How Do Rankings Work?


Rankings with Integrity

It’s our reason for being and hence, muy importante! We are well aware that opinions are subjective, and technically there is no “right or wrong answer” to an opinion-based question… but still. The single biggest reason Clark Benson started Ranker was to get away from the majority of ranked lists being one ‘expert’ review or a random blogger’s opinion.

Built by People

Ranker lists are built by people who have experience with what they’re ranking… in other words, by the “wisdom of crowds”.  Anyone can vote up or down on all items. Many of our lists are also re-rankable, meaning people can make their own version of the ranking that people cannot re-rank. Since people have taken such effort to login and re-rank a list, with painstaking deliberation we hope, the Ranker Algorithm weights these votes higher on a per-ranker basis.  

The more up-votes and a higher ratio of up-votes to down-votes, the higher something will rank, depending on how often and where it is ranked. When you look at a list and feel that an item’s ranking doesn’t seem to make sense based on the vote counts, one reason may be because of the impact of the re-ranks. Yeah, it’s complicated… but we’ve done a lot of testing and years of data-science to determine that the order of a list on Ranker is about as accurate as anyone can get. Also, because the majority of people who vote on Ranker lists come from search engines, our rankings have “representative sample” integrity.

The Fandom Conundrum

Since Ranker is a pretty large site now, (thanks Ranker visitors - rest assured we are always trying to make Ranker better), occasionally there are problems with people trying to “game the rankings”. For example, the fanbase of an up-and-coming singer may organize a push to make sure that singer becomes #1. Trust us, we understand fandom - everyone at Ranker is a fan at heart, each with their own interests - but if we allowed our rankings to be gamed, this would defeat the whole purpose of Ranker. 

Given that, it’s important to understand that if Ranker’s humans or machines detect “biased voting”, the impact of those votes will be corrected, sooner or later, visibly or invisibly. While we have plenty of tactics to address this issue, any crowd-voted system at our scale will never be airtight. 

“Crowd Wisdom”

Of course, every individual who votes has their own bias, but the combination of those individual biases work as true “crowd wisdom”.


More FAQ’s About Rankings (Are FAQs Still a Thing at all? We Miss the Old Internet)

Why are some lists re-rankable and others not?

Good question! In most cases there are sound reasons, in other cases it’s just “editors choice”. If you see a list you feel should allow re-ranks, shoot the URL or list name to feedback at ranker dot com and an actual human will take a look.

Why can’t I add items to some lists where voting is allowed?

The vast majority of our rankings allow users to add new items. If not, generally there are sound reasons why (including the reason directly below), but we don’t always get it right, so if you think a given ranking should allow new items, email the URL or list name to feedback [at]

Why can’t I re-rank or add items on the mobile Ranker site or on lists with bigger images?

These (separate) issues are both on our to-do list; we’ll get to them sooner or later, as we know they will make Ranker even better. In the meantime, you can generally add items from your computer, just not your phone or tablet.