TV Tropes' "New Content Policy"

Okay, I don’t post here too often. I figure I’m allowed at least one petty, rambling lil’ rant of my own.

Anyone else frequent TV Tropes? Y’know, fun, time-consuming wiki of fiction’s cliches, storytelling devices, etc? Proll’y a couple others here.

Anyway, the site’s ad-supported, and Google (providing the banner ads) has gotten uppety in the past about “mature” content—articles mentioning sex, etc. They had to do some site-reorganization to get that all squared away so they could get ad revenue again.

Well, it seems a few days ago, someone complained about one of the articles again—apparently they had issue with the discussion of mollusks in eastern animation. i.e., pervy tentacles in anime—which got the ads temporarily pulled, again.

That sparked the site’s owner to enact a new site policy change, which basically involves axing anything “porn” related or linked—as the site put it, “Massive cut of work pages documenting works with alleged offensive contents or pedophile overtones. Many of these pages will be reviewed by a council being formed by the mods to determine whether they truly fall afoul of the no-pedophilia-friendly-works policy; if they don’t they will be restored.”

They didn’t actually announce any of this; I happened to stumble across it when looking for the fanfiction recommendations page updates—hey, in my defense, they often beat network TV—apparently the closest to an announcement or a discussion about it was in the TV Tropes forums, which you’d miss out on if you don’t visit regularly. (Which is another gripe entirely…)

So they cut stuff like the article on the novel Lolita (with a big ol “We do not want a page on this topic.” warning, in bold, in place of it), quite a few anime series’, some arthouse films, the fanfic recs (“Sorry, fanfiction recommendations have been shut down for now. We are removing anything which may connect us to porn. The recommendations may come back after we have had time to go through them in detail.”), etc.

Frankly, I’d have never noticed if they cut most of them, actually. Not that that’s something I’d like to say to defend censoring.

And worse, although there is discussion about the whole situation on the tropes forum (which I don’t really frequent—I think the SDMB has spoiled me, being based on decent software, well organized, and filled with approachable people. And being the bunch of freaks I know you all are, that’s saying something. :wink: ), despite a lot of objection by users, there seems to be a message of “Tropers who got taken by surprise by this should check in with the community in the forums to learn of decisions that could affect them” (okay, fair enough point, albeit one that’s a little irksome when I just browse the wiki fairly casually), combined with a dose of “well, this isn’t up for a vote, it’s done, and we’re just trying to do what’s best for the site in the situation we have.” Y’know, with that forming their council [del]of robot elders[/del] to keep out the “porn.” Plus a little salting of “if you don’t like the way it’s run, leave.”

Yeah, TV Tropes is privately owned, they can do whatever they want with their stuff. And the cold-blooded Machiavellian in me can at least understand the “oh, hell, our ad revenue is at risk—cut everything! Make broad insinuations about it being to keep out Pedophiles™ and keep it family-friendly; that’ll make objecting to it seem unseemly!” tactic.

But in the end, what’s that mean to me? Well, a website I enjoy just got whittled down, mostly in areas I don’t even notice, but on a principle and method I can’t approve of. And what’s going to happen next? That can’t be the last subject matter that someone will find objectionable, and’ll get shut down by fiat. What if the next one is something I actually like using or reading about?

Then, do I really even have a leg to stand on in objecting, practically or morally? I don’t own the site, I don’t run it, I don’t pay to use it. I’m just someone who reads the wiki. Even if I do try and make the effort to get involved with this community involved with it, what then? I’d still never have any influence in the decision-making behind the site’s policies; it seems very few people do, ultimately.

It’s just frustrating, disheartening. Something silly online I enjoy, that brightens my day a bit, is arbitrarily lessened, in a way and for reasons I utterly dislike, and there’s not much I (or possibly anyone) can do to help it, and I’m probably just a selfish dip for complaining about it. And it’s probably just going to keep getting worse in the future. :frowning:

Bah. Maybe I just needed to vent, rant, get that off my chest, whatever. Let my inner doom-and-gloom melancholiac out for some air. Honestly, I kinda feel like I need a hug, a little. :frowning:

Here’s to you, TV Tropes.

If this cuts off all the stupid fanfic examples in trope pages, I’m all for it.

I find it highly disappointing that the powers that be have apparently decided to gut seven years worth of reader contributions for the purpose of maintaining ad revenue, as if keeping the money flowing were the purpose of the site’s existence rather than cataloguing recurring themes in media. I can’t imagine Wikipedia deciding it was no longer going to allow any sexually-related entries because some Moral Guardians pitched a fit about it. (Hell, Wikipedia STILL has the cover art for “Virgin Killer” up on its page after the fracas with the IWF trying to censor them.)

I think i’ll not be spending my time there in the future.

Seconded. And if it removes the giant pages filled with nothing but unreleased-in-America anime, even better.

Same. I don’t like the prudes apparently in charge of Google (even Google Checkout, which does not rely on ad revenue, has the same BS Terms of Service as Paypal), but the people in charge of TVTropes have annoyed me for years. It annoyed me when they killed the lesbian subtext page and when they switched a bunch of pages to a new, uglier page style, but this latest round of purges has killed any desire to revisit the site.

Well, fuck. I really hope they bring the “offensive” content back. Strangely enough, the Wild Mass Guessing page for Boku no Pico is still up. Boku no Pico is a rather infamous anime that involves pre-pubescent boys having sex with each other; they may not have caught it yet.

I for one welcome a move that eliminates fanfic bullcrap.

Well, I guess I’ll head on over to Jump the Shark now…

Hell, the day I read an entry about myself there, I realized the place had gone down the tubes.

Welcome to the real world.

Well yeah, but Wikipedia makes money because they put a picture of Jimbo Wales with puppy dog eyes on every page for a month per year. TVTropes isn’t famous enough to make money via donation, and they’re a loose coalition of fandoms, so they can’t make merch without getting sued into oblivion. Ads are all they have.

If they alienate enough fans, the ads are not worth anything.

“But do they call me Hal Briston the bridge builder? No! Do they call me Hal Briston the well digger? No! … but you fuck one sheep…”

I don’t give a flying fuck about them removing the fanfic pages, but removing the page for Lolita and leaving a message that just says “WE DO NOT WANT A PAGE ON THIS TOPIC” is sort of alarming. Not to be a snob, but Lolita is not some shitty tentacle-rape anime and it is not pro-pedophilia.

The fact that the Death in Venice page is still up leads me to believe that whoever is doing this doesn’t actually have a clue and is just flailing blindly.

PS I am unable to determine if perennial Doper favorite Hogg ever had a TV Tropes page.

Perhaps the OP can find comfort and diversion by starting a TV Tropes Tropes website.

The (unreliable) narrator is definitely pro-paedophilia. Paedophilia was also a sort of motif in Nabokov’s work. I’d say that “the author is dead” definitely over-rides “the word of God” on that front.

I’m not sure about this.
In fact, I’m pretty convinced that if they’d setup a system of donations (possibly with incentives or whatever), there’d be no end of basement dwellers dropping hundreds of bucks a month just so they get to pimp their shitty fanfics on as many pages as possible no matter how tenuous the connection.

Ego is the true infinitely renewable resource.

Well, I’m sure the admins would absolutely love to remove the ads if every user kicked in a dollar for operating costs!

Running a website ain’t cheap. Their hosting has to be a minimum of $1,000 every month. Every month. How the hell are they supposed to pay that bill? They either have to have ads, or charge the users.

Donations are worth trying, but what happens when they don’t get enough donations that month? Shut 'er down? Then you have no tropes!

This is the most misguided pitting I’ve seen in a while. Pit Google for their ad standards, not the poor fuckers just trying to run their website.

For what it’s worth, I didn’t make the TVTropes page about my own fanfic. One of the readers did. :o

This is the first I’ve heard of this situation so I don’t know all the details, but from what I’m reading it seems both the website and the Google ad standards can be blamed. Sure Google’s decision to censor is at the heart of the problem, but the site seems to be gutting things pretty indiscriminately.

Unless the Google standard really is so puritanical that something as broad, common, and mainstream as “lesbian subtext” can’t be mentioned. That seems like a pretty unreasonable restriction on a site like that. If that’s true then damn, aren’t there any ways they can sell ad space to someone that won’t seriously diminish value of the website?