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The Trope Launch Pad, or TLP, is the area where all new tropes are proposed, workshopped, and launched into publication.

While all of TV Tropes is a collaborative effort, TLP involves working with others much more closely than any other part of the site, and it can be a rather contentious place. Because of this, the TLP has special rules and guidelines. Some are only applicable to TLP activities. Others would serve you well anywhere on the site, but are especially important while working on the TLP. This is a guide to making the most of your time here.

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Disclaimer: The TLP is not the best entry point for most newcomers. It's by far the least forgiving part of the site. This is not accidental; our trope pages are the bones of the site, and we want them to be as strong as we can make them before they are published. As such, there is a definite learning curve on the TLP, and it can be quite steep if you aren't already well-acquainted with how the site works. Before you start messing around, here's the TLP's guidelines, customs, and quirks.

This page does not cover how to create or launch TLP drafts; it merely outlines the guidelines and customs of the TLP. For specific advice on how to create, handle, and launch drafts, visit How To Create And Launch TLP Drafts.

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The TLP Code of Conduct:

All rules that apply to TV Tropes as a whole apply to the TLP. In addition to those, there are some rules specific to working in the TLP, as it involves working with other tropers more closely and directly than on the main wiki. The Iron Rules are the really serious, "you will be suspended or banned if you do this" stuff; the rest are guidelines to make everyone's life on the TLP easier — including yours.

    The Iron Rules 

  • Don't Spam Drafts: "Draft Spam" can refer to three things, all of which are rude at best and suspendible at worst:
    • Posting a bunch of new drafts in a very short period of time, especially if they're very low-quality.
    • Bumping a ton of old drafts to the front page at once, especially if you haven't made any substantial contribution to them.
    • Similarly, bumping drafts specifically to discard them can be considered spam. We don't want the first page cluttered with old garbage drafts. Instead of bumping those, try taking them to the TLP Discard Project.

  • Don't Launch Other People's Drafts Without Asking Or Contributing: If you launch a trope that doesn't belong to you regardless of its current state, you've just engaged in something called "Rogue Launching". This is considered a form of theft and always results in your account getting suspended and the page being unlaunched. So just don't.

  • Don't Launch Any Draft Without Notice: In most cases, you have to publicly state your intent to launch at least 24 hours before launching, so people can voice any last-minute suggestions or concerns. Launching a trope without notice, especially if there are unaddressed issues or unfinished discussion, can get you suspended. This is known as "Stealth Launching" in TLP parlance.

  • Don't Launch Any Draft Prematurely: If your draft doesn't fit all the criteria for launching (explained here), then don't launch it. If a mod has to unlaunch your draft because you got impatient, you're practically guaranteed a suspension.

  • Don't Discard Drafts Without Reason: Sometimes drafts aren't viable and need to be discarded. Fair enough, but don't try to be sneaky about it.
    • If the draft is not long abandoned or objectively unlaunchable (i.e. it breaks site rules), it must have at least five more bombs than hats to be considered discardable.
    • Never discard a draft while a discussion is ongoing. Aside being against the rules, it's incredibly rude.
    • Don't discard drafts for reasons not related to site rules or draft quality. People do tend to notice when, for example, drafts regarding LGBTQ-related topics start disappearing for no discernible reason.
    • If you discard a draft, always include your reason for doing so. If nothing else, it shows that you're acting in good faith and not discarding it for arbitrary or agenda-driven reasons.

  • Don't Troll, Dogpile, or Vandalize Drafts: If you don't have anything positive, constructive, or non-hurtful to say, then throw your bomb and move on. Doing anything more violates the first rule of TV Tropes: Don't Be A Dick.

    Adopting the Attitude 

  • Be Willing to Cooperate and Listen: The TLP is governed by consensus. You can't ignore other people's concerns just because you don't like them. If you aren't willing to listen and work with others, then the TLP is not for you. Your experience will be frustrating at best, and completely hamstringed at worst.

  • Be Patient: The TLP isn't a race. No one is going to reward or even compliment you for launching a trope quickly. In fact, it's usually the other way around: drafts launched too quickly tend to be of dodgy quality and often don't thrive after launching.

  • Communicate!: There's not much point to doing anything on the TLP if you're not willing to work with others, and you can't work with others if you don't communicate with them. Tropers who ignore everyone's advice and refuse to communicate generally don't get what they want, unless what they want is their editing privileges revoked.

  • Don't Freak Out Over Setbacks: On the TLP, your work will be critiqued and even criticized. You will have to make concessions or compromises when you'd rather not, and you will be told things you don't want to hear. You will get frustrated and/or pissed off from time to time. You may even have to scrap your pet project and start over on occasion. That's the nature of the TLP, and it's something you'll just have to accept if you want to participate. For the most part, no one's trying to be rude or attack you personally. They're just trying to make each launched page the best they can.

  • Remember that the TLP Is a Community: We get it: working on your own draft tends to be more exciting than helping out other drafts. Still, contributing to other drafts benefits you as well as other tropers. It shows that you're willing to help out and work with others, and that counts for a lot. If you help other people out, they'll be more likely to help you out somewhere down the line. That's how communities work. An attitude of "no give and all take" will not serve you well here.

  • Don't Be Your Own Punching Bag:
    • Everyone makes mistakes or messes up once in awhile, and it's natural to feel guilty or a bit angry at yourself. But excessively beating yourself up over it does not solve anything or help anyone.
    • Don't stress over being a "bad user" or violating some unwritten rule. The fact that you're genuinely concerned about being a "bad user" is a strong indicator that you're not.
    • Don't constantly apologize for your work or tell us it "sucks." Even if you aren't fishing for compliments, that gets old really fast.

  • You Are Not Special: Without exception, the most irritating and least productive people on the TLP are the ones who think that they're owed something, or that the rules don't apply to them. They tend to spend more time complaining, trying to game the system, or trying to dance around the rules than actually getting anything done...at least, until they get TLP Banned. Don't be one of those people.

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    Minding Your Manners 

  • Don't Edit Other People's Drafts Without Asking:
    • This is just being polite. Many TLP denizens are protective of their work and do not like it when other people mess with their drafts.
    • Making major changes to a draft that doesn't belong to you is considered incredibly rude at the very best. If you try to be sneaky about it, it may even be considered vandalism.
    • It's generally okay to correct small errors, like typos or formatting errors, on another person's draft. Just post a reply clearly stating what you were doing — that's just common courtesy.

  • Criticism Should Be Constructive: Most TLP regulars don't beat around the bush — they will tell you exactly what they think, and they can be quite direct in doing so. There's nothing inherently wrong with that. Even so, if you offer critique or advice to others, make sure what you're saying is constructive and not just mean. Constructive criticism leads to better drafts. Hostile criticism and/or trolling rarely yields anything but hostility and bad blood.

  • Don't Leave "Doorstep Baby" Drafts: In other words, don't post a half-baked draft and immediately abandon it or put it Up for Grabs. This "clever" attempt to make someone else do all your heavy lifting doesn't work, as virtually none of these drafts are ever picked up by anyone else. It just leaves more junk drafts laying around.

  • Assume And Act in Good Faith:
    • Don't assume that everyone who makes a bad draft is trolling or acting in bad faith. In truth, very few people set out to make a bad draft.
    • Most mistakes can be explained by inexperience with our admittedly complex TLP system, so consider helping the newbies by linking to this page and giving tips.
    • Do not dogpile, mass-bomb, spam comments, or troll the discussion. We understand everyone enjoys a bit of schadenfreude from time to time, but instigating it is incredibly rude if not outright bullying, reflects poorly on our community, and takes up attention which could more productively be given to other drafts and editors.
    • In cases where a sponsor can't be reasoned with and does seem to be acting in bad faith or trolling, you should just contact a mod to nuke the draft.

What Drafts Are Allowed in TLP?

TLP is the place all new tropes and major indexes namespace are created. If it uses the Main/ namespace, it has to go through the TLP wringer before it can be published. However, you can use the TLP to workshop other page types, though you can't launch them directly from the TLP.

    Drafts ALLOWED in TLP 

  • Trope Pages: These pages describe and list examples of tropes.

  • Major Indexes: These are pages consisting primarily of links to tropes or works grouped together by a common characteristic or theme.

  • Work, Useful Notes, Just For Fun, and Other Pages: You don't have to put these pages through the TLP to launch them, but you certainly can if you feel like you need help with them.

    Drafts NOT ALLOWED in TLP 

  • Redirects: A redirect is nothing more than an alternate link to a page, so workshopping it in the TLP would be a waste of everyone's time. If you want to request a redirect to a trope or index, do so in this thread. If you really feel a need to run a redirect idea past the tropermind before asking the mods to make it, you can use this other thread. If you want a redirect to some other kind of page, you can create it yourself. It takes less than a minute and is quite easy.

  • Administrivia or Policy-Related Drafts: As site policy is not a matter of popular vote, the TLP is not the place to discuss it. If you want to do that, go to Wiki Talk.

Contributing to Existing Drafts:

All new TLP users are encouraged to spend time on the TLP contributing to other drafts, watching others, and "reading the room" before starting their first TLP draft. Contributing to existing drafts is a great way to get your bearings. Here's some tips on how to make contributing to drafts a breeze.

    Contributing with Confidence 

  • Contribute by Replying to the Thread:: To contribute to a draft, the accepted procedure is to include your examples, suggestions, and brainstorming to replies in the thread, and wait for the draft sponsor to add them. A handful of tropers will invite contributors to edit the draft directly, but they're the exception rather than the rule.

  • Make Sure Your Examples Have Context: Just as nothing is completely Self-Explanatory, no example is so well-known that no description is necessary. Creating an example without context is called a Zero-Context Example, and is heavily frowned upon here and in the rest of the wiki. Explain how the work uses the trope, so that people who haven't seen the work can get what you're saying. For more detailed information, see How to Write an Example.

  • Mention the Media Type: When giving an example, mention the type of media it is from. Most pages on the wiki are organized by media type, so stating that information up front saves them the time of looking it up.

  • Format Your Contributions as Examples: When contributing examples on the TLP, the best practice is to format it as you would any other example, complete with markup. It saves the sponsor time, as they can just copy and paste the code into the draft without having to format or rewrite it themselves.

  • Find Other Ways to Help: If you don't know of any examples, there are other ways to help:
    • If you can think of a related trope or an index the trope might belong to, then say so! This increases the trope's Wick count, and will make it easier for readers to find.
    • If you can't think of any of those, but you think the page is almost ready to be launched, say so! Encouragement is important.

  • Speak Up If You Think a Draft Is Unworkable: If you find a draft that you don't believe 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. It's not always comfortable to do, but it's easier for all involved to stop a bad draft before it gains momentum or has a ton of work put into it. If the original poster disagrees, then there should be an open discussion about it.

  • Guidelines for Hats and Bombs:
    • Technically, you should use hats only to signify that you think a draft is ready to launch. Likewise, Bombs are intended only to signify that a draft needs work: either it's unsalvageable and needs to be discarded, or there's an issue that would prevent a valid launch.
    • In practice, however, people use hats to mean anything from "launch now" to "I just like the idea," and throw bombs for a similarly wide range of reasons.
    • Therefore, if you add a hat or a bomb, explain why you felt the draft deserved it. It's the only way the sponsor will know why you are reacting that way, and it's the polite thing to do.

    The Adoption Alternative 

  • Before Making Your Own Draft, Consider Adopting One: The TLP is home to thousands of drafts in varying states of completion, and almost all of them have been abandoned for one reason or another. Some of them are even quite good, and most of the heavy lifting is already done — they just need some elbow grease and polish. If you want to get your feet wet in the TLP pool without diving in head-first, try adopting one.

  • Make Sure the Draft Is Up for Grabs: If you want to adopt an abandoned draft, the draft must be abandoned for two months before it's eligible for adoption, or the last sponsor must have specified that they're placing it up for grabs.

  • Visit the TLP Adoption Drive: Alternatively, if you want to look through a group of drafts that have already been sifted through and are ready for adoption right away, visit the TLP Adoption Drive. The drafts there are ripe for the picking; just move the draft from the "Up for Adoption" to the "Adopted" section. If you have questions or concerns, just ask the thread regulars and they'll show you the way.

  • Follow the Proper Procedure to Launch Your Adopted Trope: Regardless of whether you're its original or adoptive sponsor, your draft must meet the criteria for launch and have the proper post-launch maintenance done. For detailed information on what needs to be done before, during, and after your launch, check out the relevant sections of How To Create And Launch TLP Drafts.

Miscellaneous Useful Information:

The TLP and its user base have many quirks and particulars not covered by the above sections. Here's some information that we think is good to know, as virtually all of it could save you some headaches or heartaches down the line.

    "Dead On Arrival" Drafts 

  • Trope Finder Queries and Other Non-Drafts: TLP is not for asking if we have a trope, nor is it for asking someone else to make a draft. If you want something done on the TLP, you have to do it. We're willing to help, but it's neither polite nor fair to expect someone else to do your dirty work for you. If you have an idea for a trope but don't feel capable of creating the draft yourself, you can add your idea to the Trope Idea Salvage Yard, but there's no guarantee anyone will adopt it in a timely manner...or at all.

  • Blanks, One-Line Wonders, and Other Zero-Effort Drafts: The TLP community is generally willing to work with those who are willing to listen, cooperate, and put in the effort. Drafts that clearly have very little work or thought put into them — especially those with one-sentence descriptions — tend to get cluster-bombed immediately no matter how good the underlying idea is.

  • Complaint Magnets & Flame Bait: "Complaint Magnet" is the term for drafts that, intentionally or not, seem custom-made for encouraging Complaining About Shows You Don't Like. Flame Bait, similarly, describes drafts that are all but guaranteed to start fights. These drafts tend to be more trouble than they're worth, if they're even actual tropes at all. Negative YMMV and Audience Reactions tend to dominate this category (which is why they're generally no longer accepted), but so can actual trope drafts if they're overly negative or clearly have an agenda.

  • Drafts that Violate ROCEJ: Some tropes relate to, or are based on, real-world events. We recognize and respect that. However, drafts that are excessively socially or politically provocative are destined for the dustbin. As with Complaint Magnets, no one wants to keep cleaning up the mess these drafts will eventually create.

  • Drafts involving Fetish Fuel and/or 5P Violations: There was a time when this some of this stuff was allowed on TV Tropes, however begrudgingly. It eventually made sizable portions of the site borderline unreadable for all the creepiness involved, and it nearly tanked the site entirely by causing advertisers to pull support. Suffice it to say, any draft containing these will be throttled on sight.

  • Stock Phrases: The No New Stock Phrases page lists six reasons why they don't work. They're not usually popular tropes, tend to lack meaning, and frequently mislead people into thinking it's just about saying the phrase. This does not mean tropes that tend to involve dialogue don't work, Obviously Not Fine is one, but they tend to have more than just saying one line.

  • "Sliding Scale" or "Sorting Algorithim" Drafts: These drafts are no longer accepted because too many were being proposed, and almost none of them were any good. In fact, most of them weren't even actual sliding scales so much as disjointed collections of trope variations. You can propose one if you really want to, but unless you have an intensely convincing reason that we need it, its chances of making it to launch are close to nil.

    The Most Common Reasons Drafts Fail 

  • They're Not Tropes: A lot of people confuse "something that happens in a show" with "a trope." Tropes are storytelling devices that have a deliberate effect on the narrative or how it's perceived. They have meaning and form patterns. See Not a Trope and People Sit on Chairs for more information.

  • We Already Have Them: There's not much more to say here. If we already have a trope, there's no reason to workshop an exact or near-exact copy.

  • They're Too Similar to Existing Tropes: Tropes should be clearly defined, but they have some degree of flexibility. Minor variations of a trope aren't considered worth their own page unless you can show that the differences are sufficiently meaningful, or that there's enough examples of that one variation to justify splitting the page. Instances of Playing with a Trope, The Same, but More, and The Same, but More Specific are generally considered non-pageworthy.

  • They're Poorly Written: No one expects utter perfection on a first draft, but we do expect drafts to be competently written. If your description is unclear or confusing, your syntax is riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes, or your draft is improperly formatted, that all-important first impression will not be a good one. While it is sometimes possible for a draft to come back from a poor start, a bad first impression will make getting to launch that much harder. A really bad start may force you to start over from scratch.

  • They Lack Fictional Examples: While many tropes allow Real Life examples for fun, a draft with mostly non-fictional examples isn't going to pass muster. Tropes are devices or techniques used in storytelling; therefore, something that doesn't occur in creative media frequently enough to be meaningful is not actually a trope. On a related note, attempting to trope the private lives of artists or creators is expressly forbidden — stick to their work, please.

  • They're Too Broad: It's true that some tropes have very broad definitions — especially Supertropes — and No Trope Is Too Common. But some trope proposals are so broad that they're not well-defined or meaningful. Some common examples include tropes of the "this exists" variety, and meaningless Personal Appearance Tropes.

  • They're Overly Specific: If your trope idea is so ridiculously specific that only a handful of examples could ever possibly fit, then you're reaching Not a Trope territory. Tropes are patterns. It's not a trope if it's only ever been used once. It's not a trope if only one creator uses it.

    Other Uses of the TLP 

  • Trope Repair Shop Activities: From time to time, the Trope Repair Shop will elect to bring an existing trope page for various reasons. The procedure is generally not much different from normal.
    • Repairing A Page: If a page has extensive problems, it may be brought to TLP to see if the issues can be resolved via workshopping.
    • Replacing A Page: In some cases, TRS may elect to completely replace an old trope page with one more in line with current standards, and use TLP for that purpose.
    • Splitting A Page: If TRS decides that a page needs to be divided into multiple tropes, TLP may be used to create those new pages.
    • Gathering Examples: If a trope isn't thriving — having few examples and/or wicks — it may be sent to TLP to see if more examples can be obtained.

  • Workshopping Non-Trope Pages:
    • Non-trope pages, such as Work, Useful Notes, and Just For Fun pages are all allowed on TLP for workshopping. However, it's important to note that these pages cannot be launched the same way a trope can. To launch a non-trope page from TLP, you must manually copy and paste the page source into the proper namespace, then discard the draft.

    Occasionally Asked Questions 

  • Why do garbage text characters keep appearing in my draft?
    • The TLP can't handle certain special characters, so it converts them to strings of garbage text. To make it even weirder, these strings of garbage get longer each time the draft is saved. While several special characters cause this, the most common by far are curved quotation marks; straight quotation marks should be used as they do not cause this issue.

  • Why do people keep saying "Work Pages Are a Free Launch" when I post a work page on TLP?
    • A certain percentage of our community incorrectly believes that "Work Pages Are A Free Launch" is a command rather than a declaration, and spam that message at every opportunity. As the actual policy page clearly states otherwise, we can only assume that these people have never actually read the policy and are only parroting what they've heard.

  • Why does this trope exist on the wiki when you have guidelines against it?
    • The TLP didn't always exist, and it wasn't always as strict as it is now. We're working on some of those old, bad trope pages...but we only have so much manpower willing to do that particular job, so it may be a while before we get to any specific page. If you want to help, go to Trope Repair Shop and get cracking. They're always ready for more hands.

  • Why do some links call it "YKTTW"?
    • The TLP wasn't always known as the "Trope Launch Pad". Once upon a time, it was "You Know, That Thing Where...", or "YKTTW". It was renamed around the same time it was made mandatory for tropes, to better explain what it was meant to be used for. However, not all of the YKTTW mentions have been converted yet, and some older tropers still know it by the original name.

Alternative Title(s): YKTTW Guidelines, A Guide To Easy Launching Of Your YKTTW, A Guide To Easy Launching Of Your TLP

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