melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2009-11-14 12:54 am


SO the thing to do while waiting for yuletide assignments to go out, apparently, is statistics.

(Have I mentioned lately that I love fandom?)

And since I requested dreamwidth/fandom fic, I thought I'd run some numbers on Dreamwidth and fandom. I moved here at beta, and settled in pretty quickly, and it's been really hard, from my cozy little spot here among you all, to tell what actually *was* going on, in respect to fandom moving here.

But when I was going through all the Dear Writer posts being linked in the [ profile] yuletide community over at lj, I kept noticing that there were actually quite a *lot* of people who were linking their letters from their DW accounts instead of their LJs, and I was wondering if there really were a lot, or if it was an illusion based around what I wanted, and was expecting, to see. And then it occurred to me that this might actually be a pretty good metric of how fandom actually *is* moving: yuletide participation is probably as close as we can get to a real cross-section of people who are active in the sort of fandom that is on journal sites, and it seems like the site people link in their letters would be the site they consider their primary home, regardless of whether they crosspost and how.

So, since I was looking at them all anyway, I starting tallying which sites they were each on. And then I gave in and took a more-or-less proper random sample.

All the letter posts were classified into either Dreamwidth, Livejournal, Other LJ-type site, other website or blog, or 'none' (which included people who posted their letter directly into the comments, people who had a placeholder with no link at all, and people who screwed up the html too badly for me to tell what they were trying to link to.) If a comment included links to crossposts in several places, I tallied only the first one listed.

I tallied all the letters on 16 randomly-chosen comment pages, for a total of 400 links in the sample, which is 18.7% of the total participants, or ~53% of the total letters posted as of midnight friday when I finished. In order to get some idea of the sampling error, because I was too lazy to do it properly, I did them in four groups of 100 in order to compare the deviations.

Here's the numbers:
Livejournal: 320, 80%, +/- 8%
Dreamwidth: 58, 14.5%, +/- 7%
None: 15, 4%, +/- 2%
IJ: 4, 1%, +/- 1%
Other: 3, <1%, +/- 1%

That's actually pretty *amazing*, given general fannish inertia. It implies that at minimum, 15% of people active in online-journal-fanfic-fandom now consider Dreamwidth to be their home base. After approximately half a year, with the site still in beta! I quite honestly didn't expect to see nearly those numbers; I am thrilled. And most of the DW people simply quietly linked to their dw journal, without anything to imply this might be considered unusual or worthy of comment.

This is, of course, so far from rigorous it's not even funny: I suspect that, twisting the numbers in favor of DW, is that DW users are probably more likely to leave a Dear Writer letter than other yuletiders, given a certain perception that DW is full of meta wonks. Also, because of the segment of fandom that was central to DW's launch, they're probably far more likely to be yuletiders in general. So it's difficult to really say how these numbers might extend to a more general concept of "fandom".

In LJ's favor is that the fest itself communicates through LJ, which is where the post I'm analyzing is, so people who don't consider LJ their primary home, or esteem several places equally, were probably somewhat more likely to link to lj anyway.

There's also, of course, the possibility of tallying error on my part. And I noticed while doing this that there seemed to be a temporal element: certain days and times would have long stretches of only lj posts, or stretches with lots and lots of DW-users, but I didn't look nearly closely enough to tell whether that's a real effect or statistical noise, whether journal service actually is predictive of how closely you stick to deadlines.

Raw Tallies:
L 11111 11111 11111 11111 11111
11111 11111 11111 11111 11111
11111 11111 11111 11111 11111
11111 1
D 11111 11111 11111
N 111
I 1

Pages: 12 24 5 11

L 11111 11111 11111 11111 11111
11111 11111 11111 11111 11111
11111 11111 11111 11111 11
D 11111 11111 11111 11111 11
N 11
O 11
I 11

Pages: 23 15 26 25

L 11111 11111 11111 11111 11111
11111 11111 11111 11111 11111
11111 11111 11111 11111 11111
11111 11111 111
D 11111 11
N 11111

Pages: 10 13 20 29

L 11111 11111 11111 11111 11111
11111 11111 11111 11111 11111
11111 11111 11111 11111 11111
D 11111 11111 1111
N 11111
O 1
I 1

Pages: 22 6 21 4

And, of course, the other thing that became inescapable is people really *suck* at writing accessible link text. Opera (my browser of choice - which btw worked perfectly with both yuletide signup & ao3, unlike other browsers I can name) has a built-in tool that will pull out all the links in a page, sort them by either text, location, or url, and let you do various things with them. It is very useful; I use it a lot around this time of year, in fact, because I can download large amounts of fic from index posts very quickly in order to read offline.

I am so glad I don't have to use something similar all the time, like people with vision, processing, or dexterity impairments often do. I'm not always perfect with writing useful link text, but I'm trying to remember to be better; someone on my reading page recently linked to a survey saying uninformative link text is the #1 internet accessibility issue, and I believe it now. I didn't run as strict statistics here, but the Opera tool made it very easy to run rough numbers: guess, on average, how many fans out of 25 on a page used link text that actually gives any useful information out of context. Go on, guess!

Something like 80% use some direct variation on "here". Nearly all the rest are something equally unhelpful, along the lines of "My letter" or "Dear Writer" or "on my journal", with a few that are just bare urls with no link text at all, and maybe, if you're lucky, *one* per page that actually says something like "fanwriter1's letter" or "fandom 1, fandom 2, fandom 3" that would actually maybe let someone identify it out of context.

I knew link text was a problem: I'd just never quite been smacked in the face with just *how* useless so much of it is. Put something in your link text that will let people identify it out of context, folks!
lady_ganesh: A Clue card featuring Miss Scarlett. (Default)

[personal profile] lady_ganesh 2009-11-14 10:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I try to be really careful with accessibility and this never even occurred to me!
lady_ganesh: A Clue card featuring Miss Scarlett. (Default)

[personal profile] lady_ganesh 2009-11-18 02:41 am (UTC)(link)
Oooh, shiny.
rodo: chuck on a roof in winter (Default)

[personal profile] rodo 2009-11-17 05:51 pm (UTC)(link)
I think this is incredibly interesting. Particularly because Yuletide still is a bit of a LJ-centric event. I didn't link to my Yuletide Letter in the post you looked at because I don't see how the writer could have found it. (It's not difficult to find anyway.) But I did use DW as my journal in the form.

I also know another person who participates for the first time this year, and she actually hadn't used her LJ for years before, but since it's organised on LJ, she entered her letter there. So I suspect people who don't normally use a blog for fannish activities might default to LJ for the purposes of Yuletide.
lim: baby Spock peeks over the bottom of the icon (Default)

[personal profile] lim 2009-11-19 10:54 am (UTC)(link)
(sorry, commented before myself!)

I actually ended up assigning that as a Coders task on the AO3 last year-- to seek out and destroy all instances of 'click here'. It's incredibly difficult to stamp out; it gets reintroduced constantly.

I see a lot of personal journals have made the move, but not so much communities. I guess when communities start up on dreamwidth is when we'll see the biggest move, just like when new fandoms began to skip the mailing lists in 2004.
anya_elizabeth: Kittyspoon. (Default)

Here from metafandom

[personal profile] anya_elizabeth 2009-11-19 11:50 am (UTC)(link)
Accessibility and link text: I've never before considered it. I'll keep it in mind!

I hope the statistics are accurate, and people keep coming to Dreamwidth. I crosspost from here to LJ and IJ (best. feature. ever) but I seem to do most of my talking to people over on LJ. But DW is shiny and sexy and gives me all I want, and I'd be more than happy to leave them both behind.
queen_ypolita: Woman in a Mucha painting (Mucha by auctrix_icons)

from metafandom

[personal profile] queen_ypolita 2009-11-19 12:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Those stats are very interesting! I consider my DW my primary journal over my LJ, but for Yuletide purposes, with the comms on LJ and all, it seemed easier somehow to mention my LJ in my signup details, and link to the crossposted-from-DW letter on LJ in the Dear Writer letters post.
elf: Computer chip with location dot (You Are Here)

[personal profile] elf 2009-11-19 03:19 pm (UTC)(link)
I knew I didn't like "click here" links, but had no particular understanding of them as *bad.* I'll avoid them in the future, and try to make sure my links actually say something about where they're going. (Although I'll probably continue to use sarcasm and exaggeration in link texts.)
sineala: Detail of The Unicorn in Captivity, from The Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestry (Default)

[personal profile] sineala 2009-11-19 03:50 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks for the statistics! I am probably one of the people who used "here," and now I feel guilty and resolve to do better.
inalasahl: Tony stroking Bruce's hair from AA#10. (Default)

[personal profile] inalasahl 2009-11-19 09:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you for the information on writing accessible link text!
franzeska: (Default)

[personal profile] franzeska 2009-11-19 09:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Culturally, I think we've been trained since the beginning of the web that link text is, by default, "here". In LJ comments, I often just paste in a link because that's easier for someone scanning through to spot (no matter what color the link looks to them) and it immediately tells them what journal site or whatever else I'm sending them off to. If I'm doing a webpage or a Fanlore external link or something, I'm usually better about making it something descriptive.
franzeska: (Default)

[personal profile] franzeska 2009-11-19 09:49 pm (UTC)(link)
And I keep getting sucked back to LJ, despite DW being my primary journal, because of non-fandom communities (mostly linguaphiles and japanese). People seem to be trying to start some things like that up here too, but they haven't had much activity.
alixtii: Player from <i>Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?</i> playing the game. (Default)

[personal profile] alixtii 2009-11-19 09:52 pm (UTC)(link)

It didn't even occur to me until I read the OP that "" doesn't provide any useful information about what I'm sending them to see. I was thinking I was doing a good thing, accessibility-wise, by providing a bare url (the link text and the url are the same! so they must be equally non-confusing! *palmface*) instead of a "here."