IMDB and the other side of Collective Knowledge System

I've always used IMDB as a beacon for exploring movies across all genres. It works pretty well, not always though, but until recently, I did not know that the collective knowledge system (CKS), the likes of Wikipedia, Google's projects, Yahoo answers etc. could be a real bitch. Much has already been said about the evils of CKS, the copyright infringement, the lack of solid evidence to back up the facts, the impact of these tools on public judgment. I am totally against all these allegations; the bottom-line is that they are disseminating information, mostly right, to a large audience at no cost. Only in the 21st century is collaboration at such scale, possible. I was reading this post on collective knowledge system that reinstated my belief on the system
While chatting with a friend today, both of us being avid movie fanatics, we discussed NSFC bollywood works of art. The ones by eminent artists like Mithun da, Raj Kumar, Dharamji. Despite me expressing severe aversion & lack of appreciation for pre renaissance bollywood flicks, he asked me to try out this trailer.
It was the most innovative script writing I have ever encountered. There were several others in comparison, some other forms of print media that we were unwillingly exposed to by our school seniors. I must confess all of those fail in comparison to these dialogues. Every character is a remarkable representation of his name, their parent's vision of their future, is a first rate example of clairvoyance. Or are they victims of a paralyzed society. Whatever the characters are, they are certainly hilarious!
After the video, I thought it isn't possible to have GUNDA on IMDB. Turns out, I was wrong. Not only is GUNDA on IMDB but it has a rating of 8.1 & this 1998 movie has been down in popularity by only 1% this week!
Others in this prestigious category are Trainspotting, Ed Wood, Groundhog Day, Toy Story, Letter from Iwo Jima (you get the drift right…)
This rating forces me to rethink my stand on the emergence of Collective Knowledge Systems. For a typical movie fan, the best option for watching good movies is browsing through the top movies on IMDB/Rotten tomatoes & renting or downloading them (legally or illegally that's a different topic). It's the users who give ratings on IMDB and a typical Bayesian estimate gives us our top ratings.
weighted rating (WR) = (v ÷ (v+m)) × R + (m ÷ (v+m)) × C
  • R = average for the movie (mean) = (Rating)
  • v = number of votes for the movie = (votes)
  • m = minimum votes required to be listed in the Top 250 (currently 3000)
  • C = the mean vote across the whole report (currently 6.9)
Despite the math, seemingly convincing statistics, user collaboration & monitoring, the conclusion is nothing less than mind bending!
One of us can be wrong, some of us can be wrong, but can most of us be wrong! If so many of us can be wrong about a minor thing such as movie rating, then is it wise to build a collaboration infrastructure and replace the traditional methodologies with new ones; When the new has not proven to do anything so significant that the old needs to be supplanted immediately!
To paraphrase a quote from Men in Black "Fifteen hundred years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew that the Earth was flat. And fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow."
I am not afraid to know what happens tomorrow, but I am curious to understand what impact this has on our experience with relatively mundane actions like watching movies, shopping, social news, blogs, & music references.
Where is the place for professional reviewers, critics, and content creators in WORLD 2.0? Shouldn't their views be given a higher weightage in Bayesian estimate? This estimate to be followed rigorously all across the internet. Would this impede Internet's progress or amplify it?
How do we dissect & digest the truth when the criterion for judgment is being clouded by such a rapid generation of content?
I don't have any answers as of now, but I hope that WE do.







TheQuark said…
Well Devesh going blindly by IMDB rating or for that matter any thing said by experts or a crowd should not prevent you from experiencing the world. They are not accurate and might even force you to think what is accuracy. I think one should use them with a pinch of salt and most importantly not to take the crutches of what other people/expert think and go just by that. Once in a while we should experiment
DEVESH said…
Yeah! that's exactly what i am trying. Hard to explain to others, recently a friend said "Why watch serious movies at all?" I had no answer!
TheQuark said…
nice. Actually recently a revelation came to me when pondering on cinema esp popular Hindi cinema. One can classify every kind of cinema as art, commercial, serious, bheja-ghar-pe-rakh-ke-ao (Govinda) types but such taxonomy serve little purpose. They are there more to communicate what did they meant to you. But I found different kind of movies, cinema mean different to different people.

People get their lost ones in a span of 3 hours, the victim gets justice, the loser gets the girl so cinema can be catharsis for few. It can mean a way of life, a way to behave, to love or engage socially for example the friendship bands in Kuchh kuchh hota hai was a rage! A couple might find a romantic retreat in Yashraj's movies. Action packed adrenaline rush got be obtained in the latest Hollywood thriller. College grads might get nostalgic viewing 3 idiots or aam junta may find hope for a better system by Gandhigiri in Munnabhai-II. So when people mock at a popular a flick:
* having dearth of intellectual content
* lacking reality (mind you not realism)
* being serious
* or some other judgement

I just move on because some times I crib too and later realize my mistake.

This might be a relativist stance but what I do not like is pretentious cinema where overtly you say something but covertly you are saying something else. Or you are just copying something Or your cinema fail to engage the audience

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