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If the relationships are that loose, I'd say there's no point in the labels to begin with.
I'm really glad this thread is getting an influx of feedback, because I'm not sure if I could've articulated my opinion the way you're doing, Crazysamaritan.
My 2 cents: The way I see it, a trope is made of two kinds of elements:
For B to be a subtrope of A, it has to both share all of the core elements of A and have at least a sufficient number of its own core elements to not be disqualified as The Same But More Specific. For C and D to be Sister Tropes, they have to share the same set of core elements between themselves as well as the core elements of whichever trope E is the immediate supertrope to each of them — or, failing that, the core elements that define the family of tropes within a single index (because sometimes we have an obvious family of tropes, but without one supertrope that is the common "parent" to them all).
Does that make sense?
edited 14th Jul '17 12:56:15 PM by MarqFJA
Thanks for the compliment.
To extend your Unicorn example, let's imagine I propose a trope; Magical Horns, which has the definition of "magical creatures with horns need them in order to use their magic". I consider all unicorns to be magical creatures, and would include it as a subtrope. Hopefully in TLP you'd notice and present your argument for "magical horns" being a common element for unicorns, rather than a definition of the trope. If consensus goes against my opinion, it may be considered a related/compare trope, but not a subtrope.
And I'd argue against Unicorn being a subtrope of that, because in fiction it's possible to have a non-magical unicorn. Which is still following the same definition of what a subtrope is, and the argument is about the definition of the trope.
That's also where I see the most amount of misuse when it comes to claiming something's a subtrope: It's usually, but not always, an example of the supposed supertrope. The problem with allowing those is that there's no clear boundary of what's "usually", and even more so, no way of showing that all examples that exist in fiction are "usually" following that pattern (meaning "usually" as a marker has no substance to begin with).
The number of tropes that are universally applicable is vanishingly small.
To say that "Unicorns" can't be listed as a subtrope of "Magical Horns" because there are a few unicorns in fiction whose horns aren't magical is nonsensical.
To say that a creature that is equine in appearance, has one horn, is used as a symbol of purity or grace, and is attracted to virgins doesn't count as a "unicorn" because its horn isn't magic is equally nonsensical.
Trying to institute a mathematically perfect correlation between "the core aspects" of a trope and all of its possible subtropes would entail endless arguing about exactly, precisely what are the "core aspects" as opposed to those aspects commonly included but not absolutely required, of every single trope on the wiki. and then rewriting the trope definitions to make it crystal clear which aspects are required and which are common but not required. All 35,000+ of them.
Nonsense. That's exactly what we do all the time, and will continue to do for as long as this wiki exists: decide which criteria an example must fit to count as an example of a trope, and what additional secondary and tertiary features are often associated with a trope, but aren't strictly required for an example to count.
If a unicorn's horn need not be magical for it to count as a unicorn, then Unicorn isn't a Sub-Trope of Magical Horn and Magical Horn is just something that's often (but not always) associated with unicorns. Call it a Sister Trope, call it whatever you want, but it's not a Sub-Trope.
I fail to see what's so hard about that.
edited 16th Jul '17 8:35:20 PM by HighCrate
Please reread what Samaritan and Duck wrote; you've got it backwards; they aren't saying Magical Horn would be a subtrope of Unicorn. They're saying that Unicorn can't be a subtrope of Magical Horns, because not all unicorns have magical horns.
Or this happens on the discussion page, or in this thread, or in Trope Repair Shop; the point is that these discussions already happen. Plus, it's less work than your proposal, which is to create redundancy by listing subtrope examples in their supertropes.
Fixed the mistype. My point stands.
edited 16th Jul '17 8:36:22 PM by HighCrate
Take a Venn diagram made out of an eclipse. A subtrope is when one of the circles completely envelopes the other. But if it's a partial eclipse, they're just related tropes. If the definition is that the subtrope doesn't have to completely be inside the supertrope, when is the distinction made? Half eclipse? Three qurters? Fifteen sixteenths? Or do we have to make a separate argument for every single one of the 35000+ tropes?
A fundamental flaw to these arguments from mathematics (or whatever you want to call them) is that Tropes Are Flexible and can be played with. You can argue all you want about how Unicorns must be x, y, z, and whatever and must weigh 20 kgs and no more and no less, but there is still enough flexibility for a non-magical unicorn to count as a Unicorn.
Sometimes, it's exactly like erotica, in that you know it when you see it.
That flaw doesn't exist. Our "mathematical" argument acknowledges the only actual thing rigid about tropes is the cutoff between one trope and another, or at least that is what we are striving for.
Tropes aren't so flexible that if a couple of people agree, then this is a unicorn◊.
edited 18th Jul '17 2:26:13 PM by crazysamaritan
Y'all are the ones calling it mathematical; I'm just using the rhetoric y'all wanted. When I used the analogy of a Venn diagram, y'all jumped down my throat about tropes being super-logical, so don't even play. And then when I used the analogy of basic shapes you Rules Lawyered me and started talking about stuff people talk about in geometry despite the fact that the analogy was about relatively simple shapes.
Don't even play like you're not on the "argument from mathematics" train.
There's nothing actually rigid about tropes. This is why you can play with a trope. You would never be able to have an "inverted" example of a trope if there truly were a rigid definition of what a trope is.
The answer you are "striving for" is so simple that you apparently refuse to accept it. Sometimes things are just simple. You don't have to make everything more complicated than it really is.
Also, I don't know how anyone in their right mind would look at a ram-inspired monster and try to argue that it's a unicorn. That would be a strawman argument if you were to try to make that claim.
Good one. A unicorn is a type of horse, that specifically has a horn. That's it. That's the actual definition.
Unicorns can have magic. That depends on the work itself. It's a common thing. So of course some unicorns have Magical Horns, but not all do. Let's take the Unicorn Zord in Power Rangers Mystic Force. It's blatantly a Unicorn. There's no way around it. But it has no actual magic to speak of. It's just an attack that we don't know the proper source of. Could be the natural magic that the Red Ranger holds when he combines with it. All he does is stab the enemy with the horn as an attack. No magic is used via the horn.
That's an example of a Unicorn not having a Magical Horn.
That's the point. Setting up hard rules for every trope is completely nonsensical. Some might need them due to severe misuse. Others to avoid drama and to invoke ROCEJ in general. A unicorn not having a magical horn is not a case of misuse. That's just a unicorn that has no magic. Fiction plays with stereotypes, tropes, and even expectations. It's quite normal. That's what parodies are for, after all, to change what you would think would help or to have fun with a trope.
Things are not black and white, and that would ruin the wiki's own point of being fun too. FYI, some hard and fast rules are more applicable to YMMV than most main page tropes. And there's a reason for that. There's tons of clean-up due to the constant drama and characters shoved into a trope that has an extremely specific definition. It's why we have things like clean-up threads for Complete Monster. There is criteria. A lot of main page tropes don't have super strict criteria. Especially for characterization-related stuff. Most of the time, the strictness comes from avoiding Zero Context Examples, not to avoid flexibility.
...Because it's a Unicorn? With wings? Why shouldn't it be when it's specifically a variation of a Unicorn and nothing else. Hell, they're often called Alicorns in works, but due to that being a less obvious name, we are using a very clear and indicative name. You should read the description, which says just that "It's a unicorn with wings." As well as "The idea would be to combine all the mobility of a flying creature with grace and rarity (and occasionally magical ability) of a unicorn." Do note I didn't read the description until later and then edited this in. That should tell you how clear and blatant it is.
Winded Unicorns don't inherently have magical horns either, while we're at it. Or magic in general.
Magical horns are not a subtrope of Unicorns because they don't just apply to Unicorns only. All kinds of creatures can have magic from their horns. Things like Imps, Gremlins, certain kings of Dragons, Demons, Devils, and so on. Unicorns happen to be one of the most notable examples. Being a trope codifier does not make one a subtrope at all. Likewise, for the same reason, Unicorns aren't a subtrope to magical horns because it's just one trait of what they can be. Other things include how they are presented as pure creatures who would only appear to maidens, how overly majestic they are compared to regular horses, or sometimes being a legendary creature in general(including a mount for higher up soldiers/Deities due to their status as a creature).
Again, you're treating things as black and white. They're not. At all.
edited 18th Jul '17 4:19:40 PM by Irene
I mean, with unicorns, it's reasonably common to subvert their innocence and portray them as monsters (which really is closer to what they were originally, but that's beside the point). If you have a supertrope Cool Horse (despite the problems I have with that trope in particular), that would still fall well within that trope. If you have a variation of the horse part (something almost but not quite like a horse), you play with both tropes (assuming it's still listable as an example).
The point is, it doesn't really matter if the tropes are fuzzily defined. You just can't have a subtrope that's more fuzzily defined than its supertrope (unless, again, the fuzzines is still completely within the supertrope).
(I use paranthesis too much.)
edited 18th Jul '17 5:03:02 PM by AnotherDuck
You're taking what I said out of context. Also, keep in mind I did misread some of it. You're right, it's not "nothing else". But I explain that later on. Winged Unicorn is a subtrope of multiple super tropes. My bad. But you're still missing the rest of the point anyway. :/ Playing with tropes exist because tropes aren't beyond hard-set definitions in all cases, which means you can subvert the trope or play with the idea.
That doesn't mean you can completely ignore the definition like you did with that example of using some kind of beast/dragon with horns. It doesn't work that way.
Definitions are only strict enough to have required criteria. The only time we have severely strict ones is in necessary cases.
It's impossible for a Winged Unicorn to not be related to a Unicorn. That doesn't make sense. It's a Unicorn With Wings. That's literally where the strictness ends. It has to have a horn, be a horse, and has wings, to apply for that trope. Beyond that, it doesn't have to have wings that work, flight, magic, be pretty, be a "pure" creature, or anything like that. It's specifically a subset of Unicorn because it's just an addition to a unicorn's own features. Of course they're directly related. I'm trying to think of other examples, but I haven't read some of those pages so... either I can give an analogy that doesn't have a page, or you can understand that every trope has strict criteria to prevent misuse, while it always has parts that can be played with. It's why subversions/aversions aren't always allowed. It depends the trope. Playing with can go either way, but it can't just ignore criteria to be used. Take a Pegasus. That's a super trope to a Winged Unicorn as well. Why? Because if you add a horn to a Pegasus, it becomes a Winged Unicorn. There's a reason why they're both Super Tropes to Winged Unicorn as well. Both types of Horses can be turned into a Winged Unicorn by adding a feature to the body(either being a horn or wings respectively).
Do not forget that Unicorn and Pegasus are sub-tropes to Cool Horse as well. In addition, Winged Unicorn is too, for the fact that it's type of horse with added features.
The point being is that things aren't so simple and tons of super and sub tropes exist. We don't need severely strict criteria or some silly idea that it has to apply to every sub or super trope. That's nonsensical entirely. It just has to be strict enough for the specific trope in question, while still allowing necessary flexibility for various examples. And specific characters can apply to more than one trope anyway, so it's not a big deal if it shares traits with multiple trope examples.
edited 18th Jul '17 6:24:19 PM by Irene
I actually think I agree a lot with what Irene said here. Specifically the idea that "There is criteria. A lot of main page tropes don't have super strict criteria. Especially for characterization-related stuff. Most of the time, the strictness comes from avoiding Zero Context Examples, not to avoid flexibility." And also "Setting up hard rules for every trope is completely nonsensical. Some might need them due to severe misuse. Others to avoid drama and to invoke ROCEJ in general."
I'd like to extrapolate something from that, actually. Namely (and borrowing a word from Duck), the idea that tropes are defined fuzzily at first, and then more rigidly defined as issues pop up. The most common issue being ZCE, but others would be those common to TLP crash rescue or TRS repairs (e.g. naming issues, contradictory descriptions, not enough examples, etc.).
I think I can generally agree with what Duck said:
I'd like to add/repond: I think if you play with a subtrope, you aren't necessarily playing with the supertrope. It depends on the trope, and what kind of subtrope it is. That is, there are at least two kinds of subtrope that I understand (this harkens back to my first post in this thread):
If a "hard" subtrope (1) is played with, then it necessarily simultaneously plays with its supertrope. But if a "soft" subtrope (2) is played with, then it does not necessarily simultaneously play with its supertrope.
Hypothetical examples include: (1) a pen / fountain pen example, plays on the fountain pen would be a play on the general idea of a pen; (2) family / traditional family, plays on the traditional family would not be a play on the general idea of a family.
Also, I think the Cool Horse / Unicorn is a "soft" relationship, so I'm not sure I agree with your example. The "horse" element is an important theme between those tropes.
I'm not sure if I agree with the second sentence here. Tropes tend to get more specific the farther down the subtrope branch you go... I think I just misunderstand this sentence?
If they're more specific down the branch, they're less fuzzy. What I meant was that a subtrope can't be fuzzy in an area where the supertrope isn't. Say we have a trope Red Cars. Then we have a trope Red Cars Go Faster. If the latter trope isn't as strict on whether the vehicle counts as a car as the former, it's not a subtrope.
And to clarify, I use "fuzzy" in the sense of a non-strict "you know it when you see it" definition. Genres typically have very fuzzy definitions, but no matter how fuzzy the definitions are, an example of a subgenre is always also an example of the main genre.
edited 19th Jul '17 9:24:20 AM by AnotherDuck
Hello... Anyone remember Trope Grids? I do... ... Perhaps expanding them so they work for more than just Sister Tropes could be a good sorting idea?
edited 19th Jul '17 7:43:45 PM by Malady
All this talk of unicorns is confusing me.
If I get the gist of this argument, it's about what exactly the word "subtrope" means, beyond the simple definition of "trope derived from another trope"?
Pretty much, since Madrugada in particular is steadfastly pushing for an interpretation that runs counter to the consensus that has been established by precedent for years.
Honestly, all this arguing over what the definition of "subtrope" should be has derailed the thread from its actual purpose. Can we move that line of discussion to a dedicated thread in TRS or Wiki Talk, and rerail this thread?
edited 24th Aug '17 8:09:09 PM by MarqFJA
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