Can we use Fanfiction.com as a metric for what is the most popular franchise ever?

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I used to read alot of fanfiction, but than I stop because there all horribly written shit that's mostly now mostly used for Porn Litirature of seeing your favorite characters have sex with each other.

But would it be fare to say can the site be used as a metric for what is the most popular franchise of all time from different mediums? For example:

According to Fanfiction.com the most amount of written stories for the Anime Section is Naruto, so is Naruto by default the most popular Anime franchise of all time?

https://www.fanfiction.net/anime/

For the other mediums:

Most written fanfiction of Books: Harry Potter.

Most written fanfiction of Comic Books: Batman

Most written fanfiction of Movies: Star Wars

Most written fanfiction of TV (as in Live Action): Supernatural.

Most written fanfiction of western Cartoons: Avatar the Last Airbender.

Most written fanfiction of Video Games: Pokemon (if this was in the Anime section it would have been in 4th place)

I'll be honest I was really expecting Game of Thrones to be in first place in the TV section.

That's fanfiction.net you twat! :P

Anyway, I've wondered that myself, as someone who's posted over 1000 pieces (multi-chapters/oneshots/poems) on the site. I think there's some merit to that idea, but I'd be wary of citing it as the be all and end all, as:

-There's some fandoms that have multiple entries. For instance, there's no single Final Fantasy story category, there's multiple entries, and even then, Final Fantasy I-VI are lumped together. Or, for instance, Star Trek - there's a category for each Star Trek show, plus the Kelvinverse continuity, plus various novel series, and a "Star Trek: Other" category.

-Some franchises lend themselves better to fanfiction than others. As you said, a lot of it is pairing based, but not every story is going to have material that sets itself up for pairings well. Even that aside...for instance, my favorite novel of all time is Brave New World, but I've only ever written one oneshot for it. That isn't a slight against the novel, it's that I don't feel there's much I could say that the novel doesn't already discuss. So, you could have the best piece of fiction in the world, but if it isn't condusive to fanfiction, then there isn't going to be that much writing for it.

-By proxy, that leads us into games. Off the top of my head, StarCraft and Diablo. On the site, ff.net has 1.8K StarCraft stories, while Diablo has around 918. By that logic, StarCraft is more popular than Diablo...except that would be a very bold claim, because the Diablo series has sold over 30 million copies (D3 alone sold 30 million, forget the other figures), while off the top of my head, the bestselling StarCraft game was SC1 (over 10 million), with WoL last counted at 6.5 million. So, obviously, StarCraft isn't more popular than Diablo, but it is more story-focused than Diablo, so therefore, you're going to get more people writing for it. Fortnite apparently has had over 40 million downloads, but it's only got one entry, and that's one of mine (and I don't eve play the game). Fittingly enough, if you look at the games section, the most popular game IPs tend to be RPGs or action-adventure.

So, yeah. I think sites like ff.net can give us an idea as to franchise popularity, but it can't function as an objective measure of it.

As for Game of Thrones not being top, I'm not surprised. It's a more recent show than its contemporaries, and the site effectively has two GoT sections ("A Song of Ice and Fire" in books, and "Game of Thrones" in TV). The fanbase is effectively splitting its entries between the two categories (speaking for myself, I've posted in both of them.

Hawki:
...Anyway, I've wondered that myself, as someone who's posted over 1000 pieces (multi-chapters/oneshots/poems) on the site....

Wait wait WHAT? A THOUSAND?! Holy shit dude, how did you get THAT much on there?!

Samtemdo8:
I used to read alot of fanfiction, but than I stop because there all horribly written shit that's mostly now mostly used for Porn Litirature of seeing your favorite characters have sex with each other.

But would it be fare to say can the site be used as a metric for what is the most popular franchise of all time from different mediums? For example:

According to Fanfiction.com the most amount of written stories for the Anime Section is Naruto, so is Naruto by default the most popular Anime franchise of all time?

https://www.fanfiction.net/anime/

For the other mediums:

Most written fanfiction of Books: Harry Potter.

Most written fanfiction of Comic Books: Batman

Most written fanfiction of Movies: Star Wars

Most written fanfiction of TV (as in Live Action): Supernatural.

Most written fanfiction of western Cartoons: Avatar the Last Airbender.

Most written fanfiction of Video Games: Pokemon (if this was in the Anime section it would have been in 4th place)

I'll be honest I was really expecting Game of Thrones to be in first place in the TV section.

Your problem with this approach is that you're equating the general popularity of a property with an extremely small portion of the population that isn't representative at all.

In order to break the overall population down into the sample of those which you're trying to use stories posted to represent, we have to take the following steps which necessitates loss of representative status:

1. General Pop
2. Those who use the internet in general
3. Those who visit the internet regularly
4. Those involved in niche activities on the internet (ie: beyond facebook, instagram, the like)
5. Those who are interested in fan fiction
6. Those who write fan fiction
7. Those who have heard of fanfiction.net
8. Those who want to get their stories on fanfiction.net
9. Those who have their stories successfully placed on fanfiction.net

There's way too many specific interest breakdowns in those steps to generate any type of larger consensus of popularity. You're attempting to go from micro to macro in a manner that just doesn't work out statistically or really formal logically.

Simple answer, no.
Long answer:
There are numerous issues with using FF.net as a measuring stick.

First of all is simple age. Every series has a different age and this will obscure the true popularity as obviously series with a longer history will have more content.

Further particularly old series had a good chunk of their content done on other services and that hasn't come over to FF.net, and even now other services get a varying amount of attention from particular fanbases.

Even if you control for that by looking say at fics only in the last year, that only tells us how much production of work is being done, not how much of it is being consumed, a pretty important metric to measuring popularity.

Then you'd also have to measure not just how many fics are produced, but how big are those fics as that can factor into the popularity, and some authors have this nasty habit of producing many fics in the same story line instead of just merging them all together into one big multi-chapter series.

Next, which goes back to that whole fanbase thing, ff.net has its own community, and communities within communities, and this can vary wildly between series. Some communities, for instance, embrace pretty much everything under the sun, while others are very hostile to anything that doesn't fit a particular mold. While this doesn't stop anyone from producing a particular story, it can greatly alter their motivation to do such even though the series itself is quite popular.

And lastly, as someone else brought up, some series just don't lend themselves to fanfiction as much as others. Take me, I write fanfiction, but I don't write for the series I have the most interest in. No, I write for one of what I consider to be a fairly weak series, but because I feel it has the most room for fanfiction development.

Chessrook44:

Hawki:
...Anyway, I've wondered that myself, as someone who's posted over 1000 pieces (multi-chapters/oneshots/poems) on the site....

Wait wait WHAT? A THOUSAND?! Holy shit dude, how did you get THAT much on there?!

1,715 entries at this time of writing.

As for how, answer is:

-Been posting since 2006 and pretty constantly at that, so it's built up over time.

-I had long periods of unemployment in the early 2010s, and that only really swung around in 2014/'15, so I had a lot of time on my hands.

-Keep in mind that most of them are oneshots and poems - stuff I can crank out in 15-30 minutes. They take up the lion's share of what I've posted.

To be fair though Batman, Harry Potter, and Star Wars have obscenely large fanbases and remained as such for years now beyond Fanfiction.net.

Actually for cartoons you need to take into account MLP's dedicated fanfic site fimfiction.net which has 115k stories on it so its the most popular cartoon.

I hardly think that's an accurate metric esp. considering that many of those fanfics are probably written by the same authors.

Maybe the franchises with the most dedicated fans, but certainly not the most fans in general.

Who goes to fanfiction.net

Ao3 is where it's at

undeadsuitor:
Who goes to fanfiction.net

Ao3 is where it's at

Are the fanfics there written competantly? I used to read alot of Danny Phantom crossovers with the DC Universe, especially Teen Titans.

You need to take some factors into account:

- the age of the franchise (Batman, for example, is pushing 80 so a lot of fanfiction can be a result of long term accumulation rather than a large number of current fans)
- the demographics of the audience (Pokemon is directed primarily at kids who have a lot of free time to write fanfiction, Supernatutal's fans are mostly teenage to middle aged women who drool at the sight of the protagonists and they love to write down their sick sexual fantasies related to them)

Samtemdo8:
According to Fanfiction.com the most amount of written stories for the Anime Section is Naruto, so is Naruto by default the most popular Anime franchise of all time?

Of all time? No.
Naruto is less than 20 years old. The fans are almost exclusively millenials.
With something like Dragon Ball, there are a lot of fans who are in their 50's who grew up on the original series, who love the franchise but don't talk about it online.
As popular as Naruto is, I can guarantee you that more people are familiar with Dragon Ball (DB is like the Call of Duty of anime, where some fans of the franchise ignore the rest of the meduim completely).

Also, I didn't even know about this website.
I thought that Deviantart is where people post all of their fanfiction.

Also also, do we count things like The Orville as fanfiction?

No. Maybe which franchise has the most invested fans, but popularity isn't the same as invested fans.

Samtemdo8:

undeadsuitor:
Who goes to fanfiction.net

Ao3 is where it's at

Are the fanfics there written competantly? I used to read alot of Danny Phantom crossovers with the DC Universe, especially Teen Titans.

I'm mainly joking. The main difference with ao3 is that it allows explicit works so it has a higher number of mature works and outright smut than the more popular ff.net

Not really, despite how long the Simpsons has been going there's not nearly as many fanfics as you'd think. Glee only lasted a few years yet it has way more fanfics then some shows that lasted longer.

Canadamus Prime:
I hardly think that's an accurate metric esp. considering that many of those fanfics are probably written by the same authors.

No single author could write tens, if not hundreds of thousands for some of those categories. As someone who writes and reviews for the site, very few authors ever get into triple digit territory (for number of stories).

Vanilla ISIS:

Also also, do we count things like The Orville as fanfiction?

https://www.fanfiction.net/tv/Orville/

As Star Trek fanfiction? Guess not anymore.

Though if ff.net is a gauge of popularity, for all those claiming that The Orville is more popular, it has 6 entries, while Star Trek: Discovery has 89. Food for thought.

undeadsuitor:
Who goes to fanfiction.net

Ao3 is where it's at

I prefer ff.net's format. Also helps that it (as far as I can tell) has more categories, more fics, and more users.

Also, given how much stuff I've written, I really couldn't bring myself to try transferring all of that to Ao3, not to mention that my wikia writing homepage wouldn't really work if I had to link to two websites (least not in its current format).

The only thing Fanfiction sites prove demographically is which franchise attracts the most desperate, attention starved, and socially stunted individuals.

The best metric you'll find is which franchise has brought in the most revenue over time. It doesn't consider quality, it doesn't consider frequency, it only considers how often someone will put money up to get a part of it. It doesn't just prove someone likes a thing, it proves HOW MUCH they like a thing.

I have positive feelings towards My Little Pony, I guess I "like" it but it's more of a "I Like This Exists" and "Might Catch The Occasional Episode" but I'd never spend money on the franchise.

On the flip size I completely adore The Witcher series as well as Vikings but I don't write fanfic for them - hell, I won't write fanfic for anything. But I have spent money on them.

Some more interesting things I found:

Holy hell, guys, there's Psi-Ops fanfiction. :O I was not expecting that.

-

High School Musical (17.9K)

Wait... Seriously?

Hawki:

Canadamus Prime:
I hardly think that's an accurate metric esp. considering that many of those fanfics are probably written by the same authors.

No single author could write tens, if not hundreds of thousands for some of those categories. As someone who writes and reviews for the site, very few authors ever get into triple digit territory (for number of stories).

Maybe not, but you're probably still going to have a dedicated collective of authors submitting a lot of the material. Also I still don't think it's a good metric regardless because, as has been pointed out, how many fans don't bother with fan fiction. I sure as hell don't.

Were those franchises a part of the grand massive mashfic that one Escapist keeps posting? Because that's the metric I judge things by!

Canadamus Prime:

Maybe not, but you're probably still going to have a dedicated collective of authors submitting a lot of the material. Also I still don't think it's a good metric regardless because, as has been pointed out, how many fans don't bother with fan fiction. I sure as hell don't.

In my experience that isn't the case. I haven't really observed any collectives. Granted, I write everything I write by myself (don't do collaborations or requests), but I find that fics written by two or more authors is the exception rather than the rule, and there aren't really any noticable networks of writers either.

Likewise, while I think some franchises lend themselves better to fan writing than others, I don't think there's inherently some fans that are more suited to writing than others. As in, say, being a Transformers fan would say nothing inherent about your predisposition towards fan writing than if you were...I dunno, a Psi-Ops fan. Course, Transformers is a pretty large section on the site (technically at least two sections) whereas Psi-Ops isn't, but that says more about the IPs than those invested in them.

Abomination:
The only thing Fanfiction sites prove demographically is which franchise attracts the most desperate, attention starved, and socially stunted individuals.

Gee, thanks. :(

Hawki:

Abomination:
The only thing Fanfiction sites prove demographically is which franchise attracts the most desperate, attention starved, and socially stunted individuals.

Gee, thanks. :(

No problem!

:)

Hawki:

Canadamus Prime:

Maybe not, but you're probably still going to have a dedicated collective of authors submitting a lot of the material. Also I still don't think it's a good metric regardless because, as has been pointed out, how many fans don't bother with fan fiction. I sure as hell don't.

In my experience that isn't the case. I haven't really observed any collectives. Granted, I write everything I write by myself (don't do collaborations or requests), but I find that fics written by two or more authors is the exception rather than the rule, and there aren't really any noticable networks of writers either.

Likewise, while I think some franchises lend themselves better to fan writing than others, I don't think there's inherently some fans that are more suited to writing than others. As in, say, being a Transformers fan would say nothing inherent about your predisposition towards fan writing than if you were...I dunno, a Psi-Ops fan. Course, Transformers is a pretty large section on the site (technically at least two sections) whereas Psi-Ops isn't, but that says more about the IPs than those invested in them.

I didn't say anything about multiple authors writing one fic. I meant multiple authors writing multiple fics. It could just be a small group of authors writing a large amount of fan fiction.

Regardless I think a better metric would be how much of a presence a franchise has at, say, a convention or something.

I totally forgot that place existed, but it's part of my cringey past as a shipper. I have a piece of fluff on there that's been viewed 40,000 times... If I could pick one thing about myself to be viewed that many times, it sure as heck wouldn't be shipping fanfic I wrote as a teenager. DX

to escape my walk down memory lane and actually answer your question, though: probably. I mean, fanfic writers tend to be proportionate to the size of their respective fandoms, and that website is the largest collection of such people in one area. I imagine it's not precise, and probably can't be quantified, but i think if a study were performed, the fiction that generated the most fanfiction would likely also be the fiction with the largest communities.

I would say "Yes.", but only as one of several metrics as far as popularity is concerned, as others have outlined above, there are several factors concerning genre, target audience and site archiving that would skew the numbers, still, one does not become a popular subject matter on Fanfiction.net WITHOUT being popular.

So yeah, it's a useful metric, but only to be taken as one of several.

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Samtemdo8:

undeadsuitor:
Who goes to fanfiction.net

Ao3 is where it's at

Are the fanfics there written competently? I used to read alot of Danny Phantom crossovers with the DC Universe, especially Teen Titans.

Same potluck as FF.net was in it's time, just less fetters on content. Take warnings seriously because there's minimal moderation on things written considering the correct labels are used. And yeah I've used it the past year after FF.net has kind of dried up for me, s'got some good on there, alot of terribad tween angst writings but that's par for the course, gonna have to wade through the mud for the gems as per the norm.

Help me out here: What is the deal with Supernatural? I've never seen a single episode of it but it's been going on forever and there seem to be a lot of people who are way into it. Is it really that good? It's not exactly something that comes up a lot when people talk about classic great television.

I don't think fanfic is a good metric for popularity at all. I mean, I love plenty of geeky material but have never written or read a single word of actual fanfic. (Aside from Jim Sterlings Mass Effect 3 video).

PsychedelicDiamond:
Help me out here: What is the deal with Supernatural? I've never seen a single episode of it but it's been going on forever and there seem to be a lot of people who are way into it. Is it really that good? It's not exactly something that comes up a lot when people talk about classic great television.

I watched the first season. It's...... average if I'm being generous. Two brothers solving mysteries, nothing really great about it.

PsychedelicDiamond:
Help me out here: What is the deal with Supernatural? I've never seen a single episode of it but it's been going on forever and there seem to be a lot of people who are way into it. Is it really that good? It's not exactly something that comes up a lot when people talk about classic great television.

From what I have seen of it, every supernatural thing in the history of the entire Earth is real and exists, even Gods are characters in this world seen in the guise of ordinary people, Satan himself is a character in this show.

So, bit of an update on the question, the site's buggered in that it no longer counts submission numbers. For instance, the Venom category is listed as having 8 fics, when in reality it has around 40.

If it isn't fixed (and given how slow the site is on updates, that's a genuine possibility), this is going to be a disaster for smaller fandoms.

What's interesting is that I checked out Archive of Our Own, and as far as fic numbers go, the numbers can be very divergent. E.g., off the top of my head:

Golden Sun: >3000 (ff.net) vs. >300 (AO3)

StarCraft: >1800 (ff.net) vs. >200 (AO3)

Killjoys: >60 (ff.net) vs. >600 (A03)

Dragon Prince: >10 (ff.net) vs. >300 (AO3)

So, it appears ff.net tends to have a greater share of 'old school' fandoms, while AO3 is where people are writing for newer fandoms. Looking online, I've seen comments that people on AO3 tend to be younger.

Edit: Did some more searching, there's actually correlation as well. So, sometimes it's divergent, sometimes it isn't.

An inaccurate metric, but approximate enough I suppose.

More accurately a metric of the popular franchise with the most shipping potential. Or at least characters that people desire to be shipped the most, aka characters that they themselves are attracted to.

I still write it myself from time to time, and never really got the prevailing desire to do that with every character pairing imaginable. If it fits the story sure, but there has to be a solid core of an idea to build it around to make it worthwhile.

I've started to wonder if maybe AO3 is more my jam.

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