Main What If Discussion

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05:25:24 PM Apr 24th 2017
edited by LongLiveHumour
Should I split Fanworks into its own page? I'm sorting the examples and it's hella long (5+ pages in Libreoffice) eta: Sandbox.Fanworks What If
08:16:27 AM Aug 19th 2014
Re cut: That was a copypaste error; I left the namespace out. Please don't cut this article.
09:07:42 AM Apr 9th 2014
Considering that the trope is often misused (a great part of the examples are actually Alternate History) and that outside Tvtropes What If? and Alternate History are the same thing, should this trope be renamed to something less ambiguous ? (like "In-Universe Alternate History")
09:54:48 AM Apr 9th 2014
Eh, without some numerical evidence of misuse there prolly won't be a rename - it has lots of wicks.
06:04:00 AM Jan 2nd 2016
edited by Psychopompos007
Here we go:

Anime and Manga

Audio Drama
  • The only example is correct.

Card Games
  • The only example is correct.

Comic Books
  • Each one is correct (6 examples). NB: this figure counts the number of series, not each of the issues detailed in the entries themselves.

Fan Works
  • Each one is correct (52 examples).


  • Animorphs: correct.
  • If: Worlds of Science Fiction: too vague to be relevant.
  • Literature/Temeraire: Alternate History.
  • The Tripods: Alternate History. The entry seems quite ambiguous at first. While the series premise is basically "The War of the Worlds with a Martian victory", The Tripods is a Spiritual Successor instead of a proper What If? story derived from The War of the Worlds.
  • 1632: Alternate History.
  • Trail of Glory: Alternate History.
  • Worldwar: Alternate History.
  • Literature/Timeline191: Alternate History.
  • The Guns of the South: Alternate History.
  • José Saramago: totally irrelevant.
  • What If? historical essays: Alternate History.
  • The Iron Man 2 novelization: correct.
  • Wolfish Nature: Alternate History.
  • The Indians Won: Alternate History.
  • The "WW2 Uchrony genre": Alternate History.

Live Action TV

  • Both examples are correct.


Newspaper Comics
  • The only example is correct.

  • The only example is correct.

Tabletop Games
  • The only example is correct.

Video Games

Web Comics
  • The only example is correct.

Web Originals
  • Both examples are basically a variant of Alternate History, but about sports instead of historical events.

Western Animation

  • Correct uses of the trope : 130
  • Misuses of the trope : 39
  • Entries that are too vague or ambiguous to be sorted: 3

Note that more than a third of the correct uses come form the Fan Works section, and each of the listed fanfics lists the trope's definition. Since this trope is, by nature, almost impossible to misuse when refering to fanworks (by its very nature: Alternate History + already existing universe = proper What If? sticking to the trope's definition), the trope is actually more misused than those very stats seem to imply. On the other hand, novels and videogames misuse this trope the most.

Most of misuses are a confusion with Alternate History (predictible, since Alternate History and What are exactly the same thing out This Very Wiki). Some others are just wrong, usually with "the basic premise of the work could be summarized by a phrase starting with the trope's name".

I'm wondering if someone could add a warning on the page (the kind which is hidden and only appears in the page's source code, with lines introduced by %% symbols), but I'm unsure whether it's a moderator-only prerogative or not.

I prefer letting the page untouched for the moment, to allow other contributors to go read the erroneous entries without having to navigate in the archives-stored versions.
04:35:35 PM Apr 24th 2017
edited by LongLiveHumour
"Some others are just wrong, usually with "the basic premise of the work could be summarized by a phrase starting with the trope's name"."

I've been sorting the fanfic examples, and a lot of them are this, especially the crossovers. By its very definition, almost any fanfic AU/AR can fit in this trope. Perhaps we need a narrower definition?
Ghoul Instructor Naruto asks "What if Naruto was the gym teacher at Grimwood Academy instead of Shaggy?"
GarfBob SquareField: What if Spongebob Squarepants ended up at a pet shop and was brought by Jon Arbuckle?
Fluttershy and the Iron Giant: what if The Iron Giant landed in Equestria and befriended Fluttershy?

11:13:53 PM Jan 7th 2013
We need a clearer image on the page. This is a mild JAFAAC because I can't read the speech bubbles in the image and I can't tell how it relates to the trope. Made if someone just finds a bigger version?
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