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Fear factors and appreciating listicles on YWS

by Lava


Listicles, a recently popular literary form seen on internet media seems to have forayed into YWS grounds. They seem to communicate information and humour effectively and the current data on the website seems to indicate potential for an increase in such literary forms. In this analysis of listicles adhering to a specific theme, we have identified potential areas for research into listicle reception by readers with a high number of likes but a lower number of comments as well as the topics that excite the current crop of young writers.


Among the literary techniques that have come up in the last five years, the 'Listicle', has remained a crowd favourite, being widely accepted by a younger demographic[1]. The typical Listicle introduces the topic with a headline including a cardinal number, usually milestone numbers such as five or ten, however, random numbers have also been employed to be viewed as a deviation from the norm. Following a headline which is known act as a literary hook, the article is divided into a list, each member of which may or may not have a short paragraph detailing the list item.

In this review, we have focused on the recent submissions in the 'humour' category which talk about the reasons that cause certain person to be scared.


Analysis of the eight different articles currently published, the reasons proposed varied extensively.The data was sorted into the following top categories being - Kingdom Animalia, Science Fiction, Management, Tourist attractions, Probabilities and Statistics, Healthcare and Social Networks (Fig.1).

Fig.1. Summary of fear factors

Analysis of the reception of these listicles was done on the number of likes and comments each one received as shown in figures 2 and 3.

Fig.2. Likes received by each article

Fig.3. Comments left on each article


Our preliminary results suggest that there could be a wide variety of reasons that may cause fear, the current set of studies available are insufficient in terms of depth of study as well as corroboration of the facts. Expansion of this project will need to look into an analysis of current pop culture and social networks influencing the opinions. There exists a lot of variability in these factors, we will need to further broaden our binning processes.

The usage of listicles has been greatly appreciated by the memberbase, with the mean number of likes being 25, as seen in Fig.2, significantly more than the average number an article gets. While although, the number of likes is high, the number of comments and quality of the reviews is much lower than expected. This maybe an indicative feature of appreciating and critiquing humour in listicles, or the brevity in itself. Further research is to be done to look at the other confounding variables that might affect this data interpretation.


While the choice of the subject for the initial pilot was unanimous, in accordance with HIPPAA Privacy Rules [2], we will refer to the person with the unique test ID : A5698M2.

Data collection was done using an extensive search of site's database using key words such as fear, 10 reasons, afraid, as of 20 October, 2015, 1300hours, EST.

The authour can be contacted for further details on the methods.


  1. Anna Lawlor (2013), 5 ways the listicle is changing journalism. The Guardian.
  2. U.S.DHS-NIH (2003), Protecting Personal Health Information in Research: Understanding the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
  3. Nate (2015), 10 Reasons Why I Am Afraid Of 10 Reasons What I Am Afraid Of. Young Writers Society
  4. Lylas(2015), Ten Reasons Why Nate is Afraid of Bandwagons. Young Writers Society
  5. Artemis28(2015), Ten Reasons Why Nate is Afraid of Storybooks. Young Writers Society
  6. Stegosaurus(2015),Five Reasons Why Nate Is Afraid Of Dinosaurs. Young Writers Society
  7. CarsonTheArson(2015), 10 Reasons why Nate is Afraid of Cellphones. Young Writers Society
  8. Sunshine1113(2015), 10 reasons why Nate is afraid of YWSers. Young Writers Society
  9. Atsmai(2015), Ten Reasons Why Nate is Afraid of "10 Reasons Nate is Afraid Of". Young Writers Society
  10. Blaspherica(2015),Ten Reasons Why Nate Is Afraid Of Lampposts. Young Writers Society

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1125 Reviews

Points: 53410
Reviews: 1125

Sun Oct 25, 2015 10:50 pm
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StellaThomas wrote a review...

Hey Lava!

(Let's be honest, this is wonderful and perfect, but it's in the Green Room and that bugs me, so since I've already read it, here's a "review".)

I don't think you collected enough evidence to support your methods. I mean, in fact, your methods are only two lines long, you haven't clearly done a literature review of literature reviews of relevant literature to understand how studies in this field are carried out. I also found that your study didn't really seem to have clear objectives laid out. In fact, it seemed to have more of a "ha ha look at this" sort of feel to it.

Do you think science is a joke, Lava? Do you?

Shame on you.

I also found while dissecting your references that you quite clearly were biased in producing this piece of work. That means: every single one of your references save one is to the same website. I mean, are you working for them or something? Perhaps this field is limited, but honestly, it just feels like you didn't even try to broaden your search. Wow. So lazy.

Also, your references should clearly be in the Oxford Style. That's how all pieces on YWS should be submitted. Have you attended a single class this semester?

I mean, c'mon.

(This was genuinely my favourite thing ever and I laughed so hard and the amount of work you put into it was great I mean wow it even has confidence intervals and you are faaaaabbbb <3 <3 <3 )

Work harder next time.

-Stella x

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1237 Reviews

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Reviews: 1237

Wed Oct 21, 2015 1:31 am
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niteowl wrote a review...

Greetings, Lava!

Your manuscript, submitted to the Journal of Awesome Awesomeness, has been reviewed by two peer reviewers as is our standard for all articles published. Unfortunately, Reviewer 2's comments have been temporarily mislaid, so our editing board has agreed to give you Reviewer 1's comments so that you may prepare for re-submission.

Comments from Anonymous Reviewer 1:

While these findings are intriguing, I am not sure they are worthy of publication in The Scientific Journal of Awesome Awesomeness in the current form.

The abstract is rather brief and unclear. It discusses only listicles in general, not the specific form of listicles (things the subject is afraid of). Expand to make this a more complete summary of the study itself.

The introduction is also very brief and could use some more background, especially as not all of our readers are familiar with "the site". A brief background on The Young Writer's Society would be useful, as would perhaps more detail on the ordinary necessary conditions for "likes" and/or "comments". Also, the site uses the American spelling "humor", while the author uses the British "humour". I would encourage consistency in this matter.

The methodology needs to be more clearly stated, as I first thought the numbers in Figure 1 referred to the number of articles published for each category. However, only eight articles are cited, making this figure misleading. I believe this figure attempts to categorize the reasons in the cited articles, but this should be made more clear in the text.

The large size of the "Other" category leads me to believe that the categories need to be better defined.

It would be interesting to compare the likes/comments on these works with a randomly selected sample of works on the website, adding further support to the author's arguments in the discussion.

As Editor in Chief of the Journal of Awesome Awesomeness, I believe that this manuscript is worthy of publication in our journal provided that the author can thoroughly address the reviewer's comments.

Dr. Awesome

Spoiler! :
Sorry, I've been working on thesis stuff all day and couldn't resist this semi-serious "peer review" critique!

Lava says...

You're the best! I really wanted to do some more number-playing with other articles- but it involved too much clicking and copy-pasting things. >.>

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257 Reviews

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Tue Oct 20, 2015 10:14 pm
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Tuesday says...

like i said, i regret nothing

We are just a speck, on a speck, orbiting a speck, in the corner of a speck, in the middle of nowhere.
— Bill Nye