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Ambiguous Name: Plot Coupon That Does Something get usage counts

At the risk of understatement, this is a TERRIBLE trope name.

The name itself is obviously an effort to distinguish itself from Plot Coupon by insinuating that an ordinary Plot Coupon must not do anything at all. Yet, the very first sentence of Plot Coupon describes, "A thing that a character needs to obtain in order to cash it in later for a Plot resolution", which, as broad and general as that concept is, still means an ordinary Plot Coupon is already "doing something".

That makes the distinction of a Plot Coupon That Does Something either redundant and unnecessary for This Wiki or flat out incorrect and sorely in need of fixing.

edited 10th Oct '13 2:06:48 PM by SeanMurrayI

Plot Coupon must be given away.

Plot Coupon That Does Something is used before it is given away.
Still new. Still learning. Asking questions and making mistakes.
Is there, like, misuse or something? Doesn't strike me as misleading.

edited 10th Oct '13 3:33:37 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
Used Plot Coupon?

Also, the description is horrible. I couldn't tell what it's about.

edited 10th Oct '13 4:17:51 PM by MikuruFan

Dragon Writer
Where videogames are concerned at least, the thing about a lot of Plot Coupons is that they are collected primarily for narrative reasons, doing otherwise bupkis for the player in actual game play.
There's some circumlocution in the opening line that makes the description difficult to read. I'll go ahead and pare that down. It would be nice if we could get rid of the eternally awkward "Bulleted List of Things This Trope Is Not" as well, and sort it out into the proper supertrope/subtrope/sister trope arrangement instead.

  • Gotta Catch 'Em All. I think it's a sibling trope (both subtropes of Plot Coupon) that can overlap, depending on whether the "All" that you've "Gotta Catch" has a gameplay function or not.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement is a subtrope, as noted on its page. Well, except that it doesn't seem to be specific to video games. I guess the actual subtrope in question is folded into a slightly broader trope that makes it not technically a subtrope? We get that sometimes.
  • I don't understand what the third bullet is talking about.

edited 10th Oct '13 6:44:10 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
 7 Another Duck, Thu, 10th Oct '13 6:28:17 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
I think a bunch of the examples on the page aren't Plot Coupons. Things like the Draw ability in FFVIII and Shanoa's glyph ability in Ecclesia. Those are Gameplay and Story Integration, but not Plot Coupon.
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I was actually wondering why Gameplay and Story Integration wasn't mentioned in the description already. It's certainly not the same thing (it's the inverse of Gameplay and Story Segregation; it's concerned with flavor rather than just plot), but the difference needs to be delineated here.

Actually, is that what the third bullet is trying to talk about?

edited 10th Oct '13 6:44:57 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
 9 Another Duck, Thu, 10th Oct '13 6:42:01 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
It is a subtrope of Gameplay and Story Integration, though that's since been changed to Sliding Scale of Gameplay and Story Integration.

The third seems to just speak about things that affect the plot in general, like setting. I'm not sure what it describes in the last sentence, though.

This trope is kind of between the above mentioned one, and Sword of Plot Advancement, which seems to be about weapons that act as act-changers in particular.

edited 10th Oct '13 6:43:59 PM by AnotherDuck

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Plot Coupon must be given away.

Plot Coupon That Does Something is used before it is given away.

Even video gamey Plot Coupons as basic as keys and keycards are still "used" before being removed from a character inventory, anyway, so I'm not entirely sure how this is very distinguishable.

Is what you mean to say that certain Plot Coupons are used for some other plot-irrelevant task before finally being used as a traditional Plot Coupon? Even then, the trope name is still terrible because, by definition, even an ordinary Plot Coupon is still "doing something", which means Plot Coupon That Does Something isn't conveying a more specific distinction.

edited 11th Oct '13 6:53:05 AM by SeanMurrayI

No, a Plot Coupon That Does Something can be used all the time, not just on a plot-related point, like the keys. Yes, keys to open doors are plot, not plot-irrelevant.
Still new. Still learning. Asking questions and making mistakes.
But then is something like that even a Plot Coupon in the first place?

How can this concept (assuming we really can even wrap our heads around one, seeing that other people here already have difficulty understanding the description) be qualified or described in any way through the definition of Plot Coupon (by virtue of the trope appearing in this article's title) if it is describing something that doesn't even sound at all comparable to a Plot Coupon, anyway? A video game character ability or item that can be used "all the time" doesn't sound like much of anything that is necessarily "cashed in" for any sort of a plot resolution, minor or major, like a typical Plot Coupon. This explanation only raises more questions as to why this is even being qualified by Plot Coupon when it isn't sounding anything like one.

It's already been noted by, at least, one person that many of the examples this article has accumulated don't even seem remotely like Plot Coupons, anyway.

And this still doesn't excuse the main point that the name Plot Coupon That Does Something doesn't do anything to distinguish itself from Plot Coupon when, by definition, a Plot Coupon already "does something".

edited 11th Oct '13 10:41:42 AM by SeanMurrayI

A Plot Coupon that does nothing would be like the Warden's Teeth in Pokémon. You need to give them to the warden of the Safari Zone in order to progress the story. That's all they're for.

A Plot Coupon that does something would be like the Pokéflute. You need it to wake up Snorlax to get him out of the way. However, its ability to wake up sleeping Pokémon also works in battle if your Pokémon is hit by Sleep Powder or something.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
A Plot Coupon that does nothing would be like the Warden's Teeth in Pokémon. You need to give them to the warden of the Safari Zone in order to progress the story. That's all they're for.

Yet "progressing the story" isn't "nothing". It's something. It's a narrative function, and this is significant. Seriously, you just described right here a typical Plot Coupon (by your own estimation) doing something.

What appears to be described here in your own words seems it should more accurately called, Plot Coupon That Does Something More Than What An Oridinary Plot Coupon Does Already, which, again, means that Plot Coupon That Does Something is still on its own a terrible title that doesn't already differentiate itself from general Plot Coupons, and with a title as clunky and confusing as this one (and recognizing what it really should be, if it was actually understandable, like what I just summarized), I really question why anybody would want to keep it.

edited 11th Oct '13 3:06:03 PM by SeanMurrayI

 15 Septimus Heap, Fri, 11th Oct '13 2:56:56 PM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
Plot Coupon That Does Something is a bad title, I agree with that notion.

You've identified the difference between a Plot Coupon and a MacGuffin, congrats! [tup]
Still new. Still learning. Asking questions and making mistakes.
A Plot Coupon That Does Something does something other than merely advance the plot. An ordinary Plot Coupon does "nothing" because it's, like, a MacGuffin whose actual function is arbitrary.

This is a usage of the term that is commonly seen and widely accepted. For example, the phrase "Don't just stand there, do something!" isn't considered confusing, even though "standing there" (and watching, thinking, breathing, etc.) is technically something.

edited 11th Oct '13 4:09:03 PM by troacctid

Rhymes with "Protracted."
Dragon Writer
Yet "progressing the story" isn't "nothing". It's something. It's a narrative function, and this is significant.
For a videogame, not so much. A typical Plot Coupon in a videogame has no effect on game play beyond allowing you to progress in the game's narrative. Plot Coupon That Does Something is something with gameplay uses outside of its narrative function. Which is also what makes it (unlike Plot Coupon in general) videogame specific. Take Link's Master Sword from The Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past: Aside from being THE item you need to defeat evil (narrative function), it's obviously stronger than your starting sword, plus it shoots energy beams at full HP (gameplay functions).

Still, PCTDS is a bad, bad name for it.

edited 11th Oct '13 4:26:52 PM by Stratadrake

Whether the object does something or not, the name and description are really bad and need to be changed.

 20 nrjxll, Fri, 11th Oct '13 4:36:28 PM Relationship Status: Not war
This is poorly written and named, but I'd definitely say it's a trope.

 21 Another Duck, Fri, 11th Oct '13 5:05:23 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
What I gather from the discussion is that it's the That Does Something part of the name that's a problem, but looking at the actual misuse, it's the Plot Coupon part of the name people fail to get. And by fail I mean failing to understand what a Plot Coupon actually is, so I don't think the name is the problem here. Unless you want to rename Plot Coupon as well.
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[up]I've already argued for both, really. The That Does Something part of the name is vague and non-descriptive, and the Plot Coupon part is largely irrelevant. The problem is the this page, and this title (and a confusing main description, to boot). It's not partly problematic; it's 'entirely'' wrong.

edited 11th Oct '13 7:47:13 PM by SeanMurrayI

Everything You Wanted to Know About Changing Names
If you think a name is unclear, remember that you are required to make substantial arguments and provide substantial evidence that the name is really unclear to actual readers, and that this lack of clarity exists outside your imagination. There are all sorts of ways to do this; you can use a Wick Check, an Inbound Check, Google result analysis or a dictionary, to name a few. Just saying "this is totally unclear" is not an argument in and of itself.
About half of us agree, and the other half don't. Something more substantial than "gut feeling" would be a good idea. Does a wick check show significant misuse?
Still new. Still learning. Asking questions and making mistakes.
"Does something" is Buffy Speak/Word Cruft and should be expelled from titles completely. It really does not need a wick check. The name is permanently useless, no matter what the page is actually describing.

There are names that are clear on the subject. There are names that could be ambiguous, but have high potential to be used correctly. And then there are names that are so confused and meaningless that anybody who hasn't read the page has the slightest idea what it is describing. This is one of them.

EDIT: Someone fixed the description. Thank you; it is much clearer now.

Hm... Functional Mac Guffin?

edited 11th Oct '13 8:04:46 PM by MikuruFan

A wick check with under 20% misuse would show, instead, that the name has been quite clear, and doesn't need changing.

edit: A Plot Coupon is a Functional Mac Guffin

edited 11th Oct '13 8:05:41 PM by crazysamaritan

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