Archive for the ‘Fandom’ category

The A-Team movie trailer, and my immense fannish squee

January 12th, 2010

Post by sockii (Nicole Pellegrini)

In the last two decades, many old television action/adventure favorites have been resurrected for the big screen with varying – but often poor – results. I Spy, Dukes of Hazzard, Starsky & Hutch, The Mod Squad, Wild Wild West…the list goes on and on. Very rarely do fans of the original series find much to celebrate in the movie adaptions, though occasionally (such as with Mission: Impossible and The Fugitive), they manage to launch a new franchise or find success by presenting something different enough from the original to avoid too close comparisons.

So now it’s finally The A-Team‘s turn. There have been attempts to bring the series to the big screen since at least the mid-90s but never did the project make it off the ground before. As a die-hard fan of the original series, I’ve always been incredibly skeptical of the potential for a movie adaption to work. So much of the show’s original charm was due to the perfect cast and their on-screen chemistry, as well as its perfectly ’80s camp sensibility. So how could a modern-day adaption have a chance to succeed?

I began to come around to the idea of the new movie, however, after seeing some early cast photos. The new cast seemed to have the look. You couldn’t not find it at least a little campy, with the van lurking in the background, and Liam Neeson’s Hannibal grinning around his cigar. When I heard Dwight Schultz was on board for a cameo and had given a thumbs-up to Sharlto Copley’s interpretation of Murdock (my favorite character), my hope grew further.

And then last night I got to see the Teaser Trailer for the film for the first time, and I have to confess, I got goosebumps from the opening familiar – yet just slightly different – drummed intro. I felt myself grinning in a strange kind of fannish delight and excitement I haven’t felt for a long time.

Because this was my fandom – in many ways my first fandom – and here it was, coming back. Not as it had been in 1983, no, but there was Hannibal and Face grinning and scheming; B.A. and his van (and welding! And the van bursting through fences!); Murdock’s familiar drawl, and I felt for a moment like that ten year old kid who first fell in love with that show and those characters all those years ago. It was actually not unlike the fannish “squee” I felt upon first seeing The Police hit the stage again, after so many years, that other early but crucial fandom of my teenage days.

I’m not saying I’m 100% sold on this being the best movie ever or anything like that. But I’m excited. I’m hopeful. I feel a bit like I imagine many long-time Star Trek fans may have felt in anticipation of the 2009 movie which re-imagined the series and seemed to bring life back into the fandom. I want to see the same thing happen for The A-Team. Now I can’t wait until June to see how their plans come together.

Harry Potter fan fiction on FanFiction.Net

January 10th, 2010

I apologize for the writing quality.  I tend to like to present data.  My analysis and commentary tends to be minimal, stating the obvious and letting the reader speculate as to what exactly the data means.  Insiders can often explain patterns better than outsiders and for the Harry Potter fandom, I’m definitely an outsider.

A friend of mine has been busy pulling data off FanFiction.Net this past week.  He found some rather interesting things:

  • 8,566 Twilight stories on FanFiction.Net with no recorded reviews, 117,578 stories with at least 1 review. 93% of all twilight fics get reviewed at least once.
  • Master of the Universe has28,690 reviews on FanFiction.Net takes gold for most reviewed Twilight story on site.
  • 19 Twilight stories on FanFiction.Net have 10,000+ reviews.
  • The top 3 fandoms by stories on FanFiction.Net: Harry Potter [book] (437,590), Naruto [anime] (221,117), and Twilight [book] (126,590).

After he got that data, he turned to look at Harry Potter.   1.2% of the total stories are missing so there is a certain margin of error to consider.  That said, the average Harry Potter story on FanFiction.Net has 31.8 reviews.  The top ten most reviewed stories have review totals way below that of their Twilight counterparts, which has its top stories with 10,000+ reviews.  Harry Potter’s top stories in contrast have only one story with 10,000 plus reviews.  The top nine fall in the range of 6,200 and 9,300 reviews.  These stories are:

+---------+-------------------------------------------------+------------------------------------+---------+

| storyid | title                                           | url                                | reviews |



+---------+-------------------------------------------------+------------------------------------+---------+

| 2196609 | An Aunt's Love                                  | http://fanfiction.net/s/2196609/1/ |   11532 |



| 2636963 | Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past | http://fanfiction.net/s/2636963/1/ |    9307 |



| 4437151 | Harry's New Home                                | http://fanfiction.net/s/4437151/1/ |    8827 |



| 4240771 | Partially Kissed Hero                           | http://fanfiction.net/s/4240771/1/ |    8676 |



| 2318355 | Make A Wish                                     | http://fanfiction.net/s/2318355/1/ |    7626 |



| 1260679 | Realizations                                    | http://fanfiction.net/s/1260679/1/ |    7136 |



| 2571676 | Not Your Usual Veela Mate                       | http://fanfiction.net/s/2571676/1/ |    7101 |



| 3733492 | The Apprentice and the Necromancer              | http://fanfiction.net/s/3733492/1/ |    6646 |



| 3736151 | Better Be Slytherin!                            | http://fanfiction.net/s/3736151/1/ |    6506 |



| 2900438 | Unsung Hero                                     | http://fanfiction.net/s/2900438/1/ |    6297 |



+---------+-------------------------------------------------+------------------------------------+---------+

These stories are not short and were often written over the course of several years.  The average story on this list has 74.8 chapters.  Some of that is a bit skewed as one story has 251 chapters.  If that data point is removed, the average length is 55.2 chapters.  To put this into a different context, the average story is 289,902 words with the shortest one clocking in at a measly 174,735 words and the longest one at 396,525 words.

These stories were generally not started recently.  The earliest was published in 2003, one published in 2004, three published in 2005, one in 2006, two in 2007 and two in 2008.  Half of these stories are complete and three of the incomplete stories look like they are still being actively worked on.

Gen stories look like they have a slight edge in getting large numbers of reviews with four of the stories on this list falling into this category.  Of the remaining six, three are het (2 Harry/Ginny, 1 Snape/Hermione) and three are slash (1 Harry/Draco, 2 Snape/Harry).  If you’re looking to repeat this formula to launch yourself to a huge number of reviews, this may not be a helpful variable to focus on.

The authors of these stories tend to not be very prolific in writing other stories, with the average total number of stories by authors on this list at fifteen.  If you remove the author who wrote 57 stories, the average comes down to ten.  Some of the authors who have very few stories often follow up with missing scenes and rewrites of their work.  These tend to have substantially fewer chapters, and a smaller word count.  As these seem like important variables towards getting high review counts, that probably hurts their ability to get as many reviews on their other works.  A small number of stories though probably keeps their audience focused on their main work, giving them reason to keep tuning in: The reader knows what they like and they likely won’t be turned off by discovering other works by the author that diverge from their primary interest.

Beyond the data regarding the most reviewed Harry Potter stories on FanFiction.Net, story and review data was obtained and made into the pretty chart below.   The total number reviews for a month is based on the date the story was published, not the date that the review was left. So our Harry Potter story that was published in December 2004 with 11,000 reviews that was last updated in September 2009?  All those reviews are counted for December 2004.

There are certain peaks and troughs.  Some of this can probably be explained by the sheer volume of stories leading to additional reviews.  As people lose interest, less stories are written and fewer reviews are given.  Stories posted in 2009 are likely to not have multiple chapters for them to get huge numbers of reviews yet.  Or, quite possibly, interest in reviewing new one shot Harry Potter stories has totally evaporated.

Edited to add: The following chart shows the total Harry Potter stories on FanFiction.Net.  There are some big jumps but no really big ones.

How accurate are RapLeaf’s numbers? Can social media metrics be trusted for fandom studies?

January 10th, 2010

Yesterday, I was poking around the Internet to see if anyone had done any large scale demographic study of the characteristics of online fandom because sometimes, I feel like I’m the only person doing this. Most of the research I see relies heavily on survey work, which can be tremendously self selecting in terms of population. As a result, I tend to be generally distrustful of this work for demographic analysis or where it doesn’t speak to a small select population and isn’t a case study.

I did find one small study posted on Scribd titled Study on Sports Fans Demographics on Social Networks.  It was done by RapLeaf.  It had some interesting conclusions like half of hockey fans are female, compared to 40% for basketball and 35% for baseball.  It also concluded that 85% of sports fans are under the age of 35.  Fascinating.   They didn’t go much into their methodology much, beyond that they did this across social networks.

I’m rather skeptical of RapLeaf’s methodology here.  If I go to Facebook’s advertising demographics page, I get 26,240 female fans on ice hockey in the United States and 61,420 male fans of ice hockey in the United States.  (Ice hockey being necessary because in some countries, the hockey means field hockey.  In others, it means roller hockey.)  For the Chicago Blackhawks, 135,000 (55%)  fans are male and 112,00 (45%) are female.    For the Boston Bruins, 33,780 fans are female and 56,740 fans are male.  These numbers are a bit different than 50% and I’m not sure all the major social networks combined are going to get populations larger than Facebook.

Are there more than 90,000 American ice hockey fans on bebo, LiveJournal, LinkedIn, blogger, Quizilla, MySpace?  Are there more than 243,000 fans of the Blackhawks on those networks when combined?  Maybe but I some how doubt it.

Quantcast has some demographic data up regarding gender breakdown of visitors to the NHL’s website.  Quantcast thinks that 59% of the visitors are male and 41% are female.  That’s much more in line with what the team specific data from Facebook is pulling.  The NHL also has a much bigger contributor pool, with about 2.1 million US visitors a month.

If you look on RapLeaf’s site, they give you a sample report for the data they provide, which includes a gender break down for users of various social networks.  One of the sites they offer a gender breakdown for is LiveJournal.  LiveJournal does have a gender field for its users to fill out and they use this information internally; there is no public display.  In fact, when they it looked like they might have made that information public, people complained loudly.  There are no indications from RapLeaf’s site that they have a partnership with networks like LiveJournal or LinkedIn where they are given access to this non-public data.   Where exactly are they pulling that data from?  It really begs the question of accuracy of RapLeaf’s numbers in this case.

I’d love to see a real demographic study about the composition of sports fandom and other fan communities.  It is a fascinating topic and can really go a long ways towards explaining how communities interact with each other, how they function and allow researchers to make better comparisons across communities.  I’m just not certain that the social media metrics provided by marketers, the only population that really seems to be working on this, can be trusted with their numbers any more than academic researchers with self selection survey populations can.

Brisbane’s sports community on LiveJournal and clones, bebo, blogger and Twitter

January 4th, 2010

This post is a series of posts looking at the size of Australian sports leagues on LiveJournal, its clones and other social networks. Earlier posts include Australian Football League on JournalFen , Australian Football League community on DeadJournal , National Rugby League on DeadJournal and JournalFenAustralian Football League on LiveJournal clones like Blurty, Dreamwidth Studios and InsaneJournal, Adelaide Crows community on LiveJournal, its clones and Blogger,and Official Australian Football League Twitter accounts and follower population by country. and Brisbane Lions community on LiveJournal, its clones and Blogger. Methodology for this post has been discussed in earlier posts.

Brisbane has a number of professional sports team including the Brisbane Broncos, Brisbane Lions, Queensland Maroons, Brisbane Roar, Brisbane Bullets (defunct), Queensland Reds, Queensland Bulls, Queensland Blades, Queensland Firebirds, Queensland Rams and Queensland Sundevils.  For all but two of these teams, the Blades and Rams, there is some small community on one of the following social networks: bebo, blogger, LiveJournal and its clones, Twitter.  If Twitter is excluded, the Broncos have the largest community with 333 people interested in them and the Sundevils the smallest with 1 person interested in them.

What does the Brisbane sports team fandom look like? Half (54%) the Australian community is based out of Queensland and about a quarter (28%) is based in New South Wales.  The rest is distributed amongst the other states, with the exception of Tasmania which has no Brisbane fans for any sports.

Map of Brisbane sports fandom by state and team

Rugby is traditionally more popular than footy in Queensland.   The distribution in Queensland suggests something a bit different, with 89 total fans for the Lions versus 83 for the Broncos.  Rugby and the Broncos are more popular only in New South Wales than footy and the Lions. One exception exists for the ACT where there are three fans for each.

Bearing in mind that people can be counted twice if they are one more than one network and are fans of more than one team, Brisbane sports fandom where the Australian state is known has the the largest interest base on bebo, with 272 people using it.  Next is LiveJournal with 62 users, Blogger with 20, Blurty with 2 and InsaneJournal with 1.  Brisbane fans in the ACT are more likely to use LiveJournal (3) with bebo (2) and blogger (2) being their next most popular choices.  Victorian fans of Brisbane teams just prefer bebo (11) to LiveJournal (10) with their third choice being blogger. (2)  In all other cases, bebo is the top choice in every state for Brisbane sports fans.  Outside of Queensland, no other fans use or used blurty or InsaneJournal.

There is an international interest in Brisbane sports teams.  This ranges from 0 to 50% of the total community that lists their country of origin.  Communities with 50% of their support base outside Australia include the Queensland Red community on bebo, and the Brisbane Roar community on bebo.  In both these cases, the community is 4 and 2 people respectively.  33.3% of the 30 member strong Queensland Maroons community on bebo comes from outside Australia, with 8 people from New Zealand and 2 from the Cook Islands. 32.4% of the Twitter followers of the Brisbane Broncos are from outside Australia with 13 from China, 68 from Great Britain and 286 from the United States. 28.9% of the Brisbane Broncos on bebo comes outside Australia with 32 people from New Zealand, 10 from Papau New Guinea, 6 from the United States, 2 from Fiji, the Philippines and Tonga.   The Queensland Reds unofficial Twitter follow list has 28.6% of its followers from outside the US. 50 followers are the US, 36 from Great Britain, 9 from Brazil and New Zealand, and 4 from Denmark and Italy.

bebo, Blogger and LiveJournal all allow users to display their age on their profiles.   This can help develop a picture of the age of the a team’s community online.  There is a small problem in that not everyone lists their age and these populations are very, very small.  Thus, this data cannot be really used to extrapolate beyond the specific community unless there is some other evidence to support that.

For the Brisbane Broncos community on blogger, the average age is 33, median is 31, mode is 20 with 9 of 12 people listing their ages.  This is not close to LiveJournal’s Broncos community which has an average age of 25, median age of 27 and mode age of 20 with 13 of 42 people listing their age.  The bebo community is much younger than both with an average age of 23, median age of 20 and mode age of 19 with 127 of 278 people listing their age.  For the lions, 49 people list their page on bebo with an average age of 24.5, median age of 21, mode age of 18.  On blogger, 10 Lions fans list their age.  They have a average ago of 33, median age of 30 and mode age of 27.  For LiveJournal Lions fans,  17 list their age.  They have an average age of 26, and a median and mode age of 24.  Only one other group, Queensland Maroons on bebo, have more than 10 fans who list their ages.  In that group, 21 list their ages, with an average age of 21.9, median age of 20 and mode age of 20.

Bebo and blogger both allow users to publicly display their gender.  The team and network with the highest percentage of male fans involves the Queensland Reds on bebo, where all six individuals list their gender as male.  The next highest percentage of male in the community include the Brisbane Bulls on bebo and the Queensland Bulls on bebo.  In both cases, the percentage of males is 60%.  In the case of the Brisbane Bulls,  40% or 2 people do not list a gender.  For the Queensland Bulls,  20% or one person lists identifies as female and the other did not list a gender.  The highest percentage of female members is the Queensland Bulls on blogger with 50% but that community only has two members.  The next highest percentage is for the Brisbane Broncos community on blogger at 42% or five people identifying as female.  All other members of that community identify as male.   The Brisbane Lions community on blogger has a female percentage at 38, with 6 people identifying as female.  56% of the members identify as male and 6%, or one person, do not list a gender.  The highest percentage of unknown/unlisted gender is for the Queensland Sundevils bebo community, which only has one person and they don’t identify their gender.  After that is the Brisbane Roar community on bebo, where 69% or 11 people do not identify their gender, 4 people identify as male and 1 identifies as female.  The Brisbane Lions community on bebo has 40% unknown/unlisted with 53 people not including their gender. 36% of the Lions bebo community identifies as male and 24% identifies as female.

This isn’t the best write up, mostly just summarizing some of the data.    The rest of the data used for this post will show up in future posts.  As I learn more, I’m planning on integrating more analysis of what this data means.

Katsucon

January 4th, 2010

The admin staff hasn’t really been keeping up with the latest Katsucon drama and we would really appreciate if our awesome contributors could step up and improve the article.  One of the most contentious issues that we’ve seen in the lead up involves issues around Artists Alley.  randomsome1 called the Maryland Comptroller’s office and got the low down on the tax situation for any artists selling merchandise and other goodies there.  This is crossposted with permission from her:

So I just spent an hour or so on hold and on the phone with the comptroller & sales/use tax people of Maryland. (For the record, their hold jingle is dire.) I transcribed what I got from them for sharing with the group.

If an individual in the state of Maryland is selling artworks or crafts which have been made specifically for sale, do they need to collect sales tax?

A: Yes they do. What you and/or the show promoter will need is to get a temporary sales tax number, unless you plan to sell in Maryland on a regular basis. If your sales will not be regular, register for a temporary sales tax number. “Regularly” is defined by “four or more times a year.” People who sell regularly in MD should get a permanent tax number, and for more information should call Miss Foster @ 410 767 1543.

A temporary tax number does not have a yearly/quarterly filing requirement. Getting one does not actually make you a business—it’s just to say that you will be selling things. (If you officially want to sell as your studio instead of your name you have to register a fictitious name, which is a slightly different and kind of expensive beastie in its own right.) When you complete the application it asks how long the event will run. After there’s a 20-30 day window to file.

If you return to sell in MD and need to pay sales tax again, just call the temp sales tax phone number (from above) and Miss Foster will be able to talk you through using the number/temp license. She got me registered over the phone with my info from Otakon.

Would tax liability change if a seller proclaimed themselves to be an amateur or a hobbyist?

A: No.

What about the provisions in the tax code regarding “casual and isolated sales”?

A: In the case of this event, quite a few people will have the option of making purchases so it does not count as a one time sale. As the purpose is for people to have more than one sale, and as the likelihood is extremely high that more than one sale will be made by each seller, this makes it exempt from the “casual and isolated sales” provision.

What about out-of-state sellers, small businesses, etc.?

A: They would also need the a temporary sales number. PA or other out-of-state sales tax numbers do not apply in MD, where the possession of merchandise will take place.

What could make sales at this show be tax exempt?

Sellers would not be required to collect sales tax if the purchase is made from a verified/certified reseller. (In this case, they would be required to collect proof of reseller status.) Otherwise they are liable for collecting and paying sales tax. To do otherwise is tax evasion.

What are the responsibilities of the individuals running a show that will feature sales of the previously mentioned artworks?

A: An event promoter could register for a sales & use tax number for the particular event, then at the end of the event the sellers will report their sales volumes and pay them the sales tax due; then the event promoter will report and pay that to the state of Maryland. If the sellers are registered with the state of Maryland they will pay the amount themselves directly. If any of you sold at Otakon—it’s like that.

The outing of Astolat and Fan History

December 31st, 2009

This post is written in response to some comments posted on this blog entry.  I’ve been repeatedly accused of outing Astolat.  I’ve largely been silent on it because it really serves no purpose to confront people about their view on the events.  It tends to piss people off and just drag up a whole bunch of garbage and nastiness in fandom that I’d and others would prefer to avoid.

Prior to the connection of Astolat and cathexys and and their real names on Fan History, both had made the connection themselves.  They did this on their FLists on LiveJournal.  They shared it with friends and acquaintances on other services.  Neither took active steps to really hide the connections and both were viewed as open fandom secrets that everyone knew.  The information frequently appeared on lol_meme, to the point where the mods on lol_meme stopped removing it.  At the time, Fan History’s admins edited articles and made the connections with out thinking, because everyone knew and the information was easily accessible.  Neither of these women were particularly “in the closet” with their identities.  When we were informed otherwise, I asked members of our staff about it.  One of them, who is no longer on staff, made the final call to put it back in and asked me to make the edit as they viewed as common knowledge.  I did, and I’ve never named that person or blamed them because ultimately, the buck stops with me and I didn’t want to subject a person I considered a good friend to the type of wank storm that I was being subjected to.

That these women were “in the closet” in regards to their identities is one of the biggest problems I have with the attacks on myself and Fan History.  Neither were and neither continue to be.  If you want to be “in the closet” and keep your fandom identity separated from your “real life” identity and name, you do it all the time.  You don’t decide that it is okay to be out with this person over here and not that person over there.  And by this person, I mean this group of two or three thousand and not that group of ten.    You don’t make information public and then claim that only this group over here can use that information when it suits them.  Still, that’s what both Astolat and cathexys chose to do.  They were out with their real names when it suited them and not when they weren’t.

We couldn’t have outed either of them.

Would our admin staff make the same decisions again regarding connecting people’s names like that?  No.  Never.

Have we changed our policies to prevent this from happening again?  Yes. YesAbsolutely.  And we enforce it and err on the side of caution.  We have a wonderful admin who has the primary job of enforcing these policies and she does an excellent job.  Connections between real names and fan names must be cited if they are being used on the wiki.  If others do make those connections in a way that we feel is malicious, they get banned.  In fact, edits that connect real life names with fannish ones are routinely altered, no matter who the editor is. We handle these issues quickly when they develop.  We make it our mission to create policies that bend over backwards to be fair to the whole of the fan community, from LiveJournal to DeviantART to FanFiction.Net to Rescue Rangers message boards to Yahoo!Groups.

And that’s better than can be said of the wiki created by the organization Astolat started. They originally said that there would be  no real names would be allowed unless a person consented and that no one would be allowed to connect real names to fan names.  My real name and pen name were connected in a bandom related article.  At first, they removed my real name from the article when I requested it. Later, they added it back without telling me.  (The article about me is one of the most edited on Fanlore.)  That’s fine because it isn’t like I haven’t made the connection myself.  Later, I asked for my real name to be removed from their wiki.  I was told if I took steps to remove the connection, it would be done.  These steps were taken: Removing my last name from all my accounts, and removing links to profiles where I could not remove my last name.  They determined that it sucks to be me because they were not going to do it, despite my compliance with their demands.  When people affiliated with the organization attacked me and Fan History for not allowing fans to control their identities and using real names without permission? And then do the same thing that they accused me of doing just so they can write about me?  That’s just hypocrisy at its finest and fandom politics at their worst.
Edited to add: Not mentioned in the original edit but worth adding: In trying to get my real name removed from Fanlore after it had been inserted again with out my knowledge after having been told it would be removed, I tried to reach out to Astolat and cathexys.  I asked them, as members of the Organization for Transformative Works who had concerns about outing against their will, to help get my name removed from Fanlore. Neither responded to repeated e-mails. I had e-mailed coffeeandink, who was in a similar situation at the time, and asked for her help as she had friends inside the organization.  She replied to tell me that there was nothing she could do to help me.

Russet Noon returns?

December 30th, 2009

We all have our little fannish obsessions, things that we can’t look away from that can be a trainwreck but are entertaining… and I guiltily admit that for me?  This is Russet Noon.  For a long time, that fandom front was quiet and just something to be fondly remembered in Sidewinder’s review of her top ten fannish events.

Only?  Now? IT IS BACK.  There is a new press release. It’s called “Russet Noon returns the empire strikes back.”  I’m not editing and am grateful that other admins can do that… because NO WAY!

Which is all the wrong sort of response.  I feel like I should be an unbiased reporter who doesn’t care either way what happens who will help document this latest situation.  Only sometimes, you just can’t because NO WAY!  This is the wrong sort of New Years present but one that makes me happy anyway.

Today’s spam follow loser is @LtGenPanda

December 30th, 2009

I’ve blogged about it before but I need to do it again. If you have more than 1,000 followers, do not follow me first unless you have a good reason and are willing to communicate with me. Otherwise, you are just a spam follower, trying to get me to follow you to help your numbers. You’re never going to read me and you offer me nothing back. You’re a Twitter follow spammer.

Who ever told you that your followers have value ($35,000 in sales for every 2,000 followers) needs to be beaten upside the head and then Twitter’s founders need to tell you to stop it because you’re going to turn them in to the next MySpace. Stop it. They are wrong.  Those Twitter followers only have value if people follow YOU first.

Today’s Twitter follow spammer is @LtGenPanda.  They have 25,000 followers and follow as many.  Yet, this particular Twitter follow spammer loser continues to follow others. He offers nothing in return (aside from his complaints about his Twitter client) and won’t ever communicate with me.  He appears to have no common interests to imply why he would follow.  (Except maybe we’re both in the Chicago area.)

@LtGenPanda, stop the Twitter follow spam.  If you really are interested in people, add them to lists… you know, so you can actually read those people you find interesting and not burden those of us who don’t want to have some sort of implied relationship back with you.

Brisbane Lions community on LiveJournal, its clones and Blogger

December 30th, 2009

This post is a series of posts looking at the size of Australian sports leagues on LiveJournal, its clones and other social networks. Earlier posts include Australian Football League on JournalFen , Australian Football League community on DeadJournal , National Rugby League on DeadJournal and JournalFenAustralian Football League on LiveJournal clones like Blurty, Dreamwidth Studios and InsaneJournal, Adelaide Crows community on LiveJournal, its clones and Blogger,and Official Australian Football League Twitter accounts and follower population by country.

This post is looking at the size and characteristics of the Brisbane Lions community on LiveJournal and Blogger.  The sundry of disclaimers and methodologies can be found on earlier posts.  LiveJournal data was collected on December 30, 2009 and Blogger information was gathered on December 29, 2009.

The Brisbane Lions community on Blogger is a bit smaller than the community for the Adelaide Crows, with 16 people listing the team or city and a footy related interest as an interest.  This group has six women, nine men and one person who does not list a gender.  This percentage of 38% puts their female audience at larger than the Crows (33%), Blues (25%), Magpies (25%) and Bombers (29%) communities located on Blogger. Twelve people list their ages of which two are obvious errors or intentional mistakes: One is 252 years old and the other is 253.  The average age for a Lions fan on Blogger is 33, the median age is 30 and the mode age is 27.  In terms of birthdays, two are Aries, one is a Cancer, two are Leos, four are Libras, two are Pisces, two are Scropios and one is a Virgo.  All sixteen list their country of residence.  Three are not from Australia: Two are from London, England and one is an American from Colorado.  Ten of the Australians lists their state of residence.  Of these, seven are from Queensland, two are from the ACT and one is from Victoria.

Like Blogger, the Brisbane Lions LiveJournal community is smaller than the community for the Adelaide Crows, with only 61 people listing the Brisbane Lions as an interest.  14 of these 16 updated in the past week and 33 total have updated in the past year.  4 have never updated.  While smaller, this group appears to be a bit more active on LiveJournal than the community for the Adelaide Crows. 16 of the 61 people list their year of birth.  Of these 16, the mean year of birth is 1984, and median and mode year of birth is 1986.   The oldest were born in 1972 and the youngest was born in 1991. 56 of the 61 list their country of residence. 4 are from the United Kingdom and 7 are from the United States.  The percentages of the total population is inverse of what it is for Blogger.  With 45 from Australia, the percentage of the population from the country is similar to that of Blogger, 80%  on LiveJournal compared to 81% on Blogger.  These numbers are also some what comparable to the Twitter population which has 77% from Australia, 2% from the United Kingdom and 21% from United States out of 325 people counted. 33 of the 45 Australians list a state of residence.  Of this, 19 are from Queensland, 10 are from Victoria, 2 are from South Australia with 1 from the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

What does the breakdown by state look like?  The following chart shows LiveJournal, Blogger and its clones:

Ninja Assassin- Surprisingly Was Good

December 30th, 2009

I went to see Ninja Assassin recently and I actually went without expectations. I did not read any reviews. The only thing I knew were from the trailers I had seen online and on the television.

Short Movie Summary:
The movie is about a boy becomes part of a clan that trains children to be ninjas. The child, named Raizo, eventually rebels against the clan and goes off on his own, vowing one day to have revenge. Eventually the murders of people assassinated by these ninjas draw the attention of Europol and involve Mika, one of their investigators. She and Raizo meet while the clan is trying to kill her.

My Review:
The movie was definitely action packed. I know my boyfriend enjoyed it immensely for the fighting scenes. Ninja Assassin was very violent and bloody. The plot was okay as it was easy to follow. There were no ‘Matrix’ moves, but there were a lot of great martial arts. Some of the effects were a bit lacking, like the shadows, but I believe they were dramatized. It was kind of cool seeing the ninjas come out of what seemed nowhere. In reality, most people would at least see an outline of the body. So, the movie did emphasize on the mysteriousness of ninjas to a point.

If you like martial arts and do not mind the blood, then I definitely recommend seeing the movie.

Have you seen Ninja Assassin? What did you think of it?

Official Australian Football League Twitter accounts and follower population by country

December 30th, 2009

This post is a series of posts looking at the size of Australian sports leagues on LiveJournal, its clones and other social networks. Five earlier posts were Australian Football League on JournalFen , Australian Football League community on DeadJournal , National Rugby League on DeadJournal and JournalFenAustralian Football League on LiveJournal clones like Blurty, Dreamwidth Studios and InsaneJournal and Adelaide Crows community on LiveJournal, its clones and Blogger.

There is a tool called Twitter Analyzer.  It allows you to get some data about your followers on Twitter.  It has some short comings, namely that it really only allows you to identify followers by country, rather than state.  When trying to figure out the population location inside Australia for a team, this is a bit of a problem.  Still, data is data and I ran every team’s official Twitter account through it and the results are… not what I consider particularly useful.  For me rather than highlight where an audience for a team is, this highlights the problem of Twitter follow spam.

Before going into this, Australian Football League games are available outside Australia.  The AFL has a list of their international partners that air games and news from the league.  The easiest place to get games is the United States and the United Kingdom where ESPN may provide them with up to three matches a week.  Ireland’s national network doesn’t appear to get games, so much as they get match summaries but they do get some on ESPN.  Europe gets the games on Eurosport but they are limited to two matches a week.  The Middle East and North Africa get two live matches a week.  New Zealand gets one live match a week on Sky, with additional coverage during sports related news casts.  Canada gets one game a week.  There is no indication that these games air live in Central and South America, Asia, and Oceania.  Airing of games in Africa is only very recent in a deal that appears to have taken place midway through the 2009 season. There clearly is an international market for the AFL and it is being fed.

In the United States, the major site for info on Australian rules football, Australian Football Association of North America, gets only about 503 visitors a month.  For the official AFL site, Compete estimates the size of the United States visiting population at 6,736 for the past month.  This is relatively small population that we are talking about.  Alexa says that the official AFL site gets 2.6% of its traffic from countries other than Australia, Sri Lanka, the United States, the United Kingdom, China and India.  Alexa does not rank the official site in Ecuador, Germany, Thailand, or France.

With that all in mind, time for Twitter data.  The team with the most followers it the Adelaide Crows with 3,696 follows.  The Essendon Bombers come in second with 3,808 followers.  The Collingwood Magpies are third at 3,506 followers and the Sydney Swans are fourth with 3,160 followers.  At the bottom are the Gold Coast Football Club with 139 followers.  The second smallest team in term of followers count is are the Fremantle Dockers with 282 followers.  Third is the Brisbane Lions with 363 followers.  All the other teams have follow counts above 500 and below 300.  Comparing the totals to the totals for LiveJournal clones, which is admittedly a bit small, something feels a bit out of whack but as I’m not Australian, not exposed to AFL coverage on a regular basis as part of my local news watching and reading, I’m not sure what.  The Essendon Bombers are number one for most followers on Twitter but rank 13th for total fans on LiveJournal clones.  The Collingwood Magpies rank 9th for population total on LJ clones and 3rd for followers on Twitter.  The Carlton Blues rank last for followers on LiveJournal clones but 6th on Twitter.  The Hawthorn Hawks rank 4th on LiveJournal clones and 11th on Twitter.  The Brisbane Lions rank 3rd on LiveJournal clones and 11th on Twitter.  The Fremantle Dockers rank 2nd on LiveJournal clones and 15 on Twitter.

As I implied above, there is an international audience for the AFL but the size of it is some what limited.  Twitter Analyzer’s numbers don’t add up when comparing them to total followers so I’m not sure how accurate they really are. Overall, when total follower counts for all teams are added together, the total is 26,134 followers.  Based on Twitter Analyzer, 15,191 people do not list their country in their profiles.  That leaves us with 10,943 people who do list their country which would be fine but  9,059 are from Australia and 4,669 are from the United States which shouldn’t be possible.  Given that, I’m just going to compare the totals based on the data that Twitter Analyzer provides and ignore the total followers numbers from Twitter.

Using these numbers, 59.6% of all followers of official AFL accounts are Australians.  Americans represent 30.7% of all followers.  Great Britain accounts for 3.3% of all followers.  Germany, Ecuador, and India all have percentages between 1.0 and 1.9%.   In addition to those numbers, 42 accounts from Greenland, 68 from Thailand, 18 from Vietnam and 31 from Argentina follow these official team Twitter accounts.

I’m going to call highjinks here.  I know there is a US audience for the AFL.  We have our own domestic leagues, which attract a small audience mostly of die hard fans and people connected to the players.  The games are televised.  But I cannot believe that the Australian audience for teams on Twitter is only twice that of the US audience.  I’m also having a hard time believe that Ecuador and Argentina have a large following on Twitter.  I don’t believe that these numbers are a reliable indicator of international interest by country in these teams.  Evidence seems to indicate that two of the following are likely taking place: People are not listing the country they are actually from AND that these accounts have people following them with the intention of trying to get an autofollow back.  This data just is not reliable to determine the size of an team’s audience, or even the team’s effectiveness at using Twitter to reach their target audience.

That said, the following is a country by country break down based on the numbers from Twitter Analyzer.

 

Adelaide Crows community on LiveJournal, its clones and Blogger

December 29th, 2009

This post is a series of posts looking at the size of Australian sports leagues on LiveJournal, its clones and other social networks. Four earlier posts were Australian Football League on JournalFen , Australian Football League community on DeadJournal , National Rugby League on DeadJournal and JournalFen, and Australian Football League on LiveJournal clones like Blurty, Dreamwidth Studios and InsaneJournal .

This posts looks at the size of community for the Adelaide Crows on LiveJournal and Blogger.  Posts about both these networks will be separate based on teams because getting data the data sets for the AFL are too difficult to mine by hand in a timely manner. The size of the individual team communities on these two services is also bigger than the size of the total AFL community on some of the LiveJournal clones.  Data for LiveJournal was gathered on December 24, 2009.  Data for Blogger was collected on December 29, 2009.

77 users Adelaide Crows as an interest on LiveJournal.  This community is more active on the site than their counterparts on LiveJournal clones with 14 people who have updated in the past week and 28 total who have updated in the past year.  Only 5 have never updated.  Of the 77 users, 25 list their year of birth.  For the group, the mean is 1984, median is 1985 and mode is 1988.  Like the clones, most of the community for this team is based in South Australia with 59% of 44 of the 55 people listing it as their state of residence.  There is a small population representing other Australian states: 4 from Victoria, 3 from New South Wales, 2 from Queensland, 1 from Tasmania and the Northern Territory.  In addition to the Australia, two people from the United States include the team as an interest.  One of them is from California and the other is from Arizona.

The community of people listing the Adelaide Crows, or Adelaide and another footy related interest, on Blogger is small with only 16 people.  This is much smaller than the community on LiveJournal.  One of the things that can be determined with the Blogger population is the male to female ratio in the community.  For the Adelaide Crows, 6 people identify as female, 8 as male and 4 do not identify.  10 people list their age on blogger.  Of these, one is an obvious incorrect age as 253 years old is not possible.  Of the other 9,  the mean age is 25, and the median and mode age is 20.   The youngest is 16 an the oldest is 59.  11 people list their a birth date, which blogger displays as an astrological sign.  In this group, 3 are Pisces, 2 are Aries, Capricorns and Gemini, and 1 are Libras and Taurus.  In terms of location, all but two are from Australia.  Of those two, one is from the United States and one does not list a country of residence.  For the 16 Australians, 8 are from South Australia, 2 are from Victoria and 1 are from New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

With six networks, the geographic picture of this community indicated that the team’s base is very much that of South Australia.

Australian Football League on LiveJournal clones like Blurty, Dreamwidth Studios and InsaneJournal

December 28th, 2009

This post is a series of posts looking at the size of Australian sports leagues on LiveJournal and its clones. Three earlier posts were Australian Football League on JournalFen , Australian Football League community on DeadJournal and National Rugby League on DeadJournal and JournalFen. These posts acknowledge that the communities aren’t very big and in the grand scheme of things, this is not very meaningful in terms of understanding sports communities in Australia.  Still, hopefully they can lead people to be more curious about online demographics and the activity level of these communities .

Do communities for the AFL exist on other LiveJournal clones?  The answer is yes, but for the vast majority of them, they do not.  This post examines LiveJournal clones and some of their characteristics.  It identifies those networks which have people with an interest in the AFL and then does a deeper examination of those networks.

Outside of JournalFen and DeadJournal, there a number of LiveJournal clones.  These include asks.jp, blurty, CrazyLife, Dreamwidth Studios, Inksome, InsaneJournal, Ivanovo, IziBlog, Kraslan, OpenWeblog, Scribbld, Sviesta Ciba and ????????.  Each of these caters to a unique audience with its own history. 

About half of these are non-English based service.  They include asks.jp targeted at a Japanese audience that does not rank for Australian visitors.  It also includes Ivanovo which is geared at a Russian speaking audience and does not rank for an Australian audience.  Kraslan and ???????? are bot clones aimed at Russian speakers that did not rank for on Alexa for Australian visitors.  Sviesta Ciba is a Latvian language based LiveJournal clone that does not rank on Alexa for Australian visitors.  Unsurprisingly, none of these non-English based LiveJournal clones have a community that expresses interest in the Australian Football League.  (Or the National Rugby League for that matter.)

The English speaking LiveJournal clones include blurty, CrazyLife, Dreamwidth Studios, Inksome, InsaneJournal, IziBlog, OpenWeblog and Scribbld.  Blurty was one of the most popular LiveJournal clones that was most active five to six years ago and for a while was one of a series of clones used by fandom_wank.  Its traffic has since fallen off a cliff and it has only had 715 users update in the past 24 hours on December 24.  It does not rank on Alexa for Australian traffic.  CrazyLife is a small LiveJournal clone that only had 5 accounts updated in the past 24 hours and only 62 of its 44,323 accounts include Australians.  Dreamwidth Studios is a new LiveJournal clone that launched in May 2009 and caters mostly to a media fandom audience. Of the 468044 accounts on December 27, only 1,797 list Australian as their country of residence.  According to Alexa on December 28, the site ranks as 7,337 in Australia.  Inksome was originally founded as scribblit and was the first LiveJournal clone created specifically in response to LiveJournal’s Strikethrough event in May 2007.  It catered a bit to LiveJournal media fandom and never really took off.  As of December 27, 2009, it had only 79 accounts that had been active in the last 24 hours and only 138 of 30,323 accounts list the country of residence as Australia.  The site does not rank in Australia.  InsaneJournal is one of the most popular LiveJournal clones.  As of December 27, 2009, 3,174 active accounts or 890 more active accounts than Dreamwidth.  The site has fewer Australians, with only 910 users listing Australia as their country of residence.  Alexa ranks the site as 4,885 in Australia. Iziblog is a small LiveJournal clone that had only 8 accounts updated in the 24 hour period around December 24, 2009 and did not rank on Alexa for Australian sites.  OpenWeblog is a tiny LiveJournal clone with only 3,780 total accounts, of which two had been updated in the 24 hour period on December 27, 2009 and the site does not rank in Australia.  Scribbld is another small LiveJournal clone.  It has 33,343 accounts as of December 27, 2009 of which 77 of those accounts were active in the last 24 hours.  Only 32 of those accounts list their ountry of residence as Australia, where the traffic does not rank on Alexa. 

Of these clones, Blurty, CrazyLife, Dreamwidth Studios, Inksome, and InsaneJournal had communities which listed AFL as an interest.  None of the others, as of December 24, 2009, listed AFL as an interest, neither were teams listed as interests on these services.

28 people list the AFL as an interest on blurty.  Of these, only two people are from the United States and one does not list a country.  The rest are Australians.  Of these, seven list their year of birth.  The median year of birth is 1982.7, median is 1984 and mode is 1985.  None of these users have updated recently, with the most recent update happening 196 weeks ago and five of them never having updated.  They represent a number of states: 8 from Victoria, 3 from New South Wales, 2 from South Australia, Queensland and the ACT, 1 from Tasmania and Western Australia, and 4 Australians who did not list a state of residence.  Blurty has four teams where people list them as an interest.  They include the Adelaide Crows, the Brisbane Lions, the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Sydney Swans.  The Swans have three fans who list them as an interest, the Lions have two fans, and the North Melbourne Kangaroos and Adelaide Crows both have one fan who lists them as an interest.  This represents a total of seven individuals.  With the exception of the Swans and one fan, all the fans are from the state that the team plays in.

CrazyLife has five people who list AFL as an interest.  Three of these are the same person.  Two are from South Australia and one does not list a state.  One lists an age of 1985 and the other 1986. Of the three, the most recent update was 234 weeks ago.  Two people list specific teams as an interest: One listing the Fremantle Dockers and the Hawthorn Hawks, the other with three accounts listing the Adelaide Crows.

Twelve people list the AFL as an interest on Dreamwidth Studios.  Of these, three are from Victoria, two are from New South Wales and Queesnland and one is from Qestern Australia.  Only three of these twelve accounts have updated in the last week.  Two have been been updated and five have not been updated in the past 28 weeks or more.    There are four teams that are listed as interests: The Adelaide Crows with five people, Brisbane lions with one person, the Fremantle Dockers with one person and the Sydney Lions with one person.  The Adelaide Crows may have the largest group of fans but only one has updated in the past twenty weeks.  The fan of the Brisbane Lions has never updated.  The Fremantle Dockers fan updated in the past week.  The fan of the Sydney Swans last updated 32 weeks ago.

The Inksome community had one user from South Australia who listed the AFL and the Adelaide Crows as an interest.  They have never posted a blog entry on their inksome account.

On InsaneJournal, fifteen people list the AFL as an interest.  Of these, one lists the US as their country of residence and are clearly a fan of the American Arena Football League.  The other does not list a country and it cannot be determined by other information available on their profile. Of the remaining thirteen, Three are from Western Australia, two are from Victoria and one is from Queensland.  The rest do not list their state of residence.  One last updated in the past week. Another last updated eleven weeks ago   Four have never updated.  Four last updated between 85 and 124 weeks ago. Six last updated between 41 and 58 weeks ago. Five people list their year of birth: 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986. Twelve people list interest in nine teams: Three for the Adelaide Crows, one for the Brisbane Lions, two for the Freemantle Dockers, one for the Hawthorn Hawks, one for the North Melbourne Kangaroos, one for the St. Kilda Saints, three for the West Coast Eagles and one for the Western Bulldogs.  There are several fans of teams located outside their home state: The Fremantle Dockers have a fan from Victoria, the North Melbourne Kangaroo have a fan from Western Australia and the Western Bulldogs have a fan from Minnesota in the United States.  With the exception of one Fremantle Dockers fan, none of the people listing specific teams as interest has updated earlier than 48 weeks ago and five of those have never updated.

The AFL community on LiveJournal clones, expressed by listing the AFL as an interest, looks like this when all the different networks are looked at together:

One of the problems with this little analysis is that there are often inconsistent uses of a team’s name that can make it hard to distinguish fans of a team from a city or another sports team.  For example, people might include Brisbane or Lions as an interest when they are actually fans of the Brisbane Lions.  As both are so common, it is a problem when trying to compile a data set like this.  What it means is that in actuality, the fan base for a team might actually be larger than the listing of interests indicates.  In general, it is why I tend to use membership in communities dedicated to a source to evaluate a community’s size and interest on a LiveJournal clone.  This is problematic as these clones are so small that they do not have a user base that is interested in creating communities for their teams.  With larger social networking sites or dedicated sites, this should be less problematic and the data should be more reliable.

National Rugby League on DeadJournal and JournalFen

December 24th, 2009

This post is a series of posts looking at the size of Australian sports leagues on LiveJournal and its clones. Two earlier posts were Australian Football League on JournalFen and Australian Football League community on DeadJournal. These posts acknowledge that the communities aren’t very big and in the grand scheme of things, this is not very meaningful in terms of understanding sports communities in Australia. 

Australia’s second major sports league is the National Rugby League.  It is popular in different parts of the country than the Australian Football League., with more fans of and teams in the NRL hailing from Queensland than the AFL.   In terms of LiveJournal clones, it is interesting to compare the two communities in terms of size and state location.

For the AFL, JournalFen has a total of four fans for the league and specific teams.  The National Rugby League in comparison has zero fans who list it or specific teams as an interest on JournalFen.  JournalFen also has no communities dedicated to the league or a team.  This particular LiveJournal clone has always catered a bit more towards media fandom and it has a small community, with only 85 accounts having posted an entry in the last 24 hours.

The community on DeadJournal for the NRL is larger than the one on JournalFen.  The general interest in the league, expressed by listing NRL as an interest, was smaller than that of the AFL on DeadJournal;  5 people versus 13 people.

Of the five people who list the NRL as an interest, three list a year of birth or make it easy to determine, based on their profile description, their year of birth.  The years were 1987, 1988, 1989.  Four of the five listed the state they lived in: Three live in New South Wales and one in Queensland.  None of these accounts have been updated recently.  The most recent was 188 weeks, or a little over 3 and a half years ago.

There are a several fans for specific NRL teams on DeadJournal.  This small community of six people is twice the size of the team specific interest for the AFL.  The most popular team on DeadJournal is the Newcastle Knights, with four people listing the team as an interest.  Newcastle Knights fans list their years of birth as: 1986,1986, and 1987.  One person does not list a year of birth. Three people list their state of residence: Two are from New South Wales and one is from Queensland.  These fans haven’t updated recently with the most recent update 265 weeks ago.  Two other teams have people listing them as an interest: The Melbourne Storm and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.  Both these teams have one person listing them as an interest.  The Melbourne Storm is from Victoria, was born in 1987 and last updated 203 weeks ago.  The South Sydney Rabbitohs fan does not list a year of birth or state of residence; they last updated 388 weeks ago.

The NRL community on both JournalFen and DeadJournal is smaller than that of the AFL.  The small NRL community is based more in New South Wales than the AFL community on both services.  They are inactive and probably not relevant in any grand scheme of thing for determining the size and shape of both leagues online communities.

Australian Football League on JournalFen

December 22nd, 2009

Like DeadJournal, JournalFen is a LiveJournal clone.   It has a smaller active user base than DeadJournal with only 95 users updating in the past 24 hours on December 22, 2009.  JournalFen has 250 users that list themselves as being from Australia.   Surprisingly, according to Alexa, JournalFen is ranked 2,385 in Australia and accounts for 19.7% of all traffic to JournalFen.

I’m currently exploring the size and shape of the Australian Football League community on LiveJournal clones.  This piece explores the community on JournalFen.  To find the size of the AFL community on JournalFen, I went to the Interest Search using AFL and each current and past team in the AFL.   Three people listed the AFL as an interest.  One was born in 1975, one in 1991 and one did not list a year of birth.  One is from the ACT, one is from Victoria and one does not list  a state they are from.

Unlike DeadJournal, JournalFen attracts a large audience specifically for certain communities that sometimes do not allow anon commenting. Users are thus incentivized to register but, because of the small size and lack of audience, not necessarily to utilize it for their primary blogging space.   This may explain why the three people who list AFL as an interest have last updated, at the earliest, 189 weeks ago.

People listing teams as an interest is comparable to DeadJournal: Three teams have people who list them as an interest.  Two, Fremantle Dockers and Sydney Swans, have one person each who list them as an interest.  One, the Hawthorn Hawks, have two people who list them as an interest; one is listed under Hawthorn and the other under Hawthorn Hawks.  This actually represents a total of three people because one user lists two teams as an interest.  Two of the people who list teams also list the AFL as an interest.

For the Fremantle Dockers, the person does not list a state and lists 1987 as a year of birth.  For the Hawthorn Hawks, one person is from the ACT and lists 1975 as their year of birth. The other one is from Victoria and lists 1991 as their year of birth.  For the Sydney Swans, the person is from the ACT and lists 1975 as their year of birth.

The community for the AFL is tiny.  It is hard to draw any conclusion about it as it only has four people.

Australian Football League community on DeadJournal

December 22nd, 2009

DeadJournal is a LiveJournal clone.  It isn’t very active.  Only 279 accounts were updated in the past 24 hours.  Despite this, Alexa indicated that this particular LiveJournal clone is more proportionally more popular in Australia than in the United States, where it ranks 37,038 compared to 100,135.  Australian visitors account for about 6.1% of all visitors to DeadJournal.

I was interested to see the size and shape of the Australian Football League community on DeadJournal.  To do this, I went to the Interest Search using AFL and each current and past team in the AFL. 13 people list AFL as an interest. Not all of these individuals are necessarily interested in the Australian Football League.  The AFL also stands for the Arena Football League, a defunct indoor American football.  It is possible that people listing AFL as an interest could be referencing this league, especially as the league formally folded this year.  (It was in hiatus the previous year as a result of the economic downturn.) 

Of the 13 people listing AFL as an interest, only two were Americans.  Three people did not list what country they lived in.  The other eight people were from Australia. Of these Australians, two were from Western Australia, two were from Victoria, two were from South Australia, one was from Queensland and one did not list a state. 

Six of the eight Australians listed their year of birth.  The mean, median and mode year of birth for these DeadJournal members was 1985.   That puts their age at around 24 years.

The DeadJournal people listing AFL as an interest are not very active on the service any more.  The most recent update of a journal by some one listing AFL as an interest was 66 weeks ago.  That is 15 months ago.  The mean last update for these 8 users was 309 weeks or almost 6 years ago.  The median last update was 345 weeks or 366 weeks or 6 years and 7 months ago.

The community for specific teams is even smaller than general interest in the AFL.   Of the sixteen current teams and three former teams, only three teams have people listing them as an interest.  These teams are Collingwood Magpies, Port Adelaide Power, and the Western Bulldogs.  Each of those teams has one person listing them as an interest and none list the AFL as an interest.  All of those fans are from Melbourne, Victoria.  The most recent update was for the Collingwood fan, who last updated 323 weeks ago.  The Collingwood fan does not list a year of birth.  The Port Adelaide Power fan lists a year of birth of 1987. The Western Bulldogs fan lists a year of birth of 1986.

The community for the AFL, based on interests, is small, young, Australian based and has been inactive for over three years.  It will be interesting to see how this LiveJournal clone compares to others like Blurty, Dreamwidth Studios, InsaneJournal and JournalFen.

Our history on Fan History in 2009

December 21st, 2009

We’ve covered a lot of history happening in 2009 and made a fair amount of history for ourselves. This is a year end summary of some our own history for the year. We’ve done a fair amount and are excited about the possibilities for the new year.

January 2009
During the early part of January, Fan History’s staff was busy creating an awareness campaign for our project on LiveJournal and InsaneJournal. We were also trying to get people involved in editing the wiki, to help improve the quality of articles related to their fandom. This was a continuation of an effort started at the end of 2008.

February 2009
In early February, we were happy to announce that January 2009 was, to date, our highest monthly traffic and all of it was wank free. This was important to us as we had been criticized in the past for trying to use wank for traffic. We felt this validated that we could successfully get traffic and did get traffic wank free.

Organizational issues have always been an issue on Fan History. Periodically, our staff creates flow charts to explain how we organize things. We created one using Superman fandom as an example. This chart was created to address the problems of fandoms of the same name having multiple canonical sources in several mediums.

On February 10, Fan History posted a listing for internship opportunities with the wiki.

In late February, Fan History’s admins and community discussed changing the article deletion policy.

March 2009
During the early part of March, Fan History’s contributors were actively working on improving a link list related to Race Fail 2009. The activity around these articles petered out around March 15, when things during that situation quieted down. We were really pleased with the reception that the articles related to Race!Fail recieved as our goal was to provide an unbiased and thorough reporting of the events that took place.

On March 17, FanworksFinder was effectively closed down. The underlying software was pligg and was extremely vulnerable to spam. The quantities that were coming in, and the number of spam registrations, made it a hassle to hand currate that problem away. Rather than take the site down, the registration and link submission pages were disabled. Despite looking, we could not find a developer to help fix this problem.

During mid-March, Fan History’s admins discussed our real name deletion policy. Comments were invited from the community. These changes made it easier for everyone involved in removing people’s real names from the wiki.

Fan History tweaked our article deletion policy in mid-March. This was done to clarify some issues.

On March 18, Fan History changed the network that the IRC based channel was hosted on. The switch was made to irc.freenode.net because of freenode’s dedication to open source projects and because other important wiki chats are located there. That includes AboutUs, wikihow, Wikipedia, Wikia, RecentChangesCamp, Mediawiki and YourWiki.

Fan History’s admins had been nervous and repeatedly saving small changes because of losing edits. At RecentChangesCamp, they became aware of a drafts extension that wikiHow had developed. wikiHow provided us with a copy and emufarmers tweaked and installed it.

April 2009
Around April 8, the Race!Fail situation blew up a bit again and Fan History’s contributors were once again editing related articles.

On April 21, after private information was accidentally re-included in an article, drafts were disabled on the wiki.

In mid-April, the announcement was made that Geocities was closing down. In response, we created the Fan History Geocities Preservation Project. The goal was to document the etymologies of terminology using definitions found on Geocities, screencap fansites on Geocities, create a list of stories archived on Geocities, and get lists of fanzines that could only be found on Geocities.

Privacy guidelines on Fan History were tweaked on April 21. This was in response to the situation involving Russet Noon.

In late April, Fan History added around 13,000 stub articles about movies and movie fandoms. This attracted a number of contributions from one or two of our regular contributors.

On April 29, Fan History added over 1,500 articles about fanzines. Areas that saw an increase in articles included the following fandoms: soccer/football, rugby, basketball, Rat Patrol, due South, Sentinel, Star Wars, furry fandom, Punk, music, and Indiana Jones. This meant that Fan History now had one of the most comprehensive listings of fanzines on the Internet.

May 2009
Around May 4, mammoth!fail, involving Patricia Wrede, kicked off and Fan History’s contributors and admins were once again busy editing Race Fail related articles.

Part of LiveJournal media fandom were very interested in Dreamwidth Studios. The blogging service opened to the public in May and Fan History was busy getting stats on total number of active members for most of the month. This manual stat gathering continued into June.

On May 15, after re-evaluating admin editing practices, drafts was re-enabled.

Between May 23 and May 26, a bot created by Lewis Collard for Fan History Wiki created a number of articles about episodes of television shows. The purpose of these articles was to help people define activity in a television fandom that took place in response to an episode. This information could then be integrated into articles about a show’s fandom. It was also viewed as another tool to help contributors promote their own works as an incentive to contribute to the wiki.

On May 27, Nile Flores joined Fan History’s admin staff. For a while, she was doing most of our tweets on our Twitter stream.

For a while at the end of May, Fan History was the the largest non-Wikipedia, non-modified MediaWiki install wiki that was not a Wikimedia Foundation project. Or at least according to the list kept on s23.org. Fan History would later be displaced when a few other wikis were added and other wikis grew.

In late May, Fan History saw increased interest in Michael Jackson in response to his comeback tour in London. We also saw an increase in interest in our AdultFanFiction.Net article.

June 2009
During June, some people involved with Race!Fail came in to update their own links and clarify their own involvement during the situation. This included Kathryn Cramer, Will Shetterly and Greg London. The edits that these contributors made were neutral accountants of their own involvement and we were happy to see them contributing.

In early June, interest in Naruto related articles spiked. Some of this was connected to the Naruto related articles we added.

On June 14, Fan History changed the procedure for how administrators handle deletion requests.

During mid-June, Fan History’s founder ran for LiveJournal’s User Advisory Board. She cited her experience with Fan History as a good reason to support her nomination. She didn’t get the 100 votes to make the ballot.

On June 25, Fan History created a Facebook fan page. It was subsequently mostly forgotten after that.

Michael Jackson died on June 25 and Fan History saw a huge spike in our Michael Jackson related content as a result. Traffic for Michael Jackson fan fiction related search terms would remain consistent at about 10 to 20 visits a day for the rest of the year.

At the end of June, Fan History’s founder lost her job. This was stressful as this employment helped cover Fan History’s cost out of pocket.

July 2009
On July 7, Fan History was the feature site of the day on AboutUs.Org. AboutUs is one of the biggest and most influential wiki sites on the Internet. Advice from their founder and employees have been influential in helping Fan History formulate its own policies. This recognition from them was awesome.

In mid-July, two of Fan History’s stat bots died. They kept track of daily posting levels on fan fiction archives and various LiveJournal communities.

During July, Fan History experienced record traffic. This was the result of several factors including Michael Jackson passing away, being featured on AboutUs, having been mentioned on Mashable, and continuing traffic to our Race!Fail related articles.

In late July, there were a few really high traffic days to Fan History’s Cassandra Clare article and The Police article.

August 2009
August continued with the pattern started in July: A major increase in traffic. After August 8, traffic slowly began to wane but still continued at levels higher than earlier in the year.

In mid August, there was a huge increase in interest in Fan History’s article about Draco/Hermione.

In late August, we saw an increase in traffic to our Jon and Kate Gosselin related articles. Much of this can be attributed to increased interest in the couple because of their divorce announcement.

September 2009
In late August, SurveyFail kicked off on a large scale. We started covering it on September 2. It was linked to extensively.

Fan History makes a point not to tell people that we link to them when covering emerging fandom kerfluffles. This is because we believe that doing so has the possibility of derailing conversations. On September 4, we blogged about this.

On September 8, we created an official Dreamwidth community. This was to complement our InsaneJournal asylum. We just were never very good at updating it. That same day, we also blogged about developing communities on smaller wikis.

During early and mid-September, Fan History’s admins discussed notability as it pertains to the wiki’s deletion policies. Input was sought from the community to help make the policy as compliant with the multiple and often time conflicting views of fandom. This was in response to an article deletion request from a participant in Race!Fail.

On September 20, we blogged about why we would not be joining Wikia. The gist of it is that Wikia promised us they would host us, demanded that we turn over our domains, would create a situation where would could not back out… oh and wouldn’t pay us for any of that. We’re not running Fan History with the idea of getting rich. (The site costs us more money than we’ve ever made off of it.) But if we’re going to give Fan History to some one, we want something in return.

On September 22, Dandizette published an with Fan History’s founder regarding Geocities preservation efforts.

On September 25, Fan History published its first of three white papers that would be published this year. This paper was titled “Fan Fiction’s Predictive Value for Nielsen Ratings” (appendix) In it, we used data that had been gathered on Fan History to show that fan fiction posting levels is predictive in terms of Nielsen Ratings. This white paper was mentioned on Y!Pulse.

October 2009
LambdaFail took place during September and Fan History covered it. linkspam, an anti-oppresion community on Dreamwidth Studios, had also been covering it. elfwreck, one of the communities admins, had been accused of oppresion by taking the side of heterosexuals. This accusation sent the community in to hiatus. In response to this situation, our admin staff offered to step in and help provide links to oppression related kerfluffles. We got turned down because we were too unbiased. linkspam never found anyone else willing to take it over who was biased in the right way.

On Ocotber 5, we started another experiment with ads on Fan History. We were using Project Wonderful again and a skin given to us by Transformer Wiki. The skin caused some problems but as the founder had some money issues, this was viewed as an okay tradeoff in the short term.

In October, Fan History talked to a major wiki site about the possibility of being acquired by them. Fan History chose this particularly wiki because the staff felt that they shared Fan History’s values in terms of community and content. While it did not happen, the staff felt they learned a lot and it reaffirmed the direction that Fan History was going.

In mid-October, LiveJournal media fandom did fail again with the science fiction community. Fan History covered this on the with with The War on Science Fiction and on the blog.

On October 14, we published our second white paper, MLB Game Attendance and Alternative Social Network Group Engagement. The data and information gathered from this white paper was integrated into the wiki in our baseball category.

On October 26, Geocities closed. It formally brought to a close Fan History’s preservation efforts. During the last few days, Fan History’s admin and volunteer team were busy trying to screen cap sites, and encourage people to use a Firefox extension to help easily update articles about Geocities fansites. Lewis Collard provided us with a list of Geocities fansite from the Open Directory Project. This list was then converted in to wiki articles. All told some 10,000 articles were created. Creating the category structure for these articles went on well in to December 2009. Fan History owes a huge debt of gratitude to Lewis Collard and Illyism from wikiHow for their help.

In late October, we added over 2,500 stub articles about wikis hosted on Wikia.

November 2009
During early November, Fan History saw a spike in interest in Russet Noon. Our admins looked into the situation, updated the article about the novel and blogged about it. If you’re curious, it looks like Lady Sybilla has deleted much of her online presence.

On November 10, we revisited organizational patterns on Fan History. This time, we looked at it on the blog. Two areas we looked at was fan fiction archive category structure and blogs. This identified some problem areas and inconsistent categorization problems. These have been

In the second week of November, we discovered that back around September, a Fanlore contributor had uploaded several images licensed only to Fan History to that wiki. They had also lifted, unattributed, several articles about fanzines from Fan History. This was both annoying and extremely flattering. The flattering part was because members of the Organization for Transformative Works had been extremely critical of our work on Fan History and had questioned the credibility of the wiki. That they were now taking our work and using it word for word, even if uncited and in violation of our copyright, it was still extremely flattering. It meant that we made it.

In mid-November, Fan History’s domain was unblacklisted from Wikipedia.org. This was done on the promise that Fan History’s admin staff would not link spam Wikipedia again. We made this promise, had a Wikimedia Foundation contributor and staff member vouch for us and it was done. This had been a bit of a sore point when it came up durin the Russet Noon drama. Still, as we had wrongly link spammed, we understood why it had been done.

On November 18, Fan History started the formal proposal of trying to get acquired by the Wikimedia Foundation to address our back end issues, front end issues, credibility issues and monetary issues. Fan History been in contact with people at the Foundation before this to discuss this possibility. The expectations were none, as Wikimedia Foundation had never acquired a project before. The thought was to offer ourselves more as a case study for how they could handle this in the future.

In mid-November 2009, Fan History ended its experiment with Project Wonderful ads on wiki. In the two months the ads had been on site, the wiki ended up earning $22.00. The only place that Project Wonderful ads remain on Fan History is on the blog. There, they currently earn about $0.02 to $0.04 a day.

LiveJournal statistics were gathered on November 17 and November 30th. The data was written up in meta posts on Fan History’s blog on posts like What does the OTW look like? and lion_lamb: A sneak peak into the composition of the Twilight fandom. Charts and graphs from this data also slowly worked its way in to the wiki.

In late November, we were sad to see emufarmers go. We brought on ShakataGaNai who did a fresh install of Mediawiki, fixed some problems that had existed for a while like our missing RSS, our skin, inability to login in to the blog, integrating ads into our skin, etc. This was pretty exciting for Fan History as backend issues were causing considerable stress.

Twitter became more important to Fan History as efforts were made to tweet news and interact more starting in late November. Most of this work was being done on @fanhistory and @fanhistorywiki.

December 2009
In early December, Fan History switched to Amazon Associates in another experiment at trying to make the wiki more self funding and less of a finacial strain on the founder. A few days later, Fan History added a donation button so people could support the wiki via paypal. After that, search links for Amazon were placed in the right hand corner of articles.

On December 8, Fan History published a case study with recommendations for how the Wikimedia Foundation should handle their procedure for requests to be required in the future. This was published on Fan History’s blog and on the Strategy Wiki.

By mid-December, the images and articles with problematic copyright issues from Fan History had been removed from Fanlore Wiki. This was gratifying as trying to figure out how to lodge a copyright complaint on their wiki was confusing.

On December 12, Fan History changed its copyright to CC-BY-SA. This was done in response to advice on the Wikimedia Foundation mailing list and after some mentions about the possibility and discussion on Fan History’s blog. The switch made us fandom friendlier.

On December 14, Fan History added Bugzilla. This made the reporting of errors on the wiki much easier and also heralded in a new era of addressing some of back end problems.

On December 17, Fan History’s admins launched a LiveJournal/InsaneJournal/Dreamwidth Studios based Fandom Newsletter. The purpose was to try to aggregate some of the meta discussion and news events happening in fandom to a wider audience than the one currently found on the wiki. A lot of this type of link collection was already being done on the wiki itself on fandom specific pages so it felt like a natural fit for our admin team. At the same time, some of the prominent communities on those services doing that had stopped updating regularly or were limiting their content. This included metafandom and linkspam.

On December 18, Fan History finished adding roughly 77,000 articles about sports teams around the world. This continued a larger project the wiki had launched to expand our scope beyond fan fiction and LiveJournal based fan communities.

During mid-December, Fan History Wiki became the second largest non-modified Mediawiki install that was not a Wikimedia Foundation project or Wikia wiki according to s23.org.

By the end of December, Fan History Wiki had over 30 active contributors for that two week period. This was the time period with the most contributors all year.

sidewinder’s picks: The Top 10 Fannish Events of 2009

December 21st, 2009

In the spirit of the season, I decided to look back on 2009 and reflect on what I saw as the Top 10 fannish news stories, events, and kerfluffles of the past year. These are just my picks–what news stories and events did you think were the biggest? I’d be curious to hear other opinions and reflections from different corners of fandom.

10. The 2009 Warnings Debate. Warning debates seem to rise up every year, but the 2009 one was a real doozy. Taking place after a bandom story was posted without warnings, the debate quickly spread through LiveJournal media fandom as everyone took sides on the issue–and a few BNFs found themselves on the “wrong” side of the debate. Still, the debate brought serious discussion of triggers to the forefront, and I have noticed more people being sensitive to the use of–or warning for their lack of use of–warnings on their fic, as well as on general journal postings since then.

9. Dreamwidth Studios launches. After much discussion and anticipation in some circles for months, Dreamwidth Studios finally opened to the public in May of 2009. Initially there was a huge frenzy of support and excitement, with some members of media fandom abandoning (or having already abandoned after getting beta accounts) their LiveJournals for this new service. There was a fair-sized backlash against DW as well, with others content to stay where they were, annoyed by the fracturing of their reading lists and doubtful that fandom would pack up en masse to move to this new service. Time has proven the doubters, perhaps, to be correct. Recently some DW users have been posting about moving back to LJ as the community on DW had not taken off as they had hoped it would, and their corners of fandom are still largely staying where they were on LJ.

8. SurveyFail. Rarely has a metamob so quickly and so effectively shut a person down than when fandom went after “researcher” (and reality-tv “celebrity”) Ogi Ogas. Fandom doesn’t like to be conned or tricked, especially when it comes to media representations of slash fiction fans and writers. SurveyFail was a prime example of this.

7. The Eli Roth saga of doom. Celebrities are increasingly breaking the fourth wall with their fandoms in this internet age, and services like Twitter make that easier than ever to do. But this isn’t always a good thing, as Eli Roth proved when he started interacting with members of the gossip community ohnotheydidnt. Joking about slash fiction featuring his characters and posting pictures of him eating blueberries morphed one night into women (some potentially underage) sending him topless pictures of themselves and engaging in cybersex via MySpace. The incident sent ONTD into a tailspin of wank and lead many to wonder just how far is too far to go when fandom and celebrities mix on-line.

6. Jon and Kate divorce. The reality series Jon and Kate Plus 8 has been a mainstay of sites such as ONTD and the gossip magazines since the series first aired. Spurring lots of fan sites (as well as anti-fan sites), as the couple’s relationship hit the rocks this year, discussion and interest about them exploded on the internet. Here on FanHistory we saw a peak in traffic to our page about the show in August, as this news was breaking.

5. Russet Noon and LadySybilla. Never before in fandom history–and probably never again–had FanHistory, Fandom_wank, and Lee Goldberg found themselves on the same side of the fence: recording the history of (and mocking) a Twilight fan’s attempt to profit off a fan-written novel based in the Twilight universe. This massive kerfluffle exploded as the author, LadySybilla, targeted her critics in kind.

4. The Philadelphia Eagles sign Michael Vick. Despite having a baseball team make it to the World Series two years in a row, Philadelphia is still a football town, first and foremost. And the announcement that Michael Vick would be added to the team’s roster this season was a news story that rocked the city and outraged many fans. It was an especially difficult pill to swallow after the loss of fan favorite player, Brian Dawkins. The debate ran for months–and still continues today, even as the team heads to the playoffs: Should Vick really have been given a second chance? What are fans to do if they love a team, yet have strong moral objections to a player on it? Some sold their tickets for the season in protest; others came around to accepting Vick later in the year. Others still just wait and hope he will be traded away next season so they can go back to rooting for their team without guilt.

3. Star Trek, Rebooted. The release of the new Star Trek film this year managed to revitalize the fandom in a way that surprised and delighted many. Fans of the original series who were initially skeptical by and large embraced the film. The fandom exploded on LiveJournal, producing a huge array of fanworks in a short span of time. However, there was some wank and shipping wars to develop, largely between Kirk/Spock shippers and Spock/Uhura shippers. How this will continue as the new movie franchise moves on will be interesting to see.

2. Michael Jackson‘s death. It was the news story that nearly took down the internet: Michael Jackson, dead at 50. Many websites and social networking services temporarily crashed or were overloaded as people flocked on-line for news and updates. His passing lead many to reconsider the popstar’s life and works, fueling renewed debates over his behavior and legal troubles. It also lead to the formation of numerous new messageboards, communities, and websites devoted to him, and a blossoming interest in Michael Jackson fan-fiction.

1. Race Fail 2009. Unquestionably, RaceFail was THE fandom story (and debate) of the year. Beginning in January over a book by Elizabeth Bear, the situation exploded and raged heavily through science fiction and media fandom for months. Indeed, it would be easy to say that 2009 was basically a Year of Fail, as I speculated back in July in a previous blog post. Increased awareness of race, gender and ability privilege have been promoted again and again as failings have been pointed out, both in commercial media such as books and films and in our own fannish interactions with each other.

So what does that say for the year ahead? How will 2010 go down in the fannish history books? Guess we’ll have to wait until next December to find out.

FanLib Rehashed?

December 19th, 2009

I stumbled across the article Disney purchased FanLib in May/June 2008, two months before FanLib’s “closure.” which basically grumbles (sounded a bit bitter at least) about how FanLib was bought out by Disney two months before the site owners announced the site’s closing, all the while letting the community to speculated the reasons.

First off, as a web developer and web designer who has sold websites, there are several factors in these type of transactions. If the buyer invokes a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) then the seller cannot say anything other than what the buyer permits. The website owner reserves the right to release or not to release what information they wish to the public.

There really should be no debate, nor banning people because they do not agree with the topic. (which happened to me. No idea as I was stating a fact. Unfortunate I stumbled in a loony bin of megalomaniacs.) In fact, the whole ordeal with FanLib it is OLD news. Time to move on.

Websites are bought all the time. It is unfortunate when a popular site is closed and may be difficult to get over, but it is not to cry about. It is to get over it, learn from the experience, and create a better community. And EVEN if that community were to be bought too, there is nothing to say that another site like it either does not exist. There are plenty of communities that do exist.

When did businesses become fandoms?

December 19th, 2009

When did businesses become fandoms?  I was reading a Business Week article and it had the following quote:

Yelp also gives Google entrée to a loyal social community—something it has had difficulty building on its own in the past. Users of Yelp, often calling themselves “Yelpers,” have been known to form tight-knit groups that meet at favorite bars and hang-outs. “This is distinct from what Google is about,” says Greg Sterling, principle of Sterling Market Intelligence. Yelp’s is a fandom that lures a lot of interested advertisers.

Social groups do not a fandom make.  Just because the structures look the same does not mean they are fandom.  Fandom tends to describe a certain subset of activities inside of certain cultures in response to popular culture products.  Yelp! is not what I would ever describe as a fandom.

Today’s Twitter Follow Spammer is @StreetKingEnt

December 18th, 2009

In my continuing saga of pointing out Twitter follow spammers, today’s follow spammer is @StreetKingEnt. Like our previous Twitter follow spammers, this one has thousands of followers: 47839 followers to be exact. He follows 48054 people, or did when he followed one of the three Fan History accounts he followed.

Street King is now spamming you!

Unsurprising: He didn’t add any of the accounts he followed to lists.  He’s never going to read any of these accounts because two haven’t tweeted in at least six months.  The other one he followed has been busy tweeting about the problems of Twitter follow spammers.  He’s not selective.  He’s just gaming the system for autofollows to improve his follow count.  He’s never RTed fanhistory, never mentioned us, is never going to interact with us, isn’t offering content that we’re going to read, etc.  All he needs is those two dead accounts to have autofollow on and he wins.

Twitter needs to take action to stop this follow spam.  If you have over 2,000 followers, Twitter needs to ban you from following people first. 

Review: Chris Campion’s “Walking on the Moon: The Untold Story of the Police and the Rise of New Wave Rock”

December 17th, 2009

Review by sockii (Nicole Pellegrini)

As a die-hard fan of The Police, I was looking forward to reading this recently-published book about the band.

Unfortunately, Chris Campion’s Walking on the Moon: The Untold Story of the Police and the Rise of New Wave Rock is, quite simply, the most negatively-toned rock “biography” – and I use that term very lightly in this case – I can recall ever reading. While there is some interesting information contained within its 300 pages, each of those pages is so thoroughly laced with such glaring disdain on the author’s part for his subject matter, one is left truly puzzled over what motivated him to write the book in the first place. Is it pure sour grapes over the success of a band whose music he clearly dislikes, a band whose popularity he can’t understand unless dismissed away as the result of clever, aggressive marketing and the political climate of the time? Is it just a cheap shot at trying to cash in on the band’s name before buzz over their reunion tour fades away?

I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that Campion has put considerable time into researching his subject, if only to make sure there is no negative comment ever made about the band or its members, nor any questionable or scandalous incident about them, that he misses including.

The negativity starts subtly, but begins to creep in through even the simplest word choices used to describe the band members, their associates and their actions. Andy Summers “fumes”, “whines” and “sneers” throughout the book, painted by Campion as an intensely bitter man of questionable skill as a guitarist, clinging desperately to The Police as his last chance at stardom after failing to make it earlier in his career. Stewart Copeland is portrayed as a spoiled youngest child, an immature “frat boy” type, a pothead whose drumming is only referred to by Campion when he can bring up criticisms of Copeland’s time-keeping. Sting is a cruel egotist who Campion spends considerable effort trying to psychoanalyze, repeatedly referring to his Catholic upbringing and mother’s infidelity as the root of his many problems. Miles Copeland III is focused on nearly much as the band members themselves, illustrated as the ruthless force behind their success through his promotion and marketing schemes – even as all of his problems with other acts and artists (and later the Police themselves) are thoroughly detailed. The only one who gets off relatively unscathed is Ian Copeland, “the only good one of the bunch”, supposedly. Oh, and of course any of the band or Miles’ associates through the years who were interviewed directly by Campion so that they could air their personal grievances, including Cherry Vanilla, Jayne Country, Nigel and Chis Gray, and members of the band Squeeze.

Those looking for any real analysis of the band’s music? Look elsewhere. Campion has little interest in doing so beyond taking shots at Sting’s lyric writing and discussing the struggles they had in the studio, recording. Those hoping for good details on the three band members’ post-Police careers? Not to be found here. Sting is given the greatest focus, but mostly so he can be taken to task for everything including his poor acting, profiting off of black music and musicians, his dubious charitable causes and also his financial and personal relationship woes. Stewart is mostly dismissed except for Campion going into great detail over criticism of Copeland’s opera “Holy Blood and Crescent Moon”. Andy’s solo years barely merit two pages of coverage, primarily devoted to Campion mocking his photography as “little more than nicely-composed snapshots printed in black and white to give them a semblance of artsiness.”

The band’s reunion tour is briefly covered in the last chapter, primarily rehashing details well-covered in the press already and here used to further Campion’s argument that the band had no real impact on music except as an extreme marketing success story. He repeats much of his earlier criticism of the entire new wave movement, which has been almost as central a subject of the book as the band it’s advertised as being about. What he seems completely unaware of – or chooses not to acknowledge – is the lasting influence the band’s music has had on generations of musicians who have followed them. The Police made solid pop-rock music that was well-crafted and featured musicianship that was inspired, and inspiring. Whether they were as groundbreaking or revolutionary as The Beatles or Elvis Presley is not and should not be the question, nor the only meter by which their merit as musicians should be measured.

Looking through the notes and sources at the end of the book leaves the impression that Campion was quite thorough in his research, as previously noted. But he was also careless and sloppy. He makes numerous small mistakes that devoted Police fans are sure to pick up on, and it leads one to cast doubt on the veracity of all matters presented in the book as a result. For example, he gives the wrong date for the band’s final concert of the reunion tour at Madison Square Garden (August 9, 2008 when in fact it was August 7, 2008). He also claims they came out on stage in Police uniforms for the show, which was untrue; Sting donned a Police hat at the beginning of the show but that was it. He makes mistakes about which songs were cut from the second leg of the reunion tour and which ones were added. All minor details, yes, but it adds up to contribute to this reader’s poor impression of the work as a whole.

He devotes little effort to covering the fandom for the band, except again where he can potentially derive the most scandal and shock value from it. For instance, he devotes a page to the “bizarre” phenomenon of “slash fiction” about the band, misrepresenting bandfiction‘s roots and showing his lack of understanding of the genre and its motivations as being something undertaken by “female groupies”. That said, he does seem rather taken by the work of FanHistory’s own administrator, sidewinder, describing her fiction as “extraordinary” (in fact it seems to be one of the few things in the entire book he has any positive words for!) The only other times he talks about the fandom at all is when he can bring up kerfluffles and incidents such as Stewart’s infamous “Disaster Gig” blog post, and an incident involving a Police website set up by Miles Copeland that was accused of cheating money out of fans until the problem was addressed by Stewart and Andy. Perhaps given how little Campion seems to understand about the band’s popularity, it would have done him some good to actually interview some fans of the band to get their perspective, instead of trying to force his theories and hypothoses onto them.

Which in the end is all a shame, as a good book thoroughly covering the band’s complete history without an obvious agenda and bias would be much appreciated. This book simply isn’t it. One is much better off reading the respective autobiographies of each of the band members, and looking to find the truth somewhere in the middle of their individual recollections and points-of-view.

@rudezen joins the list of Twitter follow spammers

December 17th, 2009

If you haven’t figured it out, I’m growing annoyed and tired with the slew of Twitter follow spammers. It is killing the service. I’ve decided to chronically vent.

Previously, I brought to you Peter Cutler, @studio525, is obsessed with the wrong metrics. He is and he might some advantage out of it, like e-mail spammers who get one response in 10,000 and thus their work pays off.   The ROI might excellent for the follow spammers but the rest of us have to put up with their unwanted follows where we get nothing back in return.

Today’s candidate for spam follow is @rudezen who, having already 9,000 followers, continues to add more followers.  I don’t know Rudezen.  He’s never replied to my tweets.  He is unlikely to ever reply to my tweets as he’ll never see them on his list.  He isn’t interested in wikis.  He followed two of my accounts.  Neither of these accounts have balances that suggest they follow everyone.  (Both follow much fewer than follow us.)  He appears to be solely interested in getting more followers.  That makes him a Twitter follow spammer.

If you have more than 3,000 followers, there is almost NEVER a good reason for you to being following other people first.  If you have that many people you’re interested in following, that’s what lists are for: To identify people by category that you think are interesting.  Adding people to a list does not force on that person a decision to return the unwanted follow or not.  It doesn’t imply any sort of relationship or personal interests.  Adding people to lists still accomplishes the goal of watching interesting people.  Following implies more of a relationship and demands something back.  That in turn makes a person a Twitter spammer.  Stop with the spam follows people.

Fan History Wiki copyright switch: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 (“CC 3.0″)

December 12th, 2009

We’ve been doing a lot of backend improvements on Fan History. In the course of fixing things up, we’ve been looking at other fundamental issues to our going forward and excelling at our mission. One of the things that we realized was that we needed to make a switch in our copyright policy. We’ve chosen to go with Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 (“CC 3.0″).   We feel that this will help us in several areas:

  • Be able to use text contributions from other CC 2.0+ licensed projects. This includes Wikipedia, Wikia, and many, many more.
  • Have a more secure legal position. The enforceability and legality of our current copyright is a big potential issue. This would solve that problem by using a recognized, legal copyright.
  • Become future compatible. CC 3.0 will automatically upgrade to the latest version.
  • Help attract new contributors from other projects. People expect a certain license type if they want to be involved. Our current one is discouraging to some people in the wiki community.

If you have any questions about what this switch will mean, please read the rational for this.  If you made any contributions and object to this change, please comment on the page with refuse and we’ll work with you to reach some sort of resolution.  If you have yet still  more questions, comment here or on the talk page for the license upgrade switch.

This day in fandom history: November 18

November 18th, 2009

The following is a selection of some events that took place on fandom on this day:

FanFiction.Net status

November 17th, 2009

We’re getting hit with visits from at least four countries and ten visitors in the past half hour about people having connection problems with FanFiction.Net.  Beyond that, if there is an issue, we won’t know as we can access the site and FanFiction.Net doesn’t have any announcements on their site regarding downtime or other problems.

What does the Organization for Transformative Works look like?

November 17th, 2009

The Organization for Transformative Works is a fan advocacy group that runs Fanlore and An Archive of Our Own.  They were created on LiveJournal and most of their early and continued support continues to come from that community.  Much of that has to do with the reasons they were created: The group perceived Fanlib as a threat to fandom as a whole, and had issues with how LiveJournal treated its fans.. 

After having done a bit of an analysis of the Twilight fandom as represented by lion_lamb, I was curious to see how otw_news looked, especially when compared to lion_lamb.  How similar are they in terms of age, length of time on LiveJournal, the number of friends, the number of posts, etc. In the past, the group’s members have talked about doing advocacy on behalf of fandom to change media perceptions of fans.  The goal looked like they wanted to present their demographics as the norm.  That is what I am looking for here.

The Organization for Transformative Works’s founders and supporters were also vocally critical of LiveJournal’s commercial aspects, and discussed the need for a non-profit site that would cater to fan interests while being less susceptible to pressure from advertisers.  The actions by LiveJournal taken during StrikeThrough 2007 were one of the prime examples cited by this group to rationalize this position.  Many people talked about giving up paid accounts, not using Plus accounts, etc.  Given that history, I am curious as to the behaviors of the organization’s supporters in  the almost two and a half years since the groups founding: Are they more likely than Twilight fans to use basic accounts, less likely to give money directly to a company whose ethos runs counter to the group’s founding principles?

The methodology for gathering data for this analysis is the same as the one for for lion_lamb: A sneak peak into the composition of the Twilight fandom.  The community looked at is otw_news.  The data was gathered on November 15, 2009 and pulled from publicly available profile information for people who both watched and belonged to the community.   This means that 1,784 journals are included in the sample.  When looking at this data, you have to remember that not everyone lists factually correct information.  For this data, we assume that the obviously wrong data balances out in the end.  (People list themselves at 100 and people list themselves as 5 years old.)  This is the same methodology used for lion_lamb and we assume the error rate between the two is the same.

One of the first things to look at is age of the membership of otw_news. The chart below includes the total number of people who list themselves as having been born in that year.

OTW ages

The average year of birth is 1975, with a median age of 1979.5 and mode of 1984.  In terms of fandom, this is not a young group: The average member is about 35 years of age.  Even if we assume that the mode year is more representative of the group, that still places age at 25.  If we try to correct this data for error by removing 10 from each extreme of high and low years of birth, our year of birth average only increases to 1976.7, and the median and mode stay the same.  If we remove 10% of the extreme from the sample, or 30 from each side, we get an average year of birth of 1977.3 with median and mode remaining unchanged.

Assuming that our group of 11,000 Twilight fans on lion_lamb are representative of fandom on LiveJournal, the average year of birth is 1985.6, median year of birth is 1987 and the mode year of birth is 1989.    If we try to correct for error and remove the extreme 10% of the sample, fans who are claiming Edward Cullen’s birth year as their own as well as fans who claim an impossibly young age, lion_lamb has an average birth year of  1986.5 with median and mode remaining unchanged.

When we compare the membership of otw_news to fandom, Organization for Transformative Works members and supporters are on average almost ten years older than their counterparts in the rest of fandom.  If we assume that median is more representative, we are still looking at a an eight year difference.  Mode is the only one where they are close, and even that is only by three years.  In the case of fandom as a whole, the average is right out of college.  The after college life experiences are very different in terms of forming our perspectives so these three years are critical and do demographically separate the two groups.

It just cannot be said that the Organization for Transformative Works members and supporters are representative of fandom based on their ages.

The other important demographic issue for LiveJournal based fandom is location.  Some 1,111 members of otw_news list the country they live in.  6,330 members of lion_lamb list the country they live in.   Both have garbage entries for places where people obviously do not live,  places like the Romulan Neutral Zone, the Vatican City, Jesus’s home town or the North Pole.  In both sets, people listed cities or providences instead of countries.  This data was removed.  We are assuming that the members who do not list their home countries are represented proportionally by those that do.

The Organization for Transformative Works members and supporters represent 41 countries. 63% of the membership are from the United States, 11% are from the United Kingdom, 7% are from Canada, 6% from Australia, 4% from Germany and other countries all have less than 1%.   The top five countries population wise represent 91% of the organization’s total population.  The other 39 countries represent 9% of the organization’s total population.

lion_lamb represents 112 countries.  54% of their membership is from the United States, 6% from Canada, 5% from the United Kingdom, 5% from Australia, 3% from Germany, 2% from the Philippines, 2% from France, 2% from Italy, 2% from Mexico.    The top five countries represent 73% of the community’s total population.  The other countries represent 27%.

OTW ages

The Organization for Transformative Works over represents for Americans, with about 10% more Americans the lion_lamb.  The Organization for Transformative Works members and their supports also over represent for Brits, Canadians, Australians, Germans.  They under represent for the Philippines, France, and Mexico.  The top five countries by membership over represent by about 20%.  It cannot be said that the national representation of the Organization of Transformative Works is representative of the fan community on LiveJournal.

There are some other issues regarding how representative patterns for the Organization for Transformative Works are when compared to the whole of fandom on LiveJournal with lion_lamb being defined as fandom.

For year of registration, lion_lamb had  the median and mode of 2008 for registering. The average registration year is 2007.07 in comparison. Members of this community are updating, with a last update year average of 2008.66, mode of 2009 and median of 2009.  Compare this to otw_news, where the average registration year was 2004, with the median also being 2004 and the mode being 2003.  Members and supporters of the Organization for Transformative Works became members of LiveJournal much earlier.  Three years is a lifetime on the Internet.  This is another example of otw_news follows not being representative of fandom on LiveJournal.

otw_news members have posted an average of 858.6 times, with a mode of 492 and a mode of 1.  Compare that with lion_lamb members who have posted an average of 132.25 times, a median of 11 times and a mode of 1 time.   Again, the Organization for Transformative Works members and supporters are not representative of fandom on LiveJournal.

These patterns hold true for other variables such as number of friends where otw_news members have almost 50 more on average and almost 95 in terms of median.  It holds true for tags, memories, and virtual gifts.  In all cases, members of otws_news have much higher averages than their fandom counterparts.

All of this reaffirms the same idea: Members and supporters of the Organization for Transformative Works do not represent fandom in that they are demographically distinct from fandom on LiveJournal.  otw_news members also differ from their fandom counterparts in that they do not use LiveJournal the same way: They use LiveJournal much more actively in their personal space than the rest of fandom.

That concluded, the next issue is LiveJournal account status.  The issue of paying LiveJournal was a big one.  Around the time that Strikethrough happened, LiveJournal offered permanent accounts for sale. Some people affiliated with the later founding of an organization like OTW  advocated that people unfriend those who bought permanent accounts.  Other people openly talked about allowing their paid account status to expire as a method of expressing unhappiness with the site.  Two and a half years later, what is the status of members and supports of the Organization for Transformative Works in terms of paying for LiveJournal?

OTW account type

otw_news members  pay or have paid for their accounts. 36% have Paid Accounts.  Many (15%) have permanent accounts, where they paid at least $150 for this status.  A smaller percentage (18%) have plus accounts, which offer additional features in exchange for viewing additional ads. 

lion_lamb account type

When compared to lion_lamb, otw_news members way over-represent in paid accounts and permanent accounts. Despite the issues of Strikethough, not all of which have been resolved, people affiliated with the Organization for Transformative Works are much more willing to pay for LiveJournal than their fandom counterparts.  Still, there is some obvious shift from the group, where people are willing to sacrifice functionality in order to view fewer ads and thus potentially give LiveJournal less income; there is an 18% difference in basic accounts from otw_news to lion_lamb.

Are the buying habits of a cross-fandom section, and their choices to expose themselves to additional ads, consistent with the attitude expressed by members and supporters during the time they lambasted LiveJournal’s beholdenment to advertisers?  It is hard to make a conclusive judgment based on the data we have available. 

This day in fandom history: November 17

November 17th, 2009

The following is a selection of some events that took place on fandom on this day:

FanFiction.Net issues?

November 15th, 2009

Two people have reported to me that FanFiction.Net is having issues with pages not loading. If you think it is you, it might not be.

This day in fandom history: November 15

November 15th, 2009

The following is a selection of some events that took place on fandom on this day:

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