Monday, July 30, 2007

Today's Release

As discussed previously, the beginnings of the Community are online. Let's start with first things: FRIENDS IS NOT GONE. It is slightly less accessible, but i promise y'all Friends users, shortly, the overview content on your Friends will dominate this Community page. If you have no Friends it will be pretty much as you see it now. But if you do have Friends you'll have a few additional regions on this Community Home page that will be familiar to Friends users from ancient days -- including a Friends Activity area, Most Loved, Most Hated, that kind of stuff. The quizzes will be here too at that time.

(Almost Interesting Fact: when asked, most people say the quiz is dumb, yet a majority of Friends users do in fact play the quiz when it is presented. I chalk this up as a guilty pleasure.)

I will repeat this for the sake of our new readers (or old readers who skim): This is going to be a process of releasing elements here, that until they are all rolled out this area might feel... lacking. I like hearing your comments but please do know there is more to this than, uh, this.

Also: You are NOT going to be exchanging notes with strangers, nor are strangers going to be leaving you notes. I don't want that. You don't want that. There will be a way for mutually interested parties to connect, but no one who isn't interested will even notice it. More on this kind of feature when the time is right.

Okay, with that being said, have at it. Post your feedback (but mind you: i'm not going to respond to whoever posts something that says "What happened to Friends?") I hope this is fun. Here's my request: show this page to folks who are not blog readers - your friends and family, and see if the page is interesting to them. That's something i'd like to know. Cheers.

67 comments:

  1. I'm excited to see what it will look like with Friends incorporated into it, but until then I'm not really happy about the change.

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  2. not only do i LOVE the friends quiz, i wish that when i answer it that i can hit "next" or something to get another one instead of having to log out and log back in!

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  3. Personally, I would like a way to see how similar I am to my friends with regards to movies we've both seen.

    As I understand it, the similarity is calculated with all movies rated. I use netflix much more than my friends, so they haven't rated each and every movie they've seen. Having similarity based on movies we've mutually seen and rated would give me a better idea of who I am like.

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  4. I think the quiz doesn't work in Safari and Firefox on Mac... I get a "loading" animated icon, but then just a blank white screen. OSX 10.4.10 Safari 3.0.2 beta and Firefox 2.0.0.5.

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  5. I'm open to change, but I'm having trouble with the Community tab today. The Latest Reviews updates way too frequently, to the point that the page won't even finish loading. All the other pages load really slowly, too. It feels like I'm back on dial up. Sorry I can't offer a more helpful critique but I gave up before I got a chance to see everything.

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  6. Why do the lists on the "Top 10 lists" have random amounts of movies that aren't = 10? That's a little weird...

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  7. The Latest Reviews refreshes so often that it is horribly distracting. I know you can mouse over to get it to stop, but I it would be appreciated if we could slow it down/turn it off.

    The similar to me section was blank. Surely my taste isn't that unique?

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  8. I love the friends quiz. I also like the community idea. I think it would be cool to see who has similar tastes as me outside of my friends list. I second the motion that the constant refreshing of the latest reviews is too distracting.

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  9. I'm just frustrated. I struggle every time trying to find where the heck I found the place that allows me to edit my old reviews or view my "community page." We need a page that acts as a well organized jumping off point. I'm to the point now that I wish I could just wipe clean my pervious attempts and call it a day. There is nothing intuitive about Community. I vote for a flush and start over.

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  10. judson: Your question was addressed in a previous post. "Top 10 Lists" are just the new name for "Custom Lists" - and although most posters here felt "Custom Lists" was the better name, the decision was made to go with Top 10. Se la vie I guess...

    I'm going to also agree about the random review update speed, and point out that I too have nobody showing up in my "Members With Similar Tastes" box. Is this a bug?

    I'm keeping an open mind, but to be honest, I will likely jump straight over the Community page to the Friends Home, at least until more Friends stuff is incorporated in the main page. To me personally, the value of this area of the site is to get new movie suggestions, and to share movie experiences (ratings, reviews, discussions/debates) with my friends.

    Oh, and Michael: since you mentioned them, let me say that I'm happy to hear the "Most Loved/Hated" type stuff is coming back; that's the kind of stuff I LOVE about the friends section because it spurs conversation/debate among me and my friends. Thanks for bringing it back, and in my opinion, the more of that kind of stuff we can get, the better!

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  11. when r u guys going to get the silverlight project up and running?

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  12. The Latest Reviews refreshes so often that it is horribly distracting.

    Yes, this. Exactly.

    I really don't like pages full of moving, blinking, or scrolling things and the Latest Reviews section occupies quite a bit of real estate. A slow/off option would be great. Mousing over only works if I don't need my mouse to be doing something else.

    You can add me to this list of people who hates the quiz. I've never taken it, no matter what it was asking. All it does is annoy me by taking up the space that could be put to better use.

    In my version of an ideal world the Community page would be one that could be customized by the user, much like MyYahoo!.
    Also in that world the Top Ten Lists would be called Custom Lists or Member Lists, as I think that's a more accurate description of what they are.

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  13. Would be nice to be able to view other people's lists with my ratings. So when I am looking at someone's 5-star list, I will be able to easily see what movies I haven't watched. As it stands, I have to click on every movie on their list to see if I have rated it, and that's way too much work.

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  14. I have to also suggest slowing down the reviews. As more use that has to be a resource hog.

    I'm excited the see what new friends categories are coming though!

    Oh and I use the quiz as well.

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  15. I don't like how the Latest Reviews section keeps refreshing. It's annoying. I'd like to be able to rearrange the page and place the different modules where I want them or remove them completely. The quizzes are dumb, but I love them oh so much!

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  16. michael, from netflixJuly 31, 2007 at 6:59 AM

    Yup - we'll slow this "Latest Reviews" feed down. We wanted it fast enough that you noticed it was updating, but not so fast it was unusable or distracting. It seems to be the latter. We'll tune it.
    The quiz isn't going away - no need to vote on that one -- it's currently on the Friends page and will migrate to the Community Home when the other Friends elements come in.
    On other thing: you can always see how your ratings and those of the reviewers (or Friends) compare-- click on the RATINGS button in the sidebar of anyone. This is exactly what you are asking about... a side-by-side of their ratings and yours.
    Still working on the "People Sim to You glitch." thanks for understanding.

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  17. This is slightly off-topic, but I know you read these, so...

    I've found that there are certain movies that can't be added to custom lists. I.e., I start typing the title and the menu of possible movies pops up, but mine is never on it, even though it's a movie that exists and is in my queue. Not sure what to make of that. Thanks.

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  18. I'm really enjoying this scrolling ticker of the Netflix group-brain, but, as someone else said, the cursor isn't always available to act as traffic cop; plus, sometimes you want to linger and at other times zip through to the next batch. So, if technically possible, how about having a speed slider somewhere in the box so we can each determine our own refresh rate at any given moment? As for 'Friends' now being a sub-set of 'Community', I don't quite understand all the squawking. I know people that never use 'Friends' anyway, and who very much welcome this opening up of the Netflix Universe to get to more movies and like-minded reviewers. And since none of these things seem to be mutually exclusive, and can just be ignored if you don't like them, what exactly is the problem here?

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  19. I'm not interested in the new community front page; I would prefer the Community tab bypass that page and go straight to the Friends page.

    The ticker's way too fast (being addressed), but there are two other annoying factors: they're mostly movies I've already seen (if I rated it 1 star, why do I care a random person rated it 5?). And in the case of films I haven't seen, what's my similarity to these random reviewers (should I have any reason to trust them?).

    The local favorites also seems arbitrarily added to fill space, since it's already at the bottom of the home page.

    Also my similar members is empty (being addressed).

    And I still think it's goofy to say Top 10 Lists. Just say 'Top Lists'; what's the controversy there?

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  20. The reviews sections updates way too quickly and is distracting. There should be a way to shut it off. Working on slowing it down would be nice as well.

    The second problem is that when you click on "read the rest of the review", if that review isn't on the front page, you have to search for it.

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  21. "you can always see how your ratings and those of the reviewers (or Friends) compare-- click on the RATINGS button in the sidebar of anyone"

    Doh! Thanks!

    The Latest Reviews and Top 10 Lists should have a minimum Sim% (maybe 60%?). Completely random reviews and lists seems pretty pointless.

    The Latest Reviews don't always stop scrolling when I put the mouse over them. Only had it happen a couple times and don't know why. Using Safari on Mac.

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  22. "In my version of an ideal world the Community page would be one that could be customized by the user, much like MyYahoo!."

    Yes, being able to customize or at least minimize the sections we aren't interested in would be great.

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  23. This is very minor, but...

    When on a page other than the community page, put the mouse over the Community tab and the line under it disappears and when you move the mouse off it doesn't unhighlight.

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  24. I'm impressed at how Netflix has gone all Media 2.0 on us! Very progressive. Kudos!

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  25. When I click on a member under "Members with similar taste to you", then I click on the righthand side their ratings, all the ratings of theirs that I can see are their 5 star ratings. There's no drop down box or anything to view any of their 4/3/2/1 star ratings.

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  26. michael, from netflixJuly 31, 2007 at 1:14 PM

    re: only 5-star ratings.
    You know, we're still mulling this over. I'm predisposed to making everyones full ratings available - clean and simple. But there is something that likes just showing your "Favorites" as a quick read that you may or may not have something in common. I like that it creates another realm of privacy (by not rating something 5 stars), which i think is good. AND I KNOW that smart active folks like y'all would just say "make it a preference setting and allow everyone to decide for themselves whether they want to show 5 stars or all ratings..." but as you now know about me, I believe this is a sort of cop out - and know that most people do not set these things and that this makes the site just that much more complicated. It's not a BAD idea, but it's not the solution to every problem. It's 5 stars ratings now, and the vote is out on revealing the rest. We'll probably just do it, but its not going to happen tomorrow.

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  27. I rather like the 5-star only limitation. I've seen tons of really bad movies I'd rather not have public. Though if they were made public, it wouldn't be all that big of a deal.

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  28. "In my version of an ideal world the Community page would be one that could be customized by the user, much like MyYahoo!"

    Holy crap! If Netflix adds enough features to make it worthwhile, this would be the coolest thing ever! And it would make everyone happy. Well, almost everyone.

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  29. lame:
    "top 10 lists" as a title for the custom lists section makes no sense, and seems totally arbitrary.
    the scrolling reviews box makes the members quiz box just below it jump every time it changes. it's also too fast, and should have a "pause" button or link (even if putting the cursor over it pauses it)

    cool:
    at least you are trying new things.

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  30. hey the new lastest reviews are updating so fast i dont even have time to read them before there gone yu may want to see about slowing the refersh down a bit or making some kind of pause button although it is a nice feature

    p.s. im using IE 7 for me browser.

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  31. I LOVE this new community feature.
    I do take the friends quiz and don't care if it's stupid. What's really stupid is the 'wanna discuss' feature. If I hated a movie because it was dumb, I don't want to discuss it w/ my friends who thought it was the best thing ever made.

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  32. Some feature that makes it easier to find local members more easily would be cool.

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  33. I've mentioned this on another thread, but I'd like a low-bandwidth option for viewing the community pages as well as my queue. Stars used to automatically disable when your queue was over 100. I'd like to be able to hide the stars when I need my queue to load faster.

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  34. "...most people do not set these [preference settings]..."

    Agreed, Michael, but maybe if all the site options could be enabled/disabled on one clearly labeled 'preferences' page rather than, say, a couple being on the accounts page and another on the 'profile' page accessed via the 'Reviews and Lists' link, and so on, people might find it easier to customize their site experience to suit their usage. Because, let's face it, this one-size-fits-all ideal is obviously producing considerable chafing out there! But, as with everything else, much, much easier said than done, I'm sure.

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  35. michael, from netflixJuly 31, 2007 at 7:05 PM

    William: I agree with you. There will always be some preference settings required, and at the very least, we need to aggregate all those settings into a single simple page. Right now they are in fact spread out. This is definitely an area that needs attention.

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  36. i'm new to netflix one thing i don't like is that when i'm adding movies to my Q it jumps pages on me and brings up other movies i may like. then i can't get back to where i was.

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  37. It's Tuesday night and I guess you haven't fixed the Latest Reviews changing constantely quickly. Even if I did want to check them out they are gone by the time I think about it and watching the page makes me fell ill. Other than being nauseating they are pretty worthless. I just don't have any interest in reading what people I don't know say about movies I don't want to watch. I do read reviews from members on movies I'm interested in and I might be interested in reading a very slow scrolling review list selected just for me based on the members "high % similar to me".

    The Members Top 10 Lists (stupid name for Custom Lists)doesn't seem to be chosen for me and I don't care what movies are on random peoples lists. I do check the lists of members with a high % similar to me.

    The Movies for my zip code are fine but I liked it better when I could select them under browse. I don't really care what people in my area are watching and it isn't going to influence me to rent something.

    It's just hard for me to believe that a decision was made to take away the recommendation stars which were so helpful and work so hard on putting up a page that seems to highlight random movies and members unlike me.

    I'd rather see the stars back, a comment section on the queue page and a notation as to which movies in the queue are play now. Those things, I feel, would bring you many praises from appreciative members.

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  38. Since you do have so many people who think the quiz is kinda dumb (myself included), could you provide a way to turn it off, or at least hide it and then remember the preference?

    Also, I like the scrolling ratings, but a lot of the users have very low similarity ratings. It seems to defeat the purpose.

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  39. So I scrolled down to the bottom of my community page to see who is similar to me, and while I was there I noticed that the page seems to "jump" a little bit every time the reviews scroll. It's almost as if the size of that control changes by a couple of pixels every time the content shifts, but then the effect gets magnified because everything below it has to adjust, as does the floating sidebar on the right side. It's quite distracting.

    (Using Firefox 2.0.0.6 on WinXP)

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  40. I don't use Friends (yet?) but welcome any way to come up with new movies to watch and love the sims. Would like to find them in one place.

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  41. I don't use Friends (yet). Would like an easier way to find all my sims and get ideas for movies for the queue. Get me Bobby please. I've been waiting for months.

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  42. Ditto what Eric said about the Members with Similar Reviews box jumping when the reviews refresh. And it seems like it's more than a couple of pixels. It's pretty annoying.

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  43. mea culpa! we should have known you weren't getting rid of the friends. everything looks great. it is a little crowded but so much so that it's annoying.

    i wouldn't chalk the quiz up to guilty pleasure. i'd chalk it up to those school "fill in the bubble" tests. we're all pavlov's dog when it comes to those.

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  44. oh and will there be a way to stop the reviews from scrolling. you have to be a speed reader for most of them.

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  45. I'm one of those who said they don't care about reading strangers' reviews, but I have to say, I find the scrolling reviews sort of fascinating. It's as if by scrolling they somehow become newsworthy and important. Probably just a psychological trick, but it's working on me. The top 10 lists on the right are still of no interest. Maybe if they scrolled? (kidding)

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  46. I'm another pleasantly surprised skeptic. Having an opinion attached to a movie, whether you agree with it or not, is much more interest-piquing than just a list of recommended movie titles. And the sheer range of them obviously exceeds anything that a software program tailored to our rental and rating histories could come up with - because even I didn't know I'd be interested in some of the movies that I've seen come down the vertical pike. So you can add my mea culpa to the list. There was probably a mass outcry about the wheel too when that was first rolled out.

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  47. With two calls to Netflix customer service, I've now been instructed to post my problem here. Mine is specific to Friends. Curently, I have only one friend linked, however, I would like to have more.

    Here is the problem: What I see as my queue and what she sees as my queue are completely different. The ranked order of my movies is way off. Her version of my queue shows my top ten as movies which are, in actuality, relegated to my queue's bottom, in the 300's. Also, she has let me know that my movies never change in order. It's as if I never get any of my top movies. Ever. The same movies have been listed for months with no change.

    As you might be able to understand, this has made for a very frustrating experience. And, I dare say that if I am experiencing this problem, others are too. You just wouldn't know it unless you compare lists side by side as we did one day on the computer. I logged in to my account and pulled up my queue. She logged in to her account in another window and pulled up her version of my queue as reported by Netflix Friends. The queues are not even similar! Of course, when we did this in reverse, my version of her queue completely matched what it should be. (Did I mention yet how frustrated I was?)

    Because of this, I see no point for me to continue using the Friends/ Community part of the website. What Netflix is reporting to be my queue to my one and only friend is absolutely innaccurate. I do like the concept of the feature and would like to add other friends, but really, for what?

    Can anyone possibly help? Bless their hearts, but customer service really hasn't a clue.

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  48. Bless their hearts, but customer service really hasn't a clue.

    This seems to be the case no matter what you call them about. I don't see this as being the fault of the reps themselves, but rather of those in customer service management.

    How sad is it that customer service is telling somone to post to a blog to get a question answered?

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  49. I look forward to the actual Friends being more integrated. As it stands, the new Community page doesn't interest me much. I find myself just clicking into my Friends' page. Can there be an option as to which is the landing page?

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  50. Not sure where to address this..but I know that I used to be able to view (easily) what my friends had at home.

    Now, if I am even able to find it, I am scrolling through a long list of movies to see a very small 'at home' printed above them.

    In the friends area..can't it have a tab for queue, rated/watched/ and at home?

    I think that there are too many changes too quickly, it is hard to keep up.

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  51. I was just taking a look at the new community tab, and I noticed what appeared to be a decent review about a movie I have in my queue. Intrigued, I clicked on the "Read Full Review" link, only to find that the review I was reading wasn't anywhere on the page it took me to. Instead, I was just taken to the "Member Reviews" tab of the movie's page. After glancing over six pages of other reviews I finally gave up on finding the rest of the one I wanted to see.

    I have to admit that I never thought this feature would ever be worth anything in the first place, so I was pleasantly surprised when the random feed actually produced something interesting. However, my positive feelings quickly subsided when I realized that my find was nothing more than a tease and a wild goose chase.

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  52. I couldn't help but notice the slight changes to the site layout tonight. I guess the label for the "Community" tab didn't last long...

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  53. Really like the new things happening with the Community/Friends tab. I especially like looking at the top ten lists. For some reason, I'm mesmerized by those. One little thing that would add to the Top Ten lists however would be a "see more" link to see the next page of lists. I realize you can just hit refresh, but a more link could take you to a page full of lists.

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  54. Oh, look! It's August 4th, 2:15pm PDT, and we are back to the tab being labeled "Community" again.

    With the repeated reminders that the features must be kept easy to use and simple for even the most basic user, I have to wonder about the constant back-and-forth of the name change.

    Since many of us are wondering, could we maybe get some clarification on the name of the "Members' Top Ten Lists" section? The list itself consists of links to twelve other lists, and none of those lists consist of 12 titles - most have more, some have less, but none have ten. I can't for the life of me figure out how the number ten pertains to anything about that section.

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  55. and none of those lists consist of 12 titles

    ooops...that should be "10 titles" not 12

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  56. I want the Friends area to dominate the community tab.

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  57. I'm finding that the 'Community' tab keeps changing to 'Your Friends' and back again, a bit like those holographic cards whose image changes as you tilt them - is this maybe to reflect our own schizophrenia in voting for 'Community' but then bleating that 'Friends' should be the access portal? If so, a round of one hand clapping and drinks for all.

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  58. Re : Scrolling Reviews - As someone else pointed out, when we click "read the full review" we really should be taken to THAT review, not just to the movie page to spend 10 minutes searching for it (if it's no longer one of the 3 latest ones); otherwise we might as well just click on the movie that they're writing about. But on the plus side at least it's an incentive keep 'em short and pithy, because who but a friend or relative would be interested enough in our unfinished thought to undertake such a search every time we exceed 200 (or so) characters?!

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  59. Friends Uploader WannabeAugust 5, 2007 at 6:26 PM

    I am a latent Friends user. I would use the feature if I knew which of my friends were Netflix subscribers. But I'm simply not going to chew up valuable time sending out emails to friends who may not be on Netflix.

    Please, create a feature (like Facebook) that lets me search my address book email lists for friends who are on Netflix and then I'll invite them to join.

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  60. "But I'm simply not going to chew up valuable time sending out emails to friends who may not be on Netflix."

    @Wannabe - Netflix has already posted an invite to send to any friends in our address books that might be interested (and obviously only Netflix subscribers will be) :

    http://www.netflix.com/BeMyFriend/
    P8GsqCQhwKTpRifoK1Od

    Isn't up to us rather than NF to take it from there?

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  61. Things are getting too busy with the pages and tabs. Please don't complicate the interface too much.

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  62. USING MS OUTLOOK TO CONNECT TO FRIENDSAugust 7, 2007 at 4:07 PM

    I NEED MORE WAYS TO CONNECT WITH FRIENDS!!!

    FIRST STEP WOULD LET ME CHECK MY MS OUTLOOK CONTACTS AGAINST CURRENT (AND FORMER) NETFLIX MEMBERS TO SEE WHICH OF MY CONTACTS ARE ALREADY OR HAVE PREVIOUSLY BEEN ON NETFLIX AND MIGHT WANT TO BE A FRIEND.

    I'D ALSO LIKE TO SEND MEMBER REVIEWS TO FRIENDS I LIKE, SORT OF THE WAY YOU CAN DO WITH MANY NEWS ARTICLES ON THE WEB.

    WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THESE OPTIONS? PRETTY SIMPLY TO PROGRAM I SUSPECT AND THE INVITE FRIENDS PAGE IS NOT REALLY CLUTTERED AT ALL. GOOD LUCK.

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  63. I cannot ever play the quiz because the two friends that I have both have the same first name. So I never know who the quiz is talking about. Surely I am not the only person who has this problem. The simple solution is to add last names to the quiz.


    Jason

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  64. I would love to be able to "friend" people on netflix who have a high% similarity to me so we can trade movie titles, etc. It should be easy since netflix doesnt show much personal info at all!

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  65. This is the first "social network interaction" I've ever done...I don't blog & all the Facebook/MySpace stuff leaves me cold. But I love Netflix Friends and have used it a lot - guess that gets one toe in the water. I stumbled today on your Community stuff and will try to learn to use it (who says old dogs can't learn?) - but my comment is that I would prefer to skip the reviews from people I don't know/don't care about - the thing that comes up on the page at first. Any way to set my preferences so that only my Friends comes up when I click the Community tab?

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  66. i Like the quiz!! make them better !!

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  67. I liked the quizzes at first but they repeat too much, maybe because no one rates as much as I do, so I rarely even notice it anymore.

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