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Needs broadening: Out Of Character Alert get usage counts

 1 Omega Kross, Tue, 15th Mar '11 11:33:16 AM from Nosgoth Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
The description for this trope needs broadening to cover different uses of the trope. Right now it only covers instances where somebody slips erroneous information into a message as a warning to their friends. It doesnt cover the most common use of the trope, which is an imposter giving himself away by saying something out of character for the person he's impersonating.
 2 Fighteer, Tue, 15th Mar '11 11:36:50 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
I fixed the thread title for you.
Ironically, the pursuit of the definition of happiness does not appear to be a happiness-maximizing behavior.
Tempus Omnia Iudicat
Sounds like it's closer to Bluff the Impostor.

edited 15th Mar '11 1:11:07 PM by MC42

"Thorough preparation must lead to success. Neglect nothing."
 4 Madrugada, Tue, 15th Mar '11 1:17:57 PM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
The problem is that the Bluff the Impostor page says this: "See also Something Only They Would Say, for when the impostor says something that breaks his or her cover, intentionally or not." So we have a referral page pointing to a trope that doesn't say it includes what's being pointed at it.

edited 15th Mar '11 1:18:21 PM by Madrugada

'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
Tempus Omnia Iudicat
It does, but there's a subtle difference in that Something Only They Would Say is about something that reveals who the impostor is instead of that the person is an impostor to begin with.
"Thorough preparation must lead to success. Neglect nothing."
 6 Omega Kross, Tue, 15th Mar '11 5:53:00 PM from Nosgoth Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
Currently, Something Only They Would Say doesn't cover imposters at all. That is why it needs broadening.
Tempus Omnia Iudicat
a character in disguise or otherwise hidden reveals himself to friends through saying something only he or she would say.
This applies to impostors, the difference being that is focuses on the impostor instead of the person being imposted (is that a word?). For example, Bob disguises himself as Carl and talks to Carl's girlfriend Dianne, but Dianne's friend Alice, who knows Bob, picks up something that only Bob would say, which exposes him. What isn't a trope right now is where Bob doesn't say, do or know something that Carl would, which tips Dianne off. What is a trope is the previous sentence except intentionally done by Dianne. Something They Would Never Say doesn't involve impostors at all, though Something Only They Would Say can. And we need different titles for those two because they're far too similar and I get the feeling they've confused people in this thread already.

edited 15th Mar '11 6:18:37 PM by MC42

"Thorough preparation must lead to success. Neglect nothing."
 8 Omega Kross, Tue, 15th Mar '11 6:35:09 PM from Nosgoth Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
Thats... extremely confusing. Okay, the trope as is currently seems to be about somebody alerting friends to danger by using pre arranged code words or other such means. Imposters arent actually mentioned in the descripton, and neither are situations where an imposter unintentionally gives themselves away.
Dragon Writer
I have to side with MC 42. Similarity between two titles usually causes editors to think they have similar meanings, when the definitions are certainly not.
 10 Omega Kross, Wed, 16th Mar '11 1:27:28 AM from Nosgoth Relationship Status: Mu
Vae Victus
And I just noticed that I got confused halfway down the page and started referring to Something Only They Would Say when I really meant Something They Would Never Say, and now I look retarded. D'oh.

Okay, bear with me... Something Only.....

SOTWS is fine, nothing wrong with that trope. STWNS needs fixing because it doesn't cover situations where an imposter acts out of character for the person he's impersonating, which is what most pretty much all the referrals from other pages seem to define it as.Bluff The Imposter defines it as this for instance. Right now, its about kidnap/inprisonment situations where somebody sends a message to their friends which has odd phrases, in order to alert their friends to danger. Or somesuch. Ugh, its too awkward to explain properly, go look at the tropes and you'll see what I mean.
Dragon Writer
@Madrugada: In the case of an impostor blowing their cover, if the true identity of the impostor is significant, then (and only then) is it Something Only They Would Say.

On the other hand, if the impostor's true identity isn't significant, all the characters learn from "Something Bob Would Never Say" is that "Bob" is, well, Not Himself. And while that's not Something They Would Never Say as defined, it is still a reasonable assumption to draw from the title.

edited 16th Mar '11 10:26:24 AM by Stratadrake

Dragon Writer
Bump. Citing 98 wicks and 87 inbounds as of May 2011.

Sampling for misuse...

Impostor identified by an OOC remark (i.e. confusion with Spotting the Thread, Spot the Impostor, Bluff the Impostor and/or Something Only They Would Say)

Ambiguous, possible Square Peg Round Trope

Not enough (if any) context to resolve the usage

Wow, a minimum 30 percent misuse ratio. (Can be as high as 50 percent depending on ambiguous cases.)

That can't be good. Crowner time?

edited 29th May '11 10:43:08 PM by Stratadrake

Dragon Writer
Another bump. If we want to rename this, I'd suggest something along the lines of a Cryptic Distress Signal.
Another bump, seeing as how a freshly added entry is misusing this trope again.

Dragon Writer
Bumping yet again with 115 wikilinks and 102 inbounds at this time (appx. +17 and +15 in five months).

I'm going to do another wick check for misuse. Forgive me if I don't cite correct usages, but I'm focusing on misuse that isn't already part of my previous scour:

Misused On So Many Levels

(An impostor is identified by subtle OOC behavior)

Definitely misuse, but of another kind

Ambiguous cases


This is +18 misuse, which (when added to my previous check) brings the total to approximately 48 of 115, meaning the misuse ratio has increased to 45 percent.

We gotta do something about this. NOW.

edited 18th Oct '11 7:18:41 PM by Stratadrake

I think just renaming should be good enough here. Maybe make the old name a disambig if we have to.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
Dragon Writer
If we're renaming, that leaves the question of what to do with the redirect? It's getting increasingly misused for spotting an impostor, I say we have it redirect to that and retarget the correct usages along with the rename.

Created PA crowner: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/PageAction/SomethingTheyWouldNeverSay

edited 19th Oct '11 8:35:15 PM by Stratadrake

We have something in ykttw right now that is what this trope was supposed to be for. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=vsrd0zglr9aw4ncgq2fmw83j
Still new. Still learning. Asking questions and making mistakes.
Dragon Writer
If I'm reading that YKTTW's draft correctly, it's not. Only tangientially related, even at best.

  • Something They Would Never Say: Bob needs to get help from Alice but can't say it directly because Carol is listening in. So he gives Alice a generic message with an OOC clue that only Alice will notice. Alice starts wondering why Bob did that, and figures the rest out on her own.

  • Public Secret Message: Bob needs to deliver a message to Alice without Carol picking up on it. So Bob makes a generic message and spreads it as publically as possible; anyone will see it, but only Alice will pick up on the hidden meaning.

The differences:
  • The former's clue must be something that friends know is OOC for Bob. (The latter's clue can be anything that a casual observer wouldn't notice; even regular Spy Talk.)
  • The latter's message must be sent in an open, public manner. (The former can be sent via private channels, e.g. cellphone)

edited 19th Oct '11 8:56:04 PM by Stratadrake

I'm not seeing "as publicly as possible". Most of the examples seem to fit, but that's because the target is a location a direct message wouldn't arrive. The draft just says "everyone", which, to me, means Carol and Bob, and anyone else listening. Which would also fit if Carol is listening in on a phonecall between Alice and Bob.
Still new. Still learning. Asking questions and making mistakes.
Dragon Writer
Another important difference is that with STWNS, the reason Bob can't tell Alice directly is because in most cases, Carol has him captive and will quickly retaliate (i.e: kill) him if he reveals that he's actually in trouble. With PSM there is no such reason — it could be simply because there's no direct way to contact Alice.

The proof is in examples, though: None of the suggested examples have any overlap whatsoever.

edited 20th Oct '11 8:07:03 AM by Stratadrake

If you're right, then shouldn't the Stegranagraphy link be taken out of STWNS?
Still new. Still learning. Asking questions and making mistakes.
Dragon Writer
Hmm ... yeah, I think we have problems with the definition too. The lead only describes cases where the bad guy wants the prisoner to send a message that instructs their friends into a trap, however many correct usages I've seen are simply cases where he's forbidden from telling his friends about the true predicament; he's simply told to give them an "No, I'm okay" message.

We also have bad on-page examples.

Also, I think it's important to the definition of this trope that whatever OOC clue the person drops in their message is an improvised one, to distinguish from situations where the person is already known (trained, etc.) to have a specific "under distress" code at their disposal.

edited 21st Oct '11 8:19:37 PM by Stratadrake

Dragon Writer
Can we get some votes? Note there's a "hard split" type option mixed in that can be combined with any of the "rename" options.

edited 29th Oct '11 9:31:47 AM by Stratadrake

Dragon Writer
Just sighted a fresh misuse in the YKTTW and informed them about it. Bump?

Alternative Titles: Something They Would Never Say
8th Apr '12 3:36:22 PM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the name will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of Crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative names.
At issue:
Something They Would Never Say's definition (an improvised OOC remark used to secretly convey distress) needs moving to a new name to fix misuse.

Note that there is currently a YKTTW for "official covert distress code" (also needed to fix misuse). This is not that.
Total posts: 79
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