Administrivia: Examples Are Not Recent

TV Tropes is immortal. TV Tropes does not know time. Terms such as "recently" are meaningless to TV Tropes. In other words, TV Tropes is not static.

A common mistake made by many well-intentioned tropers is to often use the words "recent", "newest", "latest", "as of now" or something synonymous to describe something within their examples or article (trope or work pages) descriptions. This is usually after some change that shakes the foundation of the work or character. In their zeal, the troper will excitedly state that this is a very recent development, cluing other tropers that the new status is going on right this very minute.

As for instance:

  • "In the latest issue of Superman..."
  • "The Five-Man Band has recently gotten a new member..."
  • "The latest law in California has made it illegal for yuri fans to..."
  • "The Doctor just finished a mission to protect..."
  • "Rumors about the new The Legend of Zelda game are circulating that..."
  • "This movie/series/book came out X years ago..."
  • "Right now, this movie is in production..."
  • "Although Anyone Can Die in this series, for now, The Protagonist is alive."
  • "X is becoming increasingly common in this series..."

This, while understandable, is unfortunately not a good practice.

As a form of fan myopia, this practice assumes that everyone who reads this will automatically know of this information. There are still some examples which describe films, episodes, issues, or volumes from two or more years ago as "recent", but if you're not a fan of said work, how will you know whether it's true or not? For all the uninitiated person would know, Captain America "recently" died or Burn Notice is still the "hottest new show on USA Network".note 

It also assumes everyone gets the work at the same time. People living in a different country than the one a work is released in sometimes have to wait a number of days, months, or years for that work to become legally available where they live. Some tropers will even wait until a series has either established itself, been cancelled, or finished up its story to dig into it on an archive binge. Thus, what you may consider to be recent, may already be well known to someone else. Another problem is that "recent" is relative; if a work is decades, or even centuries old, an alteration made as long ago as 1950 can be counted as "recent", but if the work has been around since the 1940s, 1950 will seem much less "recent".

It only creates more trouble for other tropers when they have to remove mentions of the word "recent" after it isn't recent anymore. Or worse, the next troper will add an indented bullet point adding an even more recent update for the situation. Or even worse, the troper will simply call the work "the latest installment" with no mention of its actual name, making it almost impossible to rewrite the example without having knowledge about the work. So for everyone's sake, please avoid using the word "recent" or anything synonymous in writing your examples. Although TV Tropes is open for anyone to edit, it should not be required for anyone to come behind another troper and fix their entry. Fixing tenses can be a massive undertaking, mostly because it involves reading the section through to make sure changing tenses doesn't change the whole meaning of the paragraph.

If you're talking about a TV series that is currently airing, don't say "the most recent episode..." or "last week...". Instead, use the name of the episode "In the episode 'Turtle Insurrection'...". If you don't know the name of the episode, the IMDb and Wikipedia are good sources to check. The name of the episode will not change, so the tense doesn't have to.

If it helps, try and pretend that every work, ever, was written all on the same date at some point in the vague past. Don't actually put this in your edits, of course, but use it to help you refrain from slipping in a "recent" without noticing. When talking about yet-to-be-released works or installments of series, it's better to just wait until things have actually made it to the page or screen before adding them in, rather than adding rumors or tentative information that might be contradicted by the time the work is released. Works may, of course, be referred to relative to one another (e.g. if you're working on a recap for an episode of a work, you can refer to the previous episode as "the previous episode", though it is preferable to just state the episode's name.)

A related phenomenon can occur when linking to websites with constantly changing content, such as webcomics, news sites or blogs. Make sure the URL actually points to the specific item you're referring to, not to the site's main page.note 

No examples, please. Especially no "recent" ones.

Alternative Title(s):

Examples Are Not Upcoming, Examples Are Not Current, Descriptions Are Not Recent, No Examples Are Recent, Examples Do Not Happen Now