Every week, the CoasterBuzz computer looks at all of the member track records in the system and takes the top half in terms of size. In other words, the members with the most experience are counted. Then from those track records, we take all of the coasters that appear in at least half of those track records. This creates a large sample size of riders and rides, to make sure that there are no strange anomalies caused by a ride that only a few have been on and rate highly. We average the ratings from all of those track records, and then rank them, 1 to 100.
These numbers are dynamically calculated every week. Generally speaking, you'll need to have at least 80 rides in your track record, and a ride will need at least 45 ratings to be included in the results.
Probably, but what we're after here is a large enough sample size to build some kind of consensus. If ten people think a ride in some remote location is the best ever (and they'd know having track records with 500+ coasters), that's too few people to be statistically valid. There's also the issue that the most hard core of roller coaster enthusiasts tend to have different tastes than most of the world, and we'd like to think that CoasterBuzz has a broader audience than that.
Each rider can rate a ride on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being "among the worst roller coasters you've been on" and 5 being "among the best roller coasters you've been on." This score is the average of those ratings.
At the end of the day, that's OK. Polls rarely reflect the precise opinions of any one person.
It's too much work. While our members can rank their track records, few do despite having a drag-and-drop system. Frankly, we don't want people to think about it too much, and that's why we have a simple rating system with five options.
Because it's on the Internets! An annual poll on the Internet seems a little strange since everything changes in real time. We thought about it being a real time poll, where it could change at any time, but making it weekly gives you a chance to see changes from week to week.
Just keep a track record on CoasterBuzz. The link is in the top right drop down navigation on CoasterBuzz. To add coasters, click the "+" buttons on park pages or the individual coaster pages.
About 93% of the audience at CoasterBuzz comes from the United States. It would make sense then that most of the rides the audience has taken a spin on will in fact be in the United States. As unjust as this may be, it only means that we need a bigger audience in the rest of the world.
The math described above did not change. However, we were calculating rider counts regardless of whether or not they were rated by those riders. That seemed a little strange, because a hundred people could have the ride in their track record, but if only three of them rated it, and they all gave it a 5, it could be #1. The rides that dropped off had lots of riders, but not enough of the riders put a rating on those rides.