This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments or questions on this topic should be made in a new Senate Hall page rather than here so that this page is preserved as a historic record. Graestan(Talk) 17:29, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
Currently, our Manual of Style states that "All in-universe articles should be in past tense, per the quote above," "Writing in-universe articles in past tense properly relates the timeline of that universe with our own perspective," and "Despite this, do not include phrases like "his ultimate fate is unknown" or "what happened to the ship after that is a mystery."
Now, when writing an article, I put everything in the past tense. Things like "it appears that" or "it is not known" would be "it appeared that" and "it was not known" (presuming it wasn't OR or whatnot) etc. This is how I think it should be on all articles.
Are we writing from a set time in the Star Wars universe? I don't think so. If so, then articles on concepts or, say, the Force would be written partially in the present tense ("the Force is this magical thing"). Is that desirable? The novels tend to do it this way—for example, in an otherwise past-tense portion of Destiny's Way, the sentence, "But space is three-dimensional" appears.
I'd like to add something to the effect of "Everything, with no exceptions, is to be written in the past tense in IU-articles. Articles are not written from a fixed point in time in the SW universe" to Wookieepedia:Manual of Style#Tense.
This isn't a vote; I'd like to start with a discussion, since I know some people disagree with me.
I don't know if we really need to have it as a hard and fast rule (it seems a little bit of a nit-pick to me), but like you I'm of the opinion that everything should be written in the past tense. If nothing else, it's simply easier to keep consistent. Doluk 19:15, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
There are exceptions to practically every rule. I don't think making a "no exceptions" past tense rule would be good. For the examples you gave above: "it appears that" - you shouldn't be using this phrase because it implies speculation and original research, neither of which are allowed. "it is not known" - shouldn't use this either, per the MoS section you quoted above. —Xwing328(Talk) 00:27, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
You're right—they're bad examples. Something like "Most of what was known about Tirog's life story consists of incomplete, disconnected anecdotes" (which is on the FA I linked to) would be a better one. Can you think of any exceptions, though? Part of the reason I didn't take this to CT was because it occurs to me that there may well be exceptions—but neither myself nor another user in IRC could think of any. -- AdmirableAckbar(Talk) 00:30, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
My original wording, "Most of what is known about Tirog's life story consists of incomplete, disconnected anecdotes," is an even better example of what you don't want. From the imagined perspective of a detached IU historian, present tense would be exactly what one would write in that example. I personally think this "historical present tense" (or whatever it's actually called) reads much better than using "was" and "consisted" there. If the rest of you considered such phrasing acceptable, though, where would we draw the line? —Silly Dan(talk) 00:37, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
For your above example, I prefer Silly Dan's wording. Saying "what was known" implies that we forgot this information some time in the past. If that was the case, none of the life story of Tirog that we did know but don't anymore would not be in an encyclopedia. —Xwing328(Talk) 00:48, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
That's a fair point (though I disagree somewhat), and I know what you're saying. However, if we're writing from a set IU time, then should we not use present tense when describing articles like space, planet, or motion sickness? -- AdmirableAckbar(Talk) 00:54, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Or you could say that our "present" is so far into the "future" that even those concept might belong to the "past"... Charlii 10:32, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Nope. We're either in the REAL present (i.e. a long time in the future in a galaxy far, far away from Star Wars), or an even more distant future than that. Everything that we see happen in Star Wars stories is in the past for us, no matter how recent those stories are. That does leave the question of which tense to use for things that exist in both universes, though; for instance, black holes are astrophysical phenomena existing in both Star Wars and the real world (and, in most astrophysical theories, existent until the end of the universe when there are no more encyclopedia writers no matter how you slice things). Using the past tense for something like that seems bizarre; but then, as Silly Dan says, where do you draw the line? jSarek 00:40, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Personally I think everything should be put in past, and then anything else can be mentioned in the behind the scenes section (which is in present) - Kingpin13Cantina Battle Ground 16:15, 11 August 2008 (UTC)