This page is an archive of a community-wide discussion. This page is no longer live. Further comments should be made in the Senate Hall or new Consensus Track pages rather than here so that this page is preserved as a historic record. The result of the debate was to amend the Manual of Style as proposed below.Graestan(Talk) 03:50, August 10, 2010 (UTC)
Our Manual of Style currently dictates the universal use of metric units of measurement in in-universe article writing. To quote: For consistency, all in-universe articles should use metric units of weight, mass, length, and other measurements. This follows the practice in most sources of official Star Warscanon. (See also List of measurement units.)
This effectively forces us to make a measurement conversion based on the real-world metric conversion chart in the instance a source does not use the metric system, which is not all that rare. Note that many American measurement units are just as canon as the metric system. See: Inch, Foot, Yard.
I don't argue with the fact that the majority of Star Wars sources probably do use the metric system for measurement purposes, but certainly not all do. The reason I've started this CT is because I've noticed in the past few months users leaving objections for nominators requesting they make a real-world measurement conversion from the American system to the metric system based on this section of the MoS, even when the original source uses an American measurement unit.
For example, if something is stated in a source to be "four feet" in length, we're technically required by the MoS to convert that figure into meters, based on real-world standards. Is there even a true Star Wars metric conversion chart somewhere? I seriously doubt it. If someone can dig one up, then by all means. But until that happens, I believe that making this conversion is essentially Original Research based on real-world figures. Not to mention unnecessary, considering, as already stated, American measurement units are canonical.
It should perhaps also be noted that this portion of the MoS was evidently never approved through any formal process as we know it today. It was just sort of thrown in when the MoS was being developed way back in this wiki's infancy and until recently largely ignored.
I propose we amend this part of the MoS to do away with forced real-world conversions and allow the article to state whatever measurement unit is stated by the original source. It would read: Many official Star Wars sources use the metric system of measurement, while others use American measurement units. It is recommended that in-universe articles use the metric system, but users should avoid making measurement conversions based on real-world conversion standards. Articles may state measurements based on whichever system is used in a particular canon source.
If anyone would like to suggest tweaks to this proposed wording, please do so in the "Discussion" section below. Thank you. Toprawa and Ralltiir 01:40, August 3, 2010 (UTC)
Call me anti-OR anti-arbitrary anti-unilateral. Graestan(Talk) 02:38, August 3, 2010 (UTC)
As long as there's no canonical conversion charts. Even if this makes makes things more inconsistent for units and harder to be compared, I prefer consistency on sourcing and canonity. --Tm_T(Talk) 02:48, August 3, 2010 (UTC)
I feel a need to clear my opinion a bit: IF there's reliable way to convert and the conversion is sourced and footnoted properly, then I prefer having metric system used via conversion, but only then. --Tm_T(Talk) 09:47, August 9, 2010 (UTC)
Also consider that Imperial standard meters would be the excepted form of measurement in the galaxy at least during the Imperial Era, but it doesn't necessary mean it equals one meter on Earth (not counting warping of spacetime and what have you). What if you happened to measure in Trogan meters instead, where everything would be 25% off? Measurement can vary greatly within the GFFA depending on what society you happen to fall under, and should be defined as much as possible. -- Riffsyphon1024 09:51, August 4, 2010 (UTC)
Though I'm fairly sure that the real world conversion would be correct, it makes sense to use something that has been officially stated. If future sources give some of them in metric we can always swap them. Or put the non-metric measurement in brackets or something. Green Tentacle(Talk) 18:10, August 4, 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, the fact that there is no official Star Wars measuring system, there obviously needs to be a solution. I believe this is that solution. The fact that some articles list height in Real-World measurements is no problem, but when one starts to fight over the American system or the Metric, then there is a problem. As stated in this proposal, the solution is to list what system you used, end of problem. I agree 100%. DarthRageLeave a message after the beep 18:42, August 4, 2010 (UTC)
I still don't really consider it OR, as the conversion is a little obvious, but I am against the necessity for rounding, and I do agree that if it's in the source it should be used in the article as well. HOWEVER, I am of the opinion that if both metric and standard measurements are provided in a source/sources, metric should take precedent every time, for the sake of uniformity throughout the site where possible. Darth Trayus(Trayus Academy) 21:41, August 7, 2010 (UTC)
Oppose proposed change
After the big stink people made about sticking to the metric system back in March (see here and here), this seems hypocritical - I'm sorry to say. - Esjs(Talk) 05:43, August 3, 2010 (UTC)
With all due respect, I think you're failing to fully understand what is being proposed here. So if I may, I would attempt to clarify, and please forgive the wiki-lawyering. This CT isn't attempting to assert one measurement system over another. Quite the opposite, in fact. It's trying to alleviate a senseless restriction that forces us to make a real-world metric conversion for any in-universe figure, and instead allows us to objectively use whatever measurement unit a specific source uses. There is no in-universe metric conversion chart, AFAIK, so trying to create one on our own would be little more than fanon. Not every real-world standard applies to the Star Wars universe. That earlier CT you link to was trying to create this fanon conversion chart, which is why it was justly shot down by overwhelming consensus, including yourself. So I'm somewhat puzzled why you would vote here to try and uphold forcing us to make fanonish metric conversions for each non-metric figure we come across in canon. Toprawa and Ralltiir 06:00, August 3, 2010 (UTC)
Well, I think I do understand; I just disagree. I'll concede that while "not every real-world standard applies to the Star Wars universe", it's not that much of a stretch to assume a real-world metric conversion chart in-universe. Of course, if the majority calls it OR/fanon, so be it. I just don't see it as such. (Arguably, I think trying to assume that the SW universe doesn't use the same conversions is just as much OR/fanon). I didn't see the previous CT as trying to create a "fanon conversion chart"; it was trying to deviate from the MOS. - Esjs(Talk) 06:56, August 3, 2010 (UTC)
In that case, it comes down to your simple inability to understand how Wookieepedia treats canon, which is why you find yourself misguided here. What you're proposing we continue to do is exactly what you term it: an assumption. It's beside the point whether or not it's "too much" or "not too much" of a stretch to make this assumption. It's an assumption, which is another word for speculation. Wookieepedia deals only in fully attributable data, not what is assumed. You're making the assumption that, for example, if a source states Jim's head is 7 1/2 inches around, it's therefore exactly 19.1 centimeters, because that's what the real-world conversion is. I will here quote the definition of "Original Research": Original research is material that cannot be attributed to a reliable source. You cannot attribute to a reliable source that 1 inch = 2.5 cm in the Star Wars universe, unless an official source literally says so, which in this case it does not. How do you know that 1 inch doesn't equal 3.5 centimeters in the Star Wars universe? You don't know either way, so we must avoid making this assumption, and instead assert only what the source tells us, that Jim's head is 7 1/2 inches around. Toprawa and Ralltiir 07:17, August 3, 2010 (UTC)
The idea that authors are referencing something as a yard long because they really mean that it's a kilometer long and space yards are somehow different is absurd, as absurd as suggesting that we can't confirm that oxygen in Star Wars is actual oxygen, because maybe it's nitrogen and they're just randomly using a wholly inappropriate word. Common sense is not OR. Nor is the ability to read English and know what words mean. Maybe in Star Wars, a light-second is the distance it takes light to travel in a minute! Havac 07:21, August 4, 2010 (UTC)
Standardization is important, and we've already seen that consensus swings toward the duck test. The fact that we'll occasionally have some funny-looking decimals is no reason not to stick with the metric system. We can easily correct for an occasional author letting his cultural bias show, and it doesn't hurt anything. -- Darth Culator(Talk) 23:48, August 4, 2010 (UTC)
In light of the existence of in-universe conversion that conforms to our own, I no longer see any validity to claims of OR, which was my only personal sticking point. Dangerdan97 14:34, August 5, 2010 (UTC)
Here's my reasoning: we aim to present ourselves as an in-universe encyclopedia. The most commonly used system of measurement in-universe is the metric system, especially in scholastic or academic works, like the essential guides. If we're keeping with the in-universe encyclopedia theme, we should keep with what would be used within the universe for an encyclopedia, which is metric. The conversion has been shown to be the same, and if/when it is made, you can place a note in the reference stating "So-and-so's height was provided as X feet Y inches in Star Wars: Bliggidy Bloo. Conversion between Star Wars standard and Star Wars metric has been shown to be equal to our own in Star Wars: Blahdy Blah." Darth Trayus(Trayus Academy) 03:12, August 6, 2010 (UTC)
I think the revised wording should also mention that some measurements are only given in fictional units (like MGLT, Df, etc.) I'd also like to see a bit more emphasis on the point that the units to use are the ones given in canonical sources (maybe that last sentence should go first, or be italicized.) Otherwise, this seems reasonable. —Silly Dan(talk) 02:33, August 3, 2010 (UTC)
The fictional measurement units probably should be mentioned in that section somewhere, but I feel that should be left for another discussion. I'm intending this to simply deal with the real-world conversion confusion going on. Perhaps the last sentence of the proposed wording can be bolded? Toprawa and Ralltiir 02:43, August 3, 2010 (UTC)
Looks like I'm a bit late to this party, but while I've supported the current proposed wording, I also think the last sentence could be tweaked. I don't think specialformatting is the way to go, though; rather, I think the fault is in the wording. The best solution would be to just tweak the last sentence by changing "may" to "should"; I think that would get the point across without being too in-your-face about it. —Master Jonathan(Jedi Council Chambers) 19:38, August 3, 2010 (UTC)
"Should state measurements based on whichever system is used in a particular canon source" makes sense to me. —Silly Dan(talk) 01:59, August 5, 2010 (UTC)
I'd be interested to see such an example. Provided that the measurements are both considered valid/canonical and not conflicting (e.g. "Five Mile Fallacy"), we suddenly have a canonical conversion! But to answer your question, I'd interpret the policy to be that metric takes precedence. - Esjs(Talk) 18:03, August 4, 2010 (UTC)
Aren't there sources which describe the ISD-I as "one mile long" or "about a mile long"? I suspect there are a fair number of similar examples, and that the conversions will be close to real conversions. The likelihood of an author deliberately or accidentally misusing real-world units so the conversions are way off are fairly low, and any remaining discrepancies would probably be the result of retcons/corrections (like when "five miles" becomes "19 km") or approximations (1600 metres isn't exactly one mile, but it's close enough for many purposes.) All the same, to avoid objections from those who might disagree, I suppose it's safest for Wookieepedia articles to simply state canonical measurements without attempting any conversion. (I'm not going to vote support for this change in its current form because I'd still like to see fictional units mentioned, but this snowball probably doesn't need my help. 8) ) —Silly Dan(talk) 01:59, August 5, 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I'm not sure how many sources there are out there that list both measurements, but for anyone who's looking for an example, take the recent Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia. It provides the clone trooper's well-known height as 1.83 meters in addition to 6 feet, which, according to Google converter, is the same thing in real-world measurements—not exactly, of course, but rounding gets it close enough. While it is worth noting that some sources do utilize both standard units of measurement and are based on real-world conversion bases, however, I must reiterate the points made (somewhere) above that these sources should not be used to promote a universal canonical metric-to-American or American-to-metric converter, simply because of the fact that conversions (and rounding) will never be as exact as what is specifically provided in sources—and I myself still consider conversions to be OR. CC7567(talk) 06:31, August 5, 2010 (UTC)
The thing for me isn't at all that conversions may or may not be OR/speculation—in this case, I frankly don't care whether our conversions are the same or not. What matters to me here is that these measurements clearly exist IU. And if they exist IU, then it makes absolutely no sense to not use them in our articles when the source uses them. Jonjedigrandmaster(Talk) 01:34, August 6, 2010 (UTC)
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