TITLE The Ultimate Star Trek Slash Pairing Generator FAQ
This is a pointless web toy of the sort you used to see on Brunching Shuttlecocks. It's disguised as a tool for helping the writers of romantic or erotic Star Trek fan fiction come up with interesting new character pairings. It's probably only funny or interesting to Trek fans. It links character names to an excellent Trek wiki, which you can consult if you get a character you've never heard of.
The standard slash pairings are usually obvious from the subtext of the shows. After scanning the descriptions for 200 pieces of "Garak and Bashir are an adorably bickering gay couple" fanfic, a random generator started to seem like a good idea.
Whence the lists?
The lists of characters and archetypes are distilled from from the lists on the Memory Alpha wiki, on startrek.com, and from my own obsessive fan memory. You can see the lists in raw form here.
The lists are sorted into tiers based on the recognizability of the characters. In general, main (title credits) characters are in the first tier, recurring characters are in the second tier, and one-time guest characters are in the third tier.
The tiers are ordered by gender. The genders are "male" (M), "female" (F), "either" (E), and "none" (N). "Either" is for an archetype that might be taken by either gender: eg. "a female Romulan", "a male Starfleet officer". I have not listed every species ever mentioned in Trek, only the most popular or (for slash purposes) bizarre.
The "none" gender is a catch-all which includes collective, noncorporeal, and some mechanical beings; aliens of no sex (J'Naii), or of a sex other than male or female (Vissian cogenitors); insectoid Xindi (because who can tell?), etc. It does not include beings who exhibit gender but not sex: those show up under their exhibited gender. So Data is male, and the Female Changeling is, as her name indicates, female. Actually writing slash for ungendered or noncorporeal beings is your problem.
Who's not on the lists?
Some Trek guest stars were just total nonentities to my mind. They're not in the list because I couldn't think of any reason to put them in. Others I've probably just forgotten about.
The Voyager list is really sparse because it's the Trek show about which I don't really know anything.
I excluded non-sentient beings from the list. Since one of the major themes of Trek is "wait a minute, that thing's sentient!", this doesn't exclude a whole lot. There are also some nonsentients that I put in anyway. For instance, Minuet was a non-sentient hologram, but her creators clearly intended her as a romantic interest. Porthos is also in the list because I figure the ENT writers made him fair game when they used him in the decon chamber running joke.
I also excluded beings who are or appear to be below the age of majority (this is why Alexander Rozhenko shows up in the DS9 list but not the TNG list). I decided hair-splitting cases based on the attitude of the original writers towards the charcter. We could argue for hours over how old Lal "really" is, but it's pretty clear the TNG writers thought of her as a romantically aware being.
Where is the source code for this alleged pairing generator?
Right here. It's pretty ugly; I wrote it as an experiment in different ways of writing CGI programs in Ruby.
I want to help!
That's kind of odd.
Are you mocking me?
Not really. You can help by filling out the Voyager list, or by sending me a list for some other fictional universe which suffers from overused fanfic pairings. Or you could grab the script and run it with your own data on your own website. Again, the lists are here so you can look at the format.
Some characters have a wiki page name after their specified names, eg. "Charles Tucker|Charles_Tucker_III" or "a Pah-wraith|Pah-wraith". This is used when the most common name for somebody or something can't be automatically translated to the name of the corresponding wiki page.
What kind of problems might be in the existing datasets?
Wiki links might be wrong or missing; genders might be incorrectly assigned; I might have misspelled someone's name; I might have forgotten about an interesting minor character. I think that's all the kinds of problems there might be.
The list includes characters from the live-action TV shows and the movies, but not non-canon sources like books or the Animated Series. I don't think this is a "problem", per se, but if you want to make a list of such characters for me, I could add them to a fourth tier.
Is there prior art for this?
Funny you should ask. I've found a pair of Lord of the Rings pairing generators. I've also seen a Discworld pairing generator based on the same source as the LotR one, but I can't find it anymore.
Hey, despite the disclaimer you have on every page, I somehow got the impression that your dinky CGI script and its more-or-less arbitrary dataset were an official production of Paramount, and that if I have a problem with your stuff it somehow reflects on the Star Trek franchise. That can't be right, can it?
It can't be, and it's not.
Star Trek and related names are trademarks of Paramount Pictures, and are used under "fair use" guidelines. The Ultimate Star Trek Slash Pairing Generator is not affiliated with or sponsored by the Memory Alpha wiki or Paramount Pictures. Hoo, boy, is it not affiliated with or sponsored by Paramount Pictures.