Celebrating One Year of Chaos Horizon!
Exactly one year ago I launched Chaos Horizon with my first post:
Chaos Horizon is a blog with a simple purpose: to predict the winners of the Nebula and Hugo Awards for best novel. To do so, I’ll be examining past trends in the Nebula and Hugo awards. By closely data mining this information, I’ll develop a predictive model that will allow us to make some educated guesses as to the eventual winner. Given the prestige of these two awards, they receive remarkably little analysis or prediction on the web. Hopefully Chaos Horizon can close that gap.
Little did I know what I was getting into! It’s been an interesting year, and Chaos Horizon has certainly changed a great deal over the last 12 months. I started the website for two main reasons:
1. I’m a little older (turning 40 in November), and I felt pretty disconnected from social media and the discussions going on in those places. While I’ve always been a SFF fan, I was so busy through the 2000s going to graduate school (i.e. I was locked up in a library) and then starting out as a college professor (i.e. I was locked in my office) that I didn’t get much of chance to keep up with the changing way that SFF fandom communicates. I thought starting a blog would be an interesting way to jump back into those conversations.
2. I love predictions, statistics, and lists, and I like disagreeing with those just as much as I like agreeing with them. For the Pulitzer Prize, there’s a great prediction website. For things like the Nobel Prize and the Booker, several websites publish betting odds. When I tried to look for these same things for the Hugo and Nebula, I couldn’t find them. Since I didn’t want my website to be 100% my opinions, I figured I’d take a shot at filling that gap.
And thus the history of Chaos Horizon! I’m trying to use data-mining techniques to come up with odds for the Hugo and Nebula awards. It’s been an interesting—and at times frustrating—problem to work on. The Hugos and Nebulas are awfully erratic, and they are full of all sorts of quirks and twists about what gets nominated and why. I feel like the various Reports I’ve issued have provided some clarity, but there’s still plenty to do. The awards are also changing very rapidly, and that makes any predictive work difficult.
Traffic: Always an intriguing question for websites. I think most bloggers are shy about sharing their stats, as if web traffic reflects the worth or meaning of a website. I didn’t have a lot of traffic expectations for Chaos Horizon: it seems to me that this kind of stat-work is a touch on the dull side, and the online SFF community is fairly small. Since I keep a fairly neutral tone (i.e. I don’t try to click-bait by weighing in on the various SFF tempests and controversies), I figured that would also hurt traffic.
But, good grief, was traffic slow in the first six months of Chaos Horizon! I had some naïve idea that if I started a blog, people would just pop out of the air to see it. In all of May 2014, for instance, I had a grand total of 23 views! Most of that is my fault, as I hadn’t the vaguest idea of how anything worked when it came to blogging.
Traffic began to pick up in August 2014, when I leapt from 41 views (total, not daily!) in July to 800 in August. This was when I published my first Nebula prediction, which caught some traction in the wider SFF world. That also when I started doing Review Round-Ups and actually linking to other blogs, which helped make me part of the community than an outsider to it.
Chaos Horizon has grown steadily since them. In 2015, I’m currently averaging about 150 views/day and 1000 views/week. That seems like an enormous increase in just a year, but, then again, I have no idea what other people’s blogs average. In the long run, it doesn’t matter: I enjoy what I do on Chaos Horizon, and I’m not doing it for the clicks.
I want to thank some of the early supporters of Chaos Horizon, including bloggers like From Couch to Moon, Reading SFF, Violin in a Void, Books, Brain and Beer, Far Beyond Reality, Lady Business, Nerds of a Feather, and the many others who have linked and discussed Chaos Horizon. I also want to thank the many people who have commented on Chaos Horizon; I appreciate your discussions, questions, and objections, and I look forward to more!
The Future: More of the same! There can never be enough stats, charts, and analysis. Through March and into April, I’ll be building up my Hugo and Nebula predictions for 2015. These will be a mathematical model of 10-12 different factors that contribute to the award, and we’ll end up with a % chance for each of the nominees to win. I also have plans to continue my reports: next up is Sequels, and then I’ll be tackling the issues of Gender, Book Length, and Age. Then I’ll shift my attention to 2016.
Well, once again, thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of the first year of Chaos Horizon! Happy reading!