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[Fandom stats] A statistical year in fandom: 2015

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Image hosted on Tumblr -- if broken, view on imgur.com


Image hosted on Tumblr -- if broken, view on imgur.com


Image hosted on Tumblr -- if broken, view on imgur.com


Image hosted on Tumblr -- if broken, view on imgur.com


Image hosted on Tumblr -- if broken, view on imgur.com


Image hosted on Tumblr -- if broken, view on imgur.com


Image hosted on Tumblr -- if broken, view on imgur.com

Partly inspired by @elizabethminkel and @flourish of @fansplaining talking about the Year In Fandom in their most recent episode, I maaaaaay have gone kind of bonkers overboard in trying to do a “quick” stats look at what was popular this year. :)

Edit A: To clarify, I set the thresholds for inclusion incredibly high, because it was hard for me to compile this data even just for this many fandoms. There are so many active fandoms that almost made it! You can see some of them (but not all!) in the spreadsheet.

Edit B: Due to an AO3 error, Jupiter Ascending (and maybe other fandoms) were left off the 2015 Yuletide list. A few notes observations, in no particular order:

  1. It’s still amazing to me what different results you get by looking on different platforms, no matter how many times I do it. Wattpad remains the hardest to get a sense of, statistically, and also the most different.
  2. Marvel and Harry Potter (which is very much alive and well!) seem to have the most consistent appeal cross-platform. (There would probably be others, like One Direction, except FFN bans RPF.)
  3. Unsurprisingly, given the relative demographics of the platforms, kids shows/books/games tend to have far more active fandoms on FFN than AO3. I think kids shows are also more active on Wattpad, but it’s harder to tell there.
  4. Given that I spent a bunch my early teen years writing lots of Phil Collins/OFC and Peter Gabriel/OFC fic (oh hush), and imagining myself into Star Trek plotlines, I am not at all surprised that most of the Wattpad content seems to be something along those lines. Albeit with today’s bands and internet celebs.
  5. Tumblr has done their own series of Year in Review stats and lists. i just wish they talked more about their methodology. Also, theirs are focused mostly on the source media, rather than the fandoms. Still, it might be interesting to try to look through their 2015 lists and see how they do or do not correlate with my above sets of popularity data.
  6. Harry Potter’s not the only older fandom going strong despite a lack of recent canon. I thought maybe the high activity level of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was due to an Open Doors import, e.g., but that doesn’t account for most of it. Some fandoms continue to generate interest for a long time.
  7. Even with a near continuous infusion of new canon, though, I really don’t get how Supernatural stays SO MUCH more active on AO3 than the other fandoms after so many years. Amazing! @mycommonreader and others who’ve paid attention to SPN productivity over time – any insights? Is this just par for the course?
  8. Several of the popular Yuletide fandoms from last year went on to outgrow Yuletide eligibility for this year (max 1000 fanworks). But none had such a meteoric rise as The 100, which came from almost nothing to produce an amazing 8.6K fanworks this year. Wow!!
  9. Dragon Age was another breakout fandom, though it had existed before – it really surged, this year. Fandoms for video games, anime, and manga used to mostly be active on Fanfiction.net. It seems like recently they’ve picked up more steam over on AO3, and in some cases – e.g., Dragon Age and Attack on Titan – they’re actually growing faster on AO3 than FFN.
  10. Partly, though, it’s a bit tricky to compare the two – because AO3 wrangles tags together that end up split into smaller groups across genres on FFN.
  11. A lot of the biggest ships continue to be dudeslash ships, but there were a lot of big gains by other ships this year – including a bunch of F/F ships rising in the ranks. Having six femslash ships the produced over 1000 fanworks this year seems to me to be cautiously encouraging in terms of what it says about the media landscape. (Though I could be mistaken about that – more data needed about why there’s this increase.) And of course it’s nice for the shippers!
  12. And I’m unsurprised (edit: based on what’s on my Tumblr dash) but happy that Hamilton and Star Wars TFA are both beloved cinnamon rolls of fans as we go into 2016! :D Hooray for the incredible talent behind these creative endeavors, the diversity of their casts, and the amazing creativity of their fandoms. Woot!!
  13. Edit: An additional interesting fact sent in by a reader – one of the Dragon Age F/M ships (Female Inquisitor/Cullen Rutherford) is a subset of another (Cullen Rutherford/Female Trevelyan).  (More information) Edit2: Another reader points out similar overlap between the two ships involving Solas. (more info)

My raw (very messy) data is available here. Let me know if you have questions.