Ex Astris Scientia
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FAQ

Personal Questions - Trek Questions - Site Policies - Technical Issues - Copyright - Content - Complaints - Canon

 

Personal Questions

Q: What is your location and profession?
A: I am working as a team leader of integrated circuit design in Siegen, Germany.

Q: What is your motivation to create this website?
A: A question that deserves a detailed answer. Read the Introduction to EAS.

Q: What is your favorite series, episode, character, starship?
A: My favorite series in TNG, but I like all of Star Trek very much. Actually, Voyager was close to catching up. There are several fantastic episodes I could watch all day, such as TNG: "Parallels", DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", or VOY: "Distant Origin". My current favorite is VOY: "Year of Hell". I was always fascinated by Spock, I admire Picard, but the most intriguing character is probably Worf. I also like Seven very much, because of her unique qualities as an individual. :-D My favorite starship is the Galaxy class.

Q: Are you on ICQ or another messenger service?
A: Sorry, no real-time communication. Please respect that I need some rest occasionally. You can contact me by e-mail or in social networks.

Q: Are you on Twitter, Facebook or other social networks?
A: Unlike a blog or forum, EAS consists of static HTML and can't be integrated with social networks. I basically have to *retype* everything I have already posted at EAS! I have finally managed to get my manually created RSS feed into Twitter and Facebook though. Well, it works most of the time. Frankly, I try to bring EAS to social networks because many people expect that from a website owner today, not because it's so much fun.

Q: Will you join my RPG, social network or fan club?
A: Sorry, no.

Q: Isn't this long-winded FAQ conceited? You may want to tone it down.
A: Anticipating questions is what an FAQ is useful for, and I am actually asked questions like these. You don't have to read the FAQ if you don't want to, but you may save me a lot of trouble if you do. Very few owners of personal sites, who need to work for a living too, take time for answering requests the way I do. In my experience most webmasters don't reply to e-mails at all! I will answer every single request, even if the question is trivial or is already covered in this FAQ.

 

Trek Questions

Q: What is the difference between "Trekkie" and "Trekker"?
A: It would be better if there weren't one. In the early 70s "Trekkies" became a commonly known name for Star Trek fans. But it later earned a humiliating undertone, also because of the similarity of "Trekkie" with "junkie" or "groupie". Whenever someone who does not like Star Trek talks about the fans, "trekkie" (in this case usually written with a small "t") stands for the "Comic Book Guy" type - overweight men who are also computer nerds and have lost their grasp of reality. Therefore fans that don't like to be "Trekkies" any more refer to themselves as "Trekkers". But I don't mind if you call yourself or me a "Trekkie".

Q: Where can I download full episodes?
A: Since this may not be legal, I couldn't tell you even if I knew a download location.

Q: Where can I buy discontinued Star Trek model kits?
A: The only good chance of finding the old AMT/Ertl and Revell/Monogram kits or Galoob Micromachines is on auction sites, but be warned that kits may cost twice the former shop prices or more, and I'm not even talking of the rare models. The good news is that there more recent Star Trek kits, from much better new moulds by Bandai and by Polar Lights, and still more to come in the wake of the latest movies.

Q: Can you tell me who did what in which episode and why?
A: Dammit, Jim, I'm a Trekker, not an encyclopedia. There are fabulous search engines to start with. And speaking of an Encyclopedia, this is the one book you ought to buy if you are full of questions about Star Trek. In addition, there is Memory Alpha, the biggest Trek database to exist.

Q: Can you tell me where to find information about conventions in Central Wyoming, what are the specs of the Premonition class from Armada or where to buy Vulcan ears?
A: No idea. There are limits to what I can and what I like to find out for you.

Q: Do Starfleet Marines exist?
A: Why is half of the Trek fandom *obsessed* with Starfleet Marines? Canonically, there is no such thing as Starfleet Marines, at least not at the time of TNG. Oh well, there is Colonel West in "Star Trek VI" and there are ground troops with different uniform colors in DS9: "Nor the Battle to the Strong" and "The Siege of AR-558". Based on this evidence it would be far-fetched to conclude that the ground troops must be called "Marines". Why not "Federation Army" or simply "Starfleet Ground Troops"? Moreover Starfleet, as stated several times especially in TNG, is not intended to be a primarily military organization anyway. I don't like if fans in RPGs narrow Trek down to its military aspects. Since few other countries besides the USA have Marines, it is also Americentric. Anyone is free to include Marines in his own fiction, but don't insist on them being canon. Finally, the fact that several MACOs (not "Marines") board Enterprise in "The Expanse" doesn't change my opinion. On the contrary, Archer too says that Starfleet is not supposed to be primarily military. More about False Canon.

Q: Can you help me? I need to prove that an Imperial Star Destroyer wouldn't stand a chance against a Starfleet Sovereign class. 
A: No way! Never bother me with such childish requests. The two science fiction universes were designed to remain strictly separate. While it is already hard to apply the rules of real-world physics to either of them, the two pieces of fiction are absolutely irreconcilable with each other. You are free to create cross-over fan fiction, but don't expect it to make any sense, much less expect to find any "proof" why your ship should be superior to one of a different universe. And aside from that, I loathe the fanboyish bias of most cross-over fiction that seems to fulfill the only purpose to disparage the other sci-fi universe. You will receive no support whatsoever from me in such an attempt.

Q: What is your opinion on slash fiction?
A: To me Star Trek is only enjoyable and meaningful as long as it remains truthful to its foundations (see my above answer pertaining to "vs." discussions). I understand and support the desire to finally get gay characters on the show. It would be only fair after 40 years in which the existence of homosexuality was ignored in canon Star Trek. But fabricating a gay relationship of Kirk and Spock ("K/S") or other established crew members in fan fiction is utterly out of character. And the attempts to find "proof" for homosexuality or a romantic relationship in random gestures in canon Star Trek are amusing at best. I mean no offense to fans who enjoy reading and writing slash fiction, as long as they understand it as a light-hearted thought experiment and not as a "truth". I have personally chosen not to care for this subculture, which distracts from the real issues of Star Trek and whose significance is overrated as I believe.

Q: What do you think about the latest feature films "Star Trek" and "Star Trek Into Darkness"?
A: I enjoy "Star Trek (2009)" as a science fiction movie well above average. It is the most exciting and overall most visually compelling Trek movie in a long time. It profits from great performances by most of the actors, and from the work of J.J. Abrams, who knows like few other directors how to bring a story to the big screen. But the story is the movie's principal weak point. It suffers from just too many unlikely coincidences and other plot holes. Most importantly the character relationships that are quickly forged just don't work out. The movie is set in a parallel timeline, which shows a lack of continuity with the established Trek where we would expect it (design & technology), while there is continuity where it shouldn't exist (characters). The movie is too obviously designed to get seven characters and a ship named Enterprise together no matter when and how, while the intellectual standards that used to define Trek just as well are deemed expendable. Finally, the spectacular yet shocking events in the movie are not likely to get me interested in seeing more stories set in this desolate universe. As a prequel to the Trek I love the movie failed. "Star Trek (2009)" compares to the old Trek like a one-night stand to a decade-long relationship. 
Regarding "Star Trek Into Darkness", Harrison's true identity is just a gratuitous reference; it has no impact whatsoever and doesn't even make much sense in the story. But there is an even worse rip-off towards the end of the movie, one that turns the scene and perhaps ultimately the whole movie into a parody. Abrams has given himself carte blanche to create a Trek universe it its own right, but all he does is recycling characters, stories and plot devices. And he tries to compete with superhero movies, rather than telling great science fiction stories. STID is an enjoyable summer blockbuster with lots of great action, but a lousy Star Trek movie, as even casual fans have told me.
Read my complete reviews and see the Abramsverse FAQ.

 

Site Policies

Q: What does "Ex Astris Scientia" mean?
A: It is the Latin motto of Starfleet Academy, meaning "From the stars knowledge". The ancient Romans usually did not use verbs in inscriptions, so it would be better supplemented to "Knowledge comes from the stars". If you miss the comma of "Ex Astris, Scientia" as in the official Academy badge, this is one more thing the Romans would have omitted. I have chosen this motto to express the relation between the fiction in Star Trek and real science. You may have noticed that my site logo (upper left corner of this page) is not only reminiscent of a communicator badge, but also represents the title, since the knowledge (Starfleet arrowhead) emerges from a star.

Q: Where did the creators of Trek get the idea for this motto in the first place?
A: There are two theories. "Ex Astris Scientia" might be inspired by the motto of Apollo 13, "Ex Luna, Scientia" - an obvious choice. Another possibility is that it was derived from "Ex Scientia Tridens" ("from knowledge sea power"), which happens to be the motto of the US Naval Academy - another clear parallel.

Q: How do you pronounce this, "Ex Astris Scientia"?
A: "Ex Us-trees See-en-tsee-ah" or, if you prefer a pronunciation even closer to the classical Latin, "Ex Us-trees Skee-en-tee-ah".

Q: How big is EAS and how many visitors do you have?
A: Here are the Site Statistics.

Q: How many people are in the team that maintains EAS?
A: EAS was created by yours truly in well over 11,000 hours by now - the time watching episodes, hanging around in discussion forums and answering e-mails not even included. However, it wouldn't have been possible without the assistance of countless individuals who have made available images, information and encouragement and who receive their due credit on the Acknowledgements page.
The Starfleet Museum, as a distinct sub-site, was created by Masao Okazaki, the ASDB is the work of a group of individuals listed on the project's About Us page, and the works in the Fan Fiction section were penned by various people that are far more capable writers than I would be.

Q: I know a lot about Trek and I'm experienced in web design too. How can I join the EAS team?
A: There is no way of "joining" EAS. This is because the static site concept is totally unsuited for collaborative efforts, and there is no way of changing that. Another reason is that I want to be free in the decision what to tend to with priority. I am horrified by the idea of working under permanent deadline pressure in my leisure time, but exactly that would be absolutely inevitable to get anything done in a group. I don't expect that from my contributors either. Moreover, you can call me conceited, but I am fond of exerting total control over one of the world's most influential Star Trek websites. You can help me as a contributor, you can point out problems or recommend improvements. More on the topic of contributions can be found in the FAQ section on Content.

Q: How can my website become an EAS partner site?
A: My partner sites are not just places whose banner I am posting, but websites whose owners I know for a while or even call my friends. So I will decline any partnership request, unless you have an idea so exciting that I want to launch a common project.

Q: I am sure my site fulfills the criteria. Why don't I get your award?
A: The EAE Award is not an award presented on the basis "give me your award and you get mine". I don't need it to increase traffic to this site. Please don't be disappointed if you're not the winner, and please don't apply repeatedly - it won't boost your chances.

Q: Do you give me permission to put up a link to EAS?
A: Of course! However, please acknowledge that I usually can't return the favor, as this would mean linking to thousands of sites that have links to EAS. You may want to add a link to your site yourself using my Add-a-Link feature.

Q: Come on! Why don't you exchange links with me?
A: Since EAS is among the top Trek websites in the world, I am glad if I can help promote other places that would deserve more attention. But to be honest, 90% of the suggested links are mediocre. I don't want to devalue the dedication any webmaster has invested into his site, but I don't see the point of putting up links to yet another blog that stops updating after a few posts or yet another RPG desperately looking for a third member. Moreover, in many cases webmasters urged me to show their links at EAS, only to take the site down a few weeks later, so I doubt it could have been that important to them. This is why I have discontinued link submissions for my main links page, and I only add your banner if I feel like that. If your site is not one of the best of its kind, please save yourself and me the nuisance. You can *immediately* add a link to any site using my Add-a-Link feature.

Q: Will you join our banner exchange program? You might earn a few dollars with it.
A: No way. My website is strictly non-commercial and will always stay strictly non-commercial, although significant expenses are necessary to maintain it. I do not post any links to commercial sites, unless they are useful for obtaining fact and pictures. In particular, I oblige myself never to accept any payment for posting anything on my site or for giving away its reputation for commercial purposes. Much less will I agree to a paid banner, pop-up or even Flash ad. I will rather bury the site than put atrocities like that on EAS. I move any sponsoring offers straight into the trash can.

Q: Do you accept donations from visitors?
A: No. I am able to and I wish to pay for the
expenses myself.

Q: Would you announce the relaunch of my website or post news of my community on your index page?
A: Sorry, no. This is not a news site, and I only post EAS-related news. If you have to announce something, please do it on a message board, or head for Trekweb, Trekmovie.com or TrekToday and let their editors decide whether your scoop is important enough.

Q: I'd like to recommend EAS to other people. Are you going to add Facebook "Like" buttons to your pages, or buttons to vote for you on other social networks?
A: I have added "Share" buttons in the form of simple links to the bottom left of each EAS page. But I won't include anything such as "Like" buttons. For four reasons. Firstly, I'm not a politician and I don't solicit you to vote for me. Secondly, it is a bottomless pit because there are many social networks with button codes that change every few months, and I have better things to do than keeping them up to date. Thirdly, I have obliged myself to keep my site clean, without parasitic code that I can't control. Fourthly and most importantly, I respect your privacy and with my non-commercial site I won't help companies to sniff out your browsing behavior. Well, I I make an exception for YouTube, because there is no other way to show videos, and because I deem it less critical.

Q: Do you have a newsletter?
A: You can subscribe to my RSS feed, one option being an e-mail digest.

Q: Why don't you answer my e-mail?
A: I generally reply to every request. If you haven't received a reply, one of the following reasons may apply:

1. You attached a huge file and it didn't make it to me. Please try again with a smaller attachment.
2. Your e-mail account didn't work properly and my reply bounced off. Please make sure in advance that my message gets through.
3. Your e-mail account was configured in some way to recognize either my e-mail address or its subject or even every e-mail of unknown origin as spam. Even when prompted to do so, I will not manually confirm my e-mail address to your spam protection. You need to take care yourself that people can reply.
4. Your message contained a worm-like file (e.g. .exe) or a spam-like subject phrase (especially with "adult" and financial language or ALLCAPS), and my filters have deleted it.
5. Your e-mail or my reply was lost out there without reason. Please try again.

To tell the truth, I never hear again of most people who make a big deal of getting their "urgent" questions answered, showing out their starships, using my images, having a link on my site or who even offer me some sort of partnership. I may reconsider my e-mail policy and simply discard messages that seem irrelevant to me - all those which don't help me improve my website but just cause extra work. So please do me a favor and don't waste my time, for instance with inquiries that you could find answered at a magic place called Google. If you contact me, you will notice that I am a kind guy, but I can't serve the Trek community 26 hours per day.

Q: Why are you sending spam mails from your domain(s)?
A: I swear that I have never sent out any spam and I will never do it. Still, you may find "ex-astris-scientia.org" (or any other reputable domain name) in the header of a spam mail as their alleged origin. This is because the SMTP protocol basically does not require authentication, and spammers may enter any unsuspicious e-mail address in the "From" field. The mail, as the spam victim likely sees it, pretends that it was sent from my e-mail server at ex-astris-scientia.org. In order to recognize the e-mail spoofing it would be necessary to enable the display of the complete e-mail header, which hardly anyone does. It goes without saying that spamming with spoofed e-mails is utterly criminal and will be punished. I naturally take no responsibility for spam that pretends to have been sent out by me. There is absolutely no technical possibility for me to put a stop to such criminal activities except for preventively killing all dumb assholes on this planet.
BTW, the amount of spam in my name is enormous. I can tell because every day around 100 feigned mails are rejected by spam protection software and "returned" to my server. And this is only the tip of the iceberg!

F: Das ist ja alles ganz schön. Aber warum nur auf englisch?
A: Als ich Ende 1997 mit der Planung meiner Website begann, schien Deutsch die naheliegende Wahl zu sein. Es gab damals nicht besonders viele Websites zum Thema Star Trek und nur ganz wenige davon auf deutsch, die mehr als nur ein paar Seiten mit Episodenlisten usw. aufwiesen. Auf der anderen Seite kann man nur mit einer englischsprachigen Website internationale Besucher ansprechen. Also müßte die Website zweisprachig sein. Dies gestaltet sich jedoch in der Praxis außerordentlich schwierig. Mit dem bloßen einmaligen Übersetzen des Inhalts - was, wenn es wirklich sinngemäß sein soll, auch schon eine zeitraubende und sehr langweilige Arbeit ist - ist es nämlich nicht getan. Um eine einheitliche Gestaltung und Synchronisation zu gewährleisten, muß jedes geringste tägliche Update doppelt durchgeführt werden. Und um zu wissen, wo man was geändert hat, muß man entweder beim Update ständig zwischen beiden Sprachversionen hin- und herwechseln (nervtötend) oder aber alles haarklein protokollieren (zeitaufwendig). Andernfalls würden beide Versionen nach ein paar Wochen hoffnungslos divergieren, und gerade das ist ja nicht der Sinn der Zweisprachigkeit. Bei sehr vielen und sehr häufigen Änderungen kann ich aus meiner Berufspraxis sagen, daß der Aufwand tatsächlich mehr als doppelt so groß(!) wird wie bei einer einsprachigen Website. Und das, ohne tatsächlich mehr Inhalt zu erzeugen. Ich denke, daß ich mich angesichts des anhaltenden internationalen Interesses (unter 10% aus deutschsprachigen Ländern) für die richtige Sprache entschieden habe. Von Zeit zu Zeit werde ich trotzdem einzelne Artikel auf deutsch verfassen. Ich wünsche allen deutschsprachigen Besuchern noch einen schönen Aufenthalt und stehe natürlich gern für Diskussionen auch auf deutsch zur Verfügung.

 

Technical Issues

Q: I read you had some trouble with web hosting in the past. I may help you out or recommend a new web host with low charges.
A: If you are running a server of your own or have a dedicated server, that may be an interesting alternative, and if only as a backup solution. I am looking forward to hearing from you. -- If you know a host, then it should be one who gives me a data transfer of at least 250 gigabytes per month, something that many hosting plans don't allow or charge high extra fees for. Those web hosts who offer "unlimited" traffic usually have clauses that would allow them to throttle sites that take away too much of the server's performance. And if they promise unconditional "unlimited" traffic in spite of everything, they may resort to semi-criminal methods as Strato did when they kicked me off the contract.

Q: Why have you disabled hotlinks?
A: Because the extra traffic costs my money. This site was created for people with an interest in Star Trek to come here and look around. Not as an image repository for ignorant or lazy webmasters. Not for those who think it is okay to leech a big pic as their message board avatar (and to have the browser resize it to some 100*100 pixels). I will no longer tolerate any such misuse. From the savings I can invite my girl-friend to a big pizza every month.

Q: Why are some large files hidden in "protected directories"?
A: My server's physical bandwidth is generous but not free, so precaution against download tools and against "visitor invasions" such as "Slashdotting" is advised. If you really need those big files that are available in smaller sizes just as well, please take a few seconds and answer the simple password question.

Q: What software do you use to edit your web pages?
A: Microsoft Frontpage 2000. The program is efficient and reliable for the administration of a website, for instance when moving documents and links pointing at them. As the name insinuates, Frontpage 2000 is not state-of-the-art any longer, but convenient despite several problems. I'm still using it because newer software would mix old-style HTML (font tags) with CSS, resulting in an unresolvable mess. 

Q: Why don't you use Flash, Java or other nifty plug-ins?
A: Brief answer: I don't think I need them and I don't like them anyway. Read a more extensive explanation.

Q: Why don't you offer a mobile version of the site? 
A: EAS is not optimized for mobile devices, because in order to create a mobile version I would need to make the full transition to CSS in the first place, which isn't possible without hundreds of hours of dull manual editing and verification. Fortunately the display on mobile devices profits from the adaptable width concept that EAS was designed with since the very beginning, even though a couple things don't fit on the screen.

Q: I noticed several display errors in Internet Explorer. Please take care of them.
A: It is indispensable to operate this website, developed in 1998, in quirks mode. W3C decided that old-style HTML is "wrong", and the browser would ruin the site layout once I switched to a valid (W3C-compliant) document type. I have taken care of the most pressing problems. Yet, using Internet Explorer, and even in versions newer than the buggy IE6, also depending on your system and screen size, you may still see such things as the old box model bug in quirks mode. I would have to convert the whole site to full W3C compatibility, which would take hundreds of hours (see a few paragraphs further down) or create a special CSS for Internet Explorer, which to calculate, verify and maintain would be way too much work.

Q: Isn't it time for a complete redesign, with a new color scheme that makes everything better to read?
A: I'll have to wait for the slave prices to drop until I can do that. Seriously, this site was created long before CSS even existed. I worked several days just to convert a few minor aspects to CSS (such as creating a special class for external links). I have been looking for a tool to convert old HTML to CSS for years, but no one ever bothered to create one. So I would need to recode over 600 pages manually and paragraph-wise and, in addition, would need to create hundreds of supporting graphics from scratch if I decided to change the colors and the typesetting. Well, if you are fluent in regex and would like to spend 100+ hours to develop a tool that parses a page like a browser, that identifies nested tags correctly (including all closing </font> tags!) and replaces it with parameterizable W3C-compliant code and without the need to rework everything manually, it is more than welcome.

Q: Is this site's accessibility optimized?
A: Yes and no. Yes, because I consequently avoid the following mistakes at EAS and all affiliated sites: microscopic font sizes, frames, convoluted code, JavaScript pseudo-links, links that open new windows, links without conclusive description, CAPTCHAs. No, because I am bound to an editor (Frontpage) that does not care for standardized header tags, unless I reworked each page's code manually. Moreover, I have to apologize that there are usually no descriptive ALT tags because these would drastically increase the already colossal effort of manually naming, embedding and linking well over 20,000 images.

Q: I noticed this site isn't W3C compatible at all. What are you going to do about that?
A: With occasional exceptions, this site supports quasi-standard HTML as it existed back in 1998. Even though a standard that differs from my way of using HTML was nailed down by the W3C in the meantime, there is nothing "wrong" about my code. The pages are displayed correctly in all major browsers (or half-way correctly in the case of Internet Explorer), but I have to rely on the quirks mode. As long as this mode for backward compatibility is supported in browsers, there is no reason for me to take care of W3C conformity because it wouldn't make my site look any better. It is just a matter of coding style. And unlike other webmasters, who maintain only a few pages or who even have a blogging software, it would take me hundreds of hours of extremely dull typing, verifying and debugging to get the code converted, as already mentioned in my answer regarding a new look for the site.

Q: Why don't your external links open in a new window or tab?
A: I think every user should decide himself where a link opens. Just use "CTRL+LMB" to make links open in a new browser tab.

Q: The color scheme of your site is much too dark, there is hardly a contrast to the black background.
A: Unfortunately I am stuck with the color scheme, because not just the HTML colors but also several hundred illustrations would have to be reworked. But if it is really all too dark, you may need to adjust your display settings, especially if you still have a CRT monitor. In particular, if the dark shade of teal on EAS (RGB 36,60,60) appears to be olive or even brownish, you should adjust the color temperature to a higher value (typically 9000K).

Q: When I click the thumbnail links to your images, many of them are of poor quality and never larger than my screen.
A: Trust me, I'm presenting all images at the largest practical size, and very rarely I have something better resolved on my hard drive. I almost don't dare to mention it, but maybe your browser shows auto-resized images that you have to click to view them at their actual size?

Q: Should I report dead links or images to you, or other technical problems?
A: Yes please! As perfect as the site may look to me, as flawed it may appear due to problems with the server configuration or to corrupt files on the server, although these are rare problems. If a file exists but is messed up or if it is refusing to load completely, it is most likely a server glitch or a temporary problem with your connection. Please try to reload and do not forget to clear your browser cache. If, however, a file is totally missing even after reloading it may be a link I forgot to modify or an incomplete upload for which I have to apologize. The reason for the latter is that there are sometimes files with old dates among the updates, and I might overlook them when transferring everything to the server via FTP. I hope you bear with me and point out these errors to me. You can best help me if you tell me the missing file name and the URL of the referring page.

Q: I have found a dead link to www.ex-astris-scientia.org/somepage.htm. Hope this helps.
A: Thanks, but to fix it I have to know the referring page, not the link. If the broken link is on a site other than EAS, then either the webmaster made a mistake for which I'm not responsible anyway, or it is an outdated link.

Q: Should I report typos or wrong semantics/grammar?
A: No for the first, yes for the latter. I know there are typos on practically every page. I'm constantly trying to eliminate them myself, which is much easier with my own tools than based on an e-mail notification. On the other hand, I am grateful for any correction of semantics or grammar, as English is not my native language.

Q: You may want to switch from RSS to Atom feeds because they have more options (like including custom code).
A: I currently have to create the RSS feed manually because I also need the equivalent in HTML. Unless I can write a fully-featured script some day that produces both the feed and the HTML fragment for my pages in one step, there is no way that I could offer Atom feeds. I gave up creating a simple Atom feed after hours of exasperating debugging, because the parsing fails if there is only the slightest weakness in the code, not even definite errors.

Q: What software do you use for your drawings?
A:
Micrografx Designer (now owned by Corel). Read my extensive Software Test, which is outdated by now though, as Designer is no longer supported and no true replacement is available.

Q: Which Star Trek fonts are you using for your starships?
A: A variety of fonts can be found at Star Trek Minutiae. The ones I use for the TNG ships are called Federation Hull (with outline) and Federation Bold (without outline). The perfectly fitting font for TOS starships is called Airborne by Charles Casimiro. This font looks a lot more crisp than the similar, yet rather amateurish fonts that have been around for many years.

Q: How did you create those 3D views of the bridges?
A: Actually, I only cleaned them up and replaced missing parts. I neither created those drawings in the first place, nor do I know for sure which software has been used. I can only say that it was a 2D illustration program. My best guess is Adobe Illustrator, since that is what most people working in that business seem to be using.

Q: Could you give me some advice on 3D starship design?
A: No, for the simple reason that I have not the faintest idea of 3D design. Really. All the 3D models on my site are made by artists whose experience and talent I admire myself. I don't even have a simple program for 3D design. If you're looking for advice, I can highly recommend SciFi Meshes. This is the place where the experts gather. Once you are there, you will find many examples, tutorials and meshes for download.

Q: Could you design a starship for me?
A: No. I'm neither a design service, nor do I have any time left for it. Creating a small 2D ship from scratch with details takes more than 20 hours. At most I may give you a few hints about using a drawing program and designing starships. Read the tutorial.

 

Copyright

Q: Where do you get your texts and images from?
A: I have written almost 100% of the text at EAS myself. I have taken a few photos (World Tour, Galileo 7, NASM, starship models) and drawn some graphics myself (10%). The other images are taken from various websites (5%), submitted by visitors (10%), scanned from books (30%) or captured from TV (45%). Submissions are accordingly credited. I don't claim any ownership of graphics that were only altered and not originally created by me. If you like to use some of the scanned images, it would be fair to give me credit though (see next answer for the conditions) - after all it is plenty of work to scan and clean them up for the web. The entire Starfleet Museum, including all text and images, is copyright of Masao Okazaki, unless otherwise noted. The entire content of the ASDB is copyright of the ASDB group. The Journal of Applied Treknology is copyright of the individual designers. The Fan Fiction is copyright of the individual authors.

Q: Star Trek is owned by CBS/Paramount. You infringe on their copyright.
A: No. All copyrighted material shown at EAS falls under the "fair use" exemption, which may be invoked for fan websites, fan fiction and fan art. More about fan art copyright.

Q: May I use text or images created by you?
A: Yes. I grant you the right to use parts of my material under these terms:

1. You republish the material in the form of excerpts. I do not approve of reproductions of entire EAS pages. I do not approve of sites that use my layout graphics or otherwise imitate the look of EAS.
2.
You give appropriate credit to EAS including a hyperlink. I will agree to a mention on a global credit page if you use single graphics or text passages, but I insist on more clearly visible credits in case of more extensive excerpts.
3.
For any content that I am showing by courtesy of a third party, you must ask permission from this original source (i.e. from the designer or author who is credited at EAS). In particular, this applies to the entire content of the SF Museum, JoAT, ASDB, Fan Fiction and Canon Fodder. Note that in some cases of contributed material special terms of use may apply!
4. I reserve the right to deny or retract my approval if the material appears in an improper context. This may include, but is not restricted to: political propaganda, promotion of illegal activities, disfiguration or distortion of images taken from EAS (no matter if intentionally or accidentally because of bad image editing), misquoting of my views and findings, commercial exploitation of EAS content.

Read also the more comprehensive copyright notice.

Q: May I use text or images created by you in my school project?
A: No objections. And good luck!

Q: May I use some of your starship designs for my fan fiction or RPG?
A: No problem if you give me credit (i.e. link to my site). Yet, I may have objections in case you alter the design or the specs, so you should check back with me.

Q: May I use text or images from EAS for a commercial project?
A: Only with my explicit permission.

Q: May I modify images created/scanned by you?
A: Any time, if you adhere to the above conditions. But you are required to add a note that you modified the original. As already mentioned, I will not approve of images that look like created by me but are aesthetically or technically flawed.

Q: I have found some pictures in the web you might want to post.
A: With a few exceptions (which is whenever I urgently need an image to illustrate an article) I only post images with the explicit consent of the copyright owner. I have thousands of images resting on my hard drive which I don't show because I simply can't tell where they came from. So please don't send me any pictures without being authorized to distribute them, and never send me pictures of unknown origin - well, unless it is something exciting and new.

Q: May I ask you to remove from the site the pictures (or the text) that I sent to you?
A: Sorry, no. I never remove anything. I refuse the double work of first preparing your stuff and then removing it. The latter is never effortless, as it usually involves finding and fixing several links and textual references and, moreover, occasionally justifying to other people why it is gone. You have to consider any permission you grant to EAS as absolutely irrevocable. I will only make an exception in case of a copyright dispute or if I deem it useful too (for instance, if it contained substantial errors).

Q: May I ask you to remove my name from all of my submissions? I don't want to be associated with it any longer.
A: What I can do is replace your name with a nickname of your choice. I won't remove the credits altogether.

Q: May I mirror your site?
A: Generally, yes. But I may reconsider that permission if the additional traffic because of the mirror is rising too high.

Q: May I load images directly from your server to display them on my website?
A: Just try it, it won't work. I have disabled hotlinking, because I am not willing to pay for inane image posts on websites or message boards I've never heard of. You have to save all files to your own server. There are only two exceptions, if you display a banner for my site or if you post images for a discussion (not as your avatar!) on the SCN or Flare Forums.

 

Content

Q: On your main index page, can you provide links to everything you have changed?
A: Even if I don't count in typo correction, I am doing about a dozen small updates every few days (like fixing errors, adding or replacing images, adding references, hunting dead external links). It is impossible to keep a log of all these changes. Also, I don't want to overburden the main page with loads of puny announcements because then the information about essential new features would suffer. This is why the update list focuses on new content and significant changes of existing stuff.

Q: Would it be a lot of work to tag every single item you have changed with a "new" or "updated" sign?
A: It wouldn't be hard to add a "new" sign to every new picture, but it would be an insane effort to remove them after a due time. I would have to spend several hours at least once per month to scan the whole site, just to get rid of the expired "new" or "updated" signs, and verify which of them are really expired. This is why "new" or "updated" signs are usually only on the index pages, and even now there are many I forgot to remove.

Q: In your gallery you forgot to include a picture of Worf's brother Nikolai, and in your review of "These Are The Voyages" you didn't mention Trip's Frankenstein figure. Also, your episode reviews are way too subjective compared with the rest of your site.
A: Your remarks are appreciated, but please note that this website comprises different sections with different emphases. I certainly make mistakes, but in the particular examples there is neither an omission nor an inconsistency. There is nothing such as an "incomplete gallery", and unless I made an error I won't include your suggestions to my reviews. Here are the categories of data at EAS:

Lists strictly organized data; uniform format; intended to be complete; canon accounts & observations; e.g. episode data, quick reference, ship database, timeline
Collections
random uncommented data; largely uniform format; never complete; either canon or non-canon; e.g. image galleries, fleet charts, ship yards, fan fiction, links
Analyses subject-specific and rated data; varying format; complete only within a narrow scope; analyzed canon accounts; e.g. investigations, ship articles
Comments subject-specific random data; varying format; incomplete; non-canon and subjective; e.g. "Akiraprise" comment, episode reviews, book & model reviews, reports & interviews
Interactive content data not created by me; spam-filtered and censored where inevitable, e.g. guestbook, add-your-link, poll

Q: Why are your updates coming so slowly? When are you going to continue your article about warp travel? When can we expect the missing episode reviews?
A: I intend to get all these things done some day, but long-term projects may have to wait indefinitely because urgent updates usually eat up my complete spare time. It doesn't help if I have one hour per day when I need months of research for just one big topic like the article on warp propulsion.

Q: How do you decide what you update and when?
A: Generally, what I present is governed by the principle "correctness, originality, completeness" - in descending order. The real life of website maintenance dictates a slightly different set of criteria. Taking into account new findings and making amendments to facts, conclusions, layout errors, dead links and typos has the highest priority. About a dozen of fixes of this kind take place every few days. They are crucial in my view yet almost unnoticeable and are never announced on the index page. Updates with common projects and visitor suggestions come next if they can be concluded in a realistic time. This all leaves almost no time for bigger projects.

Q: Will you create databases on species, planets, actors, weapons, medical procedures, holodeck programs, etc.?
A: I see some of these suggestions as future options. But note in the previous answer that "completeness" is the least significant of the criteria. It can't be my goal to post every available image or to create complete lists of each and everything ever mentioned. If you are looking for a fairly complete database, Memory Alpha will much better suit your needs.

Q: I found some images that you just have to post. And how about some sound files or videos?
A: It can't be my mission to show every existing image or media file, not even all that my visitors deem indispensable. The reason is that I must stop the already immense transfer volume of EAS (that I need to pay for) from rising indefinitely. EAS already now has ten times the data volume of a text-based site (such as a news site or BBS) with the same number of page views. Hence sounds and clips are absolutely out of the question. Also, I don't want to re-publish stuff that can be found everywhere in the web. Furthermore, when I scan or compose images myself, in particular the starship images, I sometimes spend an hour per file to clean them up until they are ready for web publishing. I hate noisy low-contrast images, and I rather post few good ones than lots of images of poor quality. If you're looking for more media files, you will find some very good sites on my links page.

Q: Could you create a section about Star Trek games?
A: No. I'm just not qualified to write anything about Trek games. I own like two or three older games, and I play them hardly ever.

Q: Are you going to create a site about other science fiction?
A: No. Although I like a few other series outside the Star Trek Universe, I neither know enough of them nor could I take care of them besides Star Trek. And believe it or not, in spite of the demise of Enterprise and my lacking enthusiasm about the Abramsverse I have plans for many years worth of updates.

Q: Why is EAS so strongly focused on the TNG era?
A: Actually, this is not a frequently *asked* question but I'm referring to complaints such as "The focus of EAS is on the 24th century." or "EAS has little to offer for TOS fans." that I have repeatedly seen on other websites and message boards. I find such observations very odd, and I can only assure you that TOS has absolutely the same weight at EAS as the later series. If you have a contrary impression, it has very likely statistical reasons, as we've got just 3 TOS seasons and 6 movies as opposed to 21(!) seasons and 4 movies set in the 24th century.

Q: I sent you some information/suggestions weeks ago. Why didn't you include them?
A: I am grateful for any assistance in expanding and updating this site. But unless mistakes need to be corrected or the update takes me just a couple of minutes your suggestions will generally have to wait several weeks or even months. In many cases I won't be able to take it into account at all, because there are always more pressing tasks, because it is not verifiable, because it results in an unrealistic quantity of work or because I can't find the right place or format for it. Please acknowledge that I'm not a company. I maintain this site in my spare time and pay for it out of my own pocket. Still, it is totally free for everyone. I feel no obligation to fulfill any visitor suggestion brought forth.
And one last thing: If you don't receive a negative reply from me, it doesn't mean that I will take care of your suggestions. In many cases additional research is required from my part before I can include anything, so you will get a response like "I will look into it". This neither implies that I will eventually decide in favor of your suggestion, nor that I will ever send a negative notification if I should discard it.

Q: I have revised a few things in my article / in a couple of my graphics that are already on your site. Would it be a lot of trouble for you updating them?
A: It is usually a lot more trouble than you can imagine. Any text and most images have to be heavily edited to make them web-ready. In case you spend a couple of minutes to change a few words in the text or a few lines of a drawing, I may need an hour to find what you changed and update just the changed portions. I may have to reconstruct images almost from scratch or re-encode whole portions of an HTML page. So please only send updates if they are substantial or necessary because of errors, and always give me an exact protocol of your changes.

Q: I created some new content for your site, saving it as HTML in Word for Windows for your convenience.
A: Sending me HTML files created with Word is the worst thing you can do. I'm not joking! Word creates an absolutely atrocious HTML code, with Word-specific pseudo-CSS that is usually more extensive than the content. I would need to edit the source code of each single paragraph manually to make it work. You can send me Word files in doc format, and I will convert them myself, using copy & paste.

Q: Why don't you have anything about the Bonecracker Heavy Attack Cruiser and the Starfleet Special Strike Force in your databases and articles?
A: No way. My site takes into account canon information only. No novels. No games. No RPG stuff. All non-canon stuff made by me and other fans (starship designs, fan fiction) is strictly separated from canon facts on my site. I strongly recommend reading the paragraph on Canon further down this page (although I made up the particular examples in the question in order not to offend anyone).

Q: I looked through your ship database, but Riker's USS Titan NCC-80102 of the Luna class is missing.
A: It's not there because the design is non-canon.

Q: I can point you to detailed fan-made schematics of the Enterprise-J for your database.
A: Thanks, but I won't show them because we could see too little of that ship to make out more than a coarse shape. Everything detailed would be way too much speculation for EAS.

Q: Why have you removed some fan-made drawings and CGI renders from your ship gallery?
A: It is my goal to provide the most accurate available references. Regardless of their quality, I continually substitute fan-made renditions for photos or CGI images of the "real" ships as they appeared on screen.

Q: The official CGI length of the new Enterprise is 725m. Why don't you accept it?
A: I wonder why it is such a big deal that I beg to disagree with official figures (note that there is a difference between "official" and "canon"). I have pointed out incidences of mis-scaling many times before, and I have arrived at different figures for the BoP and the Defiant, to name only the two EAS articles that have become classics of their kind. The ship has been designed at 366m, and there are various pieces of evidence why it should be at most 400m long.

Q: Please send me bigger orthographic views of the Miradorn ship, of which you show just a thumbnail on your site.
A: If I got my hands on these, be assured that I would upload them immediately. You are mistaken if you think that bigger side views must exist because there are thumbnails. The latter are often just placeholders and not smaller versions of images with a higher level of detail. Please read about the Structure of the Starship Database.

Q: Why do you have so few definite figures on your site, for instance about weapons power?
A: As sad as it is, especially power and energy figures from dialogues and reference books are subject to vary considerably. Sometimes power and energy are even confused with each other. If we also take visual evidence into account, the figures will make even less sense. The dilemma is that with this contradictory evidence we can't tell how strong a phaser beam or photon torpedo actually is, neither in the fictional universe nor in the real world. Here and here are a few general considerations.

Q: The length of the Negh'Var class on your site is wrong. It should be 685m, and not 682m.
A: Different sources may give differing numbers. But aside from that, do you really think that a difference of 3m (0.4%) makes it "wrong"? It may surprise that I, as an engineer, am not that pedantic. There are cases in which higher accuracy is required, but starship lengths are not among them. In my view 685m equals 682m, unless I were to design a close-fitting temperature-compensated hood for the ship.

Q: You give away all the essential plot information about episodes. Why are there no spoiler warnings?
A: The whole site is a spoiler and it wouldn't be possible otherwise. If you don't want to be spoiled you can read hardly anything of it. Even if the rest of the site didn't reveal very much, I don't feel like marking episode reviews with spoiler warnings. To see spoiler-free summaries you can go to TrekToday.

Q: Your links page is fine, but it doesn't refer me to the exact stuff I'm looking for on other sites. You may consider putting more direct links to similar topics on other sites into your articles.
A: Sorry, but I will even further reduce the number of links to external sub-pages because they have a half-life of no more than a couple of months. While it is already troublesome when websites go offline altogether or switch to another server, webmasters who keep moving around their files and directories on the same server or switch to a new CMS are an extreme pain of the ass even if it is not their intention.

Q: What are the Star Trek Fact Files?
A: The Star Trek Fact Files used to be a weekly publication in Europe and Australia. I know of a German version in Germany and an English version in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The Fact Files contain sections with general and planet information, Starfleet (ships), alien ships, characters, equipment, episode guide and an A-Z encyclopedia. The mere facts are essentially identical to the Star Trek Encyclopedias, but there are many more images in the Fact Files and some exclusive schematics. One point of criticism is that the Fact Files are written on a completely fictional level like for a 24th century reader. Hence, there is not the slightest background information on actors, production history, production crew, props or visual effects. The Fact Files were first released in 1998 and were discontinued in late 2002. After that a revised and updated version of the Fact Files was released in Japan. Read the complete review and see the sources for order information.

Q: What is Star Trek: The Magazine?
A: It was a monthly official magazine only available in North America with various information on all aspects of Star Trek in the form of articles, including a good deal of behind-the-scenes information, like interviews with actors and "making ofs". Star Trek: The Magazine was rather expensive, but had more content for its price than the Fact Files. The magazine has been discontinued. Read the complete review and see the sources for order information.

Q: What is Star Trek Mechanics?
A: It was a book/magazine series in Japan. I only have #4, which features countless studio model images, almost all of which you can find in my starship gallery. See the sources for order information.

 

Complaints

Q: You're a dick for showing a "blocked.gif" image when I put your files on my website or use them as my forum avatar.
A: You're a dick for hotlinking, letting me pay for your traffic and not even credit me. There are inexpensive hosting packages and free image hosting for all your needs.

See the special Abramsverse FAQ for all questions pertaining to the reboot movies and the new continuity.

Q: FYI: The movie of 2009 is called just "Star Trek", not "Star Trek XI", not "Star Trek (2009)" as you keep calling it.
A: I know that. It would be easy for me to distinguish "Star Trek" (the new movie), Star Trek (TOS, The Original Series) and Star Trek (the franchise). But it would still cause a great deal of confusion among the readers. Instead of complaining about fans who prefer "Star Trek XI" over his official title "Star Trek" for exactly this reason, J.J. Abrams should have chosen an unequivocal (and search engine friendly!) title in the first place. I have switched from "Star Trek XI" to "Star Trek (2009)" because the movie isn't in the same continuity and the same tradition as the previous movies.

Q: Why do you hate "Star Trek (2009)" and "Star Trek Into Darkness"?
A: Read my reviews, rather than listening to hearsay. Abrams made two exciting movies, but they failed to become a worthy part of the franchise as we know it. I have numerous issues with the basic premise, with the plot logic, with the outcome, with the characterizations, with the many amendments to the technology and the set design, with general continuity, with miscarried homages and with visual effects of the two movies. It is a overstyled and hyped reboot that is not really my Trek any longer.

Q: You habitually bitch that Star Trek, and especially Enterprise, is too American. Did it ever occur to you that it's an American show, produced for American viewers?
A: That's just not the point. Star Trek was laid out by Gene Roddenberry as a vision of the future of a united humanity. But it is lacking cultural diversity, just like most other American TV series too. I concede that having human characters from more different countries may have become distracting. But even when devising people, places or customs of marginal significance, the authors usually took them from the Hollywood version of an atlas or a phone book. There is clear evidence in the form of the names they have given human characters in the past, with more than two thirds of them being Americans or Brits.
Still, even Roddenberry himself took a lesson when he believed that the Pravda had complained that there was no Russian character on TOS. He let Pavel Chekov join the crew in the second season. 20 years later TNG became decidedly multi-cultural with its diverse crew.
Alas, Voyager and ultimately Enterprise has become a series about Anglo-Americans in space that shows citizens of other countries, if any, in roles less important than aliens-of-the-week. Enterprise has five human characters, of whom one is American of Japanese descent, three are undeniably American and one is British. The non-regular characters are exclusively designed to be Americans. Where on Earth are the representatives of the rest of Earth on a mission to introduce humanity to the galaxy? As for the typically American customs, I agree if a character like Tom Paris, as someone whose hobby is the culture of the 20th century, is interested in specifically American stuff. But everyone else seems to be fond of American food, drinks, sports, hobbies, music, literature, sayings or holidays likewise, with only infrequent references to what is customary elsewhere on Earth.
I'm not complaining that it wouldn't be realistic if American culture ruled the planet. It's just not a desirable future, at least not for me and other people with cultural environments that are ignored and maybe not even supposed to exist in Star Trek. Much less would this comply with Roddenberry's ideals.

Q: Why are you so keen on proving that Enterprise is bad and violates continuity on every occasion?
A:
I think that I have always given the series a fair chance - at least as much as I have tolerated Voyager's errors too. There are many aspects I like about Enterprise, and a couple that I dislike. Those who reproach me with being unfair should take into consideration how it was a fashion to bash Voyager long before Enterprise's launch, and how Voyager fans feel about that. It was never my intention to "take revenge". On the contrary, the 4th season of Enterprise is one of the best among all Trek series, something that is reflected in my reviews. But I reserve the right to choose myself how I deal with continuity concerns at EAS. For instance, I will not bother finding apologies why the "Akiraprise" looks like it does, why we habitually see technology that shouldn't yet exist or races that shouldn't yet be known in the 22nd century. I am aware many fans are trying exactly that, but I don't feel like making up twisted theories to excuse producers who have deliberately chosen to act against their own premise. I may put up with one inconsistency in a while, but a chain of unlikely events or an effortless time travel explanation is something that I refuse to believe in. I'm not even saying that there are more errors in Enterprise than ever before. It is just that, unlike in previous series where they averaged out, they all point into the same direction (read the next answer).

Q: You are opposed to Enterprise only because it doesn't follow your version of history.
A:
I have always accepted that TPTB are determining what is happening in the show, and I have always changed my views whenever new facts became available - arguably more often than anyone else on this planet because I always hurried to update EAS accordingly!
Those who claim that I want to impose my view of history on others have absolutely no idea of this site which is *strictly* based on canon facts and not on conjecture from my part. Don't confuse the canon-based EAS with the fan fiction in the Starfleet Museum!
The true reason for my criticism, at least of the first three seasons, is that TPTB didn't stick to *their own* premise and *their own* established Trek history. They fleshed out a prequel, a type of series where it was not advisable to carry out everything the writers may come up with. Their intention was to present us a different Star Trek. But instead of that they repeatedly fell back to Trek clichés of the 24th century (the "Akiraprise" look, fast and reliable transporters, real-time subspace communication, holodecks, cloaking, phase pistols that work exactly like phasers, photon torpedoes, K't'ingas, shapeshifters, Ferengi, Borg, etc.), even if this strained credibility. Everything functioned essentially the same way as in the 24th century. There was only half-hearted (retro-) development. The extent of plot recycling had become alarming in the second season. Only the sets looked different and the Vulcans were now the evil guys. Although many episodes were really good, continuity was often thrown overboard only due to a lack of better ideas or for the sake of superficial comedy. It is as if some elements were incorporated especially to please a certain flavor of fan boys who expect clichés and name-dropping.

Q: If you don't like it, why are you so much opposed to the simple explanation that Enterprise takes place in a parallel universe? Just like the new movies?
A: It has several reasons. First of all, the compatible links between Enterprise and the rest of Trek outweigh the continuity problems or errors in my view. Secondly, the second law of thermodynamics forbids two previously divergent timelines (Enterprise vs. the "true" history of the 22nd century) to converge to the same future (23rd and 24th century). Thirdly, if Enterprise takes place in a parallel timeline, it is still canonical, in spite of all claims that with this trick it could be invalidated.

Q: Quit bashing Enterprise and "Star Trek (2009)". If you think you're so smart, why don't you launch your own TV series or produce your own movie?
A: You're completely missing the point. First of all, I never claimed I could do a better job. I freely admit that I would be a lousy director, screenwriter or producer. But the people who are responsible for Star Trek are professionals. Star Trek television and movies, in strong contrast to this website, is a commercial product for which we pay in some fashion. We have a right to criticize it. Wouldn't you want your vacuum cleaner to be fixed if it didn't work properly? Secondly, if you complain about me complaining about something on TV or in the theater, you either presuppose that everything shown there is inherently terrific (very unlikely), or that particular series or movies are beyond criticism, or that only your opinion counts anyway. It's a matter of opinion, so please leave me mine. Finally, I never force anyone to read or even to believe what I'm writing. To paraphrase your words, why don't you write your own reviews?

Q: Your episode and movie reviews are unfair. They focus on finding what you think are errors. You don't recognize good drama.
A: First of all, you need to take my reviews with a grain of salt, as you would do it with anything written by anyone else. It may be true that I pay more attention to continuity and technical plausibility than most other critics. But as I repeatedly state in my reviews I am taking the errors only into account for my rating if they really ruin the episode (such as in VOY: "Threshold"). As my assessment of the drama and the resulting ratings are concerned, I don't think that they usually deviate much from what other reviewers think about them. And a differing opinion should always be allowed. I never criticize other reviewers for their views.
But what is "good drama" anyway? In my view you can't call something "good drama" that relies on silly premises or on stereotypes, even if the wording of the screenplay, the directing and acting are fine. Unlike most other online critics, I never compare Star Trek with any other TV show, and I rate it on a completely independent scale. On the other hand, I always compare a new episode with everything that has been shown on Star Trek before. We are dealing with a series, and I am simply not forgetful enough not to notice when writers either rehash or ignore previous stories (or even do both at once!). See a more detailed explanation of my Episode Ratings.

Q: Why are you so keen on finding errors and inconsistencies?
A:
I'm not a nitpicker who is always looking for missing rank pips, but I rather pay attention to continuity on a more general level. For instance, I would have appreciated if there had been at least a bit of continuity to TNG when the DS9 Trills were created, if it had been decided to make NX-01 look like a genuine 22nd century design instead of an Akira-esque travesty, and if Roberto Orci had refrained from including the totally inapt "Delta Vega" reference.

Q: Why do you always bash TPTB, the writers, the Star Trek Art Department or the VFX companies for crappy work?
A: I never want to create the impression that the responsible people are doing bad job. I am aware that tight schedules, lack of budget, unexpected script changes and the necessary coordination of many involved people sometimes inevitably lead to compromises, to improvisation and ultimately to continuity errors - many of which most fans don't even notice. So even if everyone in the staff does their very best (and I'm sure they usually do), it can't be 100% perfect, but only 99% or so. The Making of Star Trek by Stephen Whitfield is highly recommended reading in this regard. So it's not my general impression, let alone a preconception that Star Trek is flawed. On the contrary, if I didn't honor the great work of the production staff, I could hardly be a fan of the show. Only a few things like the asinine turbolift scene in "Star Trek V" really annoy me because they were willfully screwed up.

Q: Why do you always bash the Star Trek Fact Files or the Deep Space Nine Technical Manual for being wrong or inaccurate?
A: I wouldn't say that the secondary publications are generally wrong and everything stated there should be doubted. Some inaccurate ship schematics in the Fact Files and silly technical specs in the DS9TM are no reason that these publications are flawed on the whole. On the contrary, they are mostly well-researched and should be on every fan's bookshelf. Reading my site might create the impression that I find fault with everything, but that's because I simply don't want to reproduce their content, so I pick the errors and try to correct them. Concerning their reliability and plausibility there are differences between the publications, though. I would wish every reference manual were as well-crafted as the TNG Technical Manual.

Q: Your own ship designs are fanciless and boring, and they look unrealistic and cheap.
A: That's just your opinion. When I design a starship I always try to keep the shapes and dimensions technically plausible. Regarding the style, I just don't like aggressive looking warships with exotic weapons, and I would want to see them neither in the show nor on my website. Regarding the quality, I freely admit that my software as well as my artistic skills have hit the wall and that I lack the time and patience to get into 3D design.

Q: Your English sucks. Learn it.
A: Listen, smartass. In case you haven't noticed (which would only speak in my favor), English is not my native language. Is any language you speak besides English remotely as good as my English? If yes, I can assure you that I am constantly learning and that I frequently correct errors. In case this is still not enough in your view, you have to prove to me that the language on at least 90% of all websites maintained by native speakers is better.

Q: Your scientific analysis is lacking. You shouldn't subscribe to pseudo-science and technobabble but use real science, like Lawrence Krauss, the author of The Physics of Star Trek.
A: I am well aware that the science in Star Trek is flawed. But that's just the nature of science fiction. At least of any science fiction with FTL drive and aliens. It has been envisioned by authors with often just high school level knowledge of science. Why should I go and over-interpret something that was made without any ambition to be scientifically correct? I comment on errors where I notice them, but I see no reason why wrong usage of units, stupid figures or even sloppy visual effects should require me to re-assess the meaning of Star Trek. I would like to keep my suspension of disbelief, and not watch it with the eyes of a 21st century physics nerd who thinks that he is better than anyone writing science fiction. Over-interpretation or re-interpretation ultimately ruins any kind of fiction. Although his book The Physics of Star Trek is definitely good reading, Lawrence Krauss is guilty of the latter. It is a thorough physics lesson, but a poor Star Trek reference. Read my review of the book and more about the Realism of Science Fiction.

Q: Some of the content on your website is incomplete, inaccurate or wrong. Other websites disagree with your findings.
A: Don't mistake it as arrogance, but you can be sure that I have checked various references for every little piece of information, including the Trek episodes themselves, Trek reference books, Memory Alpha, real-world references and discussions with other Trek fans or even with the production staff. I can always tell you how I came to my conclusion, but unless you have new proof I hope you understand that I don't like to rehash all the old arguments over and over. 
The majority isn't always right. The information on other Trek sites may appear more detailed or more accurate, but it may be outdated or may contain totally conjectural facts that are not noted as such. It is the price for the approach to cover more topics or provide a better user interface than EAS - well, sometimes it may be laziness and lack of interest too. I don't claim that you have to believe every word I'm saying, but I'm doing everything to correct errors and keep the information up to date.

Q: You are not TPTB (The Powers That Be). So why do you try to impose your opinions on other fans?
A: I often notice that other fans are very curious about my opinion, as if it were taken more seriously than other fan work. Some few people accuse me of being dogmatic or just arrogant. This is probably because EAS is not simply parroting stuff published elsewhere. I know it sounds immodest, but EAS is the world's leading source of technical Star Trek information. The site presents my personal findings and those of many contributors I rely on, thoroughly based on strictly canon information, real science, common sense and with an absolute minimum of conjecture. Nothing more and nothing less. I always know what I am talking about, and I strongly doubt that many other fans could claim the same.
But the question is already the answer. I'm not in a position to tell other people what they ought to believe, and I don't want to. I don't create anything canon. If you don't like my views, you don't have to listen. If you think I'm wrong, you may always go and prove it. You will notice that I don't simply reject your arguments if they are valid. I'm incorporating visitor comments to my articles every few days.
I hope I could make my point clear. BTW, even TPTB shouldn't be allowed to exert total control. Star Trek™ may be the property of CBS and Paramount, but ultimately Star Trek belongs to us, the fans.

Q: It's only a show. Get a life!
A: Okay, William Shatner once said that, but he was only quoting a truism among people who just don't (want to) know Trek or merely see it as a weekly dose of mindless entertainment. Star Trek fans will lack social acceptance as long as the prejudice about them being overweight male teenage computer nerds in their parents' basement is further being disseminated. No one would say "Get a life!" to someone who is interested in rock music, racing cars or most obviously sports, pastimes that are all commonly rated as "cool" or at least "acceptable". If you don't like what I'm doing, give me real reasons or shut up. Be tolerant. I'm not insulting you because of your dedication to a hobby either.

 

Canon

Q: What is "canon" exactly?
A: You may read my extensive write-up about Canon. In brief, I always try to stick to the following widespread definition. 
Technically, canon is what writers should pay attention to in the making of new Star Trek episodes. Everything that was shown in a previous live action episode or movie is canon. Anything physically impossible in the shows like the 78 decks of the Enterprise-A is still canon. Yet, we don't have to buy everything and make up twisted explanations where logic and common sense fail. Official publications by Denise and Michael Okuda, Rick Sternbach, Herman Zimmerman, Doug Drexler or other people directly involved in the production are not canon themselves, but they reflect canon facts. Even if these books are supplemented with "apocryphal" names, dates or specs not mentioned in the show, this may be practical to limit the room for speculation.
Finally, there is the huge category of licensed and fan fiction all of which is non-canon, including all novels, games, RPGs and fan-made web pages. It is obvious that no one could ever reconcile all these additional contradictory facts. Even the novels and games authorized by CBS/Paramount are non-canon, considering that "authorized" merely means that a license is given to another party which doesn't oblige CBS/Paramount to anything. For instance, although many fans accept that the "Insurrection" scout ship was (imprudently) christened "Venture class" in a game, it will never go by this name in an official publication.

Q: Why don't you distinguish better what is canon information and what was made up by you?
A: Actually, I wouldn't know how to draw the line still clearer than it already is. All information on this website is strictly based on canon facts, and speculation is limited to very obvious conclusions and always explicitly marked as such - please note the systematic use of the subjunctive, of "could, would, might be" and little words like "if" or "perhaps". Unlike it is the customary on most other websites and especially many databanks I don't make up any information about ships and technology, even if this leaves wide gaps in my lists and charts. Please check if seemingly more complete databanks in the web don't possibly use lots of non-canon information. The Starfleet Museum, the ASDB, the JoAT and the EAS Fleet Yards are fan fiction, which I hope becomes clear at the first glance.

Q: Why don't you list the ships in the game ABC or the book XYZ as official designs? They are authorized by CBS/Paramount.
A: All games, all novels and essentially all non-fiction books have to be regarded as non-canon, no matter if authorized by CBS/Paramount or not. Once again, please note that "authorized by CBS/Paramount" means nothing more than that the game or book company is allowed to use the brand name "Star Trek". CBS/Paramount has no obligation to adopt anything published this way for the TV series. On the contrary, they avoid involving anything that was not created by them or one of their contractors for the show as otherwise they might have to pay royalties!

Q: What are you going to make of "Star Trek (2009)" and the Abramsverse? Is it fully canon?
A: Principally yes. At least as far as I have to accept the producers' stance that it is supposed to be a canon Trek movie that happens to take place in a parallel universe (or in a new universe replacing the old one, as this is definitely open to interpretation). I have reservations though. Many events and other facts in the movie are inconsistent with established canon regardless of the parallel universe premise. I may decide to give the old Trek (5 series, 10 movies) precedence over the rebooted Trek. For the time being, the new Abramsverse will remain in confinement, meaning that facts will be accordingly tagged, in a similar fashion as with TAS.

Q: Why don't you take into account The Animated Series (TAS) as fully canon?
A: So far EAS strictly complied with TPTB's stance that TAS was non-canon. Now that the official policy has purportedly been amended, I feel unable to promptly conform once again. This would not only mean for me to dig for new information in the series, which would be still the fun part, but it would require me to sift through the whole site and reconsider countless conclusions. TAS has remained largely isolated, and some facts will remain irreconcilable with the five live-action series. Especially due its nature as a show conceived for children and the often lacking quality of the production it often even doesn't allow to apply the same criteria. It gives TAS a different, usually lower weight than the live-action series in my view. These are the reasons why TAS will remain in a "proto-canon" limbo at EAS. It will gradually appear in side notes and in separate sections, but evidence from live-action Trek will generally supersede accounts from TAS. As soon as a new Star Trek series heavily references events from TAS and hence TAS fulfills the criterion of being linked with everything else as outlined at startrek.com, I may reconsider this solution. In any case the TAS policy at EAS is mainly a technical necessity, not primarily a decision because of my opinion of the series.

Q: But there were references to Franz Joseph's Star Trek Technical Manual in canon Star Trek.
A: If canon Star Trek shows Franz Joseph (even FASA) ship designs, this doesn't mean that they are all canon too. Since they are otherwise largely ignored and contradicted by TPTB, they can be best described as non-canon unless otherwise stated.

Q: But didn't Gene decanonize "Star Trek V" and "Star Trek VI" as well?
A: He may have meant it this way. However, unlike TAS the two movies are necessary for the overall Trek continuity. They are canon. As such, the events in "Star Trek V" may have and should have been as presented, but we don't have to believe that there was a journey to the center of the galaxy or that the Enterprise-A had 78 decks.

Q: Why are you so strict about "canonicity" anyway?
A: There are people who accept only canon - because they know the Okudas' Encyclopedia by heart or because they just refuse to see that Trek can be anything else. On the other hand, there is the kind who stir up canon and fandom at will - because they either don't know that much and believe anything they see or read or because they don't want their creativity be limited by TPTB. I know lots of either type of fans and any shade in between. 
One typical situation is that some people on a message board explicitly talk about the number of nacelles on canon starships and someone throws in that the Federation class and Saladin class (from Franz Joseph's Star Fleet Technical Manual) are odd-nacelled. The result is a fruitless discussion about the term "canon", about the value of canon, about the authority of Roddenberry, Okuda, CBS/Paramount or Pocket Books, about books which should be considered canon because they are written by Jeri Taylor, about Colonel West and the Starfleet Marines, and so on. 
Since I'm tired of such discussions, I go with TPTB and agree with their definition of canon, while I encourage anyone to include whatever he likes to his own view of the Star Trek Universe. That's what I'm doing with my personal ship designs, the ASDB and the Starfleet Museum too. I would never want to miss the fan-made stuff because it really enriches the universe, no matter if I "believe" in it. I probably can't help those who don't even want to see anything that was not released by Paramount or the other extreme group, those who don't care about the idea of Star Trek and are turning Starfleet into a military organization with big-gunned warships. For anyone in between, canon is a common ground.

Q: Your page on canon is a total waste, because it is not up to you to decide what is canon.
A: If you care to read the frakking page, you will notice that I discuss the issue because the people who are expected to decide what is canon don't always agree or don't even care.

 

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Last modified: 14.10.14  
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