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So, this came up a few times but I figure we might as well have a discussion on it. Since it's not a specific article, figured we'd discuss it here. This is inspired by an IP thread for a NF image for a movie that isn't even out and whose suggestion include "Lady in dark clothing with weird hat = scary". But I felt it was worth discussing Nightmare Fuel as a whole.
Is the lack of any standards for Nightmare Fuel any bit silly? Like, some of the nightmare fuel entry read like they were written by someone with the mental fortitude for a kitten. This is especially silly when you're dealing with works that are... frankly not scary.
Some examples I pick at random to illustrated my point
Super Mario Bros. (I wanna say that any NF for any of the mario game is a treasure trove of entries like this)
From: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Season 2
From: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Season 1
From: Sonic Sat AM
From: Mega Man
Honestly, I can keep going, but if you want a laugh, go to one of the Nightmare Fuel indexes, pick works that are aimed at general audiences and made specifically to not be scary. You won't be disappointed.
edited 6th Aug '17 10:08:53 PM by Ghilz
These pages are YMMV, so it's obvious it's going to be subjective. Also, TV Tropes had High Octane Nightmare Fuel once, which, from what I know, was either Nightmare Fuel but scarier, or Nightmare Fuel but intended by the creators. And there were even many other scary pages, like Nightmare Fuel Unleaded, Intentional Nightmare Fuel, Crowning Moment Of Horror and Crowning Moment Of Creepy.
edited 6th Aug '17 11:43:36 PM by Piterpicher
I find it more reasonable to use your average You Tube comments as factual sources for a STEM essay than to actually be scared of most Nightmare Fuel entries. A lot of it reads like a Just For Fun page where people WMG (usual WMG standards of logical sense) about what could potentially raise the eyebrow of at least one sentient being.
It comes with the territory of being a wiki. If anyone can edit it, and there's a page that's literally all about what scares you, you'd better believe people are going to use that to talk about what scares them no matter how irrational it may be.
This is definitely one that's gotten outrageously out of hand and needs a dedicated cleanup effort. The question becomes, how do we establish criteria for what qualifies?
The My Little Pony nightmare fuel page used to list a scene where Applejack hits her head on a branch. Apparently a 100% Played for Laughs Amusing Injury is actually a character suffering from a concussion with realistic symptoms.
It really feels like some people like to add every mildly unpleasant thing that happens to Nightmare Fuel in order to make their favorite show seem Darker and Edgier than it actually is.
IMO, the worst Nightmare Fuel page is Mortal Kombat X's, which consists of a list of every single fatality, brutality, faction kill, and X-ray attack in the game. Sorry, but if a plain old decapitation or dismemberment scares you, you're not supposed to even be playing that game. Also pretty hilarious is Injustice: Gods Among Us, which lists every single character's Limit Break, most of which are meant to be cool rather than scary. Again, if a person getting hurt during combat scares you, you're not meant to be playing fighting games.
EDIT: Here are some choice picks from We Bare Bears, a light-hearted Slice of Life comedy show:
edited 7th Aug '17 9:48:30 AM by Zuxtron
Being YMMV isn't a reason to have no standards. Complete Monster is YMMV, and has a rigid set of criterias specifically coz it used to be the same clusterfuck Nightmare Fuel is - people would list anyone who did anything bad or mildly unpleasant. So put standards:
I don't see how Nightmare Fuel being YMMV exempts it from having a bare minimum of standards.
edited 7th Aug '17 9:58:12 AM by Ghilz
OMG, fucking Arthur has a Nightmare Fuel page. Yes, the thing for kids about the aardvark so inoffensive the aardvark in question looks like a teddy bear less the kids be creeped out. THAT Arthur.
edited 7th Aug '17 10:13:23 AM by Ghilz
Well, "cutting the entire bloody mess" doesn't seem to be on the table, so I have no thoughts to offer.
They might be hard to enforce, but here are a few possible rules:
edited 7th Aug '17 12:38:08 PM by Zuxtron
This is not the first time someone has pointed out how ridiculous those entries have become. Some sort of mandatory guideline is definitely needed if we are going to clean it up and keep it cleaned up. That would be the first step otherwise sans guidelines trimming up that mess would be like trying to shovel runny jello. If those pages are an indication a lot of material is going to be getting the axe.
It's true of all the tabs beyond main, ymmv, trivia, characters and quotes. They were all originally conceived as exceptional examples of various topics, but they became just anything remotely related to it. Something is kind of sad, must be a tearjerker. That was kind of cool, must be a moment of awesome. etc. A line of dialogue is creepy, must be nightmare fuel. They were given tabs to keep it off even the ymmv pages, that's how useless the concepts are as tropes. But I will admit those tabs can be some of the most enjoyable reads on the wiki.
To be fair, the majority of Nightmare Fuel, Awesome, Tearjerker, etc... pages are fine. Keyword is majority
Nightmare Fuel however IMHO is the one that often grasps at straws. Awesome would probably be a close second (Where if something happened that wasn't boring dialogue, must be a moment of awesome). But I figure I'd pick my battle and go for the one that declares mundane stuff as the stuff of nightmares.
@Zuxtron I think it's a good list to start. Though the first bullet gives me pause. For one thing, it's clearly one of the most needed, but at the same time I worry "Well it scared me" becomes a handwave to enter anything. Even if it didn't actually scare whoever wrote it.
edited 7th Aug '17 4:13:28 PM by Ghilz
x 4 — That's a decent beginning. I'd add:
edited 7th Aug '17 4:19:31 PM by Willbyr
I acknowledged that the list might be hard to enforce, and the first bullet is absolutely going to be the hardest one of them all. But putting it up as a guideline might make people think twice about adding every little unpleasant thing that might scare someone, somewhere.
Other possible rules:
edited 7th Aug '17 4:29:20 PM by Zuxtron
Willbyr: I have to agree there.
I would argue that a work has to deliberately attempt inflict that state on those that consume the media in question, like various horror flicks, or deliberately introduces material that on it's own would be considered disturbing or shocking like some of the darker parts of Llamas with Hats. Llamas with hats is dark humor and goes to at least some length to be disturbing.
edited 7th Aug '17 4:37:59 PM by TuefelHundenIV
Any implementation of "rules for editors" will not fix anything, it will just create a bigger burden of curating the various pages. I would say if someone desires to cut them down, it would have to be just being strict on the current "rules of editing" guideline: no repeat examples, no natter, using proper grammar and factual descriptions of the example in question (no speculation or selective interpretations). Especially in the cases of trailers before the movie comes out, editors list examples of how the trailer is cut together as though that is how it comes together in the movie. It's that kind of stuff that should either not be there or specified up front as a trailer moment.
If we add extra rules, it would at least allow us to get rid of blatant overreactions and misuse. It won't instantly fix the problem, and people will keep adding bad examples, but at least we'll be able to do something about it.
None of that will fix the overreaction and the non-example (so long as the overreaction is factual).
And again, having rules does work. It has limited overuse on Complete Monster. Is it flawless? No, but nothing is.
To be actually on topic, I'm not sure putting criteria on the main page is going to do much of anything for the subpages, which people likely visit directly from the work pages.
If a subpage is seeing consistent misuse, we could always add a comment at the top explaining the rules. It still wouldn't be a 100% flawless solution, but it would help at least a little.
Yeah, adding the same rules to the subpages (especially problematic ones) would be a simple, if repetitive, issue. Especially just doing it as we clean out misuse.
KJ: Enforcing rules we already have does not address the problem of people putting just about anything down and pretty much is doing the same thing that is already done now. The kind of runaway misuse we are seeing is a very clear indicator that the trope is not properly defined or its intended use has been left insufficiently stated. Adding said rules most definitely helps address that and helps make clean up and future maintenance easier. It helps clarify what fits with the trope and helps clarify the intent behind the trope both of which are clearly needed at this point.
As for the rules past experience suggests they do in fact help. Adding specific requirements and restrictions not only encourages proper use from the outset but helps any editor more clearly and easily define what fits and what needs to be cleaned up. I have seen several tropes which have specific requirements in place and they make it fairly easy to not only add material but to clean up and maintain pages.
For editor work load trying to keep going with it just as is and enforcing rules that clearly don't affect the source of the issue does nothing to halt or even slow the never-ending stream of bad entries for an item that has clearly become problematic. Adding rules most definitely helps that particular issue and helps editors maintaining pages more easily define what belongs and what needs to go. Providing a defined and reasonably clear requirement makes editing and clean up easier on everyone.
edited 7th Aug '17 8:36:11 PM by TuefelHundenIV
It's been my experience that adding bullet points saying "Don't do this" does little, because misuse stems from people not actually reading the original page very closely. It is better defining a trope (or in this case an entire reaction tab) and, most importantly, heavy curation to take out bad examples that actually makes a difference, because editors are more influenced by the standard of examples they see on the page. It sounds like this is not about redefining Nightmare Fuel but just a proposal for better curation. The standards of what nightmare fuel is supposed to be is already there, which is essentially the reason why this complaint is being brought up.
This generally sounds like a proposal for a massive clean-up of an otherwise well defined subpage. You could probably take it to short term projects and just reiterate the definition it already has. Of course it is an entire reaction subpage, and we've already mentioned most of the reaction subpages suffer from the problem, so it might be a big can of worms you're opening.
The existing style rules for Nightmare Fuel are:
There are two problems with a cleanup of the non-scary examples. One, it is a project to judge the relative worth of various opinions, whis is kind of thankless and also several steps removed from the stated mission of this website. Second, it involves editing over 10,000 links and who knows how many subpages. We already have problems with projects one hundreth of this size.
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