Star Trek Expanded Universe
ForumsHailing Frequencies → Free-to-use creations (Reply | Watch)

Those of us who write stories, or play in RPGs, or whatever, often come up with background characters, races, groups, technology, what-have-you, that aren't integral parts of our work, and may be no more than a throwaway line or an in-joke. But sometimes they strike a chord with someone else, too. Have you ever been reading someone else's story and seen some little piece of background fodder that made you go "Neat-o, wonder if he'd let me use that in my story?"

When I first started in fandom (good grief, has it really been ten years?), on the TrekCreative Yahoo Group, some of the guys loved to make up these background elements, and post them to the group, free for anyone to use in their stories. It's a fun way to flesh out your universe, and create a sense of community. I was thinking of doing the same here.

There are already a couple articles of mine that would fall into this category: Subspace Domain, Meditations on the Kir'shara, My Andoria, Jackson Center for Archaeology, Pulsar Gamma Corporation and Pioneer Transports come to mind.

If others feel the same, maybe we could start some kind of category for this type of article, and create a template for them? What do you think? --TimPendragon 20:42, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

This is something I've always liked the sound of and am very much for. In fact, yesterday I looked at the Subspace Domain article and thought it was pretty cool and was wondering if you'd let one of my characters own one of those albums. I think it's those nice little background details that are common across various fan fictions that provide neat little connections, not large scale things that are too distracting but just small things that make it all seem to fit together more nicely, so yeah, it's something I like the sound of. --The NCC Factor Talk 10:29, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Anyone else have any thoughts on this? Sasoriza? Anyone? Bueller? -TimPendragon 16:06, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

No thoughts here ATM, sorry. Sasoriza AdmTlk 16:32, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I think it's an excellent idea... It would provide more of a sense of community, ya know? -Autumn 18:25, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree. It also helps to (pardon the pun) unify the fan fics in a way... I'm happy for anyone to use any references from my seires in their own work. :) --Luke80 18:56, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Okay, here's a basic start for a "policy" on this:

Open-use creations are characters, items, groups, ships, etc, which have been created by a fanfic author or RPG player, usually for background purposes, and which are free to be used by other authors in their work. Where applicable, credit for the initial idea should be given to the original author.

What do you think? --TimPendragon 23:14, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like a great idea. :-) --Hawku 23:32, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Can someone make a template/explanation to go on these articles? I'm not that good at making them myself. --TimPendragon 23:59, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Did a template ({{openuse}}). But now I have some thoughts. I'm forced to wonder, how much of an article branded with this category should be considered "free to use"? I'm guessing you mean just the base source of the article, not all of its general applications, right? Just want to be clear. For instance, Subspace Domain: You're saying it's okay to use the concept of the band, their name/albums etc., but not the Star Trek: Pendragon aspects, correct? As in, User:X wants to use SD. Okay. But if they incorporate something like, "I listened to this stuff at the Academy with ol' Timmy Sinclair".... See what I mean? It's probably important to make the distinction, because some people (as hard as it is to believe) might just not get it. Sasoriza AdmTlk 11:24, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Also: What if others start rewriting/altering the base concept? Using the Subspace Domain example again: I see no listing of band members. Suppose someone supplies those names? Say they start filling in back-story--how the band formed, why they chose that name, why they did this or that, etc., etc. Should that be okay, for any article in this category? Sasoriza AdmTlk 11:30, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm concerned about the size of the template. There are a few of my Unity articles that I would be happy to make free to use, but not if there is a big box at the top. Maybe the size could be reduced to be more like the series templates in the top right hand corners, for example. --Luke80 11:28, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
The only problem with those corner boxes is that they cover stuff which shouldn't be covered (which is already a problem)... and if someone else wants to stick yet another corner box there, but one's already in place....  I'm trying to find a way around this. Sasoriza AdmTlk 11:34, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps placing the the template at the bottom, similar to the {{featured}} template, with a specific icon placed at the top? --TimPendragon 16:41, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm okay with this as long as it's not taken too far. --Kevin W. AdmTlk 16:35, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Regarding what is-and-is-not open-use in the articles - how about placing the "basic" stuff in the opening section, tagging that with the open-use template, with series-specific info further down the article. I'll edit Subspace Domain to show what I mean. --TimPendragon 16:41, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Additionally, as far as I'm concerned, once the basic information has been posted in an article, any author may do what they like with it -- within their own fiction (they can't "hold sway" over another author). Individual users may add to it at will, but if someone creates a "band member list" that they use, another author may come up with something different for their fic. --TimPendragon 19:55, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, and if that happens (if two people come up with two different lists) you could probably just put both lists in the article under separate fanfic headings. The same could apply for differing histories. But I think people should at least put an effort into updating the article frequently and abide by what's being updated there... but then again it's the author's own personal preference. --Hawku 02:45, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Making it more noticeable[]

Given recent events it got me wondering how best to go about making the existence of the Open-use category more noticeable. It could be a fun little resource for fanfic authors or RPGers to draw from if people know it exists. I'm sure most of us have forgotten it even exists and there is no doubt we all have stuff that can be thrown into the category.

Also maybe a specific policy should be added that discusses the usage of material on here. A simple one that just states the open-use article policy and if in doubt ask the author/creator. – JayLR 06:55, November 12, 2009 (UTC)