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

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  • Updated 4 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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Posted 7 years ago

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Dan Dassow, Champion

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A more appropriate algorithm for "Known for" may be closer to:
Most Popular Feature Films With Gene Kelly or
Highest Rated Feature Films With Gene Kelly
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Abhishek Dafria

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Agreed that the alternative links you have provided may provide me with a better set of relevant movies. But the problem with the 'Known For' section still remains which should be sorted out, since that is the section anyone looks at when you visit the page of an actor/actress.
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Abhishek Dafria, I believe we are in violent agreement. [smile]

Whatever algorithm or heuristic that IMDb uses for selecting relevant titles for a person should reflect the general consensus of people familiar with that person's work. However, defining this heuristic such that it works in all cases is not a simple task, especially considering that experts may differ on what those relevant titles should be. Regardless, the current algorithm does produce some counter-intuitive results.
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Abhishek Dafria

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Yeah... I do hope that Imdb team sorts it out soon, coz people check up that section and believe it quite sacrosanctly.
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Abhishek Dafria,

Although I agree with you that the current known for algorithm produces unexpected results, simply stating you want more reasonable results does not help the IMDb technical staff. I had hoped that your suggestion would generate more discussion on what people consider to be meaningful results from known for.

For instance, in the case of Gene Kelly, should the algorithm focus exclusively or primarily on his roles as an actor or should it include his producing and sound track credits?

In the general case, how would you determine what someone is known for? Developing a general algorithm or heuristic that produces reasonable results in the majority of cases is not an easy task, especially when one has to consider the amount of computation involved.

In closing, I hope that people with background in statistical analysis and/or artificial intelligence have some suggestions on how to improve the known for algorithm.
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Abhishek Dafria

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Dan,

I agree with your point. As I do not have a background in computer coding, I personally will not be able to provide a technical solution to this. However, in terms of the algorithm logic, I can suggest one. A performer could be internally tagged on the basis of his / her more popular vocation, say an actor, singer, director etc., thus selecting one in case of multiple vocations. The 'Known For' section could then choose the top rated movies from the list of movies where the actor has contributed as per his / her tagged vocation.

To illustrate, if Gene Kelly is tagged as 'Actor' then his Known For section would include only movies where he featured as an actor and thus eliminate the presence of Leon: The Professional in that list.

This is just one idea which came to me right now. Hopefully, someone else from the Imdb technical team or from those reading this post might be able to provide a better solution. Cheers!
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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This is what I had in mind. One does not require a technical background to suggest rules of thumb (i.e. heuristics).
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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:

http://www.imdb.com/help/show_leaf?kn...

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.
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Ronald Thompson

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Not to be confrontational, just honest but the algorithm is complete bullocks.  It doesn't seem to take into account any of the factors you have listed.  I am an actor with an imdb page and my "known for" includes a student short I submitted just a few weeks ago but filmed 6 years ago.  It has a very low movie meter rating (651,660) no other notable actors, no movie poster, or even list my character. So tell me, why would your algorithm select that over the other WAY more popular and RECENT big name productions I have done like Supernatural, iZombie, Backstrom.  I mean it doesn't even have a picture to represent it for crying out loud.  That should be a bare minimum requirement if there are other credits that do have photos.  Multiple big name, recent, more popular productions with images but your algorithm chose the obscure short from 6 years ago with no image and no popularity. In fact all my "known for's" are the least popular selections of the entire list.  It seems the algorithm is designed to piss people off.  Seriously, wtf???!!!!

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3362522/
(Edited)
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Andrea Bailey Collis

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I am having a similar issue for my daughter's page. Wondering if it is better to see if we can remove the old self done credits... Which may force the system to recognize the more recent, much higher rated productions...

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bluesmanSF, Champion

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The system is not designed to "recognize more recent, much higher rated productions" so it's improper to manipulate that system because you like it that way.

Also, you should not be asking for deletions of data for no other reason. The site is for listing completely and accurately, the information in the credits of film and TV and is not meant to be your resume. It's a page about her...not her page that she owns and controls.

No...it's not appropriate to do as you describe, in any way.
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Andrea Bailey Collis

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Just saying - it makes no sense that some small short (that has little to no ratings and was seen by probably their family and friends only) should be shown in the Known For  section for an actor who has been in 10 other movies / tv shows / web-series - including as Principles in full Features. All of which have much bigger roles and higher star ratings. 

In this case, the page is showing the first three credits entered as the "known for". That should not be the deciding factor of what someone is known for.  Had we known this would happen we would not have entered them. 

Clearly the system is not "re-indexing by itself daily", as this section has stayed the same now for a 1 1/2 years;  There are issues here...


(Edited)
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Vincent, Champion

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I don't know how often the "known for" selections get updated, but I've never seen it claimed that it's done daily. It's done periodically as part of maintenance, but I have no idea how frequent (or infrequent) that is.

The site does have daily updates, but that's not to the entire site, it's small sections at a time. Even minor edits to a credits page can take several weeks to change on the visible pages.
(Edited)
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Giancarlo Cairella,

Thank you for the very articulate response. You provided the details that I simply glossed over.
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james welland

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It seems for many - myself included - that the 'known for' is inaccurate and essentially non functioning. 

If its not possible to correct, is it possible to simply turn of this feature? I understand some redesigned pages for some entrants don't have this feature so seems eminently possible. 


Moreover, if essentially a subjective evaluation perhaps best removed completely anyway. It would certainly be a responsible thing to do.