OP, this thread
should be supremely enlightening - and liberating.
The better rule of thumb is that there simply is no rigid canon whatsoever. Bandai/Sunrise use the term "official" and it's not just a semantic quibble in that there seems to be a significant difference that's difficult for Western fans to grasp (given the different nature of Western fandoms).
But really, I'm not gonna ramble on: read the thread I linked, then come back here with any questions you might still have.