Session 4: Users in Focus

Date: Tuesday 14:45 – 15:30 CET
Chair: Nava Tintarev (Maastricht University)

  • PAUser Bias in Beyond-Accuracy Measurement of Recommendation Algorithms
    by Ningxia Wang (Department of Computer Science, Hong Kong Baptist University, China) and Li Chen (Department of Computer Science, Hong Kong Baptist University, China)

    There are various biases in recommender systems. Recognizing biases, as well as unfairness caused by problematic biases, is the first step of system optimization. Related studies on algorithmic biases are mainly from the perspective of either items or users. For the latter (we call it “algorithmic user bias”), existing works have considered algorithms’ accuracy performances measured by accuracy metrics like RMSE. However, algorithmic user biases in beyond-accuracy measurements have rarely been studied, even though beyond-accuracy oriented recommendation algorithms have been increasingly investigated, with the purpose of breaking through the personalization limits of traditional accuracy-oriented algorithms (such as the typical “filter bubble” phenomenon). To fill in the research gap, in this work, we employ a large-scale survey dataset collected from a commercial platform, in which more than 11,000 users’ ratings on the recommendation’s 5 performance objectives (i.e., relevance, diversity, novelty, unexpectedness, and serendipity) and 8 kinds of user characteristics (i.e., gender, age, big-5 personality traits, and curiosity) are available. We study user biases of four algorithms (i.e., HOT, Rel-CF, Nov-CF, and Ser-CF) in terms of those five measurements between user groups of the eight user characteristics. We further look into users’ behavior patterns like the preference of using more positive ratings, in order to interpret the observed biases. Finally, based on the observed algorithmic user bias and users’ behavior patterns, we analyze the possible factors leading to the biases and recognize problematic biases that may lead to unfairness.

    Full text in ACM Digital Library

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