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In highly competitive communities using a ranking system, users may want to know who are the very best performers in a category or overall.

Use When

  • The community is highly competitive, and the activities that users engage in are competitive in nature (e.g., player-vs-player contests, or coaching a fantasy football team.)
  • You want to enable player-to-player comparisons, or permit users to definitively settle "Who is better?" arguments.
    • Don't use this pattern when the activities that users engage in are not competitive in nature (e.g., writing recipes, or sharing photos).


Display user rankings in leaderboards. A leaderboard is a list showing a fixed number of top competitors, ranked by score from highest to lowest.

On the Yahoo! network, Ranking and Leaderboards are generally discouraged, except in cases where the fundamental, primary purpose of the community is competition, as with Fantasy Sports or Games.

Provide multiple views of a leaderboard, including: all-time standings (overall rankings); and weekly- or daily- standings (latest movers in the community.) Typically, the all-time view will be more stable (sometimes downright stagnant) so consider making the "latest movers" view the default one for the leaderboard.

Also consider the easy ability to filter a leaderboard - perhaps showing only a user and his or her contacts or friends and their relative standings, without the extra noise of the larger community.

Talk on the Web

Problems and Cheaters Curb Stomp Emergence Day is a blog entry that details cheating/gaming practices on Xbox Live (specifically, Gears of War.)

"I mentioned this in another thread, but it bears repeating. Leaderboards don't work. Even if you get past the Timmies and the cheaters, the people at the top of the boards are just the ones who have the most time on the game. If you didn't get GoW on launch day and you aren't willing to spend 40 hours a week online, you won't ever be at the top of the board. I wish they'd get over the whole ranked/unranked thing and just let us play the game." ~ ShadeHunter
"IMO they should just completely forget about leaderboards. They only encouragen cheaters." ~ Spinal Pap

Is Harriet Klausner for real? is a blog entry that discusses Amazon's #1 Reviewer and her phenomenal (unbelievable?) review rate that averages seven books a day in an apparent effort to stay at the top of the reviewer leaderboards:</p>

"Klausner is apparently trying to game the system so she keeps her position. In a world where building social tools like this is becoming more common every day, Klausner is diluting the value of her reviews just for personal gain. While nobody is going to get too upset over less-than-helpful reviews, the larger, longer effect is that if she's merely writing them to keep her spot, she's not writing them for the right reason. Amazon's social design should incentivize her to write valuable reviews, not allow her to write them without value." ~ Joshua Porter


[[Image::leaderboard-yanswers.png]] Image:leaderboard-topdiggers.png
Yahoo! Answers ranks its community by all-time and weekly leaders The Top Diggers list is no longer officially hosted on the Digg site. Digg removed the feature in February of 2007, but some members of the community wanted to continue to have access.

As Seen On

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