Musings on crowd-sourced data
I've just finished a phone discussion with one of my Linux gurus. Topics included how best to cross the intellectual and philosophical gulf between my present use of a simple, tab-separated, ASCII data file of my "Videos" data,1 consequences of my quite long-term dalliance with DVD Profiler (while using Windows-based PCs) to catalogue my growing collection, and now (in late 2015) my aim of seeing its intended metamorphosis into a well-tempered and probably more flexible Kodi system.
It's a "genre" thing
The quality of crowd-sourced data depends, very much, on the quality of the crowd being used as the source2 of the data. ("GIGO" still applies, naturally.) And I'm unaware of effective crowd-sourced data quality control mechanisms that don't at some point call on the services of nit-picking pedants such as myself — in the publicly-expressed opinion of one (at least) of my all-too-many managers during my lifetime in IBM. In the case of the "genre" classifications that members of the crowd of DVD Profiler users have been applying (I'm tempted to say "with gay3 abandon") to the 600,000 or so titles in that online database it's clear that a hardcore subset of these users has no clear understanding of the meaning of the word "genre".
How else could over 650 or so of my DVDs and BDs have initially ended up with the unhelpful genre "Television" attached to them? There are, of course, many further instances of data malfeasance buried among the titles, and I've been combing them out by filtering the data views and seeing what ends up in each genre classification. My goal (not a terribly lofty one, I admit) is to assign each of my discs to a single genre. Take, for instance, that recent acquisition (on BD) of David Kelley's "Lake Placid". Comedy? Certainly. Horror? Certainly not.
When I added poor old Richard Wilson to the cast list of "Prick Up Your Ears", I could then see that although he's correctly cross-referenced to "How to get ahead in advertising" and "One Foot in the Grave" the Richard Wilsons who appear in the 1947 "Lady from Shanghai" as an assistant district attorney (and in "Incident at Oglala" as a real-life Tribal Council Chairman) are both equally unlikely to be our cuddly Victor Meldrew. Slightly adapting an appropriate XKCD image:
The "alt text" tag on the original cartoon shows "What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!" — how true.