The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

TV Tropes and the rise of pseudo-intellectualism

“Maybe it’s time we all stop trying to outsmart the truth and let it have its day.” -Alfred Pennyworth, The Dark Knight Rises

At 1435 on Sunday, August 14 in 2011, the TV Tropes administration closed the vote that was to decide whether or not Troper Tales, an infamous component of TV Tropes, would be retained or moved off-site. The section had long attracted individuals with self-aggrandising tendencies, providing them a place to illustrate to the world how their lives supposedly satisified criteria set out by a particular trope. Their removal had a major impact on the site: the visitors and contributors who came solely for the Troper Tales found that their community had suddenly been taken down. Subsequently, some of these individuals left the site in protest, leaving behind little of their presence, while others challenged the administration concerning the Troper Tales and were subsequently banned for sabre-rattling. The week it took to reach this decision is known amongst a few as the One-Week War, after a similarly exhausting event in the Universal Century. The event had succeeded in dampening individual’s interests in Troper Tales across the internet even to this day, although it marked the beginning of the end for the original community at TV Tropes.

Background

Presently, TV Tropes is one of the largest aggregations of psuedo-intellectualists online: contrasting legitimate intellectuals and academics, psuedo-intellectuals aim to use academic methodologies for the intent of intimidating or commanding respect from other individuals about often-trivial topics (especially anime), rather than following academia for the sake of attaining new knowledge. In other words, such individuals seek nothing more than personal gain through their pretensions, striving for respect by deceiving others into believing that their opinions hold a greater weight than they actually do. This issue has plagued TV Tropes since the end of the One-Week War, although its origins extend a ways beyond the consequences that had arisen from the One-Week War.

The removal of the Troper Tales represented only the beginning point for the issues that would come to light regarding the TV Tropes community. The site had reached its apex in summer 2010, acting as a place where individuals could talk about a diverse range of matters in the company of largely well-read individuals. Discussions remained civil and productive for the most part, contrasting many other communities online, providing a more relaxed atmosphere. One of my friends, NinjaClown, was a part of this community during this era, and had introduced me to TV Tropes as a witty time killer that distinguished itself from other sites. I myself delved into the editing community and provided substantial contributions to the site, while NinjaClown participated in interesting discussions with other community members. However, by October 2010, the First Google Incident broke out after some of the materials at TV Tropes caused Google to withdraw advertisements from the site. The aforementioned materials had arisen as a consequence of the growing presence of unsafe materials considered by anime fans to be relevant to a work. The community had tolerated that under the hopes of maintaining an open community, but the prevalence of such materials eventually led to violations, resulting in Google’s decisions. Between October 27 and November 9, while I was busying myself with organic chemistry and data structures, TV Tropes’ administrator and moderator team worked around the clock to bring the site up to standard. They eventually succeeded: TV Tropes appeared to had survived a trying time, and it was around this time the administrators began implementing stricter controls on what content would be permissible with the site’s objectives in light of the questionable contributions some anime fans felt to be necessary. However, before even a month following this incident had elapsed, one of the most controversial decisions had been made: while there are currently no records of the event, somewhere during December 2010, the It Just Bugs Me (IJBM) subforum was removed after a closed-door discussion between the moderators and administrators. NinjaClown was a participant in the IJBM community, a close-knit group that conversed on a diverse range of materials. While the community was not perfect, and some controversial posts occasionally had arisen, the sense of community had been strong amongst the subforum’s participants. A group of individuals feeling particularly hostile towards IJBM eventually began a concerted operation: coordinating their efforts via IRC, they flagged hundreds of posts in the IJBM subforum indiscriminately, which in turn drew the moderators’ attention.

  • For readers short on time, this article can be summarised as discussing the events that lead TV Tropes to reach its present state, and that the current community’s faults and shortcomings are a direct consequence of incapable moderation staff and a community whose existence seems little more than validation of other’s opinions. These limitations in the current community therefore preclude any possibility of considering the site’s contents to hold any value.

After short-lived deliberations, the moderators decided that the effort to maintain “order” in IJBM was too costly and, without consulting the community, agreed to quietly shut it down. The move had fractured the community: many had viewed such an action as unilateral, and several well-known IJBM members, including NinjaClown, would spearhead the formation of It Just Bugs Me (IJBM), an off-shoot of the original TV Tropes community. The removal of IJBM from TV Tropes proper, followed by the removal of several other site components between January and April 2011, led some members to leave in protest, and resulting in other members being banned permanently. These moves were controversial, with some being beneficial (dissuading anime fans with perverse interests from returning), while others proved detrimental to the community (most notably, IJBM). While some members of IJBM continued to be active posters at TV Tropes, most of the former IJBM members found a new home at their off-shoot site, where they continued to enjoy discussions in relative peace. While this peace was occasionally interrupted by former TV Tropes members arriving and complaining about this and that, IJBM proved to have largely retained the sense of community from its past at the TV Tropes forums.

  • Individuals before NinjaClown and myself have experienced similar problems with TV Tropes. A private conversation with NinjaClown led to this post formulating: he wished to emphasise that this post exists because the world needs to know the truth about TV Tropes, even if it doesn’t deserve to. Thus, NinjaClown requested that this post was to be created to summarise our experiences.

The administration cited that the number of large deletions and removal of parts of the community were made in the name of making the site more family-friendly: these changes had given moderators the power to suppress discussion and remove elements from the site at will. While the administration and moderators can be seen as draconian, it is important to note that these changes had arisen from the uncivil conduct perpetrated by new members in the community. These new members are thus responsible for the directions TV Tropes have taken; by June 2011, new members with delusions of grandeur began contributing a substantial number of troper tales. These tales were beginning to reach the ears of other communities, resulting in ridicule and giving rise to the notion that the average troper was self-satisfied, complacent and thoroughly believing that their opinions and lives were somehow relevant. The increasing number of troper tales also pushed the wiki away from its original purpose. Despite the implementation of a new system, irrelevant troper tales kept on being submitted.

The One-Week War

Troper tales was originally a subsection of TV Tropes that permitted its contributors (tropers) to share and read personal anecdotes about how some trope descriptions fit in with their experiences. On paper, this was a fairly simple concept: people generally have interesting stories that they enjoy sharing, so troper tales could be thought of as TV Trope’s equivalent of swapping stories over a coffee. Indeed, some tropes can be applied and result in some interesting stories, but other tropes engender a unique set of problems. The troper tales were a source of contention within the TV Tropes community, compounded by other communities considering that side of the site to be on par with other infamous websites in terms of notoriety. The administration turned a deaf ear over to requests to remove particularly troubling stories from the section, citing that tropers had every right to talk about their lives. However, the increasing number of unbelievable, inappropriate entries in troper tales would lead numerous communities to brand the TV Tropes contributor as a troubled anime fan with superiority complexes. The associated negativity discouraged visitors from joining the community, and existing members of the TV Tropers community increasingly felt that the site’s reputation should not be dictated by one bad section.

  • The post itself has somewhere around 3620 words minus the figure captions and is a long read. I’ve interspersed some pictures here and there to liven the contents up without introducing too many as to disrupt the flow of the passage.

On the evening of August 7, 2011, the opening shots of the One-Week War (OWW) were fired. Members of the TV Tropes community created a poll to determine whether a majority of the community were interested in removing all of the troper tales in one stroke, and along with it, the egotistical and inappropriate entries that had long plagued TV Tropes. Countless other members of the community concurred with this branch of thought; a vote was started to determine whether or not troper tales should be removed. The vote began overwhelmingly in favour of removing troper tales, but parties interested in retaining them soon made their opinions heard. During the course of the OWW, the vote changed directions multiple times, during which tropers supporting both positions presented their outlooks on why their positions held weight over the other. Members of IJBM saw an opportunity to remove the problematic elements (and individuals) from TVTropes, returning to assist the voting efforts and discussions. Those supporting its removing cited that there were too many inappropriate, poorly written stories to moderate and manage, while those wishing to keep them maintained that they were all in good fun and removing them would defeat TV Tropes’ purpose. This brutal, time-consuming, week-long debate saw the participation of hundreds of contributors and a greater number of voters; those involved in the forum discussion spent countless hours tirelessly backing their positions. On August 14, 2011, after an utterly exhausting week of debate to convince other members that the removal was beneficial, the administration stepped in and determined that, in light of the results, troper tales would no longer be hosted on TV Tropes. Individuals who wished to continue discussing their lives were asked to direct their attention towards trope talk in the forums, where personal anecdotes would be permitted.

  • Letting the truth have its day means trying to illustrate that TV Tropes isn’t the great community it once was. It means pointing out that the present community consists largely of immature, illiterate individuals who lack essential communication skills and demand that their opinions be treated as fact, while blindly accepting the opinions of those around them. It means being careful about their opinions and not giving them more thought than is necessary.

The removal of troper tales had a profound effect on TV Tropes. Virtually all of the troper tales proponents realised that TV Tropes was no longer accepting of their content and left the site in protest. A handful of individuals remained, challenging the decision and asked the administration to overturn it: their discussions were locked and the individuals in question were banned. TV Tropes had succeeded in removing these individuals’ will to put themselves on a pedestal. Moreover, by banishing these individuals’ stories from the site, they had no more reason to visit TV Tropes and left for good. However, while other sites hosted archived troper tales, now that they were no longer present at TV Tropes, troper tales supporters suddenly found that their stories were simply not reaching any audience, defeating their purpose of posting them. The only means to obtain that audience is at another online community, but they are decidedly less friendly to their members boasting of their exploits in the ‘real world’, meaning that the concept of troper tales has more or less been extinguished from the internet. Despite being a week-long effort that exhausted all of its participants, the deletion of Troper Tales marked a promising direction for TV Tropes. By this point in time, all of the questionable elements in the site had largely been removed or suppressed, and the members who propagated these materials had left.

Fallout of the One-Week War and New Problems

The removal of Troper Tales would prove to be a Pyrrhic victory: while the original proponents of Troper Tales and their handiwork had been removed, the administration would nonetheless stand by their original claims that that tropers had every right to talk about their lives and as such, did not make any effort to halt future attempts to do so. Individuals were barred from doing so in the wiki, but the forums would become the new grounds for conversations driven by the self. TV Tropes had largely failed to direct conversations away from the self back to the fiction it so claimed to celebrate. Thus, tropers continued to talk about themselves and their supposed exploits, rather than the aspects of fiction they had encountered and their significance. The OWW had not achieved a victory at pushing emphasis towards fiction and its tropes, but before a year had passed, the community fractured even further in January 2012, after some individuals grew weary of TV Tropes’ moderation practises. Several well-known individuals left TV Tropes, and owing to how close some of the community had become, other individuals followed suit, knowing that discussions wouldn’t quite be the same. Additional individuals felt that the site was fragmenting and followed suit. This was compounded by a group of unknown origins: in April 2012, they reported content to Google, triggering the Second Google Incident. Official TV Tropes documentation claim that a single individual made the complaint, but as with the effort that led to IJBM’s removal, this was a concerted effort from a group; their simultaneous reports to Google would ultimately catch their attention, and Google responded. While their motivations are not known, it is possible that they felt their proposed changes to be representative of the community’s best interests and went ahead with it, not realising that their actions bore heavy consequences. Following their report to Google, Google immediately withdrew their advertisements, forcing the administration to remove the page in question, establish new content policies and renamed many pages to minimise their impact. In the fallout, additional bans were issued, and the already-unstable community disintigrated further.

TV Tropes Today

The TV Tropes community reached a new equilibrium after the Second Google Incident. By this point, a large majority of the original community NinjaClown was a part of had either been banned or silently left without looking back. By this point, new members that had arrived following the fallout from the Second Google Incident were now strongly established in the community. In other words, they were where NinjaClown and the others were back in 2009, beginning to establish a new community. These new members, however, lacked any of the self-awareness and maturity found in the previous community: they were unable to perceive anything beyond terms of black and white, being thoroughly convinced that TV Tropes exists solely for them to discuss their favourite works in whatever manner they pleased, having taken the informal guidelines to be a confirmation that they were allowed to eschew standards of written English (clearly, they’re not).

  • Neither NinjaClown or myself are bitter, sad, confused or hurt at the current state of events and circumstances that led us to leave. However, as I’ve mentioned previously, both NinjaClown and myself feel that this post is probably a good way to summarise our experiences and pass along an unbiased, clear account of what happened to TV Tropes.

Present-day members of the TV Tropes community lack any communication and reading skills: aside from misunderstanding even the simplest of phrases, members insist on following their own interpretations of the English language. The end result is nothing short of disappointing: forums once home to reasoned discussion now festers irrational, irrelevant ramblings about media that lack any meaningful rationale. As such, readers coming into the forum for the first time will find rambling content about some individual’s favourite series and scenes in their favourite series. Those patient enough to read through will find that these individuals praise their shows based on superficial, visceral factors without considering the other factors. TV Tropes presently no longer hosts the same interesting discussions it once did, and in fact, does not appear to have the capacity to even enforce its own policies regarding convention and etiquette. On the wiki side, while things have remained reasonably stable, the newcomers have taken to concerted vandalism efforts, damaging pages and putting up content that violates the content guidelines. Efforts to minimise their effects here are in force, so an average reader is not likely to run into substantial issues on the wiki.

  • I still browse the wiki presently (even if the frequency has dropped) and believe that the wiki is the only side of TV Tropes that should matter to unregistered viewers. While I’ve previously noted that members were either banned or left, there have been numerous cases of members being banned for opposing a decision, and their friends subsequently leaving to protest the ban. This trend recently occurred at IJBM: after moderator Clockwork Universe (formerly INUH) left to protest their perceived lack of enforcing the rules, several other members in solidity with him left, as well. Why some members follow others in leaving continues to remain an unexplained phenomenon.

Moreover, the new community members have begun taking everything to do with TV Tropes very seriously, treating everything as credible and valid without giving it a second thought. Perusing the discussions, it is quite clear that a vast majority of these new members have never left their computers and seen things as they are in the real world: their own perspectives on science, art, economics, politics and society contradict what has been said by experts in their aforementioned field. These members have a bizarre insistence on the equality of opinion, dismissing expertise and professionalism as elitism. In this apparently egalitarian environment, the community genuinely believes that their discussions are groundbreaking and important, despite lacking any qualifications to discuss more complex matters. The solution is not simple: telling these individuals that they are wrong, or else trying to argue with them will result in the moderators stepping in and suspending the individual for rocking the boat. Reports to the moderators about the offending content will fall on deaf ears, since TV Tropes’ mission is supposedly to celebrate fiction, even if it means allowing incorrect or even dangerous ideas to propagate.

Discussions

We now turn towards looking at how TV Tropes fell from being a respectable place for hosting media discussions to a site that could not even enforce its own rules. There is a reason that egotistical, narcissistic individuals now find TV Tropes to be their preferred community, and this reason begins at the very core of TV Tropes’ philosophy. TV Tropes’ mission statement is to collect tropes (elements of figurative convention and other devices used in works) into a single location, meaning the entire site can be abstracted as a large list-building and sorting exercise, drawing together elements that may share only the most remote of similarities. The original community had fully understood this, taking amusement in connecting works that only shared remote similarities purely for enjoyment. The combined displacement of the original community and their replacement by the new community members, however, has transmuted what was once a fun list-building community would into one that took tropes as serious elements in fiction.

  • The post was so-titled because a lot of the present-day members of the community believe that any fictional work can be reduced to its component tropes. This approach is absurd, counterproductive and thus, pseudo-intellectual, since the intrinsic meaning in a particular piece of fiction is such that the sum has greater value than the parts. In other words, a proper analysis cannot be focused on analysing the minutiae in a work, since many of the elements in said work will interact with one another to produce a specific meaning.

Whether it be due to inexperience or narcissism, newer members of TV Tropes find themselves constantly at odds with one another: moderators oftentimes settle their petty disputes by telling them to take it to the discussions, and it is here that things get interesting: because there is discussion about whether or not elements fit, contributors must “analyse” particulars to determine whether or not an event satisfies the definition outlined by a trope. These activities seem to have convinced the new members that what they are doing must have intellectual value, since they are investing time into defending their favourite works. However, the member’s defense of their actions are not performed with TV Tropes’ interests in mind: most contributors act with the intent of proving to their community their intellect and thus, attaining respect from other members. They also act to convince the community to antagonist those who do not agree with them. The current community believes that its actions have academic value and has thoroughly deluded itself into believing that all fictional works are composed necessarily of these tropes, which in turn raises the misconception that understanding the tropes in a work result in understanding the work itself.

  • Reflecting the time I spent on TV Tropes, I most enjoyed editing articles so they bore my personal touch when I finished, and I least enjoyed sparring with other contributors for correctness on articles. NinjaClown compares the problem with Gundam 00‘s Katharon trying to take on the A-Laws, although to make a difference, we’d need the equivalent of a CBNGN-003 Union Flag Celestial Being Version with GN Sword II Kai to make a difference (i.e. moderator powers). Of course, the fight against the other contributors is a zero-sum game in that we’ve nothing to gain by winning, making it pointless to invest in the time to actually do good.

The new community’s sense of self-perceived intellectualism (in actuality, pseudo-intellectualism), paired with the loss of the original community and the administration’s rush to make the site more family-friendly, has left TV Tropes as a place for the socially inept individuals seeking vindication of their beliefs and hobbies in an environment where criticism is neither present nor tolerated. The unique tenants of the site, paired with the administration’s new efforts to promote a confrontation-free environment, allows self-proclaimed critics to vocalise their opinions without criticism or feedback. Engrossed in their pseudo-intellectual pursuits, and without anyone to remind them that their approach was misguided, the TV Tropes community has decayed. Anything resembling intelligent discussion is absent now: individuals insistently believe that everything they have to say is important, and that by talking with other individuals, they are somehow contributing greatly to the field of media. Instead of meaningful discussion, there is a forced consensus and mindless agreement: contrary opinions are quickly suppressed by the moderators, removing any opportunity to present alternate viewpoints.

  • One important thing to note is that NinjaClown and I chose to leave TV Tropes of our own accord, not because we had to; this distinction makes all the difference in the world. My thesis statement, if you will, is below, just above the Closing Remarks heading. I may return at a later date to provide a rigorous discussion on tropes as a whole: I will note that the style may be a little more advanced in comparison to what I normally handle.

From the events that have transpired, a few points become apparent: TV Tropes has only ever been a project about categorising different aspects in media, and its main value lay within the community that created it. The responsibility in maintaining the community is a joint effort between the moderators and members. The initially open policies at TV Tropes led its members to get away with increasingly questionable materials, and by the time the administration stepped in to regulate materials following the First Google Incident, the community had already become divided in opinion. The fractures in the community led some members to become banned, and others simply left out of protest or for their own reasons. Future events resulted in further site policy changes and divided the community further: these change has done TV Tropes a very great disservice, discouraging the open discussion that made once TV Tropes a good place to hang out and talk about various matters. These changes did not happen overnight, instead, culminating as a result of the community’s own actions, leading the administration to push for a more family-friendly site. Of course, doing so encouraged the membership of youth with little experience in the real world and even less courtesy, driving the site further away from its original objective of maintaining an informal, breezy place to talk about media.

Closing Remarks

Ordinarily, passages here are entirely written by myself, but today, I have a guest writer who made substantial contributions to this passage’s contents. I am unfamiliar with a large majority of the TV Tropes forums, having spent most of my time challenging anime fans in the wiki. Thankfully, NinjaClown has stepped up to the plate and provided this article with an account of what has transpired, having seen much of the events in person. TV Tropes marks the first time the both of us had witnessed a site go from hosting honest discussion to acting as a place for the socially inept to find acceptance. While this was disappointing, this was inevitable given TV Tropes’ subjective nature; furthermore, this trend is not new. Online debates, the so-called “internet drama”, have long plagued larger sites like CBC and YouTube. The comments there are notorious for their poor quality and lack of value, bought on in part by a similar lack of moderation.

The changes that have occurred at TV Tropes appear to have followed from a similar policy in that, while the administration initially hoped to maintain an informal atmosphere, they also neglected to enforce the rules, allowing TV Tropes to appeal to less savoury individuals. The end result is what we presently see. These trends have been known for other former TV Tropes participants for quite some time, who have departed well before I drafted this post for similar reasons: the time is ideal for both NinjaClown and I to follow suit . Today, the sun is shining brightly now as it did two years ago: it is mid-day, and there aren’t many clouds in the sky. Two years have passed since TV Tropes’ administrator finally decided to close the polls to end the OWW, although it would mark the beginning of a new set of problems for both the administrator and the team of moderators. However, I’m not lending my considerable talents towards repairing vandalism and reporting individuals engaged in destructive behaviours: it’s a nice day out there, and I fancy a walk.

16 responses to “TV Tropes and the rise of pseudo-intellectualism

  1. Sean February 14, 2014 at 15:48

    Thank you for this article. I have long enjoyed TVtropes (I mean the wiki, I don’t usually pay attention to the forums) these past months: it has shaped the way I view certain things in fiction, the first coming to my mind being that ‘”darker and edgier doesn’t always mean better.”

    As such, I was somewhat appalled to discover that it seemed to have quite a few haters, to the extent where there’s an entire tumbler dedicated to bashing TVtropes, from its moderators, to its content, to its users. Everything probably has its share of detractors, of course, but it’s still bothersome.

    With this in mind, it was nice to read a more even-sided article from someone who doesn’t seem to hold too great a grudge against the sight. It helped, I suppose, to give a more human face to TVtropes, looking at its flaws while noting the good it has (or had), and also showing why a great many people dislike the sight. So again, thank you for the article.

    Seriously. Thank you.

    Like

    • infinitezenith June 30, 2014 at 19:42

      On the whole, I find that, while TV Tropes’ forums are admittedly disappointing, the wiki still remains mostly readable, so while I’m no longer a frequent editor, I still read articles from time to time.

      At the end of the day, there isn’t too much to really hate about TV Tropes, even if some of its contributors and entire moderator staff are lacking as people. The decision to stay or do somethig else is mine alone, and so, I’ve moved on to doing other things, such as keeping this blog going, amongst other hobbies🙂

      Like

  2. An Observer March 2, 2014 at 13:08

    As someone who joined TV Tropes a little after the incident where Troper Tales was removed, I found your observations to be rather telling. I’ve seen and had some thoughtful discussions on the site. I’ve also seen a phenomena where certain posters, by dint of their eloquence, repeated times posting on a certain subject, or other reasons, seem to constitute a hivemind of sorts, where any poster who disagrees with their (often negative) views, regardless of how they express themselves, is antagonized, viewed as a “fanboi” or someone of lesser intellect, while they oftentimes pass their subjective impressions off as reasoned criticism.

    Seeing your post really crystallized the issues that I’ve been having with this sort of behaviour.

    Thank you for writing it.

    Like

    • infinitezenith June 30, 2014 at 19:45

      I think that the whole “no negativity” policy that TV Tropes enforces ultimately prevents opinions deviating from the established norm from arising, regardless of whether or not these “deviants” are intrinsically correct or not. In other words, the opinion that gets written first is the one that individuals must conform to.

      Just recently, some individuals were banned for challenging TheHailStormer’s claim that “Chiharu Yamamoto” was “real”, even though evidence exists to show that no such individual exists. It’s an unfortunate nature of the beast, but as noted in another reply…ultimately, I can choose not to visit TV Tropes or deal with its userbase/staff.

      Like

  3. Arshin Carnifex June 27, 2014 at 14:10

    ITT: TVTropes discovers that unless you enforce the place as an informative wiki with content standards, people are going to attempt to turn it into a social club, a personal blog, a fan page, or a political soapbox. A.k.a, what Wikipedia found out about a decade ago.

    TVTropes doesn’t need a “community” anymore. You need the million monkeys at their typewriters when you’re building the framework, and then once you have it, 999,0000 of those monkeys are now a liability who can’t let go and want to keep creating, even when the stuff they’re creating isn’t shit that any Google searcher cares about or wants to see. They get pissy, they leave for the next big start up crowdsourcing project, and the cycle begins again.

    Relax your angst. Nobody cares why you took your ball and went home. The site is still there, and is still great. You’re suffering from a terminal case of Blogger’s Disease.

    Like

    • infinitezenith June 30, 2014 at 19:37

      Whereas you, Arshin Carnifex, are suffering from a terminal case of unwarranted self-importance. You seem a little too hasty in making a conclusion about me, yet, you cannot devise a even a rudimentary argument against mine. Granted, I realise that my writing style is somewhat intimidating, but I will also extend the courtesy of hearing you out: since you took the time to comment, that is the least you can expect (of course, if you genuinely didn’t care, you would not have responded).

      I dare to say that, when I “took the ball and went home”, the game ends in my absence because I have the only ball. I was an active editor at TV Tropes three years ago, and was the kind of contributor they needed. Contrasting current contributors, I know where the shift key, space bar and punctuation keys are on my keyboard. This is rather important: much of the current community cannot even compose a simple sentence without losing their intent, hence the unending fights between one another and the moderators. The site is still there, yes, and there are still parts that remain readable. However, take a moment to explore the forums. The “Troper Dating Service” thread is a good place to start; tell me how great the community is there, especially regarding the whole “Chiharu Yamamoto” incident. The “Edit Banned” thread is equally amusing, as is “Ask the Tropers”. I’ll skate over your incorrect analogy to the infinite monkey theorem (I presume you heard about it via popular culture rather than mathematical sources): whereas that thought experiment assumes an infinite number of monkeys, TV Tropes’ community is finite in size. It simply won’t apply here, so there’s no need to discuss it further. Similarly, TVTropes isn’t a startup company and cannot be compared to such.

      I will close off by providing a correct summarisation of the post: owing to shifts in enforcement of site policy and the lack of awareness in the current contributors, TV Tropes is, more than it was previously, unfit to be considered a media analysis site. If you’re wondering why this article exists, it is purely to provide a more detailed history of how the community reached its present state and the implications of said state. People do wonder why the TV Tropes they know today is different to the community they once knew. Admittedly, stronger rules and enforcement of said rules would have helped the site, but ultimately, it’s the individual’s decision as to whether they wish to stay or not. All I’m aiming to do is make it clear that, as things presently are, there simply won’t be media analysis of any kind at TV Tropes, and it is unlikely that there will be media analysis in the foreseeable future. If one is not seeking meaningful analysis of media from TV Tropes, then there should be no problems at all.

      Like

  4. Christopher Brown July 22, 2014 at 18:07

    I highly laud and appreciate much of your criterion and criticisms directed towards TV Tropes. While at first, the site was once a place to divulge in various articulate discussion and reasonable analysis, it has ultimately diluted into a hive of pedantic egotism and self centered power hungry people that lack compassion or humanity, regardless of knowledge and edification.

    Another issue of mine would have to come from the various lack of or amounts of misguided criterion that many of the site’s users tend to bring, most of which comes from a site called That Guy With The Glasses. While the site has its merits, many of their so called “reviews” are not what you would call serious analysis and discussion, with many of these so called reviews centered on overviewing movies, and essentially undergoing snark and adding in jokes. I’ve had a cousin of mine be interested in something similar to this, he called it “Rifftraxing”. I’ve sat down to a couple of screenings of a show called “Mystery Science Theater” with him, and back to back, they are awfully familiar.

    Following further into this subject, translating into text reviews, I can see where many of its users have gained their egotism and “know it all” attitude. Very little has gone into the review of actual media’s composition and entertaining value; rather, instead, many of them judge merely on the emphasis of what is “cool”, a value of reviewing that bears either great or little fickle influence due to cultural influences and trends of the times, and another aspect of “reviewing” TGWTG tends to emphasize and influences criterion of others with.

    I will also note that much of their reviewers, to not offend however, mainly come from regions of the western world, such as the United States to New Zealand. When confronted with different media of another cultural perspective, it is not hard to say that good and bad translate no matter what language, however, there are still cultural hurdles and potholes to fill. I have seen many “anime reviewers” on that place as well take this approach, rather taking their hobby and proceeding to pseudo-professionally review works as if they know the cultural context and values by heart, while instead imposing a belligerent perspective, as if it makes them look lame or stupid if they are caught watching, reading, or enjoying it. I don’t know what to call this, but the closest I can call it is “ethnocentrism”, and it gives the idea that simply sitting around and watching Japanese anime makes one a certified individual to properly judge said media with impunity.

    As far as I’ve seen, there are quite many contributors to TV Tropes that also follow that idea that TGWTG is a legitimate form of reviewing, by and far, which is not, and that engrossing in trivial self serving things, such as nitpicking, giving the idea that one’s opinion isn’t just an opinion, but a truth, and that if one doesn’t understand it, ignorance is justified to classify it as a negative trait.

    I hope this edge allow gives you a bit more insight on some of the minds that lie there and what impetus they have in order to rationalize their own interests while imposing and engaging in smug elitism. I have been around these crowds a bit a while myself, and you’d be surprised at how much of a congregation they have at TV Tropes and how they also influenced the various infamy on that site too. Thank you for listening and I also hope to meet you out on that sunny path as well. Cheers.

    Like

    • infinitezenith August 20, 2014 at 13:05

      I highly laud and appreciate you taking the time to provide valuable feedback🙂 Your insights on why things turned out the way they did have helped me grasp more firmly why things turned out the way they did at TV Tropes. I’m not particularly familiar with The Guy With the Glasses or Mystery Science Theatre 3000, so it was perplexing to see such frequent allusions to those two programmes at TV Tropes: your explanation has done much to help me understand where things come from. One of the more recent trends at TV Tropes are the slew of forum posts written precisely in a Mystery Science Theatre 3000-esque manner: for instance, some individuals have taken it upon themselves to write these bizarre bullet-point summaries outlining their shows and what appears to be their thoughts on it. There’s no insight or analysis, just summaries. I was wondering why they would engage in something so inconsequential, but with your explanation, it’s not unreasonable to assume that these people believe that the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 approach is analysis.

      Regarding anime, if you’ve explored around this blog, you’ll have noticed that I myself do a lot of anime reviews. I do not profess to be an expert on anime or Japanese culture at all, even if I have a slight background from related coursework. As a result, most of my reviews are focused on looking at the different parts of the anime that makes it meaningful for myself and viewers with similar interests. I certainly don’t believe that watching anime makes one an expert on Japanese culture any more than eating Dim Sum makes one an expert on Chinese culture.

      Once again, I appreciate your taking the time to comment and provide these insights. Perhaps our paths will cross again in the future🙂

      Like

  5. K February 4, 2015 at 17:33

    Not sure if you’ll see this, but whatever.

    This was an interesting insight on Tv Tropes’ fall. Like a lot of people, I saw Tv Tropes as a nice place to look up various tropes and media. To tell you the truth, I’m, sort of, a part of the community now (joined a few months before this post, actually). Sort of because I use my brother’s handle sometimes. I was totally unaware of the unsavory parts of the site until I saw some forums and that tumblr account sometime last year, which were eye openers.

    Despite that, my brother and I still participate in the forums (primarily the anime and videogame forums) and post there frequently. I noticed that discussions in some anime threads are just tropers giving episode by episode summaries and that’s it, but I didn’t think of it as being egotistical and self-important, or is it something else I’m missing?

    On a side note, I visited your blog once before when I read your Super Sonico review (via the Sonico forum on Tv Tropes, no less!). It was nice.

    I hope don’t mind my ramblings.

    Like

    • K February 4, 2015 at 17:51

      I forgot to ask; What do you think of the site now that it’s under new management (That’s if you still visit sometimes)?

      Like

    • infinitezenith February 4, 2015 at 21:31

      First off, feedback is always welcome here! I was indeed able to see your comment, so I can answer it fully🙂 This post was a part of a project a friend had in mind and dates way back. It began when he expressed a desire to “show that TV Tropes wasn’t the great community it once was”, and I shared those views at the time. As such, when I refer to the community “at present” in the post, it refers to the community that began taking shape after old members had rage-quit after 2012, including those who post the anime summaries. I cannot speak accurately of the members that joined recently (say, within the past two years), so it is more than likely that there’ve been a mixture of constructive and destructive members joining. It’s quite heartening to hear that you’re not familiar about the more distasteful side of TV Tropes: it exists, but quite honestly, I think only a small number of people will actually find it a problem, such as those dedicated Tumblrs. As long as one views TV Tropes as a place for fun, rather than treating as a serious resource analysis, they’ll find TV Tropes to be alright.

      Regarding the numerous individuals who post those bullet-point summaries of episodes, some view this behaviour as egotistical because those individuals presumably post to review the episode or anime, without fully exploring their rationale for why they have that viewpoint (which is the review’s purpose). Thus, in assuming that the readers have the same perspective as they would, this would imply a degree of self-importance (i.e. “I know the world one way, and that’s good enough for all people”). Posting these summaries after an episode has ended might also be seen as egotistical behaviour, suggesting that the poster believes that they have some sort of duty to sharing the summary with others on the basis that everyone else cannot access it for themselves.

      From a personal viewpoint, the individuals who post episode summaries everywhere at TV Tropes probably are treating the forum as a micro-blog: this behaviour is seen in other forums, as well. A friend once inquired the posters at TV Tropes about this: they replied that “it’s fun” and that it also “allows them to comment on what happens in an episode as it happens”. I would tend to believe that most of them are probably treating the forum as an informal blog and as such, have no malicious intent. Of course, this doesn’t stop me from wondering why they have so much time to keep up with more than ten series a season (I myself struggle with even just three), much less spend so much time at TV Tropes. With that being said, it’s their life and time, rather than mine (although I do poke fun at them from time to time in my own posts).

      I’m happy that you enjoyed the Super Sonico posts I’ve written. I noticed that this blog’s been linked to in some anime-related pages at TV Tropes, and it’s nice to know that the content here is moderately helpful for those who seek it.

      As for the last question, I would welcome the change in administration, as it means that a certain power-hungry admin won’t have the unilateral power to ban folks on a whim.

      Like

  6. murakamikai October 19, 2015 at 08:04

    Don’t forget how politically correct it’s become. It’s so full of leftist bullshit that on a thread about sexism in anime, you get banned for trolling when you’re comments were about the sexism against males in anime and how we just let these sexisms that happen in real life continue to invade everything. All because you gave a voice to the other side on a thread were they never once mentioned sexism against males and only talked about how bad it was for females.

    This is when you know not only the forums, but the anime community in general has become cultural Marxist retards.

    Like

    • infinitezenith October 19, 2015 at 10:00

      Realising that this article was published more than two years ago, it surprises me as to how quickly time flies. I left TV Tropes after this was published and never looked back, so I’ve very little idea of how the community is at present.

      Like

      • murakamikai October 19, 2015 at 11:37

        It’s taken the same turn most forums are taking today. Political Correctness gone mad. I hardly spent much time on the forums other than lurking. And it took only one day of discussing MRA issues on a thread called Sexism In Anime for me to get Google Banned. I’m actually quite proud of myself.

        Like

        • infinitezenith October 26, 2015 at 09:26

          Your remarks piqued my interest, so I decided to go back and see for myself the state of the forums, but it turns out FastSlowEddie himself apparently Google-Banned me (the reason appears to be having linked to this post, which constitutes negativity) two years ago. This article must of struck a nerve, then😛

          Like

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