I have a set which I want to rank based on which entry people favor the most.

The set consists of too many entries for the voters to sort the entire list, and since the set contains some mainstream favorites I don't want voters to pick the top three entries or something similar either.

I have seen pages rank by pairs, be it images or quotes. But is this a good idea way of doing it? Is this representable for the majority or is there any better alternatives?

Ranking by pairs is basically the same as sorting based on the win/lose rate, right?


  • 1
    $\begingroup$ My voting theory professor was fond of illustrating that, holding the preferences a population of voters constant, one could make successive pairwise votes favor any option by the introduction of specific polarizing options and careful ordering of votes. Thus, I'm inclined to say that the efficacy of ranking by pairs depends somewhat strongly on your set and choice of voting procedure. If you're ranking a large set and pairwise elections are random and repeated, I think it's not an terrible system. Could you expand upon the nature of the problem a bit? $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2011 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ My thought now is to rank some audio clips based on which is most humorous/interesting. Also there's a pretty good chance of new clips being added, so I get the "problem" with new entries. $\endgroup$
    – ehm
    Dec 7, 2011 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ Can you use something like Elo rating, which uses many pairwise comparisons to estimate an absolute score? $\endgroup$
    – endolith
    Apr 24, 2017 at 15:55


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .