"Trope Launch Pad", usually abbreviated to TLP, and also 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 some errors before they are made, give you a chance to get some wider perspective that may not have occurred to you, determine if your suggestion already has a page here, and 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 (unless you need the extra help).
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 page with the creator.
- Finally, the ascendance of the draft from the TLP system. There are two options for how this is done.
- 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 tick marks indicate new posts. The word "new" next to a tick indicates a new TLP.
- If bizarre things start happening, don't worry. When you reload the page they usually work themselves out. Be patient and keep trying.
- If a post has more than one reply, but the replies don't show up, click the "show replies" button until they show up.
- If you put a link to a picture in your post, it might not be rendered. Use small images or text links to the picture.
- Like everything else on the wiki, you can edit anything you see, including the TLP and the comments on it. However, the name next to the text displayed will be that of the last person to edit it. It's bad form to edit over someone else's comments, so don't do it unless you feel you absolutely have to (like to fix a markup that is breaking the discussion).
- As with everywhere else, please 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 badly written TLP is likely to get fewer comments, which means it'll get fewer examples, less contribution and 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.
- Do not put a picture in a reply. It will just screw up the formatting. The original post will handle them fine, but replies should just link to pictures.
Creating a TLP:
The first stage of the process: click the "Add a new TLP" button, enter your working title and your writeup, and click the "send" button.
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 make the concept clear. Try and make sure it's something anyone can comment on and understand. Nothing is completely Self Explanatory. Try to 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, try to make sure 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.
- Try as hard as you can to 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.
- 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.
- Check out the Manual of Style section of Administrivia for "Do"'s and "Don't"s.
Hit the "Show Drafts" button on a given TLPnote 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 from an obscure source, 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. It's not necessary with more well-known examples, and the example itself often makes it clear, but if the source is more obscure, it again 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, 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. An example that consists entirely of "Series... Just, Series." or "One Word: Series" isn't very informative or interesting.
- 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 a site cluttered up with The Same, but More articles and subjective 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.
- 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.
What a TLP should contain at the end:
To determine if 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.
Go to the TLP and click "show draft". Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the "Launch" button. (This will not appear until the TLP is three days old.) 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. Go to the page itself, click "Edit page", add the writeup and examples, and link them up.
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.
You can write all the markup yourself, or copy the Trope Entry Template and edit the content. Copying and pasting the entries directly from the TLP is best, if contributors have formatted their examples properly.
Launching a trope 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 best way to determine if a TLP is ready to be launched is to see if the draft has a net 5 hats- five more tropers think it's ready to launch (added a hat) than think it should be discarded (added a bomb).
- 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.
- The main writeup has to be well written, 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.
- 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.
- It's generally a better idea to write the whole page out in full at once than add it piecemeal, as if someone going through the launches list happens across a half-finished page, they might jump in and finish it themselves. You don't even have to write it out on the wiki - type the page up somewhere else, and enter it all in at once. Make sure you have your writeup copied to the clipboard or somewhere before you hit the "Send" button! There is nothing more frustrating than losing your beautiful page to a database hiccup.
- Use the Wiki Sandbox if you want to get the page perfect before launching.
- 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.
- When you've written up the trope, in order to make sure a trope gets plenty of wicks and is noticed, it helps to go to the example pages and add it there (there's nothing wrong with copy-pasting the example text), a process known as Crosswicking. This is not mandatory, but all too often a trope page withers and dies because nobody even noticed it was added. A good rule of thumb is that a healthy trope page should have at least 12 wicks; if you absolutely can't get it there, you should probably list it on Pages Needing Wicks. 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.
See also A Guide to Easy Launching of Your TLP.