Most commonly shared books (weighted) WEIRDNESS

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Most commonly shared books (weighted) WEIRDNESS

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Nov 12, 2008, 7:06pm

It seems very strange to me that Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss isn't the most commonly shared book. Many more than 2 people have it. The Next Step: Finding and Viewing Messier's Objects by Ken Graun is a really great book but sigurd and I appear to be the only members with this book. Out of 6 total LT member overal who have it! This (weighted) factor seem to include order of group membership?

Nov 12, 2008, 7:11pm

hmmm not to mention the touchstone weirdness...

Lynne Truss
Lynne Truss
Lynne Truss
Truss, Lynne

Lynne Truss

Nov 13, 2008, 5:38pm

The system is designed to pull out the interesting shared books. If it were simply the number of copies, all but the most narrow groups would be Harry Potter, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, etc. You would never see a book outside the top 100 in those lists. For us to have two out six copies is much more impressive than for us to have 25 out of the six thousand copies of Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

Nov 14, 2008, 6:55pm

I don't think it is interesting that two people out of a total of six people who have The Next Step: Finding and Viewing Messier's Objects happen to be in the ULTB group. I think that's a fluke.(Please note the previous statement is an OPINION.)

There are 548,832 members in LT with 36,817 user who have cataloged Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone that's what 6% or 7%? So If one was incline to divide all the user of LT into randomly assigned groups of say 25 users. That would be 21,953 groups won't only about 1317 i.e. 6% of those groups have Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as the most common book? (There must be some much more torturous math there but as a rule of thumb I would guess this to be true.)

But, since the groups aren't random I would say that effect would be even less among people with special interests. For example a group like Tea! (1067 members), I bet less than 6% of them have Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Then look at a group like this one. I think if it was just the most common book among all our libraries it would be The elements of style which is the 79th most popular book. The second most popular non fiction book. (At least from my quick Friday afternoon scan.) the first most common non fiction book is sort of interesting.

Maybe later on the power that be would give groups more control over the statistic a give group displays. In the case of small least than average representative groups the 'Most commonly shared books (weighted):' is weird... For example the most common tag for the group would be interesting. Since this group has a particular tag 'ultb' it would be pretty interesting to see the most common tag.

Anyway these are just Friday afternoon ramblings, but I am interested in what other people think.

Nov 15, 2008, 12:11am

The Next Step is probably something of a fluke, but separating the flukes from the interesting data is very difficult. I find "The Elements of Style" to be uninteresting; of course, it's common among us, because everyone has a copy.

For one, most of those half million members have small or non-existent libraries, and those are probably the same ones who don't participate in groups. I bet way more than 6% of the members of Tea! have Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

For two, I don't follow your math at all. There's no obvious connection between the percent of users who have a book and the percent of groups which have that book as their most common. I may have to work this formally or using simulations, but I'm pretty sure it depends heavily on the distribution.

Nov 17, 2008, 12:29am

How do you know most user have small or nonexistant libraries? Where can you find that data.

I think the key to getting 6% in each "group" is the random part. I mean if you take a random sample of just users you would get 6% with Harry Potter. I would think the size of the group would really effect the true percent.

I guess my point is really that the value of this "most common (weighted)" seem a little misleading.

I would be interesting if the owner of the groups had more control of what shows up. Or could tune this wieghting factor.

I'll be interested in what you find.

Nov 17, 2008, 9:49pm

I know that most users have small libraries, because 550 thousand users and 33 million books comes down to 60 books per user and excluding the top 5000 libraries brings the average for the remaining 545 thousand libraries to 45.

If 6% of the people have Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and every other book is ultb, then HPPS will be the most common book in every group large enough to have one. If books are randomly distributed, then every sufficiently large enough group will have HPPS as the most common book.

There is no algorithm for "most common (weighed)" that is going to get an interesting book all the time, especially with differing views of interesting. The current one produces a reasonable answer, again modulo arguments about what a reasonable answer is. And Tim Spalding, for good designing reasons, has preferred not to introduce an excess of options.

Editado: Nov 18, 2008, 12:03pm

OK your making sense to me. But let me add a little wrinkle to the situation. How often do you think the most common (weighed) is calculated. I have seen a lot of strange behavior with timing in the groups.

I would guess that since anyone can get an account for free there would be a lot of one time user skewing the stats. People who try it one time add a couple of books and never use it again. I wonder if there is a process of removing inactive users. I would doubt it.

Away thanks for the discussion. Maybe this thread will make what the most common book weighted is reporting clear to other user.


Nov 21, 2008, 3:30pm

I notice that all the most common shared books are in the field of astronomy, and I don't have any of them.

For that matter I don't have Harry Potter books or LotR.

Nov 26, 2008, 10:50am

What is going on as best I can follow it at this time is this.
The Most commonly shared books (weighted) setting is picking up the astronomy books for a couple of reasons.

1. When I started the group I looked at people who shared books with me and invited them to join the group. The user sigurd joined. He and I share these astronomy books.
2. These astronomy books are relatively rare. Bright Star Atlas has about 11 users. Nebulae and How to Observe Them (Astronomers' Observing Guides) has about 5 users and Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas has 21 users. Of these low user numbers 2, sigurd and myself are members of this group. Since they are rarer books they are weight more. Common books for example the most common book is Harry Potter are weighted less.

3. If two people on LT are the only people on LT to have a book (you and one other) and they joined this group that book should be weighted more than the current astronomy books which are owned by 5 and up users.

4. Even if our example two people from item 3 were to join ULTB, it will take some time before this displace of most common book happened. Stats for groups do not appear to be calculated on a daily basis.

Hope that helps...

Editado: Dez 5, 2008, 12:28am

HA I knew it would just take time. The "Most commonly shared books (weighted):" made a radical shift today.

Doctor Darwin by Hesketh Pearson

You've got a friend, Charlie Brown : selected cartoons from… by Charles M. Schulz
Monitor Found in Orbit by Michael G. Coney
Isaac Asimov Presents Great Science Fiction 03 by Isaac Asimov
Star Science Fiction Stories No. 2 by Frederik Pohl
Paratime by H. Beam Piper
Carmen Miranda's ghost is haunting space station three by Sakers I really have got to find out what this is about
Knotted doughnuts and other mathematical entertainments by Martin Gardner
To keep the ship by A. Bertram Chandler
A Talent for the Invisible by Ron Goulart

These books hadn't changed since I started the group. So this is interesting...if your into odd little quirks in complete systems.

Dez 13, 2008, 1:57am

Re: Carmen Miranda's Ghost - it's a bunch of SF short stories, all triggered by that line. That is, they gave the authors the line "Carmen Miranda's Ghost is Haunting Space Station Three" and they all wrote the story that came to them. There are some weird and wonderful stories in there (yes, I'm one of the ones that have it), ranging from strange love stories to relatively straightforward ghost stories.

Oh, and the line is from a song - lyrics here - by Leslie Fish.