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Mitch Hawker 2010 poll

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Voyage didn't make my top ten, I just liked other coasters better, and on the day I rode in 2007 it didn't seem to be running that well. I didn't ride it at night either which didn't help and is something I regret, at that time I didn't know enough about coasters to know that many are much better at night.


The rides I had on the day were devoid of airtime, the turn around was in the not-fun category of roughness, and it was trimmed before the tunnel - I did ride the coaster many times in the front and back.


In spite of that, I did rate Voyage close to the top ten - it has a great layout, and I love how it goes right out into the forest.


Some day I'd love to experience the Voyage again and see if I get it on a better day, though this will not be anytime soon, if ever.

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Just out of curiosity, since I've seen some writings on the interwebs of crybabies trying to imply that TPR members purposely ranked Voyage low, how many of you ranked it is #1 - or a least in your top 5?


I have a feeling it's a LOT more than some people would think....


That's not how Mitch's poll works. (I spent 5 years maintaining the steel poll, I should know)


To give an example, consider the steel poll in 2008 or so. I could round up 5 people who had ridden Blue Flash. If I could convince 3 to vote it #1 against everything they had ridden, and 2 to vote it dead last, it would have been the #1 steel coaster on the planet, winning every comparison 3-2, despite having what would be a nearly median average rating.


It doesn't matter how many people have a ride at #1, only how it compares to the shortlist of competitors (and some top rides have gotten the random loss from some odd competitors. I think Great Bear knocked off a top-10 steel a couple of years ago). Mitch's poll has the opposite problem of the Golden Ticket Awards -- it overvalues small sample sizes.

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^But who cares what the results are? It's all fun to me, and it's still a pretty accurate representation of what enthusiasts think of rides. Is Voyage still one of the top coasters among most enthusiasts? Yes. Is it still near the top of the rankings? Yes. Is anyone who is complaining about T Express winning going to be able to give an accurate opinion if they've never ridden it? No. So how can they know if it's better or not?


The opinions on El Toro/Phoenix/Boulder Dash/Voyage are split up among enthusiasts just like they are in the actual poll. A lot of people use the "grouping method" to rank their coasters, and it's safe to say that the top 5 or 10 in this poll are grouped the same way. Chances are, people are going to enjoy most, if not all of the coasters in the top 10 (save for Aska, since we can't really ride it anymore). I could see the outrage if Voyage dropped out of the top 20, but it's still right near the top. So I ask again, why does it matter THAT much?

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I found this years poll result one of the most true reflection, in relation to my woodies i've experienced.

In previous polls its appeared "fanboyism" & some "anti voting" had taken place (which i know Mitch tries to remove blatant examples).


Next year should be interesting, because this year's voting pattern was an aberration in the 16-year history of the poll (Grizzly not in last, for instance).


On a different note, check out the 6-year pattern of high-performing rides. There are notable exceptions, but a ride's stay in the top-10 seems to have a 6-year shelf-life.

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I had The Voyage as the fourth best wood coaster behind Thunderhead, Kentucky Rumbler, and The Legend. Last year The Voyage was intense to say the least, better with Ravage trains worse with the original PTCs. I had to push myself to ride it a 5th time in one day because of the headache and beating it had given me. But I was able to ride The Legend 4 continuous times in a row and loved every lap and would have rode it more if it wasn't closing time. I love The Voyage but the intensity and roughness was getting a little extreme even for me. Before last year it was my number 1, because it is such a great coaster but that day changed my mind. Hopefully the timberliners will return it to the top of my list.

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I think the better question to ask is "how many people used to have Voyage ranked number one and dropped it because it has gotten much rougher, not because Robb's telepathic powers forced anyone to drop it lower?"

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^ Oh...my...God...and I thought it dropped in my eyes because of roughness!! Now I realize that Robb must have mentally bamboozled me into dropping it. Damn him!! Get..out...of...my...head...dude!

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^^ I agree, Larry. The Voyage was in my top five after the Midwest 2007 trip but dropped down dramatically on my list after I rode it on the 2010 Mid-America trip. I'm not surprised the ride fell a few places this year.


Bottom line for me: the ride wasn't as good in 2010 as it was 2007.

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The best thing about Mitch's coaster poll is not the results. It's the ability to identify and single out the tools that incessantly complain about them.



--Robb "And nobody wants those tools on TPR..." Alvey

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Voyage was my #1, followed by El Toro at #2.


As many others have stated, the "conspiracy" theories being tossed around on other sites is frankly a huge load of crap. Here's a news flash to all of them - it's a FREAKING POLL!!!! In the grand scheme of life, who cares?!? Grow the f--- up and get some perspective!!


Mitch's poll is still the best one out there, in my opinion. Look, I rode Voyage back in 2007, so that's what I have to base my ranking off of. Back then, I loved the crap out of it, and it got my #1 spot. I have not returned since, so it stays there. But I don't doubt for a second, especially considering the aggressive nature of the ride, that it got rougher. So the drop in the polls (as more people ride it with perspective to a visit back in 2006 or 2007) is not only justified, it's almost expected. While the other folks are so busy pi$$ing and moaning that it dropped 5 spots, do they still realize that it's ranked the 6th best wooden roller coaster in the WORLD?? That's a heck of an honor in my book!


Shoot, my home park has 3 older woodies that I think are fantastic, and they rank rather respectably in the 50's....or so I thought!! Now it's clear that they should be in the top 20, but Robb just brain-washed everyone to rank them lower too! You.....evil......mastermind!

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I've basically only been to parks in California (only major park I'm missing is Gilroy) so I've only been on ten wooden coasters, and have not ridden Voyage. I went to Cedar Point in 05, and Castles & Coasters in 08. I'm going to BGT this summer, so I wonder how Gwazi will rate.


My Top (and only) Ten


1. Ghostrider

2. Roar

3. Apocalypse

4. Blue Streak

5. Giant Dipper (Santa Cruz)

6. Giant Dipper (San Diego)

7. Mean Streak

8. Collosus

9. Grizzly

10. Psyclone (I hope they burned the wood)


That's how I rated them in the poll.

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I had Dash #1 followed by Voyage, based on my better rides that I got on Voyage. I will agree that it was extremely rough on the MA trip and completely understand where the people that rode it then are coming from!

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I ranked it #3, or at least I would've if I had remembered to changed the "n"s in the first column to "y"s.

OH. MY. GOD!!!




Had you filled out your ballot correctly, The Voyage might have made it another notch or two higher.


I recommend either a biblical-style stoning or burning of the steak (and yes I mean steak). Your choice. Sinner!

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Be warned, this will probably be the longest post in TPR history without pictures!


Are there several sites where these conspiracy theories are going around?


Or is this whole discussion because of some comments I posted on rec-roller-coaster that were actually more about the poll and its methodology than about Voyage, Robb, TPR or anything else?


I'm just curious if this whole part of the discussion is about a misunderstanding of what I was saying, or if there really are people ranting and raving about TPR out there. I am a bit of a math nerd, as well as a political junkie who pays a lot of attention to polls and how they're run. I've been posting in RRC for years about the methodology of Mitch's poll and its benefits and flaws. So this was definitely not some kind of "OMFG Voyage dropped! The whole poll sucks!!!" kind of discussion I was having!


For those who don't know me, I'm David Hamburger. (Yes, that's my real name!) I've been friends with Robb and Elissa for well over a decade. And I've spent much of that time defending Robb on RRC from some of the people who seem obsessed with him and TPR. So, if anyone thinks I have any sort of anti-TPR agenda, I don't. The only reason I haven't really posted here (although I have read it off and on over the years) is because I took a step back from the hobby for a while when I was becoming more blase and jaded about it a few years back. It was good timing because it allowed me to get my life and my finances in order (Be warned people! This is an expensive hobby, which can drive you massively in debt!) But I've been stepping slowly back into the hobby, which is why I've been reading more here and was planning to post here more as well.


Most of the rest of this post is gonna be a bunch of statistic and poll design stuff, so if that stuff bores you, you might want to skip it! Or at least skip to the funny one liners at the end.


The main point I was making in my RRC posts was pretty much exactly what Wolf said a couple of pages back (although obviously much more briefly) where one of the biggest problems with Mutch's poll as it's run is that in order to try to give coasters that few people have ridden a chance to fairly compete, it actually overcompensates by allowing those who have ridden it to have a disproportionate effect on the results. The basic gist is that because so many of those faraway coasters have so few riders, a couple of votes, particularly those votes which are quite unrepresentative of the views of most of the others in the polls, can really sway the results. With three of the top 10 coasters (T Express, Aska and Fireball) having very few riders and several in the next 10 (the German El Toro, Thunderbird, Tremors and OzCat) having relatively few riders, this can really shake up the rankings.


And just as importantly, the poll doesn't differentiate between a sweeping win of most of the people who voted in the pairing and a very close finish between the pairing. Should El Toro's 60-58 win over Boulder Dash be considered statistically equivalent to it's 103-39 win over Phoenix? I could pretty comfortably say that the majority of enthusiasts think that El Toro is better than Phoenix, but I wouldn't be so comfortable saying the same about El Toro over Boulder Dash, when 2-3 different voters would change the results.


So, the combination of these two factors means that a handful of people can really change the rankings in a way that may not actually be a fair representation of what most enthusiasts may think, especially if they have vastly different opinions of a few coasters than others do. Particularly when it turns out that about 1/3 of all of the matchups among the top 12 coasters were decided by three votes or less.


I specifically used the example of Robb and Elissa in the discussion because 1) They're just about the most well-travelled enthusiasts I know, and they're probably the most well-travelled enthusiasts who actually bothered to fill out the poll this year. 2) They actually rode all of the less-ridden coasters towards the top of the poll. 3) They ranked Voyage significantly lower than just about anyone else in the poll. (Only two of the 191 people who ranked Voyage ranked it lower.) To be very clear here, I have a pretty good idea of their tastes in coasters, and I DO believe that they genuinely rank Voyage and all the coasters in the poll where they believe they belong. But what's interesting is that because of the way the poll is designed, and because 3 of Voyage's 6 losses (to T Express, Aska and Thunderbird) and its only tie (to Colossus) were by one vote or less (for the tie) that their two ballots alone gave it 3 of its 6 losses and its only tie. Without their ballots, Voyage only has 3 losses, which moves it up to tied for third place overall.


The main point I was making was about the volatility of the specific rankings of the poll itself. Because of the way it's designed, you can safely say that El Toro or T Express or Boulder Dash or even Voyage are absolutely top level coasters that are very well loved by almost everyone who's ridden them. But you can't really accurately say much more than that when only 18 out of almost 500 people ranked both of them, and they tied in their opinion 9 to 9. Or when 60 people preferred El Toro to Boulder Dash, but "only" 58 people thought otherwise. The poll is MUCH more accurate at getting approximate rankings of where coasters really stand (not just in their popularity, like with other polls -- look at the Beast for the best example of this!), but less accurate in getting specific rankings within a range.


And I actually said exactly the same thing last year. And for those who might think I was somehow singling out or picking on Robb and Elissa, the example I actually used last year was my OWN steel poll ballot, where a typo on ONE LINE of the ballot disqualified my ranking for Pyrenees, which ended up knocking it out of the top 10 and allowed Millennium Force to stay in the top 10, when it otherwise would not have. And that was just ONE line on ONE ballot out of over 30,000 lines on over 600 ballots! Think about that. One line out of 60,000 changed the top 10.


Now, does any of this matter? Not really. It's just a roller coaster poll. Heck, the parks don't even promote their wins in this poll anywhere, like they do with the Golden Ticket Awards, which most enthusiasts agree is more of a popularity poll, in which foreign coasters don't really have any real chance. And for those who think I'm some "Voyage Fanboy" with sour grapes about "my" coaster doing so badly, sorry. Yes, I'm a Voyage fanboy. And it's my number 1. But I don't really have any vested interest in it being the world's #1 coaster, as long as I get to ride it again! For point of reference my #1 steel coaster is Montu, which has barely stayed in the top 20 for years now. Again, I'm just more interested in the design of the poll and how that affects the results than anything else, at least with regards to this discussion.


That's not to in any way say that Mitch's poll is bad or inaccurate. You can see my own quotes on his site when I say that it's definitely the most accurate poll out there. But that doesn't make it any less interesting to speculate on how it could be done better. And until this week, I honestly couldn't think of any way to do it better. Although this week I did come up with the interesting idea of running the poll the same way, but in only counting matchups that are won by less than say 3 votes or are voted on by less than say 20 votes as a half of a point for the win or the less. That way, coasters like Fireball could be fairly ranked without too heavily impacting on the rankings of the rest of the coasters in the top 10. It would be interesting to see how that would affect the results this year (and in future years) if the data were precessed with this method instead.


In any case, in the interest of full disclosure, I did mention on RRC the fact that I do think that there are a small handful of people who deliberately did rank Voyage lower than they probably would have otherwise either to hurt Voyage or help other coasters or to anger the Voyage fanboys. Yes, I do think there are a few who may have done that. Is it any surprise that some people might think so when two of the very first replies to this very thread after the results were posted were basically "Ooh, those Voyage fanboys are gonna be so pissed! LOL!!!"? And let's be honest, are there really coaster enthusiasts who think that Voyage is one of the very worst coasters in the world or that it's a worse coaster than the Woodstock Express coasters? C'mon....


But it's also pretty obvious to me that there are a few people who did the same to El Toro, including at least two of them who also (interestingly) ranked it below the Woodstock Express coasters and one of whom ranked it in the bottom 5 of a pretty extensive list. To me, both sides are pretty equally childish. That's about the extent of my TPR conspiracy theory.


And do I think that Robb and/or Elissa have some magical powers to make everyone in the world (or at least the hobby) bend to their wills? Obviously not. Well, maybe Elissa does.... Most guys tend to listen to hot, smart coaster chicks!


But do I think that they can help to sway opinions in the hobby? Heck yes! Of course they do. They're two of the most knowledgable and well-travelled coaster enthusiasts in the world. And they're just about the only ones who will tell what they REALLY think of a park or a ride, even if they park doesn't want them to! I know that *I* look to their opinions before planning trips, and their opinions can help sway anything from what parks to visit to which non-coaster rides to check out. (I'm somewhat of a CreHo, so I'll at least ride all the coasters at least once!) I was one of those who convinced Justin of the ECC to add the Yokohama parks to the ECC/ACE Japan trip a few years back based solely on Robb and Elissa's TR's and videos of those parks. And although I'd gotten somewhat tired of coasters videos over the past decade, I just ordered a bunch from here to give me some ideas of what to look for on upcoming trips to places I haven't been.


But I also know a bit about group psychology. And if I've read online that a coaster is gonna beat me up and be rough as hell, that's what I'm more likely to be noticing when I ride it. I'm not a zombie. But I am more likely to look for and notice the aspects that I've been forewarned about and the ones that others are discussing, especially when the opinions come from people I respect. And I'm less likely to notice other aspects of it. That's human nature. But if I read and hear that it's a wild and intense and crazy ride that's one of the best in the world, well those are the aspects that I'll be more likely to notice. Even if effectively both of those statements could be considered true for a particular ride. In fact, I honestly think that both are somewhat true for BOTH Voyage and El Toro -- and for just about any of the top tiered coasters, except maybe Phoenix.


A great example of this is Shivering Timbers when it was new. Anyone who'd ridden it (and whole lot of people who hadn't!) would tell you that was the second coming of the coaster gods. It was the best coaster in decades, or so the story went. With insane airtime, more than any coaster freak could ever want! Was it kind of rough? Maybe, but we didn't care. Was it kind of repetitive in its design? Yeah, but damn, look at all that air! I almost flew out! The perfect example of group psychology. Now look where it ranks these days. It doesn't even make the top 10 in the Golden Ticket Awards, much less Mitch's poll, where it's dropped out of the top 20. Yeah, it's definitely gotten rougher and Cedar Fair has let it slip away. But. c'mon, it's not THAT different.


So, how's that for a first post? I promise not to be THAT analytical in the future. Well, not TOO much, anyways.


But if you cut through all the verbiage, you might find that I can be damn funny sometimes, too!


For those who don't know, I was the funny gay guy who was first up in the credits of most of Robb's earliest videos.


I was "fancy" long before anyone had ever even heard of Piers!


Oh crap, now everyone's gonna expect some sort of "fancy showdown" on the China trip!


With me playing some sort of Cher to Piers' Christina Aguilera to show him how it's really done!


See, it was worth wading through all that analytical crap after all!

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^LOL Exactly! If Robb had the power to brain wash people do you really think he'd use that power on a roller coaster poll!?!? I'd pretty much never get to leave my bedroom!

This post is more truthful than truthful Piers!

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