Fandom stats and surveys and so on

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[sticky post]Welcome, and introductions!
destntoast wrote in fandomstats
[This sticky welcome post will stay at the top to welcome all newcomers!]

This is a community to discuss fandom (fanworks and/or fans) from a quantitative/analytical angle.

This community is a place to discuss past and future analyses, methodology for gathering and analyzing data, and anything else related to fandom stats or surveys.  You don't need to be a stats whiz or do analyses yourself to participate in this community.  Just be interested in discussing these topics!

Example questions that fandom stats might help address:

  • Fanworks: Which tags on AO3 are most commonly used?  Which tags get the most kudos?  How does this differ from what's popular on and other platforms?  How is it changing over time?

  • Fans: What are the demographics of fandom?  Does the sexual orientation of fans correlate with the fanworks they like to read/write?  Do different ages of fans prefer different types of fanworks?  What are fannish motivations for shipping? (e.g., how many fans care whether their ship becomes canon?)

More info/resources about fandom stats can be found here:

If you're new here, please feel free to leave a note in the comments on this post introducing yourself and sharing a bit about your fandom interests and past fandom analyses (if applicable).  You can also ask any questions about the community here.

If you're new here, please feel free to make a new post and say hi!  :)  Tell us about what you're interested in, or what your background is, or ask questions.

Currently, more discussion is going on in #fandom stats and #fandom stats discussion over on Tumblr, but I'd like to also keep this community going for people who are happier on LJ and conversations that are better suited to threaded interactions.  So feel free to jump in on either/both platforms!

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I'll start the intros. :) I'm destinationtoast on Tumblr, and I also run a toastystats sideblog just for fandom stats stuff. (My master list of past work is linked in the post above. I'm also ever so slowly archiving some of my stats on AO3.)

I mostly produce fanworks in the Sherlock fandom, and some of my analyses are specific to that fandom, but I'm quite interested in fandom as a whole -- what's similar and different across many fandoms and many platforms, how fandom trends change over time, etc.

I mostly do aggregate statistics of fanworks -- rather than analyzing individual stories, I like to look at stats for large categories of fanworks. E.g., how many fanworks use the tag "Angst" on AO3, and what's the average number of kudos they receive. That's partly just because scraping the complete metadata for all the stories on an archive is way more work, though. Likewise, surveys are hard to design and run, so I mostly don't do that sort of data collection. I'm interested in learning more about others' methodologies, though -- and getting feedback on my own!

I am Vaysh, vaysh11 on tumblr. I am active as a writer and mod in the Harry Potter fandom. I am interested in fannish stats, and I've seen some awesome ones by you, destntoast. :) My interest is less the demographics of fans and more the statistics of fanworks. What pairings are the most and the least popular in specific fandoms? What kinds of genres are written? How is the ratio of NC-17 to gen rated fics and art? Such things. :)

*fanworks stats fistbump* :)

I would love to see more fandom stats work on the rich fanworks of the Harry Potter fandom. I don't know where most of them live; FFN has a TON of them, and a number of them have made it to AO3 -- but are there still a bunch that only live on other sites?

Hello everyone! I'm Anna, theclearestglass on Tumblr and AnnaMaraya on AO3.

I'm a Senior in College this year, and as part of my thesis, falling hard into statistics, which is of course bleeding over into my fannish interests. I'm mostly interested in being less of a fandom lurker, and more of a fandom participant, even though I don't write fic, or make any art. I read tons of fic, enjoy all the art, and just deeply appreciate this fannish community, so you know, I really want to give back to it in any way that I can.

I think I'm most interested in the more aggregate statistics on fan works as well. I think fandom is often a phenomenally interesting critique of social structures, and power structures, which as a political science major, I'm very, very interested in. Mapping the aggregate development of fannish tastes and fannish interests almost allows us to map that social critique, in my opinion....for example, I think the rise of omegaverse, which offers an amazingly transgressive and powerful critique of gender roles, might hint at the greater appetite for questioning gender in society more broadly. All I'm saying is that fandom tends to question power dynamics first and better than a lot of other mediums, which is why I'm pretty interested in watching the aggregate trends emerge even as I also consume all the fic I can get my hands on.

Thanks so much to Destination Toast for setting all this up! =)

Glad to have you! Fandom is a really fun place to lurk -- I lurked happily for years. :) But stats are a really fun way to get involved, and I think the points you raise (about omegaverse, e.g.) are fertile grounds for more study. Looking forward to chatting more with you about all this here!

Brilliant idea, thanks for setting this up!

I'm Iris, mainecoon76 on LJ, AO3 and tumblr. Active mainly in the ACD Holmes fandom and the Hobbit fandom and writing fanfic for both. I have a scientific background, so I'm somewhat familiar with and interested in stats, although I don't use them much nowadays except for fun (and that's mainly reading analyses instead of conducting them myself).

I'm a psychologist, which makes me particularly interested in the topics destntoast summed up under "fans" - like demographics, motivations and combinations of both factors. This makes conducting analyses rather difficult, as those are questions you'd have to approach via surveys and, as toasty says, they are complex and (at least when it comes to motivations) difficult to standardize. I know it's been done before, though, and I'd be tempted to try if I find collaborators of a similar mindset. :)

Also, I'm not a native speaker, so I apologize for any blunders when it comes to language.

Delighted you're here! Would love also to hear about any interesting differences you've observed between those two fandoms. (Actually, that would be a fun separate discussion to start -- differences and similarities across fandoms or their fans. Feel free to start a new post if you have any observations and want to kick that off!)

This would be a really interesting topic to start, I'll just have to think about how to approach it. In this community, independent of one single fandom as it is, we surely have a lot of collective knowledge about different fandoms and pairings (as they can sometimes create sub-fandoms within a community).

I'd be hesitant to compare my impressions of the ACD Holmes and the Hobbit fandom as such; I can only talk about the circles I'm familiar with, although I must say the ACD slash community is small and familiar. The Hobbit, otoh - that's huge, and I know only a small part of it, especially as I'm not a big fan of the most popular pairing.

The one thing I can think of spontaneously is that it seems to me like the fans who're really deep into the source material, in both fandoms, are pretty well educated - which is perhaps not surprising, considering the texts we're talking about.

But I'll have to think about this one.

Hi, I'm annathecrow both on Tumblr and on AO3. Mostly active in MCU and mainstream comics fandom, (fan)artist, history geek and research junkie.

I am a programmer/webdesigner, so I got into fandom stats more because of the the "how"s than the "why"s - data mining, APIs, content analysis, data visualisation, things like that.
Aside of that, I'm interested in fanfiction as a representation of society, it's thought patterns, and it's problems. In fandom, it sometimes seems that every little thing gets blown out of proportion, but that makes everything very easy to observe. Why is there a prevalence of M/M fics, and why so little F/F? What is the PoC representation like in the fandom vs the canon, and what can we do with it? How are relationships seen by the fandom and what impact does fannish erotica have on that?

This also lead me from quantitative analysis to qualitative... aaand here is where I shamelessly plug in Tumblr tag #fic lit crit shit where me and capnromanoff are trying to come up with "dramaturgy for fanfiction" - a kind of literary analysis that would look at the way we write, search for patterns, and maybe draw some conclusions that we as writers could apply to our work.

So, yeah. My hopes for this community is to learn more about others' views on fandom analysis, get inspired, and support fandom consciously redefining and refining itself.

Ooh! Tag tracked. :)

Also, I'm really glad you're here; hoping to have some good conversations about pooling tools for data scraping, analysis, and visualization.

Edited at 2015-02-10 06:17 am (UTC)

i'm zambla here and polytony @tumblr. formerly active in hp fandom, not so much now.

i've reluctantly become a "data scientist," working mainly in statistical analysis in my research; i have pretty extensive training/skill in data mining & statistical modeling. i've also a salad of interest in the arts & letters, mostly cyberpunk/scifi-realism culture at the moment.

my interest in fandom stat is more literary (than, say, sociological) -- i've been more interested in how fan writing has worked -- one very, very ambitious idea has been to take a branch from the stanford literary lab, which does "distant reading" and use its ideas/tools in statistical analysis to examine fanlit from a literary point of view. are style/mechanics of writing reflective of the greater context of the work? but this at the moment is a very ill-formed idea with no great critical value.

anyway, i feel that i can offer some technical insights, and i hope we can get great discussion going in this community.

Ooh, neat! I hadn't run across the litlab stuff, but that sounds awesome.

*waves* oh, hey! I think we might interested in the same part of fandom analysis. Thanks for the Stanford Lit Lab link, I just had a quick look at their project page and I already have a few ideas that could be cool to explore within fanfic.

e.g. titles in fanfic - how are fics named? for example, what's up with the song lyrics names? this could be actually done programmatically - quick google search says there are several lyrics databases that have open APIs, so if you collected fic titles (say via scraping AO3) and cross-referenced it with that, you could get... I don't know, fandoms that do it more often than others? Music genres?

anyway. I'd love to hear your own ideas about this. :)

ahh, sorry for going awol! i like this idea of mapping the "titlespace;" maybe even finding out predominant structures in titles (although we might need some semantic dictionary for this.) do you want to do it?

i'm relatively free this month to fiddle around some web-scraping tools and/or pandas. p.s. are you on github?

weeeeell, yes to github (same nickname as here), but there's nothing fandom stats-y there (or anything else of value, tbh :d). Judging from your post, I really don't have the skills to be any use to you *embarassed shrug*. I'm a newb, I'm here to get ideas and kick myself to actually do something. :B
But if you get something done with this, please share, I'm curious :)

not necessarily true! i'm a total newb at web-interfacing and anything to do with getting data from the web in general! we could, like, exchange skills! or just discuss more ideas. :D

Hello all, I'm Finn, wandering in a little late, as usual. I go by finnagain on AO3, fffinnagain on tumblr, and I've finally pulled together a page of all my fandom stats posts. Sherlock is my main fandom, and I am a podficcer, so the work of done has been focused on those subsets of fandom.

My fandom stats styles has been mostly database analysis: counts of works, creators, popularity metrics, over factors like tags, time, and fandoms. I scrape meta data (any one want a python scrapper for AO3, just let me know), I fuss over plots, I love time series, and I occasionally indulge in significance testing, where appropriate. I come from Math and Stats, academically, and my research these days involves a lot of exploratory data analysis.

I'm fascinated by fandom as a space for amateur creation: a context for people to share and appreciate works outside of the (quality, content, and style) standards of professionally produced media. And the records we make of fandom works make it possible to explore bits of this empirically.

So, for example, I am curious about the dynamics of fan creators: how does popularity grow? what kind of feedback keeps creators producing through time? Do creators get treated differently depending on scale? Do creators comment differently than non-creators?

I'm also interested in looking at the reception of different kinds fanworks: what gets seen on what platforms? Are serial works and long works treated differently than short pieces? How are Works In Progress treated?

I have rough ideas as to how to get at each of these, though some require tools I've barely touched (natural language processing, eep!) Who knows how many I'll get to, but a little help and encouragement from similarly curious folks wouldn't hurt. :)

I'M SO EXCITED TO TALK ABOUT ALL OF THIS MORE WITH YOU! (Also, ugh, sorry, this got spam-filtered and I only just noticed! I fixed the community settings so hopefully that won't happen again.)

Hi! I'm shieldmatron on tumblr, and stellamira1936 on AO3. I'm a newbie to online community in general, but I'm fascinated by the social and psychological aspects of fandom and want to learn more. I don't know how much I'll have to contribute to your conversations here, but I would love to sit in as an interested party :)

Belatedly -- so glad to have you here! Thanks for joining -- questions and brainstorming and listening and lurking are all welcome here. :)

Oh hey, an intros thread! As I've already mentioned in the "What are you curious about?" thread, I'm a linguist and I'm interested in fandom language and internet language more broadly. (Not always with huge number-crunching, a representative sample is often fine for my purposes, but this still seemed like a relevant place to join.)

I'm on tumblr at , and you may also know me from my "A Linguist Explains..." series on The Toast, where I've notably explained the constraints on forming synonyms for Benedict Cumberbatch as well as a grammar of doge. I've been using the tumblr tag fanguistics for these types of discussions on allthingslinguistic.

*waves* Hey! :D (Am I not following you on this platform yet? How can that be? ;))

Hi everyone, I'm not (anymore) on tumblr but I'm still very interested in fandom/fanfiction. I'm French, I credit fanfiction as the reason number one for learning English and meeting a ton of nice people around the world.
Over the years, I've been in plenty of fandoms and I've shipped some pairings so hard to the point of tinhatting (*OMG remember the summer of 2009 when Jared broke up with his fiancée and Jensen moved in with him*).
But right now i see myself as a multi-fandom person. I read fics in like fifteen different fandoms on a regular basis.
I'm here because I love numbers and statistics. I don't know anything about informatics and like scrapping data (though i would love to learn how to do it). But I love looking at fanfic statistics and fandom trends and read analysis and theories about it.

I'm so delighted you've joined us here! Welcome! :)

Oh yay! It's here!

I was so excited when you guys announced you were thinking about a fandom stats community, but I thought that it was only to be on Tumblr! Thankfully I listened to the 3patch podcast this month, or I would have missed all the statty goodness!

I'm mugen, mugenmine on LJ, tumblr, Twitter and AO3. My main mode of fanwork contribution is fanfiction.

Although I don't dig into much data analysis nowadays. I did it mainly in my previous job tracking fan activity across social media sites and our entertainment properties... "Hello Google Analytics, and FaceBook Insights, Google Adwords/Trends..." but I've not delved into it on a fanworks level. I'm not sure I know where to begin, but I am always fascinated by the results and especially how fandom activity compares across domains... AO3, FFN, Wattpad, etc...

So hello! Excited to see the data!



Edited at 2015-03-04 03:59 am (UTC)

Yay, I'm so excited you're here! <3 Sorry you missed the announcements/posts on Tumblr -- I'm sure lots of other potentially interested folks have, too. Any recommendations about how to better publicize this over on Tumblr?


One thing I can think of is maybe linking to this comm at the bottom of your groovy stat posts on tumblr, like a footer? That way it spreads organically and folks who are stat inclined will have a good chance of seeing it? Yeah my dashboard is so congested that I miss out on a lot of stuff!

I'm so happy I'm here ;-)


Good suggestion -- I started adding a link to the community to my last few stats posts! :)

I've been commenting here a bit, but--hi! I'm goseaward on a bunch of different services (LJ, AO3, tumblr, DW, etc).

I've been in online fandom since late 2002, first in Harry Potter fandom (Snape/Hermione then Snape/Harry, with lots of side pairings), bit of a hiatus, then American Idol RPF, then Sherlock, and now One Direction RPF. So if you want somebody with expertise in RPF fandoms, I might be able to help--doesn't seem like it's super common in these intros? I'm a fic writer, reader, and occasional beta.

Professionally I'm a researcher in a statistics-heavy subfield of physics, so I know certain kinds of analyses well but have no idea about others. (I will also tend to use different terminology than most statisticians--if anyone wants to bitch about this with me, feel free--a ton of physicists don't know anything about statistics with what we call powerlaw distributions, because all the work in statistics calls that a Pareto distribution, so the physicists can't find the large amount of literature on good practices...)

I haven't really done any fandom analysis before. I did an analysis of states of origin for semifinalists on American Idol, which I would do differently now (I had only recently started doing stats-heavy research when I performed that analysis). I also did a bit of analysis on which choreographers and dance styles made you more likely to be eliminated on that show, but I posted it on the TWOP boards, so I think they're permanently locked in NBC's vaults or something...

Oh, YAY! I'm delighted to have someone with more RPF experience here! Are you active on Wattpad, since there's so much 1D fic there? Or mostly AO3 (and/or LJ or other platforms)? I'd love to hear about your experiences!

Alas, poor TWOP boards... sounds like cool stuff. We'll be glad to have your input and also to see any new stats you do. :) (And yes, jargon varies a bunch across fields, but hopefully we can all help each other out!)

No, sorry, I'm terrified of Wattpad. :) (Or, to be precise, the interface bugs the crap out of me and I never figured out how to find the good fic anyway.) I stick with AO3/tumblr.

Hi folks--found you all from a suggestion by destinationtoast, after catching the tail end of the "Data" panel at Unlocked. About me: I love Sherlock, and spreadsheets.

...that's about all I've got.

I have a master's degree in Statistics and have been working as a data scientist in the private sector for about 10 months now. I've been trying to transition from R to python for numerical analysis, since it seems like the latter is a lot better supported in non-academic settings. I also want to take my data science to the next level by trying out some new "recipes" in my spare time, and I thought using data that actually interested me might be a plus to get me motivated.
On the fandom level-right now I am I got into fanfiction in 2013 through destinationtoast and tumblr user marginalutilite. I admit I'm a fairly promiscuous reader on AO3 (Johnlock and Destiel mostly, but I read a lot of Stucky fics recently and I haven't even seen the movies!). I definitely have a long history of M/F romance novel reading, for what it's worth. I don't always know why I read fanfiction, which only stokes my interest in it as a social phenomenon :)
Most practically, I'm interested in how to scrape data off AO3 without being obnoxious about it. I've done a little of it already but welcome any tips on timing requests/self-imposed rate limits/even emailing the people running the show. Feel free to add my livejournal if you'd like to start a dialogue.

Edited at 2015-06-14 09:30 pm (UTC)

Hello! I've been reading fics for four years, mostly Sherlock and Merlin. I don't have a background in statistics, but I do love stats about fiction, especially fanfiction or about a fandom I'm familiar with. I don't have much to contribute, so I guess I'll be lurking and trying to be supportive.

My college graduation paper is on fanfiction, but the actual topic is not quite certain yet, I'm getting a feel of what has already been done, and this community is a godsend.

I found the community thanks to the fandom stats page on Fanlore, if anyone's wondering.

Edited at 2015-10-07 10:03 pm (UTC)

Very belatedly -- thanks so much for introducing yourself! And welcome! :) I think this sticky post at the top is actually counterproductive at this point (as just sadly demonstrated) -- I"m going to take it down and encourage people to make new posts introducing themselves when they arrive. But we're glad to have you!

It seems like a lot of discussion is going on in #fandom stats and #fandom stats discussion over on Tumblr, but I'd like to keep this community going for people who are happier on LJ and conversations that are better suited to threaded interactions!

My name is Anette and I am currently taking my master's degree in Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. In my thesis I`m looking at slashfiction with Sherlock as a case. I might do statistics, so I was recommended this site. I dont`t write fanfiction myself, I just enjoy reading them :)

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