TEPwiki:TEP Evolved canon

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TEP Evolved canon, also known as Urth canon, is a blanket term used to describe everything that is considered part of the TEP Evolved continuity according to consensus of the Forum RP community. Articles in TEPwiki are generally expected to be compliant with canon. As a rule, articles should not be written that intentionally violate canon.

Since canon, as a rule, is constantly evolving, it is naturally difficult to keep everything on the wiki completely up to date without constant maintenance. A certain level of outdatedness is acceptable, but there are various templates that ought to be applied to a page to show if there are major differences between the contents of an article and the current version of canon as a result of this constant change.

What is canon?[edit source | hide | hide all]

The word canon historically referred to a number of things, but the definition that is most relevant for our purposes is defined thus by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

3 [Middle English, from Late Latin, from Latin, standard]
a: an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture
b: the authentic works of a writer
the Chaucer canon
c: a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works
the canon of great literature
— Merriam-Webster[1]

While the word canon first saw use in reference to Christian scripture, when it referred to texts considered part of the Bible, it ended up seeing use in relation to various works of literature, and eventually would be used in relation to various fandoms. Much like how Biblical canon referred to scriptures accepted as part of the Bible, canon for fandoms is a set of works accepted to be a part of a fandom's "universe."

Various examples of canon as applied to fictional works can be found on the relevant Wikipedia article.

What is canon?[edit source | hide]

Canon in relation to the TEP Evolved universe is much like the general fandom usage of the word "canon." It refers to a set of RPs that are accepted as having happened in the "main" continuity in TEP Forum RP.

There are various venues for roleplay in the TEP Evolved community, and they form a hierarchy of canonicity. The TEP forums are the oldest source of canon for the Forum RP community, and its threads are generally treated as the gold standard for canoncity, as posts in these threads tend to take a significant effort to produce.

In recent years, more fast-paced roleplaying cropped up within the community on Discord servers, due to the convenience of writing quick, short posts and getting responses in real time. While events roleplayed out through Discord were originally intended to be written up in the form of forum posts, it quickly became used as a source of canon on its own. This effect was exemplified by the spread of in-character channels on various Forum RP-affiliated servers, like the League of Novaris server (the first one to have an exclusively IC channel), the Union of Commonwealth Alliances server, and, most visibly, within the main Forum RP discord server itself in the form of the various IC channels used to represent the regular (dys)functioning of the International Forum.

Another source of canon itself directly stems from TEPwiki itself. Since TEPwiki is meant to be used as a reference source, often information that is not found directly in any RPs are simply placed into the relevant articles within the wiki. This is a completely acceptable way to create canon, and a fair amount of information that is not found anywhere else tends to make its way on TEPwiki.

Recent sources tend to be considered more up-to-date, and so tend to be weighed more heavily in determining what is or is not canon.

How canon changes[edit source | hide]

Canon is not a monolithic list of RPs that are officially part of TEP Evolved continuity. The Four Days War, for example, is no longer part of canon, despite having a major impact on the community (having been the introductory RP for a number of still-active members of the community, and being the original source of the Space Debris Crisis). Similarly, many of the countries that featured in RPs in the early 2000s are no longer considered canon, despite coming from the same sources as threads that are considered canon.

This is a natural consequence of the way online communities work. While it would be ideal for everything that happens on the forums to be set in stone forever, making everyone's contributions permanent (within reasonable guidelines), that is a recipe for stagnancy. The reality is that users come and go, and the map has limited space on it. The natural result of this is that the Cartographers regularly carry out what is known as a "map purge," a process where inactive people who are not considered relevant enough to the TEP community are removed so that space can be freed up. As a result, nations that took place in an event at some point may not exist on the map a few map updates later.

The solution to this problem is by applying retroactive canon, or in other words, changing canon to fit current circumstances. This is a process that is commonly referred to as a retcon, or as retconning an RP.

Retconning is a process that requires agreement between everybody affected by the process. For example, if a player decides to retcon in their country's participation in a war, they would have to discuss it with the participants of the war. Similarly, if a player makes retcons to their country's history, it is good practice to inform everyone who may have to make changes to their own country's history in order to fully implement that retcon.

Adjusting TEPwiki articles to make room for retcons is often time-consuming, so editors often place {{retcon}} onto an article if something on it became outdated as a result of a retcon. This informs readers that the article is not completely compliant with current canon, and content on it should be confirmed elsewhere by something written after the retcon.

In some rare cases, entire chunks of continuity may be rendered non-canonical either by consensus in a discussion by the community or in a ruling by the RP Mods. The most memorable example of a forum post being overridden is the infamous Giskard post:

Please disregard post #918 (http://forum.theeastpacific.com/single/ ... &t=7002202), as it has been deemed in violation of roleplaying rules and etiquette. One must not post with another player character without the creator's permission, and especially not kill off the other player character without permission.
— Furnifold, then-RP Moderator, in regard to the post[2]

Retcons have been applied for reasons other than breaches in etiquette, however. The aforementioned Four Days War was agreed upon by the community to be not canon as a result of a discussion since many of the relevant participants no longer canonically existed. The {{formercanon}} template was created for this specific case.

Events that were dependent on causes that are no longer canon were either made noncanonical themselves or retconned so that their causes were compatible with canon. For example, the Space Debris Crisis was retconned after the Four Days War was decided to be noncanonical so that it was caused by a failed Vakari launch instead of the use of anti-satellite weaponry in the war.

Alternate universes[edit source | hide]

Alternate universes and timelines rely on their own continuity. While part of an AU's history may be dependent on TEP Evolved canon, there is at least some portion of the AU that is not part of this canon.

As a principle, AUs rely on some part of their premise diverging from canon. In the 2199 AU's case, for example, the universe is set more than a century in the future, while TEP Evolved canon is set in the present day. As a result, these AUs have their own canon, and while they may at least partially incorporate TEP Evolved canon, they have to have some sort of element in them that does not reside in the main canon. This difference between canons is what distinguishes an AU from the "prime" universe.

Since alternate universes rely on their own, albeit partially separated, canon, an alternate universe's canon can shift in the same way Urth canon itself shifts. AUs are not immune to retcons, especially when they result from changes in Urth canon.

References[edit source | hide]

  1. "Canon". Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  2. Furnifold (August 16, 2017). "The Shiro Academy - Page 62". The East Pacific. Retrieved June 14, 2022.