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A Reminder: FiveThirtyEight Needs You To Party

Two weeks ago, we announced that FiveThirtyEight is crowdsourcing data on when people show up to parties. I logged arrivals at my birthday party last month and got some sweet data that exonerates the fashionably late:


Look at all those very drunk, charming and often-late people.

But one party doesn’t make a data set. From both a statistical and practical perspective, we need you to send details from your special event.

So far, our project’s turnout has been delightful. Folks have submitted parties of all sizes and reasons: birthdays, game nights, barbecues, religious events, ragers. Some of you even held a party just to collect data for this project. For that I salute you.

I’m still shocked at the diligence some hosts have shown — several contributors went so far as to record information about guests that I kind of doubt we can use but is wonderful nonetheless.

The most impressive data set was one enterprising host who encouraged guests to sign in when they arrived — that’s a solid list of just under a hundred partygoers.

But we’d love to add your party to the mix. In addition to our stopwatch strategy (see the next paragraph), feel free to collect data on a sign-in sheet if you’d like (we’re trying to balance getting credible data points with not making you look like a dork at your own party).

Anyway, here’s the ask. A little before the party’s advertised start time, start the stopwatch feature on a smartphone. Then do what most hosts do — keep an eye on the door. When someone walks in, hit a lap. If several people walk in, hit a lap for each of them, too. When the party is over, take screenshots of the splits, like this:


Email the pictures to and tell me what time you said the party started and what time you started the clock. I’m also interested in other details: how many people you invited, what type of party it was (frat party, baby shower, cocktail party — we want to hear about it!) and anything else that might be relevant. We’ll take care of the rest. In early October, we plan to publish what we find out (including your raw data).

I’m cool with a sign-in sheet, too, mostly because I’d love to have even larger events in the data set, and it would suck to have to check your phone constantly. School is back in session — one of you frats, get on this! Volunteers will be graciously thanked on Twitter and in the coming piece. We’re aiming to end the submission period Sept. 30.

There will be few opportunities when someone asks you to get wasted (responsibly) for science. Don’t miss this one!

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.