Fan History’s admins make an effort to try to document some of the major fails and wank in LiveJournal media fandom. When we cover it, we tend to really cover it, making a major effort to build comprehensive list links that cover all perspectives. Some of the major wank/fails we have covered include Race!Fail, Mammoth!Fail, Privilege wank (also called Warnings!Fail), Russet Noon, Lambda Fail and the Slash Debate.
The Slash Debate is the one that is ongoing at the moment and I was curious as to how this particular fail’s life cycle compared to other fails. I went to the Fan History pages, which sorted posts by date they appeared, and counted. I got the following chart:
This chart only looks at the first 30 days of fail. For The Slash Debate, numbers are only current to January 25, 2010 and may be subject to change as we find more posts. The Slash Debate “officially” kicked off on January 29, 2009. Russet Noon kicked off on March 23, 2009. Lambda Fail kicked off on September 16, 2009. Race Fail kicked off on January 8, 2009. I stopped counting and moved new post totals over to Mammoth!Fail, which started on May 4, 2009. Privilege Wank started on June 18, 2009.
There aren’t any days in the first 30 where all wanks moved up or down together. For the second day, Slash Debate, Race Fail and Mammoth Fail both had a decrease in posts, whereas Privilege wank, Russet Noon and Lambda Fail saw an increase. Some of this might be the metafandom effect: Posts that are listed on and play to a metafandom audience have a lag as people use the list to find fandom news. Posts that play to smaller groups on LiveJournal, get featured on unfunnybusinees or fandomwank, or get a lot of attention and play to a wider audience than metafandom see a major interest in posting about it right away: There is no delay in timeliness because metafandom is slow to focus on those issues.
Between day 10 and day 14, there tends to be a big drop off in posting volume with an increase after that. (The exception is Privilege/Warnings wank, which ended on Day 8. Considering the topic, it makes sense. People complained of being triggered by some of the posts.)
On Day 26, three of the four still active wanks saw bumps in interest: Slash Debate, Mammoth Fail, Race!Fail. The exception was Russet Noon. By day 26, if the discussion continues to be ongoing, there is a greater awareness by a wider audience who might not have seen earlier posts and people who were silent, seeing that the discussion is not dying down, may feel compelled to speak up rather than remain silent.
For all the aforementioned fails, minus Russet Noon, we have a list of people who posted. I was curious how large the population was that participated across those fails as often, it seems like the same people are participating again and again and that people are not learning lessons from one fail to the next. I compiled those lists and then created the following venn diagrams that show the people in common.
Some of the participants across multiple fails surprised me and there were some names that I thought would be on there that weren’t. For the second, it could be because people who are known to be involved in fail and wank are less about posting and more about commenting on other people’s posts.
Still, interesting bit of data worth keeping in mind when you see the next fail coming. You can begin to get an idea as to how long it will take, what the posting patterns will be and who to look out for as their involvement could signal major fail.