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Yesterday, I created a category called "Alternative timeline individuals". As Skittles the hog pointed out to me, I probably should have started a discussion on the subject first as it covers a fairly broad area. My apologies for not doing so. He also asked me to remove the category from all non-canon individuals. What does everyone else think? Should the category only be added to character which have been definitively stated be from alternative timelines such as the Burner Doctor and Unit 190 or should it be expanded to non-canon and/or ambiguously canon individuals?
--GusF 16:21, September 17, 2011 (UTC)
It seems like expanding it the way you suggest would be forcing the wiki to take a stand on the idea that non-canonical fiction happens in an alternate timeline of the canonical universe. And I think that's wrong for multiple reasons.
- There are all kinds of other realms that aren't alternate timelines, but also aren't part of the main Whoniverse. (This may seem like a silly distinction, but the show has explicitly distinguished alternate timelines from parallel realities, and this wiki has followed by trying to come up with a firm definition for each, and acknowledging that some things don't seem to be either.)
- There are events that canonically happened in alternate timelines, which is very different from non-canonically happening in the main timeline.
- There are also events that non-canonically happened explicitly in alternate timelines, and just tossing all non-canonical events into alternate timelines makes it impossible to distinguish them.
- Many non-canonical events clearly were intended to happen in the main timeline of the main Whoniverse. For example, Time's Champion cannot reasonably be considered part of an alternate timeline (otherwise, it doesn't actually explain any of the events it's meant to explain). It's either part of the 6th Doctor's main continuity, or it just didn't happen.
As a side note, I think you mean "alternate timeline", not "alternative". --184.108.40.206 18:55, September 17, 2011 (UTC)
- "Alternate timeline" has a specific meaning in regards to canon; it's something that does exist in canon, but in a reality apart from those of the main Doctor Who universe. This covers alternate universes in the main narrative like Pete's World. The various non-canon individuals with entries on this wiki are well outside what we would call "alternative timelines," they are excluded from the Doctor Who universe for whatever specific reasons the source stories they come from are excluded. The category is therefore not of use for non-canon articles. — Rob T Firefly - Δ∇ - 05:49, September 18, 2011 (UTC)
- Well, Gus, I think that both Skittles and the above IP user have usefully tried to make a correct distinction. An alternative universe is canonical; a non-canonical universe is, well, just what the name says: It is beyond the Doctor Who universe, which itself does have alternative universes.
- (The IP says we've tried to define a difference between a parallel universe and an alternative universe, because the show has, but I'm not convinced that's true. I mean there's a cryptic comment from Sarah Jane one time that the Trickster's world wasn't alternative but parallel — or maybe it was the reverse. In any case, she gives us the idea that there is some kind of distinction. But I don't personally see it. At best, a parallel world is merely a specialised kind of alternative world.)
- So Skittles was right to request removal of category:alternative timeline individuals from non-canonical character pages. When something is fully non-canon — that is the BBC hasn't licensed it, or this wiki has determined that it is simply outside the DWU — then it's not in an "alternative unvierse", such as Pete's World. It is in no way connected with the DWU. A story set in a non-canonical universe might as well be set in the Star Trek universe, the Star Wars universe or any other fictional universe. We cannot use information from it to write our in-universe articles here. It is meaningless to the in-universe side of our wiki, even though we might take note of it in our real world pages.
- And we absolutely don't want pages about non-canonical things floating around in an in-universe category about alternative universe things.
- Moving on to the question of word choice, I have to say that I'm in strong disagreement with the IP user. The Oxford American Dictionary holds that Americans would think "alternate timeline" more correct than "alternative timeline", but that the British would find "alternative timeline" sounds "better". In any case, its stylistic more than syntactic: there's nothing definitively wrong with either. Both alternate and alternative are adjectives, meaning "available as another possibility". The only thing that is clearly wrong, on both sides of the Atlantic is to use alternative as a verb, and to use alternative to mean "every other one". Those meanings are absolutely reserved for alternate. And actually you should use alternative for this category, since that term is in wider use on this wiki than "alternate". That said, forum discussion on which of the two words to use would be good, because we do need to decide one way or the other. Currently alternative is winning in category titles — but not by much.
- I'm going by what's on this wiki, not my own judgment here. There's an article called Alternate timeline; "Alternative timeline" exists only as a redirect to it, and the word "alternative" doesn't appear on the page. The lead sentence says "An alternate timeline is a reality which is different from a parallel universe in that…" That's why I said it's alternate, and that it's different from a parallel universe. Now, maybe that article (and the various related ones) are wrong and need to be fixed. But if so, that's a whole different issue from this one. Actually, two completely separate whole different issues. In fact, I'll start threads on them, so we can stop talking about them here. Because here, I think most of us are in agreement that non-canonical and alternate-timeline are not equivalent, and that's what matters here. --220.127.116.11 07:55, September 18, 2011 (UTC)