Scoring Algorithms
Jan 21, 2022

I’ve had a few projects where I wanted to come up with a scoring algorithm. I ususally head down the path or try to multiply averages or up-down ratings some numbers with some weights, and sometimes it works, but I want something that feels better.

Here’s a Google Sheet I made to play with a few different scoring systems.

Wilson Confidence

Popular from Evan Miller’s posts, but a bit complicated.

Laplace Smoothing

This basically makes an assumption that all the things you’re ranking start with some number of upvotes and downvotes. Greatly simplifies the math required to get a good scoring system going.

$$rating=\frac{(up + default)}{((up + default) + (down + default))}$$

You can just plug in a constant for default.

So for something with no votes, and a default of 7:

$$rating=\frac{(0 + default)}{((0 + default) + (0 + default))}$$

$$rating=\frac{default}{(default + default)}$$



Different default values for up and down votes

Similar to the Smoothing used above, but uses different default values for up and down votes.

$$rating=\frac{(up + upAvg)}{((up + upAvg) + (down + downAvg))}$$

As an example for something with 13 up votes and 2 down votes. We’ll assume everything by default has 4 upvotes and 7 downvotes.

$$\text{score}=\frac{(up + 4)}{((up + 4) + (down + 7))}$$

$$\text{score}=\frac{(13 + 4)}{((13 + 4) + (2 + 7))}$$

$$\text{score}=\frac{17}{26} = 0.6538$$

See my Cocktail App - Recommendation section for a real example of using this for a scoring application.