Tag Archives: Data

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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Species Selection and Character Creation Follow-up

This is just a quick follow-up with some further information about the Species Selection and Character Creation article posted last week.  I normally post on Wednesdays and I had an article that could have been scheduled today, but with that article likely needing more space than this one and the desire not to distract from it with a simple addendum, I figured I’d swap the two days around and give tomorrow’s real article its time as the featured post!

Last Wednesday, even as the article was going live, I was packing up my laptop for an afternoon at a coffee shop (The Alley Cat, where the phone is always answered with a personable “meow!“) where I would spend a few hours talking with the inimitable Klisoura about furries and data.  Among other topics (some of which will show up here on [a][s] quite soon), we poked around some of the species data a little further, and found some more interesting facts.  That, combined with some input from others both on Twitter and FurAffinity, and some volunteers in private communication, got me thinking that more information is always better than less, and so here we go!

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Species Selection and Character Creation

This weekend, I had the privilege of helping facilitate a panel at Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2013 surrounding the topic of species selection and character creation. The panel was a delightful discussion about the ways in which we build up the avatars we use to interact within our subculture, and why exactly it is that we choose the animal (or animals) that we become with our character (or characters).

That’s not all, though. I also had the privilege of sitting down with Klisoura, [a][s] contributor of Furry Survey fame, and having not only several delightful discussions on topics as diverse as tennis balls and coyotes, but also a little impromptu hack-a-thon in the hotel lobby on the subject of species selection. This tied in well enough with the panel that some of the results of that were shown during the Q&A after the discussion, and even led to several other conversations with various different furries over dinner and the next day. The whole weekend was a blast, but I’d like to tie up some of these conversation threads and ideas into something worth showing here on [a][s].

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