The Goon who Kicked the Tropers’ Nest

Forgive me for the title; I’ve been on a Stieg Larsson bender over the past week or so, which you can blame on the Fincher/Craig/Mara movie. The English movie led me to the books and the Swedish movies. As of today, I’ve finished Hornet’s Nest (the novel). It’s relevant, I promise.  My first post delved into the ideas of “subjectivity” on the wiki, and my second about the community. In retrospect, those two barely scratch the surface; this’ll be a bumper post touching on some stuff which, themselves, may get a blog post unrelated to TV Tropes.

The best place to start would be indeed the page for Larsson’s Millennium trilogy. A quick explanation: the trilogy is a (somewhat) feminist series and Larsson does not skirt around the fact that misogyny is completely wrong. The first book, in Swedish, is literally translated as Men Who Hate Women. It could be joked that he’s the anti-troper. About a third of the way through the first book, the series’ female lead, Lisbeth Salander, is brutally raped by her legal guardian, Nils Bjurman, after she asked him for money for food. That it was a (admittedly botched) plan at entrapment is irrelevant to the fact that the rape still takes place. Luckily, I’ve not found anyone on the website say that the character “deserved” it because she was prepared to give Bjurman a blowjob for that evidence (q.v. the Law and Order: UK episode “Alesha”)

But placement is everything. The following two quotes link to the trope “Moral Event Horizon“: defined as “the first evil deed to prove a particular character to be irredeemably evil”. One is on the main page, the other on the YMMV page, which is designed for subjective tropes:

Bjurman – who is Lisbeth’s legal guardian and caretaker – crosses this line when he forces her to perform oral sex in exchange for the money she needs to replace her computer. And then longjumps even farther over it when he violently sodomizes, rapes and tortures her.

Lisbeth’s treatment of Bjurman is so harsh that it borders on Moral Event Horizon. But it was so precise and ingenious that it could qualify as a Crowning Moment of Awesome: rather than killing the man, Lisbeth opted to make Bjurman suffer the exact same abuse he put her through, up to every little detail, including the rape and the blackmail, just to make him realize how it felt.

The revenge, for what it’s worth, is Lisbeth confronting him with recorded evidence of the rape and threatening to go public if he even so much as sneezes the wrong way, culminating in him tattooing “I am a sadistic pig, a pervert, and a rapist” on his abdomen.

So, have you guessed which one is on which page? Because you’re wrong. The rape is on the YMMV page; her revenge is on the main page.

Yep.

See, there’s a trope for characters like Bjurman: rapists, child abusers, the genocidal, the utterly evil: it’s called “Complete Monster“. By rights, there should be stuff so heinous that it’s just objectively morally wrong, no matter how many people defend it: Sam Harris makes this point in his book The Moral Landscape (which I’m reading right now). Another user raised this exact point a year ago, and this was Fast Eddie’s response:

Complete Monster is thoroughly subjective.

And Fast Eddie has the gall to call Crazy Goggs a “gaping asshole”? Crazy Goggs never defended rapists. There’s worse stuff too, on the YMMV page for the Millennium trilogy: for example, an equivalence is drawn between Bjurman’s brutal rape of Lisbeth, and Lisbeth having consensual sex with a sixteen-year-old in the Carribean. Luckily, that last one was picked up on.

But the TV Tropes community seems to have this fixation on rape; at the moment, the SA thread‘s subtitle is “Why the fuck do they have such a fixation on rape?” For example, a week after Torchwood: Miracle Day finished, the TV Tropes page had, for the previous two months, said that Oswald Danes, a child molester who’s last words to say he was going to join his victim in hell so he could chase her forever, was a “debatable case” of Complete Monster.

I now defer you to these quotes about rape initially found by the wonderful people in the Something Awful thread, who have a much higher tolerance for staring into the abyss than me.

Okay, you know what, I’m fucking done here. I am not going to sit around and look for examples of the complete festering pit of shit the TV Tropes forums are. These are just a handful of quotes of dozens the SA thread as found. And I’ve covered this plenty of times: the community on the forums leaves a lot to be desired to become “normal”, given that racists, misogynists, and homophobes can talk free from criticism.

This is the thing about free speech: it either exists, or it doesn’t. The forums claim to have this non-judgemental attitude similar to Wikipedia’s “don’t be a dick” guideline, but it’s not free speech at all. Free speech includes the right of someone to say to a rape supporter “no, you’re a fucking piece of shit”. But the only recourse against these horrible people is the broken moderator system, and it’s well known that most of the staff are power-hungry bastards. I’m for free speech — why do you think I have Article 19 on the sidebar? — but I absolutely detest this mockery of the concept.

In December, the SA thread became aware of a forums user who was well-spoken but was critical of these elements: Annebeche. As far as I can tell, the first mention in the SA topic was her calling a racist a terrible personEven one of her signatures was an act of civil disobedience. In effect, she was a Goon lost in the mires of TV Tropes, and she received admiration for it. On December 19th, this drama came to a head when two users, Yeah Bro and Disaster Grind, came to the forums and strongly criticised both the wiki and the forums: Yeah Bro focused on the site’s attempt to over-categorise square-shaped fiction into round-shaped tropes; Disaster Grind focused on the forums community’s obsession with rape and gore.

Fast Eddie, presumably driven paranoid by the SA thread’s focus on his site, didn’t like that, and immediately dismissed and banned the two users for being Goon infiltrators who are just hear to complain. Anne took Eddie to task… and got banned too. This was a massive deal, and tropers that either the banned three or SA criticised or made fun of jumped to their defence. Eventually, an appeal to the moderation was launched in a thread. So far as I can see, the administrative staff just hid behind the “troll/SA interloper” defence and refuse to enact changes. Anne, for her part, stumped up the $10 and is now one of the roster of frequent posters in the SA thread. And all the while, Fast Eddie remains wilfully ignorant to the problems of his site, and thinks so highly of himself he feels he can demand a Stanford researcher remove mention of SA in a project of his.

Over these past three posts, we’ve established that Fast Eddie is an incompetent power-mad freak, who would rather protect rape apologists and set literary criticism back than actually listen to critics; I mean, Jesus, even a broken clock is right twice a day. There’s just one thing that could save him: his coding skills. Or lack thereof. He’s running a heavily customised version of pmwiki, yet can’t use CSS background properties or if/else switches properly: things I knew how to do when I was fourteen. The forums are so buggy that Eddie’s avatar was once hacked. The parser is so horrible that a user tried to play with it to see what tricks he could pull… and was immediately accused of being a goon. I wish I was joking. He tried to fix this, horribly, making more coding mistakes than I would. And they were live, as he clearly didn’t think of using a shadow copy of a site to beat test things. Poetically, I noticed this on the page for the Millennium trilogy.

Escaped entities? What’s that? Oh, hello, mysterious “hello”!

And, for the record, I’m aware of SA’s problems, especially GBS/FYAD. But, better the devil that bans pedophiles, right?

But, that’s it. I’m fucking done with this trilogy of posts staring into the abyss. I know that I’m a lot more… terse… in this posts, but there’s little point in the dry commentary with people like this. The first part of the trilogy is my most popular blog post, and it’s actually, to my surprise, on the first page of results for TV Tropes. I’m going to heed and agree with the SA thread’s instructions: there’s no fixing TV Tropes, so just let it die or shrivel into irrelevancy.

38 thoughts on “The Goon who Kicked the Tropers’ Nest”

  1. For the record, the reason “Complete Monster” and “Moral Event Horizon” are on YMMV is because people kept putting stupid examples like Mr. Krabs on there, so they just moved it to subjective so no one would get the impression that a character from Spongebob is objectively a horrible demonic being of pure evil.

    It’s dumb, but there it is.

  2. That it may often be a subjective judgement does not make it always subjective. Pidgeon-holing tropes into “always subjective” vs “always objective” is stupid. But then again, so are a lot of tropes.

  3. Well, I am truly flattered.

    Thank you very much for this post, you have spoken the truth.

    But technically I didn’t buy my way onto SA. The account was a gift from a friend.

  4. Complete Monster is supposed to be “this character is being presented to the audience as a very, very, very bad person with no redeeming quality” so yeah, it should probably be more or less objective.

  5. And to think, if not for getting permabanned for calling out the mods on this sort of shit without the knowledge that it was so endemic, I’d have never known this article even existed.

  6. Goons laugh at tsunami victims and suicide bait people. You have no right to be judging anyone. That job belongs to someone sensible and unbiased, like me.

  7. Seriously, though, even if I were a pedophile, there isn’t a single one of you who’d be morally superior to me. Putting aside the fact that they have a mental disorder, where you have no such excuse, what they’re guilty of is looking at things people find disgusting. I’m not fond of what they do, either, I think it’s repulsive, but when a guy says he’s going to jump off a cliff, and you tell him to go ahead and jump… Well, whether you’re murderers or not depends on if you had good reason to believe the person you’re taunting would carry out his threat.

  8. Alright, I’m back! Here’s pedophilia: sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object. One more time that’s: sexual perversion in which children are the PREFERRED SEXUAL OBJECT. Now here’s adolescence: (the kind of people I’m attracted TO yet have no preference FOR, so I don’t even qualify as a… that word you mentioned.) the period of life from puberty to maturity terminating legally at the age of majority. Here’s an example: Their children are on the verge of adolescence. One for adolescent: Their children are now adolescents. Interesting. It seems that children and adolescents are two different groups, and that you have to a specific preference for CHILDREN to count as a pedophile. No preference for them, and they’re not children, so I am by definition of the world’s #1 dictionary, not a pedophile! B-I-N-G-O! M.F.

    1. That’s a whole lotta words to say “I’m a pedophile in denial.” Tell me, do you think your preference for kids who couldn’t outrun you stem from the metallic clangs of all vaginas within a three-state radius snapping shut the moment you step outside?

      1. Hey, man, don’t blame me. I know it sucks when someone makes you look like an idiot, but you could have looked up these words anytime you wanted. Now you know better. When someone says “I don’t think you know what that word means”, you can swallow your pride, look it up on Webster’s, and avoid getting a crippling blow to said pride.

        1. Hey man, it must suck to be so insecure you have to justify your pedophilia by rules-lawyering THE DICTIONARY. PROTIP: ephebophilia isn’t an accepted medical term. No one makes the distinction between adolescents and children but pedophiles. You want to fuck kids. You aspire to kid-fuckery. And deep down, in your heart of hearts, I think you know that too. 🙂

          1. Colonel McBadass: Oh, this guy’s a riot! HaHa! Enjoy the show Major? Major McBadass: My favorite part is when he said you’re in denial while refusing to acknowledge that you just proved him wrong. Colonel: It’s the Goddamn dictionary! It’s not even subjective! Major: I really don’t see what’s so complicated. The place where we go to look up words is saying he’s using the wrong one. Colonel: Exactly. …and what’s with this ‘only a pedophile’ crap? “Only a pedophile uses words like ephebophile”, “only a pedophile says there’s a difference between children and adolescents”, “only a Sith deals in absolutes”. If only pedophiles made those distinctions, what were the words invented for, moron? Major: I’m pretty sure if children and adolescents were considered the same, there wouldn’t be two different laws against having sex with them. Colonel: Statutory rape/child molestation, it’s not fucking rocket science, dickface! Two different laws, two different fucking groups of people!

          2. ABLOO BLOO WIMMENZ WON’T TOUCH MY DONG ABLOO I GOT OWNED BY A 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL

            You are a pedophile. Wanting to have sex with underage kids makes you a pedophile. Creating special sparklypoo classifications for yourself only works in your beloved animu fapfiction.

            Pedophile.

    1. Oh and Will, allow me to thank you for such a succinct summary of the TVTropes situation, following the threads gave me a Scanners-style headache. I did not know that there were so many words for “I’m not a pedophile(but really, I am)” but now I know.

      Now I know.

    1. Congratulations on winning Most Pathetic Person on the Internet for the third month in a row. I think we should all just stop for a moment, and bask in the true talent for terrible this young spud has. Tell us, how do you manage to become more pitiable every time you venture out into the vast reaches of the internet?

  9. Well, you enjoy shit on your fingers, so I just assumed you’d enjoy shit on your dick.

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