What's an inbound?An inbound link to a page is a link from some other place on the internet to that page. By "some other place" we mean not a different page on this wiki, but some other site altogether. For example: Someone on a series forum says that The Reveal in the latest episode was a total Ass Pull, and gives links to TV Tropes with both terms so other people in the forum (who are not necessarily familiar with TV Tropes jargon) will know what he is talking about.
Why are inbound links important?We aim to steer the site in whatever direction will best reach out to the totality of our readership, and inbounds are the most readily available objective measure we have of how the great big internet is reacting to a trope. This makes inbounds an overall more important metric than wicks (in-wiki links) because unlike wicks, inbounds offer a reflection of how a trope is being used and referred to by everyone online, rather than just by TV Tropes editors. A single Entry Pimp can be responsible for the wicks of some trope being Off The Scale, but a single person- no matter how enthusiastic- cannot believably fabricate a term flourishing around the internet.
Okay, how do I take a look at a page's inbound links?Here is the Inbound Referrals History Tool (replace "InsertTropeHere" with the relevant trope). It lists the latest inbound referrals for a trope in descending chronological order. Now, if you want to make a point about the quantity of the inbounds, there's not much for you to do here - you should head here instead (replace "InsertTitleHere" with the relevant title); the total number of inbounds is the X in "This title has brought X people to the wiki from non-search engine links since [Date]". What this number means is another issue entirely (is the trope overperforming? Underperforming? How much inbounds would you expect this trope to have? How many inbounds do similar tropes have?..), but there you have it. If, on the other hand, what you want to do is make some point about the quality of the inbounds- the kind of context they arise in, whether they are using the trope correctly, whether they tend to be vague hand-waving or spot-on - you're going to need to actually go in there and look at them individually. Now, theoretically it would be best if you could just click on inbound after inbound and see how all of them are doing, but we do not recommend doing that if you value your sanity. Instead you're going to have to look at a representative sample.
How do I get a representative sample of inbounds?
What should I be looking at when examining the inbounds?There are all sorts of properties of inbound links you can check for. Here are a few:
How do I share my findings?Post to the existing thread in the Trope Repair Shop, or start a new one if there isn't one. Say you did an inbound check. Explain what you were trying to check. List the inbounds you checked, and for each inbound explain which side of the case it weighs on (in bold for easy reference). Conclude your findings with the relevant statistics.