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this post is actually about netflix ratings

So statisticians and other pedantic* jerks like to say things like:

“More than 85% of people think they are above average looking! LOL wtf omg ponies”

Suggesting that people don’t get what average means, and also that ponies are magnificent creatures. They are half correct – a purebread pony is most magnificent. However, the question itself seems to assume one could systematically and objectively rank people on some proverbial list such that there is an average “look” quality for human beings. It seems to ignore the fact that, perhaps, people are drawn to characteristics similar to their own and, thus, are biased towards finding themselves attractive.

Anyway, as the title says, this whole thing is about netflix in reality so the above was just my attempt to seem clever based on the pony remark.

A few weeks ago a blog on Netflix pointed out that the average review on Netflix was, well, above average. It’s about 3.5 stars. This is slightly above 3, which is in the middle and is thus the median ranking. They suggest that this suggests that people are bad rankers and have misaligned rating judgment because the average movie should have an average ranking.

This is dumb.

First off, people are more likely to see (and thus, be able to rank) movies they enjoy. Obviously this would bias things towards the positive scale alone.

Second of all, aside from “Snakes on a Plane,” studios attempt to make movies that are good. Okay, yeah, they fail miserably and squeak out an “Envy” or “The Day After Tomorrow” or heaven forbid “Babel,” which was pure trash. But in general, if a movie gets a budget and is made, it’s more likely than not to be at least watchable to a main-stream audience. Thus even more of a bias towards a positive ranking.

Anyway, just felt like sharing. If you see a statistician, kick him in the knee(s) for me.

* – I’m pedantic but not a jerk about it. Unless it’s something important.
** – There are some people that do not know how to rank movies and should not be allowed to do so. One such person is Aarthy, who ranks how pretty the cover is.

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One Comment

  1. You didn’t like Snakes on a Plane?

    How can you not like Snakes on a Plane?

    I mean, I can see, *not seeing* Snakes on a Plane.

    But if you saw Snakes on a Plane, it means you went a movie about Snakes on a Plane, and saw a movie about Snakes on a Plane. Talk about truth in advertising.

    Besides, adding Samuel Jackson yelling to anything makes it better. Sorta like bacon. Samuel Jackson is the bacon of movie stars.

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