Monday, April 22, 2013

TV Tropes Decay

It's no secret that I have many, many issues with TV Tropes.org. Or at least what's become of it now. When I first came upon it in late 2008, it was a very fun, very laid back, but very rational and thought out wiki site that celebrated fiction and all it's tropes, where nerds could be unashamed of their geekiness. Did I mention it was fun? 'Cause it was, and unique as well. It coined the names of several tropes and storytelling terminology, or at least solidified them in the consciousness of many fandoms. Both objective facts and subjective opinion could be stated and debated here. And again, fans were allowed to geek out there. Alas, online fandoms are scarcely rational and so these anonymous losers often worked their immature irrationality, vulgarity, snideness, misogyny, and general complaining into the trope pages and their examples. Fadumb and hatedumb was always at work, even on a site that condemned them and their practices. Naturally, this made the wiki Hell to maintain, but it was a job that had to be done to secure the site's good name, casual atmosphere.

However, the site owner, Fast Eddie, soon had something else in mind. All the casual informality, geekdoms, myopic trope names, unclear definitions, silly examples, subjective tropes, and irrational fan infestations became an embarrassment to him. Eddie had grown a bit of an ego over his site's success, so when he learned that it was being turned into a source of ridicule and scorn for the rest of the Internet, that ego was wounded. He didn't like this one bit. There was only one solution:
the site had to change. He'd see to it that TV Tropes was turned into a professional wiki with a more presentable-to-the-majority atmosphere and a respectable image. There would be little trace of fiction nerds having fun with tropes, especially if their nature was subjective and opinionated rather than objective and factual. Aspiring fiction writers would come to the site for inspiration, thus looking
upon it's contents, and it's webmaster, with seriousness. Fast Eddie and TV Tropes would be taken seriously, dammit! Thus Eddie and his mod cronies banded together, and over the years, the site began to get an overhaul, one that took it down a path towards change...change for the worse.

What's the problem here? The problem is that TV Tropes said, on the homepage "We are not Wikipedia: we're a buttload more informal. We encourage breezy language and original thought." When "Wikipedia" became taboo, the disclaimer was changed to "We are not a boring, stuffy encyclopedic wiki." However, now that disclaimer is a blatant lie. TV Tropes has long since abandoned this glorious ideal. The vision that Fast Eddie pursues is exactly that of a boring,
stuffy encyclopedic wiki. Informal, excited, or opinionated tones are discouraged when writing trope examples: they must be formal and state just the facts. "Breezy language" is also seldom used, replaced with a stuffy, professional monotone instead. And original thought? Fast Eddie only wants tropers and users of the wiki to think the way Eddie and the mods want them to think! Original thought and freedom of speech is prohibited for most of the wiki. You'd be lucky if original thought doesn't get you banned! To put it simply, the moderation for TV Tropes has become draconian!

To quote the Tropes Mirror Wiki on Wikia: The moderation is heavy-handed and arbitrary. Pages 
are permanently deleted, renamed, reclassified, or heavily edited without real reason. Users are often permanently banned arbitrarily, often for expressing unpopular opinions and not because they are breaking the rules. All on a wiki that is supposedly built on "consensus building" and "the will of the tropers." And TV Tropes' problem is exactly that. It used to have it's own unique identity: with it's own quirky little trademarks and terms or behavior that shaped the site's culture. A culture built around the celebration of fictions by fiction geeks. It was all very nerdy and proud of it. But for Fast Eddie, that's not "cool" or "respectable". So like a big sale, everything must go. Free speech is cut down on. Well-regarded trope pages get deleted forever, or put in the "red link club." Tropes with snazzy, memorable names get renamed for the most inane reasons. Tropes get reclassified and edited in order to avoid subjectivity and varying mileage as much as possible, or sometimes to make them subjective and varying in mileage when they needn't have been. Tropes that are "just for fun" but could be considered "unclean" and offensive get deleted, because the wiki's professional image has to be preserved. Tropes get cut, split, merged, and hacked up in efforts that only make things more confusing. Things that are vague and simple have to get overexplained. Showings of opinion get nuked as "natter." And no matter what people's opinions are, the wiki itself has to have a Hive Mind when it comes to what is "correct" and what's not: what is right, truth, and objective fact. Anyone and anything that disagrees must be eliminated from the wiki with extreme prejudice! And due to dictator Eddie and the mods' sense of self-importance about the site, fun and entertainment is no longer the priority. Information is. So anything that's not informative and appeals to any sort of demographic other than everyone in general is not in the wiki's best interests, which get enforced through heavy draconian moderation, sucking the enjoyment right out of what used to be a cool site.

Quoting Wikia again: Granted, it's their site and they can run it any way they want, but when your guide-words are supposedly "we're not Wikipedia" and that you "encourage breezy language", it sort of behooves you to not act like the Wikipedia moderators act, and to actually encourage the less casual atmosphere. Yes, for at the end of the day, it's just a website. A website meant for fiction nerds, the people who will most enjoy tropes about storytelling and characterization. But to Fast Eddie and his cronies, it has to be something more: something professional and serious that will effect the lives and careers of billions. At the expense of being entertaining and fun. TV Tropes is the very definition of Website Decay and Stop Having Fun Guys. I'm so displeased with the way TV Tropes does things as a wiki now, which is why I had to do this entry. I shall briefly discuss all of TV Tropes' major crimes over the years, and how it shot itself downhill into the depths of Internet fail.

- All the behind-the-scenes corruption and hypocrisy that fuels the wiki's current status. The mods
on the site management are obsessed with turning the site into a stuffy, serious wiki, as devoid of subjective, opinion-based material and fun things to see and do as possible. Several trope pages and examples will be purged, all in the name of being more objective and factual. To them, this is an effort to "clean up" the wiki, even when most of it was great and ideal just the way it was.

- The pretenses held by those who defend the direction the wiki is taking. And it really is pretentious. They claim that all the fun stuff made TV Tropes "the laughingstock of the Internet", because many areas of the site decayed into outlets for complaining and perversion. Thus the wiki users must be deprived of fun and free speech in order to keep the wiki "clean." To these guys, TV Tropes is only just now starting to gain true recognition and making a name for itself as a source of inspiration for young aspiring artists, writers and critics. And it's supposedly this new attention that drives them to want to present a more respectable image, but pages like Troper Tales and Fetish Fuel don't "cast the wiki in the best light." In fact, I've heard one of the wiki's cronies have the gall to say that this stuff "just made tropers look like freaks", and thus the site cleaning up it's image made it "grow up" and "saved" it from becoming the Internets whipping boy. So this is their justification for casting aside the site's original identity and original audience of tropers: they're ashamed of those things. So instead they pander to a more artsy, "mature" crowd through stuffy, elitist faux-professionalism. Ideal tropers should not be people who use the Internet, have different tastes and express varying opinions. They cannot be geeks, nerds, or freaks. They have to be snobs. One such snob even stated something along the lines of  "Now we don't just look like geeks yammering about fictional events: there's an air that we actually know what we're talking about now." No...you don't know what you're talking about.

- The wiki stans are equally pretentious in their "haters gonna hate" mentality towards people who speak out against the wiki and it's draconian ways. They have the decency to let us who are outside of TV Tropes have free speech to give our negative opinions on the site, but Heaven forbid the flaws of the site management get spoken out against on the wiki itself. Then they'll put stop to it for good. Because "Over there has to stand for itself, has to speak for itself, because it's only when over there becomes here that we can stop this once and for all." That's almost literally what their mindset is.

- They don't allow for any absolutes anywhere, especially if complaining, debates, and clashes of opinion are involved. Everything must be kept neutral. For instance, any trope that is deemed a "subjective trope" gets moved to a sub category called Your Mileage May Vary, which used to be a trope and a disclaimer before it was turned into a category. An even bigger one is renaming the page "It Just Bugs Me", used to discuss plot holes, inconsistencies, or vague moments of unclarity that bug particular tropers, to the more neutral "Headscratchers", because the previous name supposedly invited to much complaining. Even though such complaints were required. And that just bugs me.

- There was once a page called Fetish Fuel, which had several sub folders of pages that gave examples of whatever from any given work of fiction that turns people on and fuels their personal fetishes. Naturally, Fast Eddie and the mods deemed this to be too "dirty", "vulgar", "personal",
and "weird" for the wiki, so the whole category was cut. No fetishes for the TV Tropes wiki!

- Similarly, there was once a page called Perverse Sexual Lust, which also had several sub folders of pages where tropers could list the fictional characters they felt turned on by and had crushes on. For reasons similar to the above, this was axed completely. No lusts for the TV Tropes wiki!

- And again there was once a category called Troper Tales. They were sub-pages of any given trope where tropers could talk about their own experiences with certain tropes, whether they be in real life or just how they felt about certain examples in fiction. It was based around personal thoughts, opinions, and points of view: a subjective nightmare for Fast Eddie! Because this gave tropers way
too much free speech and was a possible outlet for complaining and arguments, this got axed from the site as well. So now tropers have no more places for them to tell their tales...

- The handling of the Nightmare Fuel trope has been rancid. It was initially meant for examples of scary stuff from works that was not intended as scary for anyone who wasn't a little kid, and yet somehow was by accident. It soon became a trope to describe anything scary in fiction or life. Because of this misunderstanding of the trope's meaning, many examples got purged and put into
a sub-trope, Nightmare Fuel Unleaded. That didn't work out, so instead the trope was split into "Accidental Nightmare Fuel" and "High Octane Nightmare Fuel". Soon these tropes became part
of a Nightmare Fuel Index. But the problems still persist, so examples that don't meet the wiki's standards get purged regularly, and there's even talk about nuking all examples and making it just a fan-speak definition page, if not nuking the trope entirely. Really, why can't Nightmare Fuel just mean "whatever scares the crowd", while High Octane Nightmare Fuel means "whatever's really objectively scary!"? That would be the ideal way! But because Nightmare Fuel is subjective, the mods take huge issue with the example entries, deeming the users who put them out to be "crybabies."

- The Tearjerker page goes through similar misuse and purges, because what saddens certain people is also very subjective. Though most of the people who make entries here really ARE crybabies...

- The were three "Crowning Moment Of" tropes. Crowning Moment Of Awesome, Crowning Moment Of Funny, and Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming. The first one literally came first, but the way tropers used it was not in line with it's actual definition. "Crowning Moment" was meant to refer to one singular moment from a character, a moment where the character did something so beyond the impossibly awesome that audiences wouldn't believe it and would stand up and cheer. Same went for moments that were funny and heartwarming. But since such a definition was too strict, limiting, and hard to follow, and it was just more fun the way people were using it, more than one moment became passable. But then the pages were eventually renamed to indexes of "Awesome Moments", "Funny Moments", "Heartwarming Moments". This is a sound idea in theory, because then it's made more subjective: examples could be listed, and a troper could choose which one among them was their personal "crowning moment", in their opinion. However, the use of "Crowning Moment Of" became limited, except for occasions on YMMV pages. This took a classic TV Tropes phrase out of it.

- The aforementioned trope pages are now in an index called "SugarWiki", which deals in upbeat, positive pages that are meant for fun. One can gush about whatever they love there and be casual and happy for a change. It's counterpart is "DarthWiki", which deals in scathing, negative pages that are also meant for fun. It's biggest page used to be "Complaining About Shows You Don't Like", where all the rabid, whining, irrational haters of the Internet could go do just that, spreading their hatedumb and negativity around in a space where they were free to do so. The existence of this page, and all of DarthWiki, is another sound idea because it confines all the immature people and keeps them away from the rest of the site. Whenever someone wanted to complained, their complaints could be redirected to where it belonged. However, when Complaining About Shows You Don't Like became the ultimate threat to the wiki and the page itself became too vitriolic and mean-spirited, all entries got nuked and the trope was axed. In hindsight, this was a bad move. Why? Because now all the Fandumb complaints and negativity keep on seeping into other trope pages where they don't belong, which have to keep getting purged in order to remove "complaining about X you don't like." Fast Eddie and the mods have never considered that maybe they wouldn't have this problem of people going to other tropes to complain if they hadn't deleted the space on the site for complaining in the first place!

- The second biggest threat to the pages is Flanderization. Not the trope itself, but the trope at work in how other tropes are defined. A particular thing about any given trope could soon become the whole trope's very definition. This can often result in splits, merges, renames, purges, and all sorts of Trope Decay all the diddly-daddly-dooldally time! There is just no fighting this Flanderization!

- Just A Face And A Caption. Oftentimes, trope pages had pictures of particular examples and captions about them underneath. This is now considered to be bad form among mods and tropers, because not everyone will automatically recognize the example in the pic as a universally known example, which reeks of Fandom Myopia. I can understand this concern, but it's now at a point
where there are image vigilantes who cut down all images and captions from trope pages just to
make things more universal and user-friendly. Going to extremes in the name of the people!

- Sometimes, debates and arguments of opinions occur on trope pages. Other times, people want
to add to something being said in entries. To the heavy-handed mods, this = natter! It must be cut!

- Some tropes, like Adaptation Decay, have become strictly limited to "in-universe examples only!"

- The use of certain terminology, tics, and phrases unique to TV Tropes that became ingrained in it's culture and was part of it's identity have been banned. The most infamous one being "This Troper",
a gender-neutral title used by tropers to describe themselves. But such a term is far too informal for a professional wiki: tropers should just avoid speaking about themselves and their opinions at all now, but rather stay focused on presenting just the facts. That is seriously inane bullshit. Other discarded troper vocabulary includes "So Yeah", "If You Know What I Mean", "X...Just X", "Did Not Do The Research", and "I Am Not Making This Up", though that last one had reason to get axed.

- This one goes hand-in-hand with the issues of neutrality and complaining, but any trope that can be perceived as "negative" and can be used as an outlet for negativity has been handled ridiculously by Fast Eddie, who always has the cowardly concern that such tropes are inappropriate and unsuitable for the site, so they must be purged, nuked, or hacked down on. DarthWiki gets the brunt of this, even though that's mean to be "the dark side" of TV Tropes that is meant for negativity. This is especially true for Dethroning Moment Of Suck, the dark counterpart to Crowning Moment Of Awesome, which is once again known as a place for "crybabies." (And it oftentimes is, but that's
kind of the point, isn't it?) Other tropes that get this treatment include Wall Banger, Heroic Sociopath, Fallen Creator, Small Name Big Ego, Most Triumphant Example, So Bad Its Horrible, They Changed It Now It Sucks, Ruined FOREVER!, and What The Hell Hero?. Such tropes have even been nuked from existence, like Worse Than It Sounds, Do No Want!, Tainted By The Fanbase, and True Art.

- Ah, now we come to a BIG one: trope renaming. To put it simply, when a trope is created, it has
a name. Oftentimes, this trope's name will be changed to something else later on. It could be for a number of reasons, the usual ones being that the name is too referential and myopic, the name is Japanese and anime-eqsue terms, or the names are really unclear and do not give a sense about what the trope is really about. But the common problem in the renaming process is that in an effort for "clarity", the fun, memorable, quirky and creative trope names that are easy to use and remember get changed to bland, boring, unimaginative names that describe exactly what the trope is. In TV Tropes' own terms "Exactly What It Says On The Tin", which is nowhere near as fun, and robs the wiki of much of it's initial unique identity and culture. Now sometimes the renames are good, and the trope gets changed for the better. But most of the time, this is not the case. Let me recall the most notable examples of classic trope renames, and determine for myself how good or bad they were:
  • The Libby - renamed to: Alpha Bitch  (Lame!)
  • Lovable Libby - renamed to: Lovable Alpha Bitch  (Not the same!)
  • Cue Cullen - renamed to: And The Fandom Rejoiced  (Okay)
  • Are They Still On Namek? - renamed to: Arc Fatigue  (Okay)
  • Spikeification - renamed to: Badass Decay  (Good)
  • Big Damn Villains - renamed to: Villainous Rescue  (Lame!)
  • Switching To Geico - renamed to: Bad News, Irrelevant News  (Lame!)
  • Takahashi Couple - renamed to: Belligerent Sexual Tension  (Lame!)
  • Everyone Remembers The Stripper - renamed to: Best Known For The Fanservice (Lame!)
  • BLAM Episode - renamed to: Bizarro Episode  (Okay)
  • Dead Baby Comedy - renamed to: Black Comedy  (Lame!)
  • The Toblerone - renamed to: Boisterous Bruiser  (Lame!)
  • The Moriarty Effect - renamed to: Breakout Villain  (Lame!)
  • No Capes! - renamed to: Cape Snag  (Lame!)
  • Blue Bishonen Ghetto - renamed to: Cast Full Of Pretty Boys  (Lame!)
  • Pink Bishojou Ghetto - renamed to: Improbable Female Cast  (Lame!)
  • Getting To Old For This - renamed to: Character Aged With The Actor  (Lame!)
  • Died On A Bus - renamed to: Character Outlives Actor  (Lame!)
  • Unlucky/Victorious Childhood Friend - renamed to: Childhood Friend Romance  (Okay)
  • Battle Royale With Cheese - renamed to: Climactic Battle Resurrection  (Lame!)
  • Closer To Earth - renamed to: Women Are Wiser  (Good)
  • Completely Missing The Point - renamed to: Comically Missing The Point  (Lame!)
  • Bugs Meanie Is Gonna Walk - renamed to: Conviction By Contradiction  (Lame!)
  • Encyclopedia Browned - renamed to: Conviction By Counterfactual Clue  (Lame!)
  • The Wesley - renamed to: Creator's Pet  (Lame!)
  • Manatee Gag - renamed to: Cutaway Gag  (Okay)
  • Yangire - renamed to: Cute And Psycho  (Lame!)
  • Dojiko - renamed to: Cute Clumsy Girl  (Lame!)
  • Cute Shotaro Boy - renamed to: Adorably Precocious Child  (Lame!)
  • Isn't It Sad? - renamed to: Demoted To Extra  (Good)
  • Twenty Minutes With Jerks - renamed to: Developing Doomed Characters  (Lame!)
  • Ralph Wiggum - renamed to: The Ditz  (Good)
  • Salieri Syndrome - renamed to: Driven By Envy  (Lame!)
  • My Name Is Prince Darien! - renamed to: Dub Induced Plothole  (Okay)
  • Macekere - renamed to: Cut And Paste Translation  (Okay)
  • The Dumbledore - renamed to: Eccentric Mentor  (Lame!)
  • Yum Yum - renamed to: Erotic Eating  (Good)
  • Rape The Dog - renamed to: Moral Event Horizon (Good)
  • Gannon Banned - renamed to: Fandom Berserk Button  (Lame!)
  • Evilly Affable - renamed to: Faux Affably Evil  (Good)
  • It Got Worse - renamed to: From Bad To Worse  (Lame!)
  • Xanatos Tropes - renamed to: Gambit Tropes  (Okay)
  • The Pesci - renamed to: Hair Trigger Temper  (Okay)
  • The Krusty - renamed to: Hates The Job, Loves The Limelight  (Lame!)
  • Lemon Wacky Hello - renamed to: Intoxication Ensues  (Lame!)
  • Boring Invincible Hero - renamed to: Invincible Hero  (Lame!)
  • The Simpsons Did It! - renamed to: It's Been Done  (Lame!)
  • The Bumblebee - renamed to: Kid Appeal Character  (Lame!)
  • You Should Know This Already - renamed to: Late Arrival Spoiler  (Okay)
  • Pink Boy, Blue Girl - renamed to: Feminine Boy, Masculine Girl  (Lame!)
  • The Boo Radley - renamed to: Misunderstood Loner With A Heart Of Gold  (Lame!)
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait - renamed to: Mr. Fanservice  (Lame!)
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome? - renamed to: Mundane Made Awesome  (Lame!)
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous? - renamed to: Felony Misdemeanor  (Lame!)
  • Sonic Syndrome - renamed to: Polygon Ceiling  (Lame!)
  • This! IS! SPARTA! - renamed to: Punctuated! For! Emphasis!  (Lame!)
  • The Elfman Effect - renamed to: Recycled Trailer Music  (Lame!)
  • George Lucas Love Story - renamed to: Romantic Plot Tumor  (Okay)
  • Shallow Love Interest - Satellite Love Interest  (Okay)
  • The Poochie - renamed to: Shoo Out The New Guy  (Lame!)
  • Ted Baxter - renamed to: Small Name Big Ego  (Okay)
  • The Daria - renamed to: The Snark Knight  (Okay)
  • Edward Cullen Syndrome - renamed to: Stalking Is Love  (Lame!)
  • Bunny Boiler - renamed to: Stalker With A Crush  (Lame!)
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him? - renamed to: Stating The Simple Solution  (Lame!)
  • Nietzsche Wannabe - renamed to: Straw Nihilist  (Lame!)
  • I Know Kung-Fu - renamed to: Suddenly Always Knew That  (Lame!)
  • The Aragorn - renamed to: Supporting Leader  (Lame!)
  • The Obi Wrong - renamed to: Quickly Demoted Leader  (Lame!)
  • Cousin Oliver - renamed to: Remember The New Guy?  (Okay)
  • Jonas Quinn - renamed to: Suspiciously Similar Substitute  (Okay)
  • Team Rocket - renamed to: Terrible Trio  (Good)
  • Scrappy Level - renamed to: That One Level  (Lame!)
  • Badass Damsel - renamed to: Damsel Out Of Distress  (Lame!)
  • The Pikachu Effect - renamed to: Third Option Adaptation  (Lame!)
  • Cheryl Blossom - renamed to: Third Option Love Interest  (Lame!)
  • Sexy Back - renamed to: Toplessness From The Back  (Lame!)
  • Nakama - renamed to: True Companions  (Good)
  • I Am John Smith - renamed to: Trust Password  (Okay)
  • The Umbridge - renamed to: Tyrant Takes The Helm  (Okay)
  • I Got Better - renamed to: Unexplained Recovery  (Lame!)
  • Kuudere - renamed to: Sugar And Ice Personality  (Lame!)
  • Swiss Messenger - renamed to: Unwitting Instigator Of Doom  (Lame!)
  • Goddamn Orks/Bats - renamed to: The Usual Adversaries  (Lame!)
  • White Haired Prettyboy - renamed to: White Hair, Black Heart  (Okay)
  • Refuge In Vulgarity - renamed to: Vulgar Humor  (Lame!)
  • The Longest Prologue Ever - renamed to: Prolonged Prologue  (Good) 
- Another big one, and one I spoke of before, is the handling of the Complete Monster trope. This is
a trope that the wiki management mods are hellbent on making as objective as possible, to the point they want it off the YMMV pages! Which is why they have a special efforts trope cleanup thread for it on the forum. As they say on this thread: the criteria for qualifying are subjective enough that we are continually fighting a battle to keep it clean of bad examples. In theory, this is a solid idea. But the execution is terrible and only adds to the trope decay rather than fix the problem. The criteria for qualifying villains that's on the trope page is simplified, but then qualification is made more complex on the thread and the FAQ it has at the start, which adds a whole bunch of extra criteria. And most of this criteria is dumb, strict, overcomplicated, nitpicky, confusing, unclear, and even contradictory.

What is a Complete Monster?: A Complete Monster is the most heinous villain by the standard of the story, with no positive traits (including redemption or motives) whatsoever. And yet some of these villains as described were eliminated.

Why is this trope No Real Life Examples, Please?: Because as the strongest Evil Trope, it's also the most controversial. Calling a real person evil is just asking for trouble, and there is no such thing as a 100% pure evil person or thing in real life. Not even Hitler. Agreeable: that's pure opinion.

Is the capacity for making moral choices required for Complete Monster?: Yes. Someone who is controlled by someone else, programmed, or an animal is not a candidate. Similarly, an elemental force of evil cannot be said to be exercising moral choices; it does what its nature demands of it. Only on RARE occasions can this be excepted.

What tropes do not go in Complete Monster?: You Monster! is a statement of an individual character's standards, not the story's. Nightmare Fuel and The Scrappy are about "scary" and "disliked", not "heinous". Characters = story: "You Monster!" is often a good indicator, especially since it matches with one criteria . Other ones are valid no-nos.

But what if Word Of God declares the character a Complete Monster?: That is insufficient. While the author may have intended the character to qualify, this does not mean that they presented the character as a Complete Monster successfully. Agreed.

Then what good are statements in-canon or by the creator about their Complete Monster status?: Statements such as these are suggestions that we may have a Complete Monster candidate on our hands, but they cannot be offered as proof. We essentially take them as nominations, but we let their deeds speak for themselves. Agreed again.

Does Offscreen Villainy count?: Never. It needs to be shown or else it's not intended as a CM. "Evil actions" cannot be an Informed Attribute. Gory Discretion Shot can still count, though. Show, Don't Tell applies here. "Never"? Sometimes there are exceptions depending on how it's presented, and the clarity of the villainy's results.

Do they have to succeed at what they try to do in order to count?: No, success is not a key component of Complete Monster. After all, heroes succeed in fiction more often than not. What they consciously attempt to do is what matters. And yet they apparently have to be competent and really DO heinous things with success!

What if they do something that they didn't intend?: Generally, this doesn't count. What was done by accident is not enough. However, if the character finds out what they did by accident and is shown to be pleased at what happened, they may still qualify for that action. And yet they apparently have to be Stupid Evil!

Can a group be listed under Complete Monster?: No. Groups lack moral capacity - only individuals have that. It is theoretically possible for each individual member of a group to qualify,
but they most be shown and described as such individually. Agreed.

So just what does "heinous by the standards of the story" mean, anyway?: There are two parts to this. One - regardless of whether the character would seek it out, is it possible for the character to seek forgiveness for what they've done (in other words, is it truly heinous)? Two - are this character's deeds not eclipsed by anyone else (in other words, is it heinous by the standards of the story)? Heinousness is really unclear and subjective, and actions don't matter more than character, though. The actions should matter purely if the villains' pure evil nature as a character is reflected in them.

Okay, so the thread voted to keep a particular example off of the Complete Monster pages. Can it still go on the work pages?: No. This is against wiki policy for any trope - it either belongs on all appropriate pages, or it belongs on none of them. Not even on the YMMV page? Bullshit!

Sheesh, the policy is kind of draconian. What if the example is put up with an acknowledgement that it's only arguably an example?: No. Examples Are Not Arguable is
also wiki policy on every page, not just this one. Wow. Acknowledging your draconian wiki policies?

Alright, point made. What about an Alternate Character Interpretation that isn't explicitly refuted in the work itself?: No. The arguments for inclusion do not involve possibilities. We are
only judging based on what's in-canon. What's in-canon is fiction. Fiction is meant to be interpreted.

In-canon? So what about a version of the character in an Alternate Continuity?: If the character qualifies in one particular continuity, then they will be included, but the write-up will specify which continuity or continuities that they qualify in. Similarly, they only get listed for Complete Monster on the trope page for the continuity in which they act as one. Yet likes of Broly were no-nos?

In that case, how do you handle Depending On The Writer?: We cite under which writers the character is a Complete Monster, similar to the above - and we make sure to note when Retcon rears its ugly head in such cases (or not, in a couple rare cases like The Joker). Imagine if The Joker!

So, just who decides which characters are put on the page?: Well, any troper that participates in the cleanup effort. Feel free to join, if it interests you. And boy does that not work out well.

Dude, we gotta add this example from last night's episode of...: Okay, we will automatically table all discussion on a character from an ongoing series. For one, it's very easy to get caught up in the excitement of something that was just enjoyed. For another, we don't know what the writers are going to do until everything is over. We don't want to put up an example just to have to take it down when the example turns out to be much less monstrous than it first appeared. Agreed SO MUCH!

Would you follow this link to see what I'm talking about?: No. For one, Weblinks Are Not Examples, which is for the third time against wiki policy. For another, the point of this thread is to craft the best entries possible for the trope pages. This means writing a concise and insightful entry that fully describes the character in question. Relying on links to others does not provide insight -
it just passes the buck. Stuffy encyclopedic wiki alert!

Why even bother with all of this? Why not just Cut List the trope?: We get this way more often than we like. Several reasons. Oh how I wish the trope was Cut Listed at this point...

They also have a policy to not bring up characters who have been discussed already, especially if the characters are "permanently settled" examples or non-examples. The FAQ says "If you bring these up or try to add them to the respective work page (or remove them, for validated CMs), at best we'll facepalm at you and at worst we'll outright ban you." That's right: outright banning over mistakes.

And to put the hypocrisy and self-contradicting nature of the criteria into perspective, here's how
it always goes:

"There can only be ONE Complete Monster, except when there's not"
"X is still a Complete Monster despite his actions not comparing to X's, even though X was disqualified for failing the heinous standard compared to X"
"A Complete Monster cannot be seen as pathetic, even though some Monsters were pathetic"
"A Complete Monster cannot be funny, even though The Joker and Kefka are"
"A Complete Monster cannot be seen as cool or loved by fans, even though several (including Joker and Kefka again) are Fan Favorites"
"A villain who'd be considered small potatoes next to bigger villains in the same universe can still be Complete Monsters in their own secluded stories if they're as bad as they can possibly be, except such villains have been disqualified before"
"A Complete Monster cannot be seen in a positive way or show any redeeming/positive qualities, but some have been interpreted as such (Captain Vidal?)"
"A Complete Monster's motivation has to be that of For The Evulz, except for the complex examples that do have selfish goals"
"Offscreen villainy should not be used to judge a Complete Monster and get them qualified, but offscreen goodness can get them disqualified"
"A Complete Monster has to be Stupid Evil or Chaotic Evil but COMPETENT and successful at it!"
"A Complete Monster cannot be eclipsed by other villains if they're the worst they can possibly be in their position and role, except some who were just that were disqualified"
"A Complete Monster is the most heinous villain by the works' standards, except they also have to match up to the standards of completely unrelated works due to baseline heinousness!" 
"A Complete Monster has to meet baseline heinousness of abuse, brutal assault, murder, genocide, torture, rape, cannibalism, etc. except some don't even kill a single person"
"Female Complete Monsters are rare, because that is just misogyny!"
"A single shred of possible redeeming quality, no matter how small or slim, will disqualify a villain. COMPLETE Monster! COMPLETE. Monster.!"

- Dare I even bring up the Mako stanning that goes on in the "Legend Of Korra" YMMV, courtesy of spoiled brat Rebochan? The insistence that he does not belong as an example of certain tropes like Creator's Pet, even though he unarguably fits all the qualifications down perfectly? The total denial of all criticism towards that character, or for that matter, that entire show? It's a cesspool of asskissers!

- Oh, and all examples must now have context. Makes things so much more professional. Thanks...

- And the homepage lies some more by saying "We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries". Right now, that's exactly what TV Tropes is looking for. This site that began as a fun site for fiction nerds is slowly but sure sucking out all the fun and interest it used to hold. And I saw no shame in what it used to be. I enjoyed reading the entries on Troper Tales, Fetish Fuel, and various subjective stuff. It was fun and enlightening to look at all the varying opinions and viewpoints. But now the wiki is determined to have only one voice. One boring, stuffy, factual, monotonous voice. Subjectivity and free speech be damned. The sort of stuff they want to clean up could easily just be deleted without the need for systematic mass purging. The whole thing did not need to be purged. The site did not need to change so drastically as it has. It only leads to further removal of all the little things that gave the site it's original unique identity, and made it what it was to the early tropers. And so long as draconian tyrant jackass Fast Eddie is at the helm to keep the wiki moderation strict and unfair, TV Tropes.org will continue to dig itself deeper and deeper into it's own grave. And that is 'nuff said.

31 comments:

  1. I agree that TV Tropes went to the gutters, but getting rid of Troper Tales was actually a good thing.

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    1. No it wasn't. I had fun reading some of those. :(

      Delete
  2. There is a new troping wiki you might be interested in, founded by people who also hate what happened to Tv Tropes:

    https://allthetropes.orain.org/wiki/Main_Page

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    1. Oh, that's the exact same site as the Tropes Mirror Wiki, but with an even better format! Huzzah!

      Delete
  3. http://spring-heel-jackie.deviantart.com/art/Is-TV-Tropes-Prejudice-against-disabled-436199913?q=gallery%3ASpring-Heel-Jackie&qo=0

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  4. I agree 100%. I've been on TV tropes for years (I'm Luna 87 on there, if you care), and it sickens me how the mods and owner have bought into this sickening infatuation too many people have with looking "respectable" to people you'll never meet (even though there was a big fanbase of tropers who loved it the way it was) as well as with neutrality and not offending anyone (and yet somehow maintaining an air of Popular-Opinion Myopia). It's quite sad, really...

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    1. You're still on the site, but don't like it? :( And yes, exactly this. The siterunners are way too fixated on creating a respectable image for aspiring writers/critics/whatever and professional artsy people that they've lost site of what made the site appealing in the first place. It was a fiction geek wiki and community, and unashamed of it. The neutrality and over-sensitivity is a pain, too, and really - it's very noticeable in "The Legend Of Korra" related pages. No one's allowed to talk too much trash about the show or mention how things have been received and perceived negatively, especially Mako. A positive opinion on the work has to be the popular one and the only one. Screw you, TV Tropes.

      I highly recommend you become a user/editor on All The Tropes and the Tropes Mirror Wiki. They can both shape up to be TV Tropes done correctly.

      Delete
    2. "it's very noticeable in "The Legend Of Korra" related pages. No one's allowed to talk too much trash about the show or mention how things have been received and perceived negatively, especially Mako. A positive opinion on the work has to be the popular one and the only one. Screw you, TV Tropes."

      - I especially agree with this part due to the fact that I have experienced first hand just how the show isn't as great as people try to make it out to be.

      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/review_comments.php?id=12955

      -I simply state how Season 4 completely trumps Seasons 1, 2 and 3 and that Season 1 poorly handled its politics and apparently that's nitpicking. He proceeded to say that I'm the only one talking about Season 1's wasted potential....he was proven wrong of course.

      Then I decide to make a liveblog since I didn't want to fill up the review section with my reviews of each season 4 episode (and it has a tab for reviewing each episode for pete's sake) and then this happens.

      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/lb_i.php?lb_id=14129834130B26745300&i_id=14142700490I62301200&p=3

      - Apparently I'm biased when I say that the Deus ex Machina's of the original series didn't interfere with character development while this series's deus ex machina's does.

      And apparently I make arguments that nobody cares about....

      I'm really starting not to like this community honestly. And apparently sharing my opinion about a fanbase is not allowed in the site. -_- I think that knowing about a fanbase of a work is pretty important.

      So apparently I cannot share my opinions about a fanbase of a work on the review section since they are not a "fanbase bashing site". I would agree if they didn't allow stuff like this to stay on the site:

      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/reviews.php?target_group=Franchise&target_title=SonicTheHedgehog

      The dude's "review" doesn't even pass 100 words and nobody bothers to flag it or anything. Instead they pass it off as "kinda losing me there" or "being written by Sonic.EXE" Wow. Hilarious guys.

      I swear I'm really starting to dislike this site.


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    3. Book 4 hasn't ended yet, so I'm not sure whether or not I like it better than Book 3 or not. 'Cause Book 3, I found to be REALLY good in so many areas.

      I do think you might have been doing too much reviewing before letting the entire season play out, though. Reviews are best after having waited 'til the thing has ended to recap it all. Liveblogs are better formats for what you're trying to do.

      Same here. TV Tropes has really corrupt, hypocritical, often stupid management these days.

      Delete
  5. Apparently TV Tropes is getting revitalized and Fasteddie is getting the boot. What do you think?

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tvtropes/the-tv-tropes-revitalization-project

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    1. Well the site isn't going to magically improve automatically, but ousting him from power is a HUGE step in the right direction.

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    2. Not quite. Odd's are there's probably those that are worse than Eddie still lingering on. I had an experience with a Mod Named Fighteer. He's a racist, stuck up asshole whom after kicking me off started discriminating a Russian troper for not speaking proper english. And yet he's still modding the site.

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    3. Fighteer, along with Shaoken and Ambar, is one of the big assholes on the forums that I've seen. That's why I said the site won't magically improve just with Fast Eddie's removal - people like them have to go as well.

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    4. Do you mean Ambar son of Deshar? his standards are ridiculously high even for TV tropes.

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    5. Yeah, him. He, Fighteer, and Shaoken piss me off the most with their high standards and elitist attitudes.

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    6. One thing that speaks volumes about just how much of a bastard Fighteer is was the discussion on Syndrome about a year ago. The majority voted in favour of adding him to the Complete Monster category, but he wouldn't have it. How he hasn't been kicked out I'll never know.

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    7. God yes, I remember that. Syndrome was rightfully voted up but didn't go on the trope due to abuse of a mod's power. What the actual hell?

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  6. The community needs some work too. I know this was a while ago, but after the Legend of Korra ended there was a LOT of flagging (butthurt fans who can't take a freaking opinion...I suspect its from the discussions page but that's pure assumption). Some of my reviews even get randomly flagged for no good reason while (again) there are ones that actually deserve to be flagged due to either being PAINFULLY short or just terrible altogether (they may be taking a closer look though so that's good).

    And I know I said this before (and it may be a bit of bias on my part), but they really need to drop the "the opinions of a fandom do not matter. Thus they are useless" argument. A fandom can completely RUIN a piece of work for people (My Little Pony, most mmorpgs, (hardest) single player games and TV shows). My Little Pony has a GODAWFUL community from what I've seen (for a show about love and tolerance (ironically). Don't even get me STARTED on MMOs. Yes I know that there are bad apples in every fandom, but if its the most PREVALENT in that specific fandom or community, then I will say that its pretty bad. If I post a thorough review of the fandom and it gets deleted while shit like this stays:

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/reviews.php?target_group=Franchise&target_title=SonicTheHedgehog

    (yes a repost)

    Then I'm not going to take you seriously at all. Especially since it has been revived like twice and it STILL hasn't been flagged yet the community decides to flag the one with an actual opinion. And there are a bunch of short reviews (not as bad as this) that are simply unnecessary.

    "But why don't you flag them Ryochi?"

    -Cause the damn community should be able to tell which reviews just express their ideas poorly and which ones don't instead of just letting it stay there as a joke. This promotes these reviews to continue being made.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/review_comments.php?id=13628#listtop

    (most recent)

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/review_comments.php?id=10050#listtop

    (not as bad as some of the other ones I've seen but this really isn't necessary)

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/review_comments.php?id=10825#listtop

    (This just screams fangasm with just a pinch of bias (IMO))

    While its not as much as I thought it was. Its pretty annoying to see these reviews stay around (even if its a joke (which it shouldn't be). Its supposed to be a serious, in depth review for pete's sake). And the ones that actually go in-depth without putting people down (if they do then its for good reason) and sharing a legitimate opinion get flagged and even deleted for apparently being "useless". The least they could have done was send the person they are deleting a message with a copy of their review on it so that they can post it somewhere else.

    Now the community isn't godawful (Rumble Fighter and Lost Saga takes the trophy for some of the worst communities I have ever seen), its just that some people (including the mods from what I've seen. But they are getting better) need to get their heads out of their asses (apparently I can't barge into conversations on a COMMENTING thread. (This also happened on my own review) I think he's cool but this viewpoint is ridiculous for obvious reasons (what is this a PMing system?!). He's way better than that jerk (being a bit pissy here) higherbrainpattern who keeps on bringing up "oh but a lot of people like it so your review sucks" argument and the rest of those fanboys in the Legend of Korra thread who think that pointing out GLARING FLAWS that I feel should be pointed out in a show are "nitpicks" (though admittedly some of them were. But they wanted me to take out ALL of the cons. Screw them.

    But overall, this revitalization period is pretty decent and I'm glad that Fast Eddie's leaving (even though I never had any big problems with him) but my experiences with this site just make me want to do reviews somewhere else.

    ....or maybe I should make a blog.....?

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    1. Yeah....I did it. I made a goddamn blog. Screw TVTropes.

      (by the way the comment above was in response to the comment about the revitalization period if that wasn't clear)

      Delete
  7. I'm gonna have to agree TV Tropes is too strict, Personally I liked FF13 and I found 9 (storyline-wise) to be the worst in the main series, yet the game is really overrated, and I could barely find a negative opinion on the page, I just think It gets far more praise than it really deserves.

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    1. FF9 wasn't one of the absolute strongest entries in the main series, but I do like it and find it better than, say, FF8 (which I also like, don't get me wrong, but it had major issues). FF13 to start with had it's merits but I personally really do not like the two sequels it got and I prefer 9, sorry.

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  8. I was the original creator of the Nightmare Fuel page and I created some of the renamed entries you listed above. It's sad to see what's become of the site, even with the recent improvements. I specifically hate how the Admins arbitrarily blocked showing Real Life examples of everything. (Yeah, I can see how you would get into trouble pointing the finger at still-living people, but making commentary on events, natural phenomena, etc. should be totally allowed.) It seems that the more popular entries have also been horribly overwritten, becoming as blandified as possible and having all of the quirkiness of the original writer sucked away. (Yeah, a wiki is a living document and making it better organized and easier to skim is ideal, but you lose something in the process. It becomes less fun and more "business".)

    If I contribute anything at all these days, it'll be to write an entry for an obscure show that I feel Needs More Love. At least there will be a good chance that it will remain fairly intact. (Or at least will be altered by people who care about the show as much as I do.)

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    1. Yeah, don't I know it. And I get why real life examples wouldn't be allowed for the highly subjective tropes, but with other tropes like Nightmare Fuel I'd say it would be alright. Most popular tropes have been pretty blandified over time. Complete Monster, for instance, is now cleaned up and organized better and it LOOKS better than it used to - it just doesn't READ better all the time, since some writeups tend to go on and on, and are styled in similar ways to one another.

      You could try whatever you want on All The Tropes. I can't recommend that wiki enough for people who yearn for TV Tropes minus the arbitrary uber-strictness and dull, stuffy blandness.

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  9. While I agree with all the name changes being wholly unnecessary and boring, particularly the dumbledore, I disagree with 'arguments are free speech' part. After exploring the internet's various and ever changing parts, I found that nerds are stupid and biased. Look at the parts that haven't been modded in TV tropes. Twilight pages are overrun with haters, nightmare in silver and listen are listed in doctor who's dethroning moment of suck page and the entire dethroning moment of suck page should really be deleted. No, really.

    Websites that let geeky fans and fangirls flaunt their opinions often suffer slow decline. Take for instance creepypasta. It's was created as place for scary stories and haunting tales. Now it's admins spend their time moving angsty Mary sues to the crappypasta and trollpasta as it gained a reputation for featuring repetitive cookie cutter stories over and over again.

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    1. I agree that online nerds need to be kept in check, but that wouldn't be as big a problem if the site had a consistent team of editors that monitored the pages and stepped in when things got out of hand, deleting entries that don't give any insight to any meaningful opinion or interpretation of any given thing while leaving ones that do alone. But as things are, the powers that be take that basic concept and take it to an extreme that didn't need to be taken - a Draconian extreme. Ever read the Word Cruft page? It's sad to look at just how arbitrary the rules, policies, and standards for the wiki have become.

      Delete
  10. I washed my hands of TV Tropes after two incidents of lazy editing:

    First incident: I added a "They Just Didn't Care" entry on the YMMV page of Winnie the Pooh talking about how abysmal the marketing for the 2011 film was and I added "Wall Banger" to emphasise how ridiculous that Winnie the Pooh was apparently so taxing to market next to the understandably more difficult Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, John Carter, The Lone Ranger and Tomorrowland. Turned out, "Wall Banger" has become "Flame Bait," which I should have checked, fair enough, but rather than edit it out, they deleted the whole entry, I mean it's not like it was a "Wall Banger" entry. I put it back with the "Flame Bait" edited out, literally took me less than a minute.

    Next, I added to the YMMV page on Big Hero 6 about how Hiro nearly crossing the Moral Event Horizon by ordering Baymax to kill Callaghan is made worse by the fact he violated Baymax's healthcare protocols to do so. That got deleted on the grounds of "looking like a conversation." No editing to clean it up, nothing, and even more annoyingly they didn't do the same to an entry on Balto, where I suggested Steele crossed the Moral Event Horizon by knocking the antitoxin crate over.

    This was the point where I was just done, I admit I could've edited it better, but if their response to a simple mistake is deleting whole blocks of text, you know what, they deserve all the criticism they're getting right now.

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  11. Have to agree that TVTropes is pretty much entering the garbage heap right now. For example, I've noticed the YMMV for the Pokémon Anime removed quite a bit of stuff from there relating to the Kalos league for being opinion and irrelevant, even though it can be very much verified.

    Plus, I remember being blocked once because I added something on the Funny Aneurysm Moment entry regarding the gag involving a chimp president where they were complaining about a health bill being ludicrously expensive and how that was unfunny after Obama published Obamacare, yet they deleted it for being to politically problematic (which was despite the fact that the very same pages often had pot shots against President Bush), not to mention their undoing similar edits later on. I eventually got blocked a second time, and no one unblocked me even when I asked (and unlike that time, I'm not even sure what I did to deserve that block).

    And right now, there are times where they actually simultaneously list a character as both an Ensemble Darkhorse and the Scrappy at the same time, despite their being polar opposites.

    Oh yeah, and a few times, they completely omit certain characters from the Complete Monster territory (for one thing, I'd argue that the Patriots AIs from Metal Gear Solid 2 definitely qualified as CMs considering how vile they were, and even Kojima stated they were definitely the most evil in the franchise by that point, and considering this was the same guy and game that tries to make various characters grey [which I really hate, TBH, since it quite frankly destroys the entire point behind heroes and villains] and infer that good and evil are relative and that reality and truth don't exist, that's saying a lot.), and sometimes they even blow certain additions regarding CMs (for example, Volgin and The Boss. While I definitely agree that Volgin belongs, it's hard to take his moral event horizon seriously when The Boss does exactly the same thing with similar motivations and a similar reaction in MGS3 and ISN'T considered a Complete Monster, indicating Protagonist-Centered Morality.). And I've also noticed they never included the triplets from BATB into the Ensemble Darkhorse category, despite their being quite popular especially for minor characters.

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    1. I follow you on most of that, but I'm not quite sure about that last paragraph. The Patriot AIs are A: AI, and B: a group, right? By that token, they cannot qualify for the trope seeing as they're lacking in moral agency and operate as a unit rather than as individuals. And The Boss cannot be considered a CM because the narrative itself does not consider her one and she has redeeming features that Volgin lacked. And who the hell do you even by the triplets?

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  12. In fairness to the Complete Monster trope, before there was a cleanup thread, tropers were misusing the shit out of that trope. They added characters who didn't meet any of the qualifications, such as Peter Griffin (family guy), Mr. Krabs (sponge bob), Vicky (FOP), Rasputia (norbit), Coco Labouche (Rugrats In Paris) etc.

    While the moderators can be really rude in that thread, I do think they were somewhat justified in not putting down Syndrome from the Incredibles as a complete monster. This is because a Complete Monster is not supposed to be presented positively and the CM has to be 100% evil. It also doesn't help that Syndrome wasn't always evil. This also makes me not want to contribute to the CM thread because of how snippy and rude the mods & tropers can be if your selected character doesn't meet the qualifications.

    While moderators (I won’t say names) can be jerks, a lot of tropers are far from innocent as well. What got me to almost leave TVTropes for good was how they handle the whole "No Real Life Examples" thing. Tropers cause even some of the most harmless tropes to be marked for "No Real Life Examples Please," due to them getting so butthurt & starting flame wars over opinions. Tropes like Nightmare Fuel, Adults Are Useless (because its truth in television, tropers are just too sensitive), and Police Brutality in my opinion don't deserve to be NRLEP. I mean, some of the reasons sound so childish & kindergarten-like , like "it's not nice to call people jerks/dumb/etc", like give me a fucking break.!

    I’m MSCC93, by the way. I’ve been troping since Like April or May of 2012 and took a big hiatus from TVTropes. Also, I will admit that I’m not always innocent as the other tropers either and I do have my times when I can be emotionally immature, or (sometimes unintentionally) rude, but I do try to be respectful. I also agree that the website does suck all the fun. For example, I wish they didn’t cut the whole “Wall Bangers” trope and the subpages. I think Dethroning Moment should have been cut and the wall bangers should have been left.

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  13. I think my number one problem with TV Tropes is that they delete any posts that disagree with their interpretation of the story or characters. I can think of a few examples but notably was the Death Note page which used to be filled to the brink with what the fans thought and how they could interpret things before TV Tropes enforced an uptight "We are right and you are wrong" on basically the entire franchise.

    I can name more examples if I had the time but my number one problem with TV Tropes is that it seems like tropes can't be subjective anymore. They must fit with their interpretation and if they disagree with you, it is a misuse. The pages have gotten stuffy and boring. Everything is being given a cleanup and several of my favorite pages got examples deleted all together. I think they should make Tropes subjective again, that is what made them appealing in the first place.

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