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Misused (needs wicks moved): Accidentally Accurate

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Gosicrystal Relationship Status: Who needs love when you have waffles?
Jan 9th 2017 at 7:39:13 AM

I learned about Accidentally Accurate just days ago, and soon saw the amount of misuse the trope gets. First of all, it's a Trivia page, and gets tons of wicks from non-Trivia pages (sinkholes and so-called In-Universe entries in Main). I began to see patterns of misuse (situations it's mistaken with), and decided to do a wick check with about 50 wicks.

    Wick Check 


  • Trivia.AIR: The scene in episode 2 where Haruko mentions Misuzu thinking that dinosaurs came from chicken eggs. Misuzu's right, you know. Feathers, air sacs, four-chambered hearts, gizzards, gastroliths, toothed beaks in some birds, pubis bone moved backward into the bird-hipped configuration among some theropods, insulating wings—there's no two-ways about it: Birds are living dinosaurs.
  • Trivia.Agarest Senki: Black Hole in this game pulls enemies into its mass black body before evaporating into a small white mass which causes a massive explosion. This is actually accurate; Black Hole did not just conveniently disappear like in some other fictions shown, Hawking radiation has proven that after a black hole loses its mass, an enormous explosion surpassing nukes will happen.
  • Trivia.Asterix: Uderzo received a mail congratulating him for his perfect depiction of the antique roadstead of Brest. Uderzo had actually drawn it without doing any research.
  • Potholed in Awesome.Diamond In The Rough Touhou: After going into a screening blind, fanfic writer ChibiFenrix, under the name ChibiChen, wrote a Reconstruction of the Gappy Stu concept titled Mind The Gap with barely any research into the Touhou series at all. After asking the normally harsh Spaztique to riff it/critique it, he couldn't find any fault in it. In fact, Spaztique will adapt it after Diamond In The Rough.
  • Literature.Babar, in Ascended to Carnivorism: In Babar Comes To America, Babar and his family were shown eating meat. Becomes Accidentally Accurate in that such behavior was observed in elephants in real life.
  • Creator.Dingo Pictures, in Artistic License – Biology: The T-Rex-ish thing in Dinosaur Adventures has a red button nose and is apparently the child of two sauropods. In the same movie, meat eating is treated as cannibalism, which suffice to say is quite face-palming for everyone who even remotely knows what dinosaurs are. But Accidentally Accurate in that the ceratopsian like dinosaur is the one who suggests it, this movie having been made several years before the idea that ceratopsians were probably opportunistically omnivorous became mainstream.
  • Fantasia:
    • In Artistic License – Paleontology: Rite of Spring, filled with Stock Dinosaurs (including the T. rex) of different Mesozoic periods and sometimes-questionable anatomy. In fact, Tyrannosaurus lived closer to when humans live today than he did to when Stegosaurus lived. According to commentary on the Blu-Ray release, the fight was originally to have between the T. rex and a Triceratops, but the Stegosaurus was switched in as the animators felt the thagomizer would make the battle more interesting. Going by the 1940s understanding of dinosaurs, however, it's pretty accurate (apart of course from the Anachronism Stew)—Accidentally Accurate, in fact, as the "T. rex" was drawn with three fingers, making it an Allosaurus, which did live in the Jurassic alongside Stegosaurus. On the other hand, it is too bulky and lacks the brow horns Allosaurus is also known for having.
    • In Ascended to Carnivorism: In the Rite of Spring sequence, Plateosaurus and Kannemeyeria (both herbivorous) are portrayed eating clams. Becomes Accidentally Accurate in the case of the plateosaurs, which are now believed to have been partially omnivorous.
  • Trivia.Hong Kong 97: Yes, Deng Xiaoping was still alive at the time of the game's release, but he actually did die in 1997, making his role in the game cohesive.
  • Trivia.Ice Age:
    • An extinct mammal that looked just like Scrat was discovered some time after the first film was released.
    • The Gastornis from the second film don't appear to invoke the same Carnivore Confusion among herbivores as other carnivores in the series do. Skip ahead several years and it's discovered that Gastornis was actually a herbivore.
  • Trivia.King Kong 1933: Some have questioned the credibility of the fact that Captain Englehorn is able to translate the language of the islanders, who have apparently never had Western visitors before. He describes it as similar to the language of the Nias islanders. Nias is a real place in Indonesia, but the language of the film is completely fabricated. Nonetheless, Englehorn's ability to translate is not all that implausible; most of the languages of the Pacific share common enough roots to be mutually intelligible to fluent speakers.
  • Trivia.Mad: In their Thomas the Tank Engine and Unstoppable parody, Thomas is depicted as having both ends of his running plate dipped, not just the front. While it was done in order to not infringe on the character's image, this is actually how a real life Billington E2 tank engine's running plate is built.
  • Magical Security Cam: Some courses in Racing Games, such as Mario Kart and Wipeout have jumbotrons that deliver a live feed of you racing from your perspective. Even after the race was over, the screens would show the fly-over view of the track as you were viewing it. While the technology to deliver such in-car feeds, called Race Cam, predates the SNES,note  it's not likely that the game designers of the early '90s were racing buffs, so 4th and 5th gen cases could fall under Accidentally Accurate, as opposed to Justified.note  Regardless, this still does not excuse using solely the Player Character's camera view for the entire race; apparently Protagonist-Centered Morality has infected the broadcast crew.
  • Trivia.Nebula: While Ceres' emergence from Black Hole's head wasn't intended to be anything close to realistic or plausible, some months after the comic's publication NASA actually observed an object coming out of a black hole.
  • Neck Snap, under Fanfics: Garfield does this to Doc Brown in Garfield in: "Along Came a Splut", but in an unintentionally accurate example, it doesn't kill him, one of the few things that does make sense about an otherwise Mind Screw of a story.
  • Trivia.Penny Arcade: It's probably not intentional and just coincidence, since the implications of the gift aren't mentioned, but the December 16, 2013 comic has Mary, the mother of Jesus, saying, "Who gives a baby myrrh?" Myrrh was used as an embalming ointment... as in for the dead. It would be like giving a coffin at a baby shower. To make a long story short, the myrrh was symbolic, which if you know what it's symbolizing doesn't make it any less disturbing.
  • Trivia.Phineas And Ferb: That chattering sound Perry makes? Platypi really do make those noises in real life (though of course not with their teeth, which they don't have). Interviews have indicated that neither the show's creators nor Perry's voice actor were aware of this during production.
  • Trivia.The Berenstain Bears:
    • In one episode, the family explores a cave. Papa mentions that cave bears (presumably intended to be an ursine version of cave people) may have once lived in the cave. Cave bears actually existed.
    • Brother once wants some purple ketchup. It is a thing.
  • Trivia.The New Dinosaurs An Alternative Evolution: Some species described in the book were later described in some form in real life, although most didn't resemble Dixon's creations except in the most basic concepts.
    • Dwarf island dinosaurs were discovered in the form of Hațeg Island dinosaurs and Europasaurus.
    • Long-necked, long-legged running pterosaurs became reality once better remains of Azhdarchids were discovered.
    • Small arboreal coelurosaurs, such as microraptorines and scansoriopterygids.
    • Large flightless birds evolving in the presence of non-avian dinosaurs; Gargantuavis in particular is not too unlike the troumble.
    • Fur-like plumage on ornithischians (Tianyulong, Psittacosaurus, and Kulindadromeus).
    • An Asian coelurosaur that glided with membranous wings: Yi.
  • ShoutOut.The Smurfs: After Gargamel feeds Hackus, he waits for a "thank you" but gets a burp instead to which he accepts. Now who said burping was a compliment? (It actually IS in some cultures.)
  • Trivia.Tintin Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets: While nearly everything about the Soviet Union's depiction in this story is laughably inaccurate, one thing that actually was Truth in Television (albeit probably exaggerated) was the "election" seen halfway through the story, with several former USSR citizens attesting in later years that implied and even open threats of violence toward voters weren't too out of the ordinary.
  • YMMV.Upstairs Downstairs: At the beginning of Season Three, Lady Marjorie is written off the series by having her go down with the Titanic—even though women in first class had the second-highest survival rate of any group on board. The highest survival rate? First-class women's servants—like Roberts, who shows up later in the season to confirm Lady Marjorie’s death.
  • Trivia.We: Like Brave New World it correctly guessed a future medical discovery. In this case that damaging a part of the human brain can destroy that person's emotions. Though it involves an icepick instead of X-Rays.
  • Trivia.Raptor Red:
    • Bakker included a therizinosaur ("segnosaur") in the story even though none were known from the right time and place when the book was written. (Perhaps not coincidentally, it was depicted as a mountain dweller, therefore living in an environment unlikely to preserve its fossils.) A decade later, a therizinosaur (Falcarius) contemporaneous with Utahraptor was published.
    • Obscure pterosaur Ornithodesmus (now known as Istiodactylus) is depicted as a scavenger, while at the time, it was thought of as a fish eater. In 2012, Mark Witton did some research and confirmed that Istiodactylus was indeed a scavenger.
  • Trivia.Monty Pythons Life Of Brian: The whole shtick about the different anti-Roman groups and their infighting is clearly intended as a Take That! against then current leftist groups in the UK, but incidentally the real life anti-Roman groups at the time did more infighting than fighting against the Romans. Ultimately this meant that all three Jewish uprisings against the Romans failed precisely because of that We ARE Struggling Together, though the immense military strength of the Roman Empire didn't help either.
  • Trivia.Lost Eden: This game has Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus as different dinosaurs. A new study in 2015 shows this may be true after all.

34 correct examples (lowest indentation level)


A character makes a guess and is correct.

  • Funny.Ashes Of The Past: And during her report to her superiors, she comments that if an evil organization has infiltrated the Kalos Elite Four, they have bigger problems. She has no idea how Accidentally Accurate she is. note 
  • Trivia.Family Feud: The ABC finale had the question "Tell me how old you think Ronald Reagan looks" and Richard Dawson guessed that he was 74. At the time the episode aired — June 14, 1985 — Reagan actually was 74 years old.
  • Funny.Family Feud: Once, host Tony Barber accidentally asked a male contestant if he had a boyfriend, then realized his slip and corrected it to "girlfriend". The contestant's response? "No, I'm gay."
  • FanFic.Harry Potter And The Methods Of Rationality: Early in the story, a prophecy talks about "The ones who will tear apart the s-". Students guess that the final word was "sky" or "sun." it's "stars".
  • It Will Never Catch On: A 2016 Snickers commercial features the filming of the iconic scene of Marilyn Monroe standing on a subway grate in The Seven Year Itch. One of the crew remarks "this scene will never make the cut."note 
  • YMMV.Peachs Slutty Adventure: When Peach first meets DK in the first season, she is quite to assume that he is a pedo gorilla who captured everyone from her castle. She's right.

Another way to mean Hilarious in Hindsight.

Person makes a joke that turns out to happen or be true.

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Southern Raiders", in Lampshade Hanging: There's a bit of this when Katara marches up to Aang and requests the usage of Appa. Aang, noticing Zuko standing behind her, is quick to jokingly ask if it's her turn to "take a little field trip" with him, just as Aang and Sokka did in the preceding episodes. Katara's answer is a Blunt "Yes", which leaves Aang momentarily startled.
  • Characters.SOMA: Just before Jessica's death, he jokes that Golaski only drinks structure gel, since he's always working on the pipes. Little does he know that this is exactly what's happening.
  • LetsPlay.The Fantasio 974: In his Batman: Arkham Knight playthrough, he calls the titular character Robin the first time he met him, presumably as a joke. He's technically right.
  • Trivia.Weird Video Games: In "Rock 'n' Rage", after expressing disbelief at the random weirdness of the first Ancient Egypt level (such as Cleopatra giving you a forcefield powerup) he sarcastically suggests that the next level, Mediaeval Great Britain, will include Dracula as an enemy. It actually turns out to have Nosferatu as an enemy...
  • Trivia.Wheel Of Fortune: On October 27, 2011 (an episode with a Fictional Family puzzle), Pat joked that the category had only been used eight times. At the end of the show, he was told that it actually had been used only eight times...except that was wrong as well — it was the category's tenth appearance.
  • Anime.Yuri On Ice: Takeshi and Yuko joke that many skating fans might be hating Yuri now since they believe that he "stole Victor from [ice skating]". Episodes 6 and 8 show that they're actually correct.
  • Trivia.The Angry Video Game Nerd:
    • In the Colecovision episode, he jokes that he wonders if The Addams Family had a Coleco Adam computer. The Addams family were actually the first TV family to own a computer, albeit one of the old fashioned UNIVAC types.
    • In his review of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, he points out the famous "I am Error" oddity, and jokes that it's probably just the character's name. In fact, he's right; the character really is named Error.
  • YMMV.Two Saiyans Play, in Harsher in Hindsight: While playing Among the Sleep, Krillin says "Whatever's going on, my tiny baby brain can't handle it!" after an Interface Screw moment. Given The Reveal at the end of the game, he's Accidentally Accurate.
  • Trivia.Versus: Tyler makes a joke about Josh saying 'snap' being a coded message that his next LP will be Pokémon Snap, which suprises Josh, who was planning on let's playing Pokémon Snap next... but then reveals he was just kidding. But it later turns out he wasn't.
  • Trivia.Quatermass: In Quatermass and the Pit (1967), the protagonists uncover remains of primitive humans from five million years ago. The characters state that no such remains have ever been found back that far in time before. In 1974, Lucy would be found and she would be the oldest human/hominid remains at 3.2 million years until even earlier specimens were found, making the concept of humans being in existence five million years ago well within possibility.
  • Trivia.Retsupurae: In "LP Mario 64...very slowly", the duo joke about what would have happened if the Nintendo 64 really was as slow as the LPer's emulator made it look like. One of their remarks is how it had state of the art graphics and only 2 MB of RAM. This isn't very far off from the truth — the N64 had 4 MB of RAM without the expansion pack, yes, but it used high latency Rambus DRAM which made it a huge bottleneck on the system.

Another way to mean Irony

  • Potholed in PlayingWith.No Man Of Woman Born: Such a prophecy did exist, but Evulz didn't know about it.
  • WebVideo.Ten Little Roosters: In-universe with the line in the poem "The killer was killed". Barbara wrote that as part of her plan to frame Ryan as the killer and escape as the survivor, but Ryan turns the tables on her and kills her anyways, fulfilling the poem's original meaning.
  • HaruhiSuzumiya.Tropes A To E: All the actors in Haruhi's movie are playing as their respective secret identities, which Haruhi has no knowledge of.

Another way to mean Right for the Wrong Reasons

  • Literature.The Hundred And One Dalmatians: In universe. While resting for the night in an old country estate, Pongo is startled when the elderly owner (who thinks he is seeing the ghost of dogs from his childhood) calls him by his real name. Then he remembers that he was named that because it was a common name for Dalmatian coach dogs.
  • FanFic.Water Areobics For The Aquaphobic: Luna gets that her pet bunny is psychic, although she doesn't know that that's because he's actually Lord Voldemort in cursed form.

28 incorrect examples (lowest indentation level)

So the trope is misused in 28 out of 62 entries = 45% of the time. It's not extreme, but it's quite a lot nevertheless. The greatest root of misuse comes, I think, from the name of the trope. It's way too broad. Considering the major situations which with it's confused (jokes and guesses that turn out to be true), we should rename Accidentally Accurate (and possibly create a sister trope (or more, if need be) for the major targets of misuse). As for Right for the Wrong Reasons and Irony, we should just move the pertinent examples there.

It's worth noting, too, that "jokes" may overlap with Hilarious in Hindsight, but not necessarily (meaning not all joke examples should be moved to HIH). And In-Universe examples of Accidentally Accurate should only apply to writers within the story not doing the research for their Show Within a Show and happening to be right.

UPDATE 1: It was decided on a crowner to rename the trope.
UPDATE 2: It was decided on another crowner to rename it as Accidentally Correct Writing.

edited 11th Jun '17 8:04:17 AM by Gosicrystal

Tell them, Naegi.
SeptimusHeap Farewell, NEOWISE from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Farewell, NEOWISE
Jan 9th 2017 at 8:02:58 AM

OK, opening.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman
Jan 9th 2017 at 6:12:16 PM

See also Accidental Truth.

We don't need justice when we can forgive. We don't need tolerance when we can love.
pokedude10 from Texas, but that should be obvious. Relationship Status: Not war
Jan 9th 2017 at 7:04:53 PM

So, if this is a meta/writer trivia trope, not an in-universe trope, that's some serious misuse. Agree with a rename.

Some Alt suggestions: Writers Got It Right, Accidental Correct Writing, God Was Right, Writers Were Right, Surprisingly Right Writing.

edited 9th Jan '17 7:05:06 PM by pokedude10

Witty saying.
Jan 9th 2017 at 9:57:40 PM

Not to be confused with Shown Their Work.

Maybe Not Researched But Correct or Correct In Hindsight or something.

We don't need justice when we can forgive. We don't need tolerance when we can love.
Gosicrystal Relationship Status: Who needs love when you have waffles?
Jan 10th 2017 at 4:49:26 AM

The line between Shown Their Work and Accidentally Accurate is slim. It depends on whether or not the writers did the research, which usually can only be confirmed by Word of God.

As for the suggested names:

edited 12th Jan '17 8:22:43 AM by Gosicrystal

Tell them, Naegi.
crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jan 12th 2017 at 7:58:45 AM

Because of the blurry line, I'd be more in favour of a merge than a rename. If Death of the Author is assumed, let's err on the side of complimenting them directly ("this shows they did research") instead of a backhanded compliment ("oh, they didn't screw this up"). Word of God can add additional bits of info (like "actually, I just guessed"), but I don't think it's important enough to make a subtrope.

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
Gosicrystal Relationship Status: Who needs love when you have waffles?
Jan 12th 2017 at 8:37:30 AM

[up] So you're saying that Shown Their Work and Accidentally Accurate should be merged? That's a possibility, too. Were we to merge them, the trope could be named God Was Right, Writers Got It Right or Writers Were Right. I prefer the second one.

edited 12th Jan '17 8:50:42 AM by Gosicrystal

Tell them, Naegi.
Jan 12th 2017 at 1:57:55 PM

[up] Like.

We don't need justice when we can forgive. We don't need tolerance when we can love.
Gosicrystal Relationship Status: Who needs love when you have waffles?
Jan 17th 2017 at 2:04:04 PM

Five days have passed. Does anyone else have other ideas? Do we agree on a merge?

Tell them, Naegi.
crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jan 17th 2017 at 7:09:50 PM

Should probably do a crowner for that. I'm not inclined to suggest we rename the trope post-merge (I don't have a problem with Shown Their Work).

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
Gosicrystal Relationship Status: Who needs love when you have waffles?
Jan 18th 2017 at 5:46:46 AM

Will set up a crowner soon. Page action, including a rename and a merge? The merge would include getting facts right by coincidence, which is definitely not Shown Their Work, so that can't be the new name.

edited 18th Jan '17 5:53:00 AM by Gosicrystal

Tell them, Naegi.
Jan 18th 2017 at 7:49:06 AM

I'd prefer Writers Got It Right.

We don't need justice when we can forgive. We don't need tolerance when we can love.
Gosicrystal Relationship Status: Who needs love when you have waffles?
lu127 Paper Master from 空蝉丸
Jan 18th 2017 at 9:31:28 AM

I've attached the crowner and added a third option. There have been no issues raised with Shown Their Work so far. If it is healthy, there is no reason to rename it post-merge. Its status will not change.

Gosicrystal Relationship Status: Who needs love when you have waffles?
Jan 18th 2017 at 9:46:12 AM

The fact that Shown Their Work doesn't have misuse is completely irrelevant to what we're discussing. The point is that, if Shown Their Work is merged with Accidentally Accurate, the result will include examples of writers not doing the research but getting facts right by fluke. You can't really say they've Shown Their Work if they investigated nothing. That's why there needs to be a neutral name that encompasses both tropes: doing the research and not doing it. Hence my support for Writers Got It Right.

edited 18th Jan '17 9:47:07 AM by Gosicrystal

Tell them, Naegi.
crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jan 18th 2017 at 10:09:10 AM

in the former the writers didn't do the research but got the facts right by coincidence, while in the latter they did an extensive research and it shows.
We don't actually require the creators "did an extensive research" on Shown Their Work. That's a conclusion that we draw because of the obscure facts they got right. We couldn't require "did an extensive research" without Word of God or Word of Paul (and we shouldn't trust them even if we did).

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
lu127 Paper Master from 空蝉丸
Jan 18th 2017 at 10:16:13 AM

You want to change over 5,000 wicks for something that we have no way of knowing except for cases where they admit they didn't know anything but got lucky? That would be a waste of time and effort.

Jan 18th 2017 at 10:23:19 AM

So is there going to be any trope for in-universe Accidentally Accurate? Like if a character gets asked a question and they give a random answer that just happens to be right? That feels more like a trope than the out of universe version, honestly.

If that's all covered by Accidental Truth, then maybe pointing Accidentally Accurate at that trope should be an option.

edited 18th Jan '17 10:24:36 AM by Discar

Gosicrystal Relationship Status: Who needs love when you have waffles?
Jan 18th 2017 at 11:37:41 AM

1) If doing an extensive research is not required for Shown Their Work, then it might have, unbeknownst to us, examples that fit Accidentally Accurate instead. Maybe those obscure facts were correct... and the writers didn't know it, contrary to what we assumed. Or lied about researching them. It would undermine the entire point of the name Shown Their Work.

2) I don't know the true scope of Accidental Truth, but the description seems to focus solely on a made up lie that happens to be true. I'm not sure it applies to situations where a character makes a guess and is correct.

Tell them, Naegi.
crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jan 18th 2017 at 12:10:08 PM

It does undermine the entire point of Shown Their Work, which is why we created a trope for that; Dan Browned. That's when a work/creator that proports to be presenting factual information contains outright lies at best, and insidious misinformation at worst.

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
Gosicrystal Relationship Status: Who needs love when you have waffles?
Jan 18th 2017 at 12:38:19 PM

No, I wasn't talking about facts that are wrong. I was talking about facts that are right, by mere coincidence, which is Accidentally Accurate. How can you tell examples of this aren't in the over 5000 wicks of Shown Their Work? After all, proper research is not a requirement of STW, right?

edited 18th Jan '17 12:40:38 PM by Gosicrystal

Tell them, Naegi.
crazysamaritan Could we just... not have Death anymore? from Lupin III
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Jan 18th 2017 at 1:35:15 PM

If Death of the Author is assumed, let's err on the side of complimenting them directly ("this shows they did research") instead of a backhanded compliment ("oh, they didn't screw this up"). Word of God can add additional bits of info (like "actually, I just guessed"), but I don't think it's important enough to make a subtrope.

[down] That's averting Failed Future Forecast.

edited 18th Jan '17 2:29:50 PM by crazysamaritan

Link to TRS threads in project mode here.
Xtifr World's Toughest Milkman Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
Jan 18th 2017 at 2:26:14 PM

Well, in cases where the authors couldn't have known (a science fiction author from the forties who put the date of the first moon landing as 1969, for example), it seems both fairly obvious and significant (in the "trivia can be interesting" sense of "significant).

Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
Gosicrystal Relationship Status: Who needs love when you have waffles?
Jan 18th 2017 at 2:50:15 PM

[up][up]More like an inversion of the trope. And inversions can be made their own tropes if there are enough examples.

edited 18th Jan '17 2:50:49 PM by Gosicrystal

Tell them, Naegi.

Alternative Titles: Accidentally Accurate
28th Feb '17 11:34:20 AM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the title will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative titles.
At issue:

Total posts: 56

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: