All The Tropes:Signal to Noise Train Wreck

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Sometimes, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. The work page contains every single Character Trope displayed by every single character. All the latest plot points are noted and elaborated upon. Every single scene is described in great detail, every single possible trope that comes to play at some point is noted along with all its instances, every mentioning of a trope comes complete with a few sentences to establish the context and conclude the gist of it, and every spoiler is duly whited out.

A lot of work went into writing it. Unfortunately, a lot of work also goes into reading it.

The work's core tropes, the ones which drive its plot and characterization, are hidden somewhere between a paragraph-long well-informed speculation on the Noodle Incident mentioned once in episode 15 and an eloquent dissertation on why the Mauve Shirt who showed up on a four-episode-long arc is subject to an Alternate Character Interpretation. Omnipresent Tropes obstruct the page, complete with huge bullet point checklists that detail every trivial invocation of theirs in the work. To get to the point of an example you find yourself reading through a verbal Establishing Shot and when you're done there's a huge disclaimer about all the other subtly different ways the event described could have been interpreted. 70% of the page is whited out in spoiler font and your wrist gets a not-so-nifty workout from highlighting and de-highlighting everything constantly.

You have to wade through a lot of stuff to get to the interesting and the important parts. It's a Signal to Noise Train Wreck.

The measures that could be taken, from least to most drastic, are:

  • Cut Conversation in the Main Page and Thread Mode.
  • Trim examples to get to the point and be done when they're through with the point. If context must be established, do it quickly and in general terms (and if you find that too difficult, there's no shame in just saying It Makes Sense in Context). Do away with all afterthoughts to the extent of "Your Mileage May Vary". Remove Word Cruft.
  • Move lengthy quotes to the quotes namespace.
  • Purge spoilers. Remove them entirely whenever they aren't necessary to making the point of the example. If they are necessary, or it seems the spoiler really adds an extra oomph to the example, rephrase it to hint at the event without going into specifics and take the spoiler tag off- "A certain high-profile villain has his gambit completely turned against him" is a perfectly fine way of saying "Captain Evil's ray gun of doom is set by Anna McHeroine to self-destruct" if the trope is not about ray guns of doom, Heroines or self-destruction. If that's not possible to do in a reasonable way (and most often it is), rewrite the example to stand on its own and have the spoiler tacked on at the end. Allow spoiler font in the middle of the sentence only when there is no other way. Do not allow whole paragraphs of spoiler font.
  • Write recaps for the work, so examples can point to them rather than summarising an episode's plot, for the fifteenth time on the page.
  • Move Character Tropes to a character sheet. Character tropes can really contribute to cluttering a page, especially if there are Loads and Loads of Characters and most of them aren't the focus of the work. A single character could easily have a dozen tropes apply to them, so a cast of just 8 characters could already be responsible for 96 tropes, each of which describes nothing more than one aspect of one character. If you do this, make sure to put a note on the page saying that character tropes go in the character sheet.
  • For tropes with a very large list of examples:
    • Trim the list, keeping just the most important examples rather than allowing every single hot-off-the-newest-issue remark. Be aware that removing valid examples- even "minor" ones- is highly contentious and is not likely to go over well. People are bound to end up edit warring over which are the "important" ones, or even just adding examples back in good faith without knowing about what you're trying to do.
    • Throw away the list in favor of a "the show really pulls this one off a lot" digression. This approach is more drastic, but is less likely to be met with outrage or edit warred over if it's done well. Discuss the specifics of how often, in what way and in what circumstances the trope tends to be invoked in the work. If you're feeling brave, illuminate your point with specific instances and hope no-one takes this as a cue that we have Gotta Catch 'Em All.
  • Split the tropes into categories (A "soft split"). This is really an extreme solution for pages where nothing else will work. This has the disadvantage of breaking alphabetical order, making editing less straightforward and causing potential argument about which example goes in which category- which is why some tropers would have it that it is never an appropriate solution.

Still, if a page remains a Signal to Noise Train Wreck after all the measures above have been taken and it seems to you that a split to categories would be a major improvement, this may be the way to go. You could consider splitting either by events in the work's history (books, seasons, story arcs. major retools) or by the type of trope. The categories listed in the sidebar might be a useful starting point, but no more than that.