Memory Alpha is a free Star Trek reference database written collaboratively by its readers. The site is a wiki, meaning that anyone, including you, can edit any article right now by clicking on the "Edit" button that appears in the top right corner of every Memory Alpha article.
Memory Alpha is, essentially, an encyclopedia. You can start browsing by selecting a subject on the Main Page, and follow any link to a subsequent subject. All Memory Alpha articles are interlinked – that is, they have inline hyperlinks to other articles on related subjects. Alternatively, you can use the search box that can be found at the top right of every page.
If you're feeling lucky, you could also try clicking the "Random page" link also found at the top of every page in the navigation menu. You could also try the "Memory Alpha" link in the menu to get to the recent changes, to check out the latest updates to our database.
- Warning: Memory Alpha contains spoilers! For any television episode that has aired in its nationwide time slot in the United States, that material is considered fair game for inclusion in articles. See our spoiler policy for more information.
Anyone is allowed to edit practically any page in Memory Alpha – yes, anyone and any page, even this one! Just click on the "edit this page" or "edit" link that can be found at the top of every article. You don't have to be logged in. (See also: Why contribute?) Some pages have had to be protected against anonymous or even registered users by administrators though, due to repeated vandalism. These pages are the exception, not the rule.
If you want to start off easy, you could find a page that is either incomplete or has an error, and correct that mistake by clicking on the "edit this page" or "edit" link. If you can think of a way to improve the page, go ahead and do it! Anyone else can come along later and fix it up if you make a mistake – just as you're fixing someone else's mistake. And if you're worried about messing up an article, try editing using the wiki style in the sandbox first.
If you see a link that is colored red, that is a link to an article that has not been created yet. Again, you can create one of these pages yourself. The red links lead directly to the page editing form, where you can write the article yourself. Type the article like you would a normal document, and then just click on the "Save" button to upload your contribution.
Of course, Memory Alpha does have a number of policies and guidelines to remember when editing a page. All contributions to Memory Alpha are released under the Creative Commons-Attribution-Non Commercial (CC-BY-NC) license. The CCL ensures that Memory Alpha will remain freely distributable forever – within some limits, of course. (See Copyrights for more information.)
Some people feel uncomfortable with the concept of a wiki – it is too open, it is unreliable, and so forth. But believe it or not, this system does work – and we currently have 51,153 distinct articles to prove it!
In a nutshell, a wiki works because it is made as simple as possible for anyone to contribute, in a medium in which the sensible contributors outnumber and overpower the disruptive ones. Additionally, the wiki allows an easy, free exchange of information that allows false or misleading information to be quickly corrected. (For more discussion on the viability of the wiki system, check out replies to common objections.)
Memory Alpha uses the wiki format in order to get as many fans as possible involved in the project. Rather than numerous small and limited personal databases, Memory Alpha's goal is to be the largest, most reliable Star Trek database available. We hope you'll join us!
Here are a few links to more introductory information:
General information, guides, and help
- About the project
- Help pages – help on editing, starting new articles, and many other topics
- Memory Alpha FAQs – frequently asked questions about the site
- Glossary – a glossary of common wiki terms used on Memory Alpha
- Manual of Style
- Guide to Layout
- Policies and guidelines for contributors
- The Babel Project – multilingual communication