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"Not every peg needs to be crammed into some trope hole, even if it seems vaguely apropos."

Sometimes an Entry Pimp forgets that Tropes Are Not Good and tries to shove an example from their favorite show into a trope where it doesn't fit. It may not be the fault of the contributor because the description of the trope left the emphasis on part B while part A is the important part. Or maybe the name of the trope was confusing. Or perhaps the original definition of the trope was something so specific or esoteric that new examples tend to be something related to, but not quite, the trope's original intent. But often it is because the contributor did not understand the standard and direction the trope was describing. This of course may result in a trope suffering Flanderization.

Tropes have several pieces that come together to make it the trope that it is. There is the main point of what the trope is about, and then there are appendages that help define it among other tropes. An appendage may be the more proper location for an example if it doesn't align with the main body. For minute differences, consult the Canonical List of Subtle Trope Distinctions.

Sometimes it's just not an example, it has some fleeting resemblance to the name or the examples but doesn't belong in the trope. Sometimes it's an aversion that isn't notable in any way-- the series just didn't use that trope, but it's neither common nor expected in that genre, so why would you point out that, say, The Bible doesn't have Space Pirates?

Another common sign that an example does not fit is if words like "arguably" or "to some" are coated around it. A trope is either there or not there, and if the word "arguably" is used, it's probably not. Also, words like "arguably" and "possibly" are Natter bait. Don't write "arguable examples".

In any case, if an example doesn't fit, don't add it. Someone else will just delete it anyway. The absolute worst case scenario is when the examples override the intentions of the description, which makes it a different trope altogether.

Compare Not a Subversion, where an example is a legitimate Playing with a Trope, but it's usually labeled a subversion when it's another form of playing.


Since there are way too many individual examples to list, list examples of tropes that tend to get a lot of this.

  • In general, Audience Reactions about the general perception of a large group of people are often used to describe the feelings of a single person. For example, The Scrappy is meant to be used for characters hated by most people, not just characters you dislike.
  • This is also generally why tropes are not named after specific characters - people begin potholing any occurrence of said character's name to the trope, regardless of the topic at hand.
  • Absolute Cleavage refers to when a character's outfit shows not just their chest, but part of their stomach too. Most examples are just "this character has noticeable clevage".
  • Abuse / Rape Is Okay When It's X on Y. If it's not portrayed as "okay" in the work, it's not an example.
  • An Actor Allusion has to be intentional. Two characters in different shows played by the same actor coincidentally being in an (arguably) similar situation is not an Actor Allusion.
  • It seems that the amount of times Adaptation Distillation gets used as Square Peg, Round Trope for gushing about adaptations someone likes outnumbers the times it is actually used correctly on this wiki. For the record, it's about works which manage to capture the essence of a Long Runner in a brief adaptation without resulting in Continuity Lock Out.
    • Relatedly, people used to keep trying to push a work as a Reconstruction. No, distilling everything that makes a character or work awesome in an adaptation is Adaptation Distillation, hence the name. Luckily, this seems to have died down.
    • Much like the above, Adaptation Decay is supposed to be when certain elements of a show are simplified or modified so it can translate to whichever medium it's translating to. It's not supposed to mean "adaptation that I think is worse than the originial." The misuse has gotten bad enough that its page now no longer allows examples that are not In-Universe.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst is meant to be about examples where a character's angst is justified by their youth. Half the examples listed are just various characters who have traumatic backstories.
  • All Animation Is Disney is about an animation being mistaken for a Disney/Pixar/DreamWorksAnimation production, not something that uses Disney's animation skills.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation was about subtext that leads one to believe there is more (or less) to a character than meets the eye. Now it is often used to describe characters that have wildly different characterizations between adaptations.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees is supposed to be about something that clearly sounds fake but does actually exist. Any item or process that sounds even slightly improbable gets a pot hole to the trope reading "these actually exist" or "this is actually possible", no matter how well-known the "this" in question actually is.
  • Ambiguously Gay is often misused as Homoerotic Subtext when it's supposed to mean "looks gay and/or shows gay stereotypes, but has no clear sexual preference."
  • Animation Bump does not mean "any kind of good animation," only good animation from a scene in a movie or episode that doesn't consistently have animation that good.
  • Anyone Can Die does not mean "My favorite show once had a character die."; it means that no character is safe from dying in any way, hence the trope name.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap is when a woman easily slaps around a character much stronger than she is, usually for the sake of comedy. That's why it's called "Armor Piercing" slap, and not "regular slap" as some people think.
  • Ascended Meme is a meme spawned by a work that was put into the work later because it became a popular meme. It is often misused as a Shout-Out to any meme, whether it came from the work or not.
  • In retrospect, this was probably inevitable with Awesome Yet Practical, which frequently receives examples that are awesome yet practical. Its initial purpose was to be a counterpart to What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?, describing cases where that trope should have applied but the thing in question was somehow awesome anyway.
  • Badass Normal describes a character without superpowers who manages to be Badass in a setting where other characters do have superpowers, particularly against said superpowers. The second, crucial aspect is frequently ignored. And occasionally they forget the first, believing human automatically counts as being "Normal," even if said humans can fly under their own power and shoot energy beams out of their hands. And even that gets ignored, with aliens with not super-impressive superpowers getting labelled as such.
    • If you're looking for a trope for heroes with lame powers that manage to be awesome, you have a couple of choices. Heart Is an Awesome Power for seemingly lame powers that turn out to have genuinely awesome applications and This Looks Like a Job For Aquaman for when the plot contrives to make the lamely powered character useful. Might possibly be a Badass Abnormal.
  • Badass Decay refers to a character who was one incredibly Badass but is now largely ineffective and perhaps even comical. It's gotten to where if they lose one fight, they've gone through decay.
  • Bad Bad Acting is a form of Stylistic Suck, when a character in-universe acts very poorly, played for laughs. It often gets pot holed to any kind of Bad Acting in general.
  • Bad Export for You is when the creators of a work intentionally water something down when they export it. It's not about any export that sucks.
  • Batman Gambit has suffered from the same decay as Xanatos Gambit. It's supposed to refer to a plan which relies on predicting how people will behave when confronted with certain situations. But as with Xanatos Gambit, tropers have gotten it into their heads that it means "any clever, convoluted plan".
  • Beyond the Impossible used to be about a series repeatedly topping itself, such that escalation (not continuation) continues even after you're certain it's peaked in whatever area. Many of the pot holes seem to use it as I Am Not Making This Up. It has since been redefined to be Exactly What It Says on the Tin with its original definition going to Serial Escalation.
  • Big Bad was originally meant to describe the villain, the one that is the main antagonist for the vast majority or the entirety of the story. It now tends to be used to refer to "the current central antagonist," even if said villain only sticks around for one arc.
  • Bishonen refers to a very specific aesthetic involving delicate, androgynous men and boys. It is not supposed to be just another word for "guy that I think is kinda hot."
  • Brain Bleach is when something is so Squicky, a character in-story makes reference to 'bleaching my brain' or something similar. It's not just a carryall term for anything to do with fan fiction, crossovers, and Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Brick Joke is a funny event which is set up early, but the punchline doesn't come until later. It's not a reference to something that happened before that just so happened to be funny.
  • Bullet Hell refers to Shoot Em Ups with a lot (usually at least 100) bullets on the screen at once; enough to cover a good fraction of the screen. However, it tends to be used in reference to shmups that are Nintendo Hard, but only have maybe 8-15 bullets on screen at once, or as a synonym for More Dakka.
  • But Not Too Black: Posters tend to use the trope page merely to list all the light-skinned people in Hollywood rather than make any attempt to relate their appearance to a particular work or storyline. Some attempt should be made to explain why skin, hair, features, behavior, etc are relevant in a given situation. And some features can be subjective.
  • Completely Missing the Point is frequently listed as a trope as a Take That against anything, instead of the in-character use. Eventually the misuse forced the trope to be renamed to Comically Missing the Point.
  • Crazy Awesome we hardly knew ye. You have been besieged by people who only know crazy as a superlative adverb rather than a descriptive adjective. The trope is for characters who are mentally unbalanced (in a good way) and this imbalance is the primary part of his/her effectiveness. It's not just for random characters who do stuff that's really, really, awesome.
  • A couple of Crowning Moment of Heartwarming entries were deleted not because they weren't crowning or emotional, but because those were Tear Jerker moments. Heartwarming can make you cry, but crying isn't necessarily heartwarming. The same thing is happening in Tear Jerker.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome quickly changed from "music that makes a scene especially awesome" to "Tropers' music recommendations." Also, even though the word "crowning" is defined as "representing a level of the highest possible achievement or attainment," it's often blatantly used to say "This series has good music," instead of being applied to a specific piece.
    • Similarly, Crowning Moment of Funny now seems to mean "anything that someone at some point found vaguely amusing."
    • And of course, Crowning Moment of Awesome used to be about a SINGLE best moment for a show or character, now people just add any little thing they liked, no matter how insignificant. Sure, what moment qualifies as the best is subjective, but a lot of people don't even try to find a single qualifying moment ("The whole thing is a CMOA!").
  • Dan Browned is not "Did Not Do the Research but only an expert in the field would know." It's "The work is presented as accurate and/or factual, but is riddled with errors." It gets constant maintenance to keep it from becoming "They got this esoteric fact, that only an expert in the field would notice, wrong."
    • Also, Critical Research Failure is getting this treatment. That trope is about things that any non-expert would know is wrong. Instead, people will pot hole any obscure fact that only someone in the field would know to this.
  • Some links to "Do Not Want" are people saying that they "do not want" something to happen. The article is actually about humorous bootleg subtitles. This resulted in a rename to end the confusion.
  • Death Is Cheap does not refer to any one character coming Back From the Dead. It means that it's common to do so.
  • Deconstruction refers to a work that takes an established genre and adds a layer of realism by establishing why associated tropes are used and how they would affect the real world. It is not Darker and Edgier applied to an entire genre. We have a whole page on that topic.
  • Deus Ex Machina is an unrealistic or out-of-place plot device which shows up out of nowhere to resolve the plot. It is not a Pretentious Latin Motto meaning "plot points I think are stupid." Of course, the terms gets thrown around a lot in this manner outside the wiki too, making its misuse Truth in Television.
  • Deus Sex Machina is not any sex that's a plot point. It's an ability or item that only works if someone has sex.
  • Disappointing Last Level in a video game means a drop in quality in the last parts of the game. Unfortunately, due to bias against hard games, people tend to think any instance of a game upping the difficulty in its final sections is this, never mind that games that get suddenly easier at the end can be examples too.
  • Disneyesque refers to a work that adopts an art style used in Disney's animated works (usually for homage or parody purposes), similar to how Animesque is about a non-Japanese work adopting an anime/manga style. It is not about something that Follows the Leader to the Disney Animated Canon (i.e. Anastasia or Thumbelina), borrows Disney's fairy dust trademark or uses Disney Creatures of the Farce.
  • Don't Explain the Joke. In regards to in-universe examples, the trope is almost always used properly. In Pot Holes, people tend to mistake "Explaining the scene or the character in question for people who aren't familiar with the series" as "explaining a joke".
  • Down to the Last Play refers to any sporting event which is decided in dramatic fashion at the very last minute. Though it does not matter which team wins, many assume it to mean that the protagonist team always has to win. If the protagonist team doesn't win, tropers will label it as a subversion or an aversion. A true subversion would be a game that ends anticlimactically. A true inversion would be a game decided on the very first play.
  • The Dragon trope was used incorrectly so many times that its definition had to be changed. It originally referred to a minion of the Big Bad who was stronger than the Big Bad, representing more of a physical challenge to the protagonist while the Big Bad represented a mental one. Too many tropers took this to mean "the Big Bad's right-hand man, regardless of whether he/she is actually stronger than the Big Bad."
  • Epic Fail is about when a character fails much harder than you would expect, and the work plays it for laughs. Sometimes people seem to think that a work/person/moment/etc. can be an epic fail as an excuse to complain.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse is supposed to refer to when a minor character who does little in the story becomes unexpectedly popular with the fans. It isn't supposed to mean "any character besides the main character who is popular."
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin is about titles that are humorously specific, and tell you everything you need to know about the plot just by reading it. A lot of people use it for any title that's not a total non sequitur or a substitute for Self Explanatory.
  • An Excuse Plot is a plot that is clearly there merely as a justification for the gameplay, or other form of flashy, show-offy-ness, to happen. It does not necessarily mean a poorly written, minimalistic, or stupid storyline. Furthermore, this can only apply to Video Game storylines, but some tropers seem to love to put it as examples to movies and shows they don't like. (And you're probably looking for Cliché Storm anyway).
  • Face Palm is when someone literally facepalms. Not something facepalm worthy, or the entire show is facepalm worthy.
  • Fan Disservice is when a show intentionally does something gross to invoke Squick. It's not the same as a show failing at Fan Service, that's Fetish Retardant.
    • It also gets used for plain old body Squick.
  • Fan Dumb used to define people who specifically 1) defend everything about their show and 2) defend everything about their opinion on the show. Now it just describes fans being stupid and/or illogical.
    • Even worse, some members of the Hatedom will even put Fan Dumb on a show's example page just because they don't like the show. Tropers, if you see anything in this wiki that apply to this, please remove them.
    • Others have used Fan Dumb and Hate Dumb to mean "someone who likes the show" and "someone who makes a complaint" respectively as well. Fan Dumb is sometimes even used for people who do like the show, but still have a complaint, regardless of if it's a reasonable one. Much like the above, Tropers, if you see these that apply to this, please remove them. We don't want Flame Wars here.
  • Fan Haters hate the fans. It's not the same as hating the series the fans are attached too, which is Hatedom.
  • Fan Myopia means "I think this show is more popular than it is," not "someone made a reference to a show I haven't heard of."
  • Fanon Discontinuity is supposed to refer to cases when a sequel or episode just screws up our mental image of the plot, so the fandom collectively decides to ignore its existence. Of course, in Pot Holes, it is used as another Take That against anything you don't particularly like, including entire verses.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple does not mean "liked more than the Official Couple by upwards of fully THREE people and also we have a forum." It means a pairing that, judging by its apparent degree of canon validation, is more popular than it should be.
  • Fantastic Racism means racism between humans and mythical/fictional creatures, or between said creatures and other fictional creatures. It is not an adverb describing how powerful one's racism is.
  • Faux Action Girl reffers to characters famed as Action Girls in-universe, but in practice the "Action" part is just an Informed Attribute. It's quickly becoming "Any female character who so much as loses one fight, or ever gets captured." (even if they curb-stomp everyone the rest of the time)
  • Fauxlosophic Narration is for philosophic content that has little to do with the plot of the work in question. It doesn't mean philosophical content in general that you don't like.
  • A Femme Fatale is a woman whom the hero can't resist even though getting involved with her means certain danger, especially if she intentionally uses her beauty to overcome the hero's better judgement. It doesn't mean "sexualized female villain". Likewise, not every Asian villainess is a Dragon Lady, and not every eastern-European villainess is The Baroness.
  • The Firefly Effect is about viewers being afraid to commit themselves to a show because they are afraid of it being canceled, even if it's popular like Firefly was. Tropers often use it to complain about a show they like being Screwed by the Network.
  • The Five-Man Band is a common template for a team and the cast, but it does not necessarily mean that any and every team will fit into that precise mold. It is intended to be a loose pattern.
    • This page also has an internal problem - people tend to shove any female character into the role of 'The Chick' without actually considering what the character is like and what her role is in the group. People seem to think 'The Chick' just means 'any random woman, even if she's clearly The Lancer or whatever.' It's also very much possible for a male character to fit this role.
    • Similarly, any group with enough people in it will invariably draw attempts to shoehorn them into the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • Flanderization was originally a fairly specific phenomenon, referring to when a previously complex character would eventually come to be defined by one or two specific quirks. However, over time, it decayed into "character generally became broader/wackier", and from there, it further decayed into "any broad/wacky character", even if they were that way to begin with. At this point, the trope has become so vague that people now say that the trope itself has been Flanderized. Now it is apparently possible to be Flanderized in the very same episode you first appear in.
    • On the Flanderization page there was a list of Tropes that have been Flanderized, which almost rivalled the normal examples in length.
  • Flat What is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a flat "What." Potholes to the trope tend to be all-caps, italicized and/or bolded, with a question mark and/or exclamation point behind it instead of a period, or some combination of the above. Any of these would fit better under Big "What?", assuming a link is even necessary in the first place.
    • Sometimes, Flat What is used for instances that don't feature a person saying "what" at all, with the assumption that the trope is about being confused in general rather than about a particular usage of a word. In that same vein, it is often used as a Pothole when tropers think that something about a work or a person's actions is hard to believe.
  • Fridge Logic is specifically about a Plot Hole that catches your attention as well as all those nagging questions that have had you scratching your head long after you watched the movie or read the book. But likely it was just a minor thing and it doesn't really destroy your enjoyment of it. The page became a location for Complaining About Shows You Don't Like and a place to vent. It Just Bugs Me was meant to curb the examples, but a decision was made to scrap all the examples and just refer people to It Just Bugs Me.
  • The Garfunkel is supposed to be the band member whose presence is really superfluous to the sound of the group. However, a lot of the examples seem to be "the band member that nobody recognises", even if they have important roles (bassists and drummers especially fall victim to this). This isn't helped by the trope being named after someone who gets judged as this by popular culture, but who in truth was not (Art's voice was an indispensable part of the Simon and Garfunkel sound). We eventually renamed it to Lesser Star.
  • For the most part, Genre Savvy is pretty self-explanatory. However, some people use it to note when a character makes a good decision in general, as opposed to making a good decision based on genre conventions. "The character didn't stick his hand in the fire," for example, is not being genre savvy.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff refers to a character (or a work as a whole) who is significantly more popular in a certain part of the world than in his/her country of origin. For some reason, the page gets several entries detailing the opposite phenomenon.
    • Perhaps even stranger, the Americans Hate Tingle page has examples of things that are hated in their home country without any indication of how people feel about it in other countries.
  • A lot of Getting Crap Past the Radar examples seem less like a Double Entendre and more like an Accidental Innuendo. And others boil down to Heh, Heh, You Said "X". The page also attracted a lot of entries from works that do not necesarilly have radars, such as Family Guy and South Park.
    • Also, a lot of the entries list ribald jokes that clearly aren't meant to be subtle at all, sometimes in works that have no need to censor themselves for content - basically, people failing to discern between "getting past the radar" and "being cleared for landing by the tower."
  • The Gods Must Be Crazy isn't even a trope, yet it is occasionally used as one. We do have two tropes that are puns based on it, but The Gods Must Be Crazy itself is a movie. You might be thinking of Mad God.
  • Grey and Grey Morality is when both sides of the conflict are neither good or bad. Just because a hero has some flaws and the villain has some redeeming qualities doesn't mean the setting is Grey and Grey in terms of morality.
  • Guide Dang It now gets used for any puzzle that's the least bit difficult, not just ones that aren't possible to solve without a strategy guide or walkthrough. A true Guide Dang It situation would be one where you look up the solution and, after doing it and analyzing it, proceed to exclaim "HOW THE FUCKING HELL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO KNOW TO DO THAT?" If the clues are there and you just missed them or misinterpreted them, it's not an example.
  • Guilty Pleasure means liking something yet feeling guilt or embarassment for liking it, because it's considered outside the mainstream, it's lowbrow, or because the one who likes it is out of the demographic. The definition got twisted to slightly above So Bad It's Good (when many of the examples on that page are interchangeable), and ultimately to Complaining About Shows You Don't Like but more specific. Almost every example was not an actual example, and people used it as a page to complain about things they thought were So Bad It's Good, even if what they were complaining about was critically acclaimed, or just animated shows and kid's shows in general. It got so bad and opinionated that the page was regulated to in-universe examples.
  • A Hand Wave is an explanation that is too flimsy to hold up under scrutiny, not any brief explanation and most definitely not "explanations that don't appeal to you".
  • Harder Than Hard refers to when a game has a hard difficulty followed by at least one difficulty above it. It does not simply mean a hard mode that's much harder than the normal mode, or an extreme case of a Nintendo Hard game. Similar case with Easier Than Easy.
  • Hey, It's That Guy! is when an often-used character actor appears in a supporting role (the whole point is that you know the actor's face, but NOT the name -- he's "that guy!") but it's often used for big actors as well.
  • Hey, It's That Voice! is meant to be used for when a voice actor uses the same voice for characters from different series. Instead, it's often used to note that two characters have the same voice actor, even if they don't sound similar.
  • Hot Mom and Hot Dad are supposed to refer to moms and dads who the other characters find attractive. Tropers tend to use it to mean "character I think is hot who happens to be a parent".
  • Ho Yay is about homosexual subtext. At one point, even Brokeback Mountain had it, which was wrong because the characters are explicitly gay.
    • It's also now used for any two guys who are best friends at all.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters (once "Humans Are Bastards") is supposed to be about how humans are complete jerks and worse compared to other sentient species. Humans being horrible people in general does not count as this trope.
  • This is why I Am Not Making This Up no longer exists on this wiki, what with everyone potholing anything vaguely weird into it.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun is about puns that in-universe characters find lame. Tropers think it's "Pun, any pun, no matter how subtle or clever it is."
    • And originally, it wasn't even a trope at all, just a page to make metatextual Pot Holes to as a band-aid fix to the problem of puns being potholed inappropriately to Incredibly Lazy Pun. Now the Incredibly Lame Pun page has over 5,700 Wicks, most of them probably from metatextual Pot Holes.
  • I Got Better, despite having a warning against using it for cases of Character Development or actual "getting better" outside inexplicable attacks of Death, still gets potholed a lot, but since the Trope Namer line was not about death, the trope itself might be a case of this. It has been eventually renamed to Unexplained Recovery.
  • Insane Troll Logic is for logic that is incredibly demented to the point where it makes no sense at all. Too many people try to cram flawed logic into the trope as opposed to the nonsensical logic that it is supposed to reflect.
  • I Thought It Meant is for when a trope or work may sincerely be mistaken for a similarly-named trope or work. It's not an excuse to refer to some random trope in the description for something that has absolutely nothing to do with it.
  • "It's Been Done" was formerly known as "The Simpsons Did It" as a reference to South Park. When The Simpsons did a trope, someone would say "The Simpsons Did It" to say that it was used on the show. In reality, they would be saying that The Simpsons invented the trope.
  • The It Sucks pages are for reactions by the general audience and critics. They are not pages for Complaining About Shows You Don't Like.
  • It Was His Sled is supposed to be for plot twists that were once secrets, but now known by everybody because of the way they've permeated through popular culture. It's fast descending into "any twist", hence the Example Sectionectomy.
  • Jossed is meant to be for cases in which a fan's theory is disproved by later developments in the story or by Word of God, but it sometimes gets used on Wild Mass Guessing pages for cases in which a fan theory is just unlikely to be true, but not entirely disproven.
  • Katanas Are Just Better requires to show that katana wielder is better than other melee and ranged weapons. Constantly wielding a katana doesn't qualify for this trope.
  • The distinction between Large Ham, Chewing the Scenery and No Indoor Voice seems to be blurred.[1] In addition, apparently there is little middle ground between Large Ham and Dull Surprise.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler, formerly titled "You Should Know This Already," is usually still potholed and linked as such to facilitate expressions of Fan Myopia. It's supposed to refer to promotional materials for a franchise which spoil prior plot developments, assuming fans are already familiar with them. However, it's often used by tropers to mean "I just spoiled something, but it's your fault for not having already seen the movie/show."
  • A Lethal Joke Character is one that appears to be a Joke Character, but has hidden potential that can make them dangerous after all. It's not any character that happens to look, act or generally come across as quirky or weird, but is clearly in line with other characters in terms of gameplay. That's Fighting Clown. One cleaning of the page almost had to cut half of the content.
  • Let's Get Dangerous is supposed to be "a moment in the story when all the quirky, eccentric supporting cast stop being quirky and eccentric and start demonstrating why you should respect your elders." For some reason, people keep confusing this with Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.
  • A Lightning Bruiser is a character that is fast, strong, and tough. The first two traits alone aren't enough to qualify.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters is about having a large number of main characters, but the examples are slipping towards anything that isn't a Minimalist Cast.
  • The key trait of a MacGuffin is that it can be anything and whatever qualities it has are irrelevant to the story. Lots of people ignore that specification and include any item that drives the story, or even items people happen to fight over, when fighting over something has nothing to do with the definition.
  • Magnificent Bastard. Doesn't help that the definition was so vague in the first place; however, efforts to nail down a concrete definition have done little to stem the flood. (It also doesn't help that the Trope Namer, Erwin Rommel, is actually a Worthy Opponent.)
  • Who is Mary Sue? For a mainly Fan Fiction trope, she's piled up a great number of dubious Canon examples. See Canon Sue, which is another mess.
  • Memetic Sex God is about examples from memes. If it happens in canon, they're a Sex God.
  • Missed Moment of Awesome referred to significant moments that people expect to see either because it was in the original source of an adaptation, or because it's something the story builds to. People use it to say "Hey, wouldn't it have been funny if they had used this joke instead?". Or for things that while neat, probably can't be considered "awesome". Or for things the story doesn't build up to, and can't be reasonably faulted for skipping. Or...sometimes just about anything, really. Thus, it was renamed to Offscreen Moment of Awesome.
  • Mooks are evil henchmen that have little to no backstory and exist only so that The Hero can kill hordes of them and look like a Badass while doing it. It is not just a generic term for "minion".
  • Mr. Fanservice is supposed to be about one (or a few) hot male character who provides fanservice for the straight female (and gay male) audience. The examples consist mostly of "here is a list of several dozen characters from show X that I found hot, including a crippled 60-year-old that nobody but me would find attractive."
  • Narm has gotten overloaded with lots of "unintentional funny" when the original purpose of the trope was things that were supposed to be serious that ended up being funny. This is even a case where the Trope Namer is actually a great example of the trope, and not just a clever-sounding name.
    • It's also not all that uncommon to find Complaining About Shows You Don't Like on the Narm page, or alternatively "Complaining about scenes I didn't quite buy." These are not actual examples and should naturally be deleted on sight.
    • A good chunk of examples are straight up jokes that were deliberately written to be funny, or are examples of intentionally over-the-top comedic acting. In fact, just about any Narm example from a comedy is probably this.
  • Nightmare Fuel was originally supposed to be about things from media aimed at children which are unintentionally scary. Then it started getting filled with "anything that scared me as a child, even if I wasn't supposed to see it at that age." Now, most of the examples in Nightmare Fuel have drifted so far that it might as well be a redirect to the Horror article, but with whininess.
    • In the same fashion, High Octane Nightmare Fuel originally refers to something that was specifically meant to scare the viewers. Reading through some of these pages for different works, one will mainly come across things like characters making scary faces, getting killed off in an unusually violent (but not necessarily horrifying or frightening fashion), to plot developments that while shocking, are clearly not meant to actually scare the audience, and of course, fan speculations and hypothetical what if scenarios that didn't actually take place and have no chance of happening in canon.
  • People tend to confuse No Ending with Left Hanging, Bolivian Army Ending, Gainax Ending, Cliff Hanger, Sequel Hook, and nearly every other ending trope on the wiki except for Grand Finale.
    • And in the same vein, a Cliff Hanger does not constitute a Bolivian Army Ending.
    • It also doesn't help that being able to make that distinction in some cases depends on knowing the intent of the creators and Word of God may not be available.
  • No Hugging, No Kissing is meant to be about works that are completely devoid of any romance. It is frequently misused to refer to characters who are romantically involved but don't show much physical affection onscreen.
  • Nuke'Em is a trope about using nuclear weapons too eagerly or too much. Lots of examples added there are mostly about "this work has nuclear weapons".
  • One-Way Visor means a visor, not lenses. A visor is like a pair of goggles with temple-arms instead of a strap, or the faceplate of a helmet. Doesn't stop people from adding Red Hood and Spider-Man
  • Our Elves Are Better gets interpreted in different ways. One is focusing entirely on the "better" part, using it for Superior Species even if elves aren't involved at all. Another is that the title is literally about elves being portrayed as superior (or at least being smug toward everyone else), leading some tropers to think there is a more neutral Our Elves Are Different article out there somewhere (the Tabletop Game/Blue Rose article at one time linked to both Our Elves Are Better and Our Elves Are Different). Its own Playing With section describes the basic trope as "A race of different elves are superior to most inferior races." All of this ignores that the trope should simply be about there being different kinds of elves in fiction.
  • Overused Running Gag is when a work itself acknowledges or lampshades how often it uses a particular gag. It does not mean "gag that I'm personally sick of."
  • Permanent Red Link Club usually has people adding every article that was ever cut and locked, even though they may come back in the future. It is supposed to be a list of articles that this wiki never wants them to come back.
  • People Sit on Chairs refers to something so basic that it can't even be called a trope. It does not mean "It's all over the place". That is Seen It a Million Times.
  • Platform Hell refers to a specific subgenre of games which are specifically designed to punish and frustrate the player as much as possible. Tropers tend to use the phrase to mean "Nintendo Hard BUT MORE!". Platform Hell games are almost exclusively either ROM hacks or homebrewed games... it's extremely rare for an official retail product to truly qualify as one of these.
  • "The core idea of Poe's Law is that a parody of something extreme can be mistaken for the real thing, and if a real thing sounds extreme enough, it can be mistaken for a parody," as the first few lines of that page explain. However, examples have a tendency to be more about works or personalities that are either extreme or at least reviled in general, without the "mistaken for a parody" part. This usually leads to Complaining About Shows You Don't Like while ignoring the trope definition.
  • A Pothole is when a link is hidden in the text. Directly displayed links that use {{brackets}} or CamelCase are not Potholes.
  • Precision F-Strike, as the description says, only applies to characters who don't swear often, if at all. Maybe-MAYBE-if the swear is supposed to obviously be part of the drama of a significant moment. Of course, it gets applied to characters who swear all the time, and to moments that aren't the least bit dramatic. And that's not even getting into the number of pages where any single use of the word "fuck" is Pot Holed to this trope.
  • Rape The Dog was designed to be clearly and qualitatively different from Kick the Dog, but the original distinction became muddled to Kick the Dog But More Evil and we had to put it down. The replacement is Moral Event Horizon. The final proof of its total abandonment of original concept is the belief of many that Moral Event Horizon is actually a step above Rape The Dog.
    • Complete Monster was also added because the original definition of Rape The Dog was so muzzy, it appeared to many Tropers to apply to characters who already lived beyond the Moral Event Horizon and had no need to cross it. On that trope, it refers to a villain who's so evil that they couldn't be more depraved. Admittedly there are multiple ways of going about that, but when every character who was even slightly mean to someone else is labelled a "complete monster," the trope begins to lose its meaning.
  • Real Women Never Wear Dresses has developed many, many problems. It gets potholed incorrectly all the time, despite its straightforward title. Moreover, it's usually accompained by whining and soapboxing about what female characters should and shouldn't be. Most of the (potholed) examples could be summed up as "Complaining About People Not Liking Damsel Scrappies You Like". The trope was originally about feminine clothes/mannerisms/hobbies being considered weak or annoying. Apparently a lot of people think it is about backlash against female characters who are weak (but not necessarily 'girly').
  • Recycled in Space means a show that is recycled from another show with a gimmicky premise added to make it seem different. An example would be The Suite Life of Zack and Cody(show about twins living in a hotel) and its spinoff The Suite Life on Deck (show about those same twins on a cruise ship). However, far too many examples are either 1)Shows that are in the same genre that share characteristics 2)"Show X is Show Y in space" where Show Y was actually made after or at the same time as show X 3) Examples where Show Y is so obscure/did so poorly that it's a moot point 4)Shows that the editor doesn't like or 5)Show X is a show that Show Y has a Fandom Rivalry with.
    • There's also the subset of people who take the trope name literally and use it to refer to any work set in space.
      • Or anywhere else, for that matter. If a sentence anywhere says "...in [location]," somebody is going to pothole that with Recycled in Space.
  • Redshirt Army is specifically for incompetent/easily-killed faceless good guys. Its not for any faceless army that gets easily killed.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor has threatened to become a repository for romantic plots that someone doesn't particularly care for - even when the romance story is central to that particular plot, rather than the romance story creeping into and taking over the main plot.
  • Scary Black Man is exactly what it sounds like, an intimidating black guy. The definition seems to be relaxed to refer to any minority character or even in some cases characters that just barely qualify for Ambiguously Brown, whether they're scary, intimidating, or not.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians is often used to describe any lesbian relationship, regardless of how seriously the relationship is actually treated, or how old the characters are.
  • Scrub and Stop Having Fun Guy refer to gamers who impolitely impose their ruleset on everyone who plays with them. Poor skill level alone does not equal a Scrub. High skill level and a tendancy to play on tournament settings, however un-"fun" they are to more casual players alone do not equal a Stop Having Fun Guy.
  • Seasonal Rot refers to one particular season of a show that is judged in hindsight to be markedly inferior to other seasons. Way too many people are using the term to mean "I don't like the current season." It also does not mean "got less good over time," which is Jump the Shark.
  • A Shout-Out has to be intentional on the part of the creators. It is not a coincidental similarity between works. Before you succumb to the urge to write "Looks like a Shout-Out to", consider how likely it is that the creator of Work B is familiar with Work A. In fact, if you don't know it's a Shout-Out, probably best not to mention it.
  • A Smug Snake is not just an incompetent wannabe-Chessmaster. He's a villain designed to be unsympathetic due to arrogance - he might have a few traits of The Chessmaster in him, but will always be closer to Complete Monster than Magnificent Bastard.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped refers to when a story has an Anvilicious message, but the story actually works better because it's so blatant. Due to the misleading title, it's often used to say "any message I agree with that was done in an Anvilicious manner." Sometimes, even when the message was well-written instead of being Anvilicious.
  • So Okay It's Average is supposed to be "works that are just alright," but if often misused as "This work is supposed to be great, but I find it average!" when this is Hype Backlash.
    • Speaking of which, Hype Backlash is suppose to be about shows who get such a heightened expectation that viewers will leave disappointed. Tropers have translated this to Complaining About Shows You Don't Like that happen to be popular.
      • Note: just stating a character's name, a plot point, or a particular defining trait of the show/book/movie etc. as the reason for generalized praise or public opinion that you think is undeserved is NOT a justification.
  • Sphere Eyes is supposed to be about a cartoon character having large, connected eyes. Tropers think it's about separated eyes in general cartoons and misuse it as such.
  • Start of Darkness refers to prequels revealing a villain's backstory when that backstory wasn't revealed in the original work. Most tropers seem to just use it to mean "any villain backstory" even if the backstory is revealed within the same work that introduced the villain.
  • Subverted Trope: Or at least the word "subverted," is misused all over the place. The term means a bait and switch move with a trope. Many here think it means any form of Playing with a Trope, or even playing a trope straight but want to say it's subverted anyway.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Is supposed to be a prison that is made just for the one character but often lists any hard to escape prison which is covered by The Alcatraz.
  • This Is Sparta gets a lot of examples that are simply the character in question being loud, not giving the required emphasis on each word, this has lead to the rename "Punctuated for Emphasis" to emphasise what the trope was about.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot has been reinterpreted into complaining about plot developments you don't like or leaving a plot thread hanging, or What Could Have Been.
  • Too Cool to Live refers to a character who's so skilled or powerful (IE, "cool") that they're killed off because otherwise they'd interfere with the dynamics of the conflict. It sometimes gets reduced to "a cool character who dies."
    • Often the big bad, the dragon or similarly plot-important villain who dies is given as example of this trope. This is incorrect: the conflict with the big bad does not overshadow the plot, it IS the plot. Other examples include characters who were ganked during the final climactic battle or who didn't die at all. Even without these cases, most examples refer to cool characters whose death is integral to the plot, rather than a means to give other characters a chance to shine.
  • An inversion of this is tropers thinking that mentioning a trope happening in Real Life somehow is not the same thing as stating a trope is Truth in Television, and feel the need to state the latter, especially in YKTTW (the reason it's not listed in the descriptions is because TiTV is an index, which can't be used in ykttw).
  • There's some room for debate about the exact definition of Tsundere, but it definitely is not supposed to describe any character who ever has a crush on someone and tries to hide it, nor does it mean "character who is mostly angry, but sometimes nice," nor "character who is mostly nice, but sometimes gets really angry." The Tsundere acts cranky and aggressive because she doesn't know how to deal with or properly express her more tender emotions.
  • Ubermensch -- not so much the trope itself, but with the definition of its polar opposite the Last Man.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife is fairly self-explanatory, but that doesn't stop countless people from adding "I think this woman is sexy, and the guy is average at-best, so I'll add it" type stuff. The article requires near-constant pruning to prevent this and other exaggerations of what counts as "ugly". The Real Life section was even worse, and had to be axed ("this girl's not having my baby!")
  • Unfortunate Implications. Has a much more narrow definition than its name implies. [2] A lot of tropers pretty much use it for "something that one person could maybe possibly be offended by".
  • Unsound Effect is supposed to mean a Written Sound Effect that's clearly not onomatopaeia, however some people have started using it to describe any unusual sounding legitimate Written Sound Effect.
  • The Untwist became so bogged down with "I saw that one coming a mile away" entries that we had to nuke the page and start over.
  • Villain Song is supposed to be about a villain in the context of a storyline, but the vast majority of the music examples are simply Sympathetic POV songs. Because of this, it is very, very difficult to make a proper example of a villain song outside of the context of a Concept Album as the trope doesn't describe a Sympathetic POV, but rather a song describing a story's villain in song.
  • Wall Banger is about a plot point so utterly stupid and ridiculous that it exceeds all thought. Many of the examples eventually became simple Fridge Logic and complaining about plot points they didn't like, no matter how insignificant.
    • Furthermore, the trope name implies that these plot points cause fans to abandon the work entirely (the "wall bang" being the sound the script/DVD/book/game/etc. makes when it's thrown against a wall). Far too many examples imply that the editors who added them continued to watch the show afterward, meaning the example was not truly a Wall Banger.
    • This also doesn't approach the similar trope, Dethroning Moment Of Suck, which has since become a borderline unspeakable horror. Seemingly haven taken the above's definition as a moment so singularly stupid or offensive that the viewer/reader/player outright quits, it's been worn all the way down to just "I didn't agree with this." Some of them are even worse than that, such as an example for a comedy show that's summed up as "I didn't laugh at that joke."
  • The War On Straw, at least when it comes to TV Tropes. Wikipedia notes that the "straw man fallacy" is the lumping of a strong opposition argument together with one or many weak ones to create a simplistic weak argument that can easily be refuted. However on TV Tropes, due to tropers not following the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement, The War On Straw means "A character who is drawn only for the purposes of either proving them wrong or ridiculing them" and Real Life examples are no longer tolerated.
  • Wave of Babies (of all tropes!) underwent a bit of Trope Decay. It refers to a literal wave, not just a large number of babies in a small space.
  • The three tropes What an Idiot!, Idiot Ball, and Too Dumb to Live all went through this, to the point where they all became interchangeable ways to complain about character decisions people didn't like. The first is when a character makes a very dumb decision, the second is when a character makes an uncharacteristically dumb decision, and the third is when a character's dumb decision actually gets the character killed. Besides the above accidental attempts to fuse the tropes, the third is also pretty commonly used as a level of character stupidity, confusing it with The Ditz and "Ralph Wiggum" back when it was around.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong? is about an obvious catastrophe waiting to happen. Not someone literary saying the name. That's A Simple Plan.
  • What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic got renamed to Faux Symbolism because people kept missing the "not" part, and thinking it dealt with real symbolism. The fact that Rule of Symbolism is a recent page didn't help much.
  • What the Hell, Hero? refers to when a hero commits a reprehensible act and is called out for it in-universe. Way too many tropers miss that crucial last part of the definition and use it to describe any instance of a hero acting like a jerk. Also, the character being called out must be a protagonist, not just any character.
  • Xanatos Gambit was clearly defined as a plan made to benefit the planner no matter the outcome. Many tropers just saw it as a brilliant scheme no matter the method, and put just any clever plan from a character they liked in there. So we made Batman Gambit to define the trope better.
    • In that regard, people think Xanatos Roulette means a Xanatos Gambit that's even more clever. They aren't too far off, but they forget that the defining characteristic is that it's so much more clever that it simply breaks people's suspension of disbelief, often because the plan relies too heavily on luck, hence it being a roulette.
    • Another problem was confusion with Evil Plan because of poor word choice at the article's start. It has since been corrected.
  • The YMMV tab is for stuff in the YMMV index as well as Audience Reactions. Some people misuse it as listing objective tropes that they think make something they don't like sound good, or the other way around.
    • There are some odd and oddly pervasive instances of a sentence or phrase unambiguously gushing or complaining about a show but potholing to YMMV, likely the result of stealth justifying edits. This doesn't work even when one ignores the fact that potholing YMMV in the middle of an example at all is not supposed to happen.
  • You Suck had to be renamed to This Loser Is You because people kept thinking it was for instances of a video game mocking the player for being terrible at the game, when it's really about an Audience Surrogate portrayed in a negative light.
  • Zeerust refers to ideas of "futuristic" that, while still futuristic-looking, have a "retro" look to them. Back in the Troper Tales days, people wrote Troper Tales about how they prefer their older electronics to modern-day ones, which is completely different.
  • Strangled by the Red String is a trope meaning that two characters who were, at most, friends or allies, but never had any romantic feelings who suddenly get together or express romantic interest. However, some people tend to use it to mean 'This couple had no chemistry or was very shallow', or worse, 'I didn't like this pairing'. At most, the former is Romantic Plot Tumor or Shallow Love Interest, and the latter is just another Complaining About Shows You Don't Like subset. This got so bad that some people would assume an entry they disagreed with as just 'I didn't like this pairing' even if it was an actual entry. Because of that, the trope became a YMMV trope.
  • Jean Grey Escelation was a trope meaning when one event in a story involving a character becomes the only thing fans (or even writers) remember, and act as if its their only defining characteristic. This was, of course, named after Jean Grey of the X-Men, who, until recently, had became all powerful once, turned evil once, died once, and came back once, but people always made jokes about how she's always dying and coming back, despite other characters, including Magneto and Xavier. However, people kept adding the trope thinking it meant always dying and coming back. Because of that, it was renamed to a much more fitting and much less confusing name Never Live It Down.

Notes

  1. Quick rundown: Large Ham = overacts all the time. Chewing the Scenery = overacts in a single instance. No Indoor Voice = talks unnecessarily loudly.
  2. So the name of the trope itself makes for an unfortunate implication, albeit not one that would qualify for the trope.
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