I never let my stylus touch the record. This keeps vinyl in pristine shape and you never have to re-tip the cartridge. This also explains why i hear so much more "air" than i do with a digital rig : ) Sean
Well, if you're using the lead-in groove or between-track spaces, I guess it wouldn't really matter either way. But I often do cue up with the record stopped, if for no other reason than because if someone crashes their car outside my window and my hand slips, at least that way I won't get a longitudinal scratch mark concentric with the grooves. But then again, I've been known to back-cue when making recordings, so what do I know?
I have, in the past, used the stopped platter method, which my father swore by. I can go either way, myself, but agree with Twl that the force is negligible, at least with a good cueing device. Heck on my Spacearm, I can trip the lever, walk to my seat, use the remote to release the preamp mute, and take a long pull of my beverage before stylus meets vinyl. Pretty soft landings.
I've had my platter roll backwards quite a bit, no damage. The Stylus and Cantilever can handle some moderate misuse. We all can get carried away at times. Cartridge assemblys are delicate, but not as delicate as we make them out to be. Remember diamond is the one of the tougest materials. Also, the cantiliver has a suspension that can also handle quite a bit more then we give credit for.
LP Records are 12" in diameter, traveling at 33 1/3 rpm. Circumference is 12x3.14 or 37.68". Speed of outer edge of record is 33.33 x 37.68 = 1255.87"/min or 1.2 miles/hour. Somebody check my math, but I think your diamond stylus and boron cantilever can handle those stresses. Even that soft, resilient vinyl could handle it, I am sure.