The Woobie-Off was a bracket-style voting tournament to determine FFA's woobiest woobie of all time. The tournament lasted almost two months from inception to conclusion and led to passionate woobie campaigning, discussions, debates, and the occasional wank. Nonnies shared their differing opinions on definitions and types of woobies. This is Part 1 of the wiki entry; see Part 2 here, and read about the winning campaign here.
The tournament was first mentioned on May 22, 2015, in a Best Woobie of All Time thread. The nonny soon to be known as Woobie-non posted,
I'm super unemployed and bored and thinking of making a March Madness-esque competition for best Woobie. I'd collect all the famous ones (and ones mentioned in this thread, and any others people want to suggest) and make up a bracket and polls… would anyone be interested?
One or two nonnies said they were interested. On May 25, Woobie-non posted again in a separate thread; this time the discussion stretched into 215 comments. Working from a list of woobies pulled from previous woobie-centric threads as well as in-thread nominations, the goal was initially to narrow the list of nominees down to 64. This proved infeasible, and Woobie-non announced thatnominations would start over via Google form.
One nonny suggested aiming for 128 or 256 woobies instead. Other nonnies and Woobie-non agreed.
Even at this early stage, a nonny expressed concern for being matched against favorites early in the competition:
I'd really, really hate for my woobies to come up against, like, Will Graham in the first bracket though. :(
And others began some covert strategizing.
Psst, wanna make an alliance with me, reality-show style?
In the next post, Woobie-non posted the new nominations form, along with a summary of the competition format:
It's March Madness, but in May and June and about woobies, not sports. But other than those minor differences, TOTALLY THE SAME in that they will both be narrowed down to 128 candidates and then voted on, bracket style, until the TRUE CHAMPION WOOBIE IS NAMED.
(Note that these should be CANON woobies, and not purely fandom's woobified versions of non-woobie characters.)
When brainstorming ways to cap the number of nominees, a nonny suggested separating woobies into different brackets for different mediums. Initial discussion of how to divide the canons ensued. One nonny expressed concern:
But then we won't know the ultimate woobie. :(
Another nonny reassured them with another suggestion:
Well, the different media brackets can then converge in a deathmatch at the end!
Because all we want for our beloved fave woobies is a deathmatch against our other beloved fave woobies.Nominations continued in Post 215, and Woobie-non announced on May 30 that all categories (Anime; Books and Comics; Movies, Animation, Game, Other; Television) were full. Nominations closed with a total of 256 woobies moving onto Round One.
On June 2, Woobie-non posted the brackets for Round One and encouraged nonnies to begin campaigning for their favorite woobies. There was some discussion of the voting criteria; consensus seemed to be to vote with your heart.
The shallow, mindless stanning of your woobie's other partisans is insignificant babble; your sympathy for your beautiful precious problematic fave is a sublime force that resonates through the cosmos. Subtract .5 points, then add a gazillion.
Round One voting began on June 4; campaigning continued in the voting thread.
There were multiple subthreads about the Steve Rogers vs. Loki match-up with nonnies doubting and defending each one's qualifications as a woobie, as well as the significance of moral purity in judging woobies.
One nonny brought up a concept that would be referred to throughout the competition:
I've been imagining all the woobies housed together kinda reality TV mansion/Hunger Games Training Center/Kaiba Corp blimp/Olympic Village style and it is entertaining to me, because I guess I'm just easily entertained. Like, imagine the crossover scenario where you get about 256 of the most troubled fictional characters we could come up with living in close quarters together, including some of their own duplicates, enemies, dead loved ones, etc., who they've got to compete against!
Including this commentfic of Steve Rogers meeting Jesse Pinkman and Will Graham.
Voting and campaigning continued in Post 220. Round One results were posted in Post 221 on June 8. Among the eliminated woobies were Ushio Kazama and Akari Akaza, who both received less than ten votes. Remus Lupin was an early favorite with 142 votes.
Round One Anime Campaign Posts:
Round One Books & Comics Campaign Posts:
Round One Movies, Games, Animation, & Other Campaign Posts:
Round One Television Campaign Posts:
I'm grinning my head off over here, IDEK. I've gotten what I wanted out of this contest -- my fave is in round 2 in a no-holds-barred pathetic-off with dogmeat. Excellent.
- A Ryou Bakura Nonny
Round Two campaigning began in the Round One results thread. Round Two voting opened up on June 9.
The Ryou Bakura vs. Menchi match-up inspired a crossover plot bunny in which Bakura adopts Menchi. The completed fic was later posted to AO3. Discussion of Edith Crawley's victory over Sherlock Holmes inspired an Edith Crawley/Salty Toplocker drabble:
Sometimes Edith felt that so many of her relationship problems would be solved if only she preferred the company of other ladies. Alas, she didn't... but Salty Toplocker was no lady! Toplocker, or Salty to her friends, taught her that confidence took you so much further than looks. Nearly thirty and still unmarried, Edith worried she was unlovable... but Salty, a woman who claimed life began at sixty, and yet again recently divorced, taught her to stop looking for external validation.
Subaru got his own thread in the next post, in which nonnies reveled in sad CLAMP nostalgia.
With Round Two still open, Woobie-non suggested woobie Q&A sessions. Round Two Results were posted in the same thread on June 11. The two closest races were Dr. Kenzo Tenma winning over Natsume Takashi with 50.8% of the vote, and Cubone winning over Kazuaki Nanaki with 50.7%. Will Graham and Remus Lupin's respective wins over Fox Mulder and Harry Potter garnered the most votes of the round. Waver Velvet was out with only nine votes.
Disappointed nonnies bravely soldiered onward.
Round Two Q&A Subthreads:
- Lex Luthor: Ask about the baldest woobie!
- Jesse Pinkman: Any and all answers to your questions about Jesse, who tries so damn hard.
- Hyun-ae: Ask me about my beautiful sad AI wife.
- Will Graham: What is Will's situation re: dogs?
- Matt Murdock: The woobie without fear! Except for the stuff he is afraid of, like love and happiness.
- Vanyel Ashkevron: Ask your questions about Vanyel "I Can Telepathically Hear How Much You Hate Me" Ashkevron in this sub-subthread!
- Elsa: I mean, this canon is pretty well-known, but. Just in case.
- The Eighth Doctor: Nineteen years, three continuities, two hours of screen time.
- Raven Reyes: She always used to be picked first. First for suffering.
Round Two Anime Campaign Posts:
Round Two Books & Comics Campaign Posts:
Round Two Movies, Games, Animation, & Other Campaign Posts:
Round Two Television Campaign Posts:
Why is Luigi advancing? Is this an irony thing I just don't get?
- A rightfully confused nonny
By Round Three, some early favorites were starting to gain momentum. Round Three also featured some very interesting match-ups. There was Jesse Pinkman vs. Lex Luthor...
Lex Luthor best prepare to be CRUSHED like a bald grape.
(wtf Jesse Pinkman nonnies, wtf)
And the hilariously appropriate Katniss Everdeen vs. Peeta Mellark.
Round Three voting opened on June 12. Standout campaign posts for the round included the poem written entirely in fragments of Cubone's Pokedex entries and the woobie fanmix for Vanyel Ashkevron. Dean Winchester got a haiku ballad. Hyun-ae was described as "basically a Magikarp that evolves into robot Gyarados!"
Vegetable-eating wank showed up for a brief subthread. One nonny responded,
Fuck it, I love vegetables. I love great big salads and peppers stuffed with roat vegetables and vegetable curry. A female woobie to me is like a tomato carved to look like a rose. I'm like Freddie Lounds when it comes to vegetables. Fill me on up.
Round Three results were posted June 15. Cubone once again won an extremely tight race, beating Hyun-ae with only 50.6% of the vote. Jesse Pinkman won his hotly contested race against Lex Luthor, and Katniss reluctantly beat Peeta in the Books & Comics category. Both remaining Wanda Maximoffs were eliminated.
Round Three Anime Campaign Posts:
Round Three Books & Comics Campaign Posts:
Round Three Movies, Games, Animation, & Other Campaign Posts:
Round Three Television Campaign Posts:
As Round Four began, Woobie-non pointed out a couple of match-ups to watch out for. Will Graham and Sansa Stark faced off in the Television category, both of whom had consistently pulled over 100 votes per round. In the Books & Comics category, popular favorites Remus Lupin and Vanyel Ashkevron were pitted against each other. Woobie-non also asked nonnies to provide a picture and a one-sentence summary of their woobie's woobiness to include in future polls.
As in Round Three, Round Four saw the most campaigning in the Books & Comics category. Results wereposted on June 22. Most races were fairly close; the only woobies to win with 60% or more of the vote were Anthy Himemiya, Tobias, Zuko, Cubone, Octavia, and Jesse Pinkman. Will Graham's victory over Sansa Stark was with a .6% difference.
Round Four Anime Campaign Posts:
Round Four Books & Comics Campaign Posts:
Round Four Movies, Games, Animation, & Other Campaign Posts:
Round Four Television Campaign Posts:
Going into Round Five, only four woobies remained in each category; the competition had narrowed from 256 to 16. The Anime Final Four were Homura Akemi, Tohru Honda, Dr. Kenzo Tenma, and Anthy Himemiya. The Books and Comics Final Four were Vanyel Ashkevron, Katniss Everdeen, Tobias, and Cassandra Cain. The Movies, Animation, Games, and Other Final Four were Zuko, Jean Valjean, Cubone, and Ellie. The TV Final Four were Will Graham, Octavia, Buffy Summers, and Jesse Pinkman.
There was a bit of wank over misspellings of Sanza Santa Sansa Stark's name.
For Round Five voting, on June 23 Woobie-non attempted a departure from the previous Google forms, using Buzzfeed for the ability to include images and links. It didn't work. Woobie-non solicited suggestions for other poll sites to use; a helpful nonny revealed that Google forms allow images and links anyway. The nonny provided an example poll.
Round Five voting opened "for real this time" on June 24. As Woobie-non said,
If there is a mistake in this, I might actually kill all the woobies.
Another nonny conceded,
A fast, non painful death might be a prize for our poor suffering woobies.
Nonnies discovered that female woobies were doing well in the competition.
Yes! I'm counting 8 female woobies, 7 male woobies, and Cubone, who's a species so I'm not sure how to count them. I feel like the scales will tip more towards the male woobies in the next round though, and I'm okay with that.
There were some concerns over multiple voting. Nonnies got a bit heated, with some accusations of cheating. The nonny who knew about timestamps concluded,
Well, I definitely can't prove I'm not an anon, especially not in Google forms poll results.
I guess you'll have to live with the burning uncertainty of whether I genuinely believe that ballot stuffing is annoying, or whether my knowing something about how google forms work is a confession of guilt.
One nonny posed an alternate explanation for repeat voting. And of course, as another nonny said,
A true win comes from campaigning, nonnies, not from stuffing the box like George Bush on election night!
Things seemed to settle down quickly; a later thread asking about it got very little traction. Woobie-non postedRound Five results on June 26.
Round Five Anime Campaign Posts:
Round Five Books & Comics Campaign Posts:
Round Five Movies, Games, Animation, & Other Campaign Posts:
Round Five Television Campaign Posts:
The saga continues at Woobie-Off: Part 2.