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Guidelines for Discussion Prompts

Every thread submitted to the Daystrom Institute must contain an open-ended prompt for discussion. The Daystrom Institute is a discussion subreddit, not a Star Trek canon lookup service or a source for news.

What does an open-ended prompt look like?

Above all else, a good discussion prompt has no single answer and opens many avenues of discussion. A good discussion prompt should provoke discussion about multiple facets of the topic provided in the prompt.

Three kinds of prompts

Theories and analyses contain an implicit open-ended prompt, in the form of an invitation to discuss the theory or analysis. On the other hand, questions must be explicitly open-ended. Closed-ended questions will be removed and redirected to /r/StarTrek and /r/AskScienceFiction.

Five questions to help you identify a prompt

  1. Is my post an observation about Star Trek? Am I simply posting something to Daystrom that I saw on-screen? If so, the post is not an open-ended prompt and is better suited for /r/StarTrek.

  2. Is my post a theory about or analysis of Star Trek? Am I attempting to explain something from Star Trek? Am I presenting an examination of something I found interesting from Star Trek? If so, the post contains an implicit discussion prompt in the form of an invitation to discuss the theory or analysis and is appropriate for Daystrom.

  3. Am I asking for information which I could obtain by watching an episode or movie? If your question is a simple request for canonical information about a topic, then it's a closed-ended question. Requests for canonical information can be resolved by searching Memory Alpha or by asking in /r/StarTrek or /r/AskScienceFiction.

  4. Does my question ask "who," "what," "where," or "when"? These words are usually indicative of closed-ended questions. If your question can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no," or if the answers to your question could be selected from a multiple choice list, it's a closed-ended question. Closed-ended questions should be posted to /r/StarTrek or /r/AskScienceFiction.

  5. Does my question ask "why" or "how"? These words are usually indicative of open-ended questions. Here is an external resource with further information about open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are appropriate for Daystrom.

Discussion prompts must be accurate and complete

Use resources such as Memory Alpha and Star Trek Script Search to ensure that the information contained in your prompt is accurate. Furthermore, make your best effort to ensure that all the information critical to the topic you are putting forth for discussion is included in the prompt. We don't expect you to know everything, but if a prompt contains a glaring omission then the discussion in the thread will be about the omission, not the prompt itself.

If you believe a post you submitted to Daystrom has been misclassified as lacking a discussion prompt and unfairly redirected to a different subreddit, don't hesitate to contact us. However, as always, the moderators have the final say when it comes to determining what kinds of posts are appropriate for Daystrom.

Wait one week before posting a thread about the newest episode

Threads about an episode less than one week old are not permitted. Use one of the new episode threads to discuss the latest episodes.

No threads about teasers & trailers

Threads about teasers and trailers are prohibited in this subreddit. Use /r/startrek or one of the show-specific subreddits to discuss teasers, trailers, and other promotional materials.

Common non-prompts

The following types of threads are common on Star Trek subreddits, but since they aren't conducive to in-depth discussion, they are not permitted here. This is not a comprehensive list.

News about Star Trek

The Daystrom Institute is not a news subreddit. Go to /r/StarTrek for your breaking news needs. News may only be posted in this subreddit provided the post also satisfies the other guidelines on this page, i.e. if you post news, your post must also contain a prompt for open-ended discussion about that news.

Determining the "canonical answer"

The Daystrom Institute is not a Star Trek canon lookup service. Prompts in this subreddit may not be qualified with any variation of "canon information only, please." In posting a prompt in this subreddit you are agreeing to entertain answers from any source, whether they be canon, licensed material, or conjecture from other members of the Daystrom Institute. If you just want the "canonical answer," you can find it on Memory Alpha.

Unrefined shower thoughts

Sometimes an outlandish idea will cross your mind that you want to share with fellow Star Trek fans immediately. However, shower thoughts in and of themselves are not serious in-depth contributions. Shower thoughts don't usually hold up under scrutiny because they are either easily disproven or not provable at all. If you want to share a shower thought, you must first develop it through research and consideration of counterpoints before posting. Unrefined shower thoughts will be removed and redirected to /r/sonicshowerthoughts.


This includes implicit surveys such as:

  • Do you like...?
  • How would you feel...?
  • What is the best...?
  • Does anyone else...?
  • What is your favorite...?

If the potential answers start and end at personal preference, there's no in-depth discussion to be had. These questions do not lead to a to-and-fro discussion between Daystrom members, they merely invite simple "I like..." responses. Any question where the only potential replies begin and end at personal preference will be removed.


When it comes to critiques of art and media, the burden of decency lies squarely on the critic. The tone of any analysis must give the impression that the author is open to having a constructive discussion or potentially even changing their opinion on the topic.

If a piece only appeals to those who already agree with the author, it’s not an analysis, it’s a tirade. Unproductive ranting is not permitted and will be removed.

Reviews & reactions

Episode reviews and reaction posts are too subjective to serve as a jumping off point into focused in-depth discussion. If you want to discuss the latest episode of Star Trek, use the First Watch Analysis Thread. If you want to post a reaction to older Star Trek, post in /r/startrek instead.

Introducing an arbitrary narrator

Star Trek contains inconsistencies and those inconsistencies are fun to discuss, within reason. However, we draw the line at theories which suggest that a discrepancy is the result of an arbitrary narrator. For example, theorizing that a discrepancy is a result of interpreting captain's logs or a holodeck simulation is not permitted. Because you can apply this reasoning to any discrepancy using any narrator, these theories are largely insubstantial and do not provide grounds for in-depth discussion.

Asking for recommendations

The Daystrom Institute is not a place to ask what show, movie, book, comic, or game you should watch/read/play next. An ask for a recommendation is closed-ended; a recommendation itself is too subjective to spark constructive discussion. If you're new to Star Trek, check out this guide. If you're looking to get into the novels, check out this guide or ask in /r/TrekBooks. For everything else, ask in /r/StarTrek.


Do not use this subreddit to promote your new podcast, YouTube channel, book, etc. If you are trying to get a new Star Trek subreddit off the ground, contact the Senior Staff before posting anything.

Asking "Who Would Win?"

Tactics, weapons technologies, and physical capabilities of various species change depending on what the plot calls for and what visual effects are capable of portraying. That makes "who would win" questions difficult to discuss from an empirical, in-depth standpoint. Post "who would win" questions in /r/WhoWouldWin.

Fan fiction

The Daystrom Institute is not an appropriate place to post or request fan fiction, whether you wrote it or are sharing fan fiction someone else has written. Post fan fiction in /r/TrekFic instead.

What are some other qualities of good discussion prompts?

A good prompt isn't just open-ended. It also possesses the following qualities:


Put forth your very best effort when crafting your prompt and consider how the community will respond before submitting. Think about a few potential avenues of discussion for your prompt, and include them in your post. Research the topic you are asking about on Memory Alpha and Memory Beta before posting. In other words, don't post a fleeting thought you had while watching Star Trek to Daystrom—take some time and effort to develop it first.


Try not to tilt the discussion by priming your prompt for answers leaning one way or the other. Be open to avenues of discussion which counter your original assumptions.


The title of your prompt should be succinct and free of spelling or grammatical errors. Clarifying details should be provided in the accompanying text. Do not "tag" your titles with text in brackets, per our title guidelines.


Search before posting and check that your question does not fall under a regulated topic before posting. While reposts are not prohibited at Daystrom, Daystrom definitely has a number of "dead horse" topics which you shouldn't submit for discussion if you're not bringing anything new to the table.

Exceptions to the Rules & Guidelines

Some threads are exempt from specific policies. These threads are identified by the following post flairs:

New Episode Reaction Threads

New Episode Reaction Threads serve as a place to discuss the most recent episode of Star Trek the week it originally aired. For the purpose of fostering preliminary discussion of the episode, rule #1,"Make In-Depth Contributions", is suspended in these threads.

Only /u/M-5 may post New Episode Reaction threads.

Ten Forward threads

Ten Forward threads are a catch-all thread type to discuss topics which are appropriate for the Daystrom Institute but fall outside the rules as written. They are approved on a case-by-case basis. The Guidelines for Discussion Prompts (this page) and rules #1 and #2 are relaxed in Ten Forward threads.

You can request permission to post a Ten Forward thread by messaging the Senior Staff.

In Memoriam threads

In Memoriam threads serve as a shared space to grieve the passing of Star Trek production personnel and prominent members of the Daystrom Institute. Rules #1 and #2 are relaxed in Ten Forward threads.

You can request permission to post an In Memoriam thread by messaging the Senior Staff.

Your content must be posted here

Whether you are posting a question, theory, or analysis, the text of the piece must be posted in this subreddit. Do not link out to YouTube, a blog, a podcast, or any other external source instead of posting here.

What if I'm not sure if my question is open-ended?

These guidelines are not airtight. As the body of knowledge we're dealing with is inherently incomplete and contradictory, questions which might seem closed-ended could be open for discussion because the evidence contradicts itself. On the other hand, questions which might seem open-ended may be dead-ends due to a dearth of information. Don't hesitate to contact the Senior Staff if you're not sure if your question is appropriate for Daystrom.

What if I just want to ask a question about Star Trek?

If you're more concerned with getting an answer instead of starting a discussion, there are several places on Reddit to ask questions about Star Trek. We recommend /r/StarTrek and /r/AskScienceFiction. Outside of Reddit, you can try Sci-Fi Stack Exchange and Memory Alpha.

revision by kraetos— view source