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I have the following table in my database:

║  Name  ║ total_stars ║ total_reviews ║
║ Item A ║          27 ║             7 ║
║ Item B ║          36 ║             9 ║
║ Item C ║          27 ║             7 ║
║ Item D ║          30 ║             6 ║
║ Item E ║           0 ║             0 ║
║ Item F ║           0 ║             0 ║
║ Item F ║          15 ║             3 ║

I was looking at this article and trying to implement Bayesian rankings in PostgreSQL database.

The formula given for the rank is

br = ( (avg_num_votes * avg_rating) + (this_num_votes * this_rating) ) / 
(avg_num_votes + this_num_votes)


  • avg_num_votes: The average number of votes of all items that have num_votes>0
  • avg_rating: The average rating of each item (again, of those that have num_votes>0)
  • this_num_votes: number of votes for this item
  • this_rating: the rating of this item

This is the query I came up with, but it is not working:

with avg_num_votes as (
      select AVG(total_reviews) 
           from business 
           where total_reviews != 0), 
       avg_rating as (
          select AVG(total_stars/total_reviews) 
          from business 
          where total_reviews != 0)
select * from business 
  order by ((avg_num_votes * avg_rating) + (total_stars)) / (avg_num_votes + total_reviews);

I am getting:

ERROR:  column "avg_num_votes" does not exist
share|improve this question
Your CTE Appears to have the same name as a column. – swasheck Dec 20 '12 at 3:45
+1 for having ASCII art in the post! +1 to Stackexchange for supporting it too! – Trygve Laugstøl Dec 20 '12 at 20:12
While ASCII art is really nice, it would be more practical to have a CREATE TABLE statement or a link to a demo on sqlfiddle in there. – Erwin Brandstetter Jan 10 '13 at 23:28
up vote 3 down vote accepted


with avg_num_votes as (
      select AVG(total_reviews) 
           from business 
           where total_reviews != 0), 

avg_num_votes is the name of the table. The column itself gets a nice auto-generated name (in this case, most probably avg), which is clearly not what you want and refer below. You can give a name to the column two ways:

with avg_num_votes as (
      select AVG(total_reviews) AS avg_num_votes


with avg_num_votes(avg_num_votes) as (
      select AVG(total_reviews) 

Choose whch one you prefer. The two only differ in readability.

But this is only a part of the problem. In the main query you have to refer the CTEs constructed with WITH. In order to get meaningful results, you have to join then on a column present in all tables - so, if you choose Name, then you have to do something like

with avg_num_votes(avg_num_votes) as (
      select AVG(total_reviews), Name
      from ...
      GROUP BY Name
select b.* 
from business b
    JOIN avg_num_votes v ON b.Name = v.Name
    JOIN avg_rating r ON b.Name = r.Name
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