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crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jul 14th 2017 at 10:44:44 AM

trying to create a mathematical or formal-logic-based rule for the super/sub/sib relationship pis not a good idea
This statement argues against the current definition, asking for it to be less precise. Formal logic being the practice of deducing necessary relationships between concepts with words that cannot fall prey to "different people using the same word differently".
If they don't pay attention to the clear definitions we already have,
Your previous statement argues against a clear definition, advocating that a nebulous definition is of greater benefit to the Wiki. You have explained that tropes are nebulous concepts and asserted that people cannot be expected to follow strict rules on relationships. You haven't explained how the wiki benefits from that.
If A is the supertrope, and B and C are subtropes of it, and D is a subtrope of C, then D is also a subtrope of A.
You have argued (in this thread) that if A is a supertrope of B, not all examples of B are an example of A: "Just because SF includes works that are Free-Love Future that are het does not mean that Free Love Future isn't a subtrope of Speculative Fiction LGBT."
Using super/sub relationships the way that genus (broadly defined) and differentia (more-narrowly defined) work would benefit the wiki because we would know that every example of a subtrope is also an example of the supertrope. Without that relationship, we would have to duplicate many existing examples, because not every example of the subtrope would be an example of the supertrope.

If the relationships are that loose, I'd say there's no point in the labels to begin with.

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
MarqFJA Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
Jul 14th 2017 at 12:39:43 PM

[up] [awesome] [tup]

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:

  • Core elements: These elements are essential to the definition of the trope. Without them, we wouldn't have the trope in question. Each and every example of a trope has to have all of these elements.
  • Supplemental elements: These elements are useful for understanding how the trope works, its manifestations, and/or its relationship to other tropes, but are not essential to the trope's definition per se. You can have some, all, or none of these elements in any given example.

Example: Unicorn

  • Core elements: An animal that more or less identical to a horse, barring the exotic fact that it's horned.
  • Supplemental elements:
    • Traditional depictions have it with a single horn, but there's also the "Bicorn" variant that has two horns. Modern pop culture may also make use of more creative variations with even more horns that may not be necessarily named "unicorns" (if they are, it would be a case akin to Artifact Title), but are still obviously based on the unicorn.
    • Typically associated with Purity Personified, especially of the Incorruptible Pure Pureness form.
    • Often possesses magical powers.
    • Virgins tend to have privileges when it comes to interacting with unicorns.

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

When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened.
crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jul 14th 2017 at 3:18:13 PM

Thanks for the compliment. waii

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.

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Jul 15th 2017 at 1:00:31 AM

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).

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Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Jul 16th 2017 at 10:12:49 AM

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.

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Jul 16th 2017 at 4:56:02 PM

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

Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Jul 16th 2017 at 5:07:58 PM

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.

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jul 16th 2017 at 8:13:01 PM

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
Like High Crate said; we already do this all the time. It's why we're here.
They're saying that Unicorn can't be a subtrope of Magical Horns, because not all unicorns have magical horns.
Technically, Marq FJA and Another Duck say that. Samaritan claims Magical Horns are a core part of the Unicorn definition. In said theoretical draft, we debate for awhile, a few people chime in, slightly less change their position, so we make a crowner. Consensus is 2:1 in favour of "not a supertrope". Okay, it gets listed as "often overlaps with" instead of as a subtrope, and I go hunting through Unicorn collecting examples of unicorns with magical horns to put on my draft. When it launches, I change a line or two in Unicorn to say "some unicorns are known for their Magical Horns, which may be prized by collectors and evil magicians".

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.

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
Jul 16th 2017 at 8:34:03 PM

[up][up]

Fixed the mistype. My point stands.

edited 16th Jul '17 8:36:22 PM by HighCrate

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Jul 17th 2017 at 1:54:34 AM

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.
No, what's nonsensical is saying that two tropes that overlap are super- and subtropes. What if there are a more than a few without magical horns? Or many? Where is the line drawn? And what about the other way around? If most creatures with magical horns are unicorns, is that a subtrope of Unicorn? With such a fuzz line, you can't really say there's any difference between "a subtrope" and "a related trope", nor is there a definition for which trope is the supertrope and which is the subtrope.

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?

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WaterBlap Blapper of Water Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Blapper of Water
Jul 18th 2017 at 12:16:31 PM

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.

[witty saying]
crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jul 18th 2017 at 2:25:19 PM

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

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
WaterBlap Blapper of Water Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Blapper of Water
Jul 18th 2017 at 2:37:22 PM

[up] 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.

... the only actual thing rigid about tropes...

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.

[witty saying]
Irene Drathe Perrywinkle from Friend Code: 1203-9265-8784 and 4571-1389-1915 Relationship Status: It's complicated
Drathe Perrywinkle
Jul 18th 2017 at 2:39:10 PM

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.

Omega Psycho Rangers Quest 64 Discord(very much safe for work)
crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jul 18th 2017 at 4:04:04 PM
Thumped: Wow. That was rude. Too many of this kind of thump will bring a suspension. Please keep it civil.
Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
Irene Drathe Perrywinkle from Friend Code: 1203-9265-8784 and 4571-1389-1915 Relationship Status: It's complicated
Drathe Perrywinkle
Jul 18th 2017 at 4:16:07 PM

...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. tongue 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

Omega Psycho Rangers Quest 64 Discord(very much safe for work)
AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Jul 18th 2017 at 5:01:45 PM

There's nothing actually rigid about tropes. This is why you can play with a trope.
Yes, but if you play with a subtrope, you simultaneously play with the supertrope, unless you play with the subtrope within whatever non-rigid definition you have of the supertrope.

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

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crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jul 18th 2017 at 5:06:05 PM

Why shouldn't it be when it's specifically a variation of a Unicorn and nothing else.
Again, you're treating things as black and white. They're not. At all.
I don't get it. How is the first statement not black and white?

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
Irene Drathe Perrywinkle from Friend Code: 1203-9265-8784 and 4571-1389-1915 Relationship Status: It's complicated
Drathe Perrywinkle
Jul 18th 2017 at 5:35:54 PM

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

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WaterBlap Blapper of Water Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Blapper of Water
Jul 18th 2017 at 6:52:47 PM

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:

Yes, but if you play with a subtrope, you simultaneously play with the supertrope, unless you play with the subtrope within whatever non-rigid definition you have of the supertrope.

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):

  1. "Hard" Super-/Sub-trope Relationship:
    • When the subtrope split off from the supertrope due to size or how common it was
    • When there was a missing supertrope that split off from the subtrope(s)
  2. "Soft" Super-/Sub-trope Relationship: When the two (or more tropes) are thematically related.

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.

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

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?

[witty saying]
AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Jul 19th 2017 at 9:23:05 AM

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

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Jul 19th 2017 at 7:40:48 PM

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

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crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jul 20th 2017 at 9:46:48 AM

Definitions are only strict enough to have required criteria. The only time we have severely strict ones is in necessary cases.
Great, yes. That's been my point all along.
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.
Where do you get the idea that I disagree with that?
It's specifically a subset of Unicorn because it's just an addition to a unicorn's own features.
Now you are using my rhetoric.
  • Variation
  • Differentia
  • Addition to the supertrope rules
you can understand that every trope has strict criteria to prevent misuse, while it always has parts that can be played with.
Again, this is my rhetoric that you're trying to use; I have been defending this perspective against people who believe tropes do not have strict criteria to prevent misuse. You called this "treating things as black and white".
We don't need severely strict criteria or some silly idea that it has to apply to every sub or super trope.
What severely strict criteria? As far as I can tell, I'm only applying the same criteria as you are, yet I'm getting called "superlogical" and "mathematical". I'm getting called a Rules Lawyer for linking to presentations intend for use by elementary school teachers. What was the criteria that you thought I was adding?

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
bwburke94 My Ice Cream Waifu from Remnant Relationship Status: Longing for my OTP
My Ice Cream Waifu
Aug 22nd 2017 at 8:37:48 PM

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"?

Misspelled trope names dealt with... for now. Moving back to the Understatement project soon?
MarqFJA Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
Aug 24th 2017 at 8:07:48 PM

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

When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened.

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