Archive for December, 2009

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:

Ninja Assassin- Surprisingly Was Good

December 30th, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

Official Australian Football League Twitter accounts and follower population by country

December 30th, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Adelaide Crows community on LiveJournal, its clones and Blogger

December 29th, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 28th, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Rugby League on DeadJournal and JournalFen

December 24th, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australian Football League on JournalFen

December 22nd, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australian Football League community on DeadJournal

December 22nd, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 irc.freenode.net because of freenode’s dedication to open source projects and because other important wiki chats are located there. That includes AboutUs, wikihow, Wikipedia, Wikia, RecentChangesCamp, Mediawiki and YourWiki.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 21st, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

FanLib Rehashed?

December 19th, 2009

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

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

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

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

When did businesses become fandoms?

December 19th, 2009

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

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

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

Fandom based disseration gone bad: Julie Levin Russo’s Archive Wars: FanLib vs. OTW

December 18th, 2009

I’m a bitter jaded fandom historian.  In my ideal world, the purpose of telling a history is to do so as neutrally as possible, to provide a factually correct version of events.   I’m just not a fan of deliberately biasing the telling of events to support a fannish political agenda.  To be brutal, I can’t see the point.  Doing so does not serve the greater good in the fan community.  (It just serves certain parties.)  It misleads people and distorts the truth.  It creates friction in fandom, pushing people to one extreme or another.  It can shut down dialog and hinder understanding.  I’m not a fan.

Over on life_wo_fanlib, Stewardess was busy plugging Julie Levin Russo’s dissertation, Archive Wars: FanLib vs. OTW.  Fantastic! I’d love to read about that and I would love to gain insight into, you know, the perspective that wasn’t being told.  I’d love to see well rounded coverage that gets to the truth of the matter so that others won’t make the same mistakes.   Seriously.  It is about time some one did a neutral accounting of events.

But that’s not going to happen.  Julie Levin Russo is not, according to Stewardess and based on the interviews she has and hasn’t conducted, interested in getting to the truth of the matter.  She’s not telling any sort of war between archives.  She’s not explaining FanLib’s position.  She’s merely doing a propaganda piece for the Organization for Transformative Works.  She’s not interested in what actually happened and fandom’s response to FanLib.  She is, as Stewardess points out, interested in the history of the Organization for Transformative Works.  That’s fine.  Awesome.  Let’s just not pretend it is anything but that.

Updated to add: In the finest spirit of what we’ve seen during Race!Fail, when some one politely engages you in dialog but you those questions interfere with your point of view, preemptively ban them and exclude them.  Do it in secret and don’t tell the people you’re banning why you’re doing it.  That’s what stewardess has done in regards to my participation in life_wo_fanlib.  That sort of behavior, in response to a question of if Julie Levin Russo contacted FanLib, reaffirms the problems mentioned above.

Today’s Twitter Follow Spammer is @StreetKingEnt

December 18th, 2009

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

Street King is now spamming you!

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

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

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

December 17th, 2009

Review by sockii (Nicole Pellegrini)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@rudezen joins the list of Twitter follow spammers

December 17th, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

December 12th, 2009

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

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

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

Case Study: Fan History’s Proposal For Being Acquired by the WMF

December 8th, 2009

In November 2009, Fan History Wiki approached the Wikimedia Foundation about possibly being acquired by them.  The motivations for this on the part of Fan History Wiki were to help the project continue with and grow its mission.    The choice to approach the Wikimedia Foundation was based on relationships developed by Fan History’s founder at events like RecentChangesCamp and through interaction in #wiki on irc.freenode.net.

Fan History approached people connected to the Foundation, put forth a proposal, posted the proposal to the Foundation mailing list and to Strategy wiki.  The process broke down because of some problems.  This included lack of an established procedure for the acquisition process, communication problems and expectation issues.

There are several recommendations that Fan History Wiki would make to the Foundation on how to fix this process.  The first is to decide if the Foundation is actually interested in new projects or acquiring existing projects.  The second is defining the roles of Meta-Wiki and Strategy wiki. The third is to create a list of staff members who would handle acquisition related requests.  The fourth is to create a clearly established procedure for how to handle this process.

A copy of the complete case study can be found at http://www.fanhistory.com/FHproposal.pdf.

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