Back in 2007, Fan History faced criticism for not being inclusive enough, for the selection of people with articles about them being too random, for being too focused on fan fiction. In March of 2008, we took the steps to address that criticism by launching FanFictionNetBot, which created articles about FanFiction.Net users. More than 470,000 articles later, we've found that the response to this was really positive. For every article deletion request we had, there were at least ten people who edited articles about themselves, and who posted/commented about how it was cool that an article about them was on Fan History.
FanFictionNetBot also helped give us a really good picture of what was happening on FanFiction.Net. Did you know that only about a quarter of accounts created actually had stories posted to them? We were suprised too. Another cool facts we discovered: Harry Potter fan fiction writers on FanFiction.Net average three point three stories per author. (376,000 stories and 112,000 members of the fandom equals 3.3 stories average per author.) We were also were intrigued to discover that the Naruto, Inuyasha, Lord of the Rings, Yu-Gi-Oh, Kingdom Hearts fandoms were the next fandoms up when it came to participation by people in the fan fiction community. We were also intrigued to find that Twilight fandom had so many members; the fandom is quite new when compared to the amount of time that FanFiction.Net has been around.
It was with all this in mind that we created LiveJournal Bot. Prior to the creation of this bot, we had been adding a lot of this information by hand. This process was slow, tedious and wasn't helping us to get a really good picture of what was happening in fandom and specifically on LiveJournal. It was also frustrating for us when people would talk about the size of fandom on LiveJournal. Obviously not everyone on LiveJournal is a member of fandom. If you're trying get an accurate count of the number of users on LiveJournal who are members of fandom, well, the process can annoying. We are also intensely curious as to the size of comparative fan bases on LiveJournal. Is the fandom community for Harry Potter on LiveJournal bigger or smaller than the one on FanFiction.Net? Can we get a number which suggests that fandom actually has a bigger presence on LiveJournal than it does on the fan fiction-only FanFiction.Net?
After running this bot, we'll not only begin to answer those questions, but we'll also have a much bigger, much better, much more accurate and inclusive fandom directory. We'll also have a better idea of what is going on in music, sports and actor fandoms that we didn't have before because FanFiction.Net doesn't allow fan fiction for those fan communities. We're really excited about these additions.
As we attempt this, Fan History knows that any numbers we generate are going to be problematic. For example, we're not creating articles about everyone on LiveJournal. We're only creating articles about people who belong to a list of roughly 1,600 fandom-based LiveJournal communities representing English, Spanish, Russian and Ukranian language communities. This is a pretty good sample but obviously limited as LiveJournal has a huge number of such communities. The numbers won't be entirely accurate because Fan History is excluding any LiveJournal user who has decided to not allow bots to access their privacy settings. If an article with the same name as a person's LiveJournal name already exists, the bot won't create a separate article or edit the existing one. This means some people will be passed over.
These steps mean that many of members of LiveJournal's fandom base will be excluded and our numbers won't be 100% accurate. In the case of honoring your privacy though, this is something where we're more than happy to not have the most accurate numbers ever.