OTW Community Survey: First results

The OTW Community Survey closed on Thursday 2nd May after its two-week run. An amazing 5986 people responded, which surpasses our wildest expectations. We’d like to thank everyone who took it and who helped to spread the word for making it such a huge success! We’d also like to apologise for the delay in posting about our preliminary results. We had originally intended for this post to go up the day after the survey closed, but unfortunately the mass of data involved and some unexpected commitments on the part of some key staffers meant that we weren’t able to do this. We’re sorry that we didn’t post an update about the delay — improving our processes to cover stuff like this is one of the things we’re still working on. Thank you for your patience and your overwhelming response to the survey!

We wanted to cover lots of bases and get a broad picture of our userbases and their needs, which meant that this was a long survey! So we’re especially pleased (and relieved!) that the completion rate was 82.2 % — that is, 4921 people actually finished the entire survey and clicked the “done” button. (Don’t worry if you were one of the other 18% — we’ll still be counting the results from partially completed responses.)

The high number of respondents corresponds with a humungous amount of data. Some of this will be reasonably easy to collate, while some of the free text responses will require more in-depth analysis. The final question (“Anything else you’d like to tell us?”) alone yielded the equivalent of an epic Big Bang story: 60.000 words!

We’ve formed an internal workgroup who will help evaluate and publish the results. Due to the amount of data we’re working with, this will be a gradual process, but we’ll try to keep you up-to-date with the details as they emerge. We thank you for your patience while we get to grips with it all. The really meaty data may take us a while to collate, but here are a couple of tasty morsels to whet your appetite!

Where is everyone?

We had responses to the survey from fans all over the world – and a few from beyond this world (hello to the fan who responded from Narnia!) The top ten countries, by number of respondents, were as follows:

Pie chart showing percentage of survey respondents per country: USA - 56%, UK - 10%, Canada - 8%, Australia - 5%, Germany - 4%, Finland - 1%, New Zealand (Aotearoa) - 1%, Sweden - 1%, France - 1%, Ireland - 1%, Other - 12%

What types of fanworks are people enjoying?

Fandom is a diverse and wonderful place, and people are accessing a whole range of different types of fanwork. The vast majority of respondents (5613 of a total 5716) said they read fanfiction, but other types of fanwork such as fanart and fan videos of various kinds weren’t far behind – and we can’t wait to delve into the free-text responses to this question!

Bar chart showing numbers of respondents who said they consumed a particular type of fanwork: I read fanfiction - 5613, I watch fannish video (e.g. AMV, vids, machinima...) -	3856, I view fanart (e.g. drawings, digital art, manips...) - 4786, I listen to fannish audio (e.g. filk, podfic, soundtracks...) - 2552, I play fan-made game content (e.g. addons, mods, stand-alone games...)	- 778, No (I don't consume any fanworks) - 10, Other (please specify)	384

Stay tuned for more!

We’re working hard on analysing the rest of the data and wrangling it into a nice accessible format. We really value all your input, and we’ll do our best both to publicise it and respond to it. The response to the survey was beyond our wildest dreams — we’re feeling a teeny bit overwhelmed, but also excited about having such rich results to work with! Thank you to everyone who responded, publicised it, and worked to make it such a huge success.

  1. Laura Shapiro commented:

    I couldn’t be happier that you are sharing results so soon, even just a teaser. Can’t wait to see the next exciting installment, and especially to hear about how what you’ve learned from the survey will shape OTW’s strategic plan, policies, and procedures in the future.

  2. Espresso Addict commented:

    As someone who mainly contributes to the project via Fanlore, one of the things I pointed out in my response to the survey was a lack of cohesion between Fanlore and the rest of OTW. Would it be possible to keep posting these updates to the Fanlore Dreamwidth account?

    • Claudia Rebaza commented:

      Hello Espresso Addict!

      The original idea of the Fanlore Dreamwidth account was to give Fanlore users and staffers a dedicated public space to talk about Fanlore-specific things, which is why it doesn’t currently have news from this blog crossposted (although we do have a Dreamwidth mirror: http://otw-news.dreamwidth.org/). However, it would be nice to make the link between Fanlore and other OTW projects more prominent – we’ll pass your feedback on to the Wiki committee and see if we can come up with some solutions.

  3. Lynn Cherny commented:

    I am a fan, member of OTW, and filled in the survey. I do stats, data analysis, and graphs/charts for a living as a consultant. I’d be highly motivated to help you analyse this data, including the text write-ins — using modern text analytics tools. I use Python, R, Excel, SQL. Please drop me a note if you would like some help on this.