AO3 Census: Masterpost

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Fan Survey
Title: AO3 Census: Masterpost
Surveyor: centrumlumina
Date(s): October 5, 2013
Medium: online
External Links: The Slow Dance of the Infinite Stars, Archived version
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

AO3 Census: Masterpost is a survey analysis by centrumlumina.

The analysis is of the users of Archive of Our Own based on 10,005 responses in 2013.

The post has 1076 notes as of March 27, 2019.


AO3 Census: Masterpost

The results are now in! Below the cut are links to all of the data and analysis so far, plus an interesting fact from each post. The section summary posts have all the graphs in one place if you just want an overview.

I know a lot of people who took part in the survey are interested in hearing what the results are, so please spread this post around! It will be kept up to date as new analyses are completed.


  • Limitations and Uses of the Data - The vast majority of respondents are users of both AO3 and Tumblr, but there may be other biases in the data.
  • Sample Size - The survey received 10,005 responses.


  • Age - The average age of respondents was 25 years.
  • Gender - More respondents selected Genderqueer than Male.
  • Sexuality - Only 38% of respondents selected Heterosexual.
  • GSRM - 54% of respondents identified as a gender, sexual or romantic minority.
  • Ethnicity - 78% selected White as their sole response.

Site Use

  • Length of Use - The average respondent has been using AO3 for 1.8 years.
  • Frequency of Use - 49% of respondents used the site at least once a day.
  • Session Length - Half of the respondents spent more than 5 and a half hours a week on AO3.
  • Activities - Commenting on works was less than half as common as reading them.
  • Languages - 6% of respondents used languages other than English on AO3.

Work Preferences

Further Analysis

  • Heterosexual Female Slash Fans - Of M/M fans surveyed, 25-36% were both heterosexual and female.
  • M/M Fans: Sexuality and Gender - The largest demographic in M/M fandom is bi/pansexual women.
  • Why M/M? - An opinion piece about possible reasons for the popularity of M/M.
  • Fic Rating Popularity vs. Age - The age group with the highest proportion of explicit fic writers were 40-49 year olds.
  • Fic Category Popularity vs. Age - The older the fan, the less likely they are to read F/F.
  • Age Distribution of AO3 Users - The number of users peaked around age 20, but tailed off slowly into adulthood.
  • Gender Identity and Categorisation - There were four times as many non-binary people as men in the survey.
  • Sexuality Identities and Categorisation - Bi-/pansexuality was the most common sexuality in the survey.
  • Ethnicity Identities and Categorisation - Aside from white, Asian was the most common ethnicity selected.
  • Fic Category Preferences - F/F, F/M, Gen and Multi were all of similar popularity among readers, but differed in popularity among writers.
  • Gender Categorisation vs Fic Category - Non-binary people were the gender group most likely to read or write fics for M/M, F/F and Gen.
  • Sexuality Categorisation vs Fic Categories - Bi-/pansexual people were the sexuality group most likely to read or write M/M.
  • Overall Gender and Sexuality of AO3 Users - More than 50% of survey respondents were women of sexualities other than heterosexual.
  • Gender Demographics by Fic Category - There are more non-binary people in F/F fandom, and fewer in F/M fandom.
  • Sexuality Demographics by Fic Category - There are far fewer heterosexual people in F/F fandom than any other category.
  • Gender and Sexuality Demographics by Fic Category - About a quarter of M/M writers are heterosexual women.
  • Demographics of Individual Fandoms:
    • F/F Fandom - F/F fans are less likely to be heterosexual women and more likely to be bi-/pansexual or homosexual women.
    • F/M Fandom - F/M fans are less likely to be homosexual women, and more likely to be heterosexual women.
    • Gen Fandom - Gen fans are less likely to be bi-/pansexual or heterosexual women, and more likely to be asexual women or asexual non-binary people.
    • M/M Fandom - M/M fans are less likely to be heterosexual women, and more likely to be bi-/pansexual women.
  • Other Fandoms Reanalysed - When synonyms and subsets of fandoms are considered, RPF is the second-largest other fandom listed.
  • The Changing Face of Fandom - Fans aged 18 or younger are more likely to be LGBT+ than fans aged 30 or over.
  • Creators vs Readers - People who post fics on AO3 are less likely to be heterosexual than those who only read fics there.
  • Men in Fandom - Homestuck is more than twice as popular among men as it is among other genders.