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Ambiguous Name: Hopeless War
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Ambiguous Name: Hopeless War get usage counts

Hopeless War is specifically about a war between humanity and some sort of non-human threat to the existence of humanity.

However, it appears that many people have simply taken the name at face value. At present, there is a huge Real Life section on the page, and even in the quotes. The current laconic also does not reflect the requirement that it be a human vs. nonhuman war.

The problem of the Real Life section can and will be fixed by the thread we have for that purpose. However, I consider it evidence that the name is causing so much confusion that even on the trope page itself, there is widespread misuse. I have also seen a few examples in the fiction sections of, for example, wars between America and Mexico.

I have not yet done a wick check, because I'm trying to squeeze this thread in during a break time at work. However, if people want me to look at off-page misuse as well I can try to do that when I get home.

My recommendation:

At a minimum: Send this to the Short Term Projects forum for misuse cleanup. Rewrite the Laconic.

At a maximum: Rename.

I would not suggest redefining it to meet the misuse, unless we split off a trope with a new name to cover the current definition involving war between humans and non-humans.

Edit PS: Hopeless War For Human Survival might be a good name to cover the whole "Humanity is on the brink of destruction" aspect of the trope. It doesn't say everything, but can't do that without making it a laconic rather than a title.

edited 2nd Aug '13 7:06:41 AM by Catbert

 2 Septimus Heap, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 7:37:30 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
A Wizard boy
Seems like there is some misuse for Forever War as well.

 3 desdendelle, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 9:11:50 AM from /dev/null Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
There's been a consensus in the RL section thread that the name issue for this trope will take priority over its RL section.
[17:27:48] Plummet: Stop being British damn you.
A point was raised in the other thread that making this about humans vs. non-humans and excluding human to human conflicts seems like a "tacked on" qualifier.

Actually I think this qualifier is central. It seems to me that he heart of the trope is about how humanity as a species is fighting for survival, and indeed may even be on the brink of extinction.

This is rather different from, say, the consequences of Mexico loosing a war against the United States. Even if Mexico looses, humanity as a whole will still be around, and indeed most Mexicans will still be around. Germany lost two world wars, but the German people continue to thrive to this day. Yet the German defeat is incorrectly listed on the page.

The trope was also clearly written to be in the context of Speculative Fiction. I do think you can make the argument that humans vs. robots/aliens/monsters is a recuring and very specific plot device for Speculative Fiction. The "Hopeless" part comes in stories where humanity has been pushed to the brink of defeat, or at best a stalemate where a small portion of humanity has managed to survive in a refuge, but has no apparent hope of ever reversing the tide and defeating the enemy.

Also, if we accomandate the misuse by making this overly general, pretty much every war ever fought where there was a clear victor and a clear looser was a hopeless war at one point, for the loosing side. It would be so broad as to be meaningless.

edited 2nd Aug '13 9:33:36 AM by Catbert

 5 Another Duck, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 9:30:41 AM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
Well, there are basically two points to the trope. It's against non-humans, and it's a war with no hope of winning. What makes those two together a trope that they aren't separated?
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 6 Septimus Heap, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 9:34:24 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
A Wizard boy
Are there any "human to human" scenarios of a "hopeless war"?

[up][up]In response to Another Duck: The fact that the survival of the entire human race is at stake.

In response to Septimus, I'm going to repeat: If we accomandate the misuse by making this overly general, pretty much every war ever fought where there was a clear victor and a clear looser was a hopeless war at one point, for the loosing side. It would be so broad as to be meaningless.

Also, in no war between humans has the survival of the entire human race been threatened by something external to humans.

edited 2nd Aug '13 9:38:53 AM by Catbert

Edit: Sorry for double post.

edited 2nd Aug '13 9:38:15 AM by Catbert

 9 Septimus Heap, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 9:39:29 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
A Wizard boy
I think that the issue is we have a trope here that is a compound of two different tropes: Literal Hopeless War and War Of Survival Against Nonhuman Take Over (or whatever). Both of those are tropeworthy and the compound too (I suspect the second trope exists already), but the compound one is misused for the literal Hopeless War trope.

 10 Septimus Heap, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 9:47:20 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
A Wizard boy
Dpo because I didn't see Catbert's second post.

"general, pretty much every war ever fought where there was a clear victor and a clear looser was a hopeless war at one point, for the loosing side. It would be so broad as to be meaningless."

I am not buying that. That would be a trope for the situation of someone being in a hopeless war.

Also, the survival of the human race being threatened is a completely different concept than a war being hopeless.

Well, originally I said I'd be open to a split between a simple Hopeless War and the current defintion, however I was hesitant to suggest that because I couldn't think of a way of limiting Hopeless War in such a way as to be useful.

I now agree that you could split between a Hopeless War and War For Human Surivival with the following caveats.

The former should be limited to situations where the main protaganists are fighting a hopeless war, because otherwise you run into the problem I mentioned about nearly every war being hopeless for the looser at some point.

The latter should be limited to situations where human survival is genuinely threatened, and not just any humans vs. non-humans situations. Big difference between humans beating up on a bunch of primitive aliens as part of human imperialist expansinism, and humans being pushed to the brink of extinction by Clyons or Zombies or whatever.

Incidently, the consequence would still be getting rid of the Real Life section of Hopeless War, because Real Life does not have protagonists. One side's hopeless war is another side's glorious victory.

edited 2nd Aug '13 10:16:54 AM by Catbert

 12 desdendelle, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 10:19:57 AM from /dev/null Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
Addendum to that: War For Human Survival should probably be NRELP as well, because that's kinda not possible IRL right now.
[17:27:48] Plummet: Stop being British damn you.
 13 Septimus Heap, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 10:25:39 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
A Wizard boy
Pretty much agree with ^^ (more opinions are encouraged), although I am not convinced that "nearly every war being hopeless for the looser at some point." would be problematic if listed as long as it's elaborated of how the hopelessness of the war affects the participants.

^I have no issues with that.

edited 2nd Aug '13 10:26:12 AM by SeptimusHeap

What would people see as the distinction between Forever War and a redefined Hopeless War?

 15 desdendelle, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 10:44:34 AM from /dev/null Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
Forever War is forever?
[17:27:48] Plummet: Stop being British damn you.
Forever War gives me the impression that the war lasts an unusually long time.

 17 Septimus Heap, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 10:50:02 AM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
A Wizard boy
Forever War's description talks a bit about the cause of conflict being irresolvable.

One consideration in Hopeless War is what the "hope" is about. Hope in victory? Hope in not being defeated? The latter would be hard to fit together with Forever War.

 18 Another Duck, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 12:30:06 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
Forever War is a war that's gone on so long people don't even know why they started.

What of a situation where there are no humans, like a fantasy world where the protagonist race is fighting some monsters taking over?
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 19 Septimus Heap, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 12:32:30 PM from Zurich, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
A Wizard boy
There is no reason to limit it to humans. I would just use "protagonist species".

 20 Another Duck, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 2:55:46 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
So basically a hopeles war for survival? Now, beings of the same species/race don't usually exterminate one another, but would that be excluded? Such as if the Jews would've been in a hopeless war with the Nazis. That's an extermination threat, and not just a hopeless war.
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For starters, Jews as such were never at war with Nazis. Germany, under the control of the Nazis, went to war with various countries, which happened to contain Jews along with many other ethnicity, and as a sideshow to the war they launched a genocide campaign against Jews in their own country and in conquered countries. But I wouldn't consider death camps war. For the most parts the Jews as a category never really fought back. At any rate Final Solution better describes that situation.

I really do think that there is something distinct about the rather common plot device of having all of humanity nearly being wiped out by some sort of Speculative Fiction style threat. For one thing it forms the basis of so many Post Apocalyptic settings, ranging from Reign of Fire with dragons to the Matrix movies with living machines.

edited 2nd Aug '13 5:15:57 PM by Catbert

 22 Another Duck, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 6:48:37 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: Chocolate!
No, the other one.
You missed an "if".
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 23 Native Jovian, Fri, 2nd Aug '13 10:41:19 PM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
I don't think that Hopeless War needs to be about humans vs nonhumans specifically — if a trope accrues a bunch of examples that consistently meet a definition that doesn't match the one on the trope page, then that's usually a sign that the trope page should be changed to match the usage, not the other way around.

That said, I would also say that it should only count wars where the consequences for losing are extreme. If losing the war means that your people are going to be exterminated or enslaved, and you're losing, then that's a Hopeless War. If losing means that you have to give up some disputed territory or sign unfavorable peace terms, then that wouldn't count. Basically "hopeless" should refer to after the war, not just refer to the war itself.
 24 Spark 9, Sat, 3rd Aug '13 2:11:06 AM from Castle Wulfenbach Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
On grounds of Tropes Are Not Narrow, I think it's quite possible to draw parallels between, or see the same trope in, a human/alien war as in the European invasion of America, or perhaps the human extermination squad that kicks off Watership Down.

Incidentally, Forever War may need a rename thread at some point, because it's also the name of a work (which is markedly not an example of the trope).
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 25 Santos L Halper, Fri, 30th Aug '13 11:08:12 PM from The Canterlot of the North
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Page Action: Hopeless War
6th Oct '13 3:41:53 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
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