Here at TV Tropes, we're not very big on official rules. Rules lead to people looking for loopholes. We prefer general guidelines and rely on people's good sense, or our staff (if people are short of good sense), to determine when someone has crossed the line. These guidelines are the TV Tropes Customs.
We tend not to even think of these customs, but to someone who's new to the wiki — especially its sub-regions like the Trope Launch Pad or Trope Repair Shop — they may be totally foreign. But that's not an issue — we're perfectly willing to teach you about our unique and totally not scary culture:
- Don't be a dick. We can't stress this enough. We expect editors to treat each other politely, even when they disagree. This includes forum posts and signatures, edit reasons, discussion pages, and contributor pages. Our culture strives to be civil, even when we would rather not be.
- We aim for "family-friendly" — our mantra is No Lewdness, No Prudishness. We're perfectly willing to discuss all the sex, violence, and naughty language that are prevalent in media, but we ask for just the facts, ma'am. In particular, this is not a place for you to creepily gush about how you, the editor, finds someone (or something) attractive or sexy. At the same time do not censor pages for naughty content if said naughtiness is part of the work itself, nor should you go out of your way to Bowdlerize swearing unless it’s gratuitous.
- If you happen to be suspended from editing, it's very likely not permanent. Don't think of it as a punishment. Many times, people who are suspended see it as a castigation and complain that they didn't even get a warning, but that's not what a suspension is — it's simply a way for the staff to get your attention and come to the Edit Banned thread so that we can discuss what you did wrong. The edit ban simply prevents you from doing more damage in your ignorance. Once we're satisfied that you learned what you did wrong and you won't do it again (or cleared up a misunderstanding on our end, which does happen sometimes), we'll release your suspension. We're not looking for groveling — just politeness and a willingness to learn.
- Our primary purpose here is to catalog tropes. We earnestly wish to have fun while doing so, and we encourage breezy, colloquial language and wittiness whenever possible. We're also okay with things existing Just for Fun... right up until the point it starts conflicting with our Prime Directive. Keep the fun where it belongs, and everything will operate smoothly.
- On the other hand, if your idea of "fun" is bashing works, creators, or life in general, this probably isn't the wiki for you. We're here to celebrate fiction, not bash it. And it goes the other way, too — "celebrating" doesn't mean gushing about how awesome your favourite thing is, even if it's not as disruptive as bashing.
- We will not allow users to hire other users to make or curate pages, threads, or drafts. If you want a page or thread made, do it yourself if you can. If you find another user making such offers, alert the staff immediately; don't take the offer as there's a risk of scams.
Editing the wiki proper
- This hardly bears saying, but any kind of page vandalism isn't allowed, even if it's only a joke.
- Edit Wars aren't allowed either, even if you know you're right. There are several venues for you to discuss a contentious edit, such as the discussion page, by messaging the other Troper, or by bringing the issue to Ask The Tropers.
- Edit Reasons are strongly encouraged. We're not psychic, and what's obvious to you may not be obvious to everyone. Please let us know what you're doing. It's particularly important to leave an edit reason if you're deleting content.
- Never remove all the content from a page. That's called page blanking, and it's nearly guaranteed to be a one-way ticket to a suspension. If an entire page needs to go, use the Cut List.
- The Fic May Be Yours, but the Trope Page Is Ours. As long as it's within the content guidelines, no one can tell us what we can or can't trope. If you're the author of a work and we have a page on it, you do not have the right to blank the page. If you feel the page is misleading, negative, or has other problems, you do have the right to fix or discuss them, but be aware that your strong feelings may indicate that you are biased on this issue and should probably seek a second opinion.
- When it comes to American vs. British spelling, whichever one gets there first wins. That's why we have Colour-Coded for Your Convenience and Color-Coded Elements on Main, while the other spelling gets redirect status. Please don't "correct" American or British spelling on any page you see.
- Don't forget to double-check a trope's description and definition before you add it to a page. It might not be what it sounds like, or the definition may have shifted since the last time you read it.
- We encourage people who spot minor problems to just fix it themselves. If you see a bad example, bad formatting, an index a trope really should be on, a sister trope that isn't mentioned, or some other small problem with any page, please feel free to fix it. And by fix it, we mean fix it directly, not add a sub-bullet correcting it.
- It is perfectly permissible to namespace a work page, soft or hard split example lists on work pages, folderize or namespace example lists on trope pages, or create redirects without anyone's permission, although you should leave an edit reason and note on the discussion page.
- If you come across a Zero-Context Example, the best thing to do is expand it. If you're not familiar enough with the source material, the preferred method of dealing with it is to change it to a comment (add "%%" to the beginning of the line). This will make it invisible to the casual reader, but it will be visible on the edit screen, so any other editor who sees it later and does know enough to expand it may do so. If you're familiar enough with the work to know that the example is also wrong, by all means, delete it and leave an edit reason. See the Fixing Zero-Context Examples thread for more information.
- For potentially Not Safe for Work stuff, see No Lewdness, No Prudishness. Short version: Sex is a part of fiction, so you can talk about (most of) that stuff, as long as you don't turn the page itself into an example of it. There are some things that are forbidden to ensure the site's very survival, though: See The Content Policy.
- Do not use your Tropers page for the sort of content that would violate The Content Policy on other parts of the wiki, such as listing out your fetishes or violent fantasies.
Page and Image Repairs
- Major changes, such as redefining a trope, renaming it, removing all or most of the examples, cutting it, merging it with another trope, or splitting it into multiple tropes, need a general consensus to go forward. Please take issues of that nature to the Trope Repair Shop rather than attempting the fix yourself.
- Crowners are our voting system. The name is an Artifact Title from an abortive attempt at a voting system for a work's single best Moment of Awesome (which at the time we called a "Crowning Moment of Awesome"), but the system never took off for that purpose — it's now used for wiki-side discussions. We use them any time we need to get a consensus, usually for picking an image or deciding how to fix a trope that seems broken. Please see How Crowners Work for more information on this process.
- If a page does not have an image and you want to add one, you can do so yourself, as long as the image doesn't violate any of our policies on images. If the page already has an image and you want to change it, or if you just want community feedback on an image, please go to Image Pickin'. Images chosen through Image Pickin' will be marked as such in the edit screen — if so, do not change or remove it without going back into Image Pickin'.
Creating Pages and Trope Launch Pad
- If you want to add a new trope, go to Trope Launch Pad. We have a lot of tropes on here, and just allowing people to add tropes on their own can make things messy really quickly. TLP Guidelines fleshes out how to use the Trope Launch Pad and what needs to happen before a new trope can be launched. The same applies for new indexes, and indeed any new page in the Main/ namespace.
- Work Pages Are a Free Launch. If you know a work that doesn't have a page, just add it yourself! (Unless it violates our Content Policy.) However, if you don't want to do it on your own, you're more than welcome to go to the Trope Launch Pad and ask for the community's help with it (just let them know that this is what you're doing — otherwise they'll just tell you that you don't need a TLP for a work page).
- All the rules about editing wiki pages apply to TLP drafts — it's okay to add examples and do minor fixes to the description, but any major changes (or anything you're not sure about) should be discussed first.
- Launching a new page is an art unto itself, and the TLP Guidelines will help you out with that. If you do it wrong, you'll launch an empty red link instead of your trope.
- It's considered rude to make substantial edits without permission to a TLP that someone else is sponsoring — and doubly so to launch one. However, if it's Up for Grabs — either there's a notification from the sponsor that they aren't planning to handle it themself, or the sponsor hasn't edited the draft for at least two months — you can adopt the trope, becoming the new sponsor. You still can't just launch it willy-nilly, but you can get to work on making it launchable.
- Our policy for names is Clear, Concise, Witty, in that order of importance. Please don't be offended if your proposed trope name is shot down for failing those criteria.
- In TLP, don't ignore suggestions or launch a trope that has objections to one or more aspects until those have been resolved. If in doubt, ask for help in the TLP Workstation Thread.
- Don't forget to index pages that you create. To do so, find the appropriate index and add a link to your article in the proper order. You must do this after you create the page for the indexing to work. If you need help finding an index, post here.