  • FASA Studio (formerly FASA Interactive Technologies, a division of Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Fighting Pirannha Graphics
  • Ironwind Metals
  • RCW Enterprises
  • Roc Books (a division of Penguin Group)
  • Saban Entertainment
  • Virtual World Entertainment Group (formerly Virtual World Entertainment)
Are you limiting this list to CURRENT liscence holders? If not, then
  • Pacific Rim Publishing had a liscence for its BattleTechnology Magazine
  • Activision & MicroProse had a liscence for their Computer Game(s)
  • Kesmai had a liscence for its Multi-player BattleTech computer/online game based off the Activision Mechwarrior engine and the abortive Multi-Player BattleTech: Solaris and SGVA Multi-Player BattleTech.

--Cameron 17:11, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Final Draft form?[edit]

Okay, guys: I went ahead and built as much as I could and hope you'll let me know what areas it is lacking or add that info yourself. Scaletail, please note how I handled the license owner issue you identified. I hope it meets your approval.

If you really don't have any issues with this draft or anything else to add to it, please let me know. I'd like to pull Nic in once the three of us are happy with it, get a once-over from him and then open it up to a week's length of review and voting by the active Editors (via a Main Page notification).

Thanks to your drive to see this done, I think this policy is just about done. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 22:49, 19 August 2008 (CDT)

Canon Policy vs. Canon article[edit]

While the part about Fanon does belong into the policy, I believe the actual list of license holders, being factual information and not a policy, should probably go into the article about Canon. Also, the list seems to be closely related to, and could possibly be merged with, the List of Products (By Year). Opinions? Frabby 01:25, 20 August 2008 (CDT)

I agree. I'll leave the list where it is, until you incorporate it in your article.--Revanche (talk|contribs) 06:34, 20 August 2008 (CDT)

To-Do list from here[edit]

I am putting this here as a reminder to myself, and also to see if you (esp. Scaletail and Revanche) agree with the agenda:

  • Decide on wether we want to use the word "licensed" (which is not entirely correct as Scaletail observed) or "official", and make sure that the word is then used properly and stringently throughout all articles concerning canonicity.
  • Decide if Notability should be part of the Canon Policy, or remain a separate Policy. I am undecided, with a slight tendency towards the latter.
  • When having finished the policy, copy this entire BattleTech Project page to a Policy page (including the discussion page please!) and delete the Project page as it has then outlived its usefulness. The issue at hand is a Policy, not a Project, after all (once it's been hammered out).
  • Create an article about "Canon" that describes the word, explains the situation regarding the BT universe and provides (or links to) a list of producers of licensed material. As per my suggestion above, this list could be an expanded version of the existing List of Products (By Year), which I would suggest on the sidelines be renamed to simply "List of official products" (or "licensed").
  • Create redirects for words such as "Fanon", "Fandom" and "Retcon" to the "Canon" article.

Frabby 01:40, 20 August 2008 (CDT)

Licensed vs Official[edit]

  • I prefer the use of the word 'licensed' over 'official.' I feel that the way I addressed it (applying it to the product rather than the producer) gives it the same context you seek with 'official,' while avoiding any possible mis-interpretations by people equating 'official' with 'canon' (which we've done a good job distancing the site from with the crafting of the policy).--Revanche (talk|contribs) 06:48, 20 August 2008 (CDT)
I agree with you man. 'Official' version means that it is the 'correct' version. 'licensed' merely means that the owner sold the licence to someone else, who might or might not have messed up. The clearest example of this I can give is when Marvel sold the licence to Spiderman to Toei in 1978, resulting in Japanese Supaidaman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcxioU7AMM4&feature=fvw for an example of something that is 'licensed' yet no one would ever, EVER claim to be canon. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, and this clip is pretty much a discussion ender. — The preceding unsigned comment was provided by Jasonred79 (talkcontribs) 08:19, 23 July 2009.

Notability: Stand Alone or Merge[edit]

  • I prefer merging. The opening of this policy will have to be re-touched to go this route, but if I get firm approval from both of you, I'll do so.--Revanche (talk|contribs) 06:48, 20 August 2008 (CDT)

Project to Policy[edit]

  • Good reminder. I'll do exactly that when I'm fully awake. Done. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 06:48, 20 August 2008 (CDT)

Canon article[edit]

  • Fully support. I'll leave it up to you. This policy has taken a lout out of me and I'd be glad to leave that aspect to you. Your proposal is solid. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 06:48, 20 August 2008 (CDT)


  • Also support. I'll leave that up to you, as well, since it does depend on the article. --Revanche (talk|contribs) 06:48, 20 August 2008 (CDT)

My Support[edit]

While I do not want anyone to think my word is the final say, I have reviewed the article and am very impressed with its conciseness. I fully support it and am amazed at how well put together it is. Great work! Nicjansma

This has not been edited or commented on in some time. I am content with the article as is. I propose removing the "under construction" tag. --Scaletail 13:38, 14 February 2009 (PST)
Far from done actually. I had hopes of preparing comlete, finalized articles on Canon and Policy:Canon and post them simultaneously but keep getting distracted by other stuff. Since the Policy essentially stands (I just have issues with the wording and structure of the article, not its content) I have removed the "Under Construction" tag. Frabby 13:55, 14 February 2009 (PST)


  1. reference