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Topic: That Similarity Index is All Wet!

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Subject: That Similarity Index is All Wet!
Date Posted: 9/11/2009 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 262
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The Similarity Index is totally NOT accurate and not even close to being a useful tool.  I have seen ratings of 34% or higher when I visit a member's bookshelf.  If it's a pretty high number, I take the time to read all the listings of books they have.  More than 80% of the time, the books are not at all even close to what interests me!  It is said that the similarity is picked up by your reviews of books...?  But who decides?  Is it a computer match?  Couldn't we edit it for ourselves?  I'd sure like to see better accuracy demonstrated so searching for books or buddies or whatever could be productive.  How can we get this changed?  Looking forward to your insights!        :)    D. 

 

ETA:  Similarity to another member is a subjective area.  We should to be able to adjust it if we don't think we have any similarity (or have a lot) w/ a particular member.  Does any one else use this as a tool? 



Last Edited on: 9/11/09 11:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/11/2009 11:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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I believe the similarity index is based on many different things--it compares books that you both have wishlisted, books that you have both ordered in the past, the ratings and reviews you give to books. What's on someone's bookshelf really doesn't mean anything...I have a lot of books on my shelf that I've never even read nor am I interested in them. They come from various family members, friends of the library sales, etc....so really, you can't judge a person's taste by what's on their shelf. Their wishlist might be a better match, but even then sometimes people will wishlist things for family members or friends.

Cheryl



Last Edited on: 9/11/09 11:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/11/2009 11:21 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Cheryl is on the money - this is from the help docs :D

Introduced August, 2008.

The Similarity Index shows how "alike" you and your Buddy are.  it is determined based on the information you provide to the club through your participation.  So when you apply star ratings to a book, add an item to your Wish List, or tell us what your favorite genres are, we're more able to come up with a profile of you as a reader.  And as others do the same, we can start matching up people who have similar tastes and habits.

Right now, the Similarity Index is visible only on your Buddy List and on another member's Profile, but we do anticipate expanding this in many fun ways in the future. 

To check your Similarity to a Buddy, go to your Buddy List (in the menu under My Account at the top of any page on the site, or from the Buddy List tab on the My Account main page).  You will see a notation --  Similarity: xx% -- to the right of each Buddy's name.    The range of similarity is from 0% to 100%. 

Right now, most scores will be seem low.  This is because the Similarity Index is based on some club features that are still pretty young or under-used.  You can make your Similarity Index more powerful and accurate by applying Star ratings to every book you have read, and also choosing your favorite genres on the Member Homepage.   

When you find a highly similar Buddy, you can

  • check her bookshelf for books she has that you might be interested in
  • check her Wish list for books she is interested in that you may want to Wish List too
  • revel in the glorious feeling of not being alone...you are not the only one with your weirdo taste in books! :)

This is a fun feature whose results may surprise you!
 

ETA:   This is way it may be way off - many member do not rate books.  I think the only time you are forced into rating a book is if you plan on writing a review.  I also have alot on my bookshelf that I have never read, though I am trying different genres --keeping a open mind...so it isn't a accurate profile of my tastes and nor is my WL. 



Last Edited on: 9/11/09 11:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/11/2009 11:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 262
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I agree about the bookshelf, Cheryl - there are lots on mine that I haven't read, either.  I should have said "WL", because what someone is wishing for is a pretty good hint of what they like.  If all of them are sci-fi, or romance, etc. then you can pretty much reason that they like those genres the most, even if some are meant for other family members or friends.    D.

Date Posted: 9/11/2009 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 262
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The Similarity Index shows how "alike" you and your Buddy are.

You can make your Similarity Index more powerful and accurate by applying Star ratings to every book you have read, and also choosing your favorite genres on the Member Homepage.

 

You now have to apply a star rating to a book before you can move it to the BIR list.  And when my genres are so completely different from some of the lists that have a higher rating of, say, 45%, yet they are not anywhere close to what I would read, it is unfortunate that we could not change it for ourselves.  Some I would put down to maybe 10%, and others raise some more.  Most of the time, we are not at all alike.   Wonder if they will make editing an option some day? 



Last Edited on: 9/11/09 11:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/11/2009 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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gardngal - I would suggest it to PBS - maybe it is on the list of improvements they have planned-- you never know. 
 
My WL isn't a reflection of my tastes either because I have books friends want, family and then me!   I use goodreads and library thing to track my BIR so I dont use the lists traditionally.  It is good to know that you have to rate a book before you can move it into your BIR list - I did not know.  I know when I have written a few reviews I encountered the book ratings. Otherwise I really don't pay attention.   The funny thing is most of my buddies are mostly paranormal which I never was into  that much....and slowly now I am being sucked into the genre!  LOL   
Date Posted: 9/12/2009 7:29 AM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2009
Posts: 177
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I also think the similarity index is wacky.  I don't have a single romance novel on any of my lists--in fact, the romance genre is one that I've chosen to always exclude on book browser.  However, the SI frequently gives me a 40% or higher match with members whose lists are mostly romance!  It seems to me the only similarity is that we are both middle-aged females.

Date Posted: 9/12/2009 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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I never take the exact number to heart, I look at it relative to other members. I have no one on my buddy list less than 40%( once in a while when they tweek it that number moves down to the low 30%), one person is something 136% on mine. I DO see higher value on people who have a lot of match up in genre selection and Wish Lists so I  look at it that if some is over 45%, they probably have similar shelves and WLs as I.

 I also have alot on my bookshelf that I have never read, though I am trying different genres --keeping a open mind...so it isn't a accurate profile of my tastes and nor is my WL.  The similarity index is more of a rating on your PBS "image" than your real tastes. There's no way for the site to know if it isn't reflected in your activity here and to try to code it customizable by every member would probably be more work than I think they'd want to do on one of the little extras.

Date Posted: 9/12/2009 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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It may not be all that accurate, but I put it in that category with the Little White Truck- a fun feature.   Not all that many members come close to being "similar" to me, so when there is someone over 50%  I'm interested.  I check out their shelves and WL.   I find lots of new titles and authors this way - not that I need any more.  ;D   But I also read the profiles of people who are lower similar percentage and when they mention genres that I'm into I check them out as well.  I find many people more similar than the index implies.   It's just fun.  Something to do when I'm "wasting time" - which I really shouldn't do.

Ruth

Date Posted: 9/13/2009 1:17 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 262
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The similarity index is more of a rating on your PBS "image" than your real tastes. There's no way for the site to know if it isn't reflected in your activity here and to try to code it customizable by every member would probably be more work than I think they'd want to do on one of the little extras.

Exactly!  Which is why it would be neat if we could tweak it to more accurately reflect our own selves/tastes.  Perhaps I will submit it to TPTB.  Like Ruth said, it IS a fun little feature, but were it more accurate, it would be more valuable to me to use.  (I've never seen one as high as 50% - maybe I'm too weird or something...LOL)     :)   D.

Date Posted: 9/13/2009 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 4/8/2008
Posts: 111
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Gardngal - when I checked it said I was a 50% similarity to you. :)

Date Posted: 9/13/2009 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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  (I've never seen one as high as 50% - maybe I'm too weird or something...LOL)   maybe just not weird enough:P I have quite a few over 50% on my buddy list, but most of those are there because we play in the Games Forum together or I added them because a lot of my TBR books were on their WL so its a given that a lot of the same books pass through us and increase the index.

Date Posted: 9/14/2009 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2009
Posts: 262
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Super, Cora!  I'm goiing to check your shelves out!   :)   D.

 

ETA:  I don't play any games, Melanie, but will keep an eye on your shelf, too.



Last Edited on: 9/14/09 2:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1