Category Archives: Games

Rank the Things: How the ratings work (feat. math)

This week I launched Rank the Things, a project in which people can vote to form a crowdsourced ranking of anything from pizza toppings to Pixar movies. I wanted to make it as simple to use as possible, so one is given a choice between just two options and has to pick which they prefer (or skip if they really can’t make a decision). To get a decent sample size, they’re given a bunch of opportunities to vote, but not too many to prevent one person from having too much influence on the final results.

Of course, there is the challenge of how to take all these votes and turn them into a ranking. The simplest way is to divide the number of votes for something over its total matchups, but that runs into the problem that there isn’t necessarily going to be a balanced strength of schedule. For instance, as of this writing, about three times as many people have weighed in on pepperoni vs. banana peppers as they have banana peppers vs. black olives. Therefore, I opted to go for a maximum likelihood estimation instead, which adds some complexity but isn’t excessively fancy.

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The Least Popular Answers Contest: The Results

Apologies for the long delay, but the results of the Least Popular Answers Contest is here! As implied in the title, this was basically the opposite of the previous entries in this series, as this time people had to pick valid answers that was shared by as few other people as possible. Of course, everyone else was doing the exact same thing, so it wasn’t as easy it looked at first glance. There were a total of 93 entrants, which was amazing to see! I’m glad people are continuing to enjoy this, and I have a few other twists up my sleeve in future iterations.

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The Least Popular Answers Contest

Another month has passed, and so it’s time for yet another contest! Previously I had you all guess what you thought the most popular answer to a series of prompts would be, but this time you have to do the exact opposite. Fill out this form as per usual, but now you need to come up with valid answers that you think the fewest number of people would pick. The more people that choose the same answer as you, the more points you get, so this time the person with the lowest number of points will win.

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The Most Popular Answers Contest III: The Results

The time has come to reveal the results of the third iteration of the Most Popular Answers Contest! As in previous editions, everyone had a list of 10 prompts and they had to give what they thought would be chosen the most. This time around I tried asking a few more subjective questions, and it definitely led to some interesting results, including what is easily the least agreed-upon prompt in the short history of this contest. I’d like to thank all 58 of you that took part, and I’d love to see everyone back next month for the Least Popular Answers Contest.

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The Most Popular Answers Contest II: The Results

A couple weeks ago I published my second quiz in which I asked people to give what they think would be the most popular answer to each of 10 prompts. This time around I tried making the best answers slightly less obvious, and I think I may have succeeded too well — fully eight out of ten had at least fifteen unique responses given! Still, it was a lot of fun and 54 people took part this time around, so I might end up making another one of these in the future. I have a couple of ideas for twists to use.

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The Most Popular Answers Contest II

Last month I ran The Most Popular Answers Contest, and it was popular enough I decided I wanted to do another one! Once again it’s very simple: Just go to this form and give what you believe will be the most common answer to each of the 10 prompts. For each question, you get one point per person who picks your answer (including yourself), and your scores for each question will be combined to get a final tally. The winner will once again receive untold fame and fortune, or at least until I run another one of these contests.

Rules are mostly the same as last time, but with a couple clarifications:

  • Answers need not be correct. If I asked people to name a color on the American flag and 3 people said green, they would each get 3 points.
  • Misspellings and synonyms where it’s obvious what the person is going for count as part of the original answer. So for instance, if I asked for a type of electronic and 10 people said television, 4 said TV, and 1 said tellevision, they would each get 15 points.
  • Answers that are specific cases of other answers are not grouped. Continuing from the previous answer, if another 3 people said “flat-screen television”, they would only get 3 points (and the other 15 would still only earn 15 points).
  • Not attempting to give an answer (e.g. “I don’t know”, “No clue”, etc.) will only get one point, unless someone else happens to answer the same way verbatim.
  • To get a final score for each person, I will add up the logarithm of the scores of each of their questions. (AKA, I will be using the “sum of log” score from last time.)

Good luck and have fun! You have until 12 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, May 24th to give me your answers, and results will be posted the following day.

The Most Popular Answers Contest: The Results

Last week, I asked people to enter what they think the most popular answer would be to each of 10 prompts. Sixty-seven of you responded, and here are the results! I had a lot of fun putting this together, I learned a bunch of lessons, and you guys seemed to like it a lot, so I’m probably going to run a second version of this in a few weeks. But without further ado, here are the results:

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The Most Popular Answers Contest

Inspired by a similar concept I saw somewhere on the Internet a while back, I would like to present the Most Popular Answers Contest! The rules are simple: Go to this form and give what you believe will be the most common answer to each of the 10 prompts. You get one point per person who picks your answer (including yourself), and the person who has the most points wins eternal glory (or at least a sense of pride and accomplishment).

Some additional rules:

  • Answers need not be correct. If I asked people to name a color on the American flag and 3 people said green, they would each get 3 points.
  • Misspellings and synonyms where it’s obvious what the person is going for count as part of the original answer. So for instance, if I asked for a type of electronic and 10 people said television, 4 said TV, and 1 said tellevision, they would each get 15 points.
  • Answers that are specific cases of other answers are not grouped. Continuing from the previous answer, if another 3 people said “flat-screen television”, they would only get 3 points (and the other 15 would still only earn 15 points).

Good luck and have fun! You have until 12 PM Eastern Time on Sunday, April 26th to give me your answers, after which I will announce results.

How much is a gold coin worth?

In most role-playing games, gold is the universal currency of choice. It provides some relatability with the fantasy world (gold is valuable!), and it’s an effective method for transporting wealth that is light enough to not encumber its owner. It’s ubiquitous to the point where it simply becomes just a number. But what exactly does the amount of gold you have mean in real-world terms?

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