by    in Data Science, prediction, Rankings

Cognitive Models for the Intelligent Aggregation of Lists

Ranker is constantly working to improve our crowdsourced list algorithms, in order to surface the best possible answers to the questions on our site.  As part of this effort, we work with leading academics who research the “wisdom of crowds”, and below is a poster we recently presented at the annual meeting for the Association for Psychological Science (led by Ravi Selker at the University of Amsterdam and in collaboration with Michael Lee from the University of California-Irvine).

While the math behind the aggregation model may be complex (a paper describing it in detail will hopefully be published shortly), the principle being demonstrated is relatively simple.  Specifically, aggregating lists using models that take into account the inferred expertise of the list maker outperform simple averages, when compared to real-world ground truths (e.g. box office revenue).  While Ranker’s algorithms for determining our crowdsourced rankings may be similarly complex, they are similarly designed to produce the best answers possible.

 

cognitive_model_aggregating_lists

 

– Ravi Iyer

by    in Trends

Synchronized Diving with Bain and Bill Murray

Just kidding, but have you guys seen The Dark Knight Rises yet? No spoilers, promise, but here are a few of the best TDKR movie quotes to get you jazzed. In other news, it’s 1.1 million degrees outside here in sunny Southern California, and we’re thinking about trying a few of these delicious summer cocktails to beat the heat. Vote to let us know which are your faves, or click Re-Rank to personalize your own list.

And as long as you’re in a voting mood, we’re looking for Ranker fans to fill out a brief survey for us. We’ll pick 20 participants and award them each a $5 Amazon gift card as a thank you. So get on in there!

Here are a few other awesome and interesting lists the Ranker Community has been upvoting this month…

The Best Summer Olympic Games Events

The 2012 Olympics in London are upon us. Opening ceremonies begin this Friday, July 27th, at 20:12 (get it?) BST. What do you most love to watch? Basketball? Synchronized Swimming? Equestrian Dressage? Hold on… that’s a real thing?

The Most Outrageous Emmy Snubs of All Time

The annual nominations were announced last week, replete with a fresh batch of 2012 Emmy snubs. This list looks at the 50+ year history of the prestigious TV award and all the deserving actors, writers, and best boys who were never given one of those lovely statuettes of a woman catching a beach ball and being struck by lightning at the same time.

The Coolest Employers in Tech

Now that the economy is booming again [citation needed], tech geeks across the country are out securing for dream jobs at amazing companies. These big players look out for their workers, whether by offering stock options, sand volleyball courts, or, simply, a pleasant and stimulating work environment. Where would you like to spend most of your waking hours?

The 50 Greatest Discontinued ’90s Foods and Beverages

Nostalgia, thy name is hunger. The 1990s saw the rise and fall of some of the most delicious, innovative, and ridiculous snacks and drinks to ever be advertised during Nicktoons. From Shark Bites to Crystal Pepsi, which delicious, colorful ’90s foods were you most likely to trade for in the lunchroom?

10 Roles Almost Played by Bill Murray

Bill Murray: One of the greatest living actors, or THE greatest living actor? A favorite of audiences and directors alike, Murray was offered, attached to, or rumored to be considered for many roles you know and love, from Willy Wonka to Detective John Kimble.

Best Books for Toddlers

Despite the influx of new children’s books hitting Amazon every year, some old classics have stuck around for decades. Included are the best stories for toddlers and the very same books that taught you how to read, count, and share.

New American Idol Judge Picks

It’s official. The newest “American Idol” judge is… MARIAH CAREY. The “Butterfly” singer will replace Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, who are departing the show prior to its 12th Season. (Yeah, she’s Mariah, she can replace two people.) All week, Ranker users have been voting on who THEY’D like to see in the judge’s chair. See if you think they know better than Ryan Seacrest!

 

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Midnight Marathon Mega-Movie Madness of the Week

Rankers love movies. It’s the single most popular subject matter for new lists on our site. (Also popular? Window treatments!) With streaming services, DVD-by-mail offers, pay-per-view, iTunes and Redbox making it easier than ever to try out a wide range of movies, there’s a lot of interest in cataloging great films. Instead of throwing up their hands in despair, crying “There’s nothing good to watch on Netflix” just because the latest fighting-robots-from-space feature hasn’t been uploaded yet, Ranker gives movie fans a resource to find hundreds – nay thousands – of new titles in pretty much every genre, from Dinosaur Movies to Bank Robbery thrillers to movies in which adorable kids find even more adorable puppies and then have to start a hotel for them for some reason.

All of these dogs registered for the hotel under false names. That's not really "Buddy" at all!

Ranker lists aren’t just limited to just the traditional “Best Of” style like, say, “The Most Erotic Vampire Films” (though we have that one.) Here’s a VoteRanked collection of every feature-length Batman movie ever made, where visitors are voting for their favorites. Unsurprisingly, the Nolan films are in the lead thus far…

"Huh, Burton and Nolan both made good Batman films. I'm finding it hard to make up my mind for some reason...

Here, a Ranker regular kept track of her favorite “Body Switch” movies, and gave the rest of the community their say as well. (Apparently I’m not the only one who found “Prelude to a Kiss” unwatchably creepy. Good to know.)

And though it’s great for inviting votes and collaborating to determine the “best” of a genre, Ranker also has a lot of just straight-up helpful movie reference pages, useful in case you ever need a definitive list of all alien movies ever. (You know, for a class project or something.) And yes, I mean all movies about aliens, not all “Alien” movies. Cause there’s only 4 of those, 6 if you count the reprehensible “Alien vs. Predator” franchise and 7 if you could Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus,” which theoretically takes place in the same fictional universe.

The Alien creature is actually known as the "xenomorph" in stray dialogue from "Aliens" and "Alien 3." Or Pete to his friends.

Last up in our tour through Ranker’s movie category, here’s a quick rundown (with videos!) of some classic movie monologues. Note that this is an Open List, meaning you can enter in your own picks for the greatest monologue or speech in film history at the bottom if it’s not already on there.

[I myself had to add Alec Baldwin’s classic “God complex” rant from the awesomely terrible “Malice.” Enjoy!]

by    in Popular Lists

Two Points for Gryffindor's List of the Day!

This weekend marks the end of one of the biggest film, book and pop culture phenomenons of the last decade. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 came out today, and with it, all the Muggles obsessed with the franchise are out in the streets, in full form. Waiting in line, in costumes and drinking butter beer.

And while most of them aren’t as crazy as this

or this (she creepily asks to touch his face — this entire video is gold)…

.. they(we) did manage to break some records. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 made more money in ticket sales at one midnight showing across the United States than most movies do in their entire opening weekend. $44 Million for a midnight screening, baby! (For more Crazy Harry Potter Fans check out Mark’s list of The 13 Craziest Harry Potter Fans Moments of All Time). 

But… ever since the rise in popularity of the Harry Potter franchise, fans have been trying to make the wizarding world of Harry Potter into something real. Like, really real. 

I mean, take this guy. In this world (California, of course), there’s a real human being who honestly believes in magic who went ahead and created a real school for wizards. Where he teaches magic. To kids.  

No, really. 

So with this and some other awe-inspiring stories, here’s the list of the day.

7 Strange Ways Harry Potter Has Become a Reality

And now that it’s all ended, we can all finally say goodbye to the franchise, and this guy (actually, coincidentally, named Harry Potter) can finally stop complaining. 

by    in Popular Lists

This is the Worst Reviewed List of the Day Ever

Today (Friday)’s list of the day is a warning. It’s a friendly reminder from us to you, because we not only care about you, but care about the future of film. 

Zookeeper will be a crappy movie. 

Unless you have kids, or unless you’re looking to bring a flask with some friends to a kids movie (a practice that we here don’t condone by any stretch of the imagination, of course), this movie is going to suck. 

This movie features not only Kevin James asking animals for dating advice, but those animals giving it to him, and then laughing at him. This is about as funny as this movie gets. 

So, because this movie is such an absolute piece of… work (?), here are The 15 Most Hilariously Horrible Reviews of Zookeeper

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RIP Peter Falk List of the Day

Peter Falk, most well-known for playing the part of Lieutenant Columbo on the hit TV show Columbo for decades, died today at the age of 83 of still unannounced circumstances. He had been suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease before his death.  

So, in honor of the beloved actor, today’s list of the day collects The 18 Greatest Peter Falk Memories

Here’s one of our personal favorites:

Peter Falk Gif

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Roger Ebert's List of the Day

With the untimely death of Jackass star Ryan Dunn came a slew of internet reactions ranging from the devastated to the outright self-righteous and disrespectful. Roger Ebert walks a fine line. The man who said that not liking “Lost in Translation” says more about you than it does about the film and also said that “video games are not art” put out a few reactions to Ryan Dunn’s death via his Twitter account. One of them wasn’t exactly “nice”.

This, of course, led to outrage in the vein of “how could he do this?!” and “what a jerk!*” (*few people were using the word “jerk”). But why? Reacting like this is neglecting Roger Ebert’s past as a man who says whatever he wants whenever he wants. And as one of the greatest minds in film criticism history, the man has a right to his opinion, but keep in mind what he does for a living. 

He’s a critic.

So, today’s list of the day shows us all exactly why we should come to expect inflammatory comments from Roger Ebert. He always makes people angry and he always says what he wants. This one’s for you, Roger. 

The 13 Most Inflammatory Roger Ebert Statements

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The Band Cameos List of the Day

No, no no, not the band Cameo’s list of the day, we mean band cameos in movies, as in, whenever a band makes a special guest appearance in a film. Like when Kiss was in Detroit Rock City, or when members of Aerosmith were in Wayne’s World.

Today’s list of the day celebrates the greatest moments in musicians gracing the silver screen. What are your favorite moments of bands randomly showing up in a film? You can vote for the ones you like the most on the list itself. Word up.

The Greatest Band Cameos in Movie History