White Knighting is a common accusation on forums, especially those frequented by a multitude of {{troll}}s. In the broadest of terms, it is any attempt to protect or defend a third party on the internet from [[BullyHunter another's attacks]], like a KnightInShiningArmor on his WhiteStallion rushing up to protect the innocent.

The accusation is made for a number of different reasons. A common one is where the "innocent" is a DamselInDistress, and the knight is defending a female forum-goer. The accusation being that they are only doing so because they have a crush on the lady, and are acting whether she needs a defender or not. Forumites do tend to feel a need to "protect" [[ThereAreNoGirlsOnTheInternet the ladies]].[[note]]This, of course, presumes that the white knight knows the gender of the "innocent", which is a shaky presumption to make on an internet forum, but you can't really count on the average Troll to concern themselves with logic.[[/note]]

Another cause of the accusation is when [[TheComplainerIsAlwaysWrong someone states an opinion that differs from the opinion of the local majority]]. When this happen, knights immediately [[ComplainingAboutPeopleNotLikingTheShow leap out to slay that heretic by fire]]. The "innocent" being protected in this case is generally a work of some sort. Games, comic book heroes, and web-personalities get this. A lot.

Recently, the term has been applied to describe what is often also called 'Social Justice Warriors', people who feel the need to argue in defence of minorities, or 'social justice' (ie, voice criticism, or defend those who've voiced criticism, of a work because of its treatment of women, non-white men, LGBT, etc). The idea being that they don't ''really'' care about these issues, but are doing so to look heroic and morally superior to others, and have done so to an excessive amount that it crosses into PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad. Whether this criticism is valid or not is a large case of debate better saved for elsewhere.

Accusing someone of being a White Knight is generally a form of AdHominem attack; the accuser cannot attack the argument, so they attack the arguer. You'll notice in most cases that it doesn't actually matter if the accusation of White Knighting is accurate or not.

All that being said, it should be re-noted that there ''are'' people who "rescue" other forum-goers because they expect to be [[RescueRomance rewarded with romance.]] However, if you must accuse someone of being a White Knight, it's wisest to do so ''after'' you've defeated whatever argument they made.

Contrast TheShepherd, who protects newbies from making mistakes that would get them [[FandomBerserkButton mistaken for]] [[MistakenlyBanned trolls and banned]], and is generally held in high regard by the other forumites. Compare CondescendingCompassion, WhiteMansBurden, and YouAreACreditToYourRace for a few forms of behavior often demonstrated by the more privileged White Knight. See OpinionOverride (when the person the White Knight is Knighting for actually enjoys whatever sparked the Knighting) and WoundedGazelleGambit (for when somebody tries to actively exploit the White Knight by playing the role of a victim). See also: TheDulcineaEffect, and {{GIFT}}.

For actual white knights see ThePaladin.
!!Examples of this trope, include:


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* The trope is discussed [[spoiler:and ''[[DeconstructedTrope smashed to pieces]]'']] in ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'', which examines many knight-and-lady tropes. [[spoiler:Around the end of the series, and after [[BreakTheCutie having her whole world crash down]], Utena realises that '''this''' is what she has actually been doing to [[DecoyDamsel Anthy]] all along -- she has been [[LadyAndKnight protecting Anthy]] less because of a desire to fix her difficult situation as the Rose Bride, and more because of ''Utena's'' own desire to make herself look good and heroic with a damsel to "protect". After coming to terms with this really harsh truth, [[PluckyGirl Utena puts herself back together]], decides to '''actually''' help Anthy and free her from villain Akio... and succeeds.]]


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* During the "Back from the Dead" arc of ''ComicBook/XStatix'', Phat catches hell from his teammates for using his powers to redirect a rocket aimed at Henrietta Hunter, which inadvertently results in the rocket hitting El Guapo instead and blowing his legs off.
* Teen!Angel does this to Comicbook/{{X 23}} in the first arc of ''Comicbook/AllNewXMen'' volume two, swooping in thinking he needs to rescue her even though she's A) the biggest BadAss on the team and fully capable of taking care of herself, and B) has a HealingFactor that enables her to survive and shrug off the damage (falling off a cliff, being lit on fire) thrown at her. Laura is very much ''not'' appreciative of this


[[folder: Fan Fiction ]]

* A common tendency for [[OriginalCharacter OCs]] in ''Anime/GirlsUndPanzer'' fan fiction. If the fic takes place during canon, and [[TheStationsOfTheCanon the scene in the tank cafe]] is included, the OC will typically tear into [[JerkAss Erika]] with much more force than Yukari (who apologized when Erika told her it was none of her business) did, while defending Miho's actions. For sequel fics, the OC will typically do this with regards to [[AbusiveParents Miho's mother]]. As a result, Miho tends to fall in love with those [=OCs=].


[[folder: Film ]]

* Invoked by Master Chief Urgayle in ''Film/GIJane''. His claim is this Trope will diminish a male soldier's effectiveness in battle, because he will put aside his own safety and the success of the mission more readily to save a female teammate than he would for a male teammate. During a training exercise where an enemy interrogation is simulated, he brutalizes O'Neil in front of her male teammates, even going so far as to threaten a sexual assault, in an attempt to prove to them that they will instantly cave in to the enemy if it means saving her. [[spoiler: For a few moments it almost looks like he's going to prove his point, but then the rest of the recruits simply refuse to play along in disgust.]]


[[folder: Literature ]]

* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', Jon Snow is mocked for rushing in to protect Samwell Tarly from getting the shit beaten out of him during a training match.
* Gale subtly blames Katniss of being a female version in ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' series. The only way for a man to get noticed by her is to suffer so terribly that she feels obliged to tend and care for them.


[[folder: Visual Novels ]]

* ''VisualNovel/KatawaShoujo'':
** Hisao is (not quite) guilty of this, particularly in Hanako's route. He's not trying to curry favor, hence the "not quite" part. [[ShrinkingViolet Hanako]] is the sort of person [[TheWoobie everyone wants to protect and hug]]. This is promptly deconstructed as the arc goes on -- in the bad ending to her arc, [[spoiler:Hanako ''snaps'' at Hisao, declaring that she hates both him and Lilly for "babying" her and thinking that she needs protecting, since not only she's aware of her own {{Woobie}}ness but also she has ''serious'' problems with [[DontyouDarePityMe being pitied and coddled]].]] In the neutral ending [[spoiler: Hanako doesn't snap and they begin a seemingly normal chess match, but Hisao's inner narration implies that he will soon start to heavily neglect his needs to "take care" of hers, which can potentially lead to the Bad Ending described above.]] In the true ending, [[spoiler:Hanako lets Hisao have sex with her, [[SexAsARiteofPassage believing that this will order to change his mind about the way he views her]]; they realize the mistakes they've been making and [[CryCute the two of them break down in front of and into each other's arms in the park]], and once they calm down they decide to stop with such unhealthy deals.]]
** In Emi's route, she accuses Hisao of doing this, even likening him to a knight on horseback. [[spoiler:Hisao's solution in either of the paths to the good ending is to insist that he knows Emi is strong and he is helping her because he [[LoveConfession loves]] her. This is because Emi has ''serious'' issues with people helping her, and therefore she pushes people away from her.]]
** Lilly appears to do this with Hanako and (in her route) Hisao, hence [[spoiler:Hanako's statement about her in her bad ending]]. However, she indicates that she is aware of this tendency and tries her best to fix it, and late in her route, [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming tells Hanako that she did not befriend her out of pity, but because she wanted to know more about her, and that she considers her a strong person]].
* The term appears in ''VisualNovel/DontTakeItPersonallyBabeItJustAintYourStory''; Taylor makes a post about Kendall breaking up with her girlfriend Charlotte, prompting Akira to accuse Taylor of being a "bitch", which results in Kendall telling him not to be a "white knight" on her behalf.
* The story of ''VisualNovel/REAlistair'' is kicked off when the eponymous Alistair killsteals a difficult boss out from under Merui in her favorite MMO, then trolls her about it. Depending on the route the player pursues, Alistair may begin complaining that another player, "Oda," has begun white-knighting him over it; it's not likely to come as much of a surprise when Oda turns out to be [[spoiler:Travis, during whose route this occurs]]. Oda's player isn't directly trying to curry favor with Merui (in fact he's [[spoiler:a global mod for the MMO]], which justifies his involvement to some extent), but it's clear that he's primarily motivated by his romantic feelings for her - in case there was any doubt, the end of the route confirms that Oda's character class is "Guardian."


[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', after Karkat develops a crush on Jade, he flames ''his own past self'' for being rude to her. Jade then accuses him, in so many words, of acting like a knight trying to save her. Adding to this is that Karkat [[FantasyCharacterClasses actually IS a Knight]].
* In ''Webcomic/PvP'' one of the internet-themed supers associating with [=LOLbat=] is "The White Knight", a geek with glasses who goes out of his way to defend women.
* When Gyno-Star decides to form her own super hero team in ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfGynoStar'', one of the prospective hires she interviews is The White Knight, who "harnesses the power of white male guilt to amplify the voices of marginalized people."
* In ''Webcomic/DoesNotPlayWellWithOthers'', the superhero Knight Light shows up to defend a female superhero from Tekmage (bonus points for her being a StrawFeminist/social justice warrior previously seen out of costume), at which point Tekmage points out that he is dressed as a literal white knight and thus [[spoiler:[[SamusIsAGirl s]]]]he refuses take him seriously. In actuality Knight Light just wanted to dress up as a [[VideoGame/DarkSouls Solaire]] knockoff and it was just a coincidence that the person he showed up to rescue happened to be a woman.


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Entire [[http://cogsdev.org/ wikis]] have been dedicated to how Christian Chandler, creator of ''Webcomic/{{Sonichu}}'', attempts to do this in his ever-occurring "Love Quest", and, for that matter, [[http://www.cogsdev.org/cwcki/White_knights those who try and fail to stop the trolling.]]
* Captain Hammer from ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog''. Objectively, most of the things he does are morally positive: he fights crime, helps the LAPD stop Dr. Horrible from ruining a bridge dedication, and gets Penny her homeless shelter. However, since he only does it for a combination of personal reputation building and to get in Penny's pants (partly because he likes her, and partly to mess with Doctor Horrible), he is WhiteKnighting incarnate. It's not even that he likes ''her'', but rather, he likes the sex.
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick suffers from white knights in her video comment threads and the forums who fail to grasp that her mistreatment of her {{sidekick}} and {{butt monkey}} Nella is all an act that Nella is completely on board with, and sometimes even writes the script for. Then there are the people on the other side who forget BlackComedy is Lindsay's AuthorAppeal and try to protect her from the mean guys who are obviously writing everything themselves. While not quite as prevalent ([[DoubleStandard for obvious reasons]]), fangirls of Doug have a tendency to act like he's just as woobie as WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic and needs a MamaBear to save him from the trolls.
* Ian from Literature/StatlessAndTactless gets called this for trying to jump in to defend a female group member.
* The Blog/KnightsOfFandom have been called this by detractors, although their intentions are genuine.
* The final season of TheGuild features a character calling himself "Black Knight," who is the polar opposite of a White Knight: a self-important, abusive - albeit equal-opportunity - Gamer Troll. The character is a sort of TakeThat against the kind of people who make White Knighting accusations (which FeliciaDay herself apparently had first-hand experience with).


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'': Protagonist Hank Hill treating his boss Buck Strickland with the utmost respect despite the fact that the man is a hard-drinking, womanizing slimeball. In one episode Hank's wife Peggy outright calls him Buck's white knight.
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague Unlimited''. In the episode that introduces Carter Hall, the first clue that he's obsessed with Shayera "Hawkgirl" Hol is when Batman searches for him online, and finds that Carter has caused numerous {{Flame War}}s by registering on "[[{{Hatedom}} I Hate Hawkgirl]]" web forums just to defend her. (While Hawkgirl knew that she had abysmal PR, she was completely unaware at the time that there were web forums devoted to bashing her.)


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Suggested as an underlying emotional cause of MissingWhiteWomanSyndrome. These kinds of stories strike at white men's desire to protect "their" women.
* This has been used by some armies to justify [[StayInTheKitchen keeping women out of front-line combat units]]: trials have shown that male soldiers would sometimes abandon the mission [[TheDulcineaEffect to ensure the safety of female soldiers]]. Of course, there are many other issues at hand as well.