Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Friends Sliders, Part Deux

Right. Forgot a few things. Thank you for the reminders.
1) For a number of technical reasons you can only have 5 Friends sliders "open" at a time, plus your own. This is not the top 5. It could be any five. If you open more than 5, you can see them, but the site won't save this configuration, and will automatically close the lowest few to get back to 5. If you select five you want to keep open, no matter which they are, it will remember this. To be candid, i don't like this limitation: i have 17 Friends. But i tend to be keeping an eye on only a few and I guess i've gotten used to it. Also, I cannot escape the fact that only a small percentage of Friends users have more than 5 Friends. Anyway, we see this as a bug, but it only affects a few of us.

2) "New Notes" are absolutely not very new. In the first version we released we made some unfortunate compromises, and what it calls "new" are going back four months or so. It doesn't track what gets read, which is the problem. It's just a moving time window. This has been bothering us since we first released the new pages, and it is definitely on our bug list. My sincere apologies for this.

3) Alerts about "Replies" is an interesting idea, and we'll think about what it would mean. I can tell you that when someone replies to a note, even an old old note, it moves the entire "conversation" to the top of the pile, so you will still see the most current conversations at the top of Your Notebook. Thanks for the feedback.

The sliders were an experiment and i'd say the vote is still out whether or not they are a positive way to interact with Friends recent activity. (I'm not asking for your votes here -- we know many of you have never liked this presentation.) I like how visual they are, and they are really more dynamic than most elements on the Netflix site. But they don't replace other forms of presentation and, as I've said, we'll be revising this part of the site very much in the coming seasons.


  1. Hmm, I guess my hunches were right on both counts. Regarding the "only 5 sliders allowed open" deal, I don't think that's a big problem, especially now that I understand for sure what it's doing.

    As I mentioned before, the "new notes" thing is definitely frustrating, but you guys are obviously working on it so I'll leave it be for now. Thanks for the heads-up...

  2. I LOVE the sliders system, so don't ever change it. I particularly love seing my recently watched movies rated, as I watch movies from many sources, including the ones I buy. It kind of gives me a personal and clear perspective of what I'm watching. I only have two friends added, as I think this feature is really for friends you already know are very similar in tastes.

  3. I would like the ability to move the friends sliders to have who I want to always see (or keep open) at the top. Right now I think they are in order of similarity, but it would be cool if we could reorder them to our own preference so the people we most want to see regularly are at the top of our list.

  4. Can we please get a way to delete "Notes"?

  5. I really like being able to peruse my friends' viewings on the slider. I only have nine, so being limited to five is no big deal to me. Do you think that there's a possibility of being able to send brief notes to friends and other Netflix viewers (especially reviewers)? If not, will we get back our little blurb in our profiles so that we can put our e-mail address there? I've 'met' two really neat people this way.

  6. Sort of off topic, but does anyone else have a problem with the amount of characters allowed in Notes being too short? I always seem to need about 25 more. Just wondering how others feel about it...

  7. There's one thing about the Friends sliders section that been driving me really insane. No matter what, the list of information on the left side seems to show one less film rated than the person has actually rated. For example, I currently have 875 films rated, but the left side of my slider bar says 874. I know that ratings sometimes take a few hours to update, but weeks can go by, the the rating always stays one behind the true number.

    What is going on here?

    And, has anyone else been having this problem?

  8. Yes, like chaim (above), my ratings between my profile and my slider are not the same either. Strange.

    On the subject of the Friends section in general, why does it no longer feature our little blurb about ourselves in our profiles, or our blurbs about the movies we select to include in a custom list?

    Anyone? Bueller?

  9. michael, from netflixJuly 5, 2007 at 10:58 AM

    The little blub about yourself (aka the "Bio" or "Personal Description") that used to be on your Reviews and Lists page will return soon - and we've saved the ones you had already created, so fear not - they'll show up when this returns. As for the descriptions of movies in custom lists... "less certain, the future is hard to see..."

  10. Wow. Thanks for the lightning fast response. And my sincere kudos to you and your team for not only your continuous hard work but also the maintenance of this great blog and your attention to feedback. It is why I will remain with Netflix until my time on this mortal coil is done and I rise up to a nebula in a bubble with a dying tree.

  11. Hi, I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but here it goes.
    I've written a bunch of reviews over a couple years. I like to return to those reviews to see how many helpful/unhelpful votes they get. That used to mean searching through a bunch of reviews. Now, if I go to "my reviews page" I can see all of my reviews, but no votes. If I find my review on the movie's page, and then click on "read more so-n-so's reviews" I go to a page with all my reviews and the DO have the votes under them. Cool! Now, why not show the votes when I am logged into my own review page? Also, the 'previous /next' buttons at the bottom of my own review pages don't work, I have to use the ones at the top of the page. Also, many of the film's that are on my review page don't link to the movie's main page. Some do. Why is that?

  12. michael, from netflixJuly 8, 2007 at 7:41 AM

    Bill - good questions. we'll look into it.

  13. Keep the sliders, I think they are great. It would be nice to have more space available on the notes.

  14. Is there some way I can send the hundreds of Notes I've written on films to someone who has just joined my Friends list?

  15. Also, is there any way I can go back and edit Notes I've already posted?

  16. Hi - I tried opening the 5 sliders I liked best, as you suggested, but it does not remember this. It just reverts to keeping the top 5 open. (I'm using IE7/Windows XP.)

    Also, it would be great if you could navigate from one Friend to another while viewing their full queue info (not the sliders). This used to be possible, but since the redesign you have go back to the main Friends page first. So it's less convenient - that's a lot of graphics to load.

  17. Off topic reply to a previous comment…

    Mort suggested what sounded like a private message system for Netflix.

    “Do you think that there's a possibility of being able to send brief notes to friends and other Netflix viewers (especially reviewers)?”

    I do not want to exchange private messages with strangers. I’m not even sure if I’d join a forum if one were implemented. I’d have to see how people were behaving and carefully analyze how much more time I have available to spend in that way, whether or not its a luxury I could afford.

    If Netflix is considering that kind of high-end community building I really think you have to be careful not to let it interfere with the millions of subscribers who don’t want to get drawn into a community but only want to rent movies and enjoy very basic tools. They need their time, their privacy, their sense of well-being and security protected. The active community players should do all they can to make sure casual Netflixers are kept happy because without them Netflix will be weak or non-existent.

    These kind of high-end community tools in addition to this and perhaps additional Netflix blogs would best be implemented as independently of the main Netflix services as possible so that casual users aren’t hassled by them. Most subscribers, even if they do occasionally leave public reviews, don’t want to be bothered with other subscribers. They’d all calmer to opt-out of the new community tools (or worse, get their movies somewhere else) which would only lead to frustration by the users who want the tools and can now only find 2 out of 10 or 100 people who welcome messaging… or friend invites… etc…

    I think it would be better, if Netflix is going to implement high-end community tools, like private messaging, forums, blogs etc… that we can steep away from the main Netflix site with it’s basic functions into a more or less separate but fully immerseive realm of community functionality. You would then have Netflix Subscribers and Netflix Community Members. Joining the community, gaining access to its tools, should be a steep away from simple site functionality. It should feel like entering a different world, where you know everyone else welcomes you as a free and eager participant.