Data Vampires

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    That's it. You've finished it. Your masterpiece. Your magnum opus. A short yet thoughtfully-written thesis summing up your favorite new show/movie/game; one that will give the reader a concise idea of what it's all about, and which wittily points out all of its most endearing flaws and foibles. Surely all those who read it will think it the most clever mass-media musing since Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese. At long last, your fellow tropers will finally get to see what a charismatic and urbane person you really are. All you have to do is press the "Send" button and....

    Oh Crap. A twenty-second lag followed by a blank white page. Quick! Click the Back Arrow. Click the Back Arrow!

    It's gone. Your carefully crafted entry. Gone....

    Cue the big Darth Vader "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

    Congratulations, your entry has just been eaten by the Electron-Eating Data Vampires from Dimension Q, -- strange, intangible creatures who lurk on wiki pages and forum boards waiting for some hapless fool to write full entries into text fields from scratch. (Instead of doing the smart thing, which would be to write out the entry into some kind of text-editing program and then copy and paste it wholecloth into the forum or wiki entry's text field.)

    Thanks to TV Tropes' wiki-editing time limit and All The Tropes' host's occasional "Bad Gateway" errors, most folk who write long entries will go through the trouble of composing and saving them elsewhere. But occasionally, someone somewhere will view an existing trope, think of a quick example they can add, think up the most clever commentary ever written while entering their example into the text field, and press the send button—only to have the Data Vampires snap up their precious writing like a pack of starving hounds snapping up a sausage-covered kitten. It's brutal. It's unpredictable. It's unfair. It'

    To view an example, see this.

    A quicker way to safeguard your edit is to highlight it, right-click it/go to the "Edit" menu, and select Copy, just before you hit "Send.".[1] Therefore, if anything goes wrong, you've still got a copy of it. Of course, you need to paste it somewhere pretty quickly.

    A similar thing happens in quite a bit of internet forums: most session cookies have an expiration time, so if you spend more than that time writing a big Wall of Text and then click the Send button, your post will be sent from an expired session, and therefore, it will be eaten by the Data Vampires as well. This can be usually prevented by selecting the "Remember Password" option when you sign in, which sometimes makes the cookie last forever.

    However, it is not unknown, and not uncommon, for people to be gifted with the power to pry their entries from the jaws of a Data Vampire before it is swallowed whole. More often than not, it can be retrieved and sent by, rather than pressing the back button, hitting F5 whatever key sequence your browser uses for reload. Refreshing works miracles. (Unless the Data Vampires make the Database Hate You, in which case you're roundly screwed.) If you have Firefox, the back button is even more powerful, as the program will often save your data. (If that doesn't work, a memory dump should.) Opera does something similar, and should always allow you to recover stuff via the back button. On the other hand, there are some minor rumors that Internet Explorer's "Back"-button is either sponsored by the Data Vampires or is one itself.

    1. For the keyboard-happy, try CTRL-A to select all text, followed by CTRL-C to copy it (Apple-A and Apple-C on the Mac)