Count the number of women in the Producers section, and you'll see that television is still a very male-dominated industry. The Writer's Guild of America (West) claims that only 27 percent of film writers and 19 percent of television writers it represents are female. Naturally, as a consequence, the male voice is greater represented in media than the female voice, and the audience respectively will be assumed primarily male. Main character ensembles will typically be composed of primarily males, with a Token Girl thrown in for good measure. Due to people usually understanding their own gender better than the other, said girl tends to be based on relatively stereotypical notions.
TVTropes has been aggressively purging its article database of rape-related tropes since earlier in June, when site owner and admin Fast Eddie explained that the pages were "getting [the site] in trouble with google [sic]." From the information at hand, it seems that this was a result of Google's traditional refusal to place its lucrative ads on sites it deems explicit. For some reason, it termed that articles discussing the use of rape in fiction were either explicit or somehow promoting rape, and so TVTropes was given the choice to either pull the plug or take down the offending articles.
Though Google cracked down on them in June 2012 for their articles pertaining to rape, TV Tropes decided to keep all these articles up in July 2012. http://www.dailydot.com/culture/tv-tropes-brings-back-rape-tropes/ They lost all their funding from Google Adsense on these pages, but apparently but up for it through some private sponsors. Whether you agree with this or not, it is undeniable that TV Tropes maintains an unbiased view of entertainment, and endeavors to include the nice bits and the bad bits.
Tropes are just tools. Writers understand tropes and use them to control audience expectations either by using them straight or by subverting them, to convey things to the audience quickly without saying them. Human beings are natural pattern seekers and story tellers. We use stories to convey truths, examine ideas, speculate on the future and discuss consequences. To do this, we must have a basis for our discussion, a new language to show us what we are looking at today. So our storytellers use tropes to let us know what things about reality we should put aside and what parts of fiction we should take up.
A common complaint of people who take courses like Media or Film studies is that they never look at a TV program, advertisement or film the same way ever again. Analyzing a medium in depth and pulling it apart by the seams teaches you to watch things critically — analyzing every aspect and codifying them inside your mind. Most tropers, academics, directors or writers who do this start to find new ways to enjoy media. The subtle blends of plots, the new spins on old stories. The rare and welcome times where a plot you weren't expecting appears. But it is never the same.
And as open systems, wikis can extend their reach far beyond departmental or organizational limits, expressing the interests of virtually any community. For example, Wikitravel (http://wikitravel.org/) is striving to develop a free worldwide travel guide. TV Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage) bills itself as "a catalogue of the tricks of the trade for writing television scripts"; it collects frequently found plots and devices and helps its members to find "a cliché to subvert."
Eddie's interest in tropes stems in part from his day job. "I think about how chunks of things fit together to make a whole," he says. As in storytelling, programming has certain elements that are used over and over, such as a "model" or a "controller." "If you're not aware of how to wire those things together, you're not going to make a fresh-feeling story, or you're not going to solve your programming problem," he says.
The site's founder is a 55-year-old computer programmer near Rice Lake, Wis., named Fast Eddie -- not his real name but his online "handle," which he asked to use for this article for fear that drawing too much attention to himself would go against the site's collaborative spirit. He thought up the site during a discussion on Buffistas.org, a community of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" enthusiasts, a group of whom became the first tropers.
The editors/contributors/members/readers of TV Tropes refer to themselves as "Tropers" much in the same way members of Anonymous refer to themselves as "anons" or members of Something Awful refer to themselves as "goons." According to a survey, Most Tropers Are Young Male Nerds. On pages, tropers tend to refer to themself in third person, almost always with the phrase "This Troper." As noted on the page, some Tropers are angry about hte constant usage, but many Tropers still use the "This Troper" moniker simply because it has become a meme within the site.
TV Tropes is a wiki -- a site anyone in the world can contribute to and edit, like Wikipedia. Since its founding in 2004, more than 42,000 people have volunteered to be "tropers" like Barbara -- a mixture of fans, writers, educators and amateur academics smitten by pop culture and accessing their inner Joseph Campbell. The site now gets more than 2 million unique visitors a month, according to Google Analytics. Pop culture consumers know many of these tropes intuitively, even if they've never articulated them. For instance, one of Barbara's, "Silly Reason for War," is when a war grows out of a laughably trivial dispute and eventually becomes a lesson on intolerance.