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A Working Paper on MuggleNet Visitiation

17 March 2008

Alex Beeman, Ball State University


Major in Political Science

Kevin Carey, Ball State University


Major in Actuarial Science
Introduction
Kevin is a huge fan of the Harry Potter series of books and movies. He is also an
avid viewer of mugglenet.com. MuggleNet, as Wikipedia states, is “a commercial Harry
Potter fansite…composed of news, editorials, synopses of the Harry Potter books and
films, an encyclopedia of the books, a chat room, a discussion forum, and media such as
screenshots, theatrical trailers and book covers.” Both of us knew the Harry Potter
series is a phenomenon both on paper and in the theaters. Being such, millions of fans
are devoted followers of J.K. Rowling’s creations. This led us to wonder how many
people or “muggles” visited the site throughout the day. Luckily for us, MuggleNet
sports a counter which shows how many muggles are online at any one time. Therefore,
our goal was to identify visitation trends throughout a normal day on MuggleNet.

Methods
Our procedure for measuring was simple, every n minute(s) we sampled the
amount of people on MuggleNet by refreshing the browser and recording the data. We
would record the number of muggles online along with the exact date and time (in the
form of a 24-hour clock or military time). The only problems we had in the sampling
method was that we had other work and matters to attend. For example, 45 minutes of
data would be missing from one day because of dinner. However, problems like this
were easily addressed over the four days of sampling (4 March to 7 March 2008).
Unfortunately, the limitations of our equipment allows us to only measure accurately
from 1 p.m. to Midnight. However, this is the period in which we were originally
interested in. While our measurements were not done using any scientific instruments,
we recorded all the data manually and our confident with our datasets.

Data
Our data is located in Appendix 1 located at the end of the document. We
calculated the average number of minutes between each data point was a little over 3.5
minutes. (Note: All the points in the dataset were not used in this study.)

Analysis
We have graphed our recorded data (183 data points) in Figure 1 on page 3. As
you can see from the graph, the high point in visitation is a little after 5 p.m. Even
though that we do not have the data from noon, there seems to be a spike in the number
of users around lunch time. After the high point, there is a steady drop off until about
10.30 p.m.
We found that the average number of muggles online from 1 p.m. to midnight
was 1435.077. We further compounded these numbers and found that at a confidence
interval of 95%, you can expect the average number of muggles to be between 1406 to
1466. We also found that at any one given time (with a 73% confidence interval) that the
deviation of people online would be ±214.3775 from 1 p.m. to midnight.

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Figure 1. 1 p.m. to Midnight
1900

1800 Figure 1. 1 p.m. to Midnight

1700

1600

1500

Muggles
1400

1300

1200

1100

1000

900
1300 1500 1700 1900 2100 2300
Time

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Appendix 1. Dataset
4 March 5 March 6 March 7 March
Muggles Time Muggles Time Muggles Time Muggles Time
1791 1615 816 0010 972 0001 869 0010
1833 1650 786 0014 1085 0002 826 0028
1838 1700 769 0020 996 0004 789 0032
1780 1712 790 0032 995 0006 749 0035
1779 1730 798 0830 998 0008 714 0045
1766 1741 1021 1024 966 0013 671 0057
1787 1749 1045 1027 926 0017 650 0104
1653 1808 1240 1322 981 0020 648 0113
1644 1811 1345 1445 884 0020 668 0130
1710 1820 1339 1449 885 0024 663 0140
1721 1825 1300 1456 965 0025 613 0146
1719 1830 1412 1506 975 0028 556 0152
1714 1836 1501 1521 841 0029 543 0156
1733 1858 1527 1525 969 0033 512 0231
1709 1912 1536 1531 863 0033 528 0237
1823 1926 1517 1537 838 0037 525 0257
1747 1940 1542 1546 777 0044 571 0305
1681 1951 1551 1548 951 0045 564 0309
1738 1957 1578 1550 930 0048 617 0316
1664 2008 1605 1551 765 0048 927 1008
1579 2017 1597 1552 762 0052 902 1018
1633 2022 1603 1553 736 0055 961 1052
1715 2029 1623 1557 737 0058 1044 1106
1703 2037 1617 1611 741 0101 1132 1111
1665 2043 1625 1625 691 0106 1176 1118
1739 2049 1608 1849 684 0120 1183 1123
1620 2104 1578 1900 640 0128 1182 1126
1636 2112 1623 1904 612 0137 1162 1303
1651 2115 1565 1917 593 0149 1217 1325
1669 2123 1673 1936 577 0216 1255 1329
1648 2129 1703 1942 562 0223 1262 1338
1611 2137 1637 1950 474 0308 1220 1347
1610 2148 1573 2006 1215 1021 1232 1352
1624 2154 1453 2015 1269 1043 1193 1419
1646 2204 1445 2035 1397 1320
1654 2211 1509 2039 1433 1334
1640 2214 1582 2106 1423 1341

4
1604 2219 1576 2111 1370 1348
1566 2224 1569 2117 1343 1354
1544 2230 1518 2121 1220 1402
1524 2234 1471 2127 1117 1411
1520 2236 1490 2132 1093 1416
1508 2240 1541 2141 1085 1422
1500 2242 1557 2146 1126 1438
1507 2244 1540 2151 1176 1446
1489 2248 1537 2155 1482 1614
1476 2251 1400 2212 1515 1624
1454 2255 1373 2217 1535 1635
1438 2256 1380 2220 1503 1640
1465 2300 1251 2233 1538 1647
1425 2304 1284 2238 1558 1656
1421 2312 1316 2248 1526 1704
1166 2317 1288 2251 1550 1751
1161 2318 1264 2255 1527 1757
1123 2320 1258 2257 1531 1846
1117 2322 1213 2302 1393 1941
1114 2324 1236 2307 1435 1959
1049 2327 1028 2323 1490 2001
1185 2332 1013 2330 1482 2005
1249 2337 1094 2334 1460 2013
1211 2342 1088 2341 1364 2021
1174 2344 1078 2342 1352 2029
1165 2345 1041 2349 1424 2038
1183 2347 1025 2355 1446 2043
1150 2355 1420 2048
1344 2103
1403 2111
1423 2117
1401 2120
1369 2123
1355 2127
1366 2130
1376 2133
1367 2137
1353 2142
1390 2149
1428 2157
1378 2219

5
1395 2231
1325 2244
1282 2249
1204 2255
1012 2319
939 2327
1018 2333
977 2338
931 2350
931 2356