Talk:Prime Directive

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Old discussions[edit]

This article takes the view that the Prime Directive applies only to pre-warp civilizations. That is not the case. The Prime Directive applies to any civilization with which Starfleet comes into contact.

Pre-warp cultures are the focus of so many Prime Directive stories in Star Trek simply because interference by Starfleet in a pre-warp culture is most likely to cause irreparable damage.

With warp-capable cultures, the Prime Directive guarantees that Starfleet cannot intervene without the express invitation by that culture, as usually represented by its leaders.

Could lead to problems - consider the number of cases where the elected body/political leader decide one way and the general populace (as reflected in "stop you in the street opinion polls") wants something different.

What about "soft imperialism" (TV/radio program equivalents)? Jackiespeel 22:05, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

The problem is that the Prime Directive has never been fully explained and seems to change depending on the episode. There also seems to be a major change in interpritation from Kirk's time to that of Picard and Janeway.--BruceGrubb (talk) 05:56, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

The "Prime directive" both as a concept (non-interference) and as a term is pre-Trek. ST just popularized it. --Imran 12:35, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

In this article, I took the position of devil's advocate. There are times when the Prime Directive seems to cause more problems that it solved. Take the conquest of the Bajoran people by the Cardassians. Despite being a very advanced race, the Federation refused to make any efforts to help them on the grounds that it violated the Prime Directive in regards to the Cardassian race. So I made some changes because I was concerned that while there was much on the positive benefits of the Prime Directive, that there wasn't enough on the negatives of that same directive.

Also, what I had seen was that a lot of Starfleet officers by the time of Voyager had a hypocritical attitude of "it's all right for me to commit violations of the Prime Directive no matter how aggrevious they are, but it's not all right for you to do so."

JesseG 22:32, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Let's be honest can the Prime Directive ever work in reality here on Earth (since we do not of any other life forms)? I mean we live in a world where it is natural for people to poke in other people's affairs. For instance the British Conservative Party sent people to help out US President George HW Bush reelection campaign in 1992. If the Prime Directive was in place in which all the countries have a binding agreement not to interfere in the internal affairs of a country then surely those Tories who helped Bush out would not have been allowed.

A better example is the likes of Cyrano Jones and Harcourt Fenton Mudd. You know from what we see that either of these two or anyone like them would break the Prime Directive either out of stupidity (Jones) or because they have a total disregard for the law in general (Mudd). Also Janeway's trading of technology between races who that wouldn't have had contact with each other show just how loose the Prime Directive is.--BruceGrubb (talk) 07:17, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps the biggest problem with the Prime directive is inconsistent way it is applied and I am not talking about the way nearly ever time it comes up Kirk is breaking it (Omega Glory is the one exception). There are several cases where the Prime Directive is outright ignored because a planet is important to the Federation.

'or', or 'and'?[edit]

In the first paragraph: " interference with events or no revelation of their identity........." Is the 'or' supposed to be an 'and'? I don't know enough about ST. But it does seem that way to me.

Omega Directive[edit]

Why is there a link to this when the article doesn't exist? Is someone intending to make it?

Comments on Prime Directive[edit]

Several possibilities:

A person involved in technical development is "almost there"/has followed a slightly wrong path. Can the visitor point out what to do next?

The society is going to hell in the proverbial handcart - under what circumstances can the PD be overriden to get the society, group or whatever out of the situation that is being created. Alternatively "disaster and emergency relief operations." (For example a spaceship can blast the terrain to create a channel to divert a lava flow from a centre of population.)

The society requests/wishes to buy in relevant technology/ equipment (it could develop them from its own resources, but does not wish to reinvent the wheel).

At what point of development does the Prime Technology become irrelevant?

The Prime Directive is possibly fine in theory, but there may be good reasons to be flexible about its application - and could the concept of cultural imperialism (or reverse such) be thrown into the discussion?

(Anyone wishing to use the above elsewhere can do so with an hon mention and a note to me (g).

Jackiespeel 21:42, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Some cleanup needed Re: In-universe[edit]

This article needs to be edited to match Wikipedia guidlines WP:LAYOUT WP:1SP WP:WAF so added "In-universe" tag.Halfblue 18:04, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

There is much discussion about the PD's development as an "out of universe" creative concept, as well as references in other sci-fi, so removing "in-universe" tag as unnecessary. Replacing w/ cleanup tag. Wl219 08:40, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

References to the Prime Directive in show[edit]

It was stated pretty clearly at the start of the episode Bread and Circuses that the PD meant; "No identification of self or mission. No interference with the social development of said planet. No references to space, other worlds, or advanced civilizations". I'll look for more text from the episode, also mention from the episode The Apple and others that it doesn't apply to stagnating societies. Probably not completely fair to say its not defined within the show. Alastairward 15:51, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Even so, at some point between TOS-era and TNG-era, probably as a result of the Federation coming into contact with more worlds, the definition was expanded to include the Westphalian. The expanded PD to my mind has never been fully defined in post-TOS canon. What do you mean by "stagnating societies"? Wl219 14:41, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Edited reference[edit]

The reference to the TOS episode "A Piece of the Action" was changed as follows: The ship that visited the primitive planet was not described as a "Federation ship," but an "Earth ship." The ship was named Horizon, which may (or may not) be the same slow-warp "boomer" freighter owned by the family of Starfleet Ensign Travis Mayweather. That ship was called Horizon and operated in roughly the same time frame.

According to, the TOS Horizon was an "early Federation starship," so it's not an Earth ship and it's not the Mayweathers'.[1]. should serve as a reliable source since it generally sticks to canon. My copy of the Star Trek Encyclopedia goes even further to state that the USS Horizon was Daedalus-class. I omitted this last fact due to canonicity concerns, but I think it's safe to say that in light of later retconning, the Horizon is for all intents and purposes a Federation ship now. Wl219 14:53, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, the chronology is like this: Kirk visits in 2268, so Horizon visits in 2168. The Federation was founded in 2161.
Now it gets murky...
Presumably, as UESP and Earth Starfleet were gradually folded in the Federation Starfleet, other Earth agencies like the Earth Cargo Service were also bundled into the new Federation system. So the ECS Horizon *could* have been renamed USS Horizon (and ship names have been reused for later ships, so that does not rule out a Daedalus-class USS Horizon).
I would throw out the evidence... on this particular issue, it gets a lot of things wrong. [Their version of A Piece of the Action chalks up the 100 year gap as a "lapse in monitoring the planet", where the episode is clear about the cause as delay in receiving the report of the Horizon; further they imply "fizzbin" was used to escape from Krako - where the episode has Oxmyx's men holding them in a warehouse; finally has them discover the mob book at the end of the episode, where the mob book is one of the first things they find.
I would much rather go with the episode and Memory Alphas version of events (where else are you going to find people even more obsessed with the details of Star Trek?). They actually cover the topic very neutrally, pointing out evidence for both theories.
Key thing to note is that either way, the ship was going to be a Federation vessel, as 2168 is seven years after founding of the Federation. This also is suggested by the double-entendre of Kirk's crew being called "Feds" (Federal Agents or Federation). Kirk refers to contamination by "a Federation vessel". The Horizon which visited the planet was pretty behind technologically - assuming Daedalus class was developed in 2161, you would expect it to have Warp 5+ engines and other "modern" features. Finally, in a bit of fanservice, the Enterprise series folks placed a book with the title "Chicago Gangs ..." on the ECS Horizon.
Summary, it should be Federation ship either way... as to which one (the Mayweather ship or the more modern Daedalus starship), I think Mayweather, but there is not really anything verifiable for Wikipedia to support that.--Marcinjeske (talk) 14:20, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Actually if you watch Piece of the Action on the CBS youtube feed is it quite clear the Horizon was a Federation ship.
Kirk: This is Captain James T. Kirk of the Enterprise representing the Federation of Planets
Oxmyx: Hello Captain. You're from the same outfit as the Horizon?
Kirk: Yes, unfortunately the Horizon was lost with all hands shortly after leaving your planet. We only received her radio report last month.
Oxmyx: Last month?! What'd you talking about, the Horizon left 100 years ago.
Kirk then explains that the report was sent by conventional radio. We then learn that "the Horizon's contact happened before the Noninterference Directive went into effect" as Kirk, Spock, and Mccoy ride the turbolift to the transporter room.--BruceGrubb (talk) 06:18, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Olaf Stapledon[edit]

I found a great quote from Olaf Stapledon's 1937 novel Star Maker which almost perfectly describes a Prime Directive situation, so I added a note. The full extract is here[2]. Steve (talk) 07:58, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Original research[edit]

This article needs reliable sources, at present it is entirely unverified. If no reliable, secondary sources are added, it may be deleted. Tim Vickers (talk) 20:00, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Too long[edit]

This article is very long compared to its notability. Shouldn't it be shortened, or am I missing something here? Niczar ⏎ 21:31, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Compendium of Breaches[edit]

It would be nice to generate a list of all incidents in which the Prime Directive has been broken. e.g. I'm curious which captain broke it the most often. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:20, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Sadly, AFAIK no such list formally exists. Even The Drumhead where we are told to that point Picard has broken the Prime Directive nine times we are not told what those violations were leaving it for others to speculate as to what the violations were.
The biggest reason is there has never been a full text to what the Prime Directive actually says. Never mind there are episodes like "Friday's Child", "The Cloud Minders", and "A Taste of Armageddon" where the Prime Directive should have come up but never did.--BruceGrubb (talk) 11:44, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Temporal Prime Directive[edit]

The article states, "The TPD was formally created by the 29th Century, and was enforced through an agency of Starfleet called the Temporal Integrity Commission...". However, I am reasonably certain that in the book "Federation (Star Trek), by Judith Reeves-Stevens", reference is made to the Temporal Prime Directive long before Star Trek Voyager was ever conceived. In this book, the Temporal Prime Directive existed in both the time of the initial Star Trek and in the time of TNG - both Kirk and Picard knew how to follow the Temporal Prime Directive, even though neither was capable of time travel (or at least not willful time travel).

It seems the federation created the Temporal Prime Directive so that those who found themselves travelling in time would have principles on which they should act hundreds of years before willful time travel was possible.

It has been many years since I read the book (might even be the wrong book), and I do not have it now, so I cannot confirm. Maybe someone else has read the book and can confirm? — Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])

Literary Precursors[edit]

Among literary predecessors in English I would count Asimov's robot rules - none are exactly a prime directive, but all are very much exploring moral issues in interference.

I wonder what literature in other languages predates?

Or is this just laissez faire economics of a new empire in the stars?

unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:14, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Is it too late for genocide?[edit]

I'm saddened that this article, and its talk section, appear to have been written by adults. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:40, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Whaddaya think, include song ref or not?[edit]

There's a song which contains the phrase, 'I've lost sight of the Prime Directive, used to be much more selective' ... Is that worth adding to the article? It's un-geek-ing when a beautiful singer makes ref like that. Mwr0 (talk) 02:26, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

First Star Trek use of phrase "prime directive"?[edit]

I'm trying to figure out what episode originated this phrase. Is it "The Return of the Archons"? (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 00:52, 12 September 2012 (UTC) I think I found the answer: The first reference to the Prime Directive occurs in the episode The Return of the Archons. [1]

Criticism section[edit]

Don't remove the Criticism section under the guise of "original research" when it has a third part reference (ie Phil Farrand; The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers; Dell Publishing; 1994) and when the material is obviously from the show itself don't throw "citation needed" in there...the episode itself is the reference.-- (talk) 05:00, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

That criticism section is abominable - it's a laundry list of fancruft. -mattbuck (Talk) 09:40, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Considering it comes mostly from a third party source that claim in nonsensical as there is a reference for all that stuff. The Technical manuals are a laundry list of nerd "fancruft" but they are considered "canonal" material.-- (talk) 12:44, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
That section seems to cite every single episode in TOS - it's not a summary, it's a thesis! -mattbuck (Talk) 13:15, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
There are only 9 TOS episodes cited while the series had 79; that is just over 10%-- hardly "every episode". Moreover not every TOS episode regarding the Prime Directive is even presented (2 mentioned elsewhere are not in that section). More over the As allegory section is longer and has far less to support what it is saying. Again both claims shown to be nonsense.-- (talk) 13:27, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).