All The Tropes:Works Page Guidelines

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Tropes have no meaning without works to provide them context. To that end, we have Works pages. These pages document information about individual works and the tropes they use. Any work can have a page if someone is willing to make it.

Work pages are created with the Works template. This template automatically lays out the proper structure for a work page and assigns it to both the Works category and its own category. The easiest way to start a page with the Works template is to use the Page Creator (which can be found in the "Troping Utilities" section of the menu which appears along the left edge of every page). Simply go to that page, enter the name of the work in the bottommost field (where it says "Enter new work name") and press the "Create Works Page" button.

There are also several other templates – such as {{tropelist}}, {{franchisetropes}}, {{tropenamer}}, {{tropemaker}} and {{tropecodifier}}, among others – which can be used to mark and set off specialized subsections that a work page may contain.

Below are a few guidelines for creating a new works page on All The Tropes. Unlike tropes, there is no vetting or refinement process involved – if you want to create a page for a work, go right ahead! Works Pages Are a Free Launch.

New Work Checklist

  • Make sure the work does not already have a page under a different name. Books can get renamed when reissued; television programs can change their titles over the years (check out The Hogan Family for a good example); Market-Based Titles and Syndication Titles can be very different from the original. It's not inconceivable that the title you know a work under may not be the original name it had - especially if the work was originally released in a language other than English.
    • Speaking of languages other than English: We are an English-language wiki; please use the English-language name for a non-English work when an official title exists. (For example, use "A Certain Magical Index", not the original "とある魔術の禁書目録", the romanized "Toaru Majutsu no Indekkusu", or the hybrid "To Aru Majutsu no Index". It took us from 2018 to 2020 (not working only on the cleanup) to clean up after somebody decided to change that one without asking first.) If the people who read All The Tropes are a typical cross-section of the English-speaking world, then the wiki's audience who only speak English is much larger than the audience who are willing to learn the original names of non-English works.
    • Alternate titles should be set up as redirects to the main page for the work. (Certainly, go ahead and redirect "Toaru Majutsu no Indekkusu" to "A Certain Magical Index".) See Creating New Redirects for more information.
    • When naming a work page, if the considerations above do not have you doing otherwise, the name Wikipedia uses for the work is almost always good (although see "Namespaces and Media-type Suffixes", below). For one thing, it makes the "Wikipedia" button that appears at the top of the page work perfectly. If you're not using the Wikipedia page name for some reason, add it to the page template markup using the "wppage" parameter (which would look like {{work|wppage=Wikipedia name here}}). That way you get to use your name, and still have the Wikipedia button work.
  • Mention the title of the work somewhere in the first few sentences. Mark it up properly whenever it appears: movies, books, television series, record albums, and other "big" works have their titles in italics; short stories, poems, individual episodes of a TV program, individual songs, and other "small" works have their titles inside "double quotes".
    • Also, the first time you mention the title, put it in bold mark-upwith italics, if the title gets them.
  • Identify the creator and the medium somewhere in the text, even if the medium is already in the page name.
    • Add a corresponding category for the medium at the bottom of the page.
  • Include the year the work appeared. If a TV show, give the years that it was on the air. If it's still on the air as of the time you're writing, put it as "20XX-Present" and trust to the Wiki Magic to update it when the show goes off the air.
    • Also for TV shows: indicate the network(s), cable channel or service it first appeared on (which might not be the same as the channel that you saw it on, especially in the case of shows that were syndicated internationally), and if it's been in syndication after cancellation.
  • Provide a short but still evocative description of the plot without giving away the ending. This bears repeating: Don't spoil a work in its description, unless the spoiler is already common knowledge. And even then, try to avoid it unless it's part of the appeal of the work – there's always going to be someone who has managed to escape being spoiled up to now, and we don't want to ruin it for them! (A case in point: one of the admins discovered in 2017 that an online acquaintance had never heard of Scooby-Doo, a franchise that had been on the air for most if not all of said acquaintance's life.)
    • If you want to give a longer (more than a single paragraph) description of the plot, or a description of the plot of a single episode of a TV series, you can put it on a "Recap" page. Please note that Recap pages for episodes need the recaps and can optionally also have tropes specific to the episode.
  • Optionally, include some commentary on why the work is interesting, or what kind of impact it had, or how it relates to the other work of its creator. But don't go overboard, there's a difference between a Work page and Gushing About Shows You Like.
  • If the work only exists online, provide a link to the work. If necessary, link to a copy in the Wayback Machine.
    • If the work only existed online but has disappeared even from the Wayback Machine, add the {{MIA}} tag to the page, immediately after the {{work}} tag. (Although we'd rather that you not create a work page for a missing work - see "What Not to Do", below.)
  • Try to include an image representative of the work. Posters for films, paperback covers for books, and title cards for TV shows are all good choices, but anything that clearly identifies the work or gives a sense of its content will do. Google Image Search will almost always have something you can use. Wikimedia Commons is also useful for public-domain and Creative-Commons-licensed images, and we can directly include Commons images in a page without having to upload them to All The Tropes first.
    • Fan works are usually harder – often much harder – to find images for. Don't sweat it if there's nothing at hand.
    • Avoid images that are Just a Face and a Caption; for some guidelines on what makes a good page image, see How to Pick A Good Image.
    • It's a good idea to resize images before uploading them; making an image anywhere between 350 to 450 pixels wide is usually ideal. (Image height is far less critical unless it is much wider than it is tall, in which case you might want to consider a different image or crop the one you have. We aren't Wikivoyage; we don't use images as page banners.)
    • Make sure images are marked with their re-use license (usually "fairuse" because the image is under copyright) and the category you'll be creating for the work (almost always the same name as the work page). If the image's creator gave you permission to upload the image to All The Tropes, please say so in the description text.
  • Similarly, a good quote from - or about - the work can give a sense of its flavor and feel in just a few words. But only one quote, please, and always at the top of the page. (If you have more than one good quote, put the rest onto the work's "Quotes" subpage.)

Notes for if You're Creating a Subpage for a Work

The various subpage types are set up for specific subsets of information, so we expect to see those types of information on the subpages. If a "Headscratchers" page doesn't list things that puzzle a Troper, or a "Recap" supbage doesn't have a recap of the work, or a "Heartwarming" page doesn't list examples of things in the work that give at least one Troper a Warm and Fuzzy Feeling, (to name three examples), then readers are going to wonder what's the point of having the subpages.

If you set up a subpage, please make sure that the page has the type of information that a casual reader would expect to find on that sort of subpage. Please don't just list tropes on a subpage (not even on a "YMMV" or "Trivia" subpage - please give some context as to why they're problematic or trivial) – unless a work has so many tropes that we've spun off the work's trope list onto its own page or pages, and not even then if there's an option to add descriptions to the tropes.

Page Layout

As mentioned above, we have a Works template that loads a page skeleton into the new-page edit window when it's selected. Even if you're using the template, it's a good idea to read through this section.

  • For best appearance, the top of a page should be built in the following order:
Page quote
First paragraph of page text, ideally with a Title Drop.
  • Add a category for the work's medium, like [[Category:Film]], [[Category:Literature]] or [[Category:Anime]]. There are sometimes also subcategories (like [[Category:Children's Literature]], [[Category:Young Adult Literature]] or [[Category:Science Fiction Literature]] for [[Category:Literature]]) that might apply to the work; include these along with (not instead of) the larger media category.
  • Add a category for the decade that the work was created - or, if it's Literature or Theatre that dates from before the 20th century, the appropriate century. Category:Media by decade lists the categories that we have. If more than one category by decade applies, add them all. (For example, Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms gets both "Films of the 2010s" and "Anime of the 2010s", and 60 Minutes gets all of the "Live-Action TV of the..." categories from the 1960s to today.)
  • If the work's title starts with "A", "An", "The" or a punctuation mark (for instance, 'Allo 'Allo!), you will need to add a DEFAULTSORT tag to the page so that it appears in its proper place in the wiki's automatically generated index pages. For your convenience, the template places this tag at the bottom of every new work page under the categories, with commented instructions. It takes the following form:
{{DEFAULTSORT:Sort Key Here}}
The sort key will be the title of the work, with the article (A, An, The) moved to the end after a comma (like Honeymooners, The) or the first punctuation mark removed (like Allo 'Allo!).
  • Don't forget to create an index/category page for the work when you're done. The category will be the page name as a Red Link at the bottom of the page once you save it. (If it's a Blue Link, that might mean some cleanup needs to be done and a disambiguation page might need to be created. Alternately, if you created a creator page and the page category is blue, it might mean that we already had an image of this person on another page.)
    • Click the Red Link and an edit page will open.
    • From the boilerplate dropdown, choose "Index page", click the "Load" button.
    • Save the page.

What Not To Do

  • IMPORTANT: Copying verbatim from TV Tropes is copyright infringement, and a good way to earn speedy deletion. See All The Tropes:Copyrights if you want to know why. (Repeated copying verbatim from TV Tropes or other copyrighted works is a good way to have your account blocked or banned.)
  • If you copy a work's description from Wikipedia or another source that has a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (which is just fine; we use the same license here), don't try to pass it off as your own work. It's okay to say "I got the description from Wikipedia" in the edit summary instead of on the work page, but if you don't give credit at all, we could get into some legal trouble.
  • Don't create a page for a work that no longer exists anywhere. (Books that are no longer in print can often be found in libraries or used-book shops; the books still exist somewhere. Websites that have disappeared and were never captured in the Wayback Machine are gone; the sites don't exist anywhere.) You can't document a work that can't be consulted and studied, and other editors can't go and check it out. Besides, it's rude to get somebody's hopes up and then tell them they can't read, hear, or watch the work. Don't do it. We know that we have some pages for works that have disappeared, but (most of) those pages were created before the works went missing.
    • Exception: Some works from Classical Greece and other ancient civilizations are lost and are only known through summaries and commentaries that survived in other works. It's okay to document these with what little is known about them.
  • Similarly, don't create a page for a work that doesn't exist and never existed at all. Fraudulent pages for non-existent works will be detected and deleted, often within hours, and you will be permanently banned for it. Don't laugh, we've had at least a couple users who've come in and tried to slip "counterfeit" work pages, falsely attributed to real people, into the wiki -- and we've found and had to delete pages we inherited from TVT that were just as bogus.
  • Don't create a work page for an incomplete work of your own to use as a notepad or development space. That's what your Sandbox is for.
  • Don't create a work page that consists of one sentence of description and one trope. And definitely don't create a work page that consists of a single trope and nothing else! (Don't laugh, we've found pages like that which have remained untouched since we forked from TVT.) If you like a work enough to create a page for it, put a little effort in.
  • Just like examples, Works Are Not Recent. It may have been the hot new movie in the theatres when you wrote the page, but in a month, or a year, a decade, or longer, it won't be. Terms such as "the latest" and "the current" won't be correct when the next installment is released... and remember how many decades it took To Kill a Mockingbird to get a prequel. Write your work page as though the work itself came out fifty years ago.
  • Don't put Trivia, YMMV and the various Awesomes and Fridges on the main work page. Even if you just have one item, put it on the corresponding subpage. (At least one of the admins keeps getting this one wrong - and ends up thanking the people who clean up after his messes. It's better not to need a cleanup in the first place.)
    • Similarly, don't put tropes for one version of a work on another version's page. It'll just confuse things horribly.
  • Don't create work pages for works that only exist inside other works. They get documented on the page for the work they come from, as part of that work. Note that if you do this and you're careless or clumsy about it, it could cross the line into a page for a nonexistent work, as noted above -- and might result in a permanent ban.
  • Do not link to TV Tropes in order to include a trope we don't have documented here. If the trope is so important that you just must have it in the work page, propose it in the Trope Workshop and then add it to the page when it passes muster. We do not link to TV Tropes for any reason -- some of the staff there still go into fits of frothing apoplexy at the mere thought of our existence, and we don't want to stress the poor dears any further than they already are.

Namespaces and Media-type Suffixes

These can be tricky if you're used to how Wikipedia or TV Tropes does things.

  • Don't use TV Tropes-style namespacing when naming the page. That's not how MediaWiki works - we have Categories instead of Namespaces.[1]
  • Don't bother with a media type in the page name unless it's absolutely necessary for disambiguation. If there's no page for another work with the same name, then you don't need to add a media type on your new page's name.
  • Don't try to cram different versions of a work into a single page, especially if they vary wildly from one another. This is where the "absolutely necessary for disambiguation" part of the previous point comes into play: If there is more than one work with the same name, create one page for each work and distinguish them by adding the media type to each page name: "My New Work (novel)", "My New Work (1969 film)", "My New Work (2012 film)", and "My New Work (radio)", for example.
    • Whenever possible, use the same suffix that Wikipedia uses: for example, "2001: A Space Odyssey (comics)", not "2001: A Space Odyssey (comic book)". In this case, we list "Comic Book" in the page's categories.
    • When multiple works have the same name, set up the name of the work without a media type as a disambiguation page. For a good example, see Starship Troopers. When you're naming new pages that will be listed on a disambiguation page, remember that Trope pages should only have a distinguishing suffix if it's absolutely necessary[2]; we're All The Tropes, not All The Works.
  • Do not describe multiple works in a series or franchise all in one page. Create a page for the series/franchise with the "(franchise)" media type in the name (if the name of the franchise is the same as the name of one of the works), use {{franchisetropes}} as the header for tropes common to all its installments, and create separate pages for the individual works to link to from the franchise page.
    • Again, don't bother with a media type in the page name unless it's absolutely necessary for disambiguation. As an example, look at Star Trek: we have pages for Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek (film), so the franchise page is simply called Star Trek instead of Star Trek (franchise).

  1. To the pedants: Yes, technically we have namespaces - "Talk", "Template", "Category", "File", "Trope Workshop", and so on - but that isn't what visitors from TV Tropes think of when they hear the term.
  2. And if it's necessary, it may be an indicator that we need to rename the trope.