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Administrivia / Square Peg, Round Trope

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Remember kiddies, make sure it's the right shape first.

"Not every peg needs to be crammed into some trope hole, even if it seems vaguely apropos."

Tropes Are Flexible, but they can only be stretched so far.

Sometimes an Entry Pimp forgets that Tropes Are Tools and tries to shove an example from their hated/favorite show into a trope where it doesn't fit. It may not be the fault of the contributor because the description of the trope left the emphasis on part B while part A is the important part. Or maybe the name of the trope was confusing. Or perhaps the original definition of the trope was something so specific or esoteric that new examples tend to be something related to, but not quite, the trope's original intent. But often it is because the contributor did not understand the standard and direction the trope was describing. This, of course, may result in Trope Decay.

Tropes have several pieces that come together to make it the trope that it is. There is the main point of what the trope is about, and then there are appendages that help define it among other tropes. An appendage may be the more proper location for an example if it doesn't align with the main body. For minute differences, consult the Canonical List of Subtle Trope Distinctions.


Sometimes it's simply not an example: It has some fleeting resemblance to the name or the examples but doesn't belong in the trope. At other times it's an aversion that isn't notable in any way — the series didn't use that trope, but it's neither common nor expected in that genre, so why would you point out that, say, The Bible doesn't have Space Pirates?

Another common sign that an example does not fit is if words like "arguably" or "to some" are in the 'example'. A trope is either there or not there, and if the word "arguably" is used, it's probably not. Also, words like "arguably" and "possibly" are natter bait. Don't write "arguable examples".

One of the most common causes is that the name simply doesn't fit and invites misuse, which is why we have the trope repair shop and Renamed Tropes. Sometimes users just misread names (such as thinking that Scarf of Asskicking requires only a scarf when it means scarf + ass-kicking).


In any case, if an example doesn't fit, don't add it. Someone else will just delete it anyway. The absolute worst case scenario is when the examples override the intentions of the description, which makes it a different trope altogether.

Feel free to start Trope Repair Shop threads for the tropes on this list to clean up misuse, or just clean it up yourself. Be warned, however, that many of them are Overdosed Tropes with thousands of wicks and/or Tropes of Legend, and that changing the definition and the description to the misused version may be easier than changing zillions of links and making every user on this wiki change their mental definition of the trope, as has happened with some tropes on this list like The Dragon (see its entry for more info).

Compare Not a Subversion, where an example is labeled a subversion when it's another form of playing, and Not a Deconstruction, where an example or work is taken for a deconstruction when it's used in some other way, usually just Darker and Edgier or subverted. The non-trope version of this is Commonly Misused Words. Contrast Tropes Are Flexible, when people only stick to a rigid definition of a trope and consider any variation to be Playing with a Trope rather than playing the trope straight.

See also Canonical List of Subtle Trope Distinctions for tropes that are easily confused with one another.

Since there are far too many individual examples to list, list examples of tropes that tend to get a lot of this in the subpages linked below.

Example subpages:

Alternative Title(s): Not An Example, Shoehorned Example, Not This Trope, Shoehorned, Round Peg Square Trope, Square Peg Round Trope