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Monday, November 28th, 2022 5:46 PM

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For title searches, is IMDb describing "Popularity Ascending" and "Popularity Descending" correctly?

Take a look at these searches: 

Feature Film (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=feature

Feature Film (Sorted by Popularity Descending)

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=feature&sort=moviemeter,desc

The first link purports to show all feature films (500,762 at last count) sorted by popularity, in "Ascending" order.

The second link purports to show the opposite: all feature films sorted by popularity in "Descending" order.

Shouldn't the "Ascending" and "Descending" labels be opposite of how they are described?

If a list of films proceeds in "ascending" order, the word "ascending" means it starts with the least popular film and ascends to the most popular. Right?

Take, for example, the same search sorted by number of votes in "Descending" order:

Feature Film (Sorted by Number of Votes Descending)

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=feature&sort=num_votes,desc

The Shawshank Redemption has the most votes, so it is listed first in that "Descending" list.

Shouldn't a list with the most popular film at the top also be described as presented in "Descending" order?

Even IMDB's keyword searches seem to describe "Most Popular" and "Least Popular" in exactly the opposite way the title searches describe "Ascending" and "Descending" popularity. 

Sort by Popularity - Most Popular Movies and TV Shows tagged with keyword "action-hero"

https://www.imdb.com/search/keyword/?keywords=action-hero

Sort by Popularity - Least Popular Movies and TV Shows tagged with keyword "action-hero"

https://www.imdb.com/search/keyword/?keywords=action-hero&sort=moviemeter,desc&mode=detail&page=1

Seems like the words "Ascending" and "Descending" in IMDb's title search results need to be flipped. Or am I missing something?

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2 months ago

Yes, the phrasing "popularity" is counter intuitive, as the scale really refers to the raw score of non-duplicated page hits or mean of indirect values to that effect, rather than the priority-like ranking.

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@jeorj_euler​  But am I correct that "Ascending" and "Descending" are mislabeled in these search results? That is my question.

The raw components of "Popularity" are possibly relevant, but that isn't my ultimate question. 

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Well, the way I'm expressed it is mixed up apparently, even though I understand the ordering of the items. So, as we know, a priority placement is represented by a low number, "#1" or "1st place" representing the highest "rank", but the sorting algorithm doesn't know that. Hence, "1; 2; 3; 4; 5; ..." is ascending, whereas "500,762; 500,761; 500,760; 500,759; 500,758; ..." is descending. I suspect that part of the motivation for this data acquisition-presentation scheme is so that the search results don't reveal the actual MOVIEmeter of the items. I'm wiling to bet the IMDb site authorities are going to blame the problem on limitations of the "over 12 years old" platform, even though the semantic/perceptual problem should've been fixed before the system was launched in the first place.

Champion

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2 months ago

Like you can have a countdown to find out what's at the top, it's a question of how you look at it.

It would be simpler to use "Most Popular" and "Least Popular" everywhere.

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@Peter_pbn​ 

This isn't a countdown, though.

And even if it were, I think even a countdown that starts with the least popular item on the list and ultimately ends with the most popular item would be described as presented in "ascending" order.

Plus, we have other types of searches that can be done in the very same place that treat "Ascending" as starting with a quantitative number at the lowest and "ascend" to the highest number.

Take the number of votes, for example:

Feature Film (Sorted by Number of Votes Descending)

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=feature&sort=num_votes,desc

If the system treats the number of votes by descending from the title with the highest number of votes, why wouldn't it do the same with popularity (i.e., descend from the title with the most popularity)?

(edited)

Champion

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I assume it's because the numbers in this case are the chart placements in IMDb's Moviemeter.

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@Peter_pbn

That makes a lot of sense. I think you're right. 

I look forward to IMDb staff weighing in on whether and how this should be fixed. 

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@keyword_expert​  Yes, @Peter_pbn is correct -- this is a sort by the MOVIEmeter rank where #1 is the most popular and the ascending / descending sort refers to how the titles are sorted by rank so it is indeed confusing, sorry.  Originally the sort was labelled as a MOVIEmeter sort, but then people asked what that term meant so it was renamed to popularity, which introduced a different confusion.  It is something we can bear in mind when we switch the advanced title search to the new technology.  

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I'd been wondering about this for a long time, and I've leaned toward assuming that the IMDb site authorities never really had a plan to sort out any confusion arising from the way the outward semantics play out. So, the bit about MOVIEmeter, STARmeter and even COMPANYmeter plays right into the having one word to describe all three, such as "popularity", but the way the word is used reflects negated placement or the reciprocal of placement instead.

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2 months ago

@Col_Needham @Peter_pbn @jeorj_euler 

Here is a related issue with title searches sorted by popularity. I decided to post within this same thread which provides the overall context of these types of searches, rather than start a new thread devoid of that context.

When one does a title search and sorts by popularity, it appears that individual TV episodes are always placed last, regardless of whether you sort by "Popularity Descending" or "Popularity Ascending."

I will illustrate that with these two searches, which do not have that many titles just to illustrate the point clearly.

This is a search for the keyword "reference-to-d.b.-cooper," first sorted by Popularity Ascending, and then by Popularity Descending.

Reference to d.b.-cooper (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?keywords=reference%20to%20d.b.-cooper

Reference to d.b.-cooper (Sorted by Popularity Descending)

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?keywords=reference%20to%20d.b.-cooper&sort=moviemeter,desc

In both of these sets of search results, the feature films are placed first and the individual TV episodes are placed last. 

And it's not just limited to this particular search. I see the same thing in all title searches sorted by popularity.

It is logical for TV episodes to be placed last (after TV series and feature films) when we're talking about which titles are less popular (or in the parlance of IMDb data, which titles are ranked lower on the Moviemeter). 

But when we flip the order of the search, intending to display the same exact results but from the opposite direction (i.e., a search to list the least popular titles first), why are TV episodes still placed last in the results?

(edited)

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@keyword_expert​ 

IMDb generally seems to be unable to rank episodes by popularity, so I agree that this causes a problem for any search feature that is based on popularity.

Popularity of episodes

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@Peter_pbn​ 

I'm glad I am not the only one who noticed this problem.

I have just added "reference-to-d.b.-cooper" to about 80+ titles, so those prior search links I gave out are no longer the best example searches to illustrate the problem (or at the very least no longer the simplest searches).

Here are two additional searches with currently less than 50 titles:

Reference to buffalo-bill (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?keywords=reference%20to%20buffalo-bill

Reference to buffalo-bill (Sorted by Popularity Descending)

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?keywords=reference%20to%20buffalo-bill&sort=moviemeter,desc

(edited)

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I did a slightly deeper dive into some of these search results, and here is what I realized:

1. Popularity searches do sort movies and series by popularity. 

2.   For searches sorted by "Most Popular" results first, results are listed in the following order:

         (a) Everything except episodes is listed first. This includes feature films, video movies, TV movies, video games, music videos, etc. They all appear to be correctly sorted by popularity. 

          (b) All episodes are then listed second. These are not sorted correctly by popularity. The order appears to be random. 

3. When you sort results with "Least Popular" first, there are two additional problems:

        (a) The ordering for "Least Popular" lists all movies and series first, before episodes (even though movies and series are not "less popular" than episodes).  

         (b) For episodes, the ordering for episodes (TV and podcast) is in the exact same (somewhat random) order for "Least Popular" searches as for "Most Popular" searches. Since these two searches are supposed to be opposites of each other, the ordering of the results should be the opposite as well. 

(edited)