Wednesday, August 27, 2014

If you're a lolcow, pervert or troublemaker, do not come to All The Tropes

Just to dispel any idiotic beliefs held by our detractors, All The Tropes (on Orain or Wikia) is not a haven for permabanned drama magnets and genuine perverts to flee to because Fast Eddie and his minions showed you the door.

Yes, we are an alternative to TV Tropes because we are fed up with their disregard for copyright law, opposed to their censorship on academic grounds, and we couldn't stomach how sterile and joyless it had gotten due to all the rules imposed on an "informal" wiki, but we have some things we don't tolerate.

1. Don't show up if you were a rebel against TV Tropes because you had no regard for rules and told the admins there to fuck themselves when they tried to tell you such inoffensive things such as needing to adhere to the manual of style. You also aren't welcome if you refuse to get along with others, want to "own" pages or demand your edits never be reverted. In fact, if you believe that, start your own wiki, but stay away from ATT.

2. If you like hentai anime and video games and porn and what not and want to trope them, fine, do so under the guidelines we have for lewdness and prudishness and we won't object. However, if you came to add content about what gets you off, go the hell away. In fact, go to the Fetish Fuel wiki on Wikia if really must do that, but otherwise, if your only intention is to share your fap fantasies on the wiki, please, in all seriousness, fuck off and go away.

3. Don't plagiarize shit and cunt paste it to ATT unless what you posted was what you wrote only. TV Tropes might be assholes when it comes to respecting copyright, but two wrongs don't make a right, so if you try copy pasting entire pages from there (with or without conversion to MediaWiki) that have content after June 2012 you did not edit, it will be deleted with prejudice. Also, all of the ATT staff are pretty good at internet detective work and can figure our fairly quickly if something was plagiarized, so don't bother.

4. Conversely, we allow people to fork our content because we aren't assholes and want to encourage the spread of our content. However, WE REQUIRE IT BE PROPERLY ATTRIBUTED. Failure to do so means we will file DMCA notices and take steps to remove it legally. We don't give a crap WHY you want to fork our content, just let everyone know where it was from (if you import an XML content dump, the page history does this for you under CC BY SA rules) and use it under CC BY SA terms. I have already gotten one wiki shut down for plagiarizing in this manner, and I not shy in doing so anywhere else.

5. And finally, while you may like our laid back status, just remember that on Orain or Wikia, we will not tolerate any illegal content whatsoever. It's not tolerated on Wikia by me because they have been very gracious to me and I will respond in kind by respecting their policies and expect the same of others. On Orain, not only does the same apply but for Orain Staff, I also hold a position of minor authority as an admin on their central wiki which I am quite proud of, and for the sake of Orain, I will throw criminal content and their providers under the bus without any regrets because I believe strongly in upholding the law and Orain's reputation.

....ok, this turned into a bit of a rant, but I wanted to make my position on the above absolutely clear.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I attempt to respond to a blog post by Fighteer, was ignored.

Several months ago, Fighteer published an extremely paranoid, accusatory post on his blog, all but accusing ATT of being responsible for vandalizing and DDoSing TV Tropes, saying all of TV Tropes' enemies were just butthurt perverts pissed their porn was deleted, and gravedancing over the ED article on Nate Spidgewood (while ironically saying nothing about his own).

I was made aware of it sometime after it was made, and I and Brent Laabs officially denounced the accusations on the Drunkard's Walk forums as groundless and without merit.

Recently, a Tumblr user who wishes to remain anonymous brought up the article to me and suggested I officially reply to Fighteer's post with a comment on the post, so I submitted one.

Almost a week later, Fighteer has yet to publish my response, so I have decided to make my comments and rebuttals to his post available below.

A Tumblr user provided me a link to this page, and since I would like to set the record straight, here is our official position on several of the items you have addressed concerning our site.

Nate Spidgewood has been permanently banned from All The Tropes in all its incarnations. I myself informed him he had no right to vandalize or harass TV Tropes, and I had no tolerance for him trying to recruit people for trolling or harassment of TV Tropes on my own wikis, and since one of your own tropers advised me keeping him around was unwise, I made the decision to permaban him as a result. In fact, here is my official position on the matter of his foolishness:

http://community.wikia.com/wiki/Thread:604330 (he is still permabanned, but rest of this thread is still relevant)

Also, I would like to make it quite official that the staff of ATT (Orain or Wikia) does not condone, sanction, support, or encourage any vandalism, harassment, trolling, or any other mischief to TV Tropes, its staff, or its users. We cannot control the actions of unaffiliated third parties, but we do not condone them either.

We do support anyone with a dispute with TV Tropes to do so via proper channels, and if there is any hint on our part that anyone from our wikis is party to acts harmful to TV Tropes, we will duly inform TV Tropes ASAP.

Also, we are not a revenge site. We are a legal fork of content from prior to the licensing changes of July 2012 and onward, and we will not use any content that violates the CC BY SA 3.0 licensing. We have grave concerns about the legality of any content since TV Tropes changed it's licensing (since it would seem those changes are in circumvention of Creative Commons conditions), so we have elected not to allow anything past July 2012 to be imported (save a user's own edits from TV Tropes, since Creative Commons allows a user to relicense their own work under any conditions they see fit) since we are not lawyers and thus we do not want to risk plagiarism of any sort, and we (and especially I) maintain a firm stance against deliberate plagiarism and do not tolerate it. We have no desire to test the legal status of TV Tropes current content base due to this, and thus we avoid using any content from TV Tropes post July 2012 as a general rule, save any fair use images or anything else I have stated above.

Our goals are to be ad free or host our content on hosting where advertisement does not compromise our content integrity, such as on Orain and Wikia, and we oppose the censorship on TV Tropes on academic grounds, as we feel it has constrained discussion of media and the tropes those media use, and thus do not censor content unless it is illegal or outside our site mission. Also, while we share your disgust at someone using a troping wiki to store their masturbation material, we believe if an adult work has enough story to be tropable, it deserves to be troped and discussed for its literary (or lack thereof) merits, regardless of its sexual content, though we understand why certain works like this are not allowed to be discussed on TV Tropes.

Also, I reject the assumption we are based on a negative premise. If anything, we exist to provide an alternative to those who do not wish to trope on TV Tropes for whatever reason, and so long as our tropers do nothing to injure ourselves or TV Tropes in the process, we see no negative consequence of that.

As for Encyclopedia Dramatica, I agree, it's a biased website filled with a lot of embellishment and lies, and while I personally find some of it's content entertaining, I don't put that much stock in their accuracy myself, especially due to their obvious biases.

Also, the implication we had ANYTHING to do with a DDoS is not only one we deny, but we consider such an act criminal and consider any accusation we have done so without proof to be libelous.

However, you do make a valid point in that it's not a site's engine but it's content being what matters in the long run, and I concur wholeheartedly, but we feel that having a more efficient site engine can help improve the quality of our content, and frankly, having used PmWiki, I and the staff of ATT discarded it as utterly unsuitable to the task of managing a wiki, and while we understand why TV Tropes chooses to remain using a customized derivative of it for their own use, we have chosen to use MediaWiki because we believe it would better serve our needs long term.

Finally, we have had no part in spamming links to ourselves on TV Tropes or anything related. We have attempted to spread the word of ourselves via word of mouth, various social media outlets, and other above board means, and anyone attempting to use us in the manner you describe does not have our support or sanction.

If you wish to see either site or our policies, you can find them here:

https://allthetropes.orain.org/wiki/Main_Page

http://allthetropes.wikia.com/wiki/All_The_Tropes_Wiki

Our contact information made be found here:

https://allthetropes.orain.org/wiki/All_The_Tropes:Contact_us

I have a personal blog on Blogspot where I discuss our site and related topics, but it is not an official arm of our wikis, which you can find here:

http://gethn7.blogspot.com/

If you have questions, concerns, or even if you would like to criticize myself in regards to site or its goals, please feel free to bring them to my attention at any time.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Just because I like the Fuck No TV Tropes Tumblr does not mean I agree with everything on it

I must admit, while I applaud the Fuck No TV Tropes Tumblr for shining a light on the darker corners of the troping community, and their status as a watchdog on the more jacked up aspects of the same is regarded as a virtue by yours truly, I'm afraid I cannot entirely agree with it everything on it.

For one, it has a decided pro-LGBT bias. I'm heterosexual, and having homosexual relatives whom I have no issue with, I consider myself the 'live and let live" type and while I do not subscribe to the LGBT lifestyle, neither do I bear anyone from there any ill will and believe they have just as much right to their own happiness as anyone else.

Regardless, I must respectfully dissent against this post on the 'Straight Gay" trope.

According to the blog, it is seen by the poster and blog owner as having a homophobic connotation, and while it can be used improperly to imply such, I've always seen the trope as "a character who is homosexual but you wouldn't be able to tell unless you asked". Basically, unlike the stereotyped version that advertises their sexuality (i.e. - "Camp Gay"), it is not a readily apparent aspect of their character or does not play a major role in their character with regards to the media they are from..

However, I do agree this trope does get hard to apply when there are multiple characters who might be homosexual or bisexual, and thus discretion should be applied when using this a trope, and using it in a derogatory way should be avoided.

On the other hand, this post about the Double Standard trope is rather hard to argue, and I'm rather inclined to believe in it's logic about how most double standards that reflect negatively on men tend to be a result of their own making (as in, men wearing dresses is seen as unmanly because of the culture of masculine identity that has built up in most male circles seeing that as an unmanly act reinforcing this via peer pressure).

This post on the 'Cry Cute" trope I'm afraid I do disagree with. Yes, it should not be seen as "cute" when someone is crying because of pain, at least I don't believe that should be the case. However, crying being done to make oneself look sympathetic (where intentional or not) does happen in fiction and real life, and if it reinforces an image of "cuteness" or vulnerability, then I would consider such a trope valid. I do however must add I believe this is a unisex trope, and does not have to strictly apply to females only.

However, this post about Men's Rights Activists is pretty dead on. If men were truly concerned about the rights of all males in a constructive way, they would do something to ensure the dignity of men instead of trying to demonize women. The way I see it, as a man, if women really were the enemy (which I do not believe) and I acted just as horrible as I claimed they were, that would rob me of any moral right to call myself better, which is why I don't agree at all with MRA's. By the same token, I believe the same logic should apply to feminists, as they demonizing men instead of attempting to empower other women is basically the same mistake committed by a different gender.

If anything, I'm not a fan of either extreme and would like to see both males and females be accorded the rights and dignity they deserve.

Back to posts I dissent on, this one about how there are too many tropes that get used I don't concur on. For instance, The Asian and Nerdy trope refers to the stereotype of people of Asian descent being considered more intellectual due to their culture and upbringing militating in that direction, and the Asian Airhead trope is basically the inverse, showing the conceit of the first trope may not be necessarily true.

If anything I think there is value in having diametrically opposing tropes like this, if only for comparison/contrast purposes, as both types of characters do exist in fiction.

I do agree however that their careless application or misuse should be avoided as much as possible.


This post I mostly agree on. Basically, works with a positive message shouldn't just be labeled Tastes Like Diabetes simply for that. However, I do believe the term would apply when work tries so hard have a positive message it becomes overpowering to the point of nausea.

However, I otherwise agree it's foolish to apply this term without considering the demographic the work is aimed at (the MLP comment cited in the response is dead on in this regard), and someone should attempt to view a work for all its pluses and minuses before applying this trope, and considering how this trope is based on opinion, it should not be tossed about so casually.

I'm not sure I agree about this being related to threatening one's masculinity or anything (I tend to not like works that fit this trope simply because they try too hard to be uber positive, not because they threaten my self image as a male), but I do concede that can be a factor in applying an unfair bias.

....in short, I do not agree with everything on this tumblr, at least not completely, but regardless, I generally believe it is performing a public service for the troping community, and while I don't subscribe to everything said by the Tumblr founder or it's community, I do and still plan to approach it with as open a mind as possible and will continue to take their criticisms into consideration for improvement of my own troping site.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

TV Tropes is not exactly a haven of quality content.

After seeing some of the popular content on TV Tropes for awhile, I've come to the realization that, honestly, they just don't care so much about quality as they do quantity.

Part of this is understandable: More pages means more pages views and oppurtunities for Fast Eddie to make more money off advertisements, and while greed and SEO are lame motivations IMO, at least they make sense.

However, some of the BS they cover is somewhere to the left of idiotic.

For one, the Unpublished Works landfill, chock full of rotting half finished story ideas that will never see the light of day as proper works. This is retarded because a site devoted to tropes and the works that use them should focus on ACTUALLY EXISTING WORKS. Chalk on a blackboard is well and good, but if the story exists only in your own head, no one can properly trope it or appreciate it as a work, so why the hell would you make a page for something that doesn't truly exist?

Another related thing that is fucking stupid would be works limited to TV Tropes self references, such as forum roleplay game, injokey pages, and some of the more inane bullshit in Sugar Wiki/Just For Fun. One, this has NOTHING to do with the site mission, and two, if you must have humorous pages and injokey stuff, have it be more than just self fellatio about how awesome your site is. Wikipedia has an entire section of the site devoted these types of pages, but they are blessedly absent (in large part) of people extolling the glory of the site itself over and over again like some demented nerd cult.

Entering the realm of works, if only in the loosest sense, would be forum roleplay threads on other forums, of which many are extensively documented and troped, which strikes me as utterly lame. Seriously, I've seen short novels written about forum roleplay games, and bare stubs about actual literature, a fact that tends to be more rule than exception, when it should be the other way round IMHO.

Granted, the above does come off as me being a party pooper and someone who "doesn't get" what an informal wiki is about, but frankly, if I wanted to view an informal wiki where barely relevant material was given lovingly detailed descriptions, I'd go to any number of vapid, pointless as hell wikis, like this pointlessly festering turd, to read about shit nobody cares about. (ED link, NSFW)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fast Eddie, I am officially impressed

In previous posts, I have called Fast Eddie out on his BS, as have many others, and up until recently, I never expected he would ever act his age about being criticized.

I say this because this is the same man who flipped out when Encyclopedia Dramatica started mocking the hell out of him, yanked the page ED had on TV Tropes, and made it a bannable offense to mention them (except in extremely limited circumstances). This is the same man who started banning any tropers who he suspected of being members of Something Awful all because they hosted several mock threads calling him out on his asshattery. This is the same man who permabanned Brent Laabs and any suspected collaborators when Brent dumped the content of TV Tropes for redistribution via torrent (which became the base of All The Tropes), despite it not being illegal, and then had the sheer gall to blame them (via his right hand Fighteer) for launching a DDoS (directed denial of service attack) against the site during the period the content dump was made, despite the site having no loss of function during that time (I was around then, no DDoS happened, otherwise TV Tropes wouldn't have even been visible if that happened, so Fighteer lied through his teeth). This is also the same man who soon after changed his copyright licensing twice (despite it being illegal circumvention of his current licensing) and disabled viewing page sources unless one is logged onto TV Tropes because he didn't want his content "stolen" (when the content was under redistribution with conditions friendly licensing in the first place, so there was no theft unless those conditions weren't honored), and the same man had an infantile temper tantrum with yours truly when I explained how Creative Commons licensing actually works.

Based on all the above, I never expected the maturity he showed when this happened:




Basically, when TVT members realized a page on the Fuck No TV Tropes tumblr was made on TV Tropes, they more or less shit themselves over the fact the page (A) was about site that criticized TV Tropes and thus violated their rules of "Happiness Is Mandatory" (B) were terrified it would become a trolling target despite the fact the only ones making a massive fuss over it was them and (C) most of them realized that deleting or even locking the page would still make them look like assholes who couldn't stand criticism, so the thread above was a massive rage fest about those horrible Tumblrites.

That is, until Fast Eddie weighed in with his opinion:

              Not worth any action on our part. Let 'em yap.

The above shocked the hell out of me when I read it, and I was frankly impressed the page was allowed to stay, mostly unedited and without being locked, an act I must acknowledge was surprisingly mature and reasonable on his part.

Of course, reason didn't entirely triumph. Fighteer had to have the last word and cry about how much it's tolerated but how the detractors should join TV Tropes to improve it instead of pissing on it from the sidelines (which is darkly comical, seeing as everyone who tried was banned, most by him), and all links to the blog were excised on the grounds that if people really want to find it, they can Google it, which is fair enough (more than I expected anyway), but still strikes me as a slightly petty attempt to downplay giving their detractors added publicity.

Regardless, the fact a website known for being run by someone who is notorious for a lot of moral cowardice actually allowed some mention of criticism from an external source to be mentioned in an article is noteworthy, and while it doesn't excuse the massive amount of BS Fast Eddie has pulled up to this point, the fact he acted his age and handled this for the most part reasonably deserves my praise.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why I love MediaWiki

MediaWiki is one of the most used wiki engines on the planet, with very good reason.

Granted, it has its flaws, but having used several types of wiki engines, it does the job I want with as little hassle as possible, and it's why I'm a firm Mediawikianist.

The reason I chose MediaWiki for setting up All The Tropes was largely due to the similarities between it and PmWiki, the wiki engine used by TV Tropes, not to mention, in terms of flexibility offered most to all of the features I wanted for closed room reverse engineering of TV Tropes (cloning or making equivalent versions of their features without ripping off their site code) out of the box, with a lot of the rest covered by various extensions, scripts, and CSS stylesheets.

In the process of doing all this, I discovered several features that were hard to implement or were discarded as inferior and were done better on MediaWiki, for the following reasons:

* Wiki Trails - PmWiki has a "bread crumb trail" category system, in which the pages are linked by a common trail leading from one page to the next on a trail defined by links between tags on what TV Tropes called index pages, and what would be categories on MediaWiki (and newer versions of PmWiki, which TV Tropes forked from before their implementation).

I discarded this in favor of tag based categories because Wiki Trails are not implemented by default in MediaWiki, and because, frankly, it made little sense to include them even by means of a template due to their redundancy and the expensiveness of the feature on the server. While it worked fine on TV Tropes largely flat filed database (with a MySQL backend caching custom styling and other site specific code), MediaWiki uses a relational database by default, so using a tag based category system plays best to the strengths of MediaWiki, not to mention is easier to update.

* Content Dumps - As my associate Brent Laabs discovered, even though he acquired a raw dump of TV Tropes' content from June-July 2012, converting it for use on another wiki was a massive pain in the ass, mostly due to all the custom changes done to the PmWiki engine powering TV Tropes. By contrast, it is very easy to dump all content from a MediaWiki wiki in XML or SQL format for use on another, with all site specific code included (this does not cover anything added by specific extensions, but over 99% of these can be addressed by downloading the same extensions used by the original wiki), and this can even be done even if you don't have access to the server. This was important to me for two reasons: One, I'm a fierce advocate of reuse rights for wiki content (with proper attribution), and partially because TV Tropes has taken steps to make it harder to fork their site ever since our initial dump, despite that violating no laws which we are aware of (quite the opposite, given the content was dumped under a free license and redistributed under the terms of that license)

* History Preservation - PmWiki uses a, to be blunt, utterly pisspoor page history schema. Instead of saving an entire revision of a page, they only save the changes to the page, which makes page reversion (if necessary) a serious pain in the ass. Worse, given the shoddy setup Fast Eddie has (or maybe he's just being cheap on server space, could be both), he periodically deletes older history logs, which leave incomplete histories lying around for a lot of things, which means that if someone ever took him to court over something like copyright issues and his website logs were examined for evidence, it would look like he purposely shredded evidence. True, under Creative Commons, you are only obligated to save the most recent changes, but given how he has illegally switched licenses not once but twice (from CC BY SA to CC BY NC SA to retroactively claiming private ownership over everything submitted, which violates Creative Commons), maybe he is being smart by shredding evidence. However, since I'm convinced it's a good idea to have complete histories in the event of a legal dispute, MediaWiki is excellent in this regard. On a related note, page moves are logged and can be reversed easily if need be. That is done via manual copy-paste on TV Tropes, which leads to even more messed up history records.

* Unicode Support - To this day, certain aspects of Unicode show up poorly on TV Tropes, and for a modern day Web 2.0 website, that is, in technological terms, utterly pathetic and shows a poor lack of support for custom characters if needed or required.

* Password Security - In this thread, Fast Eddie is revealed to not give a damn about password security, on the grounds that he basically can't be bothered and it's not like someone is going to packet leech that and do bad things with it, an arrogant and idiotic assumption that makes wonder why the blue hell anyone would trust a site with security that shitty. In MediaWiki, your password is entered into a database as an encrypted salted hash, which isn't utterly immune to being compromised by a really determined hacker, but it's way the hell better than the inexcusably poor security on the unencrypted connections used by TVT, and is more than sufficient to defeat most skript kiddie and casual hacker attacks......

....and while I could go on and on, short version is, MediaWiki does a far better job in most respects that TV Tropes' fork of PmWiki absolutely fails at, and unless something better comes along, I'm a proud and very satisfied user of MediaWiki.