Monday, July 9, 2007

Ratings Data

Our crack engineering team reports that while ratings data are updated constantly at Netflix, the Friends part of the site is a little unique and only gets refreshed around midnight each day. Thus, if you rate a bunch of movies, that information could be seen immediately, but also might not show up in a slider until the next day. ("Refreshed" probably isn't the right word. Maybe an example will help.) Scenario: You rate a bunch of movies at 9pm, your Friend looks at the sliders at 11pm for the first time that day, and WILL see your ratings -- BUT, if they log in at 6pm (before you updated ratings) and returned at 11pm, they WON'T see your new ratings. They would have to return to the site after midnight to see those new ratings.

Does this explain things?

36 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info about friends' ratings.

    Sort of Off Topic, but any chance of getting 1/2-star ratings? Lots of times something needs that extra half, or shouldn't have the next full level, and 1/2-star capability would be great! Thanks.

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  2. P.S. - Another general ratings comment: I really like the "best guess for:" ratings info on the "more info" rollover popup. They've been pretty accurate most of the time.

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  3. Does this explain why our friends don't see ANY RATING AT ALL in the emails they receive when we rate a movie and then immediately leave them a note about that very same movie? With the old Friends system, the emails that our friends would receive would always have our star rating show up in their email. But not anymore.

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  4. michael, from netflixJuly 9, 2007 at 6:33 PM

    that would be a bug.

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  5. Thanks for the explanation!

    This is interesting - it means that the profile of me that my friends see could be different from the way I see my own profile. I would definitely want to see that gap closed if possible.

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  6. "Lots of times something needs that extra half, or shouldn't have the next full level, and 1/2-star capability would be great! Thanks."

    I have a differing opinion about this. Half-star ratings sometimes let the rater ride the fence, especially if if he wants to rate it 2 1/2 stars. With whole star rating you're forced to make a decision.

    Besides, what's the difference if a movie is given 1 1/2 stars vs. 1 star. Still sucks!

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  7. I would like the ability to sort my movie ratings by rating date. Right now we can sort by title, rating, mpaa, genre. Adding "when rated" would be nice and if it was an rss feed some folks could put it on their blog. While rental history is close, not all my movies I rate come from netflix.

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  8. Is this going to be a permanent situation or are you looking to improve it? It seems strange to "penalize" people for logging on earlier on the day.

    Thanks.

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  9. Micheal, my ratings and reviews are missing for 2 days now. Anything going on?

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  10. I wouldn't worry about the half-star ratings or more instant timing on the friends scrolls very much. I'd encourage you to think of them as low priority changes. The enhancements you've made are great. Keep thinking in the general direction of giving us more information in a better format and increasing interactivity, as you've been doing. Though, perhaps those of us who grew up with typewriters and fewer than ten tv stations aren't as worried about being able to give ten different ratings rather than five or seeing information today which will be available tomorrow.

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  11. Half-star ratings sometimes let the rater ride the fence, especially if if he wants to rate it 2 1/2 stars. With whole star rating you're forced to make a decision.

    Yes, I am forced to choose something that does not reflect my opinion. This discussion has come up before. In the absence of a star rating equivalent to "just okay" we are forced to either say that we liked or disliked a movie. Some movies leave me with a neutral feeling about them - plot may have been good, but the acting or directing was not strong enough to support it, therefor the movie was just okay. 2.5 stars would be accurate and would not put me in a position to give a rating that was inaccurate.

    I'm not interested in forcing people to do things. I would prefer more options to suit more people. If half stars were available and you did not want to use them, you wouldn't have to.

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  12. A two star rating does not say you disliked the film. It says you didn't like the film. Using Netflix' definitions of each star rating, anything short of liking it would be two stars, unless you dislike it immensely enough to give it one star.

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  13. The idea of having to choose 10 stars like www.imdb.com has it would be a better solution in my opinion. When evaluating something, most people go on a 1-10 scale, not a 1-5 scaled.

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  14. It would be cool if you could save a list of favorite actors or directors to come back to and quickly see if any new movies with them are out or see all movies with your "favorite" actors/directors in.

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  15. "Is this going to be a permanent situation or are you looking to improve it? It seems strange to "penalize" people for logging on earlier on the day."

    Netflix: maybe it's just me, but anyone who has a problem with this little lag is spending WAY too much time online. My god! You're saying my friends will see my ratings immediately or at worste the next day? Sounds fine. Don't bother with this and get to work on 1/2 stars!

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  16. A two star rating does not say you disliked the film. It says you didn't like the film.

    Did you really mean to say that?

    From Merriam Webster:

    Main Entry: 1 dis·like
    1 : a feeling of aversion or disapproval

    Disliking means not liking.

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  17. There are so many movies between dislike and like and like and really like and like and love. If I could chose one feature to be implemented immediately it wouldn't be to hide movies, it wouldn't be to update your ratings faster, it would be half star ratings. It would save me so much mental turmoil when it comes to rating, call me obsessive but I really like to rate the movies accurately and I feel that I can't right now.

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  18. I give 5 stars to the idea of 1/2 star ratings!

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  19. Off topic (but that seems to be the way to go here), I happen to know for a fact that I am not seeing one of my friend's queue's in the right order. He has had The Kids in the Hall discs at the top of his queue (from my vantage point) for weeks now, but he keeps getting sent other stuff. When I asked him how this was happening, he was confused. He has The Kids in the Hall down in the 200s. So I'm not seeing what he actually has queue'd up top. Just thought I'd let ya know.

    Windows Vista

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  20. anonymous: Go read the topic entitled "The Friends Sliders". The behavior you are seeing is intended behavior, and it is described in that post.

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  21. Michael,

    One thing you guys could do is change the star rating system. Currently, when I see a movie, the stars underneath it are your "best guess" of how I'll like it. Since your "best guess" software is ridiculous, why not just use the total votes instead? This will tell me what the Netflix customers thought of the film. It is easier to judge this mass of crazies than trust a flawed computer program.

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  22. eviltimes, I'm going to have to disagree with your comments about the best guess ratings. Those things have always been incredibly accurate for me, almost to the point of being scary. In fact, the only reason I really started rating movies in the first place is because the Netflix predictions have turned me on to some movies that I never would have found otherwise.

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  23. The suggested rating for me has worked wonders and is a very accurate source of info on how I will like a movie. I've rated over 2000 so far and it's amazing. For those of you who haven't rated more - go ahead and spend some time, the results are truly amazing.

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  24. Wow. Everyone sure seems to be hung up on getting 1/2 star ratings. If Ebert and Roeper can do it with four stars, I think we can do it with five.

    What is generally annoying to me about the friends feature (the only thing) is that when a friend of mine cancels his Netflix sub, his slider still appears in my friends section. Annoying b/c it's in the way of my other ACTIVE friends. Any way to remove inactive members from the friends page? Am I the only one who is experiencing this issue?

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  25. Hello, I'm the 'anonymous' who said earlier about not seeing my friend's queue in order. User named Shaun then directed me to the Friends Sliders post. Just to be clear, I am not talking about the sliders, I am talking about his actual queue, when I view it.

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  26. whoops, sorry for the confusion...

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  27. Anon said:
    "Wow. Everyone sure seems to be hung up on getting 1/2 star ratings. If Ebert and Roeper can do it with four stars, I think we can do it with five."

    Critics do use a 0 to 4 star rating system, however WITH 1/2 star increments. That's 9 possible ratings. Currently we have the choice of 5 ratings plus "Not Interested" and "No Rating". I've never used the "No Rating" since I'm not sure why I would and the "Not Interested" is good for renters while a critic would never have use for it since they wouldn't write a review about a movie they are not interested in seeing. From my point of view a 1 to 5 rating system with half star increments is the same as 0 to 4 stars with half star increments, so this is a logical request for many Netflix users.

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  28. Michael,

    All 7 of my friends have mysteriously disappeared today! What is going on over there? Can you restore our list of friends??

    Scott

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  29. I wish we could do a search for "friends" by emails to see if they already have a profile or are a netflix member--instead of inviting them.....kind of like spying on what they're watching! :-)

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  30. Is there an official ruling on star ratings? Are there any compelling arguments agains it?

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  31. I agree with eviltimes, I would much rather see the average of all viewers ratings when I look at a movie thumbnail than the best guess at my rating. The rollover is sufficient for me to see the best guess.

    On a lighter note (and a little off-topic) I would love to know how my positive ratings for "City of God" and "Lady Vengeance" led to a recommendation of "Dave Chapelle: For What It's Worth". The logic is obviously beyond me.

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  32. i would prefer to see the average user's ratings on the thumbnail and the best guess on the rollover.

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  33. But what about those films that haven't been released on DVD yet? There have been many times that I would watch a film in the movie theaters and then place a rating for it on Netflix's website when I get home. However, in several cases my waiting for the film would be erased by the time the film arrives on DVD. Why does the rating get wiped out between the time the title is added to the database and the time it actually arrives on DVD?

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  34. i would prefer to see the average user's ratings on the thumbnail and the best guess on the rollover.

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