Archive for the ‘Posts by Laura’ category

WMF cannot fix the Wikipedia gender participation gap

March 18th, 2011

The above statement isn’t that mind blowing. It is something that I’ve been informed that many feminists who have wanted to work towards this goal have already determined. Wikimedia Foundation cannot fix the problem. Wikimedia Foundation is part of the problem, aggravates the gender gap and institutionalises the gender gap.

If you haven’t heard of gendergap, it is a mailing list run by the Wikimedia Foundation.  The purpose of the list, in an ideal world, is to work towards reducing the gender gap on Wikipedia by increasing female participations rates at a rate that is faster than the acquisition of new male contributors.  Sadly, the ideal world is where that purpose ends.  The list for increasing female participation is run by two men: There are no female administrators.  Women are urged to join the list, and then quickly find a hostile atmosphere towards their gender and then leave.  We’ve got men who make jokes about gender politics.  We’ve got men who take an issue brought up by women, gender neutralise it and turn the issue into their own issue.  We’ve got a lot of men who want to help women, but who when asked to actually do something can’t be bothered.  If you’re noticing a thread here, it should be this: Wikimedia Foundation has a list dedicated to increasing female participation rates on Wikipedia that is run by two men and zero women, and conversation on the list is completely dominated by men.

Men can be fantastic allies for helping women achieve equality.  Men are important to this goal.  Men are necessary.   They do valuable things.

The problem is that men cannot fix the gender participation gap alone.  Women are needed.  For this effort to be a success, to decrease the gap where more women contribute, you just need to have women involved.  And many women, when working towards women’s goals, don’t feel comfortable doing so in an area dominated by men.  Many women are culturally programmed to be deferential to men.  Many women do not want to upset men.  If women are worried about upsetting men, the focus of a community does not become improving things for women but becomes about not upsetting men.  See what I’m getting at here?  The purpose gets distorted.

And that’s what we have with Gendergap.  We have a lot of dominant men, men in position of power as employees of Wikimedia Foundation.  We have men with power on Wikipedia.  We have men who think they can help improve things for women.  We have men who are quick to respond to every e-mail made to a list about increasing female participation rates.

These are men with male privilege.  When the men were educated about the concerns that women have regarding participating on such a list, the men responded with privilege.  They responded with tired, stale, clichéd arguments that people have often made in order to justify their -isms and their discrimination.  You can’t argue with the tone argument.  (Your tone bothers me.  Why are you so negative? I won’t talk to some one who uses that tone!) You  can’t argue with them about how to behave.  (If women just acted like PEOPLE, we wouldn’t have these problems!)  You can’t argue that other people’s experiences aren’t valid.  (I have a female friend who disagrees with you!)  There is no win.

And at the end of the day, when women on a list intended for increasing female participation rates tell men that they are awesome but maybe the men could fork off and women could try to develop their own solutions get told the deputy director of the organisation, Erik Möller that:

IMO this list was started as an inclusive forum for discussion of
gender gap among equal participants. Discrimination by gender doesn’t
make sense to me. My vote goes to common sense rules, election of a
male and female moderator, and enforcement of those rules into actual
practice (without discrimination by gender). In other words,
egalitarianism and sensible moderation.

If people want to run female-only lists or groups, I think that can be
useful and good, but should be done separately.

What more can you say?  Erik Möller’s offer I’m sure seemed to be non-sexist to him.  I’m sure he didn’t mean to imply that if there was a problem on the list, that women were not comfortable with the level of sexism and male domination on the list, that they should leave.  I’m sure Erik Möller did not mean to imply here that WOMEN were interfering with Wikipedia’s goal of increasing female participation on Wikipedia.  I’m reasonably certain that Erik Möller didn’t intend to use an argument historically used to suppress minority opinions when he said he refused to engage because our tone was not correct.  I’m sure Erik Möller is a good guy.  That doesn’t mean that Erik Möller isn’t a sexist, because Erik Möller is being sexist.  He may be well meaning but that just makes him a well meaning sexist, who parrots wanting to help women while throwing up all sorts of new hurdles for increasing women’s participation on Wikipedia.

One of those hurdles on for increasing women’s representation on Wikipedia is Erik Möller, who put his own male ego before the greater good because Erik Möller couldn’t see his own male privilege and acknowledge it, learn from it, and then work towards improving the situation.  Another hurdle is the two male administrators on the list.  There is sexism on that list and the male administrators let it continue.  They don’t ban the most offensive sexists.  Erik Möller and the administrators have apparently come to a conclusion: They would rather that women leave the list than to hurt male feelings.

Wikipedia needs to be fixed.  It just needs to be fixed from the outside.  Projects like Women4Wikipedia are a good start.

Fan History closed to editing

November 23rd, 2010

As we were down to one active admin and real life issues interfered with our ability to continue to patrol, we’ve decided to lock down the wiki to editing.  If you still wish to edit, please e-mail Laura at Fan History dot Com.  Special access could possibly be given if you would like to really improve things.  The wiki will continue to exists for historical reasons.

We would love for our interests to peak again and to open it again.  If there are a few people who might like to admin, let me know.  Maybe something can be worked out.  If you are interested in having a mirror or taking control of it, or you might be interested in integrating it into a non-profit project, drop me a line.

We’ve had a great run.  We really appreciate all the work that contributors have provided.  Fandom is seriously fantastic and we’ve all met interesting and awesome people as a result.  We could not have created what we did with out you all.  I can’t begin to express my gratitude.  Thank you fandom for your help. and Twitter

July 25th, 2010

It is that time of year again… when the social media market heart gets all aflutter and decides to follow me so that I can be blessed with reading their content.  Yes, they may be a financial company targeting Americans living in the USA who need help with their 401K but that doesn’t stop them following people who don’t follow them.  Yes, it is the season where heterosexual marriage counselors in the USA start following gays and lesbians living abroad.  Their follow is indiscriminate because they aren’t interested in reading about gays and lesbians in Australia or Australians who don’t have to worry about American 401ks.  Yes, it is spam follow season… where the whole world is indiscriminately marketed at.

If you can’t tell, I really loathe this season.  I hate those e-mails from Twitter: Hi! Irrelevant company with 10,000,000 is following you! Congrats! This is just a crappy business practice than can have a negative impact on ROI and piss off casual users who aren’t looking to be indiscriminately marketed at.

Most of the time, I don’t follow people back.  (I’m currently getting about 1 to 3 follows a day from Bieber fans who like to Tweet about getting 10,000 followers fast.  Most have 100 followers.  I just ignore them.)  Sometimes, I like to @ reply thanking for the follow and asking why they followed me.  Sometimes, I DM them.  If I’m cranky or I think this is a business or social media guru who should know better, I like to add them to my spammer list.

Which brings us to today’s specialness…  I got an e-mail from Justin Dalton at  (I don’t know his Twitter handle or his company’s handle.  It was never mentioned.)  He wanted off my spam list.  I e-mailed him back the following response:

If you were put on my spammer list, it was likely because of the following scenarios:

1) Followed me where I could not determine why I was followed (what are our shared interests?  what shared geography did we have?  what shared friends do we have?)
2) Followed me and did not interact with me to explain the above,
3) Posted using a method like API or Twitterfeed where it appeared likely that there was not a person behind the wheel and the tweets were automated,
4) Followed me and had 1,000+ followers where it appeared unlikely that you would ever read my content or interact with me as the chances of you seeing my content were infinitesimal,
5) Your follow looked like an attempt to improve your follow count total while not offering any value to the people you were following.

The act of unfollowing me is largely irrelevant as the initial follow behavior appeared spam like.

I’d be happy to remove you from my spammer list but I’d first have to hear about your current follow practices. How do you select who you follow?  What sort of value do you give to the people that you follow?

He sent back the following reply:

First thing first:

1) If you were being followed automatically, you wouldn’t have been engaged in this mail conversation.
2) It’s true that we had auto-followed people but that was just to test the system, and we have subsequently un-followed people since then.
3) It’s good that you are trying to be a ‘Twitter mentor’ or ‘Twitter agent’ but you are not what you are pretending. You are on twitter to ‘market your blog’, increase ‘reader count’ or to ‘get more traffic to your blog’ because you ‘think’ you are providing value through your blog. That’s what millions of companies/peoples doing on twitter.
4) Our initial request to you was polite but you didn’t reply back to us in that way and seemed ‘arrogant’ in the way you made us reply back to get us removed from your list.

5) We are neither twitting automatically nor spamming. We are here to provide value as well.

Finally, the act of un-following you is not ‘largely irrelevant’ as following seemed to ‘offend’ you and you were crazy to waste your time to take actions against us, so if you wish to remove us from the list, it would be nice and we would be thankful to you otherwise this is our last mail to you regardless of your further actions.

Justin Dalton

It’s special.  The ‘scare’ quotes and the calling me a liar.  This sort of thing is not how you sell your company.  I also have no idea, based on this e-mail, what his company is or what they do.  I don’t even know what the Twitter handle in question is.   Ooops.

Take aways from this:

1) Be selective in who you follow.  There are people like me who don’t want contact from random strangers where they can’t make clear connections as to why they were followed.

2) Don’t call people liars.  Your experiences are not universal and people use social media for a variety of reasons.  They won’t all be universal.

Edited to add: I had e-mailed an offer back to and offered to promote them if they could tell me what their company could do for me.  I got a nice one line generic bit that implied my blog was really well done.  There was no indication that they had even read my blog at .  They didn’t comment on the topic of Australian sport.  This is massive fail. Don’t use generic terms that indicate you didn’t read it. They also said it looked very professional.  I use free Word Press themes.  I didn’t design the site.  It is another generic comment that says they didn’t read it. never did tell me what their site can do for me.  I gave them a fair amount of material to work with to cater a personal response.  I included where I lived and my interests, both personal and professional.  I’ve still no idea what can do for me that  Yahoo!Answers can do for me.

If a potential customer asks you what your product can do for them, the emphasis should be on them.  Personalize your sales message.  If you can’t personalize, you can’t target an audience to get those key influencers that can help you grow and people won’t use you.  Also, they’ll write you off as spammers or totally clueless.  (That’s Sending out indiscriminate follows and not being able to connect with their customers.)

Why @peterjamesfreer is a spammer

July 23rd, 2010

@peterjamesfreer boldly posts on his Twitter profile that he’s not a spammer.  He isn’t selling a product, therefore he isn’t a spammer.  That’s awesome except spam isn’t about product selling.  Spam is an unwanted e-mail, usually of a bulk matter and often selling a product.  The important part of that definition is the first part: Unwanted.

I love Twitter.  There are some truly awesome people on Twitter.  I love to interact on Twitter.  That’s why I use it.  I’m relatively selective in who I chose to follow because I use it to interact, to maintain relationships and to develop new ones.  That’s my primary purpose.  My secondary purpose involves getting news from various sources that I consider relevant.

Both of these follow practices involve two very different types of interactions.  The first generally requires a mutual follow with the intention of interacting.   If a person follows too many people, it means the chances of our interaction will be low.  Thus, I’m less likely to follow them unless I believe that they will read my @ replies or they are that important network wise that I need to follow them anyway.  In these cases, being followed by those people first is awesome as it lets me know that they are there.

The second kind of follow does not require that I get a follow back as I don’t have any intention necessarily of interacting with that person or business and if I do, it would be in another format, such as on their website.  Do I need the Chicago Tribune or Chicago Sun Times to interact with me?  No. I follow them to keep up with news from home.  Do I expect to interact much with United Airlines?  No.  I’m following them to find out about deals that they may have.  Do I expect to interact much AFL clubs?  Not really but it would be awesome.  I’m mostly following them for research and content purposes.

@peterjamesfreer followed me.  I didn’t go “Hey! Here’s a guy selling himself really well, providing valuable must read content!  I’ve got to follow him.  I know he has 10,000 followers but I’m not seriously expecting to interact with him so no big deal.  He’s posting about Chicago/social media metric analysis/Australian sport/living in Australia.”  I didn’t find him and think that.   He didn’t follow me because he expected to interact with me.  I know this to be true because he has 10,000+ followers so he can’t ever possibly read me.  (I can barely keep up with 350 and the only reason I can is that a lot of people aren’t active.)  Neither one of us is going to get any value out of a mutual relationship follow.

Wait.  He might.  He might be defining followers as value… and if you’re following me, if you’re reading my stuff (which he isn’t), then you’d get that I have a world view that sees that sort of behavior as not particularly meaningful.  I’ve been talking to people professionally and making it clear that you’ve got to have some sort of goal when it comes to social media, you’ve got to have some sort of objective and some way to measure success.  If you’re a candy shop in rural Illinois, it would be easy enough to get 3,000 followers.  If 2,500 of your followers are from Pakistan, Kosovo, the PNG and you don’t ship there and you don’t have a plan for how to get those followers to visit you in rural Illinois, then your Twitter strategy is full of massive fail.  You’re never going to convert those people over.  Given that, it would be better to have 150 followers all from yoru part of rural Illinois.  It would be good to read those followers, to interact with those followers and to develop relationships with those people.  THAT will lead to more sales, greater awareness of who you are, spread the word of mouth about your business to the wider community.

Where @peterjamesfreer fails is that he doesn’t seem to be about either of these: He doesn’t create organic content that people will naturally find on their own.  He doesn’t appear to be about developing relationships.  (He can’t as he can’t read us.)  He doesn’t appear to have a audience he’s targeting.  (Why target some one who rails against the type of behavior he engages in?)  He indiscriminately follows people.  He’s willing to risk their ire.  He doesn’t care because he claims he’s not a spammer.

All the denials in the world won’t make him less of a spammer.  He’s not reading people.  He’s sending intrusive requests for interaction.  He appears to be assuming most people are automating their follows to automatically follow him.  (Which creates a huge net of not reading people.  Twitter has a huge ecosystem of spam that I want to avoid.)  He offers zero value to the people follows.  That’s classic spam behavior.  His comment regarding not being a spammer is based on a false definition of spam and the idea that Twitter is about building meaningless metrics, and in building those metrics, what you’re doing isn’t spam.

@peterjamesfreer needs to remove the line about being a spammer.  He can continue on with his spam follows if he wants.  (Just don’t target me and my accounts.  Please.  I’m tired of Twitter spam.  He’s not the first.  He’s about the 15th this week, but the first to say he’s not a spammer.)  He could change his behavior.  (Unfollow down to an amount of people he could reasonably follow, selectively follow people based on how they help him accomplish his objectives, interact with a greater percentage of people on his follows list, provide great content that will grow his followers list, or get a job that will automatically improve his follower numbers.)    @peterjamesfreer should be more honest in his profile page.

Oh and @peterjamesfreer shouldn’t follow people who are doing work that focuses on debunking the metric that he’s busy trying to use to make himself feel better about himself.

RecentChangesCamp 2010

June 7th, 2010

I haven’t mentioned as much as I have in the past because woe, I can’t afford the plane ticket to attend from Australia… but if you’re a wiki person in the United States or Canada and you want to learn about wikis, network with other wikis people, find help with your wiki project, learn about best projects, have some wiki topic you want to discuss, you should seriously consider attending RecentChangesCamp 2010. I’ve attended and helped organize RCC in the past and I can’t begin to explain what a fantastic experience it is.

I’ve pasted a copy of the invitation below.

You are invited to Recent Changes Camp 2010!

RCC 2009

June 25-27, 2010

1710, Beaudry, Montreal

Want to join? Just add your name to the list of attendees!

We’ll convene at the location on Thursday or Friday and wrap up on Sunday. Check back for the Agenda. There is no cost to participate other than transportation. We may even be able to help you find lodging.

What is Recent Changes Camp, anyway?

RCC 2009

RCC 2009

Recent Changes Camp was born from the intersection of wiki and Open Space. Since 2006, participants from all over North America and the globe have gathered together for a common purpose: discussing the past, present, and future of the technology and collaborative method that is wiki. RCC is a chance for everyone in the wiki community, something we like to call Wiki Ohana, to meet and have a fun, productive conversation about our passion for wikis of all stripes.

Going far beyond technology, we’re interested in wiki culture and other networks/groups/etc. that share many of the values implicit in it — from cultural creatives, to public participation and free culture advocates. If you use a wiki or you value open collaboration, Recent Changes Camp is created for you. RCC is about openness and inclusion, collaboration and community, creativity and flow. Further down this page you can check out a sampling of sessions we’ve enjoyed in the past, along with pictures and videos from previous events.

This unconference/BarCamp has been held at least once every year since 2006 (and twice in 2007). Unlike a conventional conference, where everything’s pre-planned and structured, RecentChangesCamp is a gathering where we decide for ourselves what we’re going to get out of it by offering sessions each morning on whatever we want (and of course ad hoc sessions can form at any time). There’s no agenda until we make it up! Now, that might sound a bit chaotic if you’re never been to this type of gathering, but be prepared to be surprised at how much people can learn and create when they collaborate spontaneously.

With an emergent agenda, it can be hard to describe specifically what you will get from participating in Recent Changes Camp. In large part, that is up to you to be responsible for. Participants often say greater sense of wiki community, broader sense of wiki way and wiki tools, or more excitement about our future together as well as inspiration and discovery.

At Recent Changes Camp, everybody is welcomed. You don’t need to be an expert on anything, and you certainly don’t need to consider yourself a geek. Collaboration thrives on diversity! All you need to bring is an open mind, and a willingness to participate, whether by teaching or by taking an active role in discussions. And, don’t forget, an unconference is what we make it, so let’s make it enlightening and fun.
Keywords: wiki, unconference, barcamp, open space, community, creativity, collaboration, technology, free culture, free/open source software

Qu’est-ce que les Rococo ?

Les RecentchangesCamp (Rococo en version française) sont nés à l’intersection des wikis et la Méthode du forum ouvert. Depuis 2006, les participants de l’Amérique du Nord et du globe ont réuni pour un but commun : discuter le passé, le présent et l’avenir des wikis mais de façon plus large, des méthodes et des processus collaboratifs et participatif.

Cette Rencontre sur la Collaboration, la Créativité et l’autOgestion est l’édition montréalaise du RecentChangesCamp de Portland. Ce BarCamp sera organisé selon la méthode du ForumOuvert qui suppose une mise en place collaborative de l’agenda. Les wikis resteront un objet technologique central à la rencontre, mais nous offrirons aussi une large place aux communautés sans fil et aux personnes qui, de façon générale, s’intéressent à la collaboration, à la créativité et à l’autogestion. Gardez en mémoire, que vous, chercheurs, artistes, programmeurs et praticiens, serez les principaux acteurs de cette rencontre sur les wikis, les technologies et médias participatifs et les pratiques collaboratives en général.

Sessions covering an array of interests

Time Schedule

  • Remember that the Agenda will be settled the first day only.

Previous years

RecentChangesCamp 2009, Portland, Oregon

RecentChangesCamp 2008, Palo Alto, California

RecentChangesCamp 2007, Montréal, Quebec (aka RoCoCo)

Video from RoCoCo :

RecentChangesCamp 2007, Portland, Oregon

RecentChangesCamp 2006, Portland, Oregon

Geocities vs. Bebo preservation efforts

April 9th, 2010

bebo may be closing.  … or it might not if AOL can find a buyer for bebo.  bebo has (or had) a strong fandom presence.  Some groups have over 10,000 members.  Some videos have had over 30,000 views.  People engaged in various types of fanac on the network.  On bebo, the fanac may have been more discussion based and vidding based than Geocities.  Geocities had essays and picture and sound galleries.  Geocities was also the home to huge amounts of fan fiction dating back to the mid-1990s.  bebo’s community was much more about interaction with others.  Geocities’s community was more about content providing.  (Both had some truly awful levels of design.)

The distinction of what amounts to interactive versus static content makes bebo preservation difficult.  There just doesn’t feel like much worth saving on bebo.  Do we want to save fan fiction on bebo?  No, not particularly as it really isn’t there.  (People linked to their fan fiction hosted elsewhere.)  Was bebo viewed as fundamental to fannish interaction at any time?  No, not particularly except maybe in pockets of Irish and British fandom or sports fandom.

Given the lack of useful content actually preserve, how do we approach that?  The way that I’m looking at is this: We’re looking to define the size and scope of the fandom.  How many people were in particular fandoms?  What tools on bebo did people use to express their fannish interest?  When were these communities active?  What did their group pages look like?  This information can be manually mined and put into a database.  It can also be attained by screencapping search results, profile pages, band pages, video pages and app pages.  Once capped and uploaded, people can look through it, talk with others and begin to get an idea as to how the community function.  That’s the goal: Get enough capped and put into a useful dataset so people at a later date can use that data to explain how the fannish community worked.

And that’s really the difference between Fan History’s efforts: Content preservation and confirmation that existed versus providing insight into how a community functioned.

A history and my take on The Slash Debate

January 20th, 2010

The Slash Debate continues to go on and the longer it has gone on, the more I wanted to comment on it.  The problem is how to do that thoughtfully, acknowledging both sides and the shades of grey in between the major position.  If you aren’t aware, the Slash Debate kicked off in response to “Man on Man: The New Gay Romance … … written by and for straight women” by Gendy Alimurung in LA Weekly.  Some gay men found the article objectionable because it ignored them completely in explaining about a genre that comes out of their own tradition.  This kerfluffle was on the heels of LambdaFail, where straight writers were upset over having been deliberately excluded from awards honoring GLBT literature.

I haven’t completely followed the whole argument as it morphed into a discussion about m/m slash, but one of the major points that developed was that gay men were upset about straight women writing homoerotic fan fiction for their own sexual gratification, feeling that they were being stereotyped in a less than flattering light, that m/m slash was not helping the GLBT movement and that, ultimately, they were being othered in a genre that was fundamentally about them.  This upset some members of the m/m slash community who felt that men were trying to tell women how to define their own sexuality, trying to restrict their freedom to write, that gay men had no reason to complain because they did the same thing to women with their drag performances, etc.

This whole argument happened against a backdrop of 2009, where some members of fandom were upset about the portrayal of people of color in fiction, and how fandom treated people of color.  Some of the dominant voices during that conversation insisted that white people sit and listen to the people of color, that people of color should be deferred that to when writing people of color, that fundamentally all white people were racists, that just because some people of color were not offended doesn’t mean that a person’s actions aren’t racist.  The Slash Debate flips some of that on its head: Gay men are not being deferred to in terms of how they are depicted by others, where those offended are slotted into a minority position that should be ignored because they are not representative.

Where this argument differs from Race!Fail involves sex and the attempts to regulate kink, sexual interests, how we explore them, what is acceptable and not acceptable.   People just aren’t comfortable with people trying to dictate those interests and that’s why the slash defenders are probably taking their position: We shouldn’t be judged based on personal and private kinks and getting off on m/m slash a personal turn on for many people.  When we perceive these as being attacked, we tend to attack back no matter how right or wrong the defense of these may be in the context of hurting others.

I don’t have a problem with your kink. …  Except when your kink involves shotacon and chan.  But otherwise, your kink is your kink and it may not be my kink but that’s okay as we all have different turn ons. I just dislike the rationalizations for why your kink is not actually offensive to people who find your public expressions of your kink as harmful to their identity, undermining their community and stereotyping them in a way that is unflattering and inaccurate.  Own your kink but don’t rationalize the problems away.  That’s hypocritical and harmful, especially harmful in this case if you’re also purporting to support gay rights while doing what people perceive as undermining those.

One of the cases of supporting the position that this material isn’t offensive that has bothered me is that the fan fiction community that is being criticized is queer and those dissenting voices can be ignored.  This is probably best expressed by Science, y’all and More Science.  The author looks at some polls that demonstrate that fandom is over 50% queer.  If you start breaking down the numbers from the polls that have publicly viewable results, the 50%+ number is largely a result of people who are not heterosexual and mostly bisexual.  The lesbian population is about 10 to 15%.  That’s what those numbers show: Yes, the self selected population in those polls is female, mostly heterosexual, with a large bisexual population and a smaller population of lesbians.  What the author doesn’t show, and what is fundamentally important here, is that of the 500 or so people who answered LiveJournal polls with publicly available results?  Between 10 and 20 of the respondents are male.  Just ignore their orientation for now:  2% to 4% of respondents were male.  The Slash Debate is an issue of gay men not appreciating how straight women depict them in m/m slash.  The issue is not that of queer people not appreciating how straight women depict them in m/m slash.  The female queer population is thus largely irrelevant to this discussion because, well, queer women are more privileged than gay males.  If those polls demonstrated that queer males represented over 50% of our fannish population, that data would be relevant.

Why the emphasis on gender and orientation?  Because in the sexuality privilege Olympics, heterosexual males get gold.  Heterosexual women get silver.  Asexuals get bronze and last place.  (Last place because their orientation is still considered a sexual dysfunction.)  Bisexual women get fourth.  Bisexual men get fifth.  Homosexual women sixth.  Butch and African American homosexual women get six and a half place.  Homosexual men get seventh.  Queen and African American homosexuals (in the context of US culture) get seven and a half place.  This hierarchy of privilege in the context of American culture is important for understanding this argument.

Gay men are less privileged than lesbian women.  When lesbian women start talking about how this material is not offensive and how homosexuality is depicted in slash is not problematic, they are speaking from a place of privilege.  In the United States, lesbian women are often portrayed as hot, sexy and not threatening to American definitions of masculinity.  And anyway, a lesbian can always become straight if she sleeps with a guy.  (Which, no, is not true but it is an attitude that I know some people hold which is why they see lesbians as less problematic than gay men. ) Added to that, American culture, and to a degree English culture, have idealized female friendship and elevated it.  It is natural that women’s relationships might go that way.  One of the major exceptions to this involves butch lesbians, who challenge traditional gender roles, face their own discrimination and are rarely if ever seen on television compared to their non-butch counterparts.

Gay men? They aren’t that privileged in the United States.  Gay men are seen as challenging traditional gender roles.  Gay men felt the brunt of events like Stonewall.  Gay men faced people more actively trying to legislate their sex lives, to criminalize their sex lives.  When people sought to prosecute homosexual sex, they tended to go after gay men.  In the United States, making jokes at the expense of male homosexuals is still much more tolerated.  Remember all the Brokeback Mountain jokes?  People were okay with that and there was no outrage over those, much less outrage than if some one had made similar jokes about a person of color.  Added to that, when American culture talks about gay males, they tend to focus on their sex lives or on stereotypes involving queens.  Yes, this is changing but gay men have often had it worse than lesbian women, and I do not see the two as being being on equal footing when it comes to privilege.  Any implication that they are is probably misguided.  (1) Their voices should not be silenced just because it gets in the way of enjoying your own kink.

I’ve rambled on and I had another pointed I wanted to make: Some universes are harder to read and are more problematic for fan fiction writers, in terms of the accuracy issue and the potential to offend and get things wrong.   Starsky and Hutch is set during the 1970s.  If they got together and were out at work?  It probably would not be pretty and their co-workers likely wouldn’t be okay.  Star Trek, as much as we might wish otherwise, does not present us with a happy future where homosexuality is tolerated and same sex relationships are viewed as normal.  When we do see queer characters that aren’t aliens, they tend to be evil.  In Glee, we really don’t see lesbians and the gay kid gets picked on.  (But thankfully has a supportive parent.)  In True Blood, the gay male gets murdered violently and is a drug dealer. Tolerance in that universe is not really implied. On The Good Wife, the implication is that some one is in the closet for the good of their own career.  (Or was mistakenly labeled a lesbian and isn’t bothered by it.)  Lots of these universes are just heternormative.  Squishy happy romances thus might need some care so that these realities are acknowledged, while at the same time not interfering with the audiences’s kinks.  When you’re writing and when you’re responding as a reader, that may be the most important takeaway from The Slash Debate.

1. If you’re up on the historical GLBT movement, there are some major conflicts that have taken place between gay men and lesbian women.  At times, they have had different agendas and their was a lot of resentment on both sides.  It makes for a fascinating read if you’re interested but I just didn’t want to get into that in this post.

E-mail: Infinitus 2010, Call for Proposals

January 12th, 2010

The following was sent to me via e-mail and I thought it might be of interest to people:

Greetings Past Presenters!

We at HP Education Fanon, Inc. and Infinitus want to thank you for your past involvement with HPEF events and would like to invite you to submit your proposals for Infinitus 2010. Due to popular request, our Call for Proposals deadline has been extended to Friday, February 12, 2010. We welcome submissions from all of you as we are anticipating another amazing symposium and look forward to making you a part of it.

Our CFP can be found here: Please email if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you,

Robin Martin
Chair of Formal Programming
Infinitus 2010

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                                  | |   11532 |

| 2636963 | Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past | |    9307 |

| 4437151 | Harry's New Home                                | |    8827 |

| 4240771 | Partially Kissed Hero                           | |    8676 |

| 2318355 | Make A Wish                                     | |    7626 |

| 1260679 | Realizations                                    | |    7136 |

| 2571676 | Not Your Usual Veela Mate                       | |    7101 |

| 3733492 | The Apprentice and the Necromancer              | |    6646 |

| 3736151 | Better Be Slytherin!                            | |    6506 |

| 2900438 | Unsung Hero                                     | |    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.

Australian sports announcement

January 7th, 2010

I posted a series about Australian sports fandom and the size and population characteristics on social networks.  Because it kind of was becoming the thing that ate the blog and I intend to continue with these posts, new posts will now be posted on  They kind of fit here but they were beginning to squeeze out other content.  After about five new posts of there, I’ll post links from here to those posts so people interested in them can continue to easily find them from Fan History’s blog.

(And yeah, I’m taking a bit of a wiki break to play with this subject matter.  The details will eventually be migrated over to Fan History in good time.)

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.


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.

Top articles and referrers for 2009 on Fan History

January 1st, 2010

This isn’t a complete list… but some of our tops for 2009 including top referrers, search engines, keyword terms internally, and keywords externally.   Also includes top fandoms by type, fan fiction archives, terms, fails and kerfluffles, and blog entries.  This list could be better and longer but once you get below the 2,500 threshold for views, the information is of limited usefulness.

Top Ten Referrers

  1. – 12,564 visits
  2. – 9,374 visits
  3. – 7,524 visits
  4. – 6,984 visits
  5. – 4,221 visits
  6. – 3,097 visits
  7. – 2,765 visits
  8. – 2,625 visits
  9. – 2,328 visits
  10. – 1,407 visits

Top Ten Search Engines

  1. google – 559,774 visits
  2. yahoo – 61,478 visits
  3. bing – 7,040 visits
  4. aol – 5,106 visits
  5. search – 4,461 visits
  6. ask – 1,998 visits
  7. msn – 1,337 visits
  8. live – 1,277 visits
  9. altavista – 536 visits
  10. lycos – 144 visits

Top Ten Search Phrases

  1. restricted section – 2,980 visits
  2. adultfanfiction – 2,912 visits
  3. naruto wiki – 2,712 visits
  4. fandomination – 2,413 visits
  5. draco hermione – 2,229 visits
  6. cassandra claire – 2,183 visits
  7. adult fanfiction – 2,131 visits
  8. galbadia hotel – 1,697 visits
  9. sakura lemon – 1,613 visits
  10. draco and hermione – 1,546 visits

Top Ten Internal Search Phrases

  1. astolat – 77 searches
  2. aja – 38 searches
  3. racefail – 37 searches
  4. yugioh – 36 searches
  5. sasuke – 35 searches
  6. ckll – 34 searches
  7. reborn – 26 searches
  8. dbsk – 22 searches
  9. narusaku – 21 searches
  10. shocolate – 21 searches

Top Actor Fandoms

  1. Jorja Fox – 2,521 views

Top Anime Fandoms

  1. Naruto – 11,376 views
  2. Digimon – 10,876 views
  3. Gundam Wing – 4,789 views
  4. Dragon Ball Z – 4,618 views
  5. Prince of Tennis – 4,536 views
  6. Sailor Moon – 3,526 views
  7. Avatar: The Last Airbender – 3,371 views
  8. Bleach – 3,279 views
  9. Pokemon – 2,475 views

Top Book Fandoms

  1. Cassandra Claire – 18,366 visits
  2. Twilight – 9,001 views
  3. Harry Potter – 5,011 views
  4. Mortal Instruments - 4,741 views
  5. Cassandra_Claire – 3,872 views
  6. Pride and Prejudice – 2,896 views
  7. City of Bones – 2,717 views

Top Comics Fandoms

  1. Transformers – 2,717 views

Top Movie Fandoms

  1. Twilight – 9,001 views
  2. The Fast and the Furious – 3,763 views
  3. Star Trek – 2,984 views
  4. Pride and Prejudice – 2,896 views
  5. Beauty and the Beast – 2,733 views
  6. Transformers – 2,717 views
  7. Star Trek – 2,556

Top Television Fandoms

  1. Supernatural – 4,704 views
  2. Merlin – 3,821 views
  3. Roswell – 3,354 views
  4. Star Trek – 2,984 views
  5. Beauty and the Beast – 2,733 views
  6. Gilmore Girls – 2,612 views
  7. Star Trek – 2,556

Top Video Game Fandoms

  1. Pokemon – 2,475 views

Top Thirteen Fan Fiction Archives

  1. Sakura Lemon Fan-Fiction Archive – 15,321 views
  2. AdultFanFiction.Net – 14,205
  3. FanFiction.Net – 10,984 views
  4. FanDomination.Net – 8,959 views
  5. Fan fiction archives- 7,576 views
  6. – 7,131 views
  7. RestrictedSection – 5,807 views
  8. FanWorks.Org – 5,074 views
  9. LiveJournal – 4,852 views
  10. FanLib – 3,844 views
  11. Freedom of Speech Fanfiction – 3,581 views
  12. FicWad – 3,311 views
  13. Galbadia Hotel – 2,569 views

Top Eleven Pairings

  1. Draco/Hermione – 41,658 views
  2. Snape/Hermione – 5,624 views
  3. Harry/Hermione – 4,542 views
  4. Harry/Draco – 3,749 views
  5. Digimon couple list – 3,552 views
  6. Harry Potter pairings – 3,513 views
  7. Sesshoumaru/Kagome – 3,442 views
  8. Michael/Maria – 2,919 views
  9. Draco/Ginny – 2,883 views
  10. Harry/Ginny – 2,729 views
  11. Takari – 2,640 views

Top Ten Kerfluffles/Fails

  1. Russet Noon – 7,855 views
  2. Race Fail 2009 – 6,469 views
  3. SurveyFail – 5,447 views
  4. Cassandra Claire’s Plagiarism – 4,771 views
  5. GreatestJournal – 4,248 views
  6. FanLib – 3,844 views
  7. Race wank – 2,910 views
  8. Fandom_Wank – 2,451 views

Top Stories/Individual Fan Fiction

  1. My Immortal – 7,183 views
  2. The Draco Trilogy – 3,907 views
  3. Draco Trilogy – 2,835 views

Top Terms

  1. Shotacon – 6,647 views
  2. Mpreg – 5,359 views
  3. Tijuana Bible – 4,329 views
  4. Hurt/comfort – 3,359 views
  5. Brother Sister Incest – 2,885 views

Top Blog Entries

  1. Michael Jackson fanfiction: is it out there? – 7,292 viewes

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.

Fan History’s new year’s resolutions

December 30th, 2009

The near year is soon upon us.  Much of what has happened in the past year we’ve covered on the wiki.  We’ve only really done two year end round ups: sidewinder’s picks: The Top 10 Fannish Events of 2009 and Our history on Fan History in 2009.  Aside from a summary of our most popular articles and top referrers for the year, we don’t really have anything else planned.  We’re already beginning to look forward for 2010.

So we have a couple of new year’s resolutions that aren’t so much resolutions as goals.  They are:

  1. Try to improve two articles a month to make them truly outstanding and informational.
  2. Do more work on preservation projects for sites that are threatened an endangered.
  3. Increase Fan History’s traffic to average 3,000 visitors a day by the end of 2010.
  4. Increase the number of contributors in an average two week period from 33 to 45.
  5. Hit the one million article mark.
  6. Get the wiki to be self funding.

We feel these are pretty reasonable goals.  We know what we need to do to accomplish them.  Any help that you can provide us though?  We would very much appreciate it. 

We have some other non-tangible goals that we hope to accomplish in 2010 too.  They include reaching out more to the fan community, improving our relations with the wiki community, improving more articles, getting more statistical data on the wiki, and possibly do a case study to see how we can improve our content and our effectiveness at completing our mission in the fan community.   Those are much harder to measure but we’ll work at them.

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:

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, 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 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.

Minor tweak to Fan History’s handling of real name deletions

December 21st, 2009

We’ve made a minor tweak to our policy in regards to how we handle real name deletions.  It can be found in the FAQ for this type of deletion and now says:

Because changes to articles removing my real name appear on Recent Changes, will my real name appear elsewhere?

It is possible that the changes involving your real name, especially if they appear in an article title, may appear on places that get our RSS feed for RecentChanges. This includes Twitter and LiveJournal. If you see your real name appearing there, please contact us. As of December 21, real name removals where the real name appears in the article name will be done on a bot account to help minimize the inclusion on these services.

Today’s Twitter spam follower is @team77

December 21st, 2009

Today’s Twitter spam follow is @team77. They have over 7,000 follows, do zero interaction, tweet lots of earn money now information, almost every post contains a link. team77 continues to follow people despite having a large number of followers and doing zero interaction. They utilize no lists for reading. Twitter, I beg you to stop this: Prevent people with over 2,000 followers from following others firsts.

@forumbuddycom joins today’s lists of Twitter follow spammers.  This one is a bit more obvious as it pushed to 2,000 followers and quit because he couldn’t follow more in return.

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 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 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 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

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.

Today’s Twitter follow spammer is @wmdean, William Mathes

December 20th, 2009

@wmdean, William Mathes, is another one of those misguided Twitter follow spammers.  He sells cufflinks and appears on people’s marriage related lists.  Nothing in his profile indicates an interest in fandom or fan communities.  He has over 2,000 followers.   Fan History’s twitter stream doesn’t really show any crossover interest.   We can’t find out why he followed us unless we follow him back so we can see his @ replies or get his DMs.

@wmdean, William Mathes, please stop with the Twitter follow spam.  If you’re interested in cool Twitter accounts like ours where you are unlikely to offer anything of value to us in return, that’s what lists are for.  We’d love for you to add us to your lists.  But sending people unwanted Twitter follows so you can sell your cufflinks to them?  That a Twitter follow spammer makes.

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.

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