Keywords: Explainability, Interpretability, Explainability for Recommender Systems, Post-hoc explainability
TL;DR: We propose a novel technique to generate post-hoc attribute based explanations for collaborative filtering based recommender systems.
Abstract: Recommender systems are ubiquitous in most of our interactions in the current digital world. Whether shopping for clothes, scrolling YouTube for exciting videos, or searching for restaurants in a new city, the recommender systems at the back-end power these services. Most large-scale recommender systems are huge models trained on extensive datasets and are black-boxes to both their developers and end-users. Prior research has shown that providing recommendations along with their reason enhances trust, scrutability, and persuasiveness of the recommender systems. Recent literature in explainability has been inundated with works proposing several algorithms to this end. Most of these works provide item-style explanations, i.e., 'We recommend item A because you bought item B.' We propose a novel approach, RecXplainer, to generate more fine-grained explanations based on the user's preference over the attributes of the recommended items. We perform experiments using real-world datasets and demonstrate the efficacy of RecXplainer in capturing users' preferences and using them to explain recommendations. We also propose ten new evaluation metrics and compare RecXplainer to six baseline methods.