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TV Tropes, also known as Television Tropes and Idioms, is a wiki that collects and expands on various conventions and devices (tropes) found within creative works. Since its establishment in 2004, the site has gone from covering only television and film tropes to also covering those in a number of other media such as literature, comics, video games, and even things such as advertisements and toys. It is known for approaching topics in a casual and humorous tone—cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling once described its style as a "wry fanfic analysis."
TV Tropes initially focused on the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and has since increased its scope to include thousands of other series, films, novels, plays, video games, anime, manga, comic strips and books, fan fiction, and other subjects, including Internet works such as Wikipedia, which is referred to in-wiki as "The Other Wiki". It has also used its informal style to describe topics such as science and philosophy under its Useful Notes section. TV Tropes does not have notability standards for the vast majority of its content, as it declares on the Main Page.
The site includes entries on various series and tropes. An article on a work includes a brief summary of the work in question along with a list of associated tropes. In addition to the tropes, most articles about a work also have a "Your Mileage May Vary" page with items that are deemed to be subjective. These items are not storytelling tropes, but usually audience reactions which have been defined and titled.
Trope pages are the inverse: after describing the trope itself, it lists the trope's appearance in various works of media. For example, the page of the well known trope "Jumping the Shark", the moment at which a series experiences a sharp decline in quality as in the notorious story point in Happy Days, contains a list of works that feature a similar decline in quality. In this way the wiki is fully interconnected through the various connections made between works and their tropes. Trope pages are generally created through a standardized launching system, known as "You Know, That Thing Where...", or YKTTW, in which other site members, who are referred to as "tropers", have the option of providing examples or suggesting refinements before launch. While going through "You Know, That Thing Where..." is not necessary to launch a trope, it is very strongly recommended in order to strengthen the trope as much as possible.
Considerable redesign of some aspects of content organization occurred in 2008, such as the introduction of namespaces, while 2009 saw the arrival of other languages, of which German is the most developed. In 2011, TV Tropes branched out into video production, and launched Echo Chamber, a web series about a TV Tropes vlogger explaining and demonstrating tropes.
According to economist Robin Hanson, an unanticipated side effect of reading TV Tropes is that some readers become jaded and cynical, "[replacing] surprise almost entirely with recognition". This is referred to on the site as "TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life," referring to the inability to read books, watch films, etc. without identifying each trope as it occurs.
- Cagle, Kurt (April 1, 2009). "From Mary Sue to Magnificent Bastards: TV Tropes and Spontaneous Linked Data". Semantic Universe. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Unknown parameter
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- "The Current - TVTropes.org: Harnessing the might of the people to analyze fiction". Thecurrentonline.com. Retrieved 2010-05-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Zachary Pincus-Roth (28 February 2010). "TV Tropes identifies where you've seen it all before". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/28/entertainment/la-ca-tropes28-2010feb28. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
- Newitz, Annalee (2010-02-24). "Behind The Wiki: Meet TV Tropes Cofounder Fast Eddie". io9. Retrieved 2010-02-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Sterling, Bruce, TV Tropes, the all-devouring pop-culture wiki, Beyond the Beyond, Wired, January 21, 2009.
- "Wikipedia - Television Tropes & Idioms". Tvtropes.org. Retrieved 2010-08-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "There Is No Such Thing As Notability - Television Tropes & Idioms". Tvtropes.org. Retrieved 2010-05-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Your Mileage May Vary - Television Tropes & Idioms". Tvtropes.org. Retrieved 2012-08-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "YKTTW Guidelines". Retrieved 7 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- "Echo Chamber".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Hanson, Robin (2009-05-09). Overcoming Bias: Tropes Are Treasures. Overcoming Bias. Future of Humanity Institute. Retrieved on 2009-05-22.
- "TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life". Retrieved 15 Jan 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>