The Rate & Graphics Help Desk


Staff member
Hosting a rate is fun, but it's also a lot of work!

Here's a sense of the amount of time it takes:

All of you made it an incredible experience for sure though I am very unlikely to take on a rate on this magnitude with so many songs again solo, just for the amount of work that goes into it (tried to apply some maths to the time spent here - average 1 hour per write-up + 30 minutes for PJ Formatting x 136 elimination posts total = 204 hours across both parts of the rate! That's just over 5 weeks as a full time job (and not including the spreadsheet, commentary sorting etc)! Crazy stuff, but so worth it when you get an appreciative audience like you all have been.

I know I tend to take about an hour per write-up including PJ formatting, and even that is quite a lot of time!

What do you need to run a rate?

1. Have an idea.

Rates on the forum mostly fall into one of these categories:
  • Discography rates. These consist of an artist's entire discography, including all songs from all their albums, and sometimes including B-sides, soundtrack contributions, appearances on other artist's albums, unreleased tracks or other rarities, depending on how popular the act is and how long it makes the song list. (As a general rule, rates tend to vary between 50 and 100 songs in length. If you're going over 100 songs in a discography rate, make sure it's for an act who is so popular that you'll still get lots of voters. You may also consider splitting a discography rate into multiple parts to cover different periods of a prolific artist's career, as has been done with acts like Mariah Carey, Namie Amuro, the Pet Shop Boys and Ayumi Hamasaki.)
  • Singles rates. These are largely meant to cover all the singles by an artist and usually occur when the host is either unwilling to handle a huge discography or is not confident that the artist is so popular on the forum that there will be lots of voters keen to rate random B-sides by them. You can host a singles rate for an act who has had a discography rate already, or vice versa.
  • Multi-artist "versus" rates. Usually a set of songs by a small number of acts being pitted against each other. For example, you could choose to pit all of Lizzo's singles against all of Charli XCX's singles, since they each have a fairly small number of singles and the total song list would be relatively short. It's more common for rates to be organised around a concept, however, and it's important to have a clear concept that makes it self-evident what is and isn't in the song list. For example, the Billboard #1s of the '90s rate (run in two parts - 1990-1994 and 1995-1999) simply chose a song list that consisted of every song that hit #1 in that period. You could also choose to just take a bunch of albums that are similar in period and/or genre and pit those against each other - for example, the 2018 Big Pop Girls rate included the biggest pop albums by female artists and a few additional hit singles from acts whose albums couldn't make it into the rate for one reason or another. Whatever your concept is, make it clear.
  • Song contests. Song contests have their own scoring system and their own spreadsheet style. PM me separately if you want advice on how to run a song contest.

2. Put yourself into the rate queue.

  • Propose your idea by posting in the Rate Queue to see if anyone is interested. This isn't compulsory but it will help you gauge whether your rate is DOA or not.
  • If you're a solo host who is hosting for the first time, find a backup host. A backup host is always a good idea, but it's particularly important to make sure there is someone else on hand to cover in case you are suddenly unable to post eliminations for some reason - life happens, and it's useful for someone else to be able to pick up where you left off, or to post guest eliminations if you’re going to be unable to post for a short period of time. Nobody likes to put the effort into voting in a rate and then find out that the host has delayed or abandoned the results halfway! If you can’t find a backup host, ask for one in this thread or the rate queue thread... and if you’re still unable to find one, ask me.
  • Tag or PM @ohnostalgia to ask to be included in the queue. You will be assigned to a "list" according to the rules on page 1 of the thread. Please read those rules, because they also tell you things like when you will be allowed to start, how often you can use voting extensions, and so on.

3. Put together a spreadsheet.
  • Familiarise yourself with Excel. I recommend using Google Sheets if you're likely to be posting from more than one device, but you can also use Microsoft Excel if you think you won't need to be able to access your sheets from the cloud.
  • Design your spreadsheet. It doesn't need to be pretty, but it does need to work. The basic formula that needs to work is the one that gives you the average for each song, but there are tons of other useful formulas which will give you ranks, album averages, the highest and lowest scores for each song, and much more! This is the one I used for my 2018 R&B Legends rate, which featured three full albums from 2018 and a number of extras. The second tab is the most relevant one, but I also had the first tab to help me calculate album averages and the highest and lowest scorers for each act. You do not need to use this spreadsheet as a template, but you're welcome to if you like.
4. Design your graphics and choose an image hosting site.
  • Figure out your image format. I tend to use the official single covers where available and then create my own covers for tracks that don't have single covers, but you don't have to do this - some people create their own covers for all the songs. If, like me, you have the graphic design skills of a potato, you can either have a bash anyway or you can ask for help in this thread..
  • Choose an image hosting site. I personally like but a lot of people swear by It doesn't really matter as long as the images embed properly - both imgur and Photobucket can be problematic on the forum.

5. Set a voting deadline and hustle for voters.

Remember to promote the rate by tagging people in the rate thread and/or posting in the artist threads and the Rate Queue thread. It's a shame if fans of a particular act don't know about that act being included in a rate, and a very small rate can have some very odd results!

6. Choose a format and pace for your rate eliminations.

This is quite important. Usually one or two eliminations a day tends to work fast enough for most people, but think through how many you can reasonably do in a week and how many songs you have. If you take too long, it delays the start of the next rate. If the result is that you're going to take 18 months to finish your rate, rethink the pace or number of songs!

7. Enter your ballots and post your rate eliminations.

This is hopefully self-explanatory. Some hosts don't really participate in the thread apart from posting each elimination, and some hosts (like me) like to engage in the inevitable drama between eliminations. If your songs are at all popular, people will have views about the scores other people gave, and that's fine. The arguments are part of the fun! If something gets massively out of hand, however, feel free to report the relevant posts.

This is not an exhaustive list of answers to every question you might have, and this thread is meant to encourage discussion about things that are unclear. Feel free to post about your own experiences hosting or any questions that you have!

Originally Posted By @londonrain
Last edited:


Staff member

it's not :(


Staff member
For those who still want to DIY- check out the Google Font Database for well known "dupe" fonts (or just non-tragic fonts).

"All the fonts in our catalog are free and open source, making beautiful type accessible to anyone for any project. This means you can share favorites and collaborate easily with friends and colleagues. Google Fonts takes care of all the licensing and hosting, ensuring that the latest and greatest version of any font is available to everyone."


Staff member
For those who still want to DIY- check out the Google Font Database for well known "dupe" fonts (or just non-tragic fonts).

"All the fonts in our catalog are free and open source, making beautiful type accessible to anyone for any project. This means you can share favorites and collaborate easily with friends and colleagues. Google Fonts takes care of all the licensing and hosting, ensuring that the latest and greatest version of any font is available to everyone."
Thank you for this!

My quest to find the font used in Whitney's My Love is Your Love campaign has so far resulted in me using some truly basic sans serif fonts, and it's starting to really annoy me. is what @beyoncésweave used for his Sugababes rate and I'm using it for my 1998 R&B albums rate. It's working pretty well so far.
Yeah, it does its job. But I must report that sometime last year they changed their domain from .io/.cc to .org, and then infuriatingly back, making me have to change all the image links on the Sugarate and then back again (which I still haven't finished doing). Other than that, it's quite stable.
Doesn't resizing just depend on the dimensions of the window of your browser (which is usually just someone's resolution if they have the window maximized).

Like the banner for the Taylor Swift rate shrinks when you make your window smaller, so it's usually just what screen dimensions are the most commonly used.