Why User Control in Recommender Systems?
The theme of my RecSys 2015 paper, along with the other papers in its session, is on giving users control over their recommendation experience.
Why do we want to do this? Isn’t the idea of recommender systems to figure out what the user wants and give it to them, without needing significant intervention?
There are a few reasons I think user control is an important research direction for recommender systems. First, different users have different needs, and different algorithms have different strengths. This is the idea behind McNee’s human-recommender interaction framework, and the thesis and results of several of my experiments. So far, we don’t have good meta-recommenders for identifying which recommender will best meet a particular user’s needs, so giving them control is a way to punt on this.
First-and-a-half, if we give users control in the short term, then we can obtain more training data to develop potential meta-recommenders to provide a better user experience.