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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old March 1 2015, 10:43 PM   #1
aalenfae
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Red Shirts Always Die?

I think not!
People always say that when beaming down to a planet, the red shirts are bound to die. But actually running the numbers tells a different story.

The real difference is plot armor. When you account for the fact that fewer main characters are red shirts, and that MOST of the time, only Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to the planet, red shirts appear to die more than other shirt colors. But take out the invincible main characters, and immediately red shirts become the safest color. Basically... if you're not a main character... you'd better hope you're wearing red!
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Old March 1 2015, 11:04 PM   #2
MarsWeeps
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

Why are you excluding the main characters? Assuming your statistics are correct, what would they be with the main characters included?

Isn't that like the famous quote from the late mayor Marion Barry?:

"If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very very low crime rate." -- M. Barry

Edited to add:

Oh, in the original series, they were called landing parties, not away missions, so for that reason alone, your statement is invalid.

Last edited by MarsWeeps; March 1 2015 at 11:23 PM.
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Old March 1 2015, 11:19 PM   #3
aalenfae
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

MarsWeeps wrote: View Post
Why are you excluding the main characters? Assuming your statistics are correct, what would they be with the main characters included?

Isn't that like the famous quote from the late mayor Marion Barry?:

"If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very very low crime rate." -- M. Barry
Because main characters are invincible, they throw off the statistics. By nature they CANNOT die, so they fundamentally skew the results. Including the main characters doesn't answer any questions, because if you're a main character in TOS, you will never die on an away mission - regardless of the color of your shirt.

In order to answer the question for those who are NOT main characters, you need to exclude any main characters from the statistics. What this study answers is this:
"If I am NOT a main character, what is the safest shirt color on an away mission?"
And the answer is red.

However, if you're curious about the overall numbers, let's include main characters:
Gold shirts die 5% of the time, blue shirts 7% of the time, and red shirts 17% of the time. Definitely more than gold or blue, but still a far cry from "always" or "usually." It's even something of a misnomer to say that red shirts "often" die, since it's still less than 1/6 of the time.
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Old March 1 2015, 11:22 PM   #4
MarsWeeps
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

aalenfae wrote: View Post
Because main characters are invincible, they throw off the statistics. By nature they CANNOT die, so they fundamentally skew the results.
You are skewing the results by not including them.

aalenfae wrote: View Post
However, if you DO include main characters, gold shirts die 5% of the time, blue shirts 7% of the time, and red shirts 17% of the time. Definitely more than gold or blue, but still a far cry from "always" or "usually."
Who exactly is crying "always" or "usually?"

Also, see my edit in my previous post. Nobody is going to take your claim seriously when you call them "Away Missions" - They were never called that in TOS.
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Old March 1 2015, 11:37 PM   #5
aalenfae
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

MarsWeeps wrote: View Post
aalenfae wrote: View Post
Because main characters are invincible, they throw off the statistics. By nature they CANNOT die, so they fundamentally skew the results.
You are skewing the results by not including them.

aalenfae wrote: View Post
However, if you DO include main characters, gold shirts die 5% of the time, blue shirts 7% of the time, and red shirts 17% of the time. Definitely more than gold or blue, but still a far cry from "always" or "usually."
Who exactly is crying "always" or "usually?"

Also, see my edit in my previous post. Nobody is going to take your claim seriously when you call them "Away Missions" - They were never called that in TOS.
The plot armor of main characters makes them fundamentally different. Would you include deaf people in a study of the average sound frequencies a human can detect? Deaf people CANNOT hear, so their presence in the study would skew the results.
Similarly, main characters literally CANNOT die on an away mission, so they impede any study on mortality. Their mortality rate is always 0%, so they always skew the results towards 0%. For instance, nameless gold shirts are nearly always bolstered by Kirk's immortal presence, and blue shirts are usually bolstered by McCoy and Spock. But red shirts are almost never "helped" by Uhura or Scotty, who usually remain on the ship. Thus, by including main characters, we've made the comparison unfair, because blue and gold shirts will always have lower mortality rates, because their average is unfairly helped by immortal characters. Removing main characters means creating a more fair test.

And pretty much everybody says "always" or "usually" when referring to red shirts.
Google
Wikipedia
And at the very end of this article:
Memory Alpha "Away Team"

And with the "away mission" nitpick... it's what a landing party DOES. They're not synonyms. The TOS cast doesn't refer to "away missions," but that doesn't change what they're doing. They're taking a landing party on a mission away from the ship.
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Last edited by aalenfae; Yesterday at 12:48 AM.
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Old Yesterday, 01:30 AM   #6
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

I don't know, I se 15, which is higher than five. That 'way more red shirts. And these away teams didn't occur in just one color uniform. So, I added up the numbers above and came up with 88 people. Then I used 15 red shirts and the percent calculator at math.com and came up with:

17.045454545454543% (red shirts)


For good measure:

5.681818181818182% (blue and gold shirts)


Your'e statistically what we like to call a goner if you beam down in red. Unless of course you live into hte TNG uniform color usage era.
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Old Yesterday, 01:39 AM   #7
captain crow
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

The shirts are avocado green not gold.
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Old Yesterday, 01:42 AM   #8
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

Yes, yes, but "gold" is the nick name we use.
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Old Yesterday, 01:55 AM   #9
aalenfae
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

tharpdevenport wrote: View Post
I don't know, I se 15, which is higher than five. That 'way more red shirts. And these away teams didn't occur in just one color uniform. So, I added up the numbers above and came up with 88 people. Then I used 15 red shirts and the percent calculator at math.com and came up with:

17.045454545454543% (red shirts)


For good measure:

5.681818181818182% (blue and gold shirts)


Your'e statistically what we like to call a goner if you beam down in red. Unless of course you live into hte TNG uniform color usage era.
Your calculation shows something a little different. By combining all three departments into the same figure, it assumes that all the nameless shirt colors have an equal chance of dying - which they don't. We would need to assign some kind of point values to the different colors based on their individual mortality rates in order to correct for that.

But even so, 17% isn't nearly enough to equate wearing a red shirt to a death sentence - at least by Trek standards. The study shows more that not being a main character is far more lethal than having a red shirt. And if you're a one-time minor character, you'd fare better in a red shirt than in another shirt color.
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Old Yesterday, 02:01 AM   #10
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

What is the source of the statistics regarding "away mission" fatalities?
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Old Yesterday, 02:06 AM   #11
aalenfae
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
What is the source of the statistics regarding "away mission" fatalities?
Essentially just me watching each episode with away missions, counting who goes down, and counting who lives/dies.

But errors might have crept in places. For instance, I didn't know how to count shirt colors in "Return of the Archons," since all the characters are wearing disguises. Or in "This Side of Paradise," where the ENTIRE CREW beams down (minus Captain Kirk). Because I'd have to guess in both cases, I decided to omit those numbers rather than use inaccurate ones.
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Old Yesterday, 02:17 AM   #12
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

Memory Alpha has this page, which I found after one second of Googling. I wonder how the OP's results tally with it.

On thing to glean from it is that people died even when not on landing party duty.
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Old Yesterday, 02:38 AM   #13
aalenfae
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Memory Alpha has this page, which I found after one second of Googling. I wonder how the OP's results tally with it.

On thing to glean from it is that people died even when not on landing party duty.
(I do admit I might have made some counting errors, but looking at these pictures, I think I recognize all the faces)


Yes, a number of crewmembers die on the ship - but we can't get useful statistics from them, because we need to compare deaths to the number of crewmembers total wearing that color - something for which there is no canonical evidence. I focused on landing parties because there is a concrete and canonical sample number by which we can run statistical analysis. (Number of a particular color that die compared to the number that beam down, for instance)
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Old Yesterday, 02:50 AM   #14
MarsWeeps
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

So, you are counting only those that beamed down to a planet, not any other deaths? For example, there were deaths in The Galileo Seven and we know the uniform colors. There are others.
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Old Yesterday, 03:25 AM   #15
aalenfae
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Re: Red Shirts Always Die?

MarsWeeps wrote: View Post
So, you are counting only those that beamed down to a planet, not any other deaths? For example, there were deaths in The Galileo Seven and we know the uniform colors. There are others.
I counted any sort of measurable off-ship death, so that includes shuttlecraft, or any crewmembers that go to other locations - whether that be a planet or a ship, or wherever.
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