Issues on 'Known For' section on individual performer's page

  • 6
  • Problem
  • Updated 5 years ago
  • Not a Problem
Please note that the algorithm for providing 'Known For' listings on an actor's page seems to be lacking in details. For example, the page on Gene Kelly shows him to be 'Known For' Leon: The Professional, even though he is listed in the Soundtrack category of the movie for some mundane reason. The 'Known For' category should highlight the movies where the performer has played an important role. I have noticed this error in pages of some other actors too. Hope that the Imdb team looks into this matter and uses a different approach to make this section more meaningful.
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Abhishek Dafria

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  • 1 Reply Like

Posted 7 years ago

  • 6
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Giancarlo Cairella, Official Rep

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Official Response
The 'Known For' mechanism is automated. For a general overview, see:

Although our staff periodically reviews and improves the way this data is calculated, it's inevitable that there will be situations where the selection will not be as good as if the titles had been picked one by one by a human. And even in that case, there would be a lot of room for debate.

Please keep in mind that the concept of 'titles that a person is known for' itself is highly subjective.

To some, Gene Kelly is best known as the star of Singin' in the Rain (1952) ; to others, he's the old guy rollerskating with Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu (1980). Older audiences may identify Laurence Olivier from his starring roles in Rebecca (1940) role as Hamlet (1948) or Richard III (1955) but, to quote Joan Plowright's amusing cameo at the beginning of Last Action Hero (1993), younger audiences may remember him only from his "Polaroid commercials or as Zeus in Clash of the Titans"

Our system takes into consideration a number of different factors (including the popularity of individual titles and the role/contribution of that person to each of them) and tries to come up with the best selection of representative titles.

Soundtrack credits are particularly hard to assess, especially when someone has a lot of them in their filmography (and Gene Kelly has been credited more often as a singer than an actor, thanks to the popularity of songs like "Singin' in the Rain" and its frequent use in other films like A Clockwork Orange (1971)).

When someone has a lot of music/soundtrack credits, it's only natural to assume that his primary/best known work is as a singer/musician, so it's not absurd to include these credits among his best known entries.

If you, or anyone else, have concrete examples where the known for algorithm produces truly bizarre results, we'd love to hear about them because we can use them to improve the quality of the system (keeping in mind that these improvements are made as part of regularly-scheduled maintenance, not every time an anomaly or less-than-perfect example comes up).

Also note that the known for titles are recalculated periodically and therefore change frequently. Since the popularity of individual films or roles on a person filmography changes all the time, those entries are also constantly updated. So, something like the 'Leon' credit you have singled out on Gene Kelly page may disappear next week and/or come back the following week, depending on the changing popularity of that credit and of all the other credits in Gene Kelly's filmography.