All works pages and most indexes are supposed to contain lists of tropes or work titles in alphabetical order. Standards for alphabetizing may vary; to make things easier to find, we want to keep ours consistent, so please use the rules below even if you're used to alphabetizing things differently somewhere else.
- Ignore articles at the beginnings of titles. That is, the words "a", "an", and "the". They're incredibly common and removing them doesn't usually change the meaning of the trope or title, so it's better just to pretend they're not there at all. For example, The Magic Goes Away should be alphabetized under M; A God Am I goes under G.
Do this even for foreign-language articles. The vast majority of all tropes and work pages with foreign-language titles are in either Japanese, French or Spanish. Japanese doesn't have any articles, so mostly this just means ignoring "le", "la", "les", and "l'" at the beginning of articles with French titles, or "el", "la", "los", and "las" at the beginning of articles with Spanish titles. For example, La Résistance goes under R.
Be careful, especially with "a", that it's being used as an article in the trope name. For example, A-Team Firing is about The A-Team, not just about "a team", so it should be alphabetized under A.
Also note that an article using a colloquial spelling, or purposefully misspelled, is still an article. For example, Da Chief and Da Editor don't go under D, but under C and E, respectively. Likewise, Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe or Ye Goode Olde Days don't go under Y.
If the only difference between the titles is an article at the beginning, then the title without the article goes first — so Arrival goes before The Arrival.
- Ignore spaces and punctuation. There are different English-language standards about what to do with spaces; this is the one that best corresponds with the way the TV Tropes internal database works. For example, I Was Never Here would go after Item Crafting, not before. Note that hyphens and apostrophes are treated as punctuation.
- Shorter entries alphabetize before longer entries containing them. Big Bad comes before Big Bad Ensemble.
- Treat special characters as though they were the corresponding ordinary character(s). Mostly this is so accented and non-accented versions of the same name get alphabetized in the same way. For example, Æon Flux should be alphabetized as though it were spelled "Aeon Flux".
- Alphabetize by custom titling rather than the database name of the trope. For example, 100% Completion should come before Alpha Bitch, since numbers are alphabetized before letters.
For that matter, note that titles starting with numbers are alphabetized digit by digit, not by their value. For example 2001: A Space Odyssey goes before 300 (because 2 goes before 3).
- On English articles, the names of persons should be alphabetized by surname, even names from languages that use different ordering. In case of identical surnames, the sorting is then done by first names. Mononyms and pseudonyms follow standard alphabetization rules.
Note that our automatic indexes don't know how to do this, and we aren't going to try to teach them.