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    Default The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    So, the other day I was discussing something with a friend, I don't remember what exactly, some bit of media. I used the term "lampshading", he glared at me like I was some sort of pathetic thing and said "TV Tropes." So what? First of all, hanging a lampshade is a real thing, I could have learned that phrase from Wikipedia. "But you did learn it from TV Tropes." Again, so what?
    Does anyone else react this way when someone references a trope or something they learned on that website in a real life conversation? Why?
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    You could have also learned it from writing 102. I dont know why anyone would have a problem with tropes unless......does he fancy himself a highbrow writer or a Writer(capitalized)? I've known a couple people who were somewhat in those groups and hated it when I used tropes to deconstruct their writings or worse yet declare the ending of the story when only 10% done with it. They hated I was always right. My wife also hates them without knowing about the site, I always use them to predict what's going to happen in the movie.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    This is like when people accuse Rich of mining TV Tropes for elements of OOTS when it's clear that he's well-versed enough in storytelling conventions from his own reading and experience to find his own reasons for using a particular trope in his comic. People have been noticing these patterns for decades if not centuries, and if you're a writer with any kind of skill you'll know when to go along with them, when to run counter to them, when to put your own twist on them, and most importantly, when to ignore tropes altogether when what you need to do for the story demands a particular path, well-trodden or not.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Really, getting mad at a story for using tropes is about as sane as getting mad at the book it's printed in for using atoms.

    "I bet the cover has long carbon-hydrogen chains."
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    Last edited by Prime32; 2011-11-01 at 07:58 AM.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    People seem to forget that TV Tropes only lists and "codifies" things which already existed in fiction, often for a long time. Of course there are some highly specific trops, which one might not know or care about unless one had read TV Tropes, but the most common ones are just what you learn in any language class, or if you ever study soemthing that has something to do with literature and writing. So I'd say your friend is just being a snob here.

    Also, many people think that if you can deconstruct their writing, this somehow means it is bad, or that they have been outsmarted. And sometimes I get the feeling some people who decontruct writing seem to think so, too.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    I do get irritated when people obsessively try to insert a trope name into every discussion (or forum thread, for that matter), relevant or not. It feels like they're trying too hard, ya'know?

    That's true for any sort of show offish behaviour though, and isn't necessarily restricted to TVTropes.
    Last edited by Feytalist; 2011-11-01 at 08:29 AM.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Well of course. If I can't tell somebody the plot of a book or movie without being interrupted every few seconds because somebody discovered another trope, I'd be annoyed.

    EDIT: But from what the OP writes, it seems he just used lampshading as aterm for describing what was going on in a story, which is perfectly fine for me. Both seemed to know what was meant, and so he saved himself the trouble of having to do a longer explanation.
    Last edited by GolemsVoice; 2011-11-01 at 08:27 AM.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Give him a sneer and say, "Well, you dont exactly have room to talk considering how fast you recognized it. Done a few link marathons have we?" Or hit him with a brick. Both should make him shut up if you do it right.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    You should have commented on the fact that he's obviously never taken a Literature class in his life. "Lampshade hanging" isn't a new term at all!
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Quote Originally Posted by Prime32 View Post
    Really, getting mad at a story for using tropes is about as sane as getting mad at the book it's printed in for using atoms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime32 View Post
    Really, getting mad at a story for using tropes is about as sane as getting mad at the book it's printed in for using atoms.

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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    I would just be happy to know someone IRL that knows what TVTropes even is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    First, please don't start threads with ideas you don't support just to see what reactions you get. That's almost the definition of trolling.

    Second, the whole "blue text" thing is not a forum rule or even a recommended procedure. If someone wants to do it in their own posts, fine, but everyone should stop telling people that they "need to" or "should have" posted in blue just because they're being sarcastic/ironic/whatever.

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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Quote Originally Posted by Darthteej View Post
    I'm not sure which, but one of those is just asking to be sigged. May I?
    One of them? The second part doesn't really make sense out of context.

    But go ahead.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    I'm not bothered. If anything, I'm happy to have names for the stuff I'm talking about. Names, I've found more and more, are integral to having meaningful discussions on any kind of non-trivial level.

    The one problem I see is maintaining the definitions of the terms consistent.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    I learned more about the components of a story from reading books by self-referential fantasy authors (and following their implicit recommendations to go read The Hero with a Thousand Faces) and watching Stargate SG-1's comedy episodes than I ever did from reading TVTropes, for my part.

    Really, there are a couple of possible reasons why TVTropes provokes such a negative reaction:

    1) It's popular - enough reason to hate anything, to many people
    2) Because it's popular, it leads to a lot of ignorant people using it as a resource to be intellectually smug about things they don't actually understand.
    3) Those people (and other otherwise intelligent people) tend to just drop off trope names and links with no explanation into arguments or discussions, bewildering people who were actually trying to talk about their favorite show
    4) This Troper, Troper Tales, and other vanity/self-pleasuring aspects that turn the thing into a giant and often rather creepy anonymous blog on some pages. TVTropes has fortunately started segregating all this from the actual useful information much better than they used to.
    5) You can literally write about anything, including your own crappy fanfic, which ticks off elitists. This doesn't really relate to the original problem of referencing tropes by name.

    I think 1 and someone overreacting to the possibility of 2 and 3 was Mauve Shirt's friend's original problem.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    For all the schlock, there is a lot to love as well. Playing With a Trope has to be one of my favorite games/thought exercises of all time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    First, please don't start threads with ideas you don't support just to see what reactions you get. That's almost the definition of trolling.

    Second, the whole "blue text" thing is not a forum rule or even a recommended procedure. If someone wants to do it in their own posts, fine, but everyone should stop telling people that they "need to" or "should have" posted in blue just because they're being sarcastic/ironic/whatever.

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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    It really bothers me when people act as if tropes are only an ''internet thing'', my almost 60 year old religion prof used the word yesterday and he barely can use wikipedia, let alone TV Tropes. I think that some of the 'backlash' is based on the fact that people are getting exposed to the tropes of deconstructionism without learning about deconstruction itself. This leads to people either over using them, which always is irritating, or to people be offended when they're used because they think that a story that can be broken down into non-unique parts is a bad story. They fail to realize that all stories must rely on tropes or become nigh incomprehensible.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    It would depend a lot on how people use it. In your case, your friend really overreacted. Lampshade hanging is a common term, and there are plenty of people who know it without ever hearing of TV Tropes. Terms like that? Use them to describe works as much as you want. There's no law saying you can't discuss tropes.

    For the terms specific to TV Tropes, it would probably be better to not use them when speaking to non-tropers. You wouldn't drop D&D terms into a conversation with someone unfamiliar with D&D, would you?
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    I understand a number of people are pissed about the apparent reductionism tvtropes causes. Personally, I think they should get over it.

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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Quote Originally Posted by irenicObserver View Post
    I understand a number of people are pissed about the apparent reductionism tvtropes causes. Personally, I think they should get over it.
    Which is what always happens when academic subjects are placed into the public eye in a "comprehensible" way, they get distorted from how they truly are resulting in people completely misunderstanding it.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Yeah, lampshading or "hanging a lantern" is older and wider than TV Tropes. Using the more universally used terms like lampshading, deus ex machina and macguffins are fine. I'd avoid using the more TV Tropes specific terms like Five Man Band and Xanatos Gambit unless you're talking specifically about TV Tropes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    I learned more about the components of a story from reading books by self-referential fantasy authors (and following their implicit recommendations to go read The Hero with a Thousand Faces) and watching Stargate SG-1's comedy episodes than I ever did from reading TVTropes, for my part.
    I agree. I love analysing media and the hows and whys about how their elements fit together, but the TV Tropes approach is far too superficial to be meaningful. All the site does is break stuff down into a checklist of components; there's very little discussion on the why and how that is a reflection of culture at large. The best parts of the site are the tiny descriptive blurbs before the honking great big lists, and my impression is those paragraphs keep getting edited down as the site is maturing. Tropers only seem to care about the lists

    And good luck having any discussion about which tropes a particular piece implements badly.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Quote Originally Posted by Trazoi View Post
    I agree. I love analysing media and the hows and whys about how their elements fit together, but the TV Tropes approach is far too superficial to be meaningful. All the site does is break stuff down into a checklist of components; there's very little discussion on the why and how that is a reflection of culture at large. The best parts of the site are the tiny descriptive blurbs before the honking great big lists, and my impression is those paragraphs keep getting edited down as the site is maturing. Tropers only seem to care about the lists
    I believe "reductionism" was mentioned. I completely agree with this. Makes TV Tropes a good place to find out about works of fiction that share common traits with things you like (kind of a manual Amazon Recommendations with a lot more helpful comments), makes it worthless for learning about storytelling.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trazoi View Post
    And good luck having any discussion about which tropes a particular piece implements badly.
    Everything Is Notable apparently got translated in peoples' heads to Everything Is Good at some point. The only means of criticism or disagreement on that site that doesn't get edited away is passive-aggression.

    Reminds me of somewhere else I visit, actually.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    I believe "reductionism" was mentioned. I completely agree with this. Makes TV Tropes a good place to find out about works of fiction that share common traits with things you like (kind of a manual Amazon Recommendations with a lot more helpful comments), makes it worthless for learning about storytelling.
    If you're writing a story about a particular trope (either straight or poking fun at it) then TV Tropes can be useful in learning more about the cliches and finding media that use them. But the danger is that you'll end up trying to cram in as many tropes as you can for the tropes sake. It's why the writing forum over there IMO isn't much use. And if you're interested in the wider affect of storytelling on culture you aren't going to find much if anything.

    That isn't so much a problem of TV Tropes if it stays true to being merely a fun wiki project where fans of all stripes come to chat about the stuff they like. However recently they've all be trying to act like they're a serious attempt to categorise media, changing the fun trope names to bland serious ones, removing all the images that aren't 100% perfect despite how funny they are and removing a lot of the tone in the text so it's all "neutral" (codeword for "boring").

    Everything Is Notable apparently got translated in peoples' heads to Everything Is Good at some point. The only means of criticism or disagreement on that site that doesn't get edited away is passive-aggression.
    It's by moderator fiat. They really hate media criticism. It's also an extension of their forum policy which doesn't have many strict rules, with the only implict rule appears to be that you can't be mean to anyone. It sounds open and friendly on the surface until you see in practice it means anyone can post any creepy opinion and the site culture is to be supportive rather than call them on it. And potential new tropers get weirded out when they see the Fetishes thread has 240,000+ posts.

    (Edit: BTW, that's no exaggeration. The Fetishes thread really does have 240,000+ posts.)
    Last edited by Trazoi; 2011-11-01 at 08:02 PM.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Quote Originally Posted by Trazoi View Post
    changing the fun trope names to bland serious ones,
    I think this has been longer overdue, actually. A lot of the "fun" trope names are really vague, but the new ones actually give you a clue about what they're about. In fact, of all of the name changes, I don't recall any of the old ones even being that "fun." A few, like Xanatos Gambit, have attained sufficiently popular usage outside of the site, so I don't mind those so much, but how many people are going to guess just by the title that "The Paolo" is supposed to refer to a romantic false lead?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Seth View Post
    I think this has been longer overdue, actually. A lot of the "fun" trope names are really vague, but the new ones actually give you a clue about what they're about. In fact, of all of the name changes, I don't recall any of the old ones even being that "fun." A few, like Xanatos Gambit, have attained sufficiently popular usage outside of the site, so I don't mind those so much, but how many people are going to guess just by the title that "The Paolo" is supposed to refer to a romantic false lead?
    Agreed, having more informative trope names can only help the site. Sure it's less fun, but I can deal with that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime32 View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Seth View Post
    I think this has been longer overdue, actually. A lot of the "fun" trope names are really vague, but the new ones actually give you a clue about what they're about. In fact, of all of the name changes, I don't recall any of the old ones even being that "fun." A few, like Xanatos Gambit, have attained sufficiently popular usage outside of the site, so I don't mind those so much, but how many people are going to guess just by the title that "The Paolo" is supposed to refer to a romantic false lead?
    But the new names are rarely descriptive in the first place, and in any case you still have to read the article. I suppose I'd buy this sort of change if the site had higher quality analysis/categorization. But then I'd use it as a reference, not a fun little site you can waste hours looking through. As is it isn't quite one thing or the other.


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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Quote Originally Posted by averagejoe View Post
    But the new names are rarely descriptive in the first place, and in any case you still have to read the article. I suppose I'd buy this sort of change if the site had higher quality analysis/categorization. But then I'd use it as a reference, not a fun little site you can waste hours looking through. As is it isn't quite one thing or the other.
    Exactly. I know I'm in the minority re: the name changes, but I liked that the old TV Tropes used ultra-nerdy jargon that I couldn't understand. Because old TV Tropes wasn't meant to be an academic reference, it was entertainment. You see something like "The Paolo", think "What the heck is this?", and click the link like a sucker and end up wasting half the day repeating this. Plus using ultra-obscure nerdy jargon is a big clue that this isn't meant to be taken too seriously.

    The new TV Tropes cleaned all that up in an attempt to appear scholarly, but it isn't fooling anyone. All it did is make it drier and less entertaining, and doesn't hide it's still basically a series of long lists detailing stocking fetishes.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Tropes, or whatever you want to call them, are tools.
    They can be used poorly or well, but you can't make much, if anything, without them.
    TV Tropes is fun to browse as it can give you ideas for visual media to watch, written media to read, and aural media to listen to.
    It is also a nice encapsulated way to follow one of the oldest dictum of art: "To steal from one source is plagiarism; to steal from a thousand is research." Perusing the examples, ideas can start to percolate. "What if I took this,and added it to this, but did it like this? Would that be fun? Entertaining? Intriguing?"
    The "Did Not Do the Research" pages and related tropes are good for checking over your own ideas and assumptions. And, hells ,some of it is just good to read for a giggle. Getting Crap Past the Radar can be delightfully surprising, though one Animaniacs example still makes me shake my head in wonder how it was gotten away with.
    In short, TV Tropes is fun, informative and often enlightening wiki.
    Now if only they could get rid of the pesky time dilation effect that makes minutes spent inside equal hours outside, it would be the perfect website to peruse in spare time.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Quote Originally Posted by averagejoe View Post
    But the new names are rarely descriptive in the first place, and in any case you still have to read the article.
    You don't think "Badass Decay" is infinitely more clear than "Spikeification"? You don't think "Romantic False Lead" is far more understandable than "The Paolo"? You don't think "Hypercompetent Sidekick" explains what it is far better than "The Radar" does? You don't think that "Hopeless Suitor" is more understandable than "The Daisuke"? The new titles all tell you right off the bat what it's about, whereas you didn't really get anything from the old ones even if you did recognize the character they referred to.
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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    Well, where there is nerds, there is nerds who decide to get all hipster about it. "Yeah, I liked TV Tropes before it went mainstream."
    Quote Originally Posted by Calanon View Post
    Raven_Cry's comments often have the effects of a +5 Tome of Understanding

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    Default Re: The controversial topic of TV Tropes

    I think we were talking about Deadpool when I used the term.
    I think Nerd-o-rama's idea is right. There are people who read TV Tropes and think they know everything. But I was using it in the correct sense. My only "crime" was having learned it from a site that is mostly for entertainment.
    I learn some of my science from Cracked, but no one gives me grief about that.
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