Outliers on Netflix

Are serial raters on Netflix worth studying? Or statistical outliers?

Tom Slee takes a good look at the data on all the movies rated by users of Netflix (ex Brad DeLong, ex Marginal Revolution). Is there any way to glean insights about which movies to stockpile and recommend from this pile of clicks? Netflix is offering a rich prize to those who can. But Slee describes the challenges of improving the Netflix algorithm, and points to some bizarre behavior among the Netflix crowd (below).


”* Customer 2170930 has rated 1963 titles and given each and every one a rating of one (very bad). You would think they would have cancelled their subscription by now.

* Customer 2270619 has rated 1975 titles. 1931 were given a 5, 31 were given a 4, 10 given a 3, 2 given a 2 (Grumpy Old Men and Sex In Chains) and a single title was given a 1. That title? Gandhi, which has an average rating of over 4 and which less than 2% of those who watch it give a 1.”