So, you've got a really great idea for a trope. The description—let's call it a "thesis"—is brief, punchy, and wonderfully common. Something you're sure we don't have, either because you Did The Research or because you asked around. So, you did the smart thing: you posted your trope idea on the Trope Launch Pad, our official page for composing idea drafts. You know, brainstorming. It isn't essential, but it sure is encouraged.
How do you know if what you have, though, really is something that you should spend time adding to the site? For those guidelines, after some debate in the community, we established the Three Rules Of Three. Let's make one thing clear right now: There Is No Such Thing as Notability. We'll call them "rules", but you can think of them more as "rules of thumb" or "guidelines"—you can break them, if you want, but remember that the community may alter your creation later. Them, as they say, is the breaks.
- The burden of proof is upon the person proposing the trope.note To prove that your concept is a trope, it's a good idea to have at least three solid examples that clearly illustrate your trope's thesis. It's better if you can find examples that are not subversions or inversions; this shows that you're actually proposing a trope, and not just a happenstance occurrence. In some cases, such as a Dead Horse Trope, it may not be possible to find three examples where it is played straight. There's good news though: you don't have to come up with these yourself. Use You Know That Thing Where. Other tropers will help you.
- What good's a trope without a name? An ideal trope name, it's generally agreed, should be punchy but not too opaque, understandable but witty. (And a good name can be both at the same time: see Politeness Judo, for example.) Now, different people will have different opinions on what's too clever for its own good. How do you know when you have a winning title? The guideline is this: when three tropers can agree on a single name, it's pretty solid. Sometimes, three tropers may agree on more than one name; it's usually better to go with the majority in this case.
- Nobody built Rome in a day, right? Most trope theses are born rough: They need sanding on the edges, polish for the surface, and a good dose of that lighthearted tongue-in-cheek humor we so love 'round these parts. As such, a trope must be left on the Trope Launch Pad for three days before you try to launch it. This lets the community add their own insight, request clarification, and maybe point out that, yes, we already Do Have That One. Today this rule is enforced by the software; the "launch" button won't appear until three days have passed.
Each of the rules comes with caveats, of course. Easily 90% of edits are example-adds, so you may not need three examples. Not every name is completely transparent or witty: we love our in-jokes, and some titles are dull as dishwater. The most frequently broken rule, though, is (or was) the third one. Three days can be an eternity in cyberspace—if tropers are jumping on their metaphorical desks and yelling "How Did We Miss This One?" or "Just Launch It Already!," you'll just have to wait three days to hit that Launch button.
The bare minimum, though, remains three examples and a name: a snazzy name and three examples is a good place to start. Wiki Magic can always take over from there.
This helps prevent a flood of duplicate Trope Launch Pad entries being launched prematurely; there can be only so many iterations of a given trope. Sometimes, the description and examples for a given subtrope will find a better home on an existing page. It also gives others a chance to weigh in; it may not be until the 15th response to a popular new trope proposal that someone recalls the existing trope.
In case you were asking, Why Three?*