MSebring's profile

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Monday, December 26th, 2022 2:42 PM

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Sort by IMDb Rating feature has recently changed

The sort criteria for the "Sort by: IMDb Rating" feature used to sort Title lists has recently been changed.
It used to do a more refined sort so that titles with same generic rating (e.g. 8.0) were sorted by a more specific rating,

making it possible to see which titles with the same generic rating were rated higher.

Now, instead, it appears to be sorting using three simple sort fields: the generic rating, the year the title was released,

and the title (alphabetical).
I have been using this feature for a long time to choose movies to watch or to buy, but it is now far less useful.
If you have a lot of titles on a list with the same generic rating (e.g. 8.0), it is no longer possible to see which of those
titles is rated higher than the others.

Accepted Solution

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1 year ago

@MSebring  The sort has now been updated.  The secondary sort order in the event of a tie on user rating is now title popularity. 

To add support for extra precision in the ratings in future, feel free to vote and/or comment on this idea thread.

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@Col_Needham​ Thank You.

(I went to the other thread and voted for that enhancement.)

(edited)

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@Col_Needham​ 

A problem with popularity as a sort order is that you still seem to be unable to sort TV episodes by popularity.

Whether you choose popularity or user rating, these titles are sorted by title number:

https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?title_type=tv_episode&release_date=2023-01-01,&user_rating=9.7&sort=user_rating,desc

Personally, I would think number of ratings would make the most sense as a tiebreaker for user ratings.

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1 year ago

@MSebring  Thanks for the problem report.  Please can you give a few examples (with URLs of the affected pages) so the appropriate team can investigate. 

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1 year ago

You can see the same result in any Titles list, but you can use one of mine as an example:
https://www.imdb.com/list/ls020846370

Go to the "Sort by" option and choose "IMDb Rating". (I do this on a Windows PC.)

Before: All of the titles on the list were sorted by their specific rating on IMDb.
(Not just by their generic rating. It was a more refined sort.)
Now:  Each group of titles with the same generic rating (e.g. 9.0) is sorted by year and title.
For example: "The Godfather Part II" (1974) used to appear before "12 Angry Men" (1957).
Now it comes after because all of the titles with a rating of 9.0 are sorted by year.

I believe this change was made 2 or 3 weeks ago.

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@MSebring​ 

I see what you say about sorting by year within the average rating, but not by the title.

Look under the 8.6 ratings, where 2 films appear from 1991:

25. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

26. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Based on this example, the ratings descend, the years ascend, and the titles descend?

Same in the 8.5s:

50. The Lion King (1994)

51. Léon: The Professional (1994)

But in the 8.4s:

64. Paths of Glory (1957)

65. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

and here the year doesn't stay together:

85. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

86. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

87. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

88. Joker (I) (2019)

???

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You're right. It appears that I was mistaken about the title being a third sort field.
Within each year, they appear to be sorted randomly. (At least I don't see a pattern.)

And as you point out, there are a few other anomalies (cases where the year sequence
isn't quite right). As a general rule though, it appears that each generic rating is now
sorted by year.

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1 year ago

There are a few anomalies that I am unable to explain:
"The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring" (2001) appears ahead of "Fight Club" (1999)
in the 8.8 group.
"The Green Mile" (1999) appears ahead of "Saving Private Ryan" (1998) in the 8.6 group.
Generally though, it appears that each group with the same generic rating is now sorted by year.

If possible, I would like to see the old sort criteria reinstated.
If I have a list which contains a large number of movies with a generic rating of 7.5, I would like
to see the higher rated ones toward the top and the lower rated ones toward the bottom.

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1 year ago

I have a hypothesis that I believe explains the anomalies.

I believe that the second sort field is the title number (in the URL) assigned when the page is created.
In most cases the title number sequence and the release year sequence are the same, but sometimes
a page is created for a movie in a year prior to its release.

tt0120737  LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring    8.8 2001

tt0137523  Fight Club                                        8.8 1999


tt0120689  The Green Mile                                8.6 1999
tt0120815  Saving Private Ryan                         8.6 1998

tt4154796  Avengers: Endgame                         8.4 2019
tt4633694  Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse  8.4 2018

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1 year ago

@MSebring  Thanks for providing the details.  We have opened a ticket with the appropriate team (ticket reference #P78126756). 

(edited)

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1 year ago

I would like to add one more clarification.
When I said that previously they did a more refined sort using a more specific
rating than the generic rating displayed on the IMDB page, what I meant was:
Prior to the change, they sorted the average rating using more than one digit
to the right of the decimal point.

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@MSebring​  Thanks, however, no such extra precision beyond one decimal place exists in the IMDb ratings (there's a thread from 2016 which mistakenly assumed the same thng).  The back-end search has been updated and titles are indeed displayed in a different order, but the old order was not a secret extra level of precision.  We are looking at making the new secondary order a little more clear and explainable. 

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Since the previous sort sequence used to change gradually over time I mistakenly assumed 
that they were sorting the rating with greater precision (more than one digit to the right of

the decimal point). Now that I've read that other thread it appears that what has actually

happened is they've changed the secondary sort field from popularity to the title number
from the URL (a sequence which is usually the same as release year sequence).

It would be preferable if they could sort the average rating with greater precision, but

if that's not possible, it would be nice if they could change the secondary sort field back
to popularity since (like the rating) that at least has something to do with preference,

while the new secondary sort field does not.

(edited)

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Some additional information: The other thread referred to has to do with results lists
returned by Advanced Title Searches while the problem I reported has to do with User

Created Lists, but I am assuming (because of what I read in that thread) that in both
cases, when sorted by IMDB rating, the secondary sort field used to be popularity.

I just did an Advanced Title Search and sorted the results list by User rating,

and it appears that the secondary sort field for that list has also been changed

to what appears to be the title number, but the sequence is the opposite of 
the User Created Lists (descending instead of ascending).

Advanced Search Results List  (sort=user_rating)
The Dark Knight                 2008  9.0
LOTR: Return Of The King  2003  9.0
Schindler's List                   1993  9.0
The Godfather, Part II        1974  9.0
12 Angry Men                    1957  9.0

My User Created List  (sort=user_rating)

12 Angry Men                    1957  9.0

The Godfather, Part II        1974  9.0

Schindler's List                   1993  9.0

LOTR: Return Of The King  2003  9.0
The Dark Knight                 2008  9.0

(edited)

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@Col_Needham​ 

When you decide on the method, and publish the explanation, could you include whether a rating displayed as 6.8 reflects titles with ratings 6.80 through 6.899..., or instead ratings 6.75 through 6.849..., in other words, whether the 2nd digit is truncated or rounded. 

One sentence (by a user) in the thread from 2016 you linked above assumed the rating was truncated after the 1st decimal place: "As an example, titles with 8.29 should be sorted higher than those with 8.21."

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@bderoes​ Ah, we can answer that now -- the ratings are rounded. 

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@Col_Needham​ 

Glad to hear it.

I'd like to register my support of expanding the sort to more decimal places. 

Frankly, I'd love to rate titles with more precision myself, at least with +/-/neither added to the number 1-10.

Thanks for the clarification, and please include it whatever official explanation will be on the Help center.

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1 year ago

I would like to reiterate some things.
The whole point of sorting a titles list by IMDB rating is to end up with a ranked list
from the title considered best to the title considered worst. Though the IMDB rating

isn't perfect, it's the best gauge that we have available (and it would be even more
useful if the average rating could be sorted using more than one digit to the right
of the decimal point). Using popularity as a second sort field is a mediocre substitute
for sorting the average rating with more precision, but at least it is better than the
new secondary sort field which has nothing to do with preference at all. What we 
end up with now is a list containing groups with the same general rating, with each
group sorted arbitrarily in a sequence that isn't helpful to anyone.

(edited)