1167: Star Trek into Darkness

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Star Trek into Darkness
Of course, factions immediately sprang up in favor of '~*~sTaR tReK iNtO dArKnEsS~*~', 'xX_StAr TrEk InTo DaRkNess_Xx', and 'Star Trek lnto Darkness' (that's a lowercase 'L').
Title text: Of course, factions immediately sprang up in favor of '~*~sTaR tReK iNtO dArKnEsS~*~', 'xX_StAr TrEk InTo DaRkNess_Xx', and 'Star Trek lnto Darkness' (that's a lowercase 'L').


The talk page of a Wikipedia article is used to discuss changes to the article. An edit war is a dispute about a specific edit to an article, manifesting as a series of edits alternating between making and reverting the change, and usually accompanied by a more-or-less heated debate on the talk page.

Here, Randall is referring to a dispute on the Wikipedia article about Star Trek I(i)nto Darkness (an upcoming Star Trek film at the time of the comic's posting). On the day before the comic was published, the article name had a lowercase "into", and the talk page looked like this (rounded off in a friendly way, with the posting of a summary of the arguments, and an exchange of virtual hugs). In summary, the debate centers around whether "I(i)nto Darkness" should be treated as a prepositional phrase (as in "Star Trek[king] I(i)nto Darkness") or an unpunctuated subtitle (as in "Star Trek[:] Into Darkness"), whether compound prepositions like "into" should be capitalized in titles, and whether the capitalization of the title in the movie's official promotional material is relevant. The intensity and multiple facets of a debate over one tiny letter is apparently entertaining to Randall.

Cueball changes the title to "~*~ StAr TrEk InTo DaRkNeSs ~*~" so that every other letter is capitalized, and the title as a whole is framed by tildes and asterisks (a common, but childish and ugly[citation needed] way of emphasizing titles online). This is a particularly silly compromise wherein the title is so obviously wrong, both sides will actually agree on something (either agree that Randall's title is wrong or that Randall's title is an acceptable middle ground).

The title text indicates Randall's belief that such arguments are perpetual and will always arise. He suggests that the edit to the Wikipedia page will result in a dispute over variants of Cueballs "compromise". One new alternative has the letter cases switched (or shifted, depending on your perspective), one uses a different set of "bracketing" characters (xX_[...]_Xx instead of ~*~[...]~*~), and one uses the original title, but with a lowercase "L" instead of a capital "I" (which appear similar in many fonts).

Alternating-case text later caught on as an internet meme in 2017 (four years after this comic strip was published) for representing a mocking tone.

Megan's line of "They should have sent a poet." is a quote from the film Contact. The quote is also referenced in 482: Height. In the movie, the line was meant to convey that only a poet could adequately capture the beauty seen; here, it indicates that prose is insufficient to capture the ironic beauty of the edit war.

The old "favorite edit war" might be the one referenced in the title text of 878: Model Rail or the one resulting from the addition of the 739: Malamanteau article to Wikipedia


[Cueball staring at computer screen.]
Cueball: Oh, wow. Look at Wikipedia's Talk page for Star Trek Into Darkness. I have a new favorite edit war.
Megan (off-panel): Oh?
Cueball: Forty thousand words of debate over whether to capitalize "into" in the movie's title. Still no consensus.
Megan: That's magnificent.
Cueball: It's breathtaking.
Megan: They should have sent a poet.
Cueball: Well, I'm making an executive decision. I hope both sides accept this as a fair compromise.
[A Wikipedia page titled "~*~ StAr TrEk InTo DaRkNeSs ~*~"]


After the publication of the comic, the debate continued with full force, complete with a section of xkcd-inspired suggestions. The article itself was soon protected, so that only administrators could edit it. A day later, the title was changed to one including a capital "Into" by the administrator Mackensen. (The debate continued on his talk page.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/~*~_StAr_TrEk_InTo_DaRkNeSs_~*~ was a valid redirect link for quite some time, having not been deleted when requested in 2015, but 2016. The link now redirects to Wikipedia Star Trek Into Darkness controversy.

The Independent published an article about the "grammatical tizzy", and the affair as a whole was added to Wikipedia's humorous list of the lamest edit wars.

There is now a whole Wikipedia page about the controversy: Wikipedia Star Trek Into Darkness controversy

add a comment!


There has been a considerable amount of debate as to whether the title of this movie should have a colon in it, which would have appeared as "Star Trek: Into Darkness." They eventually decided against the colon, and I wonder if this comic is poking fun at that debate. 00:49, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

I suspect an allusion to movie title spellings that can be seen on moviez sites, torrent sites etc. -- 08:20, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

The Associated Press style manual says to capitalize all prepositions that are four letters or more in titles, e.g. Into, Through, etc. --Prooffreader (talk) 09:54, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

This could also have to do with WP's MOS of capitalizing "The first word in a compound preposition (e.g. "Time Out of Mind", "Get Off of My Cloud")".

However, you cannot simply change the title of a page on WP. This requires actually moving the whole page. 14:02, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

I think there is a capitalization error in the comic. The second to last 's' should be capitalized in order to match the rest of the pattern in "xX_StAr TrEk InTo DaRkNess_Xx". Unless the author is trying to subtly troll us into arguing about that capitalization... Sayno2quat (talk) 14:31, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Non-sense, double consonants should never be capitalized! Unless of course you want to use them for structural purposes, like spacing or framing, obviously.--Pnariyoshi (talk) 15:05, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

I believe Cueball's comment, "I have a new favorite edit war," is refering to the title text in this comic http://xkcd.com/878 about the great debate of HO vs. H0. 15:23, 30 January 2013 (UTC)Pat


The actual Talk Page of the Wikipedia article in question has an item about this comic. --Prooffreader (talk) 16:32, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Oh sweet mother of god. Between that and the spam on this wiki, I think I'll take the spam. Davidy22[talk] 11:33, 31 January 2013 (UTC)
Fwiw, that section has obviously been archived by now, Archive 5 -- 14:19, 29 July 2020 (UTC)

I spent a good portion of last night reading through Wikipedia's talk pages for that. Worth a good laugh. 16:56, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Well it obviously should be capitalized. --Shine (talk) 17:43, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

I tried to make a point on wikipedia that Wikipedia itself went out of its way to create a "lowercase first letter" template so that iPod and things of that nature could be capitalized the way the producer styled it, but there's really nowhere to point it as all discussions have closed and been ground to a halt. TheHYPO (talk) 19:50, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

But is it really an edit war? Have they been moving the page bach and forth? --St.nerol (talk) 00:18, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

I still feel the most retarded of discussions on Wikipedia is for the Hentai article, where a disturbing majority demand pornography. -- 08:05, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Just a minor matter of correctness... but shouldn't this page be entitled "1167: Star Trek Into Darkness", with a capital I, you know, since that's the way the movie studio is writing it, even though it doesn't follow MOS? I think someone needs to fix it RIGHT NOW! --boB

Hey boB, you should fix your username! :P I'm kidding. I think the wiki just follows what is on the xkcd website, which has the lower case "i".--Pnariyoshi (talk) 22:45, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

I wish the Super Bowl Halftime Show could be that talk page being presented in a dramatic on stage performance. wow. Do you think Ian McKellen is available?--Shine (talk) 19:29, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

It looks like it's been moved to the capital I. I'd say that it's definitely because xkcd mentioned it.

https://twitter.com/wikisignpost/statuses/297188486421831680 :-) --Mormegil (talk) 07:56, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

I wanna be the guy who has to watch the xkcd website for new Wikipedia-related comics and lock the related article as quickly as possible... Ilinamorato (talk) 15:44, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps it is worth noting that the argument over whether to include a section about the debate and the following xkcd mention is now growing on the talk page and already has a couple thousand words of debate. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

That reminds me of the time that I was reading my Encyclopedia Britannica and happened across the section on the Titmouse and it mentioned the debate the editors were having on whether to include a joke about Titmice and tits being cousins of sorts. Oh Wait.... --Shine (talk) 23:06, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Maybe someone who has seen Contact wants to add some comment about the meaning of the quote or why it is relevant/funny? –St.nerol (talk) 18:45, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

This may be obvious to others, but I don't know why the ~*~ symbol is used for the alternate capitalization. Can someone explain what the meaning of those characters is? Djbrasier (talk) 19:06, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

I think it is making fun of old AIM profiles and similar username choices, usually with 'random' capitalization and xX or ~*~* , examples: [1] http://img.ifcdn.com/images/60a97877d77df653f3c29a9f78f342958c00b864d68eda6a6324cafda44ffc69_1.jpg , http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/katy-t3h-pengu1n-of-d00m , https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/2015-07/1/16/enhanced/webdr04/enhanced-20005-1435781306-7.jpg -- 19:29, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

I don't know if the title text was changed from what it was originally, but on xkcd.com it says "factions sprang up..." not "crackers..." - 20:18, 27 May 2015 (UTC)

Must be the capital "I". That's final! Everything else is plainly stupid! If you like your franchise, then let the movies have beautiful titles. If you use lower-case "i", it's ugly. Btw I'm not a fan of Star Trek. And I don't want to join the war(s). I'm gone. Bye! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Seems there was an edit war about the page title before there was even a film title. Anyway the [Ii]nto debate starts from the first talk archive and it keeps going: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Star_Trek_Into_Darkness/Archive_1#Title_redux -- 21:14, 22 May 2018 (UTC)

It’s still happening. The edit war still rages. “That Guy from the Netherlands” (talk) 13:07, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

May I suggest: Star Trek |nto Darkness

after looking at this, I spent the next three hours editing Wikipedia. Sigh. Grin Yamaplos (talk) 23:41, 30 June 2020 (UTC)
How about Star Wars ln 2 Darkness, using the notation for the natural logarithm of 2? -- 03:43, 29 August 2020 (UTC)