Misused: Arc Words

Deadlock Clock: 26th Oct 2013 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [72]
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1 32_Footsteps20th Jun 2012 07:42:45 AM from Just north of Arkham , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Think of the mooks!
I've probably been guilty of misusing this one in the past - bottom line is, I think it's much more narrow than it first appears.

The trope description says that it isn't just about a certain word or phrase that gets repeated. It's specifically when said word or phrase without context that is likely explained near the end. The trope description even notes that it is not a Catch-Phrase or Running Gag.

The problem is that much of the examples on the page itself are drifting from that. We have the obligatory uses of catchphrases (yes, Gurren Lagann and the standard quote of indignation is listed), a repeated word that is not at all mysterious as to what it means ("Rise" from Blackest Night, which is blatantly obvious as to its meaning almost immediately), and even vague blanket statements that are only tangentially related (the note about Bokononist statements in Cat's Cradle). I admittedly haven't gone into detail about how it's used on other pages, but my anecdotal experience is that it's just as misused outside of the page itself.

I'm not sure what would be the appropriate action, to be honest. Is this too broad of a name for what is actually a more narrow trope? Is this just simple misuse that ought to be cleaned up? Is the definition too narrow for what the concept should be? I'm kind of at a loss as to this page.
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
I only need to glance at the page to conclude that yes, there is significant misuse.

I think the description is clear enough, and I don't think a redefinition is the way to go.

Perhaps renaming it to something like Unexplained Arc Words or Enigmatic Arc Words would work better?
The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
3 Shrikesnest20th Jun 2012 11:25:02 AM from my nest of thorns , Relationship Status: Naked on a bearskin rug, playing the saxophone
Small, vicious
I concur. A rename could only help, and I think Enigmatic Arc Words is the stronger of the two suggestions. There's going to need to be quite a bit of cleanup on works pages for this one, too. I've seen this misused to death by people who've probably never even read the core page.
"Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight,
but Roaring Bill (who killed him) thought it right."
- Hillaire Belloc, The Pacifist
4 32_Footsteps20th Jun 2012 11:35:14 AM from Just north of Arkham , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Think of the mooks!
Enigmatic Arc Words would be better of the two, since they are generally explained eventually... just not until the end of the arc in question.

The reason I subtly suggested a Trope Transplant is because I think the problem is that folks see the phrase "Arc Words" and think it simply means a word or phrase that appear in an overaching fashion that present a thematic element to the piece in question. I don't know if we have such a trope (I know, take that to Lost and Found), and such a trope would probably cover all of the misuse this current one has. If said trope doesn't exist, I think the logical move would be to use Arc Words for the name of the trope covering said overaching thematic phrase and use Enigmatic Arc Words for what the current description describes.

That said, I'm not totally certain that'd be the best option in this case.

edited 20th Jun '12 11:35:37 AM by 32_Footsteps

Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
Wow, I had no idea that's what Arc Words meant. I've seen misuse all over the place.
Well, to have an Arc Catch Phrase trope, which is what Arc Words is often being misused as, would create a supertrope to Enigmatic Arc Words. I don't see an inherent problem with that.

I also checked out Arc Number and Arc Symbol to see if they have the same problem. Arc Number does, but not Arc Symbol, which seems to be more correctly used.
The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
Considering the massive levels of misuse, it would probably be far easier to transplant the narrower definition over to a new name, and keep the old name as the supertrope.
[up]Isn't that just encouraging misuse? And many of the examples aren't even catchphrases, e.g.:
  • Snow Crash has, well "Snow Crash," a phrase which gets dropped several times in several different contexts before finally getting elaborated on.

The point of such a transplant is to turn the incorrect use into correct use, so we don't have to go and manually fix several thousand wicks, not to mention the near-impossibility of changing the way the troper hive mind views the trope.
A girl and her demon cat
I think a trope transplant is the way to go. The current description doesn't align at all with the way it's used.
Sometimes seen with a "526" after my name.
11 32_Footsteps22nd Jun 2012 07:21:12 AM from Just north of Arkham , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Think of the mooks!
Well, so far, nobody in Lost and Found seems to have come up with a trope with the broad meaning that people have been using Arc Words for - I do believe that Missing Supertrope Syndrome has struck again.

This thread seems to be moving a bit slowly - I wonder if it's because it seems pretty cut-and-dried. Regardless, would a Page Action Crowner be appropriate at this time?
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
So the proposal is that Arc Words stays, but is redefined as simply "a recurring phrase used many times during the story arc, possibly with shifting meaning or context" (like "RISE" or "Who the hell do you think I am?!"), and then Enigmatic Arc Words takes over the "you keep hearing it but it doesn't mean anything until the end" (like "Bad Wolf" or "Rosebud")?
13 Clarste22nd Jun 2012 07:52:30 AM , Relationship Status: Non-Canon
One Winged Egret
Sounds fine to me, but how do we distinguish the supertrope Arc Words from a mere Catch-Phrase? Personally I feel there is a distinction, but we need to put it words to prevent future misuse (or is it already misused for this?).
To borrow the meaning of leitwort (mentioned in the description): "The repeated use of a phrase in order to highlight a theme within a text."

Catch-phrases, on the other hand, are usually said by a single character, and used either as a gag or for the sake of characterization.
15 32_Footsteps22nd Jun 2012 08:35:35 AM from Just north of Arkham , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Think of the mooks!
@14 nails it, I believe. Also, I think a Catch-Phrase is a subtrope, since it does generally present a thematic element for the piece. It's just usually specific to a single character or group.
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
Catch-Phrase is a pre-existing term with a slightly different meaning. (It's probably in the dictionary, although I haven't checked.)

edited 22nd Jun '12 4:57:16 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
Welcome, traveller, welcome to Omsk
I support a trope transplant. I don't think I've ever seen this trope used correctly according to the current definition.
It does not matter who I am. What matters is, who will you become? - motto of Omsk Bird
A girl and her demon cat
As was alluded to in Lost And Found, the new supertrope would be similar to Meaningful Echo, the difference seeming to be that the supertrope covers phrases that are used more than twice.
Sometimes seen with a "526" after my name.
19 32_Footsteps25th Jun 2012 09:27:32 AM from Just north of Arkham , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Think of the mooks!
It also would cover cases where the phrase in question always was meaningful. If you note Meaningful Echo, the first version of the phrase is specifically not meaningful.
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
20 ccoa9th Aug 2012 07:16:19 AM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
Given the amount of misuse here, I'm going to bump rather than clock this. This really could use action.

I concur with a trope transplant. Let's get a crowner and make it official.
Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
21 SeptimusHeap9th Aug 2012 08:24:07 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Would Chekhov's Phrase make a good name for the transplanted trope?
22 dasuberkaiser2nd Sep 2012 04:13:02 PM from Nowheresville, Middle Nowhereistan
A professional at being ignored.
I think the difference between Arc Words and a Catchphrase is that a Catchphrase is something that one person likes to say, while Arc Words appear all throughout the story. They don't have to be ambiguous or enigmatic or even have a single definable source. Personally, I like the page just the way it is, without all the nitpicking or pointless overorganization.
Dragon Writer
Yes, a Catch-Phrase is generally unique to one character and that is not lumpable with a word/phrase that has particular meaning to a given Story Arc.
[up][up]That trope is called Sharephrase.
25 Xtifr4th Sep 2012 01:20:10 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
Hmm, so as long as we're discussing this trope, I have a question about a possible example. Can it be really long? As long as it meets all the other criteria?

In Creatures of Light and Darkness, there are three short paragraphs that are repeated several times throughout the book (at least six, maybe more). At one point, there is even a full chapter that consists of nothing but these three paragraphs. You have no idea what they mean until near the end.

"...An eunuch priest of the highest caste sets tapers before a pair of old shoes.

"...The dog worries the dirty glove which hath seen many better centuries.

"...The blind Norns strike a tiny silver anvil with fingers that are mallets. Upon the metal lies a length of blue light."

Now, that seems really long for what the trope describes (a word or phrase), but as I say, it meet every other criterion. Is it an example?

edited 4th Sep '12 1:21:54 AM by Xtifr

Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.

Alternative Titles: Arc Words
8th Jun '13 3:28:22 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:
Previous crowner decided to repurpose Arc Words into the literal meaning it was misused for and to transplant the current trope to a new name. This crowner is for deciding which name to use for the current trope.

Total posts: 72
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