Auburn here wonders about the etiquette of back and forth commenting on AOOO and how it feels like chit-chat in the library
In the process of the conversation the question of hit/comment ratios came up. Now I researched hit/comment ratios on Fiction Alley (a Harry Potter archive) back in 2003 after friends complained that terrible stories got tons of feedback, popular authors got more feedback, etc., etc. I decided to see if that were true.
The hit/ratio stats post is buried somewhere, but what I discovered was that:
- The average hit/comment ratio ranged from 6-8%, i.e., up to 8% of all people who opened a story left feedback.
- Surprise! The quality of the story did not drastically change that ratio; stories riddled with SPAG and purple prose got the same ratio. Their hit counts were just lower.
- The type of story did, however, affect the ratio: humor fics had a very high hit/comment ratio, averaging around 12%.
- On very popular stories like Cassandra Claire's Draco Trilogy, the hit/comment ratio dipped (surprisingly) lower than less popular stories.
- Stories where the author had a Yahoo Group and made a concerted effort to pimp their work and encourage a loyal following, the hit/comment ratios were the highest, at 36%.
I compared this to the hit/comment ratio at ff.net, and found that ff.net people commented less (I believe it was ... 4%?).
I then compared the ratio at character-focused "niche" archives, and found that the niche archive had much higher ratios, comparable to the humor fics at an average of 12%.
So I'm watching the hit/comment ratio for all the Big Bang stories at AOOO with interest. My experience there up till now has been that it's a good place to store fics, but few people comment. Still, that's been on stories that are old, or have been posted to LJ/DW first.
So far the AOOO comment ratios on the Big Bangs (if you discount the author responses) are running at 1%.ETA:
At someone's suggestion I checked the hit/comment ratio for the 2009 Yuletide which was hosted on AOOO
So far, though I haven't been thorough, the hit/comment ratios for Yuletide 2009 are also at 1%.
This tells us that the low hit/comment ratios have to do with the archive itself. It is unrelated to the download feature, which didn't exist in 2009.
It could be difficulty in logging in. I've grown frustrated in commenting there in the past and was told I should just keep myself logged in. It could be a design issue, that the comment button isn't prominent enough (Fiction Alley's ratio was better than ff.net's largely because FA's comment button was centered on the page and HUGE).
But at this point in time, stories posted on AOOO first receive
markedly fewer comments than those posted in LJ first
--Aha, here's where I confused people: markedly fewer comments than they did at archives in 2003; authors note that it's also fewer comments than they receive on LJ.
If the archive is going to be an important portal for fandom, this problem needs to be resolved.ETA2, aka, OH HAI, metafandom people.
Due to time constraints, I'll try to answer in a condensed form here:
1) I think the "nonfandom-lurker increase" theory is interesting but would have to be borne out by an increase in hits.
2) Other people's stats are showing 1%-ish hit/comment ratios at AOOO, 3%-ish at DW/LJ.
3) In terms of "comment split," the difference between now and 2003 is that comments in 2003 were split between archives and Yahoo mailing lists (which couldn't be tracked at all since they were emailed off-list) instead of between archives and LJ/DW. There's always been a split between comment delivery systems.
4) As for why the overall decline in commenting that seems to have occurred, it occurs to me that there is a lot more fic overall. Between 2007 and 2010, Harry Potter fic on FF.net increased from 300,000 fics to 477,000 fics. (Going from memory, there were about 180,000 HP fics on FF.net in November 2002.)
5) I would love to see if fics with a lot of delicious tags/recs received a higher hit/comment ratio. It could explain the 4% AOOO ratio on certain 2009 Yuletide fics. Anyone want to tackle this?
6) Yes, lots more to be done on data gathering and stats. Thank you for all your help. :)