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Aug 13th 2017 at 9:26:20 AM

Nightmare Fuel has been a problem for the wiki since its inception. The most recent thread was here, but it's endemic: Since the NF pages have no rules, people can put absolutely anything on the pages. Not only can they put things that are too ridiculous to be scary, they can put things they themselves don't find scary, but they think someone else might find scary. This has given the pages (and the site in general) a reputation for being filled with absolutely anything even passably frightening, from evil smirks to minor acts of violence.

We need rules to put a stop to this. Now, ideally, we'll execute a large-scale clean up project and get all the pages under control. However, I feel that at the very least we need to agree on some rules. That way, we can delete the ridiculous NF entries as we find them, citing the rules as the reason. Right now, there's nothing we can do. If someone tries to delete something ridiculous, it just gets added back citing the fact that the pages are subjective.

Here is a list of some possible rules:

  • 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 in Horror 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.

Let's discuss if the proposed rules are good enough, then we can vote.

Willbyr MOD
Aug 13th 2017 at 3:31:20 PM

Going ahead and opening this, as NF is rapidly becoming the new Troper Tales and needs to be reined in.

Aug 13th 2017 at 3:45:00 PM

I've been participating in the previous thread, and after some thinking, there are two of these rules that I think might need some work:

  • Do not add stuff that might scare someone else; rather, add something if it actually scared you.

  • The chances of works geared toward children and pre-teens actually generating Nightmare Fuel is very low.

I'll start with the second of these rules: I believe that what qualifies as Nightmare Fuel should depend on the work's target audience. There are plenty of things that terrified us as kids, but have no effect on us now that we're grown up. These scary moments from our childhoods absolutely belong on Nightmare Fuel.

With that in mind, the first one of these rules becomes problematic: most tropers are teenagers or adults, so modern kids' shows will not scare them at all, but they might have memories of older shows which gave them nightmares. This would result in older works having plenty of qualifying moments, while newer ones would not, even if they're just as scary.

My proposed solution would be to replace these rules with the following:

  • Don't add something to Nightmare Fuel unless it scared you or someone you know personally.

  • What is and isn't Nightmare Fuel is dependent on the work's target audience: a PG-13 rated movie that scares only very young children does not qualify, but a children's show that does the same would.

This would allow Nightmare Fuel entries for modern kids' shows to exist, for example if troper parents add scenes that scared their children.

WaterBlap Blapper of Water Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Blapper of Water
Aug 13th 2017 at 4:23:41 PM

I think it's important to make explicit that this is not about stuff that "might scare" somebody, but I could get behind the idea of including things that actually scared somebody else.

That said, I don't think the point of Nightmare Fuel is to capture that which scares children. Almost anything can scare children. A weirdly shaped crack in the wall can scare children, and I wouldn't think that's Nightmare Fuel. I don't think target audience really matters here, is what I'm saying.

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 13th 2017 at 5:19:22 PM

I am for the rules in the OP.

edited 13th Aug '17 5:19:30 PM by TuefelHundenIV

"Who watches the watchmen?"
Ghilz Fight It Out! from The Moon, Or Canada Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Fight It Out!
Aug 13th 2017 at 9:30:49 PM

That said, I don't think the point of Nightmare Fuel is to capture that which scares children. Almost anything can scare children. A weirdly shaped crack in the wall can scare children, and I wouldn't think that's Nightmare Fuel. I don't think target audience really matters here, is what I'm saying.

I'd say it does - or at least I don't mind if it's taken into account- so long as you admit who the intended audience is and don't get Periphery Demographic confused. Like there are media aimed at scaring children whom an adult would find mild or completely unscary, but can be legit terrifying to the intended audience and is intended as such.

And also that it has to be intended to be terrifying. No "Megaman's enemies are actually shooting at him!" kind of entries here.

I agree otherwise with the OP. But I'd add a clause "Don't add something to Nightmare Fuel unless it scared you or someone you know personally, and either needs to be the intended audience for this." to avoid the "If you're an adult and apply fridge logic to this, it's really scary.

edited 13th Aug '17 9:33:53 PM by Ghilz

TuefelHundenIV Watchman of the Apocalypse from Wandering Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Aug 14th 2017 at 12:02:59 AM

I really think we need to avoid anything that encourages entries for something that might scare someone else. That is partly how we got here in the first place.

"Who watches the watchmen?"
Ghilz Fight It Out! from The Moon, Or Canada Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Fight It Out!
Aug 14th 2017 at 12:43:43 AM

Hence my point that we should still keep the article that it has to be something that both scared you personally, and for which you're the intended audience.

Aug 14th 2017 at 1:34:43 AM

An intended audience can be vague to unknowable, though. If something's for families that could be for kids, teens, and adults, and scare them all equally.

I say context is important, just not 'x is scary' but 'x is scary because y and z.' or 'because of y x is scarier than it would normally be.'

edited 14th Aug '17 1:37:28 AM by lalalei2001

The Protomen enhanced my life.
GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Aug 14th 2017 at 9:16:10 AM

When you refer to unreleased works, would that also include prerelease versions of works that did get released? For example, if someone wanted to add an example about something that appears in a beta version of a game but is completely absent in the final version, or anything else subject to Dummied Out or What Could Have Been whose details may not even be fully known.

Edit: I suppose this could also tie into the entry about hypotheticals not being examples.

edited 14th Aug '17 11:51:46 AM by GastonRabbit

"I'll be waiting on the road! It's a 10 million fine if you're late!" —Barry, Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
Aug 14th 2017 at 10:21:36 AM

Something that's scary in the early release of a game, but isn't part of the final version might still qualify as Nightmare Fuel. The rule about unreleased works is mostly because Trailers Always Lie, and something that appears scary in a trailer might end up being inoffensive.

Aug 14th 2017 at 11:46:53 AM

Several tropers have been periodically cleaning the NF page of RWBY.

One of the things we've been finding is that a lot of entries are "because X happened in the work, that logically means Y could happen, and that's terrifying" — in other words, a lot of NF entries are Fridge Logic.

Another troper, Shaoken, summarised on the Discussion Page the types of examples we were removing, and they fell broadly into three main categories. I'm going to quote Shaoken:

  • Speculation. Taking something vague or not immediately explained and coming up with theories about it on the page (like Ironwood having PSTD because he touched his arm at one specific point in one speech). Half the time those theories aren't even scary.
  • Misuse of the second dot point. There's a lot of people taking what are somewhat valid single sentences and padding them out into a paragraph underneath the point it's relevant to rather than add them to the existing example. Adam is a good case in point; we don't need separate dot-points on how he's creepily possessive, how he cuts Yang's arm off, how he cut it off in a single blow right through her aura and all the speculation that could mean.
  • Examples that just aren't scary. Like the Ironwood having PTSD, what if Ruby fell off a rocket pod, Mercury just standing behind Ruby before leaving, etc.

I think the big problem with the trope description is that it has attempted to become an analysis. Any attempt to analyse why something 'is', tends to soften the original point of the message, and that allows trivial examples to slip in. And the original point of the NF message is that it's the kind of scene or dialogue or visual (or whatever) that fuels peoples' nightmares.

It's that one scene that, years later, remains notorious for the impact it had on people. The one scene that someone talks about it for years to come.

At the risk of softening the point myself with a potentially inappropriate example, look at what happened with the Disney film, Bambi. The mother deer being killed caused such a bad reaction among young children that Disney didn't touch another parental death for decades until The Lion King. Even now, people who first saw that film as children, still talk about the impact it had them when they were small.

Is that the kind of effect a Nightmare Fuel entry should be going for? Perhaps not the example I just used, but something that has the potential to cause a lasting impact on the audience/readers that doesn't get forgotten.

edited 14th Aug '17 11:55:51 AM by Wyldchyld

If my post doesn't mention a giant flying sperm whale with oversized teeth and lionfish fins for flippers, it's just not worth reading.
SeptimusHeap PCNA from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
PCNA
Aug 14th 2017 at 11:57:13 AM

Sounds like you keep having to remove problem entries and I thought this may merit a page lock but the namespace has so many edits per day that this won't work on a large scale. I notice there is no commented out note on this page.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman
Aug 14th 2017 at 2:55:42 PM

The chances of works geared toward children and pre-teens actually generating Nightmare Fuel is very low.

I would argue that's not true. Not to open a can of worms, but a handful of children's media (Courage the Cowardly Dog, Goosebumps, and Coraline spring to mind) do indeed have scenes that could be considered objectively scary even by adults.

edited 14th Aug '17 2:58:01 PM by ElSquibbonator

WaterBlap Blapper of Water Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Blapper of Water
Aug 14th 2017 at 3:05:00 PM

[up] Those tend to be exceptions that prove the rule. The rhetoric of that guideline/rule says that the chances are low, not "impossible." I read it as a warning to double think any potential example from such a genre.

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 14th 2017 at 4:26:56 PM

Courage the Cowardly dog is also largely played for laughs with the majority of its events cartoonishly exaggerated.

Goosbumps though was definitely meant to be scary, it is a well known series of scary stories.

edited 14th Aug '17 4:31:21 PM by TuefelHundenIV

"Who watches the watchmen?"
SithPanda16 I am the Senate Relationship Status: I know
I am the Senate
Aug 14th 2017 at 6:27:25 PM

When looking at the page for the Nightmare Fuel Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade I found this example

  • During the fight on the ship, one mook falls in the water. Falling in water with no chance of rescue and then drowning or freezing to death is a horrible way to go!
This example feels hypothetical and does not really seem very frightening since we do not see the mook freezing or drowning at all. Maybe it could fit in Fridge Horror?

The Dark Lord of the Sith
WaterBlap Blapper of Water Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Blapper of Water
Aug 14th 2017 at 6:36:58 PM

[up] Seems like neither, honestly. From Fridge Horror: "In short, this trope can be best summed up as Fridge Logic + Nightmare Fuel," except that example doesn't really use Fridge Logic.

It sounds like that troper has a fear of drowning, and the work doesn't seem to focus on the fact that the guy drowned... in terms of the story he just was done away with.

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 14th 2017 at 6:52:05 PM

It seems like we generally have a good idea of what exactly we are facing in terms of clean up, largely the silly or ridiculous entries.

Maybe clarify the Children's or young adult works to be a bit more specific to make sure folks understand that works like Goose Bumps still count because they are intended to be frightening and are perfectly valid examples. The rest should be on a case by case basis.

"Who watches the watchmen?"
Aug 14th 2017 at 11:48:23 PM

It's that one scene that, years later, remains notorious for the impact it had on people. The one scene that someone talks about it for years to come.

At the risk of softening the point myself with a potentially inappropriate example, look at what happened with the Disney film, Bambi. The mother deer being killed caused such a bad reaction among young children that Disney didn't touch another parental death for decades until The Lion King. Even now, people who first saw that film as children, still talk about the impact it had them when they were small.

Is that the kind of effect a Nightmare Fuel entry should be going for? Perhaps not the example I just used, but something that has the potential to cause a lasting impact on the audience/readers that doesn't get forgotten.

Taken literally, that approach really does suggest a cut and starting over in YKTTW the Launch Pad. The problem is that all the Moment pages are theoretically supposed to be about singular moments that stick with fans forever, and have all long since decayed from that lofty perch, so that they are all "thing This Troper found awesome", "thing This Troper found funny", etc. Nightmare Fuel only stands out because it has gotten so out of hand that it's lost all meaning.

edited 14th Aug '17 11:48:58 PM by MorganWick

Aug 15th 2017 at 7:24:52 AM

I don't think that should be the approach, otherwise like 99% of entries would be cut.

I think only a clean-up effort is really needed. I think the ground rules laid down in the first post are good.

Just another day in the life of Jimmy Nutrin
Aug 15th 2017 at 7:52:47 AM

[up][up] The moments pages were redefined years ago. That's why they were renamed to "Moment of X" instead of "Crowning Moment of X." Nightmare Fuel is still a problem even taking into account the redefine.

WaterBlap Blapper of Water Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Blapper of Water
Aug 15th 2017 at 8:12:07 AM

I've been meaning to do a wick check for this one (~119 wicks to go through), because there's a bunch of wicks to works pages in Music/ and Fanfic/ and I don't really see how there can be so many of those. I took out the wicks to Web Original/ (after reviewing them) last night, but I could still do a wick check if y'all think it could be useful.

We mostly seem to be in agreement that something has to happen, and we seem to have a lot of agreement over the rules listed in OP, but maybe a wick check could help us focus our efforts or something?

It's a lot of wicks to go through, so I don't want to start without feedback first.

TLP Crash Rescue Tallies, where we make the wiki better.
SithPanda16 I am the Senate Relationship Status: I know
I am the Senate
Aug 15th 2017 at 11:07:30 AM

I feel like one alternate name for Nightmare Fuel could be "Crowning Moment of Terror" or "Crowning Moment of Horror"

The Dark Lord of the Sith
dragonfire5000 from Where gods fear to tread
Aug 15th 2017 at 11:12:58 AM

[up]I'm not sure calling it "Crowning Moment" is a good idea, since "Crowning Moment" was originally meant to be the greatest example in a work, which means there can only be one example per work. As you can see from the Awesome, Heartwarming, and Funny pages, people added so many examples that the "Crowning Moment" part was pretty much rendered obsolete.


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