The Active Ranking is a list of minesweeper players who are ranked by the best scores they make every two weeks. It has been maintained on various sites since 19 January 2002.
The idea of a minesweeper ranking of active players was first suggested by Roelof Smit (Netherlands) on 21 Dec 2001 in the Guestbook. He thought there were too many 'dead' players in the historical world ranking at Authoritative Minesweeper. It would be a monthly ranking and players would get points based on their scores. At the end of the year, players would be ranked, similar to the ATP tennis ranking. Matt McGinley (USA) volunteered to maintain the ranking.
Points and Periods
The first problem was how to assign points. Roelof suggested using the same time limits as the world ranking (6-35-99), starting with 1 point for each score and increasing as the score got lower. For example, 6-35-99 (1+1+1) would be 3 points and 3-27-75 (4+9+25) would be 38 points. Matt thought the limits should be lower and proposed a method to assign points exponentially. He also wanted to know if points would be given to all scores made each month. Dave McBryan (Ireland) and Ben van Calster (Belgium) said that complex ranking systems would cause trouble, and the new ranking should use the best score for each level so it could be compared to the world ranking.
Matt agreed about the scores, but Roelof suggested using the sum of your 3 or 5 best Intermediate and Expert games. Owen Fox (Ireland) suggested rules for breaking tied sums. David Barry (Australia) proposed an weighting system that rewarded more recent scores and created penalties. His system had two different calculations: the first found the current best player, the second found the best player over the previous year. Dave McBryan suggested publishing the ranking weekly and highlighting scores before they expired.
Matt then proposed ranking only the best 20 players each week, giving points to their ranking position. The best player would receive 20 points and the worst would get 1 point. At the end of the year the player with the most points would be declared the winner. He posted an example in Minesweeper Addicts on the 23rd. This started a discussion on the length of each ranking period, with suggestions varying from 1 week to 3 months. Several players began to mention the idea of a two week ranking.
Over the Christmas holidays, Matt and Roelof agreed on a two week ranking. Matt posted a poll in Addicts on New Year asking how to give penalties if a player didn't send scores. The following day he made a poll whether there should be a limit to the number of players or if there should be a score limit. Matt announced the results on 03 January 2002, that a fixed number of people (30) would be ranked, a 5 point penalty would be added the first time and 10 points the second time a player did not send scores. After two missed updates they would be dropped from the list.
On the 5th, Roelof referred to the ranking as the 'Active Ranking' for the first time, in Addicts. Other significant comments before the first ranking were from Dan Cerveny (USA), who did not want Beginner scores allowed, and from Marc Schouten (Netherlands), who noted that sometimes a penalty would give a player a better sum than their actual scores.
Hosting and Rankings
The search began just before Christmas 2001 for a place to host the new ranking. Case Cantrell (USA) offered space, but first Matt asked Damien Moore (Canada) if he wanted to host the new ranking alongside the world ranking. Damien offered space but admitted he had no time to maintain another set of rankings. In the end it was decided to use Case's website. Roelof then created an official email account for the ranking (active_ranking at at hotmail.com).
Roelof and Matt announced in both Addicts and the Guestbook on 05 January 2002 that the first ranking would take place every second Tuesday, starting on the 15th. Later in the day this was changed to every second Friday starting on the 19th. Roelof would collect and forward scores to Matt, who would update the site. The first ranking was published 20 January 2002.
On 16 May 2002 the ranking moved to www.active-ranking.de.vu, which redirected to a site owned by Stephan Bechtel at www.uni-hohenheim.de/~bechtel/ranking. After a poll on 25 May 2002, in which Matt voted he was bored with the ranking, Roelof offered to maintain the site. Matt explained he would continue, but that he was tired of the same people getting the same results. Dan Cerveny (USA) replaced Matt as webmaster starting with Period 14. Roelof technically retired on 04 Aug 2002 and was replaced by Stephan Bechtel (Germany) but he continued to help. Roelof then was succeeded permanently by Lance Votroubek (USA) on 12 May 2003. Although Dan and Lance were living in the same city, they never met each other!
Dan originally updated the ranking by hand in HTML but eventually wrote a Pearl program to automatically write the page from a list of names and scores. Under Lance and Dan, Beginner scores were dropped in Period 1 of 2004 and player profiles were added in Period 2 of 2004. Stephan did all the calculations for player stats and retired after finishing the stats for 2004.
In August 2004, Gregoire Duffez (France) took over hosting and maintaining the AR at www.planet-minesweeper.com/active-ranking.php. He programmed the ranking so players could log in and submit scores directly. This continued until a final ranking on 12 January 2007. Gregoire retired and gave Andrew McCauley (Australia) permission to run his website, but due to some problems Andrew was unable to maintain the AR portion of the site. The ranking had stopped.
Christoph Nikolaus (Austria) came to the rescue and restarted the ranking at www.minesweeper.cc, with the first period starting 18 Apr 2007. Players logged into the site, entered scores and uploaded videos if desired. Scores were displayed as decimals but sums calculated using integers. The ranking updated automatically and results were archived, but there was no longer a yearly ranking or player stats.
In the above graph, you can see that the best Expert and Intermediate scores for each Period continue to improve. The best sum of each Period is also getting lower. Participation has varied from an average of 41 players in 2003 to a low of 6 players in 2009. This last number explains the patch of slow scores at the end of 2008 as few top players were competing. The current ranking appears to have rejuvenated the competition.
The Ranking Now
In December 2009, Damien discussed with several players moving the AR to Authoritative Minesweeper, as the AR was automatically updating on a dead website. The first period started 1 Jan 2010 and continues to update every second Friday. Players log in and submit their scores and videos, and stats are automatically calculated. The ranking now uses Real Time starting from 0.00 and sums are calculated using decimals. Previous rankings are archived on the site.
- 2002-02-16: Can players send scores made before the deadline, after the deadline? Result: No(12), Yes(2)
- 2002-03-31: Should the deadline be every second Friday, or the 1st and 15th of each month? Result: Two weeks(6), Don't care(6), 1st and 15th(2).
- 2002-04-12: Should 9x9 Beginner be allowed on the World and Active rankings? Result: No(38), Yes(19), AR only(4).
- 2002-04-15: How many times should someone send scores to be included in Statistics? Result: Two(5), Three(2), Don't care(2), One(1).
- 2002-05-25: What should we do with the AR? Result: Keep it(13), Bored(Matt!), Don't care(1)
- 2002-06-26: Should the AR take a summer break or should players on holiday be penalised? Result: Penalise(6), July and August as a holiday(4), August as a holiday(1), Other(1).
- 2004-01-17: Would you like a "Player of the Period" for the AR? Result: Yes(14), No(1)
- 2004-03-10: Should the Clone be accepted for the AR? Result: Yes(29), No(5).
- 2005-05-09: Should Arbiter be accepted for the AR? Result: No(25), Yes(16). (NOTE: This poll was not created by anyone running the AR, Arbiter scores were accepted).
- Active Ranking 2002-2004 - This site includes all 78 rankings from 2002 to 2004 with annual statistics and some downloads. During this period the AR was originally hosted at case.twobit.net then moved to active-ranking.de.vu which redirected to uni-hohenheim.de/~bechtel/ranking.
- Active Ranking 2004-2006 - Site includes the 44 surviving rankings from planet-minesweeper.com.
- Active Ranking 2007-2009 - This site includes all 70 rankings from 2007 to 2009 hosted at minesweeper.cc.
- Active Ranking - The current ranking at minesweeper.info.
- 2002: 26 rankings, average of 28.6 players each period.
- Winners Lasse Nyholm (22), Damien Moore (2), Dan Cerveny (2).
- 2003: 26 rankings, average of 28.3 players each period.
- Winners Lasse Nyholm (18), Damien Moore (6), Dan Cerveny (1), Lukasz Malinowski (1).
- 2004: 26 rankings, average of 40.7 players each period.
- Winners Lasse Nyholm (14), Dion Tiu (5), Oliver Scheer (3), Dan Cerveny (2), Lukasz Malinowski (2).
- 2005: 26 rankings, average of 33.0 players each period.
- Winners Dion Tiu (22), Oliver Scheer (2), Damien Moore (1), Roman Gammel (1).
- 2006: 18 rankings, average of 34.7 players each period.
- Winners Dion Tiu (14), Jake Warner (3), Manuel Heider (1).
- 2007: 18 rankings, average of 15.2 players each period.
- Winners Manuel Heider (16), Damien Moore (2).
- 2008: 26 rankings, average of 10.6 players each period.
- Winners Manuel Heider (15), Bertie Seyffert (3), Kamil Muranski (3), name removed (2), Reid Sinclair (2), Damien Moore (1).
- 2009: 26 rankings, average of 5.8 players each period.
- Winners Kamil Muranski (20), Reid Sinclair (4), name removed (2).
- 2010: 26 rankings, average of 35 players each period.
- Winners Kamil Muranski (26).
- 2011: 26 rankings, average of 27 players each period.
- Winners Kamil Muranski (26).
- 2012: 26 rankings, average of 20.9 players each period.
- Winners Kamil Muranski (26).