Created By: DragonQuestZ on March 12, 2012 Last Edited By: DragonQuestZ on March 31, 2012
Troped

No Trope Is Too Common

It's a fallacy to assume that being extremely common invalidates a trope.

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Trope
Part of the trope repair effort in this thread.

There is no such thing as any potential trope being too common to make an actual trope.

Plots, Characters, and Conflict are tropes, and literally no proper story can be told without them (whatever form they take). That means that, by necessity, they have 100% use on any work that tells a story. If those aren't too common, then no other trope can be too common.

This is why Seen It a Million Times doesn't mean we can't trope it, and never did. It only means it's really common. This also means that Truth in Television doesn't invalidate a trope (especially since it lists valid tropes on that page), because if there are reasons it's done in fiction (whether or not the reason applies in Real Life), then there are still reasons it's done in fiction.

Finally, People Sit on Chairs is not valid to use when a trope is common. It's about lack of purpose, not frequency. Something could be rare and still have no purpose.

Compare/Contrast Too Rare to Trope.
Community Feedback Replies: 78
  • March 12, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Compare, rather than contrast, with People Sit On Chairs, I would say.
  • March 12, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    No, it's a contrast because that message means "don't make a trope", while this says "okay to make a trope".
  • March 12, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Ah. That being said, (yes, I know I'm repeating this question) would Tropes Are Not Rare or Common Isnt Chairs make good redirects to this?
  • March 12, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    The second one, maybe, but I'm not sure about the first.
  • March 12, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Yeah, Common Isnt Chairs is good. The first one strikes me as something that will kill a lot of our older tropes or culture specific tropes.
  • March 12, 2012
    Unknown Troper
    Ummm, I don't think we need this. If you have Too Common For Examples, this is kinda excessive.
  • March 12, 2012
    shimaspawn
    ^ Launching Too Common For Examples is a way to cause trope decay and wide-scale misuse. This is a solution to a problem actually plaguing the wiki.
  • March 12, 2012
    Nocturna
    Maybe Tropes Are Not Necessarily Rare as a redirect? That gets the idea across without making it sound like all tropes have to be extremely common.
  • March 12, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^^ Those are two different situations, and two different misuses that have missing messages. Declaring them redundant ignores the reasoning behind both.
  • March 13, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    I agree with shimaspawn's first point (about Common Isnt Chairs). Not so much with her second one, as it seems a bit panicky and relying too much on an assumption "people will be stupid enough to do that". That's why I am suggesting the rename to Too Common For Examples Index for the latter YKTTW.
  • March 13, 2012
    Aielyn
    One could argue that any trope that is that common that one might use the phrase "too common", that isn't common by necessity (like Plot), is probably poorly-specified, and should instead be considered as a possible index for a set of tropes. Indeed, looking at the three examples given (Plots, Characters, and Conflict), I notice that all three are, indeed, lists of tropes.

    If a trope is "Too Common", but not an Omnipresent Trope, and you can't segment it out into good subtropes, then it is almost certainly People Sit On Chairs.
  • March 13, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^The reason why we have this YKTTW is because people can't properly tell where People Sit On Chairs stops in common tropes and thus aid in Missing Supertrope Syndrome. So, no, we need to point out that People Sit On Chairs hasn't anything to do with "commonness".
  • March 13, 2012
    Aielyn
    Then emphasise it in People Sit On Chairs. A new predefined message to better explain an existing one? It doesn't make any sense. I notice that the point is made in People Sit On Chairs... but it's in the fourth paragraph, isn't emphasised at all, and is literally just a "Note that" point.

    Predefined messages are for the purpose of making discussion of tropes easier... if a predefined message is failing to do this, it needs fixing, not another predefined message to explain it. If someone doesn't get People Sit On Chairs, then just point them to Omnipresent Trope, to demonstrate your point.
  • March 13, 2012
    KingZeal
    Well, that, and many of the Missing Supertropes are things that seem like common sense, but not quite are.

    For example, let's take a trope that was named something like: "Humans Walk On Two Legs Animals Walk On Four" (yes, long title, but this is just an example). This a common trope used in tons of media to the point that we don't even notice it. It seems like common sense.

    But it isn't. Though humans do walk on two legs (for the most part), animals have various forms of locomotion. However, if you want to humanize something in fiction, give it two legs. (Humongous Mecha, Petting Zoo People, etc.) If you want to dehumanize it, give it four legs.

    It's a supertrope that so common and so pervasive in everyday human thinking that we don't even realize when we see it. Oh, we see the results of it (namely, the tropes mentioned above and several others besides), but not that specific super trope itself.
  • March 13, 2012
    crazysamaritan
    • Frequency And Meaning (alt: Too Common To Trope) (administrative , predefined message trope)
      • Here at Tv Tropes, we don't believe anything is Too Common To Trope, and barely believe something may be Too Rare To Trope. Characters such as Protagonists, Narrators and Antagonists can be found everywhere. Conversely, even if a pattern is only visible in Ugandan literature in the 1970s, the meaning in the pattern makes it a trope. Often, the more common a trope is, the more likely there are subtropes. Making the most common tropes supertropes. The less common tropes tend to be subtropes, which need to relate to their parent trope. It is important to identify parent tropes, because otherwise we end up with Missing Supertrope Syndrome. Sometimes, a supertrope is so common, it may need No Examples To Trope.
  • March 13, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    "If a trope is "Too Common", but not an Omnipresent Trope, and you can't segment it out into good subtropes, then it is almost certainly People Sit On Chairs."

    No, you're falling for the same misuse that this message is created to counter. PSOC is about PURPOSE, not frequency. They are not the same thing.
  • March 13, 2012
    Aielyn
    You missed my point, Dragon Quest Z - To put it in contrapositive form, if a trope has a purpose and isn't an Omnipresent Trope, then you should be able to segment it out into subtropes. Why? Because if a trope isn't Omnipresent, then different authors will use it in different ways.

    To take King Zeal's example, characters walking on two legs is generally done to humanise the character, and walking on four legs usually suggests animal, rather than human. But I can think of many different sub-cases. For instance, in Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast, Beast only moves on four legs when he's being particularly bestial, and the only really four-legged living piece of furniture was the dog. There's already two subcases, here - characters switching between modes depending on how human they're being at the moment, and animal characters moving on all fours even when they're not currently animals. A third subcase is where animals that walk on two legs (like penguins) are generally given more human qualities than those that walk on four legs.

    The primary purpose, distinguishing human from animal, hasn't changed... but the details have. Why? Because to be used so often, it has to be versatile, which means that it'll be used in many different ways. Purpose is what makes it a trope. The details is what splits it into subtropes. Note that even Omnipresent Tropes split into subtropes... but there are so many of them, we just ignore it and call it a supertrope and let that be the end of it. For instance, about a third of all tropes on the site fall into the Plot supertrope.

    So no, I'm not misusing the message, I'm pointing out a key property of it. People sitting on chairs (the literal example) isn't really something with subtropes, because the fact that a person sits on a chair isn't really versatile. Yes, you can add a purpose to it (creating specific tropes), but that would make it a different trope, since tropes are purposes, not descriptions. If you can't make subtropes (and it's not Omnipresent), and it's that common, it's almost certainly People Sit On Chairs.
  • March 13, 2012
    shimaspawn
    But in most cases you can not make subtropes to encapsulate all examples and trying to causes trope decay on all of the subtropes. It causes misuse. It causes tropes to blur together. It's toxic to each and every subtrope. And we need to stop doing it. We need to stop trying to force tropes into subtropes. Supertropes are also there to collect examples that don't fit into subtropes. They need to.

    I'm sorry, Aielyn, but you really do have a wrong idea of what makes a trope. Your attitude is one that's causing a huge mess on the wiki that we're working very hard to clean up. It's an attitude and a point of view we need to stomp out hard.

    What we need is a page that says everything you just said is dead wrong. You are misusing PSOC. How do we make that sink in to wiki attitudes? It's a big problem.
  • March 13, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    "if a trope has a purpose and isn't an Omnipresent Trope, then you should be able to segment it out into subtropes"

    Tropes don't work on "should". They work on how they are actually done by the people making them. You can't argue some ideal to decide PSOC.

    "To take King Zeal's example, characters walking on two legs is generally done to humanise the character, and walking on four legs usually suggests animal, rather than human. But I can think of many different sub-cases. For instance, in Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast, Beast only moves on four legs when he's being particularly bestial, and the only really four-legged living piece of furniture was the dog."

    Zeal was using that broader form as something that actually is PSOC. It's NOT because it's common. It's because it has no point to have people and animals walking the way they always do. Walking unusually is a trope. Not a sub trope to waking normally, but a trope on its own.

    So you are misusing it, as you are not getting the form.
  • March 13, 2012
    MorganWick
    "if a trope has a purpose and isn't an Omnipresent Trope, then you should be able to segment it out into subtropes."

    By that logic, you get an infinite chain of subtropes, because each subtrope can be divided into subtropes, can't it? You have it exactly backwards: the Omnipresent Tropes are the most subtrope-able. The sort of "trope" you tried to describe in your original post can in fact be divided into a bunch of different subtropes, and in fact that's often the best solution for a PSOC situation - witness the fate of Dolphins Dolphins Everywhere, which was being interpreted as simply "dolphins", and which emerged out of TRS by - wonder of wonders - getting split into subtropes!

    On the other hand, DQZ, I think you completely missed King Zeal's point, which was that "humans walk on two legs, animals four", isn't PSOC, but we think it is because we're so used to it.
  • March 13, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Agreed. "Humans walk on two legs, animals four" is an Omnipresent Trope and not PSOC. Labelling it as such is missing the point of chairs completely.
  • March 13, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    No, that's an everyday thing with no purpose. That is what falls under PSOC. Walking the way nature made us walk is not a trope.
  • March 13, 2012
    girlyboy
    ^^ That's... definitely People Sit On Chairs. I can imagine a related trope, like, say, in a work with Furry Confusion where an important visual cue happens to be that the more "human-like" animals walk on two legs, but yeah, by itself, that's not really something with story-telling meaning.

    "Human-like or humanised characters walk on two legs, but animals and animal-like and wild and generally beastly characters walk on four" could be a trope, though.

    I think this is going off tracks. We're having a debate over whether omnipresent tropes should be split into sub-tropes or not before leaving YKTTW. But the only point here, really, is just that "this trope has too many examples" is not, by itself, proof that it's not a good trope.
  • March 13, 2012
    Aielyn
    Wow, I'm starting to think that none of you are even reading what I say.

    I never said that all tropes should be split into subtropes. I said that tropes that are so common that one would use the term "too common" should be split into subtropes, with the main trope becoming a supertrope for those cases. I used King Zeal's example to demonstrate the process of splitting into subtropes for a situation where something is "too common", and to demonstrate the point that this is really only possible when it isn't PSOC.

    Think of it as a categorisation of possible tropes into four groups:

    • Group 1 - Those that are defined fairly narrowly, so that they're not exceptionally common.
    • Group 2 - Those that are Omnipresent Tropes, because they're essentially necessary or inherent to human perceptions.
    • Group 3 - Those that aren't tropes, because People Sit On Chairs.
    • Group 4 - Those that are broad and common, and need to be refined into a set of tropes, for which the broad and common one is a supertrope.

    Group 1 contains all the "regular" tropes - for instance, Indy Ploy. Group 2 are, obviously, the Omnipresent Tropes. Group 3 aren't tropes at all, and should be discarded. Then there's Group 4.

    Using King Zeal's example again, let me show you why it doesn't fit into any of the other three groups. It has a purpose, so it's not in Group 3 (note: this isn't "Humans walk on two legs, animals four", this is "Walking on two legs makes a character more human/humanised"). It's definitely an extremely broad trope with so many examples that it would be infeasible to list them all against the trope itself, so it's not in Group 1.

    But it's also not Omnipresent - consider Bambi, for instance. Bambi is definitely strongly humanised in the movie, but never walks on two legs. Another example is most of the young dinosaurs in The Land Before Time. Then there's The Lion King and Babe. And a case of the reverse effect can be seen in, for instance, The Hulk. It is vastly more common for two legs to be used for humanisation, etc... but there are also quite a few well-known exceptions, meaning there are almost certainly many more lesser-known ones. So it's definitely not Omnipresent.

    That puts it squarely into Group 4. And as I pointed out, I can rapidly list off distinct categories within the trope - Using four legs to represent when the character is being bestial, animals retaining four-leggedness even when turned into something else (including when turned human), scavenger humans (who have basically been dehumanised) scamper on all-fours, two-legged animals are given more human qualities, animals impersonating people go to two legs (think Scooby Doo), and evolution tends towards fewer legs (in preference towards arms instead). Each of these is distinct, and worthy of a trope of its own. Trying to treat the main trope as a singular case would fail to pick up all of these different variations.

    And I assert, once again, that if the term "too common" can be used at all, and it's not PSOC or Omnipresent, then it almost certainly (there is potential for the occasional exception) should be separated into subtropes.

    But all of this is sidebar to my main point - making a Predefined Message to explain a Predefined Message is nonsensical. Fix up the message that is confusing people, don't make an extra one to explain it. Just tell the person to actually read People Sit On Chairs, with emphasis on the fact that it doesn't mean what they think it means. How to actually handle "Too Common" tropes is a separate issue to this one.
  • March 13, 2012
    MorganWick
    ^^^You're either misunderstanding PSOC (in precisely the way we're trying to combat), continuing to miss Zeal's point ("Though humans do walk on two legs (for the most part), animals have various forms of locomotion."), or both. Though I could see splitting it into Bipedal Anthropomorphism and Wild Men Walk On All Fours while leaving the supertrope aside.

    Which kind of ties back into the discussion we're having. Certain fundamental facts of life are obviously PSOC, but certain things that might be considered "subtropes" of them are not. For example, love and romance are not tropes, but they do have a quite extensive collection of "subtropes".
  • March 13, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Index aren't tropes though (just some tropes can be indexes).
  • March 13, 2012
    MorganWick
    "I never said that all tropes should be split into subtropes."

    "To put it in contrapositive form, if a trope has a purpose [i.e. if it's a trope] and isn't an Omnipresent Trope, then you should be able to segment it out into subtropes." Maybe you stated your point clumsily, but that sure sounds like "all tropes should [be able to] be split into subtropes". Except Omnipresent Tropes for some reason.

    "I used King Zeal's example to demonstrate the process of splitting into subtropes for a situation where something is "too common", and to demonstrate the point that this is really only possible when it isn't PSOC."

    Except the reason why it was possible wasn't really the same reason it wasn't PSOC. It's possible because people expect it to happen, so it can be played with like any expectation. It's not PSOC because it's not a natural, fundamental rule of the universe or something (nothing says humans have to be bipedal, or animals have to be quadripedal). People expect gravity to happen too, yet that's PSOC, yet we have tropes about what happens when gravity doesn't quite happen.

    Give me an example of something that's PSOC so I can see how it can't be split into subtropes. I'd point you to my last post for my preliminary counterargument. And I still don't see how Group 2 isn't a subset (even The Same But More Specific) of Group 4.
  • March 13, 2012
    Aielyn
    Morgan Wick - was that (as in, the post that starts with "^^^You're") directed at me, or at Dragon Quest Z, or at someone else? (this is why I don't like people using the caret method of referring to things said above them - it's unclear, and there's no standard... and if someone else posts around the same time, it can point to the wrong post).

    If you were directing it at me, then I'm confused, because in a previous post, you said that King Zeal meant it isn't PSOC, but here you seem to be saying that it is.

    Oh, and by the way, just to address a previous point of yours in better detail - splitting very broad tropes into subtropes makes sense... but those subtropes should be actual, standalone tropes. The example of Dolphins Dolphins Everywhere being interpreted as "it has dolphins" is an example of a "subtrope" that doesn't actually have the purpose of the supertrope it's attached to - the "subtrope" has stripped the purpose, and in doing so, loses its status as a trope. And I note that the solution was to turn it into an index, instead (in some ways, I think People Sit On Chairs should also be an index of tropes about sitting, if only for the fun of it).

    As for the "contrapositive form" part, I thought it was implied that we were discussing "Too Common" tropes. If you read the original form that I was restating, you'll see that it was another condition on the system.
  • March 13, 2012
    MorganWick
    Generally, the number of carats equals the number of posts above the one listed that the one being responded to is, so ^ means the post immediately above, ^^ means the post two above, etc. That some people don't use them this way and, say, use two carats to refer to the post immediately above, doesn't mean there isn't a standard. You made your long post while I was writing mine, so I originally put two carats there.

    And your addressing of my previous point doesn't make any sense. What's the "subtrope" and what's the supertrope, in your eyes? I can almost guarantee that it's not the way I saw them.

    "As for the "contrapositive form" part, I thought it was implied that we were discussing "Too Common" tropes. If you read the original form that I was restating, you'll see that it was another condition on the system." To be fair, I was considering that you had stated your point clumsily even before you wrote your long post, since you didn't restate that condition as I might have expected and as the other two were. But then, maybe I would have relied on the implication if you didn't CONTINUE TO INSIST THAT OMNIPRESENT TROPES ARE ANY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER "TOO COMMON" TROPES FOR NO APPARENT REASON.
  • March 13, 2012
    Aielyn
    Regarding the Dolphins thing, perhaps I misread what you said. When you said "emerged out of TRS by getting split into subtropes", I read it more along the lines of "that was the problem"... perhaps because I don't think of PSOC cases as actual supertropes, but rather, as bad tropes. I wouldn't call the Dolphins article a supertrope, I'd call it an index. I was extrapolating from what I assume was my mistaken interpretation, and I apologise for that.

    Anyway, I suppose what I was getting at with it is that the example doesn't really demonstrate anything other than the difference between PSOC and actual tropes... which isn't really in debate, here (DQZ's failure to understand King Zeal's example notwithstanding).

    "Too common" tropes can be omnipresent, like Plot, or they can just be really, really common, as per the example given by King Zeal. Here's the difference: Omnipresent tropes either can't be averted, or the aversion is a key part of the purpose of the work, whereas the other "too common" tropes can easily be averted and it happens, it's just rare that it happens.

    On a pure side-note, I don't think that Women Are Delicate, Everyone Is Right Handed, and other similar tropes are actually Omnipresent Tropes, although they're on that list. The list of aversions of both of those tropes would be almost as long as the list of straight examples. They're not even "too common", let alone omnipresent. The description says omnipresent tropes are either ubiquitous, necessary cases of acceptable break from reality, or are so legendary as to pretty much be standard... none of which describe either trope.

    It's quite sad that you have to go all-caps to put down my assertion without providing any counterargument other than "no apparent reason". I've provided reasons before. I've provided a more fleshed-out one now.

    Think of it this way - Omnipresent Tropes can be thought of as defaults. As one person put it in the discussion, The Good Guys Always Win is omnipresent because it wouldn't be a spoiler to tell someone that the good guys win. If the bad guy wins, that would be a spoiler. When someone writes a story, one of the first things they think about is The Protagonist. One could write a story without one, but it would have to be a very specific decision. Not all "too common" tropes are defaults, they're just extraordinarily common. In many cases, they're so common that people don't even realise they're using it... but no conscious decision is necessarily made not to use it, either.

    Let me put it one more way - an Omnipresent Trope wouldn't really be mistaken for People Sit On Chairs. But some "Too Common" tropes are. Note, by the way, that I put it in quotes every time, to emphasise that I don't mean the tropes are actually "too common", but that some people might call them "too common".
  • March 13, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Both Women Are Delicate and Everyone Is Right Handed fall under ubiquitous. That's why they're omnipresent. Because they occur constantly everywhere. They're exactly the sort of trope that bit of the description is talking about it.

    Most people don't makes a concious decision to use them. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a hard time recognizing supertropes as tropes because they see them everywhere. That would be the problem you seem to be falling into.

    You appear to be one of the people causing the problem that we're trying to fix and your arguments indicate that you're missing the point of it entirely. It's good incite into the thought process, but I'm not sure how to explain it to you in such a way that you'll understand. You seem to be defining tropes entirely on a gut reaction. You feel like something is chairs, therefore it must be.

    What's very odd is that you dismiss tropes that are defaults as not being omnipresent and then say that's what you think that phrase means. I'm quite lost. There are far too many contradictions there.
  • March 13, 2012
    Aielyn
    I don't think they're ubiquitous at all - what I'm saying is that I can think of a lot of aversions of both tropes. Indeed, I'd almost be tempted to call Women Are Delicate an outdated trope, as most modern stories have quite fierce women. Just listing, off the top of my head, TV shows I enjoy where the women aren't delicate: The West Wing, House, MASH, The Cosby Show, Happy Days, NCIS, Stargate SG 1/Atlantis/Universe, Star Trek (Next Gen and onwards), Sanctuary, Boston Legal, Roseanne, 3rd Rock from the Sun... you get my point. I could then start listing off other media, but I find that, other than video games (where there's still a bit of a sexism problem in general), few modern works use Women Are Delicate.

    As for handedness, it's a bit harder to encapsulate in this sort of context, because most works don't even bother specifying handedness, and live action TV and Film generally use the handedness of the actor, adjusting characters if need be. Indeed, handedness usually goes unmentioned unless it's a plot point... in which case, there's usually left-handers. So I find it hard to believe that it's so ubiquitous.
  • March 14, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    The point is that a trope is only required to have a purpose to be a trope. If there is some kind of purpose in the work, and it happens enough times, that makes it a convention, and even a tool, and thus is a trope.

    Any notion about frequency other than meeting a minimum (to avoid Too Rare To Trope) is a myth, which is what this message is about.
  • March 14, 2012
    MorganWick
    Calmed down from my resort to "Caps Lock Yelling"...

    "When you said "emerged out of TRS by getting split into subtropes", I read it more along the lines of "that was the problem"... perhaps because I don't think of PSOC cases as actual supertropes, but rather, as bad tropes. I wouldn't call the Dolphins article a supertrope, I'd call it an index. I was extrapolating from what I assume was my mistaken interpretation, and I apologise for that."

    Actually, I'm using "supertrope" and "subtrope" figuratively; obviously something PSOC can't be a supertrope if it's not a trope at all. But in terms of whether or not something can be split up into subtropes, that's a purely semantic, technical distinction. That's my point: it's obviously not the reason you think PSOC things can't be broken into subtropes.

    "On a pure side-note, I don't think that Women Are Delicate, Everyone Is Right Handed, and other similar tropes are actually Omnipresent Tropes, although they're on that list. ... They're not even "too common", let alone omnipresent."

    They're not "things that happen", though, more "underlying assumptions" or "default states" (I think "ubiquitous" was a poor choice of words). They're generally not things an author consciously intends in any way. In fact, even though they're averted a lot, when they are it's really only different in degree from The Good Guys Always Win, which I think you just proved in the case of Everyone Is Right Handed. (Considering that The Bad Guy Wins is a huge spoiler, I don't think it needs to be part of the entire point of the whole work.) But at this point if we're going to take this line of reasoning further it should be on the Too Common for Examples YKTTW.

    Frankly, I think the point you're trying to make about Omnipresent Tropes actually really disproves your original point. The most omnipresent of tropes are things like Plot, and those sorts of things are indexes of subtropes. It's not being omnipresent (as opposed to common) that makes them unsplittable into subtropes. I think you're basically saying "if a common trope is unsplittable, it's PSOC, unless it's not", and defining Omnipresent Trope overly narrowly to mean "all the exceptions" (assuming they are exceptions).

    Omnipresent literally means "always present". If we divide it into three classes - basic building blocks of story, like Plot; tropes like The Good Guys Always Win; and tropes like Women Are Delicate, the class you're using it for, the middle one, is the one least befitting the name.
  • March 14, 2012
    peccantis
    It should be mentioned that while No Trope Is Too Common, tropes might well be Too Common For Examples.
  • March 14, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^We first have to sort out the launchability of that index, Too Common For Examples.
  • March 14, 2012
    KingZeal
    To clarify, I am working under the assumption that an "Omnipresent Trope" is a trope which is assumed to be present in any form of fiction unless proven otherwise; the reason we have tropes like Statuesque Stunner, Amazonian Beauty and Hot Amazon is because it was once considered a novelty to have a girl be significantly taller than men and still stunningly beautiful, for a woman with musculature to be attractive, or for women to be as badass as men and attractive because of it (all three being subverted subtropes of No Guy Wants An Amazon). Remember how shocking it was when people found out Samus Is A Girl? Even though now we have a ton of Action Girls in fiction, and many of them are just as tough as men, one thing that's important to note is that this is still considered a novel idea. For example, Cracked did a spoof of the very way this gets played with in fiction.

    A different form of this are tropes which are common to the point of being impossible to ignore in fiction. For example, the Super Hero genre has Required Secondary Powers. Every superhero ever is assumed to have this, unless proven otherwise, because trying to explain how EVERY superhuman ability ever works would require that readers possess doctorates in just about every scientific field that exists. Another example would be a non-existant trope like Super Heroes Always Fight. We expect superheroes to use their abilities to fight and to pit their powers/skill against each other in combat. If they don't, then it's not much of a superhero story (in our view). Thus, we get tropes like Hero Insurance and Lets You And Him Fight.

    This reliance on combat then filters down into our female characters. For example, one common criticism of superhero comics is that female characters are simply tools for male fantasy. But, as I've been thinking about this, that comes about because the Super Heroes Always Fight dynamic forces us to think this way, because it's automatically a masculine fantasy. When superheroines were less physically capable and better suited for support (such as early Invisible Girl on the Fantastic Four), they became Scrappies. A girl who can't even help fight the Big Bad? Who the hell wants to see that? But, when said character starts kicking ass, she immediately becomes an Action Girl, and the objectification begins. Because of genre trappings, nobody would want to read a story about h the Scarlet Witch writing dissertations explaining that probability-altering powers probably change our understandings of mathematics, statistics and quantum equations. Even characters who are exceptions still prove the rule. Has anyone ever seen Night Nurse with her own long-lasting series? (even the series which spawned her--which was specifically aimed at girls, btw--still focused on things like espionage and crime-fighting of some design). And She Hulk, who is a lawyer, still punches people on-camera more than she litigates.

    TL;DR version:

    An Omnipresent Trope isn't just a trope that can be subdivided or serves an unrealistic purpose in fiction. They can be quite realistic and borderline PSOC territory because they mark what people expect without any further input from the story itself. Some of these are human instinct (Women Are Delicate) and some of them come from genre trappings (Super Heroes Always Fight).

    The only way I can see us clarifying this further is to make distinctions between the two types. Maybe "Omnipresent Trope" isn't quite the right term for Women Are Delicate. Maybe that should go under something different like "Audience Trappings" while the other variety can be the actual Omnipresent Tropes, since they rely on genre conventions.
  • March 14, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Perhaps this should have a name like Common Tropes Are Still Valid.
  • March 14, 2012
    Aielyn
    "If we divide it into three classes - basic building blocks of story, like Plot; tropes like The Good Guys Always Win; and tropes like Women Are Delicate, the class you're using it for, the middle one, is the one least befitting the name."

    I disagree. To use your three examples, Plot is a necessity - the extremely rare case of a story without it has been constructed with a specific aim of not having one. It's utterly ubiquitous. The Good Guys Always Win is a default... in terms of the author, that is. There may be a lot of exceptions, but it's a "standard" of storytelling, unless the story requires it be otherwise. Women Are Delicate, on the other hand, is nothing more than a cultural thing - if you were to look at Amazonian stories, you would find few examples of it. And as society has become less paternalistic, the frequency of that trope has declined significantly.

    There is a fourth category, too - tropes like Everyone Is Right Handed. It's tropes that are purely a matter of audience assumption. Handedness isn't generally mentioned unless the author considers it relevant (in which case left handedness is either a defining trait of one character or almost as common as right handedness), and the audience is likely to assume right handedness unless the author mentions otherwise.

    Anyway, all of that is besides the point, and was mostly food for thought. I'll bring back my main argument again: a Predefined Message to explain a Predefined Message doesn't make sense. Fix the problematic message, and then just tell people to actually read it if they're getting it wrong.

    It might actually help to provide a concrete list of examples of the difference between a valid trope and PSOC, perhaps even using existing tropes as the valid ones, demonstrating each of the salient points.

    Of course, one could have No Trope Is Too Common as an alt title for People Sit On Chairs. That would make sense, as it would still be the same Predefined Message, just under an alt title.
  • March 15, 2012
    Nocturna
    But they're not the same message. People Sit On Chairs is about purpose; No Trope Is Too Common is about frequency. PSOC is often misunderstood as being about frequency, but just because it's misunderstood that way doesn't mean it's actually about that.

    And this page is trying to address more than just the misunderstanding of PSOC; it attempting to address the attitude/culture that has caused that misunderstanding in the first place.
  • March 15, 2012
    KingZeal
    "Women Are Delicate, on the other hand, is nothing more than a cultural thing - if you were to look at Amazonian stories, you would find few examples of it And as society has become less paternalistic, the frequency of that trope has declined significantly."

    I disagree, because most such stories actively work to subvert it, which only creates new subtropes which still play it straight in some ways. That was why I added the "zig-zagged" category on the list. Even the vast number of stories which subvert this trope in one way play it straight in another. For example, Magical Girl and Magical Girl Warrior are still subtropes of things like Guys Smash Girls Shoot and the Magic Is Feminine super trope that I've proposed in TRS.

    I've noticed that the problem with stereotype tropes isn't that they become an outright dead horse and go away, but moreso that they take on a new form that feels like a subversion/aversion but actually isn't. Kind of like the Magical Negro. Still subtly racist, but not in the way you'd expect, so some people feel it's a "subversion".
  • March 15, 2012
    Aielyn
    Nocturna - there's a reason why the other name for People Sit On Chairs is Not A Trope. The purpose of the People Sit On Chairs page is to tell people, in effect, how to tell the difference between a trope and not-a-trope. Compare with Too Rare To Trope, which isn't saying that it isn't a trope, just that it's not enough of a trope yet - the trope itself is worthy, it's just not in use yet.

    On the other hand, No Trope Is Too Common is an attempt to patch a hole in the TV Tropes community's understanding of PSOC. The hole arose because PSOC's article wasn't written in a manner that made it crystal clear what makes something a trope. Indeed, I'd argue that it still isn't that clear (that purpose/meaning is the key to tropes).

    King Zeal - while I agree that a large proportion of stories actively work to subvert it, that doesn't make it omnipresent, it makes it a dynamic situation where patterns are changing. I'd argue that intentional subversion happens more often than playing it straight, nowadays. If my sense of the situation is accurate, then it's well on its way to becoming a Dead Horse Trope. Note that the article for Discredited Trope, which is the step before Dead Horse Trope, says that Omnipresent Tropes are immune to being discredited.

    And again, I'll point out that it seems "natural" to us due to culture, and not due to nature. Kind of like how there is no racist analogy as an omnipresent trope - racist views are driven by culture, and thus will be different if the culture is different. The key difference between the two is that most modern cultures have been paternal, whereas not all of them have been "white-dominant" (for lack of a better phrase). But that's not enough to make it omnipresent. Do you think that the people of the Iroquois (look it up) have Women Are Delicate as a common trope in their stories? It only seems omnipresent to us because of culture. This is different from many of the other Omnipresent Tropes, which are integral to either human perception or integrity of a story.
  • March 15, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Ah, there's another of those bad redirects for PSOC we were talking about causing misuse. We really should cut Not A Trope then or make it it's own page. Thanks for pointing out another thing wrong with that page.

    PSOC was never meant to declare what is and isn't a trope. It was merely supposed to define one sort of common form of bad page.

    Also, ALL tropes are a result of culture, Omnipresent ones included. Every single last one of them, protagonist and antagonist included would fall under your argument against, Women Are Delicate. You seem biased against that one, but you are incorrect all the same.
  • March 15, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Not A Trope would probably become its own page - I think it can be used as an index or more general statement. However, I'd be worried about People Sit On Chairs becoming redundant to that page.

    Also, nit-picky: Can we avoid statements like "You seem biased against that one, but you are incorrect all the same." please?
  • March 15, 2012
    KingZeal
    ^^^ You would be incorrect by assuming that nature plays no part in how genders see one-another. While any identity label (such as race, religion, sex, etc.) are always going to have outliers, for the most part, the way the genders react to one-another are also based on biological drives and instinct. It's not a matter of nature vs. nurture; they're both important. Men and women are different in important physical AND psychological ways, and even the way they think isn't identical (when making statistical generalizations). Psychological and psychiatric studies have demonstrated that these differences exist regardless of society.

    Also, the tropes are hardly discredited. Take Her Heart Will Go On and I Will Protect Her. Those two tropes were played as recently as Titanic. Distressed Damsel still gets played straight far more often than it's subverted. Even when you have the Action Girl, you still have tropes like Chickification and Vasquez Always Dies, which Michelle Rodriguez has actually gone on record to say is enforced in Hollywood.
  • March 15, 2012
    Nocturna
    I made some minor edits to the draft to tighten the way the description was written.
  • March 15, 2012
    Aielyn
    shimaspawn - First, Not A Trope makes sense as a redirect, because PSOC is a negative way of defining what makes something a trope; that is, PSOC defines what is a trope by defining what isn't a trope - namely, "a trope is something used in storytelling with meaning or purpose". You're right that PSOC wasn't meant to declare what is and isn't a trope - that's what Trope is for... PSOC is the Predefined Message clarifying it.

    Second, you're wrong regarding all tropes being due to culture. While it is true that most are, there are Omnipresent Tropes that are not, such as Plot as an essential example. More generally, as I've said before, Omnipresent Tropes are more inherent to nature than to culture - specifically, human nature. While it is theoretically conceivable for another culture to not generally follow said trope, it has never been observed in humanity, at all, ever. And for the record, simply stating your opinion followed by a declaration that someone else is just plain wrong is not an argument, it's idealistic stupidity. If you can't back up your argument with evidence, and can only throw such phrases at me, then I suggest you stop posting.

    Septimus Heap - the main problem with making a new Not A Trope page separate from PSOC is that you would then need a heap of Predefined Messages to explain specific factors. The strength of PSOC is that it neatly establishes what makes something a trope and what makes something Not A Trope. An alternative solution would be to establish a "reverse" version of PSOC under a name like Purpose And Meaning Makes It A Trope (although preferably a bit shorter than that).

    King Zeal - yes, nature will play a part in informing the development, which is why androcentric societies are much more common than gynocentric societies. However, even if you attempt to apply that reasoning to it, one must note the classic "her day of the month" (if you get my drift), which would also influence culture.

    As for your examples of it being played straight, I must point out that Titanic was set in 1912, when such attitudes were much more common (and thus, it was merely being consistent with history). Distressed Damsel is more often played with than played straight, nowadays - more often than not, the "damsel" will end up beating her captor before her rescue party can reach her (the primary exception nowadays is in videogaming, but that's a sexism issue). Meanwhile, the Action Girl ones you mentioned aren't actually Women Are Delicate played straight - indeed, they're zig-zagging and subverting it, respectively.

    I don't doubt that there are natural influences on how men and women are portrayed in stories. I just challenge the idea that Women Are Delicate is an example of it. I could certainly come up with a trope that is omnipresent, that carries a similar concept with it - Gender Relevance, or something like that. Whenever you have both male and female characters in a work, their genders will be relevant to their characterisation or purpose. For instance, if you have a group with many men and one woman, and they find themselves needing to convince another man for support or to look the other way, etc... the woman will nearly always be the one to do it, with her "feminine wiles".

    The point is that the tendency to have gender roles (even if they're not the "traditional" ones) is very strong, and could even be called "omnipresent" (to such an extent that I have trouble thinking of a story in which males and females appear, but their genders aren't relevant to the story)... but women being the "delicate" nurturers is by no means omnipresent.
  • March 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    "First, Not A Trope makes sense as a redirect, because PSOC is a negative way of defining what makes something a trope"

    No it doesn't. You're still assuming it's broader than it is.
  • March 16, 2012
    shimaspawn
    We're working on removing Not A Trope as a bad redirect. Do you know why? Because it's a bad redirect and people keep misusing it to think that PSOC is defining tropedom. That's not the point of the page.
  • March 16, 2012
    KingZeal
    ^^^ When Titanic was set doesn't make a difference, since the romantic tropes and heroic sacrifice Jack makes to save the woman he loved are still played completely straight and in no way invoke Values Dissonance. These are the central themes of the movie, not an analytical view on the culture of the time. The movie itself proves those tropes not only still work, but strike a chord with audiences.

    Also, a Badass Damsel does not subvert Women Are Delicate. It zig-zags the trope. Once again, this is part of the entire stereotype and is enforced in Hollywood. The reason the Badass Damsel and its cousin the Final Girl exist is because of this--there's more tension in a delicate woman being in danger than a man or even a tomboy. In fact, look at the recent GI Joe film. The Baroness is turned into a Damsel at the end of the movie. In the Iron Man films, Pepper Potts has to be saved at the very end of each movie.

    Also, even when a cast is mostly female, or the protagonist is a girl, the stereotypes run rampant. Take, for example, Twilight, which is the most popular fiction aimed at young girls in the 21st Century, and plays nearly every stereotype on that list straight. In the most recent Underworld movie, Selene is the one who is forced to find her daughter, not her boyfriend, Michael (who never even appears). Even in the Resident Evil film series, where the protagonist is a super-powered female badass, the first image we get of her is her being in a shower, naked and vulnerable. Oh, and with amnesia. Michelle Rodriguez (again) dies in the first film so that Alice can live. For the rest of the series, if your name isn't Alice, and you're female, you're either a love interest, someone's little sister, or a corpse.
  • March 16, 2012
    TBeholder
    it's a rant. The tag (existing) is Omnipresent Trope.
  • March 16, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^What?
  • March 20, 2012
    Aielyn
    shimaspawn - can you give me an example of something that isn't a trope, but not because of lack of meaning/purpose? After all, that's the message of PSOC - that message/purpose makes the trope. Note that I'm not counting the Too Rare To Trope case, because I consider that to establish simply that tropes lacking a pattern of usage aren't worth making articles for (to put it another way, something doesn't "become" a trope, it either is one or isn't one).

    King Zeal - You missed the point regarding Titanic; the whole point of the movie was to tell the story of Titanic - if it didn't play out that way, it wouldn't have made sense.

    I said nothing about Badass Damsel - in fact, you're the first person to mention it in this discussion. That said, the article itself says this: "This trope subverts the Distressed Damsel routine so hard it's not even funny." - so you've pretty much contradicted yourself. Also, sorry to tell you this, but being a damsel doesn't make one delicate (see, for instance, Monique Laroche in the 2004 version of Around The World In 80 Days). So I don't know where you get "more tension in a delicate woman... than a man or even a tomboy" from. I'd argue that being delicate is really the only point, and while male delicateness is far less common, it's not unheard of. More importantly, the frequency of certain subtropes being female is irrelevant to the question of whether, in general, the trope is ubiquitous. And for the record, Pepper Potts has to be saved because she's Iron Man's love interest, not because she's a "delicate woman".

    As for your other examples - Twilight is an aberration, as happens sometimes. I never said that it doesn't occur at all. Underworld, I can't see your point, as my (admittedly limited) understanding of that movie is that Selene is very much a non-delicate character. As for Resident Evil, it's a videogame movie, so it fits with the typical sexist stuff coming from the videogame industry. No surprise there.

    More importantly, I said nothing of female stereotypes in general, just the "women are delicate" one. Sexist stereotypes are definitely rampant in most media (in both directions)... but Women Are Delicate is no more common than, say, female clothing being skimpy, or men being horny. There was a time when women were always portrayed as delicate (or in the rare exceptional case, it was an intentional thing)... but that time has passed. Culture has moved on, and if changing culture changes the trope, it can't be described as omnipresent.

    But again, that's all a side point to the main one, and I keep reiterating it because nobody ever seems to respond to it: It doesn't make sense to create a Predefined Message to explain a Predefined Message. If you really think PSOC is poorly explained, etc - reword it. And if someone continues to use it incorrectly, tell them to read the article and think about it. Otherwise, it's like writing an owner's manual for an owner's manual.
  • March 20, 2012
    JobanGrayskull
    I believe this discussion has gone way off the rails. I do think this YKTTW is good, and probably should be referenced on People Sit On Chairs. Our cultural bias causes us to relate Chairs with Common, because PSOC happens to be common to us. But we're trying to stress that that's not the point PSOC is supposed to be making.

    I guess the underlying problem is that People Sit On Chairs is an idiom. That's probably not good for a Predefined Message title. But that's not what this YKTTW is about, anyway.

    By the very definition of Omnipresent Trope we can all agree that No Trope Is Too Common. Is this redundant? Maybe a little. Will it help us better define tropes? I think so. Fixing PSOC is another issue itself (though related to this), but I don't think the existence of PSOC rules out the existence of No Trope Is Too Common.
  • March 25, 2012
    KingZeal
    King Zeal - You missed the point regarding Titanic; the whole point of the movie was to tell the story of Titanic - if it didn't play out that way, it wouldn't have made sense.

    There have been plenty of stories about the Titanic that didn't involve a Rescue Romance or a male sacrifice, so I don't see your point.

    I said nothing about Badass Damsel - in fact, you're the first person to mention it in this discussion. That said, the article itself says this: "This trope subverts the Distressed Damsel routine so hard it's not even funny." - so you've pretty much contradicted yourself.''

    No. As I've said before, subverting a stereotype trope usually just creates a new trope. This one is no exception.

    Also, sorry to tell you this, but being a damsel doesn't make one delicate (see, for instance, Monique Laroche in the 2004 version of Around The World In 80 Days). So I don't know where you get "more tension in a delicate woman... than a man or even a tomboy" from. I'd argue that being delicate is really the only point, and while male delicateness is far less common, it's not unheard of.

    No one said it was unheard of. The fact that female delicacy is the aggregate is the entire point!

    More importantly, the frequency of certain subtropes being female is irrelevant to the question of whether, in general, the trope is ubiquitous. And for the record, Pepper Potts has to be saved because she's Iron Man's love interest, not because she's a "delicate woman".

    The two are not mutually exclusive. Rescuing your love interest is pretty standard fare for male fantasy. Specifically to invoke Women Are Delicate.

    As for your other examples - Twilight is an aberration, as happens sometimes. I never said that it doesn't occur at all.

    Twilight is also the most popular fiction toward the female demographic in some time. That was my point. It isn't just when the story is about men or written by men.

    Underworld, I can't see your point, as my (admittedly limited) understanding of that movie is that Selene is very much a non-delicate character.

    Again, that's what "zig-zagged" means. They play the trope straight in some ways, but just enough to make her seem vulnerable enough to be accessible to the male audience.

    As for Resident Evil, it's a videogame movie, so it fits with the typical sexist stuff coming from the videogame industry. No surprise there.

    And yet, the videogame industry is still a form of media. And a very popular one.

    More importantly, I said nothing of female stereotypes in general, just the "women are delicate" one. Sexist stereotypes are definitely rampant in most media (in both directions)... but Women Are Delicate is no more common than, say, female clothing being skimpy, or men being horny. There was a time when women were always portrayed as delicate (or in the rare exceptional case, it was an intentional thing)... but that time has passed. Culture has moved on, and if changing culture changes the trope, it can't be described as omnipresent.

    Yes it can, when it's still being used in one form, even if it's subverted in another.
  • March 25, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Can we return to the topic of this YKTTW rather than posting Walls Of Text, please?
  • March 25, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^^ "Is this redundant?"

    The fact that we need this clearly shows it's not.
  • March 25, 2012
    TBeholder
    ^ it's a rant. The preexisting message is Omnipresent Trope.
  • March 26, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ No, that's not a message. That's a Trope Trope.
  • March 26, 2012
    JobanGrayskull
    ^^^Right, it's only "redundant" in the sense that it overlaps, but as you say Omnipresent Trope is a trope and not a message, so I agree that we do need this.
  • March 26, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ After all, Seen It A Million Times is very close to Universal Tropes, and Omnipresent Tropes, but still serves a distinct purpose.
  • March 26, 2012
    TBeholder
    It still a "general idea" with rants as "examples", that adds nothing to Universal Tropes and Omnipresent Trope that can't be pointed out inside those articles with one phrase.
  • March 26, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^And it's not enough. The misuse of People Sit On Chairs is too widespread to be fixed with just a footnote.
  • March 26, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ A message about proper trope validity is NOT the same as pointing out valid trope frequency.
  • March 27, 2012
    Tambov333
    Bump.
  • March 27, 2012
    lebrel
    The draft currently has this:

    "Contrast People Sit On Chairs, which is when a potential trope actually has no purpose, which has no connection to how common that potential trope is, because it can also overlap with Too Rare To Trope."

    I don't quite like calling a PSOC observation a "potential trope", because the entire point is that it isn't. Also, this passage is a bit unclear. How about this:

    "Contrast People Sit On Chairs, a recurring pattern which is not a trope because it has no narrative purpose. Whether a phenomenon is People Sit On Chairs has no connection to how common that phenomenon is, because PSOC can also overlap with Too Rare To Trope."

  • March 27, 2012
    JobanGrayskull
    I don't understand what would be wrong with making this a predefined message. We have a few already that could 'be pointed out inside those articles with one phrase.' Take, for example, You Have Been Warned. That's a predefined message, despite the fact that we could express that idea simply on the pages for High Octane Nightmare Fuel, Fetish Fuel, etc. We have basic guidelines for the wiki, such as There Is No Such Thing As Notability. I just can't see why this one is somehow unacceptable.
  • March 27, 2012
    TBeholder
    @ SeptimusHeap I'm sure if you put someone to sleep with the Wall Of Blather, this will solve the problem. =D Assuming anyone who doesn't bother to read People Sit On Chairs will read them at all, that is.
  • March 28, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^The name is important here. Many people use "people sit on chairs" as "too common to trope" since sitting on a chair is something that happens every time. And no, Universal Tropes or Omnipresent Tropes doesn't get the idea across either. Nothing Is Too Common To Trope does.

    And Omnipresent Trope isn't a Predefined Message nor does it have a suitable name for that purpose.
  • March 28, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^^^ That would just turn that line into a wall of text, and duplicate a point that's supposed to be in the main description. I'll just swap "potential" with "suggestion". That's all that needs to be done.

    EDIT: Actually, I forgot more needed to be done, as I found that paragraph messy in other ways. I redid it.
  • March 28, 2012
    fulltimeD
    There's a middleground between Too Common For Examples and People Sit On Chairs. I used it a few months ago when I launched No Such Thing As Alien Pop Culture. I asked that due to the commonness of that trope being played straight, examples should be limited to significant aversions, subversions, and other instances in which the trope is sufficiently "played with." So, "Too Common For Straight Examples."
  • March 29, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
  • March 29, 2012
    JobanGrayskull
    I think you should reword this to say:

    "Finally, People Sit On Chairs should not be used just because a trope is common. That's about lack of purpose, not frequency. Something could be rare and still have no purpose."

    Otherwise, I'd say give her a launch. You have all the hats.
  • March 30, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Okay then.
  • March 31, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^Remember, you want the page on No Trope Is Too Common, and a redirect on No Trope Is Too Common.
  • March 31, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ What? Those are the same names.

    EDIT: Oh, the Administrivia namespace. Why not just mention that directly?
  • March 31, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^I forgot to check the "/" vs. ".". My mistake.
  • March 31, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Okay.
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