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Someone explain how Netflix recommendations work?

Old 04-13-04, 02:31 PM
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Someone explain how Netflix recommendations work?

So, I log onto Netflix today and they are recommending "Specimen" (a 1995 sci-fi film). I'm intrigued, because I've never even heard of it, and it has a rating of about 4.25 stars next to it.

So, I look at the actual member ratings, all 22 of 'em. 20 of them are 1 star. 2 of them are 2 stars.


1. How in God's green earth did this film get recommended to me? I've never rented or given a high rating to anything resembling the p.o.s. this appears to be. Most of my Netflix rentals tend to be Criterion/foreign/indie flicks that I'm not willing to blind buy.

2. What possible calculation could cause Netflix to give a 4.25 rating to a film that is so clearly hated by all?


I'm a big Netflix fan, but their ratings system clearly needs some tweaking. I've been a member there for over 2 years. I've rated over 2000 movies and I think I actually have pretty good taste. But they clearly don't know me at all. Gave me a good giggle, though...
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Old 04-13-04, 03:46 PM
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Are the 22 ratings you see only the people that left comments about it? I rate everything, but never leave any comments. Maybe only the people who hated it left comments about it. Not sure if thats how it works or not, but just a thought.

I don't think their recommendations are very sophisticated. If I remember right there is a link by the recommendation to see why it was recommended to you. I think sometimes its as simple as you gave a particular movie 5 stars, and another member gave that same movie 5 stars, and also gave the recommended movie 5 stars. So by association they figure if you both liked the one movie, you must also like this one since the other guy liked it as well. I usually ignore the recommendations.
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Old 04-13-04, 03:51 PM
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To follow up, I just checked my recommendations. On the first page it has Dawson's Creek series being recommended to me. If you click on Dawson's creek, the next page has a link of "Why?" to see why it was recommended. In my case, it was recommended to me because I gave Angel Season 2 a 5-star rating. I don't see what Angel really has to do with Dawson's Creek other than them both being TV Series's.

Actually, going through some of my recommendations, I have tons of TV series's on there. All of them show the reason they are getting recommended is because I gave Angel 5 stars. Moral of the story I guess is never give a tv series 5 stars or they recommend every tv series under the sun.
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Old 04-13-04, 06:49 PM
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It might work similar to Amazon's. If you buy or rate something good at Amazon, it looks at who else also rated or bought the item you picked and sees what else they bought and rated and those things become your recommendations.

It's likely that Dawsons Creek was either highly rented or rated by Angel fans.
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Old 04-13-04, 10:38 PM
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Originally posted by DodgingCars
It's likely that Dawsons Creek was either highly rented or rated by Angel fans.
Are you referring to Angel Baseball fans? If you are, than you need to remember that we just swept your dirty LA team. God I at LA city and those that live there, nastiest place to live in the USA.

Last edited by dvde; 04-14-04 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 04-14-04, 12:34 PM
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Originally posted by dvde
Are you referring to Angel Basebal fans? If you are, than you need to remeber that we just swept your dirty LA team. God I at LA city and those that live there, nastiest place to live in the USA.
Hmmmm... Looks like people in Los Angeles can spell better than those in Newport Beach!

If you're going to make nasty, uncalled-for comments, you should at least make sure your spelling and grammar are correct!
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Old 04-14-04, 03:04 PM
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Originally posted by rich-y
Hmmmm... Looks like people in Los Angeles can spell better than those in Newport Beach!

If you're going to make nasty, uncalled-for comments, you should at least make sure your spelling and grammar are correct!
Sorry sire! I guess I'm illiterate because I had a typing error. Here ya go, B-A-S-E-B-A-L-L and R-E-M-E-M-B-E-R. Did I pass the spelling bee contest? Hope so, because I have plans to tour the world with my 1st grade education.
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Old 04-14-04, 06:42 PM
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After the line "Recommended Based on your Ratings" is a link "Why?" which will show you the movies that you rated which caused this movie to be recommended to you.
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Old 04-15-04, 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by Movie_Man
After the line "Recommended Based on your Ratings" is a link "Why?" which will show you the movies that you rated which caused this movie to be recommended to you.
Ah, and that answers it. Apparently, if you enjoyed Star Trek: The Original Series, you'll think that Specimen is an all-time classic.



That still doesn't explain how Netflix gives this obvious piece of trash 4.25 stars, but at least I know how it got on my recommended list. Wow, the 'logic' of that system really kinda sucks, eh?
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