Category talk:Dimensions

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This use of the word "dimension" does not make sense.What you reallly mean is a plane in various dimensions. But what to call this category then? Something like "Spaces" would be accurate, but could be confusing. "Spatial hyperplanes" could work, but that term doesn't really have any connection to the game. Any other ideas? -- SvdB 18:01, 16 Jan 2005 (CET)

WTF is a "spatial hyperplane"? A "hyperplane" is a space, nothing more, nothing less. "Spatial hyperplane" is just treknobabble-style nonsense.

A spatial hyperplane only crosses spatial dimensions (as opposed to temporal dimensions). - SvdB 13:03, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)
Well, that's partly inaccurate, then, because clearly time exists in each of these spaces or else you wouldn't be able to go to them and spend time in them. I did a little research, and in vector math they use "hyperplane" to mean a smaller set of dimensions excised from a larger set of dimensions. A "spatial hyperplane", in other words, would be a two-dimensional plane in real space. I'm not sure what you're using it to mean here. You're probably going off of the New Age mystic definition of "plane", which is clearly only ever used as a metaphor -- the fact that we can easily imagine multiple planes coexisting in a space makes it easier to understand multiple spaces existing in a hyperspace.
I said "crosses", not "exists in". Draw a line on a piece of paper and you could say it exists in the "plane" of the paper. Prick a pen through it and you could say it "crosses" it ("intersects" would be better).
And you're wrong when you say a "spatial hyperplane" has to be 2-dimensional. (more below).
And I disregard the mystical use of "plane" (like the Pkunk use it) altogether, for the purpose of this discussion. - SvdB 18:53, 22 Jan 2005 (CET)
Read what Wikipedia says about it. A "hyperplane" is any subset of a larger set of dimensions in a vector space. A hyperplane of normal 3-D space is a plane. A hyperplane of a 2-D plane is a line. A hyperplane of a line is a point. There's even a movement to start calling three-dimensional hyperplanes of a four-dimensional space "realms" rather than "hyperplanes" *because* "plane" implies a 2-D environment.

The *best* term is "dimension". Bukowski and the Arilou both specifically say that although it's an inaccurate term it's the best English term available to them.

They don't say that. - SvdB 13:03, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)
He then goes on to use the word "dimension" over and over again, as well as the term "dimensional fatigue."
He doesn't say it's the best English term available. It's the best term that he knows of. - SvdB
  • sigh* I've never heard anyone use the term "hyperplane" to explicitly mean "a real-life universe or continuum outside the universe we know" until now. You might think it's a better term, but you haven't shown any evidence that it is.
The Arilou: "Some of your more broad thinkers refer to such realms as other dimensions. Though trivialized, this is a suitable metaphor for your intellect."
Again, use of the term "interdimensional fatigue" and constantly referring to QuasiSpace and TrueSpace as "dimensions".
Given that these places *don't really exist* and were made up by the creators of the game, I think it's pretty arrogant to say that because, to you, the terms "don't make sense" you feel free to edit TFB's own preferred usage to something you like better.
The fact that they don't exist (or aren't known to exist) in our universe, doesn't mean there's no accepted way to describe such a theoretical construct. It's not uncommon that something is named and defined even before it is found or disproved. - SvdB

Most people now accept that "dimension" has the secondary meaning of "extradimensional space" -- how often have you heard "aliens from another dimension"? Just think of "dimension" as short for "extra set of dimensions" rather than "single dimension" and you'll be fine.

No, refering to "dimension" instead of "set of dimensions" is not what I'm complaining about. The word "dimension" has a whole different meaning. A dimension is a "direction" of the universe, a degree of freedom. Look at it as a high building. Within a floor you could define coordinates on the "longitude" and "lattitude" dimensions. TrueSpace is one of those floor. When you say an alien "is from another dimension" you could say in this case that the alien came "from the height dimension". But if you want to talk about the actual space they occupy, you refer to "floor" (the plane). Note that in general, the planes in the building (the total of space) don't have to be parallel. They may even cross eachother in places. When people say "another dimension", the "other" refers not to the fact that their own space isn't in that dimension (it is), but that it's in a dimension you can't normally travel in. - SvdB 13:03, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)
No. It's not that simple. There's no rule that other spaces have to exist like planes stacked on top of each other this way. Indeed, if you imagine the world consisting of a giant hyperspace, any three-dimensional cross-section of it can be experienced as an ordinary space, *regardless* of whether those dimensions "line up" or not with our own. A lot of sf stories talk about entering an alternate universe by "rotating" so that our time dimension becomes the z-axis and our z-axis becomes the time dimension; just doing that could put you in an entirely different space that people in our universe would be entirely unable to perceive, even though all the dimensions are the same as ours, just relabeled.
I explicitely noted the "in general, they don't have to parallel" so that what I said couldn't be misinterpreted. I guess that wasn't enough. (I guess they don't even have to be "flat" (in multiple dimensions) either) - SvdB
In any case this is an entirely tangential discussion. Regardless of how *you* define one dimension as different from another, if I *perceive* myself in an entirely different space from the one I was in before, it's perfectly meaningful to say that the set of dimensions I'm in now is different from the one I was before.
Being in a dimension by itself does not make sense; that's exactly my point. You can be in a space. And granted, a "different space" depends on what part of the larger space you define as your space. But there are a few preferable spaces, namely the ones in which you have free motion. - SvdB

It's exactly analogous with HyperSpace -- technically HyperSpace, QuasiSpace and TrueSpace all exist within *one* hyperspace (or hyper-hyperspace, or whatever) and themselves are just spaces, but we name the space we get to by traveling hyperspatially HyperSpace, and we name the things separated by extra dimensions just dimensions.

Only people who don't know any better do that. Granted, most people don't know any better, and to portray them accurately in fiction, you would have them say things like "dimensions" when talking about (hyper)planes. But we are writing a reference work, which should portray the way things *are*, and we should describe them accurately. - SvdB 13:03, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)
Is this from Planescape? Let me say it again -- the *real* meaning of plane is a set of two dimensions. It's by no means a more correct scientific term. Using "plane" to mean any arbitrary set of dimensions is as much of a metaphorical stretch of the original meaning of the term as using "dimension" to mean the same thing.
I don't know Planescape. I ententionally refer to "hyperplane" instead of "plane". The hyper refers to the fact that what a "plane" is to a 3D space, a "hyperplane" is to a space with more dimensions. Look here if you don't believe me. And even better, here's what dimension means - SvdB
Okay, so what makes you think that "hyperplane" is a particularly good term to use for what we're talking about? Something is only in a hyperplane in *relation* to something else. You seem to be misled by the prefix "hyper-", which, if *you* read the article there, doesn't mean what you think it means. Mathematicians don't use "hyper-" to mean four-dimensional -- here, "hyperplane" refers to a way to draw one vector space out of another vector space. It has little to do with the *colloquial* use of the term "hyper-" in the sense of "hypercube" or "hyperspace". A "hyperplane" certainly isn't a synonym for "3-D space"; a 3-D space happens to be a hyperplane of a 4-D space, but the best word for a 3-D space *specifically* is just "space" -- or "realm", I suppose. But using those terms gets you in trouble once you're using ordinary language to talk about real, 3-D spaces one can jump back and forth between, because once you use ordinary language and not the language of mathematics "space" can mean many different things, including just a particular region of space.
In any case, two of the people in the *Star Control* universe who know the most about dimensions use the term "dimension". This is an encyclopedia about the Star Control universe. Are you going to insist that we also change the name of HyperSpace because it's inaccurate?
"HyperSpace is a name", "dimension" is a description. If you have a story about a little kid who goes to a farm and meets an animal that makes "moo" sounds, eats grass, and is milked, but the kid refers to it as a "moomoo", and you were to describe what happens in that story, would you not use the word "cow", even though it isn't mentioned in the entire story? "dimension" is your "moomoo". - SvdB
If I were making an encyclopedia that took place in that story's universe you bet I'd call it a "moomoo". It's *fiction*. If the writers make up something called a moomoo that seems a lot like a cow in *our* universe, then it's okay to list that in a footnote, but you don't have proof that a moomoo *is* a cow.
You have to take the story on its own terms. If *everyone* in the story -- farmers, professors, businessmen, and so on -- rather than just little kids calls it a moomoo, all you can conclude is that in this world "moomoo" is the word for cow. Do you read Lord of the Rings and go replacing "mithril" with "titanium"? Or go through Star Trek replacing "duranium" with "uranium" or some such?
Especially consider that SC2 *is* soft sci-fi, at best; indeed it's much more like a "space fantasy", with quite a few magical and supernatural things going on. I don't see the need for perfect "scientific" accuracy, especially when you're talking about stuff that -- I reiterate -- there's no real scientific name for.

There's no reason to go editing the game's usage to make ourselves look smarter. TFB primarily used "dimension" and only occasionally used "planes" (a *more* inaccurate term) and never used "spaces" outside of a suffix. We're here to report, not extrapolate, remember? So use "dimension".

We being here to report accurately is exactly my point. You report things as they are, not necessarilly using the same words as the game characters do. TrueSpace, HyperSpace, and QuasiSpace are described as hyperplanes (also known as "space" when they exist in 3 dimensions), even though the exact word isn't used, not as things like "height", "width", "depth" etc (dimensions). This isn't a matter of making ourselves look smarter; it's about perfectionism. Also, I'd like to hear why you think "planes" (or "hyperplanes" rather) is inaccurate. - SvdB 13:03, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)
Okay, look: Language is not some thing dispensed from on high. If we *did* gain the ability to travel through HyperSpace, we probably would develop the *already existent* secondary meaning of "dimension" as a "separate set of dimensions one can travel through" into common slang. Just because it's not the *primary* definition now doesn't make it an illegitimate definition. Are you also like one of those annoying grade school English teachers who says you can't ask "Can I go to the bathroom?" or say "Hopefully it won't rain tomorrow"? There *is* no simple scientific term for something like HyperSpace because something like HyperSpace doesn't, really, exist. "Dimension" is as good a term as any, and I've even laid out a *logical* way you can develop a secondary meaning of "dimension" from its currently primary meaning so that it doesn't seem like a purely haphazard coinage of slang. You name things after where you go to get to them. "HyperSpace" is called that because its existence proves TrueSpace and HyperSpace together exist *in* a hyperspace, not because it, itself, is a hyperspace (it isn't, not if it's possible to navigate in it using an ordinary spaceship and visually see paths through it). It's no more illegitimate than naming the Far East or the Midwest after a direction.
I agree that what in SC2 is indicated by the name HyperSpace, is not a hyperspace in the mathematical meaning. I see no problem with that. But I disagree with the rest of this alinea. There *is* no "already existent" secondary meaning of "dimension" like the one you propose. I've looked in various respectable dictionaries, both online and in paper, and none of them mentions a similar alternate definition. The only place where you're going to find your use at all is in soft science fiction. Perhaps a dictionary of sci-fi will mention it. I don't deny the word actually is used in the way you suggest, just like some people use "starting the internet" for "starting a web browser", or use "Volt" when talking about power. It may be rather common for people to use terms like that, but that doesn't change the fact that it's still wrong. - SvdB
  • sigh* Prescriptivism rears its ugly head again. If everyone *does* use a term a certain way, that term *becomes* correct. That's what language *is*. If that's what everyone in the game calls it, that's what it is.
Secondly, even if you think this coinage is bastardized it's obviously *happened* in the SC2 universe. The Androsynth scientists, Bukowski, the Arilou La'leelay, and others don't use "dimension" because they're ignorant, but because it's the easiest term available to them. Clearly in the imaginary future "dimension" has become standard. Language is allowed to shift in an imaginary, sf-nal future even if you don't want it to shift in the real world now. Using a different term than dimension would be being untrue to the *actual usage* of language in SC2, just as changing "Androsynth" to something more authentically Greek would be, or "Unzervalt" to something authentically German.
If it actually was used in the game as a made-up futuristic word, that would make a case for using it as a category name. But it seems to me that either who wrote the dialogs in question (the dialogs were not all written by the same people) didn't know any better (it isn't as if "dimension" is a rarely misused word), or that the character in the game is meant not to know a better word. And what we are trying to do is describe' the SC world, not to take over their moomoo. - SvdB
Big difference between saying the characters are uneducated and the creators are. If the characters are uneducated, by all means make a note of where and how they go wrong. If the creators are uneducated, so be it; it's not your place to rewrite the SC2 dialogue to correct them. TFB made up a universe where "dimension" is the proper term for these things and everyone uses it. Accept it or write your own game.
The only people in SC2 who ever use the term "plane" are the Pkunk, obviously in reference to silly New Age mysticism. Their "planes", moreover, never refer to HyperSpace or QuasiSpace. Those are always, if they're called anything, called "dimensions" (unless you want to make a case for "reality" or "realm" based on a few references). "Spaces" only comes from the suffix on their names and is never used separately, because "spaces" can commonly refer to specific parcels of volume inside a single universe, which the game *does* use -- "Human space", "VUX space", etc.
Yes, "Space" is confusing (though correct), which is why I asked for alternatives. "Realm" begins to look good. - SvdB
Finally, "hyperplane" just plain doesn't exist at all in the sense you mean it. It's a math term, not a physics term. It's not in SC2, and it doesn't exist in real life, and I don't even think it comes from D&D, and I can't figure out for the life of me where you dug it up. I suppose you could make the point that, geometrically, each of the spaces we're talking about is a hyperplane of a larger-dimensional space, but it seems to me to be a stilted construction.
It is indeed a math term. And theoretical physics is the application of math to the "real world". All that we're doing is use the already existing mathematical term for a theoretical idea which matches the meaning of that term.
You've got the mathematical meaning of "hyperplane" wrong though. - SvdB
No, I don't. A "hyperplane" does not mean a 3-D space. If it did, it would be a redundant term. In any case you can't just say that because a mathematical term maps onto a physical thing that's what it should be called. There's a difference between a planet and an oblate spheroid.

To clarify another thing: I'm not in favour of using "Spatial Hyperplanes" as the name of the category. While it would be accurate, it would also be confusing to the user. I'm just looking for a replacement for "dimensions", which is just plain incorrect. "Spaces" so far has my preference, but I was hoping someone finds a word where the meaning out of context is immediately clear. I'm perfectly ok by making "dimensions" a redirect to whatever we decide though. After all, "dimension" *is* what most people who are only known with the word through "soft" sci-fi would refer to it, unfortunately. - SvdB 13:17, 21 Jan 2005 (CET)

"Dimension" makes perfect sense. Hard sf would use it as a slang term, because a truly descriptive term used by physicists would probably be long and unfamiliar. There's no point in being snobbish about "correct" terminology, because until we actually create the kind of technology we actually see in SC2, we won't *have* real, commonly used terms for things like HyperSpace, and we might as well use the ones the game gives us.
It exists as a concept, and we have a name for that concept. Maybe your version will be common use one day, like so many words have an original meaning which doesn't match what it's used for. But for now, being exact requires a better word. And you can probably do without me repeating that we're trying to make a reference work. - SvdB
We're trying to make a reference work about Star Control 2, not about every damn thing that science fiction writers and speculators bicker about today. You haven't convinced me that an *actual* thing like HyperSpace would be called a "hyperplane", and I certainly don't believe there's a consensus among the real-life scientific community on the matter. It may seem *logical* to you to map this math term onto a possible real-life physical construct but it doesn't to me, nor do I think it does to most people, and there's no reason to shoehorn this in by fiat where it doesn't belong. This is a Star Control 2 reference work about the universe Toys for Bob created, not about the sagely and masterful interpretation of theoretical physics according to Svdb. Or would you like us to find some botanists to give us long essays on how and why Supox physiology might or might not work in real life, or some UFO experts to give us explanations on what real UFO sightings and reports have been like and how they match up to the game's depiction of the Arilou, or some engineers to tell us why lasers don't really work the way they do in the Melee mode? This stuff may make good forum fodder but it's absolutely irrelevant to someone *who wants to learn about the world of the game*.

I usually side with Svdb on issues such as this, but I think Mr. Anonymous here has a point. There is no need for us to find a new term for what so many game characters call a "dimension". Naming the category with another term that is more scientifically correct would only confuse readers, who have heard them referred to as "dimensions" within the game.

Why don't we make a compromise? For the sake of usability, we keep the category name (or decide on another term that is also used in-game, but "dimension" is the only one I can think of) and place information in the category description about the more accurate scientific name. Also,, please make an account. It makes conversations easier. -Fadookie 06:04, 22 Jan 2005 (CET)

Yeah, I probably should create an account. Just a quick note before I go to bed, though:
THERE IS NO SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE TERM FOR A SC2 DIMENSION. THEY DON'T REALLY EXIST. The best you can come up with is using terms from physics to come up with what you *might* call such a thing if it *did* exist based on ways we talk about dimensions and alternate universes and such right now. But such talk is wildly theoretical and speculative, and even then has very little to do with the popular conception of popping into and out of other universes using magical technology that we see so often in sf. *Every* term for such things -- "hyperspace", "dimensions", "planes of existence" -- is essentially fictional. What I take issue with is Svdb thinking that some term he's come in contact with before -- "hyperplane"? -- is "scientifically accurate" and "realistic", which is patent nonsense when you're talking about one of the most fantastic and unreal tropes of science fiction. You can make a better case for established, mainstream terms for things like UFOs or psychic powers -- which at least a lot of people *believe* are real -- than for hyperspace.
Even for theoretical constructs there can be universally accepted names. Multiple dimensions are a common concept in mathematics, and the words "hyperplane", "space", and "dimension" have a well-defined meaning. Mathematics is the language of physics, and that is where the terms used in sci-fi come from. When you are describing something from a story you use the words that mean what is presented, often with additions like "named <bla> in the story". And TrueSpace, HyperSpace, and QuasiSpace are not dimensions. - SvdB 18:53, 22 Jan 2005 (CET)
"Space" in mathematics restricts itself to a certain set of properties, particularly when you mean a vector space. The real-world "space" of physics has quite a few more properties based on what we specifically observe about the space we live in. You can point to other things where a mathematician's concept of something does not equal the physicist's concept of something, even if they map onto each other. In this case saying that a "hyperplane" because it describes one *aspect* of what HyperSpace would be -- that its existence would prove the existence of a 4-D vector space of which it was a hyperplane -- makes it a good term for HyperSpace is like saying that the term for "black hole" should be something as simple as "discontinuity".
In any case, something *quite like* HyperSpace *only* exists in what you call "soft sci-fi". If we found something like it, the similarity to science fiction would be so obvious that I find it hard to believe that people wouldn't use sf terms like "hyperspace" and "dimension" to refer to it, just as terms like "teleportation" have been eagerly adopted for things like quantum teleportation.
And I continue to maintain that what's both an active slang use among the only group of people who seriously thinks or talks about this concept as a physical reality to any significant degree -- SF fans -- and what's the *actual use* among all characters in the game -- is perfectly legitimate.
I mean, again, gosh. You can get technical about all kinds of crap, like how the game uses terms like "base metal" that have no real scientific meaning, how the game has impossible things like neutronium lying around on the surface of a planet, and so on. I don't think it's within the scope of this work to play Mr. Science and give little lectures about why these things are impossible, or inaccurately described, or whatever. If you're going to talk about a fictional universe seriously you have to live inside of it, at least for the purpose of exploring it on its own terms. A reference work of the scientific inaccuracies in SC2 would be *huge*, an entirely separate project, and one that most people would have very little interest in, because to be honest SC2 is a game made mostly for fun by people with no science advisors or formal training in the sciences and no intention at all of being "realistic".

New section

It's getting a bit crowded above, so I'll be replying on your remarks here.

  • First, I never intended the term "hyper-plane" to be restricted to 3 dimensions. It may have more dimensions. And even if your universe has more than 4 dimensions, a three-dimensional hyper-plane still makes sense as a hyper-plane in a 4D subspace. (In other words, you don't have to make assumptions about how many dimensions the SC universe really has. - SvdB
Not all subspaces are hyperplanes. The term "hyperplane" originated from analogy with "hyperspace", so it properly means a subspace with exactly one less dimension than the original space. A 3-D space is a hyperplane of a 4-D hyperspace, but it's *not* a hyperplane of a 5-D or 6-D space, just like a 2-D space would not be a hyperplane of a 4-D space.
You'll never know how many other dimensions exist, but you can always refer to a specific subspace as a hyperplane of a subspace with one dimension more that it also is a subspace of. - SvdB
  • I accept that after some time, if enough authorities in their field use the wrong terminology, a word can get a new meaning. As I see it, this is still a long way off for the word "dimension". - SvdB
Sure, but no one among cosmologists really takes the idea of something like HyperSpace very seriously. If there were such a thing as HyperSpace the dictionary would have an official term for it. As it is, there isn't, so terms for it remain informal terms that the editors of the OED, not being SF fans, take a while to pick up. "Robot" and "android" were real words in SF long before they got in the dictionary.
I don't know any cosmologists personally, but I do know there are plenty of physical theories that introduce additional dimensions. I would bet that if they need to refer to a subspace, they (being theoretical scientists) will use the mathematical terms for them. The fact that your average dictionary doesn't mention them doesn't mean anything, as a general purpose dictionary would not list all profession-specific terms. - SvdB
Why is it so hard for you to accept that if something primarily exists in science fiction, even "soft" science fiction, the most proper possible word for it is the common "soft" SF term for it? When people think about something like HyperSpace, they *talk* about it as going to another dimension, because any other word for it will be unfamiliar and inconvenient. The verb "phasing" for somehow becoming insubstantial to matter and passing through walls at will is similarly a neologism from space adventure schlock, but it is, nonetheless, the only correct term for such a process, even though it has little to do with the physical concept of phases.
My problem is that this new use of "dimension" comes forth from a misused mathematical term. I suspect people just built on the correct use of the phrase "creatures from another dimension", which isn't incorrect (they travelled from an extra-dimensional direction). If you interpret that phrase differently, it looks like it says "another dimension" is a place, and if someone thinks that is correct, he/she will use the word to mean that in other places. It's the same thing with the word "irony". People nowadays use it to describe things humourous, unfortunate, or remarkable. I'm not just prepared to quickly give up on a word just because people copy the incorrect use. - SvdB
  • You say you've never heard anyone using "hyperplane" outside of mathematics. Googling for "hyperplane" in combination with "science fiction" or words that often occur in science fiction yields quite a few results.This one was particularly interesting imho). (And curiously, "hyperplane" with "alien" yields this discussion page as 7th hit).
The link you provide only ever mentions "hyperplane" once, in this context:

"They live in a neighboring world to ours, but just slightly shifted from ours along the fourth dimension. We also read in this story that our 3-space is but one 'hyperplane of hyperspace'. " In other words it bears out what I just said: "Hyperplane" only has meaning relative to something else. Our world is a hyperplane of a hypothetical 4-D hyperspace, but that doesn't automatically make it meaningful to call it a "hyperplane" by itself, any more than it makes it meaningful to call it a "subspace" or "subset". Such a term could end up being correct, but it would be a stretch of the original math meaning of the term just as much as just plain "plane" or "dimension", even if it might be more of a stretch.

  • I don't like the word "hyperplane" for an Ultronomicon category either. I just want to replace "dimension". "hyperplane" was just a suggestion to replace it by. "realm" sounds good to me.
  • As for your remarks about there being a movement in math for "realm" to have some specific meaning, also read the discussion page for that Wikipedia page. Someone remarks that noone uses "realm". And the fact that it doesn't appear in Mathworld gives him a lot of credibility to me. However, "realm" does have the more general meaning of a domain of something larger, which matches our use perferctly. And it *is* used (be it in only one place) in the game.
  • Where "dimension" is used in the game, it isn't as their word for "hyperplane" or "realm". It's just a word that is already used now (be it incorrectly). Your analogy with "mithril" and "duranium" fails there.
No, "realm" is the one that's used informally, since it's only used once -- and it's used, in fact, by the Arilou to *define* their use of "dimension". "Dimension" is standard enough in the SC2 universe that it's used, capitalized a la a paper title, in "Dimensional Fatigue" or "DF" or "IDF". The existence of "IDF" and "DF" even gives you a clue as to how "dimension" became standard in the SC2 universe, as shorthand for something like "interdimensional" in "interdimensional space" or "extradimensional space" or something.
They're *both* used informally. The difference is that one is used incorrectly. And I can't believe you actually used the capitalisation of "Dimensional Fatigue" as an argument that it is a game term (or is this someone else? It would help if you would sign your contributions. Three tilde signs are replaced by your login, or in your case, by your IP. (4 adds the date)). It's like saying "united" is a name because it is used capitalised in "United States of America". Likewise it's the expressions IDF and DF became standard in the game, not dimension by itself. (btw, interpretation of "IDF" also works with the correct use of "dimension"). - SvdB
Am I going to have to invent an analogy to make it clear exactly what I'm talking about? In SC2, dimension is the term used by *professionals* who know what they're talking about. The *fact* that it's used by professionals in the SC2 universe may be because the SC2 writers only studied what you call "soft" sci-fi when making SC2. It may mean that SC2's extrapolation of what future word scientists might use for such a concept as HyperSpace is improbable (though not "inaccurate", because the imaginary future where we discover HyperSpace and give it a name hasn't actually happened yet). But it is *what happened* in the SC2 universe and our job, as you've constantly said, is to report the SC2 universe, not correct it.
We are *describing* the SC2 universe. That doesn't mean we have to copy their language. I bet you would have no problem when describing the story about the cow to use the term "bovine" for variation, even when that term doesn't get used in the actual story. And why shouldn't you, "the bovine" refers to the same entity as "the cow". The problem in UQM is that the entity they describe with the word "dimension" is not actually a "dimension". So I try to avoid that word and instead suggest using another description that doesn't have that problem. - SvdB
I would be more sympathetic to your argument if there really were a truly correct term that we could make a quick, one-sentence reference to. However, I can't see that happening here; what we have is not a correct and an incorrect term, but a term that's *less* correct and another term that *might* be more correct. Including a reference here would involve a paragraph of explanation of *why* "dimension" is "wrong" in real life (even though lots of people use the word this way), even though it's the correct term in SC2, and then why our term is better. It would do nothing but *increase* the confusion of people who are already plenty familiar with what "dimension" means in SF and it wouldn't provide any useful information for SC2 fans, only for people who like the kind of debate we're having right now.
How about "classes of space"? There's no word more appropriate to TrueSpace, HyperSpace, and QuasiSpace than "space". And "classes of" prevents the interpretation of "space" in its other meanings. - SvdB
I just realised the "space" in "classes of space" is not the mathematical concept of "space". Still, it sounds good to me. - SvdB 14:53, 24 Jan 2005 (CET)
How about this: It would be like talking about why the Jedi Knights in Star Wars don't quite fit the real-life definition of a knight (being that their title is not granted by a monarch), or why the "-ium" suffix, reserved in real life for elements, is inappropriate for duranium in Star Trek, given that duranium is called an "alloy". (Apparently you're not familiar with that particular bit of Star Trek nonsense.) It would be appropriate for some piece on "The Science of Star Trek" for people who are *primarily* interested in science and want to learn by poking holes in a popular TV show, but it'd be of no importance for anyone who wants to learn about the Star Trek universe. And, yes, they both exist, not because of any grand artistic plan, but because the writers were ordinary people who think that "knight" just means a special order of warriors or "-ium" is what scientific chemical names end in, stuff that any professional would know was "wrong". But they wrote the story, and in their story it's true.
They don't refer to Jedi Knights as just "knights". The term is "Jedi Knight" not "knight". And even if they were to refer to them as knights, and not even as an shortening of "Jedi Knight", there is an analogy between historic knights and Jedi knights. They would be intentionally introducing a new meaning to the word, instead of carelessly using the wrong word.
I really haven't thought about Duranium alloys all that much, and I don't think the "-ium" suffix is actually reserved for elements (do you have an URL to back that up?). It doesn't matter though, at most it is a naming convention they violated when they intentionally introduced a new term. I might frown for a bit, but if that's how they want to name it (as opposed to reference), I'd use the same term when describing it. - SvdB
  • As for "rewriting the SC2 dialogs", I am not. In fact, I'm not even reciting any dialogs. I am trying to describe their world, in the best words we know of in our real world (which is what encyclopedias do, describe concepts in familiar terms). - SvdB
Look, if this is an accessibility issue, people are a heck of a lot more familiar with "We've come from another dimension" than any similar use of "space", "realm", or "plane", and certainly far more than the term "hyperplane". If it's an issue of accuracy, I still maintain there is no purely accurate term for what we're talking about because it's not an issue about which authorities have spoken. While the use of "hyperplane" might be more logical from your POV it's *not* an actual accepted term, and the line of extrapolation you use -- we and other dimensions form hyperplanes of some larger space -- is neither obviously correct nor natural.
"We've come from another dimension" is not actually incorrect. Anyhow, this is not an accessibility or accuracy issue. It is finding the right balance. For me that balance doesn't require an exact definition, but it does require the term being used correctly. I have abandoned the promoting of "hyperplane", but I haven't abandoned the search for a correct term to refer to what is refered to in the game as "dimension". - SvdB
You're not rewriting the dialogues, but you're acting like they're "incorrect" and need to be corrected. The dialogues are canon. In the context of the SC2 universe there's no way they can be incorrect. Whether the terms they use are proper in RL is of no more significance than whether the Small War really happened or is going to happen. FWIW I've never heard the term "teratomorph" used in any sort of real-world context either, since it just means "monster", hardly a scientific classification of anything. Should we stick a "This Isn't True" note on that, too, or just explain the term as it's used in the game? I vote the latter.
Terminology introduced in a ficitonal universe can't be incorrect. But they are using existing terminology incorrectly. They're not even redefining it, they're just (mis)using it. And if we can find a correct term to reference to the same entity, then I suggest we refer to it by that. - SvdB
  • As for taking things too far, I think this is far less drastic than what you've done with in the Humans, or Arilou or Androsynth pages.
I would disagree, because my number one goal has always been to create pages that will be interesting for SC2 fans to read and give them a strong, coherent picture of the world of SC2 on its own terms. If you'd like to point out specific instances where I've breached canon, feel free to do so and I'll gladly change it (or change it yourself). I don't think anything I've done has been egregious as putting in an editorial comment about how the creators were wrong about something, though.
Well, you have done things like describing the evolution of humans, the psychology of the Ur-Quan, and the fashion sense of the Androsynth. You refer to these in non-game terms no less than I do (with the addition that imho you tend to extrapolate too much). - SvdB
  • I don't think we're going to convince eachother any time soon, so maybe someone else could give us their view.
Well, Fadookie and the other anonymous poster both say the accessible *and* canon term is "dimension", something I don't think anyone disagrees on. My one beef is that people keep acting like there's justification for the idea that there is a correct term and that the correct term would be "hyperplane" or "realm". You can't really say that. "Dimension" is as correct a term as any, I continue to maintain. Plenty of people use it colloquially -- I've even heard physicists use it in the context of science fiction without feeling any particular need to coin a "better" term for it. I've certainly never heard anyone maintain that there's a real, existing theory of alternate universes that has established a real, solid term for what they should properly be called. Unless lots of authorities use it for that purpose, it's not the "accurate" or "official" term.
There's another anonymous poster? Hmm. Well, "dimension" is an accessible term, there's no denying that. If someone says "the Internet" when refering to the "World Wide Web", that's also very accessible. It's also wrong. I'll accept in in dayly use, but a reference work such as this needs to be accurate. "Canon" on the other hand, it is not. "Dimension" is not a word (re)defined by the game. It's not any more canon than "the" is canon. - SvdB
Actually, the *most* basic usage of "dimension" is just "proportion" or "size" -- pretty much the same thing as "space". When it comes up in ordinary conversation you can say something has the "dimensions" of 3 feet by 4 feet by 5 feet, or you can say that a problem is of "greater dimension" than another problem. Both these usages are nonsensical if "dimension" solely means "degrees of freedom", yet they precede the strict math usage, not the other way around. In its most basic sense "dimension" just means "stretching out" or "space", which is probably the *reason* it got the colloquial meaning of "another universe" anyway. I'm willing to bet that Svdb is a mathematician or math major, and that the only people for whom "dimension" in this sense seriously grates against the ear are people with his academic background. As a history major I have similar issues with SC2's liberal use of "thrall" to mean "someone who has to serve someone else", apparently for no other reason than because "thrall" is a more flavorful term, but I'm not going to say it's wrong, or that the colloquial definition has to bow to my specialized definition.
Ho! "space" is not pretty much the same thing as "proportion or size". And sure, there *are* other meanings of dimension. "Size" is one of them. "Extent" is another. But not "Space" (see any dictionary). Neither is "stretching out". And see above for my theory about how it could have gotten to be used for "another universe", as you put it. - SvdB
I am not a math major, I'm doing Computer Science, which is approached in a very theoretical on this university, and definitions are very important here (as in anything you want to do exact). I *have* had my share of mathematics in this study (besides the maths in my study, I did mathematics on the side the first year), in particular linear algebra, which makes heavy use of concepts as vector space, subspace, and dimension. - SvdB

The correct terminology is that used in the game by characters who are familiar with the concepts. Arilou used "dimension". Dwelling on space as types of planes might even be a game technology discussion; was each two-dimensional space really meant to describe, as a metaphor, the distances between stars in three-dimensional space? After all, the planets do seem to rotate, even if they don't orbit. Discussion of what TFB should have called the spaces is great for discussion, but if the terminology in the wiki doesn't match that in the published game, then the wiki is more of a related creative writing exercise.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean here. I agree with you, though I think we really ought to be somewhere between a "related creative writing exercise" and the only possible *actual* "accurate reportage" of the game data, which would be a massive dump of the game files and documentation themselves with no modification. I would say my goal here is "a faithful and comprehensive presentation of the SC2 universe". I would not make my absolute goal the bare term "accuracy", because as Svdb has demonstrated that can mean wildly varying things from situation to situation.

The other acceptable term, from game canon, would likely be *playground*. After all, the immensely powerful translating computer did signify this as a "linguistic best-fit". For the purposes of clarity (to those who play the game, not to those who might study mathematics), it would likely be better to use the term the Arilou described as being suitable for our intellect.

Well, yeah, but that's 'cause the computer isn't sure what the Orz are talking about at all, because (presumably) the Orz language has very little context to decode anything from and groups things into very different semantic categories than the (apparently) common ones across species. The Orz think of dimensions as "playgrounds", but that doesn't make it a good term for humans, any more than we'd call battle "dancing" or something annoying "frumple (round and bumpy at the same time)" or strong emotion "squeezing the juice".
  • Playground* does not refer to other realms. "The *Playground* is 372.1, 261.9 your *silly* numbers." - SvdB

While I am new to this board and discussion, I'd like to add some comments. I agree that "hyperplane" might be too esoteric a term to use here, but it is an accurate mathematical term to describe the relationship between True-, Hyper-, and Quasi-space. A hyperplane is a multi-dimensional construct defined by the equation Ax+By+Cz+Dw+...=1. If we limit ourselves to a four dimensional space (four spatial dimensions, that is) spanned by x,y,z,and w, then we can define each of the SC2 "spaces" by equations with the same A, B, & C but different D coefficients. These hyperplanes don't intersect at all, and we might be able to add another dimension to handle the non-linear mapping from space to space.

Physicists, while they do talk about stuff like this, use a different term. I believe the word my theoretical cosmologists friends use for it is a brane. Again this might be too esoteric. Anyways, whatever term is agreed upon, I agree with Fadookie that the use of redirects is probably the best way to make this both accessible and accurate. Fyzixfighter 06:47, 25 Jan 2005 (CET)

Accessibility or Accuracy?

You asked for input, so I will state my viewpoint again (and in more detail): This is an encyclopedia. Our goals are, as I understand them, to maintain accessibility and accuracy. I think it's undeniable that the most accessible term would be 'dimension'- this is what most casual readers will be looking or searching for, and what they would expect the category to be named. This is because of how the word 'dimension' is used in the game, and how most fans of "soft" sci-fi view the term. However, as Svdb has pointed out, this is not necessarily an accurate term.

A term such as 'spatial hyperplane' might be more scientifically accurate, but not as obvious to our readers. I highly doubt someone searching for info on hyperspace will type in "spatial hyperplanes" into the search box.

At its core, this is a dispute of ideals. Should the Ultronomicon value accessibility over accuracy, or vice versa? I'd be inclined to go with the former, and as I've said before, include a note within the category description about the more accurate term. That way, readers can both find it and be informed about the more scientific term. -Fadookie 05:25, 24 Jan 2005 (CET)

Actually, on surface it's a dispute of ideals, and that's a problem, because at heart it's really a dispute over interpretation of the state of language.
If the scientific community were really all in agreement that this usage of "dimension" is just plain wrong and moved to replace it with a word like "realm", I actually wouldn't have that much of a problem with putting a note to that effect here. It's not true, however, and all I see Svdb doing is jumping to the conclusion that an analogous term that makes sense from his discipline -- "spatial hyperplane" -- is more correct, even though it's used far less in science fiction works, rarely used colloquially by fans, and as far as I can tell is never used by actual science with this meaning.
This would really be glorifying Svdb's personal perspective and that of some SF authors over lots of other SF authors ("soft" or not), many fans and ordinary people and, most significantly, the creators of SC2 itself and the actual characters in the actual game.
Our goal is to provide comprehensive information about SC2, the game, not comprehensive information, period. There's nothing at all inaccurate about saying that "dimension" is the term used *in the game*. You might be providing *extra* inaccurate information by giving info on other terms besides dimension that one could use, but that's extra information that has nothing to do with the game. It would be no more appropriate than me putting a paper about industrialization after World War II into the entry on "Humans".
Just to be accurate: while I am familiar with the term "hyperplane" primarilly through, I'm not sure where I got "spatial" from. Probably popular science article.
I agree that saying "dimension is the term used in the game" is a perfect way to put it. But apart from how it's refered too, I think we should also mention what is refered to. And we should do that using whatever words are suitable for that (and "dimension" is not). And in my opinion, the "what" is more than the "how" for naming the category, though a link from the "how" won't hurt. - SvdB

Important distinctions

"what is refered to", "how it is refered to", "how it is named", and "what is the correct term" are three different matters.

  • "what is refered to" is a space, a realm, the subspace of the larger space that encompasses TrueSpace, HyperSpace and QuasiSpace
  • "how it is refered to" is usually "dimension". They don't use this as a name, but as an existing word, though they use it incorrectly.
  • "how it is named" is not applicable here. They don't name the concept. They name individual spaces "TrueSpace", "HyperSpace" and "QuasiSpace". I would have no problem with the use of "dimension" if they had used it as a name.
  • "what is the correct term" is tricky. You can have a description in mathematical terms, but that's not very helpful to most people. Or you can use a word like "realm" which is a term which could really be used for any region. A correct word that is used throughout the game is "Space", but it is too widely used in other contexts. However, "Classes of Space" sounds like it would work.

The question is whether we should refer to the topic by a word that describes it, or by a word that is used to describe it, but means something else. I'm in favour of the former; the important thing is *what* things are refered too, not *how* they are refered to. Note that I am not saying we shouldn't have a redirect from "dimensions" to the real name. A frequently used term, even when incorrect, is a valid reason for a redirect. Wikipedia even does it for common misspellings. - SvdB 13:54, 24 Jan 2005 (CET)

Classes of Space sounds fine to me.
One small problem, though- I don't think category pages can be automatic redirects. Still, this seems like a fine compromise. -Fadookie 21:38, 24 Jan 2005 (CET)

I don't feel much more discussion will be particularly helpful. I've gone ahead and made the changes, taking the opportunity to add some info that hasn't found a home yet. I've made a reference to the one legitimate-sounding real-life term for dimensions, "branes", though I continue to maintain that "dimension" is a correct game term and should continue to be the primary term used in titles and in text. "Accuracy" is served simply by making the reference here, as I've done with similar things elsewhere, to the idea that the term "dimension" came to be used at a particular point in the history of SC2 but wasn't used in the 21st century -- i.e. the real world now. The only reason I've ever seen for maintaining accuracy on this site is the fear that some ignorant child will walk away misled about real-life concepts from a casual perusal of this site, and a preface of this sort obviates that -- otherwise, if for no other reason than ease of use and consonance with the game text -- as well as respect for the creators of this game we're all fans of -- TFB's own preferred term should be our preferred term.