23rd Oct: It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
This is an encounter for the editing game we're putting together. Visit this forum thread to join the fun.Description: As you round the corner of a corridor, you see a strange machine shooting square bullets at the bookshelves. It looks something like an elaborate espresso machine on tank treads. image◊ You scan the device with your Tropedex:
Bullet Dispenser: This robotic device creates bullet points for use in articles. Sometimes it can run wild
Narrative: But that can't be right, this machine is causing chaos not order. What could cause it to act this way? A closer look reveals the problem - the lever has broken off from overuse! The scenario unfolds clearly in your mind. It seems one well-meaning troper, too shy to add information to an existing bullet, opted to simply add another. This set a precedent and soon existing writing was being neglected in favor of simply stacking more on. It has the rank smell of natter, but examining it closer you find none. You do the most natural thing first. You break off a piece of a hardline you drew with your editting pen and bind it to the remains of the lever, returning it to the off position. The machine has been stopped for the time being, but it's not hard to see that unless something further is done, the problem will only worsen. What will you do?
a) Do nothing. It might not look pretty, but the information is still there.
b) Hack away, leaving only the first and second bullet points.
c) Sort with caution but kill natter with extreme prejudice.
d) Shunt everything to the first tier bullets.
Do nothing You decide to leave the page as it is. It's not really hurting anything after all. As you turn to walk away you feel the ground quake and are knocked to your knees. Terrified you turn back and there, lumbering before you is a monster made of seven bullets stacked together, wobbling side to side under its own tremendous weight. A seventh tier bullet! Even a third tier bullet is rarely necessary, but this abomination is unlike anything you've ever seen. You turn to run but you're blocked on all sides by sixth and fifth tier bullet monsters, all chanting:
Hack away Time to dance. You rev up your seldom-used editting chainsaw and grin. You start by making a quick pass along the examples hunting for natter, the worst of any mess, and you actually find some. You show it no mercy. Next you start again, this time hacking away at the fourth and third tier bullets until they're scarce. As you're searching for the last few you spot an example you recognize. You have to read it twice. It does seem like it's missing something. The example is good, but there's a much more important use of this trope from the same work that isn't even mentioned. Looking at your hands you find smeared across your palms the remains of a third-tier bullet elaborating on this very example. You know you shouldn't just put it back as is, so you start to incorporate the information as a coherent whole:
Sort with caution You pull back your sleeves and get to work. This page would be doomed otherwise. You start by making a quick pass along the examples hunting for natter, the worst of any mess, and you actually find some. You show it no mercy. Next you start organizing examples into the first and second bullets:
Shunt everything to the first bullets Easy solution. The problem is the formatting looks like natter, right? Eliminating the bullets but keeping the text as is would solve that. You take out your handy editting scalpel and masterfully trim anything higher than a first-tier bullet point from the text. Soon everything's looking nice, neat and spiffy clean: