"Trope Launch Pad", usually abbreviated to TLP, and formerly known as "You know, that thing where..." or YKTTW, is used for spit-balling new tropes.
TLP is a tool that is here to help make a good article. It will help you catch errors before they are made, give you a chance at a wider perspective, determine if your suggestion already has a page here, and if all goes well get some good examples and perhaps a catchy name for the trope. That's it!
Keep in mind that Works pages, for a new show, film, anime, comic, what have you, don't need to go through TLP. Just go ahead and make those, but feel free to use the TLP if you think you need help.
Don't use the TLP to propose new Administrivia pages. If you believe there is the need of another one, ask the mods, or take it to the Wiki Talk.
There are three main stages to the TLP process, each of which is explained in more depth below:
- Creating the TLP, in which a single contributor proposes a new trope with a brief writeup and invites the comments of everyone else.
- The reply stage, where the various tropers add suggestions and examples, and discuss the possible breadth and of the page-to-be with the creator.
- Finally, the progression of the draft from the TLP system. There are two paths possible.
- The Launch, where a final writeup (including the examples) is created and launched to its own page.
- The Discard, used to terminate a TLP that was determined to not be viable.
Some general notes on how TLP works:
- The new posts are highlighted in a brighter, bolder blue than the other drafts.
- The code around the TLP doesn't always do what it's supposed to do. If bizarre things happen,note don't worry. When you reload the page they usually work themselves out. Be patient and keep trying.
- Proposed pages are judged by a system of (green) hats and (red) bombs. Hats are in support of the page being launched as-is, and bombs represent a more negative judgement, such as that a draft shouldn't launch, or that it should be discarded.
- Like everything else on the wiki, you can edit anything you see, including the TLP draft, no matter who sponsors it. It's proper to leave a post explaining what you did if you edit someone else's draft, however, so that the sponsor knows what they are working with.
- As with everything else, try to put a bit of work into your TLP. Good spelling and grammar aren't just for the final writeup; they help people understand you and make them more likely to care about what you have to say. A poorly written TLP is likely to get fewer comments, which means it'll get fewer examples, will get less contribution, and is more likely to end up on the cut list. The same goes for comments; if your comment makes no sense, don't expect to see your example in the final write-up.
- Take note that while unusual characters can be displayed no problem on regular pages, they cannot be added to TLPs. Instead, they'll be displayed by a line of regular characters that will get longer and longer every time you save. So for the duration of the TLP, avoid unusual characters and add them if need be once the trope is launched.
Creating a TLP:
The first stage of the process: click the "Launch a New Trope" button then enter three things.
- Your working title: Ostensibly the title you'll want to launch the trope under, but it may also be descriptive while you ask around for a good title. You can change the working title as often as you want, which means you can also use it to leave messages such as when you're planning to launch and requests for more examples.
- A laconic one-sentence description of your trope, referred to as the Trope Laconic Title. It's kind of a non-indicative term right now, which tends to lead a lot of clueless newbies into typing in a title where the laconic description would normally go. Note that you can submit a trope without adding a description, but this means that no edits that you make will be saved. You can always add the laconic title after the fact in the box beneath the title box.
- Your writeup: This should be prepared in a text editor, from which you copy&paste it into the text box that will appear.
When creating a new TLP, you should aim to give a good idea of the trope that everyone can understand, preferably with a few examples of your own to demonstrate the concept. Try and make sure it's something anyone can comment on and understand. Nothing is completely Self-Explanatory. Explain it without resorting to "Like [some other trope] except for...". The description of one trope should not require detailed knowledge of half-a-dozen other tropes to understand. Explain how it relates to other tropes, though.
A good rule of thumb for new tropes is Three Rules of Three.
- Read Not a Trope. This can avoid much embarrassment in the later run.
- Before creating your TLP, investigate if we don't already have it. See Finding a Trope for more help with this. If you think we might have the trope but still can't find it, just put Do We Have This One? in your new TLP — someone will probably call you out on it.
- A snappy title that gets the trope across is helpful but not mandatory. The working title box does not have to be the final title. Naming a Trope is your friend. If you still can't think of one, add Needs a Better Name.
- We have a number of other useful Stock Phrases to use on TLP. See Predefined Messages.
- Avoid Audience Reactions and other YMMV items. More often than not, they just lead to arguments.
- If your trope slides down the page without getting any replies, you might want to give it a TLP Bump. There are two ways of doing this: Edit the entry (click on the little pencil icon at the top of the entry, whose location tends to vary depending on which web browser you use) and enter "save changes" without making any changes, which will automatically bump the TLP to the top of the stack without adding new replies. Or just add a new reply. Don't overdo the bumping, especially not content-less bumping, however!
- If you find that we already have your trope, or if you reconsider the TLP, discard it by launching it (see below) to Discarded TLP. This is usually, but not always, left to the person who created the trope to do.
- There are two threads in These Very Forums at your disposal for help requests. Don't worry, we won't bite you.
- A page is easier to read if the examples are sorted by category, so create a folder for each medium which examples of the trope fall into; that way, as the page grows it'll remain organised. Don't make empty folders or headings, though, since they just waste space.
- Check out the Manual of Style section of Administrivia for "Do"'s and "Don't"s.
Click the link on any given TLP, note and scroll to the bottom. Click "Reply". Enter what you have to say into the box, then press "Send". When a new reply is entered, the TLP will be bumped to the top of the page.
Replying to a TLP is a form of Wiki Magic: it's how a page gains examples, content and sometimes a better name. Browsing TLP and adding your comments is how a TLP becomes a trope. When the TLP is launched, it's the launcher's responsibility to read through the comments and add the examples to the page. There is a tool on the Discussion created when the trope is launched to help with this, "Show All Markup" will provide a copy of the TLP and replies that can be copy-n-pasted.
- When giving an example, mention the type of media it is from. Most page launches are structured with categories for the examples rather than dumping all the items in a list, meaning the person launching has to know where the examples are from in order to put them in the right place in the writeup. The example itself often makes it clear, but if the source is more obscure, it helps the launcher to add "(anime example)" or something. Err on the side of caution.
- Style your examples so that the launcher doesn't have to work hard to put them in the article. The very best way to add an example is to format it in the style of an example as it would be on the final page, complete with markup. It saves the launcher time, as they can just copy and paste the code into the draft, and it will be your own contribution ending up in the page rather than being rewritten.
- Just as nothing is completely Self-Explanatory, no example is so well-known that no description is needed. That's called a Zero-Context Example. An example should explain how it's an example; otherwise, it's neither informative nor verifiable.
- Helpful things to add that aren't examples are related tropes and the indexes that this trope belongs in. All this is to make the launcher's job easier.
- If you can't add any examples to a trope but think it's good and deserves to be launched, say so! Encouragement is important.
- However, if you don't think the proposed is a trope, is too subjective, should be lumped with something else, or otherwise doesn't deserve to be a page, go ahead and say so. Far better to nip a bad page in the bud than have to deal with The Same, but More articles and natter. If the original poster disagrees, that person will state his/her case. There can be an open discussion about it; use constructive criticism as much as possible, since that helps both the page and its contributors improve.
- Going along with the above, when adding a hat or bomb, it's helpful to explain why you felt the draft deserved it. Keep in mind that hats are intended to be "launch now" votes but are, in practice, given for a variety of reasons, and bombs are typically used as meaning both "discard" and "needs work before launching", so hats and bombs with no explanation can be quite confusing and stressful for a sponsor. Please let them know if there's any problems they need to work on, or if you think the draft is genuinely ready to be launched. It helps a lot, and is just more polite than refusing to discuss.
- When proposing that an existing trope is the same or in some other way related, do not post only the trope name, and especially not in bold text. That is a Zero-Context Example, and more likely to lead to confusion and conflict than enlightenment — it cannot be assumed that everyone will read the TLP and the cited trope the same way. Bold text is commonly used on the internet to infer shouting, which is rude in most conversations and circumstances including this one.
Ways to strengthen your TLP:
To determine if your TLP is a trope, try to eventually include as much as possible described below in the header before examples:
- Consistency type: How realistic the trope is and how often it's used compared to real life. Tropes can be completely unrealistic (Wrap Around, Stock Visual Metaphors), present much more commonly in fiction than in real life (Catapult Nightmare, Stock Phrases) or be as common as in real life (Berserk Button). Note that if a said phenomenon happens as often as in real life and doesn't convey any meaning, it can easily fall into People Sit on Chairs territory.
- Type of a trope: This can be a Narrative Device, Spectacle or something else.
- Medium type: Which mediums the said trope encompasses. Some tropes are only exclusive to one medium and can only be discussed or parodied in other mediums (Camera Lock-On is a video game exclusive trope for an example), some are mainly in one medium, but can be present in other places too (Spikes of Doom for an example, are much more common in video games than in other media) and others can be found pretty much everywhere (Fire and Brimstone Hell is an example).
- Origins: The earliest examples of a trope. Sometimes a trope has a reason why it happens and why it fell into use. Maybe they happen to imitate a work they're based on (Mascot with Attitude for an example), maybe it fell into use due to technical limitations during that time (Suddenly Blonde) or maybe this is due to laws and polices (Censorship Tropes).
- Popularity through time: A trope should have a clear pattern. Try to include the information about the popularity of the trope through time, when the occurrences of the trope started to raise and when the popularity of the trope reached its peak and if the trope has fallen out of favor. Also pay in mind that a trope can be region-specific (a trope used in works only or mostly in certain countries or regions). For an example, there might be a trope exclusive to Romanian animation. If the examples of the trope are just random occurrences with no clear pattern, it has a danger of belonging to the Too Rare to Trope category.
- Current trope life cycle status: How seriously is the trope taken nowadays? It can be still a trope taken seriously; it can be a Discredited Trope when a trope is considered a cliché; it can be a Dead Horse Trope where parodies and Lampshade Hangings far outnumber straight examples; it can be an Undead Horse Trope when, despite being mocked a lot, it's still used straight; it can be a Forgotten Trope when it's not used at all; and it can be a Dead Unicorn Trope when the trope was rarely, if ever used straight at all.
If you're sponsoring a draft and need help with something that would otherwise make the draft unlaunchable, you should let people know you need the help. Some ways of doing this are to make a note in the title, laconic, or top of the draft itself, note posting about it in the comments, or even making a post on the TLP workstation thread. Otherwise, a miscommunication may lead people to believe you aren't aware of or don't intend to fix the issues on the draft, so remember to speak up if your draft needs help you can't personally provide for it.
Scroll down to the bottom of the TLP and click the "Launch" button. (This will not appear until it is three days old and has five hats.) Add the title, and click "Launch" again. This will launch the TLP to the wiki page put in the title, and a link to the TLP discussion will automatically be added to that page's Discussion.
When entering your trope's title on the launch page, keep these points in mind:
- Due to the way Wiki Words work on this site, punctuation of any sort will not work, except for a hyphen. The most common example of this is the dreaded apostrophe (you must use "cannot", or "cant" with the intent to customise the title later, instead of "can't", for instance), but it applies to all punctuation. Except for a hyphen.
- Enter the trope title on the launch page exactly as it will appear in the page's header. Do not WikiWord it. For example, if you're launching a page titled "Title Of The Page", enter it as Title Of The Page rather than TitleOfThePage; the wiki software will make it a Wiki Word for you.
- Numerals work in trope titles, but not as a leading character (for example, 3DMovie must become ThreeDMovie), because the software treats numerals as lower-case.
Creating a launchable draft is the most demanding part of the TLP process. If the replies have been helpful, it'll be much easier. This is the final page, and it should be complete, concise and well formatted. A page so well written nobody else will feel a need to edit the body text is something to be proud of.
- The default way to determine if a TLP is ready to be launched is to see if the draft has a net five hats; that is to say, five more tropers think it's ready to launch (added a hat) than think it should be discarded (added a bomb). The software will allow a launch when there's five hats total, regardless of the net count, and so it's the launcher's responsibility to ensure it's five hats net and that those five hats net actually signify quality.
- If the TLP lacks hats and you don't know why, you can make a comment to ask what is missing.
- The general rule of launching is to let the person who proposed the trope launch it, unless they specifically said it was Up for Grabs. Do not launch a trope if you haven't contributed to the draft. If you see a good draft that's been inactive for a while, give it a TLP Bump and let people weigh in before launching. "Rogue launching", or launching a draft that has unresolved issues without participating in the discussion, is frowned upon, and may result in a suspension of TLP privileges.
- Similar to the above rule, Do not launch a trope if the discussion is still unresolved. If there's people in the comments who have a problem with the title, examples, or the tropeworthiness itself, those people will also not be very happy if you've chosen to launch, anyway. Make sure there's no lingering issues before the trope is launched- this can be done by letting people know you intend to launch, and give them time to voice concerns if they have any. "Stealth" or "Ninja" launching is just as frowned upon as rogue launching is.
- The main writeup has to be well written, be properly formatted, use correct markup, and make sense. Make sure you're familiar with the wiki's good style and Text Formatting Rules. Check the page once it's written; there's nothing wrong with being a Serial Tweaker.
- It is good manners but not required to notify others that you are planning to launch a trope soon. Because there's no separate spot for this kind of news, a common tactic is to alter the (laconic) title with something like "(launching 3/11)" or "(final title feedback needed)". If you do this, be short but also clear. "(Launching soon)", for instance, is not clear because "soon" is rather open to interpretation.
- A TLP takes time. Some launch only two weeks after they're proposed, while others linger for months. There are many factors that influence the length of the TLP process and you should never rush it (not in the least because there's also several post-launch matters to take care of).
You've launched your trope, but you aren't done yet. There are still several things to take care of:
- Customise the title if that's needed.
- As mentioned in the general notes, add any unusual characters that you couldn't during the TLP process.
- Put the trope in the categories it fits in, in its correct alphabetical place. For instance, if you're launching a trope about machine guns called "More Dakka", add More Dakka to Guns and Gunplay Tropes in alphabetical order.
- In order to get a trope plenty of wicks and noticed, it helps if you yourself go to the example pages and add it there (there's nothing wrong with copy-pasting the example text), a process known as Crosswicking. Every example listed on the trope page should also be listed on the corresponding work page, if we have one. Character tropes should go on Character Pages if possible, and the same is true for episode-specific tropes and Recap Pages. If there are tropes related to the one you launched, add "See also" sections to both tropes. The more pages linked up, the better the Wiki Magic flows.
- Create a laconic. To do this, go to the trope's URL window and edit the URL by replacing the word "Main" (which comes right before the trope name) with "Laconic". Edit the resulting page.
- The TLP Crash Rescue thread, for reporting premature launches and other issues with drafts.
- The TLP Workstation thread, for getting help and feedback.