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Sunday, 13 September 2015

IMDb's aggregate Star Ratings For Movies & TV Shows Are Not An Indication Of How You Feel & Think About Them

Above: IMDb aggregate user rating and Amazon customer star rating for 'Dangerous Minds' 

For as long as IMDb exists, the debate over their algorithm aggregate scoring system allocated to movies and TV programmes will rage on. 

When I was regular poster on the website with my user reviews and ratings of 8s and 9s for movies and TV shows, I wondered to myself, how come they still get overall scores of 6 or less. Their formula in calculating the scores and coming up with them doesn't make sense to me. The more I thought about this, the more I disliked the IMDb ratings system. 

In June of this year, Amazon's new customer review system for movies and DVDs in particular was (re)launched that the company says will make customer reviews more useful. This rating system uses machine learning to determine which reviews are more helpful and relevant. By changing the system, it should help weed out the fake reviews, as well as reviews that aren't so useful and relevant. I actually like the Amazon scoring system way more than the IMDb system, because to me, it's how I wished IMDb ratings system was like. Yes there are a few unreliable and irrelevant comments posted, but other than this, the scoring method is more credible and believable to me.

A movie or show that receives 6 out of 10 is considered average - it's by no means good, but neither is it terrible. If you get 6/10 on your report card or in a test however, you'd probably feel disappointed. On IMDb, 6 out of 10 is seen as not very good, at all. 

IMDb, as well as Rotten Tomatoes scores are based on averages - but they don't tell the full story. Most - if not all of the scores are over-exaggerated or under-exaggerated, depending on the movie itself. Seeing one of the criteria for a movie or show is to have a minimum of 30,000 ratings to be in the top 250, is just saying 'yeah that movie is good, but not good enough'. 

They also treat reviews with no stars a star rating of zero. So yes, I would say their system is flawed and open to abuse.

Because the IMDb user base population is predominately mainstream, when an art film, indie movie or a movie that isn't as well-known and critically received by the movie press receives a low score of 5 or under, it appears as though a lot of people, well people who see that low score, feel inclined to jump on that bandwagon of hate. 

Sometimes and in IMDb users cases, it's better to ignore it; just like with professional movie critics and low box office takings when it comes to low ticket sales, a low IMDb score doesn't mean it is necessarily awful, nor should it cloud your own judgement and opinion. Because your opinion counts more than what millions of other people say and think - if you like it when most people hate that movie or show, then you like it. You shouldn't care and matter what their opinions are. 

Before you make a judgement on something, you need to examine the thing first before you jump into conclusions. Just because someone says it's terrible or awful, does it mean that I have to go along with it? Unless I have seen it and disliked it, then yes, I'd agree with them. 

Critics do not get the choice of what movies to see and watch, whereas us movie watchers do get the choice of what ones to see and watch. 

When I rate something, I rate it according to how I feel about the movie or TV show after watching it. I watch it, then decide whether or not I enjoyed it and would I watch it again. 

It is all about personal taste and preference, and we all have different tastes when it comes to movies and TV programmes. Using averages as scores, like IMDb does, has no real significance and bearing on your tastes and preferences.  

I've seen movies and TV shows that have received scores of 6 or lower - and yet I still enjoy them, whilst I've also seen movies and shows that received scores of 8 or more - and I didn't find them enjoyable for whatever reason. Yet I go on Amazon, type in the name of the actor or actress and find their list of works on DVD comes up with the customer star ratings - and in most cases, the ratings tend to be much higher, as well as comments are more positive when s/he enjoys that movie, than that on IMDb. 

Film is art yes, but also I'd like to be entertained, to laugh, smile, have fun and relax. Just because a movie has these things, does it imply that I have to dislike it? No, of course not. 

As IMDb is held to a much higher regard to that of Amazon, I would proceed with caution, as well as to keep an open mind and not discount a movie entirely, just because a number of people say it is terrible or unwatchable, and that the score implies it is terrible. Especially movies with a score of 6 or below. 

All reviews - no matter their medium- are all arbitrary and subjective. There is is no right way and there is also no wrong way, either. It's how you communicate and convey your feelings and comments, more so than to agree with professional critics. And that is how they ought to be.  

And I hate to say this.... but if you base all your movie choices and preferences, just on the IMDb star ratings system and the ratings given to those movies and shows, then well quite frankly, my dear, you need to think again. 

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