The notion of QSS evolved as the need to "protect" early data from later outwriting was understood in shared timelines, originally, Ill Bethisad. Especially as the vision of a given timeline broadens to include more and more of the world, proposals are often made that only later are discovered to violate a preexisting fact. With a wiki format, this is less of a concern, yet this does allow much easier contribution to a particular timeline. In the grandfather of such online groups, the need was felt strongly, and thus was born the concept of Quod Scripsi Scripsi (or in the Elevated Tongue: "Ό γέγραφα γέγραφα").
In essence, this fundamental governs how canonical facts internal to a timeline are to be respected as unalterable and governs how established facts may be overturned. Even when the proponent of a fact ceases to take part in the project, his contributions shouldn't be swept away. These facts as they stand may be contested by a later idea, but have precedence by right of seniority. Any alteration to an established fact must be discussed and generally accepted before the violation of QSS is allowed as canonical.
A corollary to QSS is the notion of QAA: Quod Assumpsi Assumpsi. It is defined as the "degree by which assumed information about unclaimed territories with no direct importance to anyone's work is protected." This principle works hand in hand with QSS, but is thought of more as the yin to QSS's yang: QSS deals especially with Member generated data, while QAA deals more with real world data that is applied to a timeline. While the latter is much more easily changed, it can not be whimsically waved away -- changes to QAA must also be made with care, as even those facts may impinge upon the work of others.
Quod Scripsi Scripsi means that when something has become canonical (which basically is the case when someone writes something and no one objects), it cannot be changed or undone. It is a very important principle in any shared timeline, such as Ill Bethisad or 1983: Doomsday; without it, things would become a mess. Imagine that you write a book along with someone else. He/she writes a paragraph, then you write a paragraph, and so on. Now what would happen if he or she halfway through the project 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 on it (or around it) becomes invalid! Something you simply can't afford in a collaborative project.
The rule is there for a reason, and that reason is to enforce some cohesion to the work of more than 25 people over several years, some of whom are no longer active and can not defend their parts of this creation. It is a means of reigning in and channeling everyone's creativity; it protects things that have already been worked out; it helps create continuity between all the threads that make up the tapestry and helps ensure that the tapestry is roughly the same shape at both ends.
The rule ought not be a Law set in stone where infractions are punished by outcasting into the Void; but it has to be more than just a cute philosophy or a guideline we can quote and then cheerily ignore when the fancy strikes.
If you want to tell me that a bomb somehow doesn't hit Washington DC and they've got a merry little city there after all these years, or that Russia didn't collapse and mutated into Space-faring bat-people or that suddenly from the depths of the sea Atlantis rises in 2000 to save humanity from themselves - then we have to see many good arguments that override all the history and tradition that's been written up thus far.
The rule is more a matter of facts than our opinions. I can't even begin to calculate how many times it's been said "Oo, that idea sounds wonderful" to someone's neat idea; only to have one of the long-term contributors respond "but we've already established something else..."
Quod Assumpsi, Assumpsi is the degree by which assumed information about unclaimed territories in a particular ATL, with no direct importance to anyone's work is protected. This principle works hand in hand with Quod Scripsi, Scripsi, but is used more frequently as the Yin to QSS's Yang. The difference: QSS-protected data can be changed only in rare cases by the consensus of the entire group, while in the case of QAA changes can be made easier, especially when a country gets a "real" caretaker, or explorer, or whatever they're called in a shared TL.
One of Ytterbion's Special Rules of Creation stipulates that anything that is unknown fits into an Alternate Time Line much like it fits in to our Primary World.
What this means to Contributors
So, you ask yourself, how does this apply to me? Well, let's take a look:
- Unless the timeline is already about Alien Space Bats, you shouldn't introduce them.
- 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 something's been specifically said about an area, then it should be as close to our world as possible
Make sense? Happy Contributing!