Snowclones and incomprehensibility.: Ind Ex Machina

Total posts: [34]
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1 RainehDaze28th Aug 2011 05:43:24 PM from Scotland , Relationship Status: Mu
I'll be blunt: three tropes on this index are in the TRS right now and the criterion for being listed on it is some resemblance to the phrase Deus ex Machina. It is, at heart, an index entirely for snowclones that are either appalling puns—Deus Sex Machina, for instance—or work on the same grammatical framework and are in Latin for the resemblance alone. Seriously, an index based on bilingual puns, a knowledge of Deus ex Machina, and the ability to speak a dead language?

I advocate systematically going through the whole index and seeing how many of the names are actually functioning and if it looks like the answer is 'one or two', renaming everything not working and scrapping the index.
2 Spark929th Aug 2011 12:42:39 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
Regardless of whether the names are working, those tropes are so completely unrelated that there really isn't much of a point to this index. An index of unrelated tropes with similar-looking names is not useful.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
It's a Search-Generated Index. Those are always dumb.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
I agree with Spark 9 that an index of tropes with similar-looking names (and not too much else in common) is not useful. I could get behind a move to cut this index.

That being said, I also think it is important to make threads for each page individually rather than all at once, mostly because I think that the names probably fit some better than others. I believe that looking at them one-by-one has the added benefit of taking time to check out differences in wicks and inbounds among the tropes as well.
"irhgT nm0w tehre might b ea lotof th1nmgs i dont udarstannd, ubt oim ujst goinjg to keepfollowing this pazth i belieove iN !!!!!1 d
5 Balmung29th Aug 2011 04:49:56 PM from Omaha, NE, Free American Empire , Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
Break the Chains
A fair number of them are built on the "out of nowhere" similarity, though. Perhaps take those that do conform to "[event] out of nowhere" by meaning and put them in an index called something like This Index Came Out Of Nowhere (Such an index would also include Giant Space Flea from Nowhere) or something?

Though it seems I might have overestimated how many of them that was.

edited 29th Aug '11 4:54:52 PM by Balmung

6 Antheia1st Sep 2011 10:11:35 AM from Uppsala, Sweden
We have This Index Is Highly Improbable for, well, improbable stuff. Giant Space Flea Out Of Nowhere wouldn't go there, but many of the Ex Machina tropes aren't really about things that turn up out of nowhere. Deus Angst Machina, for instance, is only about an unrealistic number of angst-inducing things happening at once, although each one of them could be plausible by itself.

edited 1st Sep '11 10:19:31 AM by Antheia

7 RainehDaze1st Sep 2011 10:28:15 AM from Scotland , Relationship Status: Mu
So... really, there's nothing tying these tropes together?
8 Antheia1st Sep 2011 10:41:29 AM from Uppsala, Sweden
Nope. Just bad puns often making even worse trope names.
9 RainehDaze1st Sep 2011 11:01:45 AM from Scotland , Relationship Status: Mu
So... how many of the trope names are actually working, besides Deus ex Machina?
10 Antheia1st Sep 2011 11:18:49 AM from Uppsala, Sweden
Working, as in at least sort of appropriate, or working, as in not being misused/underused?
Deus Est Machina is pretty much perfect and Sidekick Ex Machina seems to be working, but I'm a little worried about Deus Exit Machina. I think it might be getting confused for related tropes (and I'm not sure what the differences are, so that's part of the problem). The rest haven't seen enough to know if they're working or not.
12 Antheia1st Sep 2011 01:31:46 PM from Uppsala, Sweden
Note: I haven't checked for misuse; this is just a trope name indicativeness/correctness check, and I note whether the snowclone trope has anything to do with the original Deus ex Machina.


Dead ex Machina seems to be "character who died earlier in the plot saves the day, either physically or (possibly via Dead Person Conversation) by giving the hero strength to go on". Not too clear a title (I would have guessed something along the lines of Peek-a-Boo Corpse), but I suppose it could be worse. Is related to Deus ex Machina, though.

Deus Angst Machina: Awful. As noted above, the trope itself has nothing to do with Deus ex Machina, and the Latin doesn't make any sense ("God angst machine").

Deus Ax Machina: Again, incorrect Latin, and it's not even a case of anything appearing out of nowhere. Someone needs a weapon, and finds a fire ax, because they're in a public building/on a bus/whatever. Not related to Deus ex Machina.

Deus Ex Homine: Description reads "A god intentionally built by humans (or other sapient species)." The phrasing of the title, including grammar, was discussed in the YKTTW thread, so language-wise it should be fine, but this is not related to Deus ex Machina.

Deus ex Nukina: Not related to Deus ex Machina; it's not about nukes out of nowhere (but then, don't get me started on the horrible linguistics of this title), it's about nukes being used in a weird way to solve the problem at hand: "Something Very Bad has happened, and only an uncontrolled release of nuclear energy can fix it" ... "The most interesting dramatic element of Deus Ex Nukina is the requirement that the nuclear device must be delivered by hand."

Deus ex Scuse Me: *groan*. This one actually seems to be a Deus ex Machina trope, though: "Any quick, cheap device that serves to remove a character from a scene so a plot point can take place." In other words, something happening out of nowhere so the plot can happen the way the writer wants it to. Still ... that is one unclear title.

Deus Exit Machina: Misleading title that doesn't really have anything to do with the trope: powerful character is Put on a Bus for an episode or so to increase dramatic tension. No out-of-nowhere factor; there could well be good reasons for the powerful character to be somewhere else, such as being badly hurt or suffering a Heroic B.S.O.D.. In other words, not related to Deus ex Machina.

Deus Sex Machina: Hmm, I thought this one was up in TRS already? Anyway, trope is "contrived sex in Speculative Fiction" (for example, "have sex with the Love Goddess or your girlfriend will die!). Possibly a Deus ex Machina trope, if you tilt your head and squint.

Diabolus ex Machina: Page quote says it best:
"This is not the convenient plot twist that saves our heroes. This is the convenient plot twist that makes them even more screwed." — Ryan MC, Two Evil Scientists
This one does belong in the Deus ex Machina family of tropes. Title is pretty much perfect, too - just like the trope itself, it's the opposite of Deus ex Machina. I'm not a native speaker of English myself, but I suppose the title would be pretty clear to most English speakers, considering words like "diabolical"?

Diabolus ex Nihilo - Whoa, you'd think this one was the same as Diabolus ex Machina, but it's in fact an enemy that turns up out of nowhere, without explanation, only in order to serve as a threat and be defeated. Has a Trope Repair Shop thread. However, it does have some kind of relation to Deus ex Machina.

Malus ex Machina: Oookay, why is this one called "apple [tree] out of a machine"? I'll let the Trope Repair Shop thread speak for itself. Not related to Deus ex Machina.

Parent ex Machina: Parents only show up to make sure the kids Can't Get Away with Nuthin'. Description is pretty unclear, but that's another issue; title fits trope and trope is related to Deus ex Machina.

Sidekick Ex Machina: Okay, if the title is working (see [up]), we probably shouldn't change it, but the trope doesn't have any "out of nowhere" element to it. I Thought It Meant a sidekick saving the hero in a situation similar to Dead ex Machina (above); it's about a sidekick who's a lot more powerful than the hero. So: Not related to Deus ex Machina.

See also:

How to Stop the Deus ex Machina: Looks like someone thought "Deus ex Machina" is (well, or was) some kind of machine. Do we rename tropes when the name is grammatically/semantically wrong, even if there's no misuse? If we do, this one has to go. It's about how a writer can avoid using the Deus ex Machina trope, as it's often considered Bad Writing.

Deus Ex Sewing Machina: Potholed link to Problem Sleuth, because of this. Okay, whatever, it's a Do Not Confuse With.

Deus Ex and Ex Machina: Are works.

Still, those tropes that are related to Deus ex Machina are (or should be) listed as subtropes/Compare-and-contrast on that page. We don't need this index; those who want to find tropes with names that sound like Deus ex Machina could just use do a site search.

edited 1st Sep '11 1:33:17 PM by Antheia

13 Spark91st Sep 2011 03:16:04 PM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
[up] I'm strongly in favor of renaming most of these, because the names tend to be incorrect, confusing, Snow Cloning for the sake of it, and just gramatically wrong. My Latin teacher would faint if he saw these.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
14 nrjxll1st Sep 2011 06:05:49 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I'm in favor of cutting the entire index, renaming most of the tropes, and just having the ones that do have some relation to Deus ex Machina be listed as subtropes on that page, as there aren't enough for an index once you clear out all the dumb puns.
Sidekick Ex Machina has more problems than just the name. Not only is it not related to Deus ex Machina in any way, it's just Hypercompetent Sidekick taken Up to Eleven.
16 Antheia30th Oct 2011 08:33:03 AM from Uppsala, Sweden
TRS is going to have to look at the tropes one by one. Move this thread to Special Efforts?

I'm with nrjxll on this, by the way.

edited 30th Oct '11 8:34:41 AM by Antheia

17 Madrugada30th Oct 2011 08:49:25 AM , Relationship Status: In season
There's nothing for a special efforts thread to do. We aren't hiding individual page repairs there to get around the cap on TRS.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Dragon Writer
Does that mean that those are sub-threads and this is the super-thread?
19 Antheia30th Oct 2011 03:56:41 PM from Uppsala, Sweden
I just thought the scale of the thing (a whole index, and most if not all of its tropes, rather than just one article) meant this was a Special Efforts matter, I wasn't trying to get around the cap or anything.

But in that case, I suggest a page action crowner for Ind ex Machina. I think these are our options so far (most not mutually exclusive):

[up]I think we should do all of those except for "leave as is". In fact, I've already cutlisted Ind ex Machina for being a Search-Generated Index (I added a link to this thread in the reason).
21 Antheia30th Oct 2011 04:45:31 PM from Uppsala, Sweden
[up] Whoa. If it's still under discussion, having the index cut might not be the best idea. If nothing else, we're going to need to find the bad snowclones somewhere. I say we (decide if we're going to) rename and move tropes first, then the page can be cut.
Dragon Writer
^ Ave Machina is not even remotely related to Deus ex Machina.

edited 30th Oct '11 11:35:54 PM by Stratadrake

[up]And whoever came up with the pun obviously didn't know how Deus ex Machina is pronounced.
It's not a pun. Ave is a Latin word that means approximately "Hail." Thus, "Hail the Machine."

The fact that it also seems to be a bad pun named after an obscure song seems to be coincidence.

Total posts: 34
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