can⋅on 1 /ˈkænən/ [kan-uhn] –noun
- 1. an ecclesiastical rule or law enacted by a council or other competent authority and, in the Roman Catholic Church, approved by the pope.
- 2. the body of ecclesiastical law.
- 3. the body of rules, principles, or standards accepted as axiomatic and universally binding in a field of study or art: the neoclassical canon.
- 4. a fundamental principle or general rule: the canons of good behavior.
- 5. a standard; criterion: the canons of taste.
- 6. the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian church as genuine and inspired.
- 7. any officially recognized set of sacred books.
- 8. any comprehensive list of books within a field.
- 9. the works of an author that have been accepted as authentic: There are 37 plays in the Shakespeare canon. Compare apocrypha (def. 3).
- 10. a catalog or list, as of the saints acknowledged by the Church.
- 11. Liturgy. the part of the Mass between the Sanctus and the Communion.
- 12. Eastern Church. a liturgical sequence sung at matins, usually consisting of nine odes arranged in a fixed pattern.
- 13. Music. consistent, note-for-note imitation of one melodic line by another, in which the second line starts after the first.
- 14. Printing. a 48-point type.
- 15. An argument on Star Trek forums used to beat other Trekkies over the head.
There, canon defined. Canon is exactly what each author decides that canon is. There is no right or wrong way to do this. That is the Principle of TrekCreative, Your Board, Your Wave.
Canon and Star Trek
For the purposes of Star Trek discussion canon usually refers to what has been seen on television and movie screens. This is a method of restricting the conversation to a limited and shared source. For instance, some fans may not own a copy of the Franz Joseph technical manual, so a reference to that work might exclude them.
Abuse of Canon
Some people abuse the term and the concept of canon, leading to definition 15 above. For instance, Garry Stahl's Ane are non-canon, in that one has never appeared on screen in an episode or movie of Star Trek. To say that this means that the Ane are an inferior creation, or to use this as a reason to denigrate Garry or the Ane is an abuse of canon.
Some people use references to canon to "win" arguments. This violates the principle of Your-Board, Your-Wave, which we enjoy on Trek Creative.
Each fan's internal view of Star Trek. Be that to include books, websites, obscure fan publications not seen in a generation, and/or game materials. It may or may not include all the episodes or movies.
Case in point The Epiphany Trek Canon does not include DS9 or Voyager, not so much due to any quality or lack of same as aspects of the world were set before those shows were shown. Likewise it has a very different view of the 22nd Century and the Romulan War, so ST: Enterprise is likewise ignored.
This is heavily into the Your Board, Your Wave idea. No one is wrong in their personal canon. We can agree to disagree.