TV Tropes and the descent into madness

A lot has changed since my first TV Tropes blog post, which I notice is consistently the most popular post on my blog (to my dismay, actually).  I was criticised by someone defending Troper Tales as “someone on or in serious need of serious medication”. I’m not kidding. Feels good mang.

Troper Tales was a part of the site where editors could post where tropes applied to their life. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But it eventually devolved into socially awkward people and their power fantasies, and in general creepy shit. An infamous page that I tried and failed to get deleted was the page for “rape as comedy”. Let that sink in for a moment: there was a page in which tropers could post where they sexually assaulted people for fun. In effect, it was a page where tropers could post “I squeezed my friend’s boobs, aren’t I funny?”. It was still wrong.

Enter CrazyGoggs and Something Awful.

Back in December 2010, the YouTube user CrazyGoggs started a series called This Troper, in which excerpts from TV Tropes, mostly Troper Tales, were read in amusing voices. It’s an easy concept and it works well as comedy.  At the moment, it’s at about 105 episodes, with the author half-facetiously claiming that new episodes are coming out slower because it’s too emotionally draining. At the same time, the Something Awful forum had a thread which would do the same: Goons would post different excerpts and make disparaging, or even depressed comments about said excerpts. Myself included. The point was to highlight that, really, TV Tropes has a shitty community.

Troper Tales was eventually taken off the site a few months ago because of this. It was more of a “saving face” gesture, as the community there still has noticeable flaws:

TV Tropes forum post
In which being anti-lolicon makes you complicit in “thoughtcrime”.

This user in particular has been banned, but the current Something Awful thread continues to bring up goldmines. Now, I’m aware that every online community has its outcasts and people the others don’t want to be associated with. But the problem is that the administration doesn’t warn them that they’re outside societal norms.

In fact, they embrace them. In a thread about racist elements on the forums (and we’re talking white supremacist-level racism here), a moderator made this comment in official capacity:

Reporting a post you find questionable won’;t get you smacked for “dogpiling” Dogpiling happens within the thread, when a number of posters all start turning their posts from what someone said/believes to how bad (s)he is for saying/believing it.

This is a thread about someone who quoted Stormfront in a discussion. The moderator’s line is that you should report infarctions instead of telling someone that they’re an arsehole. It’s a perversion of the principle of free speech, the misconception that free speech means freedom from criticism (hint: it doesn’t). As a Goon said, “They have a rule for ganging up on the racist. But not for being the racist.” This comes from the fact the only community rule is “don’t be a dick”, which is an ages-old Wikipedia rule used when it was free-culture geek project. Even Wikipedia doesn’t really use it as a rule any more.

Even Fast Eddie just Doesn’t Get It. Which is obvious from reading anything about how TV Tropes works. This is a person who violated the cardinal rule of his own wiki, that there is no such thing as notability, because he didn’t want to “advertise for that gaping asshole“. Yep, you heard that right. A man in his 50s can’t take people making fun of his site so he bans mention of it. Which really doesn’t work. Even the deletion was opposed on TV Tropes. The pages for Something Awful and Encyclopedia Dramatica were locked for similar retalitatory purposes. Users were banned for questioning this policy. Referrals from Something Awful were blocked. And then…

Fast Eddie locked the page for “Let’s Play” and deleted a link to Something Awful. This is a form of video game commentary that Something Awful undeniably pioneered. And why? Fuck knows. Even the lone sane moderator, Bobby G, halfway admitted that it was for retalitatory reasons. Let that just sink in for a second: the owner of a well known site (well known enough to have its own Wikipedia article) is violating the core concepts of a wiki because he wants to stick it to some people who are laughing at his own incompetence more than anything. It’s sad, if you think about it, as what could’ve been a good concept way back in the day has, despite warning after warning, careening head-first into being the laughing stock of the internet.

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