I am BGG's official honey trap
Is there a panel of "geeks" that rate the games?No the geekrating is the user ratings put through a formula.
How does the Geek rating change over time?It will change depending on how user ratings for it and other games changes. User Ratings don't deteriorate over time.
How is the Geek Rating established? I understand about the user rating, but, when looking at the top 100 games, what constitutes the geek rating?
What is the Difference Between BGG/Geek Rating and User Rating?
If you look at a list of games within BGG you may see a BGG Rating number between 1 and 10. If you then click on that game and go to the game's main page you will see a User Rating and an Average Rating. Most of the time, the BGG Rating number will be different from the User and Average Ratings. Why is this?
The User Rating of a game is the Average Rating rounded down to 1 decimal point. The Average Rating for a game is the average of all ratings from registered BGG users that the game has received, calculated by adding up all individual ratings and dividing by the number of ratings.
The BGG Rating is based on the Average Rating, but the number is altered. BoardGameGeek's ranking charts are ordered using the BGG Rating. To prevent games with relatively few votes climbing to the top of the BGG Ranks, artificial "dummy" votes are added to the User Ratings. These votes are currently thought to be 100 votes equal to the mid range of the voting scale: 5.5, but the actual algorithm is kept secret to avoid manipulation. The effect of adding these dummy votes is to pull BGG Ratings toward the mid range. Games with a large number of votes see their BGG Rating alter very little from their Average Rating, but games with relatively few user ratings will see their BGG Rating move considerably toward 5.5. This is known as "Bayesian averaging" and a quick search of both BGG and/or the Web will reveal much discussion on the topic.
In effect, usually the games with many votes will Rank higher than those games with the same Average Rating but fewer votes.
Included in this action is a suggestion that there may or may not be an additional algorithm to remove shill votes. If a user has multiple ratings for a game only the highest one will be used. Users are free to rate games as they wish though Community Rules still apply and there are suggested guidelines:
10 - Outstanding. Always want to play, expect this will never change.
9 - Excellent. Always want to play.
8 - Very good. Like to play, will probably suggest it, will never turn it down.
7 - Good. Usually willing to play.
6 - Fair. Some fun or challenge at least, will play occasionally if in the right mood.
5 - Average. No significant appeal, take it or leave it.
4 - Below average. Slightly boring, could be talked into it on occasion.
3 - Poor. Likely won't play this again although could be convinced.
2 - Very poor. Annoying, I plan to never play this again.
1 - Defies description of a game. You won't catch me dead playing this. Clearly broken.
EDIT: Billion edits due to my links in quotes twisting my mellon.