January 27, 2020, 05:38:41 AM

Author Topic: Creating rules behind recommendations?  (Read 870 times)

Offline Bender

Creating rules behind recommendations?
« on: December 06, 2019, 03:05:00 AM »
I find it that people who ask for recommendations usually get the popular novels list as answers.

"Can you recommend something like Wheel of Time"
"Try First Law or Broken Empire"

I mean, neither First Law or Broken Empire have anything in common to WoT except genre and even that is debatable.

So I was wondering if we can rate books by certain common characteristics to find similar books? Like we do with wine (color, region, bitterness, acidity, body etc). Obviously it needs to be few main characteristics only to get some semblance of ease of use.

what could be some common rating characteristics for fantasy books?

Rating scale -10 to +10 with scales moving at incremental of 2

1. Magic content: -10 would be low fantasy and +10 would be high fantasy.
2. Mature content: -10 would be YA and +10 would be grim-dark
3. World: -10 would be earth based urban fantasy, 0 would be steampunk and +10 would be full on fantasy world. For example a medieval setting in a fantasy planet would be -7.
4. Technology: -10 would be sword and sorcery, 0 would be steampunk and +10 would be near sci-fi

Can this work?
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Offline S. K. Inkslinger

Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2019, 03:27:41 AM »
I find it that people who ask for recommendations usually get the popular novels list as answers.

"Can you recommend something like Wheel of Time"
"Try First Law or Broken Empire"

I mean, neither First Law or Broken Empire have anything in common to WoT except genre and even that is debatable.

So I was wondering if we can rate books by certain common characteristics to find similar books? Like we do with wine (color, region, bitterness, acidity, body etc). Obviously it needs to be few main characteristics only to get some semblance of ease of use.

what could be some common rating characteristics for fantasy books?

Rating scale -10 to +10 with scales moving at incremental of 2

1. Magic content: -10 would be low fantasy and +10 would be high fantasy.
2. Mature content: -10 would be YA and +10 would be grim-dark
3. World: -10 would be earth based urban fantasy, 0 would be steampunk and +10 would be full on fantasy world. For example a medieval setting in a fantasy planet would be -7.
4. Technology: -10 would be sword and sorcery, 0 would be steampunk and +10 would be near sci-fi

Can this work?

I'm not sure about the others, but that sounds so complex to me, hahah.

Offline hexa

Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2019, 05:23:36 AM »
We use tags (keywords)

Wheel of Time: epic-fantasy, coming-of-age, male-protagonist, young-adult, orcs, undead, more-than-3-books, medieval

Harry Potter: coming-of-age, school/academy, male-protagonist, fantasy-creatures, modern-world, British, nemesis, dragons, more-than-3-books

Chronicles of the Lance (Dragonlance): epic-fantasy, mature-content-sex, dragons, undead, trilogy,, medieval, elves, dwarves, gnomes, gods-interact-directly, romance

Offline hexa

Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2019, 05:26:47 AM »
I would say that Shannara is like Wheel of Time

Offline isos81

Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2019, 06:18:51 AM »
I believe artificial intelligence based recommendations use the tags and the common preferences of the readers.
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2019, 06:33:26 AM »
Where do you go for recommendations? I never recommend the Broken Empire.  Have You been hanging out at Facebook again ? 😀

I think the forum gives out a lot of various recommendations popular and non popular. We have readers here who like different things so we got a bigger base to pick from. Look at Fantasy Faction 2019 best books compared to the Facebook crowd very different. Probably because we are older and wiser.

We haven’t had a recommendation topic  here for a while

Face it this forum is more knowledgeable when it comes to books and posters  are more gorgeous too, just look at @JMack a hunk of a man.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 06:57:42 AM by Eclipse »
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Offline cupiscent

Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2019, 07:12:10 AM »
Tags are useful for "I really liked elements x, y and z, I'd like to find something else that has those" but it still doesn't necessarily help with finding a work that is well done, or has a similar approach to those elements, or... yeah, a whole lot of stuff that needs more complex consideration.

Whether using tags or various scales or whatever, I think the key to getting good recommendations is being thoughtful about what you liked about this thing (or things in general) and looking for equal thoughtfulness in the recommendations you get. (i.e. someone who says, "I loved the hopeful nature of Sam Hawke's City of Lies" would obviously look askance at someone reccing something grimdark because "I loved this too".)

Offline Peat

Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2019, 08:15:53 AM »
I was playing around the other day with the idea of assigning genre by where books fell on 4 spectrums of level of fantasy, scale, type of conflict, and level of morality. So I guess they could be additional measuring sticks. (Incidentally, The First Law wouldn't fall that far away from WoT except on level of morality).

But really once you've got 7 measurement metrics, all of which are subjective both in terms of how the person scoring rates them and how the person picking up books thinks of them, you've reached the point at which you're expecting to get it wrong. My dayjob is managing people doing a boring data version of this and this level of subjective metric use is when we expect snafus.

And that's without the tag system - which I think is important - or something measuring prose type, POV type, tense (recommend me something with present tense and I will hate you for the next month) etc.etc. Of course, the etc.etc. is hard, because you'll never quite know what people really value.

As such, a set of measurements would be hard to pull off imo.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2019, 09:12:37 AM »
Gosh, this sounds too much like English Lit classes, I hate analysing books, it completely ruins my enjoyment, hehe
I'll pass, thanks.
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Offline Yora

Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2019, 09:38:42 AM »
Tags seem like useful system. Though by now I've started to think that books with the tags I'd be interested in simply don't exist.
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Offline bdcharles

Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2019, 10:12:18 AM »
I go with the vibe and feel. So for example, I might recommend Gormenghast for someone who likes Tolkien, or RJ Barker for someone that enjoyed Robin Hobb's Liveship trilogy, or China Mieville for someone that reads Neil Gaiman, or Ben Aaronson, or Clive Barker. Keepin' it social rather than algorithmic :)
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Offline Peat

Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2019, 07:19:32 PM »
I go with the vibe and feel. So for example, I might recommend Gormenghast for someone who likes Tolkien, or RJ Barker for someone that enjoyed Robin Hobb's Liveship trilogy, or China Mieville for someone that reads Neil Gaiman, or Ben Aaronson, or Clive Barker. Keepin' it social rather than algorithmic :)

Man those recs would have gone really badly for me :P


The most important rule of recs should be to figure out what the other person actually wants.

Offline Bender

Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2019, 08:06:37 PM »
We discussed something similar in trigger warnings thread sometime ago.

Problem with tags is that it's not standardized. And even in a standard tag like "coming of age" we age everything from WoT to Broken Empire to Harry Potter. Even GoT will qualify. All completely different books. I don't think this is sufficient for a proper recommendation.

And honestly I've never searched a book by tags. Which site you use for this?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 08:09:31 PM by Bender »
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Offline JMack

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Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2019, 09:25:50 PM »
just look at @JMack a hunk of a man.

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Offline Elfy

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Re: Creating rules behind recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2019, 01:05:20 AM »
I would say that Shannara is like Wheel of Time
In parts I agree, except that Wheel of Time is like Shannara, because it came first.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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