Episode 13: Destination: Stats!
Elizabeth and Flourish interview Destination Toast about her world-famous fandom statistical analyses. Topics covered include “2015: A (statistical) year in fandom,” bad math, the differences between major fanfic archives, and trends on the rise in the coming year—plus, Elizabeth gets trolled.
[00:00:57] Here’s Toasty’s Year in Review post!
[00:09:34] @antilamentation’s post about her year.
[00:15:42] The newsletter is called “The Rec Center.”
[00:18:04] The interstitial music here and for the rest of the episode is “Milenberg Joys,” as played by the US Air Force Band; it’s in the public domain.
[00:32:13] They’re totally not the two largest Yuletide fandoms, though they’re far from the smallest. Flourish is bullshitting.
[00:33:51] Actually, there was a Lord Peter Wimsey short story published in 1972, but before that, the last canon was published in 1937. The Jill Paton Walsh novels don’t count and Flourish will fight anyone who says they do.
[00:37:12] If Toasty’s answer here isn’t enough for you, there’s also a Tumblr post about methodology and how you can do stats too!
[00:49:51] Flourish posted about Wattpad & AO3 metrics!
[01:00:35] Observe the majestic pun husky.
[01:01:53] Gretchen’s awesome smash ship names article.
Flourish Klink: Hi, Elizabeth!
Elizabeth Minkel: Hi, Flourish.
FK: And welcome to Fansplaining, the podcast by, for, and about fandom!
ELM: Woo, first episode of 2015! Episode number 13, we will be talking to Destination Toast.
FK: Woo hoo!
ELM: If anyone is not familiar with Toasty’s work, I know her from Sherlock fandom, but she does a lot of stats. Some of them are fandom-specific but some of them are a lot broader, and she’s been a listener to the show—and so in the last episode, when we asked about the year in fandom, she went at it the way she goes at this sort of thing and quantified it. And it’s this amazing post, and we’ll obviously link to it if you haven’t already seen it—and you probably have if you’re in fanfiction media fandom on Tumblr, because—
FK: —yeah, because it went around the Internet like that. And I have to say, best New Year’s present ever.
ELM: How many notes did it get, at least—last time I looked it was like 13,000 notes on Tumblr, so.
ELM: Yeah, well, obviously we wanted to talk to her at some point and this seemed like the opportune moment.
FK: Yeah! But we actually, I mean, although that was sort of above and beyond as far as responses to our last episode went, we also got a bunch of other great responses from people—so we wanted to read some of those and highlight them.
ELM: They’re done in the way that other people do these things.
FK: Like normal people like me, right. If I was trying to respond to our last thing, my thought would not be “Hmm, let me go and do a complex statistical analysis of everything that was posted to the Archive Of Our Own.” That just would not enter my head as my first choice. I’d be like “Hmm, let me think about this and maybe write a tweet.”
ELM: Right. [laughs]
FK: So here are the other people who wrote tweets, like me. Although some actually, you know, honestly I was so amazed by the response we got there too. We got a bunch of really long and wonderful emails and we can only read these tiny little excerpts.
ELM: But Flourish would write a tweet. She wouldn’t write a—
FK: I would write a tweet. I wouldn’t write a complex email. I’m not good enough for that.
ELM: [snorts] All right! So we got responses from people that we know, people we don’t, a bunch of our guests from the first dozen episodes gave us their—somehow this turned into a new question, I think maybe you did this, turned into best and worst moments?
FK: Yeah, this was my fault, because I tweeted it and I was trying to get, like, I don’t know, I was trying to have it not just be like “Hey, I love Hamilton!” Which is a totally reasonable thing to enjoy about fandom—
ELM: That we got multiple times.
FK: Yeah, but it didn’t work. But we did get lots of good responses! Oh God, now we sound like we’re slagging our listeners.
ELM: OK, so who should we start with?
FK: I think that Jules was the most concise. She says that she has a long list of great fandom moments for 2015, but can be summed up as “#SPNFamily.” Which is really sweet, right? Like, it’s wonderful when you love your fandom and that’s like, and it’s just doin’ it, you know?
ELM: Yeah, it’s interesting too because I guess looking at all of the responses, my response to this was not, like, “Oh, I love a fandom,” it was like “Oh, I love things and I’m trying to avoid fandoms. [FK laughs] It’s nice to see people still enjoying their fandoms! Um, let’s see. And then Evan, Evan responded too—
FK: So Evan responded too and their best and worst fandom moments had to do with making or not making conventions, so the worst thing was missing the Fan Studies Network conference, and the best thing was making it—or planning I should say, planning going to Red Dragon Con to hang out with Fannibals.
ELM: Like-minded Fannibals.
FK: Like-minded Fannibals. Not just any Fannibals, but like-minded ones. Which is, like, I get that. I feel like going to a con, it’s so disappointing when you have to go back to the real world.
ELM: All right, sure.
FK: What, isn’t it?
ELM: Yeah, I mean, you’re kind of on vacation.
FK: Yeah, and—
ELM: There are things that I do like about cons.
FK: [laughs] Elizabeth Minkel: “There are things that I do like about cons…”
ELM: If anyone runs a con and is interested in inviting me for free, I’ll come to your con. [FK laughs] That’s not true, actually. Within reason.
FK: Yeah. You heard it here first. Elizabeth hates cons.
ELM: I didn’t say that…
FK: You implied it, heavily! The guest who had the sort of strongest reaction I think was Heidi, who said that her worst fandom moment was watching people stress and worry that TPP would destroy fanworks internationally, imminently, because of rumor-mongering. Yeah. I mean, I guess I didn’t see people freaking out about this so much, but I think that she sees a lot of it.
ELM: I get the sense that people come directly to her with questions, because she does run a Tumblr about it.
FK: That would be really hard, actually, like—I can see how stressful it would be to have people constantly actually concerned, worried because some asshole on the internet had said “Boogeyman’s gonna get you!” and you’re like “No, don’t worry, it’s fine!” and they’re freakin’ out.
ELM: Yeah, but I kind of guess that’s what a lot of lawyers do in general, right?
ELM: Because they’re, like, counsel, and give advice. They have all the facts.
FK: Isn’t her Tumblr not legal advice? Because she has to say that, cause otherwise she’s everybody’s lawyer?
ELM: Maybe not, like, official legal advice.
ELM: OK, so then we got other responses. One I was really excited about, because if you listened to last week, you’ll know that a friend of mine wrote this Remus/Sirius fic that, like, sent me down a rabbit hole and since we last spoke, oh my God, oh my God I can’t. I’m working on a story, Flourish, did I tell you?
FK: Aaaa! You told me but I can’t wait to read it. I can’t wait!
ELM: And it might, you might, it’s even for you, because there are heterosexual pairings as well as slash.
FK: Aww, it’s a little bisexual story just for me!
ELM: They’re not bisexual.
FK: No, but there’s—it’s not just slash—there’s het pairings and there’s slash pairings, that’s how I meant it.
ELM: Unfortunately cause canonically there’s only one woman, I can’t provide you with any femslash. Maybe I’ll write in some more—I think I have to write in some more women. Just logically. She can’t just live in a void as she does in the books.
FK: No, she really can’t.
ELM: That’s fine. So the username of this person who, she probably doesn’t care if I say her real name but I’ll just say, is alwaysalreadyangry, and—
FK: Which is a great username!
ELM: Fair! She wrote “I really felt alienated by the majority of dominant fandoms, and it felt like until Star Wars there was nothing even that big going on. So I finally retreated back into Harry Potter, well, Remus/Sirius, and got to write after ten years of lurking.”
So aside from the, like, I feel like I wrote this myself in the second part, the first part too, because I think part of the problem isn’t so much that I was having a lot of trouble with this big fandom I was in—I also felt pretty alienated by the other big fandoms. And I think, I imagine that people who are in smaller fandoms who are not really getting caught by stuff right now, it’d be weird, especially with the whole mainstreaming thing. To say “Oh, everyone’s in a fandom now…” You know. So like if you feel like, I don’t really like Marvel movies, or I don’t really like Star Wars and you have freaking Entertainment Weekly over here going “We’re all fans in fandoms…” [both laugh]
FK: Yeah, I totally get that.
ELM: I don’t know, that’s frustrating! I’ve been frustrated about this recently.
FK: I completely get it. Although I haven’t had the same level of what that must be like right now, I’ve definitely felt that moment of alienation where you’re like, “Wow, all my friends are really into this thing.”
FK: Which I don’t like. Hmm.
ELM: That’s a little bit how I feel, I don’t hate it, but I don’t feel pulled by Star Wars, and so I’m a little surprised that literally everyone I know… That’s not true. Lot of people I know really like Star Wars. Like you, Flourish.
FK: Yeah, but actually, I don’t know, I’m not sure that I want to write or read fanfic about Star Wars. I’ve never wanted to in the past.
ELM: Even with the new characters?
FK: Yeah. I mean, I, you know, for all my joking about being Ren/Rey trash or whatever, or Reylo as I guess they’re calling it now, before it got the smash ship name? Anyway, for all I joke about that, yeah, I’m not sure that I really want to read or write fanfic about Star Wars.
ELM: I mean, that one you probably can’t, because I see a war brewing on Tumblr over this.
FK: Yeah, you know, we don’t need to discuss my thoughts on this.
ELM: This is a topic for another day, because I do want to talk about this.
FK: This is a topic for another day.
ELM: So then aside from the shorter responses we got a few very long responses, and I don’t know if we’re gonna publish them or link to them maybe, so we just want to highlight a couple of things in them. Let’s see. Which one do we want to start with?
FK: Well, the one that I found really, like, made me feel good about fandom and myself and everybody was: PorcupineGirl said that her biggest takeaway was that “Compared to a year ago i feel much more connected. I have friends! I still have social anxiety but it’s much, much reduced when it comes to meeting other fans or people I know online.” And that gave me the warm fuzzies and made me feel like 2015 was a good year.
ELM: For PorcupineGirl.
FK: Yeah, but also for everybody, right? Like, it made me feel good!
ELM: No, that was really lovely to read. Let’s see. We got two responses that kind of go at it from different angles. One was from Natasha, who I know from Fan Studies Network, who I think used to work for the OTW and I’m pretty sure that she doesn’t anymore, whose Tumblr is—I don’t even know how to say it. “Anti-lamentation”?
FK: “Anti-lamentation” sounds right to me.
ELM: Antilamentation… she wrote, “Damnit @elizabethminkel, you made me have thinky thoughts when I should be going to bed. For me, 2015 was the year to say fuck you to non-diverse media. A lot of my fandom experience (going on 20 years now) has ranged from ignoring, quietly sighing, wishing for better or yelling into the void for better representation. By 2015 I was tired of it.” And then she goes on to talk about all the different specific media properties and how she was engaging with them. Which is, yeah, definitely a trend that we saw in 2015.
FK: I think one of the things about it is that diverse media has always existed—well, maybe not always always. But diverse media has existed in the sense of, like, you can go and read books that are diverse. They do exist. There’s not as many of them, but they exist. But one of the problems with fandom is, like, there sort of needs to be a foment for fandom to happen, I feel like. It’s not enough for there to be—at least for me, this obviously isn’t true for everybody, we’ve talked about it. But for me, fandom is partially about finding other people who are like-minded, and love the thing, and love it with you, and there’s a back-and-forth. So I think this was a year where you had diverse properties that lots of people saw and got excited about as opposed to, “I found this thing and I love it! But it hasn’t been promoted, so…”
ELM: Not to go down this rabbit hole too much, I do think that, yes, it’s true that for a long time straight white men aren’t the only people who have created artistic media, but if you think about the kind of things that really generate fannish interest… I’m not gonna say it’s all sci-fi and fantasy or superhero movies or whatever, but that does seem to have a bigger appeal than, say, I don’t know. I could list all sorts of female or black authors or whatever. So it’s like, if you like superheroes, you know?
ELM: It’s different in the comics because they’re so much more diverse now, but if you’re just gonna be given the one black guy and one woman… and no black women…
FK: Yeah, but this is partially about what gets made into, like, what gets made into a movie, right?
FK: So obviously you’ve got Tolkien’s books that get made into movies and everybody, like, lots of people had read them—but all of a sudden they’re brought to a new audience, and there’s a lot of cultural movement around that, but then, you know, you have, like, Octavia Butler’s books, which have never been made into movies… Which are amazing books that I think people consider almost as foundational to the sci-fi and fantasy genre, but you’re not going to get that kind of cultural foment unless someone actually brings it to a larger audience, right? So.
ELM: So fuck the patriarchy?
FK: Fuck the patriarchy. There we go. OK. But so the other response that we got that took a totally different angle on this was from Angela Yuen. Is that how you say her last name?
ELM: Yeah. Yu-en maybe?
FK: Yuen. Angela, if I messed up your last name I’m really sorry.
ELM: Also as an aside, we owe Angela some answers for an interview for her magazine, which I believe is called Margins, so Angela, we are trash people and we will be getting you answers soon.
FK: We are just in a dumpster on fire, so.
ELM: That’s our shout-out to you! Trash fires!
FK: Our shout-out to you is to tell you that we are, in fact, trash fires.
So she wrote a really lovely response that was all about fandom as a marker of the passage of time. She said, in part, “It’s strange how being a fan sometimes has nothing to do with the actual show, or band, or actor. Especially in these ways where you think about where you were the previous season, and how different you are, and how maybe you’ve learned something new and grown a little. I mean, I actually drive now! I can hardly believe it. The show makes me so amazed at myself.” And that made me think about marking the passage of time with fandom. I think it’s on a lot of people’s minds, especially as, like, with the new X-files coming out, I’m like, “Wow—
ELM: “A lot of people,” I’d put that in air quotes!
FK: No! I do!
ELM: You can say it’s yourself, Flourish! You can talk about yourself!
FK: I can talk about myself forever, but I think that it’s not just me, right?
ELM: Yeah, no, I agree.
FK: We can talk about Twin Peaks or Star Wars or whatever—for me, maybe it’s The X-Files that’s making me think about where I was when I first discovered fandom—when I was like ten, you know, and now.
ELM: Right. I don’t know, I always… And in a way that’s hard to talk about in a way that doesn’t feel tedious, but like, because other people do too and I often find it feels tedious… But for me, I find that each Harry Potter book came out at such a specific time, like the fifth one was the weekend before I graduated from high school. And my favorite character dies—spoiler! And I cried for literally the entire summer. My mother was like “I don’t think you’re crying about that character.” [FK laughs] No. And I was like, no! Looking back, I think I really was.
ELM: Fuck high school, who cares?
ELM: And the other two books were very specific moments in my life, so those are markers, and the way you read them is wrapped up in, like, the context of your life.
FK: Completely. And I think this is probably part of why so many people fell so hard down the Star Wars rabbit hole and you didn’t. Because some people have Star Wars as one of those markers and other people don’t particularly, and I think that if you have it as a marker, having a new thing is like, [explody noise].
ELM: I think a lot of my friends that have fallen into it deeply are more excited about the three new characters and the—they’re definitely, it’s a lot of my friends who were looking for really compelling, fully fleshed out characters who weren’t a bunch of white guys.
ELM: So I think that’s really appealed to all the people I know. Which is great. It’s great that we can have an awesome OT3 with no white guys involved.
FK: They’re so cute!
ELM: Such a cute OT3. Oh, wait! Can I plug—is this a good time to do it? Can I plug my newsletter?
FK: Plug your newsletter! Do it right now!
ELM: So a week ago I started a fandom newsletter with Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, who is one of the staff writers in the fandom, I believe it’s called the geek section of the Daily Dot. So we had the first one last week, so we’ll put a link in the show notes, but I believe it’s tinyletter/elizabethandgav. And the reason I bring it up right now is that every week we’re gonna have fanfiction recs at the end, and next week is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the week after that is Flourish and X-files, classic X-files.
ELM: As our first guest reccer! So.
FK: But the first—the first set of recs were so delightful. They were just so delightful. Everybody should really sign up for this, cause it’s—
ELM: I can’t take any credit! Gav lives in Scotland, so I was like, I did, you know, the nonfiction recs, I did most of the copy for that. And then I was like “OK, your turn! Put in the fanfiction ones while I’m asleep.” And I woke up and I was like, “Oh!” It was like… Do you watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Flourish?
FK: I do not watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
ELM: Oh, it’s so good. And so she recced a Brooklyn Nine-Nine fic where Captain Holt, who’s Andre—I don’t know how to say his last name. Andre Brower, is that how you say his name? You know, he’s like a very deadpan—
FK: Yes, I do know that.
ELM: Where he and his husband renewed their vows, and they’re also both deadpan in a different way, so… it was like…
FK: Elizabeth, I have to confess something to you: I don’t think that I’m actually a big comedy person.
ELM: OK, I’m not really… I mean, I guess that’s not true.
FK: It’s not true at all!
ELM: Yeah, but I really like angst.
FK: Yeah, but you like TV comedy in a way that I just…
ELM: Not really. I like Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
ELM: It’s true, I have been watching Key & Peele.
FK: And? Think about your historical fandoms. What have you liked.
ELM: I liked Peep Show? Comedy?
ELM: No, I hate Seinfeld.
FK: What do you like, then, what is the one that you like?
ELM: FRASIER! Frasier, Flourish.
FK: [laughing uproariously] See! Look at how mad you just got!
ELM: FRASIER IS THE FINEST SHOW EVER MADE!
FK: Look at how mad I just made her! So mad. She’s so angry with me right now!
ELM: Did you think it was Seinfeld or were you trolling me?!
FK: I was trolling you and it worked SO WELL! On that note…
ELM: I don’t hate Seinfeld but I really don’t like it, they’re just such bad people, and I really can’t…
FK: On that incredibly trolling note, I think we should invite Destination Toast on the podcast.
ELM: Should we call Destination Toast?
FK: Let’s call her.
ELM: OK, bye!
FK: Bye. [giggling]
ELM: OK! We are super excited to welcome Destination Toast to the podcast. Welcome!
Destination Toast: Hello! Thanks. Glad to be here.
ELM: Yay! We were very excited to do that. You are our first guest of the year, and we just spent a while fangirling over your amazing Year in Review stats. So, just fair warning, we’re gonna do it directly to your face.
DT: Awesome! I am so excited, and thanks so much for having inspired those stats!
ELM: Yeah, OK! So I we should, I think we should probably—before we talk about them we should talk about what brought you to this place.
FK: Yeah. so, we always ask the same question pretty much for our guests, which is were you a fan first? Did you look at fandom and go “Gee, I wonder whether Castiel really is the most important thing in Supernatural fandom by the data?” or were you already a data person and just like “Mmm, fandom, let’s apply this and see what we find”?
DT: Yeah, no, it’s a good question, it’s also one that’s really hard for me to answer because I’ve been a geek in all possible ways kind of my whole life, so… I’ve been writing fanfiction since before I knew that was a thing to do, like, when I go back and look at some of the first things that I wrote in, like, third grade, I wrote this total ripoff of The Hobbit that was, like, The Fringle, that starts out with a sentence that’s almost like the first sentence of The Hobbit and stuff and has illustrations that are almost like The Hobbit… I guess it’s actually kind of…
ELM: “Fringle” is a cuter word than “hobbit,” so.
DT: Yeah. I think I was intimidated by the number of characters, so there’s like, the Fringle and the Wizard and they have like one friend. I couldn’t deal with all the dwarves.
FK: [laughs] You don’t need all those dwarves anyway. They’re extraneous dwarves. Even the dwarves themselves understand that they’re extraneous dwarves.
DT: But yeah. I wrote a lot of Hobbit fanfic mildly disguised, and then Star Trek fanfic, and Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel Mary Sue fanfic, as one totally does, obviously. So I was doing that by myself and with friends from early on, without having any idea that there was sort of this thing of fandom. And while Sherlock is kind of the first time that I’ve done a deep dive into participatory fandom as an adult, and fandom stats is the first time that I’ve been sort of sharing data with fans as an adult, I would say I’ve been deeply a fan and creating fanworks of my own since I was very little.
And at the same time, I’m totally a geek also in the sense of geeking out about stats, and data has also been part of my life forever—so I definitely have done some stats through school and my career and stuff, because I studied a bunch of sciency things in school. I went to grad school studying psychology and linguistics and stuff and running some experiments and I had to learn some stats for that, and I work in the tech industry and I’ve definitely done some amount of data analysis for that, and so certainly part of why I have the sort of mental tool-set that I do for doing stats comes from that world.
But I’ve always just geeked out about all my hobbies and everything I’ve done, and so I sort of started running at some point, or I started volunteering and wondering how to be most effective at volunteering or donating money or doing things like that, or I got cats and suddenly I’m posting graphs about my running and about charities and volunteer organizations and about cats! I’m a very curious person and a very graphy, geeky, statsy kind of person, and so I would say it’s not so much that I was in fandom first or in stats first but just that both of these are ways that I’ve always looked at the world.
FK: It’s an inherent part of your personality.
DT: Yeah totally.
ELM: That’s so interesting, so Sherlock is the first time that you… Sherlock was my first participatory fandom, you know. Like the first time I ever talked to anyone. And now I’m traumatized, so I don’t know about you.
DT: Aww. Yeah, I definitely—I had friends who were deeply into fandom for a long time, so I sort of had known what that looked like and I kind of thought it was cool, and I read some fanfic—like, in Harry Potter and in other fandoms when friends would rec things to me, and like I said, I was writing things especially as a teen and stuff, before there was really online communities and things. But Sherlock was for whatever reason the first time that I really got pulled in and really was blogging and finding friends and deeply becoming part of fandom.
FK: Well, you did pick a doozy. I will say.
ELM: Don’t make fun of us, Flourish!
FK: I was just going to say that I think that there is a new potential reigning most dramatic fandom… [all laugh] over Harry Potter. So Sherlock was your first participatory fandom: how long have you been statistically analyzing fandom things? When was your first—I feel like you’ve always been doing this and I know that’s not true.
DT: I guess I joined the Sherlock fandom somewhere around the end of 2012, the beginning of 2013? And I think I kind of just absorbed fanfic for several months, just read all the fanfic that I could find, then started writing obsessively and was just consuming and producing fanworks for maybe six months. But as I often do when I’m in something that I’m really enthusiastic about for a bit, I pretty quickly got curious.
So I went back and looked, I did my first analysis in May of 2013 when I guess I’d been in fandom for five or six months. And I really just sort of thought it was gonna be a one-time thing, um, but I was just really kind of curious about, well, what does fandom look like? And I was curious partly because I came in and I knew what I liked and I knew what I was reading, which hilariously I sort of had five months or six months earlier thought to myself, “Gee, I wonder if anyone’s ever written any fanfiction about John and Sherlock together.”
ELM: [laughs] That’s amazing.
FK: Aww, baby!
DT: And I went and looked, and you know what, some people had!
FK: That must have been the greatest feeling.
DT: It was so great! But this is the thing. Because I didn’t have a view of fandom as a whole, my conclusions from this experience were just “Wow, fanfiction has gotten so much easier to find in general, for whatever you want, than a decade ago” or whenever I last went and was looking for Remus/Sirius or whatever last thing was that I was kind of like, “Oh, I wonder if this exists,” right?
DT: So I kind of thought, “Oh wow, not only can I find John and Sherlock, I can find like any scenario and any kink and any trope that I can imagine, wow, there’s just a ton of stuff out there.”
ELM: So you think AO3 in particular, because that’s how I—this is so resonant, resonates so much with me. Because it was the same exact time, it was my first fandom on AO3, all I wanted was John and Sherlock, and it was just so easy to look for things! It was incredible! It changed everything!
DT: It was amazing! So AO3 is this great tool for finding things, but I was also very aware that OK, so I know this one little particular corner—it turned out not to be a little corner of fandom—but I didn’t know that. I didn’t know how big a corner of fandom is this, and I didn’t know how much of the stuff that’s, likem really common and that I can find, how much of this is other people’s experience of fandom. And I also saw a bunch of this meta going around about fandom, and how dominated it was by slash or certain tropes or various things, and I was like, “Some of that resonates for me based on my experience and some of it doesn’t,” but I was like, “I don’t know anything except my own corner of fandom.” And I didn’t see any data to support other people’s claims, either. I was like, “I bet everyone’s just arguing based on what’s on their dash and what they’re reading on AO3.”
So I was like, “OK, I don’t think anyone else will care, but I’m gonna just go through AO3.” I was inspired by the fact that they do this sort-and-filter sidebar, where they break down for a given tag what are kind of the biggest ships and warnings and ratings and things within that particular tag, and I thought, “I’m gonna do that sort of across AO3 and make a few pie charts, and that will be interesting to me and probably nobody else.” And turned out it was interesting to thousands of other people, and then I had a lot of other questions, and other people had a lot of questions, and oh my God, people were suddenly fighting about it really vehemently—which was also surprising to me…
ELM: Wait, so did people say “Oh no, that can’t possibly be true, because that’s not my experience”? Despite you having cold hard facts?
DT: Well, it was interesting. There’s a lot of things that people really fight about a lot, and some of it is—mostly no. Mostly, people actually overly believe the facts that I present. Cause certainly I can make mistakes, or I can make assumptions going in, or my methodology can create biases, just—you can do something a very particular way, where you can get very different answers if you do it a different way—so people can overly believe things. And especially cause you do it on AO3 versus Fanfiction.net versus other places, you know, other places on the internet, Wattpad, you get really, really different answers.
FK: Any of the central archives, like, fanfiction about video games—turns out there’s a lot of it on 4chan, who knew?
DT: For sure, right. And so someone would reblog and add some bad math onto, like—they would extrapolate from mine and add some bad math, and then that would blow up. I did a thing about how many kudos people got and somebody did some bad math saying “Oh, this shows that…” and she just misplaced a decimal point by two points. And so everybody was going “OH MY GOD.” Nobody checked the math, even though if you looked at it in comparison with the charts up above, it was clearly two decimal points off from the numbers right above in my charts. And so people would get really, really, really, freaked out about a lot of things… I see Flourish making a very unhappy face. That was kind of my response: “Oh God, bad math makes me mad!” [laughs]
But it’s less that people argue with me about my numbers, it’s more that they take the data and use it to have really interesting meta conversations about all sorts of things. So I think the main arguments that have come—not just from that original analysis, but from several analyses that I’ve done—sort of have fallen into a couple different camps.
A lot of people—which I just totally didn’t expect—just get really, really upset about “My fandom or ship or kink is really good and yours is really terrible,” or that it’s really awful or really awesome that this thing is so high on the charts—and that just hadn’t occurred to me, because I’m very much in the, like… I love to squee, and I love to see what makes everyone else squee, and it just doesn’t occur to me to cheer for them in the sports team kind of way. I don’t see it as a zero-sum thing myself, so like, that always makes me sad.
ELM: This is interesting because, so I’m a journalist, right, we all know that, Flourish, don’t make that face… It’s over now, but two years ago there was like this huge boom in data driven journalism. I don’t know if you remember this special boom where everyone panicked and were like, “All we need is Nate Silver.”
ELM: It’s interesting, because there was such a backlash. I think part of it was because there was so much blind data driven stuff that didn’t seek to tell any kind of story about it. And it seems to me that you just want to examine the stats, and you put it out there, and then people want to extrapolate from that and say “Well, that’s what this means” or “This is how this affects me and my ship.” And that’s where some of the tension comes from. Does that make sense?
DT: I think so. I mean, sometimes I do have opinions too, but usually I don’t feel particularly more qualified than other fans to have those opinions. Like, being somebody who went and gathered the data doesn’t make my opinions any more valid, but I do want to actually—I feel like the conversations move along better when they do actually have data behind them, and I’m interested in going and seeing what the landscape actually looks like and helping to provide that to the conversations, and then sometimes I’ll also chip in and have opinions on things.
The other kind of two—I mentioned the one big argument that people had which is just sort of “My ship or my kink is really awesome or yours is really terrible” and the angst over “Maybe mine’s dying because my fave didn’t make the list” or whatever, which there was a lot of that in the wake of my releasing the Year in Review stuff of—like, I only put the really really juggernaut things on the list, because it just takes me a long time to go out and gather that data, and I had to draw the line somewhere. But everyone who didn’t make the list is like... There was a lot of freaking out that people’s fandoms were dying, which made me sad, because no: the fandoms and ships are mostly not dying. There were a ton of really huge ones that didn’t make it onto the slides, but it was just the limitations of—me, mostly.
ELM: That’s hard for people, too! I just came from spending a couple hours with two of the biggest Inception writers, you know, as far as I understand it—and I don’t know if the numbers bear this out, but it’s not… There’s not a lot of fanworks. It’s a small fandom, but it seems to be a very loud one.
DT: Yeah, but I think there were still like… I don’t know, I looked this up. I should know. There were like… I should know! I should have all of fandom in my head, dammit.
DT: But I think there were like 800 or 900 fanworks in the past year still or something, just on the AO3, maybe? Which is still pretty big, actually. I mean, I know without context that’s a little hard to judge, but that’s still going pretty strong. There’s, especially for something that hasn’t had any new canon in a long time.
ELM: Or ever.
DT: That’s still a pretty large and loyal fandom.
ELM: These two in particular, they’re two of the biggest ones, and they’re still producing regularly. So it’s like, “Well, you have these two great writers churnin’ it out in your fandom,” you know? Or like, I just re-joined my old fandom from years ago and I was like, “Oh no, there’s gonna be nothing left!” and it turns out people are still active, you know? So…
FK: There’s also different ways that fandoms can be active or exciting, right? So like for instance I would consider that I’m in the Dorothy Sayers and the Twin Peaks fandom, and those are two fandoms—[DT yelps with joy] and they’re the two largest Yuletide fandoms, basically. They have, like, the most stories for them. If I ever offer Dorothy Sayers for Yuletide I’m definitely writing it, right. Or if I ever offer Twin Peaks, I’m definitely gonna write Twin Peaks.
So it’s interesting to me; those feel like perfectly healthy little fandoms. I mean Twin Peaks is gonna be more so when the new series comes out, but Sayers feels really healthy for something that hasn’t gotten new canon since, I don’t know, 1940-something.
DT: I’m so excited about the new Twin Peaks! But yeah, of course I did look at the biggest Yuletide fandoms, and so, you know, we can see that Hamilton is actually the juggernaut Yuletide fandom…
FK: Yeah, that might have been a lie, but we can see that they regularly have large numbers of…
ELM: Don’t throw around the word juggernaut, Flourish!
DT: Right. Sorry. I felt the need, as the statistician, to throw in some data—
FK: You mean my fandom is NOT the biggest and most important one in the world!?
ELM: Oh no! Wankstorm!
DT: But no, I was gonna say actually a bunch of people pointed out to me that all sorts of other Yuletide fandoms that actually are tied or also made that list, even if they didn’t show up in the particular AO3 stats that I happened to grab for Yuletide.
I wanted to, real quick, just while we were talking about things that fandom fights about based on the data that I provide—the other two big fights that happen again and again that I see in the notes are people fighting about whether or not readers should feel obligated to leave more feedback for fanfiction writers, because I’ve sort of found that actually the majority of fanworks receive no comments or reader feedback. And you know, I think that a lot of people are just writing for themselves or publishing small drabbles, and there’s lots of reasons you could talk about why that happens, but a lot of people are horrified by the lack of kudos or comments. And so there’s endless fighting about whether or not… the roles of readers and fanfic authors and what they should play.
And then the other big fight is just slash, and why there is so much of it, and why there is so little femslash. And we can talk about that more with regards to the year in fandom, and what we see there, and the variation across the different platforms, and what we see in the different ships. But those are the big things, the biggest conversations, even though lots of conversations come up with regard to my stats—those are the things that people most like to talk about based on my data.
ELM: So you get notifications every time someone reblogs your thing and adds comments! Is this very tiring for you, to have to witness these conversations?
DT: It used to be, especially because at first I didn’t realize how Tumblr worked, and I didn’t realize they weren’t talking to me, and a lot of times people would get really angry or upset or say things that I knew the answer to—or if they just clicked the “read more” button that they would know the answer to also. And at first I would go, as a new Tumblr-er, I would go into people’s ask boxes and answer their questions or argue with them, and they would be really upset and, like, “I wasn’t talking to you!” But then I realized more about how Tumblr works, and I stopped doing that, and I tried to stop caring. Now it’s mostly not exhausting and I mostly interact with the people who come into my ask box, and it’s OK.
ELM: That’s great. OK, this seems like an opportune time to take a quick break, and afterwards we will talk specifically about the year in fandom!
ELM: All right! So, we are back, and hopefully everyone by now has seen your “Year in Fandom” statistical analysis.
FK: Cause it’s the best!
ELM: So we are so, so, so excited to see that, as I think you can imagine. But we wanna spend the rest of our time getting into the results and the process and talking about what we learned. So yeah. I guess I kinda want to start with: How do you do it? How does it work? It just seems like an extraordinary amount of work to me.
DT: So, there’s a few things that I’ve done in the past that help make it a lot easier to do something like this, but in general, when I set out to do something like this, I start out by basically just opening up a doc and thinking about what are my questions. If I wanted to summarize the year, what kind of things am I interested in knowing? And I just kind of write down a bunch of questions. My questions for myself are sort of like, “OK, what fandoms are really active right now?” And I thought about it and realized, I want to know what fandoms are active, but not just which are the biggest ones overall but which ones specifically produced a whole bunch just within this year particularly.
And same things for the ships—and I happened to know from having done a bunch of past work that especially on AO3, the dude slash ships, the male/male ships, tend to sort of drown out a lot of the other ones. So I decided to separately look for femslash and het ships and sort of do a top list of all of the ships by category. And I also knew from having looked some at Wattpad and Fanfiction.net that different places where fanfiction live will give you very different answers. I also know that DeviantArt and other places that I’ve poked at a little bit also have very different answers, but I decided just to spare myself, to limit it to the places I know the best at this point, and the fanfiction homes—AO3 and Fanfiction.net and Wattpad. So I decided to look at all those, try to take a look at the big fandoms that were most active within 2015, and also take a quick peek and see what I could see from Tumblr.
Actually, another podcast—the OTP, OT Podcast, One True Podcast had just done something on Yuletide, the Rare Fandoms Fic Exchange, so that was also on my mind, so I was just sort of like, “All right, let’s look at Tumblr and let’s look at Yuletide to get a sense of both the rarer fandoms and other big fandoms that are sort of on fandom’s mind going into 2016, that might not have shown up yet in the really big really active fandoms on the three main fanfic archives, but just sort of see the things that are maybe the coming things, that are maybe on people’s minds and will be big in the next year.” So those were my questions to myself. I just wrote down a bunch of things… I also wrote down a bunch of other things like “What characters are big and most interesting to people?” A bunch of other stuff that’s also interesting to me, but I ended up just not having time to do all of it.
So I narrowed it down to fandoms and ships and a few specific places, and then I went and tried to grab data. AO3, if you’re searching for things, has this kind of nice feature where it will give you a breakdown if you look for a specific tag—it’ll give you the sort-and-filter sidebar, where it will give you the top ten fandoms and ships for a specific tag. So as a kind of first attempt, I looked at what I happen to know is one of the biggest tags on AO3, which is the No Archive Warnings Apply tag.
So the vast majority of fics—though not all of them—use No Archive Warnings Apply as a tag, so I thought “Well, if I look at that tag and then I try and look at just the 2015 fanworks, then that will give me a pretty good sense of the top 10 fandoms and top 10 ships as a starting point.” And so, I did that, I clicked “no archive warnings apply,” and I went to the sort-and-filter sidebar, and I looked at the top ships and I looked at the top fandoms, and in the little search results box I typed in “2015,” and then I typed in “-2014,” “-2013”—cause it’s a very imprecise sort of filtering, but it lets you… There’s also advanced ways to search specifically for certain time frames, but it doesn’t happen to work in the sort-and-filter sidebar, so I did a bunch of sort of hacky little things to try and narrow it down to just the year that I wanted. And if anyone is interested in any of these details, write to me, I can help you do all this in more detail.
But basically, what I was trying to do was just get a sense of: give me, AO3, automatically these top fandoms, and then I sort of looked at those and wrote those down and then kept filtering out by saying, “Now take out Supernatural. -Supernatural,” in the sort-and-filter search results, and wrote down what was left. So by drilling down like this in their top 10 search results, I kind of got a sense of the top ones, just by asking AO3. But to sanity check this I also, I had written a script a while back that gave me the top fandoms on AO3 overall, and so I went and ran that script and said “OK, give me all the fandoms that have produced over 2500 fanworks,” and I also went through and searched every single one of those fandoms by hand to say, “OK, just give me this fandom, how much did it produce in 2015.”
So I kind of double-checked my work, and checked all of these different fandoms and all of the ships, and sort of saw how many of those produced enough works in 2015 that they should make the list. Again, the list is an arbitrary list, where I just said, “OK, here’s the bar where I’ve collected enough works that I'm tired and don’t want to do this anymore.” [all laugh] It doesn’t mean these are the only big ships and fandoms, it’s just that’s as much as I have patience for. And I would say doing that took a couple solid days.
ELM: That’s amazing.
DT: Yeah, and Fanfiction.net there’s sort of some fairly similar—like, they sort their fandoms within TV fandoms and movie fandoms and stuff, they sort their fandoms by how many fanworks that fandom has overall, so I just sort of did the same thing of looking at all the big fandoms and looking at how many fanworks they had produced in the past year and similarly grabbing the top that way. They don’t allow you to search by ship, so I didn’t do ships, but I got the top fandoms in a similar kind of way. So I did that for Fanfiction.net, I did that for Archive of Our Own.
The results were really interestingly different from each other, and it’s also interesting that as of a few years ago Fanfiction.net was producing far more fanfics than Archive of Our Own on a yearly basis, it’s a bigger archive overall, but I’d say it’s slowing down. There are fandoms where it’s more active than AO3, but I would say that more people are moving to other homes, even though it’s not at all a dead archive. I’m not saying “Flee!” but it’s slowed.
FK: That makes sense, because I think for a long time Fanfiction.net was sort of the first stop—if you were interested in fanfiction you would definitely find Fanfiction.net first, and then you might migrate to other places. But now I think that probably Wattpad has something to do with that, because if you’re interested in band fanfic, then a lot of those people come to Wattpad first.
DT: Yes, yeah. And so, it’s interesting! There’s now a lot of fandoms that are bigger than Fanfiction.net on AO3 as well, and if you look at Google Trends, AO3 is getting more searches than Fanfiction.net—but Wattpad is sort of dwarfing them both. It’s a little hard to compare because Wattpad is also, I mean, looking at Google Trends it’s hard to compare, because Wattpad is getting more media coverage, and also it’s a self-publishing platform for more than just fanfiction, and so it’s hard to know exactly what that means. That doesn’t necessarily mean Wattpad is the hugest fanfiction site by far.
FK: But on the other hand, every time that Anna Todd publishes a book there’s a lot of people who discover what Wattpad is, and so…
DT: Totally, totally. And so I also wanted to look at Wattpad and include them in the comparison, because obviously they’re a really big part of fandom now, for many people and for many fandoms. But they’re much harder to use the same kinds of methods that I was just talking about.
You know, I was saying that AO3 and Fanfiction.net… For all they’re somewhat different from each other in how they organize their information, they do have categories and they tell you how many fanworks are in those categories, and they let you do some amount of searching and tell you the amount of search results and so forth—Wattpad doesn’t really have that in the same way at all. They do have tags, and they used to tell you some stuff about how many fanworks were in some of the tags, but it’s gotten even more obfuscated. You can’t do stats in the same way.
ELM: Also, people always talk about how their read numbers aren’t connected to any other metric of measuring web page traffic. Do we know—
FK: Well, it is connected, it’s sort of like pageviews.
ELM: But not uniques… So the hit count on AO3…
FK: As far as I know—sorry, you should answer this. The way that I understand it from having looked at it and from using Wattpad and watching my read numbers change, right—because I’ve been writing fic on there and I’ve been looking at it—as far as I can tell, the read numbers are individuals that are logged in, if someone is logged in it’s a unique and if they’re not logged in it’s not necessarily a unique.
But it’s, the thing is that your reads are calculated based on people looking at each chapter of your work, so for instance, if I have a 10 chapter story with 1000 reads, that means that there have been approximately 100 people who have read every chapter of my fic. Of course it doesn’t usually stack up this way, usually it means that there are more people who read the first chapter and then people drop off as it goes along—so you can actually see that very well, Wattpad gives you a lot of ability to track when people stop reading your story.
ELM: So you can see that as the author.
FK: And as an author you can also look at the demographics of who reads an individual story and so forth. So they actually give you a lot more powerful tools to understand your story as an author and how people are receiving it, but their read numbers, they say a story’s got a million reads—it has a lot of people reading it for sure, but it has a million views of each chapter when they’re all lumped together, right. So.
DT: This leads into a really important point I wanted to make about the data that I gathered from Wattpad: as a result of the way that Wattpad does things differently, when I gather data from Wattpad… So this time, for instance, I just looked at their “hottest” fanfiction, which is some, some—they use some version of, like, what’s getting the most views and votes, they’re not exactly clear about that. But it’s something more similar to, like, if you were to go to Archive of Our Own and sort by kudos for all the fics overall, or something, rather than look at what’s being produced the most. I just grabbed 100 of those top hot fics and counted them by hand and looked at sort of what fandoms and ships they were cause that takes a lot of time so I took 100 of them.
But I’ve found that in the past, A) taking 100 is incredibly unreliable, like, when I’ve done that on AO3 and Fanfiction.net before to look at ships that are popular in a fandom or something. You do that a few times, and the results you get are wildly different. So 100 isn’t very reliable, and also sorting by kudos versus looking at what’s most commonly produced gives you wildly, wildly different results. So, for instance, I’ve looked at what tags on AO3 get the most production versus kudos, and the things that are most produced are like fluff and angst, and the things that get the most kudos are, like, omegaverse. By a lot.
ELM: Wow, really?
DT: But there’s not really that much omegaverse fic out there. And similarly, ratings-wise, fanfiction is mostly G-rated and Teen-rated, but explicit fic gets by far the most kudos.
So it’s a little bit misleading in some ways, but it was a limitation of my methodology, that I should have included this Wattpad slide in there along with AO3 and Fanfiction.net as though these were the same kinds of top fandom lists. Because on Wattpad, these are the things that have gotten the most votes, but they’re probably not really what’s being produced the most—it’s just that I couldn’t find any good way to get at what’s being produced the most on Wattpad. But my guess is it’s probably not nearly as biased towards just being One Direction, even though I bet that One Direction is still very popular. I bet there’s more diversity of more different fandoms and ships and stuff, it’s just that once you start looking at what’s most popular, it does tend to be more biased towards the most popular tropes and fandoms and ships. So that’s one of a number of limitations of the way I was gathering my data.
ELM: OK, so I think we should talk about results, though. I wanna know what’s the most interesting thing that you learned from this. That puts you on the spot. Go!
DT: [laughs] Most interesting, that’s tough, but let me run through a few things that I found that were sort of like surprising and interesting to me.
One, just the staying power of a lot of fandoms. Like, OK, I know Supernatural is still active and I know it’s been a really big fandom, but it’s like a dozen years in or something? I’m surprised that it’s still the biggest fandom on AO3 and still popular everywhere to such a large degree. I know that it’s big, but wow, that’s just really amazing. That’s kind of awesome! Besides that, they at least have regular infusions of canon, right? But Harry Potter. I know there’s been a bunch of Harry Potter news, but that’s just kind of amazing and fantastic also that Harry Potter fandom is still doing so incredibly well. And then Buffy, Buffy was also on the top list!
ELM: That’s awesome.
DT: I was actually so surprised by that that I went to see whether it was because AO3 had, like, imported a bunch of—AO3, the parent organization, OTW, does some importing of other older archives through a program called Open Doors where they go rescue other fanfic archives, and I thought that maybe they had rescued some big Buffy archive or something. But that’s not actually what caused that. Buffy fandom: still active!
And there’s some other old ones, like that are not necessarily having a bunch of new canon but just have really awesome worlds and characters that continue to inspire people, and that’s really cool. The rise of gaming fandom and anime and manga and kpop and boy bands on AO3, those are all sort of, and YouTube RPF—all of those were things that definitely had big fandoms but were less popular on AO3 previously, and all of those are getting big there now, and I think that means that AO3 is more cross-culturally representative of more of fandom. It’s probably still very driven by Western fans, much more so than a lot of the rest of the world—I don’t mean to say that it doesn’t have big gaps—but it’s kind of cool to see a bunch of different fandoms coming and being popular there.
ELM: Can I ask a question about that one, do you—you do think that it’s not that, you know, when I think of an AO3 user, I have a specific… Like you were just saying, a specific idea of what that means. You don’t think it’s those “traditional”—I put it in air quotes—AO3 users kind of branching out into those wildly popular but elsewhere fandoms? Or do you think it’s people coming from those places to AO3? Or, is it hard to tell from the numbers?
DT: That’s a really good question, and that’s something… There are other fandom statisticians like Finnegan and some other folks who look more at author migration, and I would love to know what they would find about that, cause I don’t have any real insight. The only reason I had assumed that it was more new authors coming in is just because my dash tends to be very much a particular set of fandoms and doesn’t have those, and I kind of—so I assume that it’s more like authors with those interests coming in more.
DT: But it could well be that there’s plenty of authors picking up those fandoms as well! I bet it’s a mix of both. But yeah. I don’t actually know.
FK: I will say that viewing your stats and discovering there’s something called Haikyuu!, which I assume is a non Western fandom, because it just looks like it must be to me from its title—
DT: It’s anime/manga.
FK: I have no idea what that is, and I’m really excited to pick it up now, cause it’s the only thing I didn’t recognize on there.
ELM: That’s interesting! But I cut you off. Were there more observations?
DT: Yeah! Other things that were sort of surprising to me: one thing that was kind of cool within shipping, it is definitely still the case that particularly on AO3 the biggest ships are the ones that are two dudes, but I was kind of pleasantly surprised to see how many of the femslash ships and also a bunch of the het ships are like producing a ton of works—produced over 50% of their works even!—in this past year and how many of those fandoms are surging.
And I don’t say that as, I don’t say that particularly with a personal agenda, like—my ship right now is really still Johnlock, it’s two dudes, but I really like it when everyone can find the thing that they squee about most and when there’s a lot of representation and awesome female characters to write about and stuff. And so it’s exciting to me to see that there are a bunch of source media shows and other types of media that are sort of surging that have a bunch of female characters that people want to write about, and that’s cool, and I’m sort of cautiously optimistic that maybe 2016 will be another year where it gets easier and easier to find femslash and awesome female characters in various ships and genfic and stuff, so that’s cool.
ELM: Question about that: I’m not sure if this is something you can answer with the numbers that you’ve looked at now, but do you notice any—these are all really hard questions that you probably don’t have the answer to!—but I’m wondering, just thinking about Sherlock, maybe not this time last year, but this time two years ago—there’s one more huge female character now added to the mix, which really can change the way people, you know, can ship. And I’m wondering if you’re seeing more het and femslash in these big old fandoms that are usually dominated by male slash, or if you’re seeing more new media coming in that has better, more female characters, better female characters, and more people are moving to those new fandoms with more diversity.
DT: Yeah, most of the femslash and het ships that we saw in the Year in Fandom Review that are sort of surging are coming from newer properties. Like Once Upon a Time has been around for awhile, but a lot of these are—
DT: Yes! I think Carmilla and Agent Carter and a bunch of these are relatively newer shows that are, and properties that are getting big, and so a bunch of it does come from newer media that have the opportunity.
But, like, one of the bigger het ships—Sherlock and Molly—has gotten onto the top list of het ships more recently, I think as Molly has gotten to be a more written about character and maybe more developed within the show and stuff. So I think there’s room for both of those things to happen, and I’ve actually been working for awhile on—I had done some stats awhile back on the gender ratio of a bunch of television shows in the source media, and the television shows that are popular just within TV, and that are popular within fandom and looking at just the gender mix according to a bunch of different metrics, and I want to sort of go on and look at how people play with that in fandom. And you bring up a good point that it would be really interesting to look at that also over time, and maybe try to break down as characters get added and stuff maybe—how that plays into what fandom does with it.
ELM: That’s super interesting. That feels like a really perfect note to end on, actually.
ELM: So you’re gonna do all these stat comparisons and you’re gonna let us know, like, ASAP, right? [DT laughs] I’m waiting. I’m in, like, the stats fandom.
FK: You already did some homework for us, you know? So.
ELM: All right. That was wonderful, and thank you so much for coming on.
FK: Thank you so much.
ELM: It was fantastic to talk with you.
DT: It was super fun. I feel like I would love to have just the periodic excuse to come on where you guys, you know, ask me a stats question so I have an excuse to go do some stats and then talk to you guys about it.
FK & ELM: WAIT, REALLY?
ELM: Wait, wait! 2016. Would you actually be interested in doing—like small things! If we were like, asking this small question, and then do a—you don’t have to give up like hours of your life for us—just like one hour…
DT: Sure! If you wanted to do a segment or an occasional hour on something or whatever, let’s talk!
ELM: You should see our delighted faces right now.
DT: I can see your delighted faces! [all laugh]
ELM: Awesome. OK! So we will talk to you soon then. Thank you again!
FK: Thank you!
DT: Thank you!
FK: That was awesome!
ELM: Yeah, no, that was fantastic, I felt like we could have kept going for a hundred thousand more hours.
FK: I want all the stats now. Give them to me.
ELM: Well, so Destination Toast is gonna come back! I love how she invited herself to be a regular contributor.
FK: I think that would be wonderful to have the moment where we’re like, “Hm, I wonder—“ and then be like, TOAST! With the answer!
FK: Popping up! Like toast!
ELM: [laughs] All right, are you guys familiar with the meme where the husky dog makes a face like “I told you a joke! A funny joke!” Flourish literally just made that face and, like, kept it for ten seconds.
FK: You weren’t reacting! I wanted a reaction.
ELM: I’m sorry. Nothing’s going to top your sick Frasier burn, or your trolling, so. Anyway, yeah! I hope that everyone enjoyed that conversation, and I’m thrilled that Destination Toast is gonna make more stats, cause that’s really all I want in life right now.
ELM: Yeah! So next week, I think we’ll be talking about sports…
FK: Sports. We’re gonna be trying to hold on to our resolution and do what we said we would do, so sports.
ELM: Football in particular, because of the playoffs.
FK: Football. Playoffs!
ELM: But my team’s not there, and never has been there in the 21st century.
FK: Never will be there, probably.
ELM: All right, in the 21st century. Only team not to have made playoffs in the 21st century.
FK: Yeah, it’s done. Never gonna happen. Never.
ELM: And after that, the next episode, we’ll be talking to Gretchen McCulloch, linguist—she wrote the great piece for the Toast about slash shipping—not slash shipping—
FK: Smash shipping.
ELM: All the shipping.
FK: Smash ship names, like Reylo. Which I was so amazed to discover that now it has a name. It happened.
ELM: What is Snape/Hermione?
ELM: Stop it.
FK: And I want it to die in a fire.
FK: Snermione. What’s the other option, Herape?
ELM: [cracks up] Yeah that sounds about right, Flourish!
FK: I hate everything in the world right now. Ah… goodbye Elizabeth, I will talk to you in two weeks.
ELM: BYE, FLOURISH!
FK: The opinions expressed in this podcast are not those of Stratus Media Ventures, Chimera Media Group, Chaotic Good, or our clients, or our employers, or anyone’s except our own.