This is sort of a shared repair effort for The Not Secret
and Open Secret
because it's kind of hard to address one without addressing the other, and much of the misuse is confusing one for the other. Not helping the problem is the fact that the descriptions of these two tropes disagree on precisely what the difference is.
Basically, as I see it, there are three concepts between the two tropes, and a bit of confusion as to which idea is which trope:
First there is a situation where a character has a secret that they decide to reveal for whatever reason. Upon the reveal, both they and the audience discover that everyone already knew the secret. This is basically the current description of The Not Secret
, although it's not quite as clear as it could be due to the Example as a Thesis
Second of all, there is a situation where a character has a secret that they clearly aren't very good at keeping. Everyone knows the secret, and it's clear to the audience that everyone knows the secret. However, the secret keeper treats it like a real secret. This is usually done to show that the character is a bit out of touch. This is the current definition of Open Secret
, although there are a number of examples of this case on The Not Secret
. In addition, The Not Secret
gives a definition of Open Secret
that is different from this.
The third case is a situation where something is stated to be a secret, but everyone knows it, and the secret keepers are fully aware that everyone knows it. There can be a number of reasons for this, be it outdated laws, or whatever. The description for The Not Secret
claims that this is the definition of Open Secret
, although Open Secret
claims otherwise. There are examples of this case on both pages, including the page image for The Not Secret
I think that part of the confusion between the two is due to unclear names. What I propose is to re-write the description of The Not Secret
to make clear that it is the first case I described while renaming it to something more indicative like Everyone Already Knew The Secret
. I also propose renaming Open Secret
to something like Heavily Leaked Secret
, and better making clear that it is about the second case I described. Finally I would like to send a new trope through YKTTW
named Secret In Name Only
, or something similar, about the third case I described.