A common mistake made by many well-intentioned tropers is to often use the words "recent", "newest", "latest", "as of now" or something synonymous to describe something within their examples or article (trope or work pages) descriptions. This is usually after some change that shakes the foundation of the work or character. In their zeal, the troper will excitedly state that this is a very recent development, cluing other tropers that the new status is going on right this very minute.
As for instance:
- "In the latest issue of Superman..."
- "The Five-Man Band has recently gotten a new member..."
- "The latest law in California has made it illegal for yuri fans to..."
- "The Doctor just finished a mission to protect..."
- "Rumors about the new The Legend of Zelda game are circulating that..."
- "This movie/series/book came out X years ago..."
- "Right now, this movie is in production..."
- "Although Anyone Can Die in this series, for now, The Protagonist is alive."
- "X is becoming increasingly common in this series..."
This, while understandable, is unfortunately not a good practice.
As a form of fan myopia, this practice assumes that everyone who reads this will automatically know of this information. There are still some examples which describe films, episodes, issues, or volumes from two or more years ago as "recent", but if you're not a fan of said work, how will you know whether it's true or not? For all the uninitiated person would know, Captain America "recently" died or Burn Notice is still the "hottest new show on USA Network".note
It also assumes everyone gets the work at the same time. People living in a different country than the one a work is released in sometimes have to wait a number of days, months, or years for that work to become legally available where they live. Some tropers will even wait until a series has either established itself, been cancelled, or finished up its story to dig into it on an archive binge. Thus, what you may consider to be recent, may already be well known to someone else. Another problem is that "recent" is relative; if a work is centuries old, an alteration made as long ago as 1950 could technically be counted as "recent", but if the work has only been around since the 1940s, an alteration from 1950 will seem much less "recent" by comparison. It only creates more trouble for other tropers when they have to remove mentions of the word "recent" after it isn't recent anymore. Or worse, the next troper will add an indented bullet point adding an even more recent update for the situation. Or even worse, the troper will simply call the work "the latest installment" with no mention of its actual name, making it almost impossible to rewrite the example without having knowledge about the work.
If you're talking about a series that is currently in publication, don't say "the most recent episode/issue..." or "last week...". Instead, use the name or number of the segment, because that is less likely to change. If you don't know the name or number, or you're talking about something other than a series with episode titles/numbers, and there isn't one, give an approximate date ("In June of 2008", "during the Spring 2017 New York Fashion Week", or "In the fifth season finale"), or there's bound to be a wiki that can help. If you still can't find anything, try and pretend that every work, ever, is published right now, at the exact same time, in the present. Don't actually put this in your edits, of course, but use it to help you refrain from slipping in a "recent" without noticing. When talking about yet-to-be-released works or installments of series, refer to the source of the information (such as a trailer or interview or promotion) rather than talk about what hasn't happened yet. That way, even if something is changed, the entries are still accurate. Also, this page's rule doesn't include terms like "the previous episode" or "later in the series" because referring to the order of publication won't ever make your edit dated. Also be wary of saying what will happen next in the series when you see promos, like "Next week X character will return", or "X character dies" - even seasoned Tropers are hoodwinked by Never Trust a Trailer.
So for everyone's sake, please avoid using the word "recent" or anything synonymous in writing your examples. Although TV Tropes is open for anyone to edit, it should not be required for anyone to come behind another troper and fix their entry, which is inevitable with any edit that dates itself.
A related phenomenon can occur when linking to websites with constantly changing content, such as webcomics, news sites or blogs. Make sure the URL actually points to the specific item you're referring to, not to the site's main page. Many sites like this have, somewhere, a "link this page" button; look for it.note
Related to Conversation in the Main Page, because speaking as if the reader is every bit as up to date and excited about the work as you are is a kind of conversation.
While Timestamps Are Your Friends on forums, they aren't present on wiki pages, so they're of no help there.
No examples, please. Especially no "recent" ones.