All The Tropes:Trope Namer Syndrome

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    /wiki/All The Tropes:Trope Namer Syndromework

    We were thinking of naming this page "The Adam Effect".[1]

    Sometimes editors place a little too much importance on creating a new trope Name.

    Make no mistake: We're perfectly happy to coin terms for literary phenomena when it's clear no one else has done it for us already. We have quite a few Trope Namers spread across the wiki and, frankly, these witty pop-culture references are one of our unique attractions.

    But due to the size and popularity that the wiki has grown to, the old days of sitting around in closely-knit circles of nerds and naming tropes directly from our favorite works of fiction are Over. With a capital O. Sure, we're still a circle of nerds (and proud of it) and we still like to plug our favorite shows and characters here and there, but the goal of this wiki is (still) to document tropes in ways that are actually useful for all the other people who aren't familiar with the same things we are. Not everyone is familiar with the works/characters we are and while "Clear, Concise, Witty" might not be strictly enforced, "Clear" is the trope-naming mantra to live by.

    So, naming tropes after characters or examples in fiction is a thing to avoid. There are occasional exceptions where a good new trope name can be created, but this is very rare and extremely difficult to do, as there are very few universally-known works or characters out there and chances are people don't remember them for the same reasons that we do. It's easy to mistake something that you know and love for something everyone knows and loves — we call this Fan Myopia.

    Trope Namer Syndrome primarily manifests itself in the Trope Workshop where we pound out names and descriptions for new trope articles. It's easy to spot the occasional trope (er, proto-trope) where the editor is trying a little too hard to create a trope name, at the expense of developing a good name and definition that everyone will "get". These tend to get immediate responses of "Needs a Better Title" and/or "Needs a Better Description", and may also be criticized as "Bad Trope Namer".

    There's a wide range of symptoms to Trope Namer Syndrome — all of them minor faux-pas by themselves, but on watch for several occurring simultaneously in the same draft:

    • A general insistence that some work of fiction "deserves to be" a Trope Namer;
    • A title that conveys only its connection to some Trope Namer — titles ending in the words "Effect", "Syndrome", and/or "Moment" are especially at risk. Titles starting with the word "The" can also be at risk, as this creates ambiguity between an example of the trope and a reference to its trope namer.
    • A title that's just a character name, possibly with "The" tacked in front of it. Characters that are sufficiently well-known that people might understand the reference simply from the character name usually end up getting their own pages, such as The Red Baron. Character who aren't that famous will leave people asking "which one?", such as The Cedric.
    • A page image (and/or page quote) that conveys "this is the Trope Namer" without properly illustrating the underlying definition;
    • Listing the trope-naming example before the actual definition, or (worse) not presenting any definition at all beyond "remember that moment in the Trope Namer where...?"
    • Less than three examples beyond "The Trope Namer is [X]..." (which goes double if the trope-naming example doesn't even explain itself or isn't actually an example of its own trope);
    • Being in a hurry to get the trope launched as soon as it gets three votes, problems or not.

    Fortunately all of these symptoms are curable before launch, just take a moment to listen to suggestions from your fellow tropers, especially if you see several people agreeing on the same point (regardless of whether you agree with said point or not).

    Ninety percent of attempts to create new Trope Namers get sent straight to our Trope Talk forum for fixing, and the worst cases simply get deleted and sent back to the Trope Workshop all over again, in which case all the time you spend campaigning for your favorite Trope Namer will have come to naught. You can save our overburdened tropers some work by distancing yourself from your favorite work of fiction and discussing the matter with your fellow editors at the Trope Workshop first.

    For more information about how to come up with a good name for a new trope, see the guidelines listed on Naming a Trope. To learn more about Trope Namers in general, check out the Trope Namer page.

    1. However, after being asked "Sandler or West?", we realized not everybody remembers The Bible - specifically the Book of Genesis, where Adam was given the task of naming everything.