QSS and QAA are general principles to follow any time we are making a world collaboratively. This applies to community timelines and to timelines written by one person and later adopted by someone else.
QSS protects the work of earlier contributors. As a timeline expands its scope to include more events and locations, new ideas can come up that only later are discovered to contradict an earlier fact. In these cases, QSS means that the earlier material carries more weight. The term and the concept come from Ill Bethisad, a parent project of this wiki. It stands for Quod Scripsi Scripsi - "What I have written, I have written." It's originally a quote from the Bible.
QAA means that for areas of the timeline that are not yet explored, we assume that they follow Our Timeline as closely as possible. This exists to protect not just earlier content, but also the work of future contributors. QAA keeps all contributors to a project on the same page, and it ensures more freedom to someone who might along with a great new idea. The letters stand for Quod Assumpsi Assumpsi - "What I have assumed, I have assumed."
Quod Scripsi Scripsi says that all writers must respect the canonical facts in a timeline. Once something has become canonical (following the rules of Adoption or of a particular community timeline), it cannot be changed or undone.
It is a very important principle in any shared timeline; without it, things would become a mess. Imagine that you write a book with someone else. They write a paragraph, then you write a paragraph, and so on. Now what would happen if halfway through the project your partner were to suddenly say: "Actually, I don't like paragraph no. 2, I want to change it completely"? It would mean that everything that was built around it becomes invalid! Something you simply can't afford in a collaborative project.
Therefore, QSS means that even when a writer ceases to take part in the project, their contributions shouldn't be swept away. Their ideas may be adapted or reinterpreted by a later idea, but they have precedence by right of seniority. If it is necessary to make a change to an established fact, this must be discussed and QSS be taken seriously, and effort must be made to preserve the earlier work as much as possible.
The rule gives cohesion to the work when some people are no longer active and cannot defend their creations. It is a means of reining in and channeling everyone's creativity; it protects things that have already been worked out; it helps create continuity between all the threads of the tapestry and ensures that the tapestry is roughly the same shape at both ends.
QSS is about facts more than opinions. I can't even begin to calculate how many times it's been said "Oo, that sounds wonderful" to someone's neat idea; only to have one of the long-term contributors respond "but we've already established something else..."
The rule is flexible. It ought not be a Law set in stone. But it's also more than just a cute philosophy or a guideline we can quote and then cheerily ignore when the fancy strikes. Some suggestions for staying within its bounds:
- Always make a good-faith effort to honor and maintain the earlier work of others: Add, Don't Subtract.
- Ask yourself, "If the missing user did suddenly reappear, would they be happy to see somebody using their stuff in this way, or would they be angry that it's all distorted?"
- If you had contact with the original writer before, you can try again to ask permission to make changes.
- If you adopted a timeline and you find yourself wanting to change things beyond all recognition, you can always "un-adopt" the timeline, revert it to how it was, and incorporate those new ideas with the big changes - maybe making a note that a certain part was "inspired" by the other timeline.
Quod Assumpsi Assumpsi protects assumed information about unexplored territories in a particular ATL, with no direct importance to anyone's work. For the sake of everyone involved, assume that the unwritten parts of the timeline stay as close as possible to OTL, unless there's a specific reason not to. This assumption will keep people's ideas in harmony with each other.
QAA is the yin to QSS's yang: QSS deals with content written for the timeline, while QAA deals with real-world data applied to the timeline.
But when new ideas come along, these assumptions change. So while QSS-protected data can be changed only in rare cases by the consensus of the entire group, QAA changes more easily, especially when a country gets a "real" caretaker, or explorer, or whatever they're called in that shared TL. At the same time, QAA cannot be whimsically waved away. Changes to it must also be made with care, because these assumptions may affect earlier work by others.
One of Ytterbion's Rules of Creation states that anything that is unknown fits into an Alternate Time Line much like it fits in to our Primary World.
So, you ask yourself, how does QAA apply to me? Well, let's take a look:
- Unless there's a really good reason for what's been said about a given area to change, and you can offer these really good reasons, then it should stay the same.
- Unless the timeline is already about Alien Space Bats, don't introduce them.
- Unless something's been specifically said about an area, assume that it's as close to our world as possible.
Make sense? Happy Contributing!