Work Header

Fandom stats: descriptive statistics of "The Old Guard" works on AO3

Chapter Text

I downloaded data about all works tagged "Old Guard (Movie 2020)"/"Old Guard (2020 Movie)" as of 17th August 2020 (metadata only, i.e. title, number of hits, tags, etc. not the contents of each work).

I then had some fun calculating statistics, making graphs etc. You can find the details in the following chapters, but here are a few highlights.

  • After an initial increase during July as people discovered the movie and the fandom grew, the number of works posted per day to AO3 seems to have stabilised at a little under 50 works per day on average.
  • 56% of works are in the "M/M" category. The next most frequently used categories are "Gen" (14%), "M/M, Gen" (6%) and "F/F" (5%)
  • The most frequently used rating is "Teen And Up Audiences" (34% of works), followed by "General Audiences" (25%), "Mature" (19%), "Explicit" (14%) and "Not Rated" (7%).
  • Excluding character and relationship tags, the most frequently used tags are: Fluff (12% of works), Angst (11%), Hurt/Comfort (11%), Canon-Typical Violence (10%), Established Relationship (9%), Post-Canon (9%), Found Family (8%), Pre-Canon (8%), Team as Family (7%), Temporary Character Death (7%), Immortality (5%), Character Study (5%), Angst with a Happy Ending (5%), Emotional Hurt/Comfort (4%), Canon Compliant (4%), Immortal Husbands (4%), Romance (4%), Anal Sex (4%), Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence (3%), Porn with Feelings (3%), Canon Queer Relationship (3%), Slice of Life (3%), Fluff and Angst (3%), Canon Queer Character of Color (3%), Post-Movie (3%), Enemies to Lovers (3%), Plot What Plot/Porn Without Plot (3%)
  • The "Major Character Death" and "Violence" warnings are very common. The other AO3 warnings are almost never used.
  • Joe almost never appears without Nicky and vice versa. They appear in almost exactly the same number of works.
  • 99% of works are in English.
  • 52% of works have less than 2,000 words. 98% of works have less than 20,000 words. One work has 153,684 words!
  • Mature and Explicit works tend to be longer than General Audiences works.
  • In total, works tagged "The Old Guard" have received almost 3 million hits and 500,000 kudos so far.
  • Besides English, the most popular languages for work titles are Italian, French and Latin. Other languages used include Arabic and Genoese.

A few notes

Statistical analysis of fanworks for a given fandom can be difficult because the works tend to be scattered over lots of different sites: AO3, fandom-specific archives,, livejournal, dreamwidth, deviantart, tumblr, fans' personal sites, Yahoo Groups mailing lists, geocities sites, and probably many others I don't even know about. But The Old Guard is a very recent fandom and seems to be quite heavily concentrated on AO3, for the fic at least (I think? I'm not sure...), so that makes the analysis a lot easier. Nevertheless, bear in mind that everything I say here takes into account works posted to AO3 only, and works posted to other sites might have totally different characteristics.

In the "Notes" section at the end of this work, I've given more details about the data included, the analysis performed, the tools used, etc.

Note for screenreaders: I have not included any description of the images in the alt text attribute, because I have tried to convey within the main text all the same information as is conveyed in the graphics.

This was a lot of fun! Please let me know if something isn't clear, if you spot any mistakes, or if there's something else you're curious about which I didn't include here.