Thursday, May 26, 2011

History: You Fail Logic Forever

You Fail Logic Forever details various logical fallacies. Anyone who has ever studied logic knows that there exists a great many logical fallacies in rhetoric. So, as time went on, the You Fail Logic Forever page bloated to an immensely sized dictionary of logical fallacies. At one point while I was working in the discussion pages, a troper asked a question about one specific fallacy. I soon discovered to my consternation that the page contained many fallacies of similar names in an apparently random order (they had probably been added to the page as tropers thought of new logical fallacies they could write down). Never mind answering the troper's question- it was a giant pain-in-the-neck just to figure out where in the page I was supposed to be looking. I decided that splitting the various fallacies into their own pages and making You Fail Logic Forever an index was the most sensible course of action. After all, a"Alice uses an Appeal to Audacity to persuade Bob" is a sensible  intuitive example. "Alice Fails Logic Forever against Bob" sounds like a stupid in-joke.

Unlike many discussion pages, this one had semi-regular posts, including from a moderator, so rather than act unilaterally (unlike most of my ideas, this one was not directly prompted by a complaint), I simply posted the idea so as to germinate for awhile. After that I forgot about the page until about a month later another question was asked about it. I remembered why I couldn't answer the last question, and so went to see how my idea had fared over time.

To my irritation, no one had responded, good or ill, to my proposed idea even though various other discussion posts had had activity. Absent any complaints, my idea was frankly a good one, so I left a note stating as such, and then set about working to completely separate every individual fallacy on the page into its own trope listing. My plan was to first copy all of the text of the individual fallacies into their own page. Once these were clearly preserved, I could then remove the text from You Fail Logic Forever and create a fabulous index. It was tiring, redundant work, but I thought it well worth the reward.

This time, though, I received a surprise. When I was nearly finished with the work, another troper sent me a private message asking what I was doing creating all these random pages about fallacies and asked that I come to Trope Repair Shop to provide an explanation. The request surprised me, mainly since no one had ever PMed me about major page action while I was still undergoing it. Obliging, I went to Trope Repair Shop and explained what I was doing and why. The reaction was quite positive. All the tropers (most of whom I'd never seen before- again a result of regular Trope Repair Shop turnover) liked the idea, and some also asked if they could help me with it. Unfortunately, I was already nearly finished with the transformation, so all I could do was thank them for their concern.

My attitude toward Trope Repair Shop had become increasingly cynical upon my departure. I had originally planned to come back at some point, but working in the discussion pages was so much easier and more productive that I could not think of any reason why I would want to. Be that as it may, I didn't harbor any particular ill will to the forumites. I'd always found that those willing to post were fairly receptive to opposing arguments and could usually defend their positions if challenged. That these new members were willing to accept the page action I was enacting on merit, rather than opposing it on abstract principle, was encouraging. They really weren't that different from the casual tropers I was used to working with- they just worked under a different and (in my opinion) less efficient structure.

Unfortunately, some individuals, I am quite sure now, were not enthused by my initiative. The moderator who I knew had posted in the You Fail Logic Forever discussion page did not make an appearance, nor did any other. Given the fairly high profile of the You Fail Logic Forever page, they surely had to have been aware of what I had done. But nothing was said either to me or any other common troper on the wiki. Mind, I thought nothing of this at the time- most people do not assume that secret negative opinions proliferate about them when they're not paying attention.

Incidentally, there's one subject I've been avoiding- You Fail Logic Forever is a terrible name for a trope page, and an even worse one for a fairly mundane listing of logical fallacies. The title is likely a holdout from before my time at TV Tropes, when prior to Wiki Magic, a very different purpose for the page was envisioned. Be that as it was, I left the title alone. A page this established would be an absolute mess to rename- I figured, correctly, that as long as I left the title alone my actions would face no apparent opposition.

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