Writing Challenge Statistics

M. Robert Gibson

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that
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Were you able to open the first lot yesterday, mosaix? I've done nothing different with these, so I don't know what's gone wrong.

The first two here are doc.x and the last one is just doc, if that makes a difference (whatever it means) but I think I had one of each yesterday, so presumably it would have shown as a problem then, too, if that was it. I can open them all from the download and scroll through them, but I'm a technical ignoramus, so I've no idea what to do to make them readable. Sorry. :(

If anyone can help out here, to make them readable in Open Office, I'd be grateful. Meanwhile, I'll post the last one again here -- see if being in a separate thread helps. (Grasping at straws here.)
Have you thought about using Google Docs? google.com/docs/about/
You can upload your documents to there and then post the link on here. That way any one with a browser should be able to view them OK and not have to worry about what version of Word or LibreOffice.

Or you could try Google Sheets google.com/sheets/about/ and get really fancy with graphs and charts.
 

The Judge

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And it's that time of year again! With the conclusion of the EIGHTH Challenge year for the 75 worders, here are the stats.


75 worder -- Year 8 -- April 2017 to March 2018

A slightly disappointing year overall, with reductions in most of the figures compared to last year, the one exception being votes cast.

To begin, as usual, with the number of members entering the Challenges. From 120 in 2015-6, it went up to 127 entrants for 2016-7, but it's dropped down to 112 entrants for 2017-8. The number of new entrants was well down, too, from 50 in 2015-6 and last year's 46 to only 32 newbies.

No doubt as a result of fewer entrants, another big decrease showed in the number of stories, from 580 last year (573 in 2015-6) to 535 entries. The highest achieving months were July and December with 49 stories, well down on last year’s highest of 55, which was itself a low from the year before's 57. With March came our lowest haul, and our worst ever when for the first time we failed to hit the magic 42, achieving only 39 stories. The best month for new members was January with 6, down from last year's 9, and in February we had no new entrants take part, only the second time that’s happened.

But the good news is the number of votes cast has increased, from last year's 603 votes to 622 votes, and unlike last year, the fact we had three votes in one Challenge didn't affect the rise, since without that extra, we’d still have had 534 votes, not last year's low of 507, which is even better than 2015-6's 529.

That increase means we had more voters than entrants in five months, far better than last year's solitary single month when that happened, and the entrant-vote gap never exceeded 4 in any month, as opposed to last year's shocking 10 in May and September. Thanks to a multiplicity of efforts to remind everyone to vote, while the number of entrants who forgot/missed voting is still too high at 69, it's a great reduction on last year's 110, while the number of members who voted without entering has risen from last year's 39 also to 69.

Once again our thanks are due to each of those members who voted without taking part in that particular Challenge, and the Thanks List is attached. Special banner-waving, trumpet-sounding thanks are due to crystal haven (again!) and farntfar who both voted six times, Lumens and Wruter who voted five times, pyan four times, and Culhwch three times.

As to those members who took part in a Challenge but then didn't vote, as I've said before we understand that real life can get in the way, and it's all too easy to forget what day it. But we again had members repeatedly entering the Challenges -- a shocking nine Challenges in one instance, four in another -- without making a single vote. Several other members also missed two or three Challenges, though in fairness some of them then voted in a month when they weren't taking part which helped even things out.

Anyhow, again 16 entrants had 100% attendance records over the year, with another 4 dropping only one month, and 4 missing only two Challenges. And things improved at the bottom end. Some 31 members only entered one Challenge (4 of those were newbies in March, so it was only 27 members who could have returned but didn't) which is a lot better than last year's disappointing 51, and even better than the two previous years of 44 and 33 for 2015-6 and 2014-5 respectively. Another 16 entrants took part only twice (15 last year, 11 the year before).

And now, the most important bit!

The year's vote winner is TERESA with a wonderful 34 votes in only 9 Challenges!

TDZ with her two wins came in second place with 33 votes, and despite his also gaining two wins for the second year in succession, I just managed to pip mosaix to third place with 29 votes to his 28. Victoria came in 5th place with 23 votes, then Joshua with 21 votes in his first year of Challenging. In 7th place is Shyrka with 20, then Cat's Cradle, Hoopy and Perp in joint 8th place, all with 19 votes, but Hoopy got hers in only 4 Challenges, which is stupendous!

As I think I mentioned at the time, mosaix's victories this year make him the first member to reach 8 wins! Joshua's magnificent win with 13 votes places him equal first with Cul and Ashleyne for most votes in a single vote month, and TDZ has further cemented her position as Queen of the Tiebreaks -- March's tussle (which was her 6th win) was the 4th she's been in, and she's not lost one yet.

We welcome all the newbies, but a special mention at this point to Joshua whose 13 votes win was in only his 4th Challenge, SPoots who also won with only his 4th entry with a great 8 votes, Piper who gained 4 votes with his very first entry, and Stuart Suffel who got an incredible 7 votes and forced a tiebreak in only his first Challenge. Excellent work, and great writing from all of them!

Incidentally, re my moan that I just missed out on having a 12/12 record, with a vote in every month, I see chrispenycate was in exactly the same position of 11/11 at the beginning of March and he also missed out, but evidently was a lot more stiff-upper-lippy than me!

The 8 year cumulative stats will follow in a day or two, if I can get them under control.
 

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The Judge

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Incidentally, if anyone thinks I'm ignoring MRG's post just above mine, I had a bit of a chat with him in PMs.

There's no point in techno-idiot me trying anything fancy with these Google whatevers, but if anyone has problems reading my docs as mosaix did last year, I'm happy for the docs to be posted elsewhere if it will help them to be seen/read. I hope to be able to persuade MRG to do the necessary, if I can get hold of a slice or two of the Staff Room cake by way of a bribe.
 

M. Robert Gibson

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that
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Incidentally, if anyone thinks I'm ignoring MRG's post just above mine, I had a bit of a chat with him in PMs.

There's no point in techno-idiot me trying anything fancy with these Google whatevers, but if anyone has problems reading my docs as mosaix did last year, I'm happy for the docs to be posted elsewhere if it will help them to be seen/read. I hope to be able to persuade MRG to do the necessary, if I can get hold of a slice or two of the Staff Room cake by way of a bribe.
I'm not really a cake person, but show me a pork pie and I'm yours to command forever!
 

Culhwch

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Firstly, I think I speak for everyone who participates in the challenges in saying a massive thank you to @The Judge for keeping track of all of this and sharing it with us! Herculean effort, TJ!

Second, I just want to remind everyone that stats aren't everything, and I would hope that they wouldn't dissuade anyone from entering. Just getting a story into a challenge - on topic, in genre, and under seventy-five words - is a win in and of itself. I'm speaking from experience here, having been unable to muster a story for a number of challenges in the past year and feeling more defeated in that than I ever have when I've gotten no votes.

Having said that, I'm resolved to try and get back in the swing and submit a story every month this challenge year. I got the first one in on the first day - that's got to augur well, surely!
 
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The Judge

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Looking at the stats it's time I stopped entering.
Don't you dare! We need more pixie POVs and druid doings, not fewer!


Just to echo Cul here, the stats I produce are meant to enhance our interest in and enjoyment of the Challenges, and if they add a little gentle competitiveness for some members, that's fine. They're not designed to do anyone down, and I sincerely hope they don't upset anyone to the extent members no longer want to take part. If I thought that was happening, I'd stop producing the figures. Certainly no one should take them to heart or let the stats affect their pleasure in taking part in the Challenges. As Cul says, the Challenge is to enter with a story that fits theme and genre and comes in on or under the word count. Anything else is icing on the cake. Or pork pie, if you prefer. ;)
 

Parson

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@The Judge Thanks Judge! I know how hard it is to keep something like those statistics up and you have my admiration for doing so.

@nixie .... Have you ever thought about that saying "tongue in cheek?" How does that get to mean "I was spoofing?" Have you ever tried to talk with your tongue actually in your cheek?
 

Alex The G and T

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There's a sort of facial expression which goes with dropping a sly, obscure joke, or a non sequitur on someone.

One side of the face drops, head turns slightly away, tongue pokes into the lower cheek. Looks at audience sidewise, through lightly squinty eyes.

Waiting to see if the audience is going to take the oddness of the statement seriously, or understand that they're being teased.

To a born wise-ass, as myself, it comes naturally.
 
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Parson

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Hm, interesting. I hadn't thought of it that way, but aside from the movement of the tongue, which is where my thought process was going. I can see in this gesture and would read it as body language as urging me to wake up and get with it.
 

The Judge

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And now to Part Two of the Annual Statistics, the cumulative figures for the eight years of the 75 Word Challenges.

75 Worder -- Years 1 to 8 inclusive

The complete table with the entire list of everyone who has ever taken part is a long document, so in a break with precedent I decided to abridge it. I played around with a few different ways of cutting it down, but in the end settled for removing members who have entered the Challenges only once. While this does mean some of this year's newbies are missing, which I regret, it was less fraught than making decisions based on who-took-part-when, and brought the list down to 300 entrants, making it far easier to digest for everyone, and removing the need to split it in two to upload it.

I have put the total figures in a separate little table of their own at the end of the other list, though, so they can be seen, and what they confirm is that we've now had 526 entrants in the Challenge's eight years. Those entrants have produced a total of 4686 stories which together have accrued 4694 votes. (Hoorah! We've got more votes than entries now!)

However, the number of entries for 2017-18 is the lowest ever at 535. Prior to this year the average number was 593, and even removing the atypical glory years of 2011-2 and 2012-3, the average is still only just shy of 574, so last year is well down. Undoubtedly related to this, both the number of entrants for the year, and of new entrants to the Challenges were down. Total entrants for 2017-8 were 112, also the lowest ever, and down on the previous average of around 135 entrants; adjusted to remove the two great years, the average is still over 127, so that's quite a drop. New entrants for the year came to 32, again the lowest ever by a big margin.

Are we running out of newbies whom we can inveigle into the Challenges? There are plenty of new members, so let's make a concerted effort to lure them in! And once they're here, let's make sure we keep them -- because one figure we want to see reduced is the number of members who only enter one Challenge.

This year the number of single-entry entrants -- the ones you can't see because I've removed them from the attached table -- comes to 226 (who together accumulated 71 votes, in case anyone wants to do the maths). Last year's figure was 213, so although we've added 16 newbies to that, 4 of those arrived in March, so didn't have a chance of returning, and the rate is reducing from an increase of 19 last year and 25 the year before. Let's again see if we can bring some of those older one-timers back so they reappear on the listings.

With Culhwch missing several Challenges this year, we now have only 3 members with 100% participation – mosaix, TDZ, and Ursa. Close behind is chrispenycate with 95 entries, and then Parson and me with 92.


Last year's shock statistic is a shock no more, as the bunnybrain is evidently too busy eating carrot cake and rabbiting on to turn up and take part in any Challenge this year. (Feel free to throw brickbats his way -- though he'll probably only eat them, too.) So with Culhwch hors de combat part of the year, and the bunny AWOL all of it, I've managed to hang onto the lead. Cul remains in second place with 179 votes, but he's clinging on by his fingernails as with her two wins TDZ has vaulted into third place with 178, and mosaix, also a double-winner, is 4th with 170, both of them having leapt over HareBrain who has dropped to 5th place with his 151 votes.

Hot on his bunny heels is Teresa with 149 votes, which she's accumulated in only 53 Challenges, and Victoria is in 7th place with 143 in only 64. Then, though she's not taken part in any Challenges this year, is Hex with 118 votes, followed closely by Perp with 117, and then alchemist in 10th place with 116 votes, though he's not taken part in two years now.

Chris p made his century this year and has 108 votes, while still in 12th place with 77 votes is Phyrebrat, followed by Moonbat who has gained two places to 15th with 74, just pipping reiver who has 73 and Jo and Ursa who are in 15th place with 72 votes each. Then comes paranoid marvin with 68 votes, Cat's Cradle with 67, and Bowler, who's not been in the Challenges at all this year, with 64. Hoopy has leapt onto the leaderboard at 20th place with her 63 votes (in only 24 outings!), just ahead of Starbeast who has 62 and Parson with his 60 votes.

So, what will next year's figures bring? Can the Hare put his running shoes back on and retake the lead? Will TDZ and mosaix have another year of wins, taking them higher up the table? Let's hope there are thrills and excitement -- and plenty of good stories!

The second attachment here is the updated table showing the winners and runners-up over the 8 years, where mosaix, with his 8th win, shines bright!
 

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