Last Post about TV Tropes, I Promise!

So I ranted about TV Tropes
Then I ranted again

And I got to wondering if anyone else had the same or similar problems that I had, if anyone else had noticed the things I’m complaining about. An a little bit of Google searching turned up that, yes, some people did!

So for this post, I will put up select quotes, with attributions.

The trope wiki does encourage a form of intellectual laziness when it comes to analysis of literature. It gives the impression that all fiction is made up of interacting tropes, which is basically the only way you can interpret a whole bunch of people making huge lists of of tropes which they ‘picked up’ while reading/watching any particular story. Rather than discuss the themes behind a story or the motivations of characters or whatever, a ‘troper’ looks for devices that have been used in other stories before, no matter how tenuous the connection is. Usually the definition for any trope is quite broad so it can refer to characters who are wildly different but have a few familiar traits, which is how you can end up with Char Aznable and Adrian Veidt on the same list of ‘Well Intentioned Extremists’.

Ford Prefect, Stardestroyer.net

As I’ve said before, TV Tropes is not valid literary criticism. It focuses too much on connection, not actually looking at the story and finding themes, as said in the post above.

Any real literary critic would laugh at the tenuous connections made by the pseudo-intellectuals there. So of course the community is terrible. I can’t call it a “timesuck” as the connections they find and their way of presenting it confuse and irritate me.

Tupin, Digitpress (Note: requires registration)

One of the main issues with the site is this: there is no coherent definition of what a ‘trope’ is. As far as TVTropes is concerned, a trope is a thing that you can make a page around or slot into one of their inane lists. Tropes range from plot elements to game mechanics to popular or clichéd lines to random bits of numerology. It’s impossible to talk about what tropes are or aren’t – or what they’re for or not for – because they aren’t anything consistent.

Speaking even more broadly than that, the issue with TVTropes is that it’s really just an example of obsessive list-making and categorisation. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some good pages there, or some things worth reading. There are. Rather, it’s to say that the enterprise of TVTropes is pretty worthless. As a project, TVTropes is an exercise in purposeless and obsessive list-making, predicated on this notion of ‘tropes’ (a nebulous and undefined concept) as the ‘building blocks’ of writing (as if writing even has building blocks!).

The real point of TVTropes is as a community. The TVTropes forums, the YMMV and speculation pages, and so on. People meet, interact, and talk on the site. Just like SB, the community takes on a life of its own. That the enterprise the community is ostensibly based on is worthless dreck is irrelevant to the community. Nonetheless, the community has to defend it, or else lose its reason for existence.

It really is a mess.

Unhappy Anchovy, SpaceBattles.net

I could’ve really filled this post up, but I decided to go with a “one quote per source” rule, and all the other comments I found were of the generic “TV Tropes is a timesink” or “TV Tropes is full of japanophiles” nonsense.

I actually haven’t found “TV Tropes is full of Japanophiles” to be true, to be honest. They seem to be dickhurt about that association, because when I was there they made it their mission to convince anyone who honestly expressed an orientophile bent that they were just blind and didn’t see the true glory of western culture. They came off as nationalists, in other words.

But yeah, let’s end it here. TV Tropes is a website that needs to die, and I’m through giving them the time of day on my site. So next time I post, it’ll be about something I like.


(Edit) I realized upon re-reading this entry that I forgot to mention: why all this focus on analysis? Well, because TV Tropes claims to be a site about analysis… sometimes. Other times it claims to be a resource for writers looking for ideas. Or whatever. The truth is though, that TV Tropes really never had a purpose. Someone just started doing it for shits and giggles, and decided on a “purpose” after-the-fact.

I honestly would not take writing advice from TV Tropes, because they have demonstrated to me that they are willfully ignorant on several subjects. I’ve seen Tropers argue, for example, that the comic book “one writer controls an entire run on a magazine” is exactly the same as how television scripts are written (it isn’t–television has teams of writers who each work on individual scripts, with a head writer who basically establishes arcs and ensures continuity). This is all basic stuff you can find out with Google, or by checking the special features on any DVD season sets you happen to own, and Tropers don’t even know this. And yet they’re a resource for writers.

And the reason TV Tropes isn’t analysis is because “describing something in invented jargon” is not analysis, its just description. Analysis means looking into something, trying to see into its themes and subject matter and really penetrate it. For example, “Naked Snake’s CQC seems reminiscent of Judo. It’s a form of physical technique that revolves around gaining leverage and upsetting your opponent’s balance to give yourself power over him.” That’s analysis. What Tropers do is “Naked Snake’s CQC is a MartialArt where you FacePound peeps and NeckGrab them a lot ForTheKoolz.” You’ll notice that the analysis example is explaining what it is and how it works, while the Troper-analogy is just using a bunch of dumbass terms that don’t tell you anything useful at all.

So I say again: TV Tropes needs to die, and people need to stop taking that site so seriously.

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19 thoughts on “Last Post about TV Tropes, I Promise!

    • Your act of characterizing it as a “temper tantrum” is the kind of thing that made me call it quits with TV Tropes. Clearly there’s more to it than that–as my posts have outlined in detail–but my points are either inconvenient for your ego, or else just too complicated for you to understand. So you narrow it down to the self-serving “Moe had a temper tantrum” and absolve yourself of all blame.

      Yeah, you’re a *great* friend.

      • Dude, everybody I’ve told about this pretty much thinks you’ve had a temper tantrum, though they understand your wanting to leave the site. I’ve asked that they not discuss the issue in public to avoid making a drama bomb, and they’ve respected that.

        At this point, it isn’t about TV Tropes. It’s about you being… kind of a dick.

    • “Dude, everybody I’ve told about this pretty much thinks you’ve had a temper tantrum”

      Popularity does not dictate truth, and if all they have to go on is your account of events then I doubt they got a full, unaltered and unbiased account of what really happened.

      Keep in mind, one of my blog posts about TV Tropes was posted two weeks *before* the Rondo blow-up, and I’ve been making similar criticisms since before even that. My issues with TV Tropes were long standing, and honestly the question isn’t “why did Moe erupt?” but rather, “why didn’t he erupt sooner?”

      Even now, I’ve spelled out exactly what you’ve done wrong that made me excommunicate from you people, and you insist on not seeing it, and continuing to propogate the behaviors that led to the blow-up in the first place. You guys are your own worst enemy.

      • The only thing I’m seeing is you claiming to be such a mature intellectual, and yet the “mature” thing to do in your book is to block everyone after two arguments (the first one of which I noticed you haven’t even bothered talking about here), then post the whole chatlog unaltered as a statement basically saying “HURR HURR I’M SO MUCH BETTER THAN THESE PEOPLE FUCK THESE SPECIFIC PEOPLE OVER IF YOU EVER TALK WITH THEM ON THE INTERNET”, on a blog that I seriously don’t see many people giving a shit about judging from how many comments your entries get.

        You’re really no better than a 4channer, doing something like that. And you have the nerve to call people like us terrible? And you betray me over a single argument I had part of that you were involved in just because I didn’t understand how you think?

        Get. The fuck. Over. Yourself.

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking, Rob!

      Nomu here is from the Skype chat I mentioned, and I think I saw him on the forum before that. There’s nothing more that needs to be said–the kind of things he’s doing here are the kinds of things I’ve been putting up with in Skype for a couple of months. You can imagine how much worse it was in real-time, with three other guys in the convo as well.

      • It’s one thing to tell your side of the story – it’s another to look like a douchebag doing it.

        And also, I have never snapped on you before this happened, Moe. I’d genuinely thought that we were friends, since I was the one that you talked to whenever you didn’t want to be a part of the Skype chat. I’d been nice to you, and was even willing to engage you in discussions even though I might not have been entirely familiar with the subject. I thought we had something meaningful.

        The fact that you committed what I viewed as a betrayal just blows that out of the water and makes me think less of you now.

  1. Would you listen to yourself? He “betrayed” you? How? Because he disagreed with you and your friends and didn’t immediately repent, fall on his knees, and beg for forgiveness?

    • No, he betrayed me by blocking me and lumping me in with what he viewed as a bunch of idiots just because I happened to disagree with him. One argument doesn’t justify somebody doing a complete 180 on you.

      • Nomu, get it through your skull.

        You keep saying “one argument, one argument” when I have made it clear time and again that this is NOT about just “one argument,” and that my resentment has been growing over time.

        Also, YOU are the one who had problems with disagreements. You, Swas and the rest of them. Every time I or someone else said something you couldn’t comprehend, didn’t want to think about, or simply didn’t want to admit, it was always RANDOM SUBJECT CHANGE or “Moe’s being inane again!” or “being pretentious!” or “being elitist!” or everyone would just start typing gibberish really fast in order to drown out everyone’s ability to think. You guys simply won’t ALLOW real discussions of anything, everything has to be happy sunshine and rainbows or you start to feel uncomfortable.

        “Your thinking is poison. Stop it.” Who told me that one? And what for–just because I said I didn’t have high expectations for some video game?

        I argue my position harshly and fiercely sometimes, but I have NEVER tried to outright SILENCE anyone for disagreeing with me. I’m not even silencing you, right now, even though I could do it easily, and would have every right to.

        And all your talk about “betrayal” is starting to sound rather creepy. Yes we talked one-on-one, but always about trivial things like cartoons, never anything personal, never anything that are the foundations of the kinds of deep, personal connection you seem to think we had. And keep in mind, you’re using a loaded word like “betrayal” to describe a guy you only knew online.

        I just realized, there is a simple phrase that sums up your replies so far. That phrase is “temper tantrum.”

  2. I think this whole thing is really childish of both of you. How about, and this is just a suggestion, instead of getting all mad and hateful over not being able to argue about something as trivial as unlockables in video games, you take the time to realize that it’s a bit pointless to do just that? Factor in that you apparently blocked most everyone in that chat for that reason (or because it was the “last draw”, even though I highly doubt that), and you’ve got yourself a really immature way of dealing with small things.

    Also, I’d like to point out that continuously making posts on your blog about something you say you “don’t want anything to do with” is also incredibly immature, as is posting a chat log of what may or may not be a private chat; the only reason I’m making this very comment is to try and get into your thick skull.

    As for the nomuru guy, you’ve really got to let it go. This guy’s obviously taken his “side” in all of this (which is unfortunate seeing as having sides on the internet is kind of like taking sides with the other group of kids on the playground during recess), and there’s not much you can do to change that.

    Before you ask “why do you care?”, well, I don’t. But I like to point out childish behavior in people I know, which thankfully doesn’t happen as often as I’d hate it to. Oh well, the odds of this making a difference are slim to none.

    (Also, I’ve noted the irony of me wasting my time making this comment, but the difference is none of this is really that personal to me, so it’s more or less just that: me wasting my time)

    • I…. don’t really understand your argument.

      I’ll admit that talking about the Rondo blow-up and posting a chatlog was knee-jerk, and at first I too thought I was being stupid in just blocking and disassociating from everyone. Then I realized that this had happened before, would happen again, and Nomu’s responses revealed that he doesn’t even see what he and the others did wrong. That he doesn’t even see a problem–despite my having pointed it out in simple language anyone could understand–is a huge red flag.

      If I were to apologize and go back to them, all that would happen is this drama would happen again a month from now. The subject would change but the problem wouldn’t. By blocking them, I am breaking the cycle and closing the loop. It may be immature, but its the only way anything will change.

      • Hm… fair enough. At the very least, you’re admitting that even you noticed the immaturity of all of this, but in the end, that’s a valid reason to have taken most of those actions. It was also smart of you to take said actions, as to not want more drama to begin again. While I don’t see the necessity of a blog post such as this (even though you more than likely wrote this out of boredom / curiosity / etc.), to each their own, I suppose; you’ve matured quite a bit, Moe. Although maybe you were always like this and it just took me a while to respect that or something, I really don’t know. Glad you’re trying and move on and all that. That would make two of us, I guess.

        Oh well, carry on and all that stuff. You may disregard this comment if you see fit, because I have too much on my plate to argue and all that, but I think I’m done here anyways.

  3. I just now realized I said “and all that” a lot. Oh well, guess that’s needless repetition and and all that for you

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