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I have noticed, that many high-rank users, when asking or answering about particular Star Trek episode, are always or nearly always linking to episode's script (pure textual screenplay) at ST-Minutiae rather than to full-detailed information about that particular episode at Memory Alpha?

What is the reason for doing this? Is this a de facto standard here (to where should I link to)? And -- in what way simple text scripts at ST-M are better than detailed episode info at MA?

I'm always linking to Memory Alpha, because I think, that information provided there for any episode is much more detailed, full of images, quotes and external links and, in general, is a way better source of information that episode script at ST-Minutiae. But, at this point I begin to think if I'm not mistaken in doing so?

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When I post answers about a specific episode, I typically link to Memory Alpha so that readers can get a quick overview/reminder of which episode that was.

It's rare that I link to a script, because when I quote dialogue, I almost always bring up the episode itself and type it out then and there. Pauses in dialogue added by the actors, as well as visual cues, can then be added that wouldn't have been in the original script.

The few times I can remember linking to a script, it was because of information that didn't make it into the dialogue and so couldn't be quoted like that.

  • I could say, that you have spoken my words. – trejder Jan 14 '15 at 14:08
  • I tend to prefer to quote from the original script, with amendments to show if the actual episode differed from the script. There's often additional info in the script as written that gets cut out of the episode or simple stage-direction that may show what the writer was thinking about a scene or a line that may not be immediately obvious. – Valorum Jan 14 '15 at 23:48
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For me it boils down to two key factors;

MA is sometimes wrong

Whilst Memory Alpha is a great source of information, like all wiki-based sites it's prone to mistakes and inaccuracies. When you have a site that anyone can edit, there's nothing to stop someone from putting in their own opinions as fact.

By comparison, the original scripts listed at ST-Minutiae are, for the most part based on scans of the original show-scripts. Although they sometime differ from the actual filmed transcripts, I've never found them to have any material inaccuracies.

It's not a primary source.

I've found that when you reference a primary source (a crew interview, for example) you can often tease out additional information that a secondary source (e.g. whoever wrote the memory alpha article) may have missed.

In principle primary sources are usually better than secondary sources.

  • As a side note, I find answers that simply copy/pasta a Memory Alpha article to be extremely lazy, one step above posting a lmgtfy link – Valorum Jan 13 '15 at 18:43
  • We are not talking (here) about C/P entire article or most of it, but about linking to source in an answer, that can have nothing or very little in common with original MA's article. Plus: primary, uneditable, unchangeable sources are always better than MA, but in this case -- they're extremely hard to browse / search. I know at least a dozen people, why will automatically press "Back" in their browsers, nano-seconds after seeing, that this is pure, text-only, episode script. Plus: script is episode itself, when most of such links should link to information about episode... – trejder Jan 14 '15 at 14:04
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    @trejder - Which is why you need to identify the key passages and quote those, offering a link to the script as a way for the reader to confirm what they've just read. I'm not saying that linking to memory alpha is bad, but quoting wholesale invariably is. – Valorum Jan 14 '15 at 14:29
  • @Richard If you are going to link to something, it is important to c/p the salient bit into your answer - if the link changes, the answer is invalidated otherwise. So a post that is JUST c/p of MA is lazy, but a post that HAS c/p of MA is correct. – Tritium21 Jan 23 '15 at 15:25
  • @Tritium21 - I tend to find that if you track down the original source, your own description of it will often be better than Memory Alpha's. You can tease out precisely the bit of info that relates to the question. – Valorum Jan 23 '15 at 15:49
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I don't answer Star Trek questions, so I can't speak for those users specifically, but I frequently answer Star Wars questions and will link to either the scripts or Wookieepedia entries as necessary.

So, why would I link to an un-annotated script over Wookieepedia, or any other wiki source in some cases?

Because the un-annotated script isn't subject to user edits, which are sometimes incorrect. I want to provide the most definitive source I can find.

Citing/linking to a wiki is great for summations and things of the sort, but if I want to reference a specific instance of the script, I want to link to the script to specifically demonstrate/cite what I'm talking about.

  • See my comment to Richard's answer. Credibillity is most important, but can't be achieved at a price of usability. And I don't need to say, how hard is to browse or search anything in text-only pure script. While I agree with your (and others) arguments, I still claim, that usability is most important in times, when you get tired / bored after five seconds of waiting for something or searching for something. – trejder Jan 14 '15 at 14:06
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    @trejder Well, I (again, I won't speak for anyone else) quote the relevant passages and link to the script so that the reader can verify the information. In theory, the answer should provide all of the information a reader needs to know. Linking to sources is not actually required, just highly encouraged - either to back up your answer, or just to provide a source of additional related info. – phantom42 Jan 14 '15 at 14:09

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