Created By: DragonQuestZ on October 25, 2011 Last Edited By: DragonQuestZ on October 28, 2011

True Scotsman Membership Card

Requiring a membership and/or license to be in a group that doesnt actually need one.

Name Space:
Page Type:
NOTE: This is to offer a fixed version of a trope that was cut by an admin, due to being written as though it duplicated Stop Being Stereotypical. This fix instead focuses on the membership requirement aspect, instead of the stereotyping.

A joke that being part of a group requires some kind of membership and/or license to belong, when that group clearly requires no such thing. For example, what does it take to be a Scotsman? Being a citizen of Scotland is basically all it takes. But with this trope, you also get a membership card to be a Scotsman. Yet if you do something not properly Scottish, you are forced to revoke your card.

So in essence it's a parody of the No True Scotsman fallacy (hence the name), by portraying traits of any group as something that has rules to follow, or you get kicked out of the group. The actual use of this in fiction could range from someone joking that someone else should tear up their X card, to a character actually having to find a way to get that group license back.

This seems to run counter to Stop Being Stereotypical, but the absurdity actually supports that trope by lampooning the enforcement of stereotypes.

This need not be limited to cards either. There can even be a point system, like a Message Board gag where a user writes "I award you 20 nerd points for getting that reference!".

This can overlap with N-Word Privileges, if a character gets those privileges revoked along with their group card (again, this trope is about absurdity).

Compare What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?, Proud to Be a Geek.


Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • October 25, 2011
    • In Discworld, Nobby Nobbs carries a little certificate proclaiming him to be a genuine human, as he might otherwise be mistaken for a deformed chimpanzee.
  • October 25, 2011
    ^ That's a bit off from the usual form of this trope, but it's still absurd, so it's in.
  • October 25, 2011
    I'm sorry, but where was there discussion of removing the previous article, and clarifying it's place to Stop Being Stereotypical? I feel like you've had my original article yanked, then created your own version, which seems not too overly dissimilar from my original. If you had concerns of the original draft being further edited to "be better", why weren't they raised earlier?
  • October 25, 2011
    • Happens to JD in Scrubs all the time. He is constantly told by Dr. Cox to turn in his man card, because he's being to girlish/wimpy/lame, etc.
  • October 25, 2011
    , but I forget its name. IIRC there already is a Membership Card trope. Neutrino pune.
  • October 25, 2011
    ^^^ Did you actually look at the recent cuts on the Cut List? Fast Eddie pulled the page, not me.
  • October 26, 2011
    I have seen a lot of sentences like "If [term, generally implying inability to feel a feeling], then you are not human." Even here. Does that count, or is an actual material card token needed?
  • October 26, 2011
    That's more a stock phrase, I think.
  • October 27, 2011
    You can't actually be an official citizen of Scotland. You're a citizen of the United Kingdom. And as such you're automatically entitled to a UK passport, so there is a membership card... I realise the point you're trying to make, but it would work better with a different example.
  • October 27, 2011
    Well this is just a preliminary description. I was planning on adjusting it anyway.

    Or we could convince Eddie to restore the old trope, but make sure the description (and likely name) doesn't make confusion with that other trope.