Most StartPlaying users–about 95% according to our data–search for games using the "Find Games" function. But there are cases where fully-formed parties are looking for a GM specifically. Such players might use the "Find GM" search to look for a GM that matches their style. So how does the almighty algorithm sort our wonderful GMs? Here's a peek behind the curtain.
The Basic Filters
When one goes to the "Find GMs" search, they are given a few blank boxes to help narrow things down. They can search by name, which is helpful if they've heard of you through social media or a TTRPG stream. For this reason, you might consider using a catchy alias rather than your own name.
The other boxes let users select Game Systems and Platforms. This lets them type in the TTRPG system (D&D 5e, Monster of the Week, Fiasco etc.) or platform (Discord, Roll20, Foundry etc.) they prefer. They can also use a drop down menu that's already full of popular options.
The final box is set to "Upcoming Games" by default.
Upcoming Games Filter
Most players that come to the site are looking for a game in the very near future. That's why this is the default option of the "Sort" box. As long as you have an open game starting in the next few hours, you'll appear high up on the list. By sorting in this manner, the search option is also constantly rotating. This gives everyone a fair shot at appearing as a top search result, assuming they keep open upcoming games ready on their profile.
The Recommended filter works under an algorithm that factors in different things. Among them are how many player requests you approve, how long you leave requests pending, how many people you have playing with you currently, how many return players you get, and how many reviews you have. The algorithm changes this list daily, allowing for new GMs that meet a good number of these factors to rise quickly.
This one is self-explanatory, but there are two major things to keep in mind. First is that one player can only review a specific GM one time. They can always edit their review later, but you can't have a repeat player drop a review for every one-shot they play in.
Secondly, our data shows that the amount of reviews doesn't make too much of a difference to potential customers once you get past 30. So while it is always good to ask players for reviews so you can get regular feedback, you don't need to stress too much about collecting tons of reviews.