About Rate The Office

How does Rate The Office work?

You are shown two randomly selected episodes, and you choose the better one (or say they're equally good). Behind the scenes, the site aggregates these selections and uses the Elo rating system to provide accurate episode rankings. It was originally created (and modified versions are still used) for ranking chess players, and is now used in many games today.

Each time you make a choice, the Elo rating algorithm treats it as a "match" between those two episodes. By aggregating the results for every episode and recalculating the rating after each match, it's possible to produce a data-driven rankings list that not only tells you which episodes are the best, but also how much better they are than any other given episode.

Why is this better than the 1 through 10 ratings on IMDB?

It's better primarily because when humans don't have a consistent internal rating system to use when they are asked to give quantitative ratings. Imagine the best pizza place you've ever been to. Presumably, that pizza is a 10/10. But what happens if tomorrow you come across an even better pizza place? Does the old pizzeria drop to 9/10? And what if you were in a bad mood when you rated it, or had just eaten pizza the night before and were kind of sick of pizza when you tried it, etc.? It's much easier to say, Pizzeria A is better than Pizzeria B than it is to explicitly say Pizzeria A is a 9/10 and Pizzeria B is a 7.5/10.

We can create more accurate and constantly up-to-date rankings by using implicit qualitative preferences than explicit quantitative (but actually more arbitrary) ratings. And, the Elo algorithm allows us to predict the exact probability that any episode will "defeat" any other episode!

Where does the episode information come from?

All the data was gathered from the Open Movie Database.

I found an error in the episode data!

The Open Movie Database unfortunately doesn't always have correct information, and often doesn't have episode screenshots or is even missing some information. If you notice an error or omission, please email me at gautam[at]gautamnarula.com and I'll manually correct it!

Can you do this for other shows?

Yup, the code for this site can be reused for any other TV show. If you have any requests, feel free to email me!

Who made this?

This site was lovingly developed by Gautam Narula using locally grown, cruelty-free farm-to-table craft-brewed organic Python code.