Friday, June 1, 2007

Notes

It's clear that many (many!) of you have problems with the way we changed Friends last year. While I can tell you that in general the features are easier and more used now than before, that doesn't mean that really good elements were lost in the process. (I sure miss the "Suggest" button, for instance.) The Purple Dude, as we liked to call him (her?) was another cool element (for those newbies, he showed up on movies that your Friends had watched). His problem, however, was that he slowed down the page loads dramatically: every time we drew a page, we had to check every movie on the page against every movie seen by each of your Friends. When you had one Friend it wasn't so bad, but if you had more, the load times got bad. And as our membership was growing rapidly, the problem was rapidly getting worse. We had to make a hard call: try to fix that loading issue or retire the DUDE. Now I liked the dude, but at the end of the day, he laid down his life so that the site performance improved. I'd like to bring him back some day, but not before we solve that loading problem. Anyway, that's what happened to the dude.

On a sidenote, we did have a funeral for him in our offices. And in the great Netflix tradition of sending off our loved ones with a limerick, many of us contributed. This was mine:

It's goodbye to our friend, Purple Dude
He was smart, but exceptionally lewd;
He'd be doing his job
On the box and the bob*,
Displaying himself in the nude.


(*the "bob" is the "back of box" ajax pop-up when you hover on a movie title)

Now, this issue about the notes is a little different. It was my assumption that rather than have mini-reviews (that only went to your Friends, including Friends you didn't yet have), and reviews, and notes (which were more one-on-one or one-to-a-few in nature), we would reduce the complexity by reducing the options. Notes, I felt, were for individual correspondence -- and didn't need to persist for future-Friends. If you wanted to write something general, about movies, to a bunch of people, and if you wanted it to persist, then just make it a review. That way your Friends see it, and new Friends still see it. Does it matter that other people would see it? I didn't think it did. For all but personal notes between you and someone ("Did you like that?") or to you and a bunch of folks ("hey, does anyone think this movie is any good?"), a review seemed better.

At least that was my thought.

So my question is: For those of you who miss having "notes" that remain for future Friends, why won't a Review suffice? You're helping out more people with your thoughts, and it is our hope that people in the community will be interested in giving their feedback on movies to more than just a couple people. Why not just Review?