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Needs Rename and Rewrite (alt titles crowner 4/13): Spy From Weights And Measures get usage counts

The name seems to be derived from the quote on the page, but it's just completely unhelpful and misleading. 'Front Organization' is the alternate title; why not use it? It's clear, concise, and descriptive.

In addition, the description is too narrow and muddled. It implies that front organizations are only used by secret societies and covert operatives and such. Front companies are used by a wide range of both licit and illicit organizations, basically anywhere plausible deniability comes in handy.

On another note, for some reason the link is sending me to the home page instead of the proper page. This is my first trope repair entry. Did I do something wrong?

edited 6th Sep '11 10:01:39 PM by David7204

 2 Madrugada, Tue, 6th Sep '11 10:12:17 PM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
You need to enter the trope name as a wikiword — that is, with each initial letter capitalized but all the words run together into a single string like so: SpyFromWeightsAndMeasures. I've corrected the thread title. If you goof like that again, the little icon that looks like a piece of paper allows you to change it.

edited 6th Sep '11 10:13:56 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
 3 Deboss, Tue, 6th Sep '11 11:33:03 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
I'm sort of getting the trope from the title, but only because I'm looking at it cock eyed.
You should get your eyes fixed. I'm just looking at it and it's fine to me. Front Organisation is also deceptively broad.
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 pe
 5 shimaspawn, Wed, 7th Sep '11 8:40:19 AM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
The trope is what I thought it was.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
 6 Madrugada, Wed, 7th Sep '11 9:21:15 AM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Just looking at the examples, I'm seeing a fair number that aren't about "a covert group has a highly mundane front", they're simply hiding the headquarters somewhere, or it's an individual using a cover story.

Individuals:

  • The Excel♥Saga had an Assassin from Accounting.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, Section 9 employee Togusa mentions his cover is that of working for a security firm. Maj. Kusanagi on the other hand, maintains that she works for the Military. Ishikawa actually owns a gambling hall for cover. Section 9 usually work in official capacity or undercover, so they rarely need consistent covers.
  • Weiß Kreuz has the four assassins working a cover job as florists, first alongside a little old lady and her cat, and later in a pink mobile trailer. In the sequel series, they're investigating suspicious suicides at prep schools, and go under cover as teachers and students.
  • In the Aubrey/Maturin series Stephan Maturin is one of Brittains most effective spies, but uses his status as a respected natural philospher and physician to travel in wartime.
  • In Discworld, The Fifth Elephant has Inigo Skimmer, an assassin posing as a clerk, and a later book, Going Postal references a whole group of "dark clerks", guys who dress like pencil-pushers and seem normal until you notice the psychotic look in their eyes.
    • Except that they really are clerks. Lord Vetinari has hired them as his clerks. Even if they were all trained in the Assassins' Guild, as he was.
  • Deep Space Nine. Cardassian spy Garak operates from "Garak's Clothiers", a tailor shop. There is also a Del Floria's Tailor Shop listed on the Promenade businesses in a tongue-in-cheek homage to The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Hidden geadquarters:

  • Get Smart: CONTROL has its headquarters in the Smithsonian.... in a display about CONTROL. The display pretends CONTROL was disbanded at the end of the Cold War.
  • Undercover Brother. The headquarters of the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. are located beneath a barber shop.
  • Torchwood Three's main entrance is in the back of a Cardiff Tourist Bureau.
    • And yet they always introduce themselves as "Torchwood" and drive in tricked-out high-tech cars, to the point where everyone in Cardiff knows who they are.
— "Random old woman: Bloody Torchwood!—
  • The titular Special Unit in Special Unit 2 uses a dry cleaners for cover.
    • In one episode, a guy tries to rob the place with a handgun. Cue all the undercover cops taking out their oversized guns in a scene reminiscent of RoboCop 3.
[[Note, SU 2 wasn't a covert operation. Every cop in Chicago knew about it. They just didn't know what it did]

And that's not nearly all of them in the examples.

edited 7th Sep '11 9:21:55 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
 7 shimaspawn, Wed, 7th Sep '11 9:25:31 AM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
The description seems to mention individuals more than organizations so I wouldn't consider them misuse. Not without some changes to the definition. And I don't think there's a big difference between org and individual for this trope.

Also, some of your individual examples aren't Weiss for example is an organization, just a very small one.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
 8 Madrugada, Wed, 7th Sep '11 10:08:25 AM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
The description is written in terms of the character and character interactions, but the only clear, unambiguous statement of what the trope is is the part I quoted above: "This is where being a Spy From Weights And Measures comes in. This is where a covert group has a highly mundane front and it will sometimes be commented that their funding is hidden from the public within the low funding the front group officially receives."

It's not about secret headquarters (I don't believe it. We don't have something as basic as Secret Headquarters *Headdesk*) or cover stories (We don't have the supertrope for Cover Story, either.) No wonder it's being used as a catch-all. We don't have two of the most fundamental espionage/political thriller tropes. We've got a couple of more specific subtropes, but not the basic tropes.

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
 9 shimaspawn, Wed, 7th Sep '11 10:16:57 AM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
That would explain a lot. We're lacking supertropes. It seems we're getting a lot of "How did we miss this?" lately. And then you try to make them in YKTTW and people yell at you about them being People Sit on Chairs.

edited 7th Sep '11 10:23:43 AM by shimaspawn

Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
Dragon Writer
That, or they point to one of the subtropes and call it The Same But Less Specific.
Home Base is the supertrope for all bases. Elaborate Underground Base looks similar but includes the "underground" part which isn't a part of all "secret bases". Landmarking the Hidden Base refers to hidden bases but is about the landmark, not the base.

I think there is room for a Secret Base trope that is subtrope to Home Base, thouugh I would go with "Hidden Headquarters" or the AAA value, or Hidden Base for the prior use in Landmarking the Hidden Base.

 12 USAF713, Wed, 7th Sep '11 6:12:11 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Spies In Mundane Places?

I personally think the title is opaque; I guess I'm not getting the joke...
I am now known as Flyboy.
I was thinking not long ago that the "Weights and Measures" part was not only overly complicated but it doesn't immediately convey a government department. In fact it moreso suggests that a mundane organization HAS spies to enforce their mundane policies a la Scott Pilgrim and the Vegan Police.

We can go several different ways with a new name. Super Spy From Agriculture, Boring Cover Story (or Boring Cover Organization), DMV Spy Division...

Euo will do!
Oh, boy. We *don't* have 'Secret HQ' or 'Cover Story/ Cover ID' and then all their daughter tropes linked to them?!? surprised How did those whales of fish get away? And, they're just screaming 'ubertrope', too. Um - will help out... if I'm able to.

edited 8th Sep '11 5:26:49 PM by Euodiachloris

"When all else failed, she tried being reasonable." ~ Pratchett, Johnny and the Bomb
 15 Bobby G, Tue, 11th Oct '11 4:35:27 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
Bump. I'm not sure of the consensus here. Page action crowner?
 16 Spark 9, Wed, 12th Oct '11 1:30:57 AM from Castle Wulfenbach Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
[up] Sounds like a good idea.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
 17 Bobby G, Wed, 12th Oct '11 3:53:34 AM from the Silvery Tay
 18 Camacan, Mon, 5th Dec '11 8:50:49 PM from Australiatown
Calling the crowner in favor of splitting off other tropes that are currently mixed in to the article such as Secret Base and Cover Story from the article and renaming the trope.

<De-hat>

I'd suggest simply going with Covert Group With A Mundane Front, or similar.

edited 5th Dec '11 9:16:24 PM by Camacan

 19 shimaspawn, Thu, 19th Jan '12 6:21:12 AM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
How is the split coming?
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
Badly.grin What exactly should the other tropes be, and are there any volunteers to take them through YKTTW?

edited 11th Feb '12 7:19:32 AM by Myra

 
 21 shimaspawn, Sat, 11th Feb '12 10:41:48 AM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
 22 ccoa, Fri, 13th Apr '12 4:48:09 AM from the Sleeping Giant
With Mod Hat On
Unlocking by request, but clocking.
Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
 23 Septimus Heap, Fri, 13th Apr '12 5:16:19 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Quasar
Re-tagged the article.

 24 ccoa, Fri, 13th Apr '12 5:26:08 AM from the Sleeping Giant
With Mod Hat On
Crownered up.
Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
 25 ccoa, Mon, 14th May '12 7:29:44 AM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
Bumping for votes.
Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.

Alternative Titles: Spy From Weights And Measures
13th Apr '12 5:17:27 AM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the title will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative titles.
At issue:
Total posts: 34
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