Pumphrey's Math

Patterns, everywhere

How useful is the ‘percentage likes’ statistic?

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This is a copy of the question I sent to the BBC’s More or Less program.

When choosing a film to watch at the cinema, I often check review sites such as Rotten Tomatoes in order to see overall percentage ‘likes’. The latest Star Trek movie achieved 87%, for example. This got me wondering, how useful is the ‘percentage likes’ statistic? How would it be different if it was weighted against certain preferences, to account for, for example, lifelong Trekkies that would have a tendency to ‘like’ a Star Trek film, however good it may be?

We’ll see if there is any response.


Author: PumphreysMath

A British Math(s) Teacher now living in Indianapolis, USA, aiming to show my students how questions are often more important than answers. Presenter of the MathEd Out Podcast and contributor for the Guardian Teacher Network.

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