"At three in the morning I looked at my clock and thought, 'Good god! What on earth have I been doing for four hours?!' I looked at my screen. 'Plot summaries of Power Rangers episodes.' Damn."
—Anonymous Wikipedia addict
The Other Wiki. The wiki that most people are familiar with. The one that isn't us.
Wikipedia is the most famous wiki out there, and is mostly responsible for inspiring the creation of other wikis (although it was not the first
). It presents its information as an encyclopaedia and focuses mainly on real-life information.
Given Wikipedia's role as a central information source, you can probably gain more info on the "what" of (for example) Star Trek
from it than you can from actually watching the show, and that's nice. Here?
Here, you can get a glimmering of why
the show is like that.
Here at TV Tropes
, we only care about how things apply to fiction. Don't
just tell us the facts; tell us the memes, tell us the archetypes, tell us the catchy ideas and symbolic roles that get planted in people's heads. Got the kernel of an idea bouncing about your head? Throw it down here and see what grows. If we're lucky, our neologism
for it will catch on.
Wikipedia has an entry on itself
and its history, for further reading.
Wikipedia also has an entry on us.
It also lists us in its directory of alternatives
, encouraging people to record their trope knowledge here, instead of there. See the We Are Not Alone Index
for tropes that have Wikipedia articles.
Wikipedia provides examples of:
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Wikipe-tan, specifically Moe Anthropomorphism.
- April Fools' Day: Since the very beginning, April Fools' pranks have run rampant on Wikipedia, even by established editors. See a list of them here.
- Bleached Underpants: The seed funding for Nupedia, which became the Wikipedia project, was initially funded by Bomis, which was a male-oriented search engine.
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Many of the category schemes can become this. For instance, there are "American singers", "American female singers", "American country singers", and "American female country singers".
- Captain Obvious: Wikipedia's attempt to be a thorough information source presented in an easy, accessible format while maintaining a dry and formal tone of language sometimes leads to some unintentionally hilarious examples of this.
- Canon Discontinuity: Users with the "oversight" ability can remove individual edits and/or edit summaries from pages, most often due to the edit in question containing extremely inappropriate content. If a page has had an edit oversighted, than general readers and even most admins can't see the content that got oversighted.
- The Comically Serious: The Beige Prose at times ends up unintentionally adding hilarity to some unusual topics.
- Conversation in the Main Page: Averted; this usually survives minutes, at most.
- Deadpan Snarker: A picture of two covered clear plastic cups with straws filled with wine, captioned, "Wine in stemware befitting plonk."
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: Apparently FBI threatened to sue Wikipedia for using its logo.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Often guilty of this, sometimes in excruciating detail, frequently when it's not necessary.
- Drive-By Updater: In an odd twist, even useful drive-by-edits are sometimes reverted.
- Early Installment Weirdness: This can often be seen by checking the edit history of an older article. Early Wikipedia articles didn't have wikilinks, categories, images, or footnotes. Very early articles (dating back to 2001) actually used a CamelCase wikilink style akin to what TV Tropes uses instead of the now-widespread markup used on nearly every other wiki.
- Edit War: Due to its size, these are just as likely to occur between administrators as between regular users. Sometimes they get ridiculous.
- Fancruft: Referenced by XKCD (again), and occurs in reality on some pages. The page for Earth used to have "DO NOT REPLACE THIS PAGE WITH 'Mostly harmless.' EVER." hidden in the markup. It still has "Humorous references to the Douglas Adams novel Mostly Harmless are inappropriate content for this article" on the talk page, and is semi-protected so that only registered users can edit it (for several reasons).
- Fannage: They have, for instance, plot summaries of every single Star Trek episode—all series. Their coverage of The Simpsons is also impressive, with about the half of the articles on that series rated either "good article" or "featured article." It's the same with Final Fantasy and Halo. Cases like this (as well as what was once extensive articles of each Pokémon species) drew much criticism (from both those who regarded these as mere fancruft or as examples of Wikipedia's unequal treatment of notability).
- Fauxtivational Poster: WIKIPEDIA / Find your own damn sources◊.
- Follow the Leader: The wiki craze started here, but this was not the first wiki. The Ur Example was Ward Cunningham's Portland Pattern Repository.
- Iconic Logo: The puzzle globe dates to 2003; its first iteration had the pieces in different colors and blocks of text, in different languages, on it. Shortly after that, the more familiar version of the globe debuted, with all of the pieces light gray, and each having a letter/glyph on it. It stayed this way until May 2010, when a new version (which, unlike its predecessors, was an actual 3D rendering), with a darker gray, bigger pieces and corrected symbols on two of them, debuted; this is the one pictured above. It was revised again later that month, when the shade of gray was lightened to resemble its predecessor.
- Locked Pages: Several forms, often involving different levels of user access required to edit.
- Lumper vs. Splitter: Wikipedia's guideline on lumping.
- Meido: The various maintenance bots are sometimes personified as such.
- Moe Anthropomorphism: Yes, they have their own one. In this case: Wikipe-tan.
- Pot Hole: Sometimes taken to ludicrous extremes - at least early in an article about a complex topic. They call it a "piped link" or "piping", after the | character in the Usemod-inspired syntax that potholes on MediaWiki use.
- Rousseau Was Right: A website that anybody can edit should be a wasteland of unfinished articles, political rants, and boob pics, right? Wrong.
- Serious Business: Wikipedians have long battled over notability and the appropriate range of topics Wikipedia should cover, resulting in two factions called Inclusionism and Deletionism. Deletionism is usually the dominant philosophy in Wikipedia—even against the wishes of its founders. Just look at the flame war that kicked up when founder Jimbo Wales tried to start an article about a South African restaurant, only to have it deleted almost immediately. In a more general light, reading discussion pages on any topic is likely to result in a lot of serious business.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Played straight in some more technical article and inverted in Simple English Wikipedia.
- Small Reference Pools: One of the major underlying causes for conflict between Inclusionists and Deletionists, as well as systemic bias (see We All Live in America below and Serious Business above). If a Deletionist hasn't heard of something, it's obviously non-notable.
- Wikipedia has had several infamous cases of this causing purges of articles dealing with various forms of new media. The late 2000's saw this primarily happen with webcomics, as was covered by Wikinews and an editorial at the Guardian. Articles on games, gaming history and culture are also common targets. The 2010's have been seeing this happen more commonly with YouTube personalities and their channels. It's especially been the case with video game and anime/manga characters, which are likely to be deleted if they don't have several sources discussing the character themselves in detail, ideally full-page articles on them.
- Someday This Will Come in Handy: Has been known to cause attempts to invoke this trope.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: If anyone's curious, Wikipedia does have a fun side to it. Enjoy.
- Take a Third Option: Most deletion discussions are closed as "keep" or "delete". However, some can end up closed for other reasons: either the page qualifies for a "speedy" deletion, so a discussion is redundant; the nominator withdraws without objection for others; no clear consensus in either direction is formed after several weeks; or the nomination is obvious Trolling.
- There Is No Such Thing as Notability: Averted as they have specifically set notability guidelines, which can often lead to quibbling over whether or not a particular topic actually meets those guidelines.
- Thread Mode: The bullet points version is averted in articles but played straight on talk pages and deletion process pages. The inline version, not so much.
- Trope Codifier: The MediaWiki software developed for Wikipedia and the style conventions set there have set audience expectations for reference wikis.
- TV Tropes In Other Wikis: We have a page.
- Troll: Some people put either totally irrelevant things on the page (sometimes wiping the whole page in the process) or mess it up by doing the summary wrong.
- Un-Person: A few topics can end up blacklisted to the point searching gives no results, and the names become triggers for the spam filter.
- We All Live in America: Wikipedians call this "systemic bias." Usually it's the result of editors adding information on a topic that's only relevant to their culture or country, and not an assumption that the rest of the world works the same way—but it's nevertheless jarring when it results in pages meant to cover topics relevant to another country or culture instead covering its impact in the editors' own.
For that reason, Wikipedians developed templates for flagging a page as being too narrow in focus (depending on the country or culture getting excessive representation). In fact, the early versions of these systemic bias templates were an ironic example of this, as their initial designers assumed that ignorant Americans thinking that the rest of the world was like America were the cause of systemic bias (and made some rather patronizing templates as a result). As it happens, editors of any culture, language group, or country can and do cause systemic bias, especially if they make up the majority of a wiki's user base.
- Weasel Words: They hate it when it shows up.
- Wiki Magic: Sometimes played straight, sometimes inverted with an editor's pet page. These "page hoarders" will sit on a certain page and revert and delete any changes made to it, and will spend all day arguing about it until the admins give in to them. These cases have rapidly become a common criticism as Wikipedia's tendency to focus on cutting as much content as possible, instead of adding new content, has increased.
- Wiki Vandal: Overt vandalization is reverted rapidly—but subtle vandalization has been known to last months on less-traveled pages. One of the common complaints about accuracy aimed at Wikipedia. Some really outrageous claims in articles are often supported by nothing but the "citation" tag.
- Wiki Walk: As one of the oldest and largest wikis around, you can go on especially long walks there.
- Wikipedia Syntaxer: The original and Trope Namer.
- Xenofiction: Well, except the "fiction" bit. The Human article reads as though it was written by alien scientists observing us. It even lists the conservation status according to the IUCN red list: "least concern".