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Misused: Divide By Zero

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Spark9 Gentleman Troper! from Castle Wulfenbach Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
May 28th 2013 at 3:04:21 PM

The trope Divide by Zero is a bit messed up right now. It's supposed to be "doing something that should be impossible makes reality implode", one of the canonical examples being that if you meet your past self via Time Travel, you wipe out reality through Temporal Paradox.

However, it is a big stretch to come from the trope title to that definition. As a result, the page is full of examples that are either (1) literally about mathematical divisions by zero; (2) doing something that should be impossible (but without having any adverse effects on reality); and (3) simply causing reality-warping explosions in a way that's entirely possible within the work of fiction. Clearly all of that is misuse.

This is a problem. I suggest that this needs to have (a) its definition clarified, (b) about half of the examples removed as incorrect, and (c) a rename.

And if you give me a few minutes, I'll throw in a wick check free of charge.

edited 28th May '13 3:35:51 PM by Spark9

Special trousers. Very heroic.
Spark9 Gentleman Troper! from Castle Wulfenbach Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
May 28th 2013 at 3:29:55 PM

Wick check. Taking every third wick until I hit 50. Verdict: 78% misuse

Correct: Anima Beyond Fantasy, Cyanide And Happiness, Dragaera, Dwarf Fortress, Freemans Mind, Goblins, Homestuck Cherubs, Linking To An Article Within The Article, Morgaine Cycle, Haruhi Chan

Misuse "any paradox or seemingly impossible event (that has no adverse effect on reality)": A Certain Magical Index, Chuck Norris Facts, Conservapedia, Dead All Along, Death Note, Hardly Working, Longest Pregnancy Ever, Ludicrous Speed, Naglfar, Mass Effect 2, High School DXD (this is generally the trope Temporal Paradox or some other paradox trope)

Misuse "any event that wipes out reality or simply causes a big enough disaster (but that is not caused by paradoxes or doing-the-impossible)": All Deaths Final, Bag of Holding, Brooktown High, Candy Crush Saga, Casual Interstellar Travel, Dirty Potter, Ghostbusters, In The Service, Mentalism, Humanity on Trial, Half Life Full Life Consequences, Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy VIII, Faster-Than-Light Travel (this is generally the trope Apocalypse How or simply Stuff Blowing Up)

Misuse "taking the name literally, no relation to paradoxes or wiping out reality, but talking about actual math or computer programming": Adventure Quest, Borderlands2, Crystal Rave, Elf Blood, Evil Only Has to Win Once, Kerbal Space Program, Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, Mega Man, Marathon, Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards (this is just referring to the name, not the trope)

Meta / direct links to the trope / or no context: Apocalyptic Index, Awesomeness Is Volatile, College Saga, Dividing By Zero, Doctor Who 2005 RBS Attack Of The Graske

edited 28th May '13 3:58:02 PM by Spark9

Special trousers. Very heroic.
Xtifr World's Toughest Milkman Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
May 28th 2013 at 4:24:02 PM

That seems pretty clear. I would guess that the name is indeed the source of the misuse. Supporting a rename.

Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
Nohbody "In distress", my ass. from Somewhere in Dixie Relationship Status: Mu
"In distress", my ass.
May 28th 2013 at 5:02:38 PM

I agree that it needs work, but what about the Image Pickin' discussion on the article's image (image macro)? The issue with TRS was brought up in that thread, but at that time there wasn't a TRS slot open.

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Stratadrake Dragon Writer
Dragon Writer
May 28th 2013 at 5:42:53 PM

It would seem the name has become a meme. :(

An Ear Worm is like a Rickroll: It is never going to give you up.
DRCEQ Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
May 28th 2013 at 6:14:08 PM

Divided By Zero hit meme status long before this site existed. However, I don't think that grants it a grandfather clause on the name.

So... how can we rename this by making it clear in the title that you destroy existence through achieving the impossible?

edited 28th May '13 6:16:18 PM by DRCEQ

AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
May 28th 2013 at 6:24:43 PM

The phrase itself has several meanings. The most general one is probably just something you can't do, with the consequences being irrelevant. This trope is more specific than that.

I support a rename.

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Stratadrake Dragon Writer
Dragon Writer
May 28th 2013 at 7:06:22 PM

No, this is an incident, not a character power.

An Ear Worm is like a Rickroll: It is never going to give you up.
May 28th 2013 at 8:35:32 PM

[up][up]Whoops. How 'bout Overloaded The Spacetime Continuum? Or Broke the yadda yadda if you want something shorter.

edited 28th May '13 8:38:52 PM by StarSword

Clarste One Winged Egret Relationship Status: Non-Canon
One Winged Egret
May 28th 2013 at 9:11:10 PM

I think it might just need a bit more context. What Happens When You Divide By Zero or Divided By Zero Reality Broke something.

Nohbody "In distress", my ass. from Somewhere in Dixie Relationship Status: Mu
"In distress", my ass.
May 28th 2013 at 11:34:39 PM

"Bork" isn't very useful a description, even if I'd bet the geekish crowd would mostly get it. (Never mind a certain Swedish chef... tongue )

Reality Breaking Event, Reality Breaking Action, or Reality Breaking Act, perhaps? Trying for something that makes it clear it's an action/event that breaks things, and keeps Brevity Is Wit in mind.

edited 28th May '13 11:36:07 PM by Nohbody

All your safe space are belong to Trump
SeptimusHeap Christmas worms from Bern, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Christmas worms
May 28th 2013 at 11:42:15 PM

Reality Break is good for me. What do we want to use Divided By Zero for, then, though?

Nohbody "In distress", my ass. from Somewhere in Dixie Relationship Status: Mu
"In distress", my ass.
May 28th 2013 at 11:44:14 PM

Reality Break leaves it unclear whether the "break" is used as a verb or a noun. As a noun I agree with Discar (#10) that it sounds like it could be confused for Negative Space Wedgie.

All your safe space are belong to Trump
SeptimusHeap Christmas worms from Bern, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Christmas worms
May 28th 2013 at 11:45:11 PM

Negative Space Wedgie has nothing to do with reality or breaking it.

Spark9 Gentleman Troper! from Castle Wulfenbach Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
May 29th 2013 at 12:16:10 AM

"Explosion From Paradox"? "Paradox Means Explosion"?

(I'm using 'explosion' because this trope seems to cover everything from small explosions to huge earth-shattering ones)

edited 29th May '13 12:18:44 AM by Spark9

Special trousers. Very heroic.
DRCEQ Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
May 29th 2013 at 8:01:52 AM

[up] hmm, "event" makes it sound like it is something that can occur normally or naturally.

Going with some of the words others have suggested so far, what about Reality-Breaking Paradox?

edited 29th May '13 8:02:57 AM by DRCEQ

May 30th 2013 at 3:17:01 AM

Sounds good. I'd say it's either that or Reality Break.

edited 30th May '13 3:19:55 AM by maxwellsilver

Spark9 Gentleman Troper! from Castle Wulfenbach Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
May 30th 2013 at 3:52:27 AM

I like Reality-Breaking Paradox. If reality breaks for a non-paradox-related matter, that's a different trope (Apocalypse How, basically).

Special trousers. Very heroic.
May 30th 2013 at 7:22:16 AM

[up]I like that name.

Absent-minded professor and Neverwinter Nights DM
Rethkir A Trusted Friend in Science and Ponies from the gap between dimensions
May 30th 2013 at 8:54:42 AM

Me too.

Image Source. Please update whenever an image is changed.
AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.

Page Action: Divide By Zero
4th Jun '13 9:18:53 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
At issue:
Divide By Zero is essentially about reality-breaking paradoxes. As shown in the TRS thread, it has 78% misuse for (a) paradoxes that don't break reality, (b) apocalyptic events that don't involve paradoxes, or (c) mathematical division by zero.

Total posts: 71
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