2004-07-10

The Recommendz Recommendation Explanation

A couple of months ago, I reviewed the extremely experimental Recommendz recommendation system. If you remember, my main complaint involved that fact that rating movies requires a considerable investment of time because the user must also rate "features" associated with the movie besides rating the movie itself.

Now, at the top of my recommendation list is the trivial teen comedy What a Girl Wants. So, if I want to know how this particularly inane film turned out to have a predicted 9.19 score (out of 10) for me, I can find out what features led the system to that conclusion.

In the case of the Colin Firth/Amanda Bynes family film, previous viewers report that it is "bizarre", "stupid", and "stylish." Now oddly enough, these are cinematic traits that I have expressed appreciation for in movies like Eraserhead, Cabin Boy, and The Fifth Element. And this is the apparent result.

I think we need to fine-tune the meaning of "stupid."


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Visiting the site, recommendations for "What a Girl Wants" are rated "unreliable" because it has very few reviews. In fact, a little digging shows it has only one review by a person who totally loved the film and, apparently, had tastes otherwise a lot like yours!

Brian said...

You raise a very good point, Anonymous, or maybe "Annie" for short? Without many datapoints about a given item, it is difficult for any collaborative recommendation engine -- even one with sophisticated methods for dealing with sparse data -- to provide predictions that are not, as Alexandria Digital Literature puts it, "Pure Speculation."

In that particular post, I was having fun with Recommendz distinguishing trait as a collaborative recommender. As reviewers, we are encouraged to associate traits with the movies. We also need to indicate how much of that trait the movie has, and how we felt about it. The trait and quantity information is made available

So, we don't know how that anonymous reviewer actually felt about that WHAT A GIRL WANTS, but we do know that he or she thought it had plenty of "Stupid" going on. And I was speculating about how many "Stupid" movies I've watched that I might have given positive ratings too, leading to such a "Purely Speculative" recommendation.

Brian said...
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