Administrivia: No Real Life Examples, Please!

For many tropes, having Real Life examples can be fun and sometimes even informative. However, this particular trope should not have any examples from Real Life. Note that a work portraying real life is still a work—such examples are about how the work portrays real life, not about real life itself. What happened in a certain conflict according to a certain movie or book is usually far less ambiguous than what really happened in that same conflict.

Real Life does not have an author in the same way as a film or other work does, and we see real life from the inside rather than from the outside. Thus, tropes that are objective in works are often highly subjective in Real Life. Since trope pages are not discussion forums, a debate about who is right and who is wrong is a distracting (and maybe even destructive) case of natter or Edit War. Thus, you may notice that most of the pages on this list are the negative tropes, oftentimes pertaining to morality, violence, religion, and other controversial issues that people are likely to get heated about. Yes, There Is No Such Thing as Notability, but when we discuss Real Life, the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement takes precedence here.

An objective trope turning YMMV is not enough to earn it this tag. In general, we trust people's common sense and ability to follow the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment. This trope comes up where Real Life examples are likely to derail the page into huge debates or come across as offensive or even harassing.

For example, let's say a Christian, a Muslim, and a Sikh walk into an internet café.note  All three of them start editing TV Tropes, and they all start adding Real Life examples to Scam Religion. The Christian adds Islam and Sikhism, the Muslim adds Christianity and Sikhism, while the Sikh adds Christianity and Islam. Then they suddenly all feel outraged with TV Tropes, for having their own religion listed as being a scam. Meanwhile, someone adds Church of Happyology and gets sued. Even without considering the fact that we can't see the universe from the outside and that seeing the narrative of the story from the outside is necessary for that trope—let's just not go there.

Thus, many tropes don't allow Real Life examples. If you have any questions about this, or feel a trope doesn't need this tag, take it to this thread in the forums.

Also, when a page becomes too controversial to even have fictional examples, a lock and an Example Sectionectomy may follow. Do note that, when a page is given an Example Sectionectomy, then it doesn't allow examples of any category or medium, so listing it there will suffice. Listing a completely example-free page here is redundant, as well as misleading. Even if examples most likely happen in Real Life only, adding the No Real Life Examples tag and/or listing it here will give the impression that fictional examples are allowed, when they're likely not either.

Other times, a page may simply be on this list for other reasons. A page may fit in multiple categories but will only be listed here once; use CTRL+F if you need to look for a specific page.

The primary (but not only) reasons that a trope may listed here:
  • Morality Tropes: These tropes assign moral values to certain characters, character types, or situations. The wiki does not have an opinion on the morality of real people, who are almost always far more complex than any fictional depiction.
  • Sex, Sexuality, and Rape Tropes: The wiki, simply put, isn't interested in discussing the sexuality or sexual behavior of real people. These topics are often sensitive and/or controversial, and prone to gossip or innuendo.
  • Narrative, Characterization, and Plot Tropes: These tropes require an author of a story, for which evidence in real life is disputed, to make a conscious storytelling decision.
  • Tropes Impossible in Real Life: These require actions or conditions that are, given the best available evidence, simply not possible in real life, or rely on a situation that doesn't exist outside of fiction.
  • Too Common in Real Life: These tropes are so commonly observed in reality that listing many or all of the occurrences of it would make a trope page incredibly unwieldy, and marginalize fictional examples that are the focus of this wiki.
  • Tropes Attracting Flamebait, Complaining, and Natter: Controversial subjects can and often do lead to arguments, irrelevant commentary only tangentially related to the subject, and complaining, none of which are desired by the wiki. As such tropes about those subjects are subject to prohibitions against real life examples.
  • Gossip and Stereotypes: This wiki is not interested in speculation about real life people, nor does it wish to reinforce stereotypes, which get plenty of support in other venues. Those interested in such may wish to read The National Enquirer or other such tabloid newspapers.

Documentaries and Reality TV shows are a special case, as while they purport to be factual depictions of Real Life, in practise there is almost always some slanting to support a certain viewpoint, ranging from subtle ways in which facts are presented, to the creators actually going on-camera to tell the viewers what they should think. For this reason, Real Life examples are generally permitted in the context of Documentaries and Reality TV shows, though an extra-large helping of the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement is expected.

In any case, it's to be pointed out that having real life examples is only tolerated, rather than encouraged. So if there's a page where it's asked to not have examples from real life, no matter the reasons (or lack thereof), tropers are expected to not add them at all.

Compare In-Universe Examples Only.


On this wiki, the markup [[noreallife]] will display a prominent "No real life examples" warning whenever the page is edited.


Pages where Real Life examples are not allowed:

    open/close all folders 

    Morality Tropes 

    Sex, Sexuality, and Rape tropes 

    Narrative, Characterization, and Plot Tropes 

    Tropes Impossible In Real Life 

    Too Common In Real Life To Trope 

    Tropes Attracting Flamebait, Complaining, and Natter 

    Gossip and Stereotypes 


Alternative Title(s):

No Real Life Examples Please