TV Tropes is a wiki that started in 2004. It started as a website to categorize tropes (recognizable tools and trends in media) in television shows, but expanded to include other media.
What are tropes, exactly, you ask? You'd be quite justified in asking that. Tropes are...well, they're hard to define, so let's start with an example. You know how in video games, wizards can use their magic to dish out a lot of power but get wiped out by a single hit?
How about that thing where a character says "At least it's not raining!" and then it rains?
When a villain turns to the heroes' side?
Oh, hey, here's one they probably don't have! What about that thing that shows up now and then where someone goes back to try to kill Hitler but it doesn't work!
Every page will naturally link to multiple other pages and, thanks to an effect known as the Wiki Walk, you'll have absolutely no idea how the hell you got on the page you're on in about an hour.
The site states that examining tropes will change how you view fiction, saying that enjoyment comes through a mixture of surprise and familiarity. Examining tropes replaces the surprise with recognition, so you have to learn how to enjoy things in different ways.
Because of the two previous paragraphs (stating its addictive nature and the way it changes the way you view media), the website warns (on the home page, nonetheless) that TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life.
If that wasn't bad enough, the website has specific pages for different shows, webcomics, books, etc., all with a list of tropes used throughout the work. Though it is not a full list (usually only the particularly good, popular, or bad have pages made for them), there is still a very large number. As new tropes are constantly being created, and old pages constantly being edited to account for new (or missed) examples, there is still reason to revisit certain pages over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.
Oh, sorry, you're still here? Sorry, there was....
Look, the research for this article is distracting, okay?
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.
Most Tropers are somewhat immature and childlike, much like Cracked contributors. There are countless examples of shows like The Fairly Oddparents, and almost all the comments regarding Avatar: the Last Airbender (a show aimed at kids) are positive. Most Tropers would argue that shows can be enjoyed by any demographic (not sure how they justify fanfiction), but we all know it's just because they're all kids at heart. Other things tropers tend to enjoy are anime, fanfiction, Joss Whedon, and the word "egregious."
It is probably a combination of Tropers' general geeky view towards life, their desire to make the website entertaining instead of just educational, and their claim that There Is No Such Thing As Notability that causes a sort of rivalry between TV Tropes and Wikipedia (a rivalry that Wikipedia probably doesn't know about). The site is deemed "unnotable" and the TV Tropes page on Wikipedia has been added and removed several times. This rivalry has resulted in many Tropers referring to Wikipedia as "The Other Wiki."
While while the wiki goes largely unnoticed among the greater public, it has gained popularity online, especially among people who who make internet-based media like webcomics. Notable Tropers include David Morgan-Mar (author of Irregular Webcomic and other webcomics) and Randall Munroe (of xkcd fame).
Sure, this could have been compressed into two sections, but, you know, Rule of Three and all. It's already been mentioned how TV Tropes ruins your life, so this section is more to talk about some of the things the site has that might be of interest. For example, they have a page on Cracked. They have one on John Dies at the End.
They have a page on the Bible, in which Tropers treat it as a literary text rather than a religious one. For example, informational religious books like C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity are referred to as fanfiction, the Book of Mormon is described as being part of the Expanded Universe and Jesus's death and resurrection are put in spoiler tags. Hilarity Ensues.
More bizarre is the page on Real Life. The entire thing is described like a work of fiction or a video game, referring to space as an Expansion Pack and the Cold War as an Aborted Arc leading up to World War III.
But anyway, despite how addictive it is, there's some good that comes out of browsing TV Tropes. For example, discovering new works. Or literary analysis. You definitely look at works in different ways, and it's somewhat educational and beneficial. Just, you know...try not to use the website's name for the trope, just so other people know what you're talking about.
Now, why don't you click on the article link below (or any of the links above) if you don't have anything important to do today. Of course, considering all the links above, chances are you're already trapped.