Join 3,494 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


You know, that thing where...
February 24, 2010 3:05 PM   Subscribe

The secret origin of TV Tropes (Previously)
posted by Artw (48 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Founded in 2004, TV Tropes and its army of "tropers" was conceived by a group of three literate Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans who met at MIT in the 1970s.

This sentence could be better constructed.

Anyway! Interesting background. I do wish the site had a more universal name than "TV Tropes" (though that's catchy) since it's so handy for film and literature, etc.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:09 PM on February 24, 2010


I'm always finding insights into video games there, too. Great link, Artw!
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:11 PM on February 24, 2010


Nooooo! There go the next three hours of my life!
posted by Servo5678 at 3:13 PM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Easily one of the coolest sites on the internet.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:15 PM on February 24, 2010


This sentence could be better constructed.

Hah! No kidding.

three literate Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans

Thanks for specifying, because literate fans are so hard to come by.
posted by graventy at 3:15 PM on February 24, 2010


Aw, I should have known it was Buffy fans! Thanks for the insight - that place is amazing. The only weird thing is that no matter what you start reading about, following links long enough inevitably brings you to pages about animated pornography.
posted by moxiedoll at 3:16 PM on February 24, 2010


I hadn't seen the Story Generator before. Apparently a creative writing teacher somwhere uses it as a tool in creative writing exercises. That sounds like a lot of fun! But the few batches the generator has produced for me would lead to some pretty bizarre stories... it would take a lot of creativity to get the restrictions to play nice.
posted by painquale at 3:21 PM on February 24, 2010


TVTropes is the bane of my existence. I've had to institute a policy that I'm only allowed to go there when following a link from a relevant discussion elsewhere on the internet (here, most often), because otherwise I would literally spend every day doing nothing but opening dozens and dozens of trope pages and reading through them all. Even as it is, whenever I end up there I lose the rest of the day.

Anyway, thanks for the article. So much for the rest of my day.
posted by Caduceus at 3:22 PM on February 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


TVTropes ought to come with a warning splashpage indicating that it is a malicious virus which simultaneously infects computer and brain, leading to exponential increases in the number of open browser windows and sudden fits of uncontrolled hysteria.
posted by notquitemaryann at 3:25 PM on February 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


It does.
posted by darksasami at 3:28 PM on February 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


a pre-D&D role-playing game called Traveller

Not pre-D&D. Pre-AD&D. couldn't stop myself
posted by Zed at 3:30 PM on February 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


I hear you Caduceus, there is a seriously addictive quality to that site. I've started and broken my self-imposed ban numerous times and finally settled on "at work", which kind of works.

But then you cheat, come across something like this randomly and are just done for the rest of the day....

Damn it!

posted by quin at 3:30 PM on February 24, 2010


TVTropes and Annalee Newitz? Well there's my day made.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:31 PM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that is some wretched prose there. I was struck by the sentence quoted above, with its implications that these guys meeting in the 70's were all fans of a TV series that wouldn't be created for twenty years or more. But it gets better in the next sentence:

Known to "tropers" as Fast Eddie, Gus, and Janitor, the three met at MIT's Russian House, where they were drawn together over their interest in a pre-D&D role-playing game called Traveller.

In the sense that 1977 came before 1974, sure. (And are people "drawn together over?" Really? Don't native speakers say "by" there?)

Of course, I suppose it could mean that the three played Traveller every Friday night before then playing D&D later that evening, in which case I am boggled.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:33 PM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


But then you cheat, come across something like this randomly and are just done for the rest of the day....

Dammit! They don't have Strontium Dog there! Now I am tempted to edit the fucking thing.
posted by Artw at 3:34 PM on February 24, 2010


Woo-hoo Traveller players!

Now, what kind of Traveller players because if they're TNE players, well, that's just not on.
posted by GuyZero at 3:37 PM on February 24, 2010


If I go on TV tropes at work at 9am, the day seems to last about five minutes.
posted by hnnrs at 3:42 PM on February 24, 2010


darksasami: right, but by the time people find that, it's typically too late.
posted by notquitemaryann at 3:43 PM on February 24, 2010


TVTropes should just be called Tropes, dammit.
posted by lumensimus at 3:44 PM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't believe that this is becoming a Traveller derail. Did no-one notice that io9's style guide apparently requires that "anime" be italicized? Let's focus on the real trivia, please.
posted by No-sword at 3:46 PM on February 24, 2010


I have a great idea! Let's all link to our favorite TV Trope.

I'll start - give me a second to find one.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:48 PM on February 24, 2010


Yeah, TV Tropes is amazing. Cross-index it against an array of competing belief systems, and you have a set of worlds, along with highly likely, recurring events within those various worlds.

How do we uncover the singular hidden purpose underlying human action?

Philosophy.

How do we catalogue the diverse observable examples of human action?

TV Tropes.
posted by darth_tedious at 3:54 PM on February 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


I was about to go to bed but then I clicked notquitemaryann's link and suddenly there are eight new tabs open that I absolutely have to read. Fuck.
posted by minifigs at 3:56 PM on February 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


True Art is a little weird.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on February 24, 2010


The only weird thing is that no matter what you start reading about, following links long enough inevitably brings you to pages about animated pornography.

I'm pretty sure this applies to the Internet in general.
posted by Rangeboy at 4:04 PM on February 24, 2010


TV Tropes is, seriously, one of my favorite things on the internet. It's one of the ways I find new media: I search for tropes I really, really like, and look at things that have them.... sort of a cross-reference of awesome.

Also this five-page paper I have to turn in tomorrow morning hates that I just opened up about six tropes-tabs.
posted by WidgetAlley at 4:06 PM on February 24, 2010


At least once a month I check out the TV Tropes page for my own novel. It is easily one of my favorite commentaries. I mean where else would I learn that I created an Apocalypse How - Class X-2!
posted by localroger at 4:17 PM on February 24, 2010


The only weird thing is that no matter what you start reading about, following links long enough inevitably brings you to pages about animated pornography.

As a long time troper I have not found this to be the case. In fact, I don't think that there are many pornographic tropes in the wiki at all.
posted by rebent at 4:19 PM on February 24, 2010


TVTropes is fun, though sometimes the focus on crap niche anime in the examples is too strong. I like to imagine that's where Steven Den Beste has parked himself, spinning to the mad glissandos of celestial pipes, awaiting the culture wars of the End Times, when he will rise up and spew feces across the ranks of his enemies.
posted by fleacircus at 4:24 PM on February 24, 2010


Aw, I should have known it was Buffy fans

I'm a bit surprised because the heavy, heavy anime content made me think it was some of those guys.
posted by smackfu at 4:28 PM on February 24, 2010


Sorry Rebent, that comment was meant to be lighthearted - I didn't mean that there were literally pornographic tropes, it's just that without TV Tropes I wouldn't know words like "yaoi" or "bishonen" or about any of the other surprising WHAT'S THAT? dirty cartoon link following that goes ever on from there.
posted by moxiedoll at 4:36 PM on February 24, 2010


Cross-index it against an array of competing belief systems, and you have a set of worlds, along with highly likely, recurring events within those various worlds.

It's like GURPS sourcebooks, only on the internet.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:07 PM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, there goes my evening.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:09 PM on February 24, 2010


Goddmanit you almost made me go to TV Tropes again. I have a BOOK TO WRITE PEOPLE.
posted by The Whelk at 5:33 PM on February 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm a bit surprised because the heavy, heavy anime content made me think it was some of those guys.

Wikipedia has a heavy load of Anime crust too, I suspect something about Anime fans makes then predisposed to spamming the hell out of wikis.

Amazingly on Wikipedia it's often exhaustively sourced, so it all stays up while other pop cultural stuff that's to my mind actually better known goes down in the ongoing notability purges.
posted by Artw at 5:34 PM on February 24, 2010


There has to a shirt that says "Not Notable" or "Citation Needed", right?
posted by The Whelk at 5:37 PM on February 24, 2010


> True Art is a little weird.

Yes, but I'd hardly call it True Art.

True Art is something else entirely.
posted by darth_tedious at 5:39 PM on February 24, 2010


Linking Tropes from Mefi is like some sort of crossing the beams of internet time-sink black-holeness...

OK call it a night... just check email... oh and mefi of course... oh what's this post? ... ... ... WAAAAAA The sun's coming up!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:41 PM on February 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


tvtropes is one of the myriad of places on the Internet that started out being about a think and is now largely about itself. It seems as though things are put there not to document cliches and recurrent situations, but to put something on tvtropes. When I go there I feel like I'm wading through a lot of "Ooh! Ooh! I got one!" rather then genuinely interesting insights.

Then again, I feel the same way about PostSecret, where it seems these days there are regularly secrets ABOUT getting a secret on PostSecret.
posted by Legomancer at 6:06 PM on February 24, 2010


Is there a page for that thing where people offscreen can´t hear what the onscreen characters are saying about them, even if they´re two feet away from the edge of the frame? I´ve looked for it, but I can´t find it.
posted by concrete at 6:43 PM on February 24, 2010


Which show are you talking about concrete, Family Guy, American Dan, or Cleveland Brown? Or, let me guess, all three?

(They've been doing it a lot this season, and it irritates me to no end. I suspect it's a Dolby Digital 5.1 thing, but I haven't bothered to dig up an answer.)
posted by quin at 7:16 PM on February 24, 2010


There has to a shirt that says "Not Notable" or "Citation Needed", right?

No doubt.

This post reminds me that I need to corrupt my facebook friends by posting a link to tv tropes. Mwah-ha-ha!
posted by lord_wolf at 7:30 PM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I die, I want to have my brain uploaded into TV Tropes.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:01 PM on February 24, 2010


My favorite (read: least favorite) thing about TV Tropes is how it desperately needs to spin off an anime subsite so that every single goddamn entry is no longer plagued with six thousand entries about how Avatar: The Last Airbender didn't do whatever trope is mentioned.

Jesus Christ, I love that site, and have no real problem with anime, but when the two mix together my rage reaches critical mass.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:37 PM on February 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tvtropes is creepy. "this editor" sounds like TPE subtalk.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:38 PM on February 24, 2010


Concrete, that sounds like a currently undocumented effect of Behind The Black, a subtrope of the Rule Of Perception. The entry only talks about how on-screen characters can't see what's offscreen at the moment. But hey, it's a wiki, right?
posted by darksasami at 10:50 PM on February 24, 2010


concrete: "Is there a page for that thing where people offscreen can´t hear what the onscreen characters are saying about them, even if they´re two feet away from the edge of the frame? I´ve looked for it, but I can´t find it."

The magical soundproof kitchen in Fraiser always annoyed me.
posted by minifigs at 1:03 AM on February 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Zed: a pre-D&D role-playing game called Traveller

Not pre-D&D. Pre-AD&D. couldn't stop myself


This was seriously bothering me all morning. I think I've been on vacation too long.
posted by Cassilda at 3:07 PM on February 25, 2010


« Older Killing Time....  |  Heavy Metal Curling!... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments