Things like 'Is [thing] a known/defined trope?' or 'Is this [item] a characteristic of [defined trope]?'

When I say trope, I mean it in the way it is commonly used on the TVTropes site (no link!) but not limited only to tropes defined on the TVTropes site itself, but literary Conventions and common story structures, character archetypes etc that may have been 'codified' in sources other than TVTropes.

As such I'm not sure if these would be

  • An on-topic "Contextual Question" (deals with the context in which science fiction and fantasy occurs: including ...etymology, and society. They have definitive answers about specific facts...)

  • An off-topic "Genre-Classification Question" (asks whether a particular work is SF or belongs to a particular subgenre, or ask about what makes up a subgenre. - are tropes subgenre-ish?)

2 Answers 2


Sounds on topic to me. I vaguely recall at least one question along these lines, which provides a few examples of characters from several franchises and asks for why these characters are so similar. It's essentially inquiring about a trend instead of a specific character/work/etc. Should be fine.

I recommend laying some groundwork in your question to show your reasoning. A short question that says 'I think this is a trope' is more likely to garner disapproval from the community than a longer question that says 'because of X, Y, and Z, I think this is a trope'. Showing your work and adding context improves a post's quality.

  • Not knowing all the tropes that are around, it may also be that half the examples are of one trope and half are of a similar but different trope
    – Izkata
    Aug 27, 2014 at 11:54

'Is [thing] a known/defined trope?' - should be ontopic. Assuming that "thing" is defined in sufficient detail, it is 100% answerable, generally either not subjective of "good subjective", and not too broad.

'Is this [item] a characteristic of [defined trope]?' - while an individual question of the form may happen to be asked well enough to be OK, a random question of that form is more likely than not to be overly subjective, with no definitive answer - because tropes are rarely precisely defined. Thus, you either have no answer, or your answer consists of "Well, TVTRopes says so" - which is boring, derivative, and not worth asking about (not exactly offtopic, but I would likely downvote as "lack of basic research").

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