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Nightmare Fuel or "How TVTropes is apparantly terrified by literally anything"

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Karxrida Frogally Amazing from The Extra Deck Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Frogally Amazing
Aug 8th 2017 at 1:58:23 AM

I'm with Fighteer in the "fuck this" camp, but like Fighteer I doubt removing NF is an actual option.

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody remembers it, who else will you have ice cream with?
Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Aug 8th 2017 at 4:52:17 AM

Yep. Either we let the whiny babies tell us how someone yelling at someone else was the most terrifying moment of their sheltered lives, or we slash and burn the entire idea. Nothing in between can possibly work.

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
Aug 8th 2017 at 7:42:42 AM

I disagree that cleaning up Nightmare Fuel is completely impossible. Would it be hard work? Yes, but many of us find it enjoyable to clean up the wiki, so it's not that bad. Would it take a long time? Yes, but so did many other cleanup projects that have been finished. Will people ever stop adding bad examples? No, but the same can be said of almost any misused trope on this site. If we add some objective rules to Nightmare Fuel, we can at least get started on clearing away blatantly non-scary things.

What I've noticed is that in many cases, weak examples of Nightmare Fuel seem to be not from a super-sheltered person who is scared by every unpleasant thing, but rather from hyped-up fans who want to make their favorite show, movie, or game appear Darker and Edgier than it is. Perhaps adding a time restriction to Nightmare Fuel might help stop people from adding stuff in the rush of hype. One night would make sense, so people would have time to see whether it actually gave them a nightmare.

Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Aug 8th 2017 at 7:49:02 AM

Frankly, the last time a work of fiction actually gave me a nightmare was when I was six years old, so I have a hard time mentally picturing how the title is applicable except as hyperbole. Sure, I've been scared by things, but my (hypothetically) adult mind is generally capable of maintaining a distinction between what happens on a screen and what's real. What keeps me up at night is more likely to be the thought-provoking or inspiring bits, not the scary ones.

I say this mainly as a way of asking a question: what possible objective standard could we apply to this ... I hesitate to call it a trope ... that would be sufficient for a well-meaning group of dedicated tropers to rationally and evenly apply across ten-thousand plus examples? This is why we eventually canned High Octane Nightmare Fuel, as the distinction between "stuff that's intentionally scary for adults" and "stuff that inadvertently makes kindergarten-age children wet themselves" is all but impossible to maintain in practice.

I suppose that Moment Of Awesome, Awesome Music, and Tear Jerker must have similar issues, and if we want to go down that rabbit hole, then it really becomes a question of the intended scope of the entire wiki project. Somewhat ironically, however, this indicates a possible solution: move Nightmare Fuel to either Sugar Wiki or Darth Wiki and let it fester there like other fundamentally subjective concepts that are impossible to apply any sort of reasonable standard to.

edited 8th Aug '17 7:53:40 AM by Fighteer

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
Aug 8th 2017 at 7:56:33 AM

You hesitate to call Nightmare Fuel a trope, and you're right: it's an Audience Reaction, which is Not A Trope.

I have already mentioned a few possible rules in previous posts. We could make a crowner for people to vote on which rules make the most sense, and apply those that are near-unanimously approved.

Aug 8th 2017 at 9:20:44 AM

I mean, I am not against nuking the site from orbit. God knows it's the lowest effort motion. The problem is of course if we open a crowner on it we'll get a bunch of kneejerk no votes who neither want to fix anything or offer alternatives.

I suppose that Moment of Awesome, Awesome Music, and Tear Jerker must have similar issues, and if we want to go down that rabbit hole, then it really becomes a question of the intended scope of the entire wiki project.

Awesome and Tearjerkers honestly aren't that bad. It's at least believable that any given work might have something its audience finds awesome. And Tearjerkers don't suffer nearly the hyperbole Nightmare Fuel does in my experience. Both do have the issue of people posting stuff from works that aren't out yet, but they tend to be far more mild.

TuefelHundenIV Watchman of the Apocalypse from Wandering Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Aug 8th 2017 at 9:31:22 AM

KJ: Experience of others says otherwise.

The blurb most definitely does not give any clear definition or statement. It rambles but never really defines the entry or it's intent, that is exceptional examples of material that a fairly generic and rational person would find fear inducing. It touches on the idea but never defines it. Looking at the example of what can go on the page i would argue people are definitely reading the rules for the entry. Nothing in them or the blurb suggest they not add what has led to this mess in the first place. Even the initial examples section has generic or even lame material.

These are listed as "Nightmare Fuel Examples" for the initial list of examples before it breaks it down by the various pages.

  • Monumental Damage - especially if the viewer lives near and/or has visited said monument.
  • Surreal sequences, usually animated. Surreal due to the Uncanny Valley. Chances are pretty good most of these won't make the cut.
  • Paranoia Fuel when things that should be harmless, or on your side, turn nasty.
  • Adult Fears. Those things children seldom worry about: economic failure, romantic failure, watching helplessly as your children die, or possibly even The End of the World as We Know It. Bonus points if this (or even any of the other) Nightmare Fuel scene(s) was/were what actually happened in history/real life.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance, when used correctly, can make a scene extremely horrifying.
  • Being inside a living creature.
  • Impalement on stalagmites, swords, or anything of the like.

We even have a section for Professional Wrestling.

Most of the others while closer to the mark are still fairly generic. While it is possible to turn some of those into something that could be called nightmare fuel it obviously takes work and effort to do so and we have nothing stating that or even demonstrating it. No scenes or examples that are noted for their unique fear factor, no clear definition, no real guidance beyond the most basic of editing considerations.

10K entries of runaway mess is a bit much to tackle and frankly is not exactly something the community could really handle. Not unless someone wants to add another long grinding slog to the long term project list like the Complete Monster Sub-pages.

There is another option to keeping it. We fix the entry as it is not exactly the best written and give it some more solid examples to work off of, then chop the content we have and start over from scratch. It would consume significantly less editor time and lets us nip the problem entries on the bud up front.

"Who watches the watchmen?"
WaterBlap Blapper of Water Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Blapper of Water
Aug 8th 2017 at 9:56:28 AM

This gets discussed in almost every Nightmare Fuel page thread in Image Pickin' that I participate in. People getting scared by bones in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, for crying out loud (if you don't know, the skeletons don't do anything other than talk to you and they help you; very benign; they're not even animated in the game).

I don't support cutting all of these pages outright because these subpages (I'm including Nightmare Fuel and the other subpages) add value to works pages that the main page could not.

Here's a list of what's been said for the rules, but there was a lot of overlap so I combined some stuff. I also added some stuff. It's basically just four things.

  • This is a trope whose name is intended to be taken more literally than most. It's not enough for material to be scary; to truly qualify, it has to be frightening enough to legitimately unnerve/disturb the viewer, with actually being nightmare-inducing as the ultimate endpoint.
  • Hypotheticals are not Nightmare Fuel.
    • Do not add stuff that might scare someone else; rather, add something if it actually scared you.
      • That said, don't add stuff just because it happens to be your personal phobia. For example, spiders can be scary and many people have arachnophobia, but just because a spider happens to be in the work does not make a Nightmare Fuel entry. It needs to reasonably be scary to someone without the phobia.
      • If something is normal or expected in the genre but it scares you (e.g. violence in a Fighting Series), do not list every instance of that thing. This includes instances of gore inHorror works, and finishing moves in a Fighting Series.
    • Fridge Horror does not qualify, but Ascended Fridge Horror can.
    • Similarly, unreleased works are tricky concerning Nightmare Fuel, since we don't know much about what happens in the work. The mystery of not knowing might make things seem scarier than they actually end up being.
  • If something is initially presented as scary in the work but then revealed to be something harmless and Played for Laughs, it's most likely not Nightmare Fuel.
  • The chances of works geared toward children and pre-teens actually generating Nightmare Fuel is very low.

edited 8th Aug '17 9:57:40 AM by WaterBlap

TLP Crash Rescue Tallies, where we make the wiki better.
AnotherDuck No, the other one. from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
Aug 8th 2017 at 10:29:35 AM

I think moving it to Just For Fun might be the best idea other than nuking it entirely, since that's pretty much what it's used as: speculating about what could potentially scare someone.

Check out my fanfiction!
Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Aug 8th 2017 at 12:03:24 PM

That's why I suggested Sugar Wiki. Although Nightmare Fuel is not exactly "sweetness and light", it is rather gushy at its core.

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
SeptimusHeap from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Aug 8th 2017 at 12:09:38 PM

Ugh. Before embarking in further megaprojects, can we at least get through 2.0 so that it becomes easier?

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman
Aug 8th 2017 at 2:14:35 PM

Has it even entered development? Coz the thread title for it says it hasn't. And I don't see the value of waiting for a hypothetical.

Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Aug 8th 2017 at 2:22:21 PM

Yeah, it's a bit premature to be postponing projects for 2.0. However, it's reasonable to say that the scope of a hypothetical reworking of Nightmare Fuel is so vast that doing it simply isn't worth the effort until we have better tools to deal with it. Not when we have many other urgent repair tasks at hand.

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
WaterBlap Blapper of Water Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Blapper of Water
Aug 8th 2017 at 3:48:40 PM

Can we discuss something to possibly add to the 2.0 project, in light of what we would like to do for the Nightmare Fuel pages (and other subpages)? Or would that be for the namespace clean-up thread in long-term projects?

TLP Crash Rescue Tallies, where we make the wiki better.
TuefelHundenIV Watchman of the Apocalypse from Wandering Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Aug 8th 2017 at 3:58:21 PM

Fighteer: Would you say then let it sit for now and we will tackle it when it becomes possible? Otherwise our options are limited right now.

I was thinking a lock until something could be worked out but that only works if you can lock down the sub-pages as well.

"Who watches the watchmen?"
Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Aug 8th 2017 at 4:01:42 PM

We can lock all the subpages, but we can't prevent new ones from being made. That said, the namespace configuration project would let us close the namespace so that no editing or creation is possible, should we choose to do that.

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
Aug 8th 2017 at 4:48:18 PM

Nightmare Fuel is a big part of TV Tropes, and one of the most popular. A lot of people come here to read and edit these pages. Locking them all for an indeterminate amount of time would probably not be a positively-received move.

I still think that we should try a crowner to see which rules most people agree could help. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't, but it can't hurt to try.

Karxrida Frogally Amazing from The Extra Deck Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Frogally Amazing
Aug 8th 2017 at 5:01:50 PM

Nightmare Fuel is also something we get mocked for. I think I saw a Tumblr post semi-recently doing just that, and it had a large number of notes.

I'd lock all of the NF pages while we sort this out.

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody remembers it, who else will you have ice cream with?
TuefelHundenIV Watchman of the Apocalypse from Wandering Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Aug 8th 2017 at 6:54:08 PM

Zuxtron: That is not what they should be coming here for in the first place. This isn't the Nightmare Fuel Wiki. How well it is received is ultimately irrelevant if the site continues to suffer from an ongoing problem. We got quite a few complaints about cutting troper tales but ultimately the site is better for doing so. Also cleaning up that mess by cutting the junk regardless of approach taken to that end will also be quite unpopular and I can almost guarantee we will get more than a few complaining about ruining their fun regardless of the problems said fun causes. That we might upset some by addressing a real issue for the site should be the least of anyone's concerns.

Locking it to halt abuse until tools are available is one of the better options that at least temporarily halts some of the issue and doesn't require a boatload of work to do on the editors part. Not sure how hard it is for the mods though. Fighteer also mentioned they couldn't lock out new sub-page creation. If it isn't too hard for them to do so maybe a once a month sweep to secure any new pages before they get too bad. If that isn't possible or is too labour intensive for the mods we need another solution. Locking at preserves what is present until the tools to make addressing this more favorably are available and hopefully makes it easier to sort through the mess.

We really don't have a lot of options that work with the resources and labour pool available to us now. We only have so many editors that can be realistically tapped for this sort of project as reliable workers and only so many mod staff to help out where they can. Given the scope and scale of the issue the usual methods are not very practical and would take a disproportionate amount of time and effort to pursue. The complete monster sub-pages is one such example. It is an ongoing project that has been running for around 7 years and still needs doing.

The sense I am getting from Fighteer at least is that there are tools and changes to the wiki that will make this work easier but they are not active on the site because they are part of future development efforts. However it was also made clear we can't expect those tools anytime soon and that this issue needs addressing sooner rather than later to at least slow the rampant abuse so it doesn't become too much worse by the time we have said tools ready.

edited 8th Aug '17 7:10:47 PM by TuefelHundenIV

"Who watches the watchmen?"
nrjxll Relationship Status: Not war
Aug 9th 2017 at 5:04:12 PM

What I've noticed is that in many cases, weak examples of Nightmare Fuel seem to be not from a super-sheltered person who is scared by every unpleasant thing, but rather from hyped-up fans who want to make their favorite show, movie, or game appear Darker and Edgier than it is.

It's an embarrassment either way, but given the general historical tendencies of problems on this site, I also think this is much more likely the cause. Though, again, I'm not sure it matters, since I don't know how something like this can be realistically cracked down upon.

edited 9th Aug '17 5:04:49 PM by nrjxll

Aug 9th 2017 at 6:03:02 PM

Some basic guidelines would help, as noted. Right now it's just "anything scary," which is way too broad. People adding examples they don't actually find scary but suspect others might is just part of the problem.

The listed rules will help, especially for the worst pages. Yes, a lot of pages will slip through the cracks, but at least when someone points out "hey, the NF page for this work is ridiculous," we can actually clean it up. Right now, the only option is to shrug and say it's all subjective.

Aug 9th 2017 at 7:36:15 PM

After some thinking, I wouldn't be completely opposed to a lock. The only concern I have is how long it would take for 2.0 to come. If we have to lock that entire section for months or years, it might not be the best idea. How far away are the new tools?

Aug 9th 2017 at 8:21:24 PM

I don't really believe 2.0 should factor into it. ATM it seems to be on the same release schedule as Half-Life 3 :-P

TuefelHundenIV Watchman of the Apocalypse from Wandering Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Aug 9th 2017 at 9:04:20 PM

Lol.

Well we have to weigh all the options once we are done throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks best. We could always implement another idea later if it becomes apparent the other options are not working.

We could try and clean up the most active pages first or select a number of pages as priorities such as the worst or most populated examples. The most visible and active pages being cleaned and held to a higher standard sometimes help alter the editing habit to a point. Might be worth it buy some time.

"Who watches the watchmen?"

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