Tag Archives: Data

Species, Gender, and Data

One of the neat things about identity is the fact that a shared identity can lead to a community.

This is the way furry works, after all. A bunch of folks all around the world started identifying with this thing. Maybe they identify as folks who see themselves as something other than human. Or maybe they identify as someone who really likes art of anthropomorphic animals. There’s a lot of different ways to approach the topic of anthropomorphics.

Getting a bunch of folks together with a shared identity takes a lot of organization. That is, unless you’ve got the internet.

Suddenly, we start to see a community cohere out of shared identity. It’s a strange attractor of sorts: folks who are outside furry but share that identity are drawn in, making the sense of community more appealing to those outside, yet still have the shared identity.

Similar things happen within the LGBT community. Parties, gay clubs, and pride parades are some of the most visible aspects of this, of course. Still, much the same happens with trans folk. There are whole houses and communities of trans people in the embodied world, and online, the community becomes even grander. We talk of the gender cascade or the transplosion, the idea of “the act of seeing in others that portion of identity we find within ourselves that lends the greatest validation to our membership”. Seeing others live happily embracing their identity makes it easier to embrace our own identity.

Now, come with me on a short diversion through furry fiction.

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Acceptance and Affurmation: Examining Queerness and Normativity Within the Furry Fandom

Guest post by Oxley. Oxley is a relatively new member of the fandom, having only been actively involved for a year–at the time this article was written, he hadn’t attended any conventions, but hopes to continue his work in this area at Midwest Furfest 2016. He is currently looking for feedback and other opinions on this article, and can be reached at his email.

The year is 2015, and marriage has finally been confirmed as a right for all Americans, whether gay, straight, or otherwise. Though the legislation has brought the queer community (sometimes referred to as MOGAI, or “Marginalized Orientations, Genders Alignments, and Intersex”) farther than it has ever been before in its fight for civil rights, talk of marriage now overshadows other important LGBTQ+ issues: many groups still find themselves marginalized and vulnerable in society. As the struggle slowly progresses, though, queer America has found both allies and enemies in the strangest of places. Individuals from some of the most conservative corners of politics have shown solidarity to the queer community, as have major corporations and brands. Nonetheless, their backing has often been motivated by political or economic gains—after all, in many places it would be considered political suicide to denounce marriage equality. Rather, various other communities and subcultures have often proven to be most readily and enthusiastically supportive of social progress. Countless YouTube stars have advocated for marriage equality or even used the site as a medium through which to come out, while common names in music have vehemently opposed restrictions on marriage.

Perhaps the most perplexing source of support for queerness in America, though, comes from the ever-controversial furry fandom. For years, furries have had intrinsic ties with the queer community, as only a minority within their numbers are straight. While furries as a whole have certainly never been a strong voice against equality regarding gender and sexuality, though, their advocacy of gay rights is nonetheless imperfect, and often detrimental to those who do not fit the more easily-recognized definitions of “queer”—that is to say, the transgender population. Still, observing a subcommunity as being a largely queer space offers a peculiar analysis of it, from an angle that is not often used. That said, the intersections between the queer community and the furry fandom provide a valuable insight into modern conventions of normativity, and the queer community’s interactions with society as a whole.

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Sondaggio Furry Italiano

[Articolo di JM. Le note del traduttore sono tra parentesi quadre in corsivo.]

Il furry è un fenomeno internazionale, e l’inglese è il linguaggio predominante. Tutte le nostre convention più larghe, da Anthrocon, a Eurofurence, al Meeting of Furries in Giappone, a Russfurence, sono pensate per un pubblico inglese. Partecipate a qualunque di queste e troverete furry che usano l’inglese come seconda, terza o quarta lingua, che comunicano e si divertono in questo linguaggio comune.

Per chi è nato in paesi che usano questa lingua è facile non fare caso a quella parte del mondo furry che non lo parla. Ma quella parte esiste, e per quanto ne sappiamo, le due maggiori lingue furry dopo la nostra sono il russo e l’italiano.

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Sondaggio Furry Italiano: Data from an Italian Furry Survey

Furry is an international phenomenon, and English is our predominant language. All our large conventions, from Anthrocon to Eurofurence to Japan Meeting of Furries to Russfurence, cater to English speakers. Attend any of these and you’ll find furries with English as their second or third or fourth language, communicating and participating in our lingua franca.

For a native English speaker, it’s easy to overlook non-English-speaking furry. But it exists, and as best we can tell, the next two biggest furry languages are Russian and Italian.

We are really pleased to be able to present here, for the first time, data from an Italian furry survey (Sondaggio Furry Italiano), that was open over 2012/13. The survey was entirely in Italian, and the results to date have only been published in Italian. Thanks to [a][s] contributor MrMandolino (who is Italian), we can present them here in English. (We’re also republishing the results, and a translation of this article, in Italian.)

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Factors influencing the furry experience: A Statistical Analysis

Here at [adjective][species] we are just starting to get to grips with the wealth of data collected in the 2015 Furry Survey. We collected valid responses from more than 11,000 furries last year. This collection, including responses from annual surveys dating back to 2009, represents an unprecedented insight into furry.

We recently shared our entire dataset with Nuka (aka Courtney Plante PhD, aka Dr. Cat), who is one of the scientists behind (and co-founder of) the International Anthropomorphic Research Project. He performed an analysis for us, looking at how different factors affect the furry experience, which is presented below.

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Wearing ears may be associated with depression

[adjective][species] regularly informally collaborates with the International Anthropomorphic Research Project (IARP), a collection of psychologists and sociologists looking at the furry community. We are amateurs, they are professionals. We have the freedom to present anything we find interesting; they are constrained by the usual rules of academic engagement.

Nuka, a furry with a PhD in social psychology, is a long-time member of the IARP as well as an occasional contributor to [a][s]. In conversation about data (the best kind of conversation), he noted a surprising finding from his research:

“The IARP has found evidence that wearing ears (but not other accessories or fursuits) is particularly associated with depression and reduced self-esteem in furries.”

I used this interesting statistical tidbit during an [adjective][species] panel (Confuzzled 2015), as an example of a surprise hidden in the data: something you’d never expect, or think to look for. It provoked a few questions from the audience, which Nuka and I do our best to answer here.

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Rob’s Statsapalooza – Part 1

Today’s data post is a data visualization showing a breakdown of submissions to SoFurry! Feel free to mouse-over and explore the data further. It’s embedded below, but if you can’t see it there (some plugins, such as Privacy Badger, don’t play well with iframes), you can follow this link!

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The 2015 Furry Poll

RandomWolf has a few questions for you.
RandomWolf has a few questions for you.

We’ve collected a lot of data with the furry survey.  A lot.

From 2009 to 2013, the Furry Poll accrued nearly 30,000 responses, allowing us to see not only the general ways in which the furry subculture is structured, but also the ways in which it changed in that span of five years.  We’ve pulled all five years of data into a single resource which will be made available soon, both as a raw dataset and as a new visualization, a data explorer that will allow you to plot many different variables against each other.

As I’ve said before, the Furry Poll is not, never has been, and certainly never will be a scientific study of the furry fandom. That is the purview of many other qualified folks inside and outside of the fandom, and one ought to look to the IARP for such information. If one wants to think of the Poll, it’s best to think of it as a market survey: a simple view of the market as viewed through the eyes of willing participants. The goal is not to make broad and sweeping statements of absolute truth about the furry subculture, but to view through our communities eyes the demographic and psychological makeup of the community. It’s a snapshot of how a good portion of the community views itself.

This year, we’re bringing you an all-new survey structure, and we will be collecting data in this format for the next five years to compile into the next longitudinal segment. If you’ve taken the Furry Survey before, remember that you can (and should!) take it once per year.

New this year, the survey is broken down into three sections: demographics and overview (featuring improved handling of characters, as well as gender expression and identity), a psychographic battery (similar to a personality test), and questions about sexuality and interests. As always, all questions and sections are optional, and you need only fill out what you’re comfortable with. Additionally, we will be welcoming responses from individuals who do not consider themselves members of the furry subculture in order to see the ways in which furries are different from non-furries.

Click here to head to the survey!
Click here to head to the survey!

More or Less: How Many Furries Are There?

Guest post by Ralphie Raccoon. 

Hi, I’m Ralphie Raccoon, and this is hopefully the first in a small series of short articles presenting some important and interesting (and perhaps some less important, but hopefully still interesting) questions about the fandom, and attempting to answer them as best as possible through the eyes of statistics and data. If you’re British and listen to Radio 4, or enjoy listening to the BBC World Service if you are from the rest of the world, you may have heard of the programme “More or Less”. Well, this is sort of like that. Except it’s a blog post, not a radio show. And it’s not on the BBC, it’s on [adjective][species]. And rather than a bunch of guest speakers, you just get me. Sorry about that. Anyway, I hope that you find these articles enjoyable, or, at the very least, slightly informative.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional (or even really an amateur) statistician. I have never taken, and probably will never take, a proper statistics course in my life. So if any professional (or amateur) statisticians notice any errors or incorrect terminology, feel free to come over to my house and beat me with a big stick (or just leave me some constructive feedback, whatever you prefer).

For this first article I’m going to try to answer what is perhaps the biggest question of all: Just how many of us are there? It certainly is an important question to answer. After all, a fandom’s popularity is defined by its size, and while we may still pale in comparison to other big fandoms like science fiction, anime and fantasy, in recent years our numbers have swelled as awareness grows, and some of the stigma begins to wither away.

Total attendances at furry conventions have grown by over 500% since 2003 (Wikifur), and it would be fair to assume that the fandom has probably grown by a similar amount, if not more. But while we instinctively know that the fandom has grown in recent years, it is hard to work out how big it has actually gotten. What are the chances, for example, if you got 100 random people into a room from around the globe, that one of them would be a furry?

It’s not an easy question to answer. The fandom is not a club, we do not have any way of knowing how many “members” there are, people are free to join and leave without notifying anyone. Censuses such as the Furry Survey are entirely optional, and while they do produce valuable data, it is not possible to extract an estimate of the total number of furries on earth purely from the number of responses. However, combined with the aggregate attendance data of conventions from Wikifur, there is another way…

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