We argue that rankings, as they are commonly used, can be, and perhaps are, misleading and potentially harmful.
With little extra effort, however, one can gain much more insight into relations among the objects ranked and, in the consequence, gain a better understanding of the ranking. The fundamental notion used to compare and evaluate rankings in our analysis is that of Pareto optymality. General claims are illustrated with the ranking of Polish universities published by Perspektywy monthly in 2016.
This note is based on results that are well known in the areas of multiobjective optimization and multiple-criteria decision analysis. The objective of the note is to point to the shortcomings and potential pitfalls behind the common use and understanding of rankings