The official TV Tropes trope-naming mantra, signature line of the former tropes webmaster Fast Eddie, and laconic guidelines of Naming a Trope. These are to trope names much as Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics are to Artificial Intelligence:
- The name of a trope must be clear, so that readers can intuitively figure out the definition at a glance;
- The name of a trope should be concise, so long as concision does not conflict with clarity, defined above;
- The name of a trope should aim for witty, provided it does not conflict with either of the first two.
The specific order of these items is very important: Names that fail in clarity will attract misuse more often than names which are overly long (but clear), or so clinically devoid of humor that it should be a crime. It's no mere hyperbole, either, but a proven fact of our Trope Repair Shop — renames are proposed (and evaluated) on the grounds of active misuse or misleading titles more often than any other criterion.
The same guidelines apply to trope examples.
- An example should clearly illustrate how it is an example of the trope. Simply mentioning the trope is not enough, nor is linking offsite and calling it a day. When writing an example, imagine that your audience is familiar with neither the work nor the trope.
- An example should be as concise as possible, so as not to look like a Wall of Text. A clear sign that you're violating this guideline is when an example starts justifying itself or heading off into tangents.
- An example should be witty, written in an entertaining and breezy style. This doesn't mean that it should be filled with in-jokes and irrelevant details, but the wiki is best when it's enjoyable to read.
Again, the specific order is important. If being funny makes the example unreadable, then stop and get to the point. If an example takes so much text to explain that it takes over the page, ask yourself if it's really an example, or if all those details are really necessary. Above all, an example must be understandable.