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I'm removing Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer from the list without changing it because its description contains almost nothing but a clear definition — just because it uses Alice and Bob to stand for any two people doesn't make the definition an example. (Well, it slips into saying that Alice wants a "favor" from Bob, and that's not part of the definition as seen from the example of the current page quote, but that's a small thing.) I'm not going through all the other tropes listed here, but I wonder if there are others like this one that I don't think should be here.
So why exactly is this a bad thing, anyway? I've written a number of the tropes I've launched in this format consciously. I think it helps explain certain tropes that would be difficult to explain otherwise.
I agree completely. Example as a Thesis is a great tool to better explain what I'm talking about, so why exactly is it considered bad form?
Explanation by examples are usually very useful, and most of the tropes that already have them ought to keep them! And people should not be discouraged from doing it further. This sounds a lot like a rule just invented for the sake of having a rule.
Seeing most people agree with this, and I don't really see anything bad with it, I edited the text into something much less "rule-like". Now it looks like it is stating the obvious, but it's better than it implying examples as thesis are always bad. I even saw it used in YKTTW as an argument to remove part of an article which I found very amusing as it was.
We want to discourage this practice because it really does lead to confusion. Example as a Thesis is a major cause of Trope Decay. There may or may not be cases where it works effectively—I can't think of any right now—but that's the exception, not the rule, and in general we really don't want people to treat this as a basic, accepted format for trope definitions.
You can use examples to help explain the trope, but if you do, you should be doing it in the middle of the description.
Define "we" and give a non subjective example of Example As A Thesis causing Trope Decay. I, among with other people, believe that it helps explaining the trope.
If the example is not in himself Trope Decay, it won't be a cause of Trope Decay. It might cause [ for really dumb readers, or people who like to skip most of the text]some confusion, in that they start thinking the trope englobes LESS than what it actually does. But in many cases it does not.
Remember one of TV Tropes goals is to be funny. And I usually find this examples just that.
Should mention there are some times when it IS bad, like in:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AwesomeMomentOfCrowning -> It's useless, and does not help people understand the trope, and sounds like it's making a bigger deal out of something simple.
And you talking as if you're higher ranked in the site or something gets on my nerves.
Xanatos Gambit would be the huge one.
Notice how Death Is Cheap could start at the third paragraph and be just as effective, if not more—the Example as a Thesis isn't adding anything.
It's adding an EXAMPLE.
Notice how actually having a general example works to avoid trope decay. I've found many tropes where I only noticed what they were really talking about after reading the examples. Having a general example removes that possibility.
And I don't really think an example as a thesis was the cause of Xanatos Gambit's decay. I can't even think how exemplifying an exemple would lead to Trope Decay. It's counter intuitive.
I'm inclined to agree with Beastboy — where the heck are these rules coming from? There seems to be a group of self declared policemen on the site who are constantly redefining good troping practice. It's affecting everything from trope names to the "ghetto" of the Analysis page. Is this the result of a hierarchy, or just the TV Tropes version of the "fashion police"? I'm not upset — just genuinely curious. Is this something I miss because I avoid the forums?
Examples are good ways to illustrate tropes and avoid confusion, especially more esoteric tropes. Are there bad examples? Of course — and some to-the-point tropes are as dull as ditchwater, but that doesn't mean they all are. You can't just decide "I personally don't like this" and then declare every single example bad practice. I hate rap music — that doesn't make all rap music inherently bad.
An example without a thesis is worthless as a trope definition (actually, it's none at all). How can I know which elements of the example are the ones that define the trope, and which are variable?
Note that this page doesn't say that you can't or shouldn't put a 'model example' in the trope description. It just says that an example doesn't replace a proper trope definition, and that the proper definition should come first.
It is tedious to have to read through one or several paragraphs of an often long-winded and clumsy example scenario, before getting to a proper definition, which (if it is good — and it should be) will frequently make the preceding paragraphs superfluous.
You've just contradicted yourself though: If the definition renders the example "superfluous", then you are saying "don't include an example - it's a waste of time." Most cases of Example as a Thesis do include a shorter definition - they just place it somewhere other than right at the start. If people are pushed for time and honestly can't read the whole trope, they can jump straight to the Laconic - that's what it's there for. When did we decide all tropes had to be short?
I like these types of trope. It keeps things chatty, informal and often funny. If I want serious, to-the-point definitions, I have a dictionary. Again, personal preference — I don't wander the wiki sticking in theoretical scenarios to tropes that were fine in the first place, because I decide they "look too short." Grant the trope creator some freedom over the way they write the thing.
I've tweaked No Sympathy by sticking a short definition at the top, to avoid any chainsaw-editing that might come about due to this particular preference. However, to be honest, I prefer the old version - it flows better, and the example sets No Sympathy apart from similiar tropes like Lack of Empathy, The Sociopath and Ungrateful Bastard. Still, the edit can act as a placeholder for now, until this is sorted out.
I don't really feel that I contradicted myself, as I referred to "long-winded and clumsy" example scenarios.
I don't agree with the way you iuxtapose "chatty and funny" with "to-the-point and serious". "To-the-point" can be funny too.
In fact, I tend to think that "chatty" and "funny" are at odds with each other. "Chatty" sounds too much like "boring" and "tedious". See Brevity Is Wit.— That doesn't mean that I want all tropes to be short, but I also think they should not begin to feel long.
And that we - justly - have Laconic Wiki doesn't mean that the main description doesn't need to have a definition. I've seen trope pages that get away without actually defining the trope, and that's tiresome.
Point taken. And I agree that the Laconic isn't a direct substitute, but there is a push on right now to strip the tropes down to their bare bones. Analysis used to be part of a troper's mission statement, but now it lands tropes in the repair shop. If we are really pushing the idea of Brevity Is Wit, why not just delete the main trope page and tack the examples on to the laconic?
...On second thoughts, ignore that. There will be at least one person that takes the suggestion seriously. The main wiki is an encyclopedia — the laconic is a dictionary. They both serve their purpose.
To me at least, chatty has connotations of friendliness, not tedium, although I would understand the implication of being insubstantial/lightweight.
I still think this is a personal preference thing. There are well-written "short" tropes (exemplifying Brevity Is Wit) and badly written "short" tropes (exemplifying too-lazy-to-write-a-full-definition). There are well-written "long" tropes (with examples that illustrate a point) and badly written "long" tropes (with examples that just confuse the issue). One is not automatically better than the other — it's just that a particular sub-set of the group that dislikes long tropes and examples is more vocal and persistent in their editing, basically subscribing to the idea that "if I keep repeating it, it will become Law."
(Again, I ask honestly: Is this part of a defined hierarchy, official policy, or just personal Berserk Button?)
I think Example as a Thesis-is-evil is one more unnecessary bugbear. There are common sense rules of good writing: don't natter, try to avoid upsetting people, acknowledge different points of view, don't be a troll and check your spelling. However, the wiki is about creativity as much as it is about information — and what psuedo-rules like this are telling people equates to "There is one way to write a trope, and you shall not deviate." In that case, just make the trope creation page a form that people fill in — but if you do, at least take the "we encourage original thought and breezy language" part off of the home page.
Mods and Trope Editors are kept busy enough without having to chase down every trope that doesn't conform to the Trope Ideal du jour (who would have thought TV Tropes would be dominated by fashions?). If you don't like the way a trope is written, but it's still obvious what the trope is, tolerate it. The world won't end. I'm working my way through the examples on this page, and I've yet to see any instance where the example doesn't assist in defining the trope. In fact, for all the furore over these tropes being "too long", most of them are short!
Well, I guess it's a matter of personal preferences. But I confess I like to have the actual definition up front. Like with a newspaper article, the most important piece of information should be at the top, and the farther I read, the more details I get. So that I can just stop reading when I know enough, without having to worry that some critical piece of information will yet be revealed later.
I didn't necessarily feel this way when I started visiting TV Tropes, but after spending considerable time here (and working on the wiki), I've come to prefer the less "ornate" descriptions. They make things easier.
Note that we also have an Analysis namespace. It's little used until now, but more in-depth analysis on the history, emergence, implications etc. of a trope can go there. Writing a good trope (or work) description also means resisting the temptation to cram too much information in.
But if you want to discuss the wiki's guidelines of style (like this here), I recommend you to take it to the forums (Wiki Talk, specifically). Few people visit the discussion pages.
(shrugs) We'll agree to disagree then. I would still say that example as a thesis is not automatically BAD, as this page indicates. Can't we return it to a more neutral form ("If you do use an Example as a Thesis when writing your trope, please ensure that you have made the trope definition as clear as it can possibly be, preferably near the start of the article") rather than this slap-on-the-wrist, if-it-appears-here-go-and-fix-it version?
Analysis is a great idea, but it's populated by a couple of cuts from the main page and a tumbleweed. I don't think many people check them at all, which is a pity. The Analysis pages need a PR drive...
That's good advice. However...sorry to say it, but I'm one of "those" tropers. The ones that avoid the forums (nothing personal against them, it's just that I've pottered around here for six years or so and never got the hang of the forums). I'm talking about this trope specifically — even if I don't agree with some of the current standards, I accept that they are a result of the current consensus. I'm only objecting to this particular trope becoming one of the Thou Must rules, so I'll stick to the discussion page.
You'd have to PM Fast Eddie about it for permission; The Fast One personally wrote the current policy, and he has admin veto power. He'll probably just say "No", though.
Word from Fast Eddie is that this is NOT an automatic no-no, but it has to be done "with a light touch." Motion to change the page to reflect this, since the implication is that all the tropes on this page need to be repaired.
Incidentally, as far as I understand, Example as a Thesis ONLY refers to tropes which give the example without giving a definition first, and so repair shouldn't necessarily mean deleting all the examples. Can we throw that in as well?
I went ahead and tweaked the article, since we seem to be in the middle of a total example cull at the moment. I've tried to keep it as close to the original as possible, but added Fast Eddie's "light touch" proviso and tried to clarify that not all tropes with examples are Example as a Thesis. If I've misunderstood anything, please let me know!
I'll leave the page for just the sake of avoiding an Edit War, but why did Eddie cut out the Example as a Thesis part of the trope? That kind of defeats the point of explaining the concept in a manner befitting the very tropes this page lists.
That's not the question: the question is why Fast Eddie declared that the format was a problem that universally needed fixing, rather than a stylistic choice which is sometimes appropriate and sometimes not.
When did he declare that?
On the page:
What if we found some way to make it clear that it's just a hypothetical, and still start it off that way?
It is NOT a problem that universally needs fixing. And I have never yet confused an example as "the only way this trope could possibly unfold", since I am in possession of a brain. Has anybody ever read an example that explains a trope and thought "Every trope has to fit that exact example with the names changed or else it doesn't count?"
I notice a recent back-and-forth on the Example as a Thesis for this page: Stratadrake changed the intro to:
but Dragon Quest Z noted that "'concludes' means the paragraph has to end with the trope title" and restored it to:
1. Does anyone else like the new description better than the old?
2. In light of the complaint, how do people feel about (altered sentence in bold):
The point is the form you see on pages usually is the thesis paragraphs end with the name of the trope, and new paragraphs are the description.
But Example as a Thesis doesn't require a title drop. It's just something that a number of the tropes do. The Cat Came Back doesn't, The Alleged Car doesn't, The Last DJ doesn't ... Lethal Joke Character does the end-of-a-paragraph thing, Real Place Background does beginning-of-the-next-paragraph, Aesop Amnesia does end, Anticlimax Boss does beginning ...
I mean, it's not a big deal, I just like the other description, and I thought my edit kept it accurately self-descriptive.
This is just the most common form. So I'm sticking with that to make it familiar.
Is it the most common form? I've done some informal samples (i.e. click a link, page down, click a link, repeat until end), and most of them didn't do the end-the-example-with-a-title-drop thing.
Looking at them myself, some don't actually start with an example, just a description of a person or object, so I'm deleting them. Then we should worry about the format of most of them.
I should add that the tropes cut from the list can be rewritten to start with examples, and then added properly. They just aren't right now.
Thank you - good catch. (I think I may have added several of those, embarrassingly.)
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