There have been many attempts by various people and organisations to organise the world's greatest coasters into a single list which determines, by popular worldwide opinion, which are the very best. However, I've found many of these polls to be flawed, as they often have bias in their audiences which is not catered for in the structure of the list. Perhaps the most liked list by coaster enthusiasts were the Mitch Hawker polls. Discontinued in 2013, these annual polls required users to submit the positions of their favourite coasters and offered a list at the end of the circa. 400 steel coasters entered, in an immediate order from best to worst.
I've spent some time designing a system which, as I understand it, bears closest resemblance to the Mitch Hawker polls. The system uses the Elo scoring system commonly seen in games such as chess. If you're unfamiliar with this system, here's a brief description of it and how it will be implemented:
Every coaster starts on 1000 points. Users submit a list of their top x coasters (the number doesn't matter too much, although it's preferable that the lists are as long as possible) in order. The coasters on the list all "duel" each other, with the result being determined by whichever is higher in the list. The winner of each "duel" takes a certain number of points from the loser; this amount is between 0 and 32 and is determined by the coasters' previous ranks, ie. if a coaster with a rank 500 loses to a rank 1500, they will not lose as many points as a 500 who loses to a 500, as they were statistically less likely to win. This system is not perfect, but is probably the most fair way to do it. It's self-correcting and means that every coaster has a chance, even if not many people have ridden it.
Essentially, what would be really cool is if we could all share our lists so that I can plug these into the system. Just post a list below and I'll post regular updates on how the top 10 is shaping up. If this proves popular, accurate, and efficient, the plan is to gather lists from a variety of enthusiasts across the world from all different communities to make an ultimate worldwide list. Some friends and I have been testing this and it's proving very accurate, and can even give ratings as precise as 6 significant figures, so we'd love to get as many people involved in the project as possible.
In order to ensure a clean list, please consider the following:
- Only "notable" coasters can be submitted. This means some family coasters will be considered too small. While exact boundaries are yet to be decided, rides such as Spinball Whizzer, Dragon's Fury, and Vampire have been accepted, whereas Rattlesnake (or indeed, any standard-layout Wild Mouse), X, The Dragon (LLW), and Runaway Mine Train have not. Hopefully this gives you a good idea of scale. If in doubt, submit the coaster anyway and we'll decide.
- Although the system is designed such that the size of people's lists don't matter too much, we see the need to set a minimum requirement for the list of at least 15 qualifying coasters from at least three different parks. This is to ensure that we don't have loads of ballots which consist purely of coasters from Alton Towers. If your list is shorter than this, you're welcome to share it with everyone, but it will not be included. There is no upper limit on how many you can submit, but obviously you have to have ridden them all.
- The list is wood and steel mixed.
- When submitting a relatively obscure coaster or one where there are multiple different coasters with the same name, it's helpful to specify the park.
- "Cloned" rides, such as Boomerangs, Standard SLCs, Batmans, Rock 'n' Roller Coasters, etc. should only be submitted once. Please choose either your favourite version or just write "[model name] clones".
- A ride will only enter the official list once five people have submitted it. This is to prevent a single person having too much control over a coaster's position.
- Coasters that are defunct or have been relocated from wherever you rode them can be submitted, though remember they may not meet the minimum ridership.
As an example, here's my own submitted list, which consists of the 38 qualifying coasters that I've been on:
I really hope we can make something out of this and grow something extraordinary starting from this community! Post your lists and/or questions below, and may the best coaster win!