Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Your Suggestions

[REVISED; Originally posted 5/31/07]
Let's create a list of features -- your "wish" list -- and we will keep re-editing this list as new ideas surface. Some of this info repeats the earlier listing, but this entry will be the edited and re-edited as the definitive input from your comments. (And soon -- but not yet -- we're all going to work together to put these in some kind of priority order.)(Italics in the list now represents wishes that have been all or mostly addressed at this point) Hang on:

1) Confused by the random avatar.
2) Wish you could select from a set of prebuilt avatars instead of uploading.
3) Prevent gaming the system by multiple self-voting (i.e. Helpful) in Reviewer pages;
4) Worried these new features will slow down the site experience
5) Sort Movie Reviews by Similarity % (or by date, or by pretty much anything)
6) Be able to find people with high similarity (e.g. the top 5 people similar to me), and hang onto people you've found.
7) Need to edit/delete reviews beyond first page;
8) Email notifications of major changes at the website
9) Able to add movies to Custom Lists directly from the movie page
10) Why truncate nicknames?
11) Miss the personal description (bio) part of Profiles
12) Changing the order of movies in Custom Lists;
13) Custom Lists problems adding some titles (ie. need a "MORE" button if the title you want doesn't come up first). (Workaround is #9)
14) Message boards on various movie topics so folks w/o Friends can still chat etc.
15) Allow option for non-Friends to leave you notes
16) APIs available for external development
17) Flag Reviews as "Not a Review" to get rid of bogus content, spam, or gripes...
18) "View Myself" ability to see your entire profile as others see you -- to verify Privacy, to see what they are seeing, etc.

1) Average ratings for you and each of your Friends;
2) Loved by your Friends and Recommended for you suggestions;
3) An Overview page for each Friend, not just ratings or queue;
4) Edit/Delete Movie Notes with your Friends
5) Disable/control email notices about Movie Notes being created
6) Film level privacy control -- to hide certain movies from Friends or others
7) Persistent notes (a la the old MiniReviews) such that new Friends can see old notes.
8) Notebook organization a bit wonky, and should include more info from the Friends Activity (ie ratings, etc that are mentioned in F.A.) and ability to sort or view only received notes.
9) Options for faster loading of Friends detail pages (ie Queue, Ratings)
10) Hide real name (and location) from Friends. In other words, allow "anonymous" Friends.
11) Bring back the "Purple Dude" icon
12) Import Gmail (et al) address book for Friends and Tell-A-friend invites
13) Clean up Privacy page and/or interaction -- with alphabetical access and/or access from Queue

GENERAL (non-Community) -
1) Confusing UI with the tabs, subtabs, side nav
2) Visual (spacing) confusion with the wider pages and the new sidebar
3) Better info/filmography (more complete--like Screenwriter) on actor/director pages and movie display pages
4) 1/2 Star Ratings
5) Bring back the "Shooting Star" icon
6) Polls on blog for new features
7) Move "language and sound" and "subtitle" info higher on movie pages
8) Sort rated movies by rating date, by genre, stars, release date, alpha, etc.

Hopefully y'all are starting to feel the steady forward progress here. Not everything is going to get addressed, but of course there will be other new interesting features not listed here--which in turn will give you more ideas for improvements. In the few months expect more significant changes to this part of the site. (But not this week. I'm on vacation this week...)


  1. After reading through the list, the few that stick out to me are:

    * Community #5 (Sort reviews by similarity)
    * Community #16 (published APIs) - imagine what the community would come up with!
    * Community #17 ("Not a Review" flag)
    * Friends #3 (Friends overview pages)
    * Friends #4 (Edit/Delete notes)
    * Friends #7 (Persistent notes)
    * Friends #8 (Fix notebook)
    * Friends #11 (Purple dude) - I realize there were issues with this though
    * General #4 (1/2 Stars)

  2. The ability to sort and reorganize the queue by genre and other variables.

  3. Feature Availability indicator. When I know a feature is out, like the drag and drop, is it possible to put a time frame for that feature being rolled out to me?

  4. Thanks for the very comprehensive and re-assuring consolidation, Michael, given that so many excellent [as well as nuttily nit-picky!] suggestions are now scattered far and wide in dozens of ongoing and archived threads. Have a great and VERY well-earned vacation!

  5. Thanks for your great work... especially the movie privacy! I love having more options with continued ease of use. Looking forward to changes like the 1/2 star ratings and people being able to contact each other without sacrificing privacy.

  6. And PS, Michael, as your sit there on the beach with your head in your hands thinking 'why, why, why did we open Pandora's Community Box?', please remember that for every suggestion/whine we have for you and your great team, we have ten for our fellow Netflixers who, for instance, don't bother to read an 'R' rating that warns of 'nudity and profanity' and then post an outraged 'review' about all the nudity and profanity, or vote 'unhelpful' whenever a review, however insightful, doesn't exactly parrot what they think, or complain that the Antonioni movie they rented, 'Love 'n' Tourer' [a romantic travel story?] is in Italian....

  7. Just discovered the blog, this is great.

    I'm most interested in queue features at the moment. As mentioned before "The ability to sort and reorganize the queue by genre and other variables," would be fantastic. I'd also like to see it expanded beyond 500. To make these features work in the context of an queue, I think you'd have to separate the pool of films you want to see from the ordered list of what you want to see next. Maybe if we had bulk of the list - the 'To see' pool, available to browse and sort in many different ways making it longer wouldn't be a problem. Then we could have a separate 'Queue' of just the next 20 or so movies (depending on plan size) in the order we prefer to receive them. If people forget to re-stock their queue then it would draw randomly from the pool or perhaps from movies in the pool of the individual's preferred genre. Hopefully the pool drawing mechanism would be smart - for example it wouldn't draw disc three of a six disc series, or something.

  8. Giving us the ability to communicate with one another and ending the politicization of review order are my two big ones. Conservatives and right-wing nuts with too much free time are obviously out in full force when average ratings of films are 3.5-3.6 (Fahrenheit 9/11, Brokeback Mountain, Saved, Good Night & Good Luck, etc), yet the reviews with the most positive votes are one-, two- & more negative three-star reviews. While four- & five-star reviews have been voted to the bottom. (Note that we can only rate a film once. We can rate a review multiple times.) Aside from voiding all votes on reviews on films where this has obviously happened, I don't know how you can correct what's already done.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. HEAR, HEAR, Mort. Only being able to vote once, and NOT FOR ONESELF should be a major priority. And as for the Unstable Minority, case in point 'Babel' - average rating : 3.3.; yet negative reviews out of 1,927 : 1,912. Much, much, MUCH too much free time on their hands!!!

  11. Great list! You guys rock for working so hard on this stuff, keeping us in the loop, and listening to what we have to say! Too few companies do that, and I hope that we, in the midst of our suggestions and complaints, don't forget to mention our appreciation once in a while.

    And now, suggestions. :) These are mostly random, out-of-the-blue things that occurred to me while reading the list. On the pages for actors and directors (especially directors, I would say, but others might disagree), it would be nice to be able to see which of their films are not available. I mean, if I look up Jean-Luc Godard, I can see all of his films that are on DVD, which makes sense, since you're a DVD rental company, but it would be nice to see ones that aren't available on DVD (or are out of print) so I know immediately what I'm not going to be able to find anywhere on DVD. (I spent a few hours looking for "2 ou 3 choses je sais d'elle" one time before I finally realized it had never been on DVD.

    I also like the idea of resorting the queue by variables rather than manually--or a "randomize" feature. Sort of related to that, I use multiple queues for myself to keep "general and new releases" separate from "TV shows" and "classic and foreign stuff I should watch"--this gives a more even distribution than I tend to give myself manually ordering a single queue. But it would be OH-SO-NICE to be able to manage all three from a single sign-on; could "multiple queues for one person" be somehow distinguished from "multiple queues for different family/account members"? I know that might be a larger undertaking than it seems, but it would sure be handy.

    I apologize; that was actually more than I had when I started writing this comment. If voting for priority, though, I'd vote for 1/2 stars as the thing I want the absolute most.

  12. I'd like to echo jandy's comments about the queues. It's really useful to be able to split my subscription over multiple accounts, but I'd also like to be able to have more than one queue per account. I know several people who have multiple queues (one for movies and one for TV shows or series discs, for example), but they don't really want them set up as separate accounts. Right now it's cumbersome to try and manage each queue since you have to log out and back in to switch between them. Plus they don't want all of the other features that come along with a separate account: separate ratings, separate friends, separate reviews, etc.

    It would also be nice if you would create some sort of queue/account migration tool. When I signed up for Netflix I immediately created a second account for my wife so that we can have separate queues, ratings, friends, etc. Most of my married friends would love to mimic that setup, but they're already heavily invested in a shared account. The thought of creating a new account and having to move movies one-by-one from one queue to the other is a daunting enough task that they just don't bother. And that doesn't even take into account what would happen if they want to transfer any reviews or ratings.

  13. Along the lines of separate queues for married couples (or, more generally, people with different profiles under the same account), it would be very nice if you could associate an email address with each profile's queue, so that the person that primarily uses a queue gets their own copy of the notification emails for that queue.

    This would be more helpful than me, the Netflix account owner, being the only one that gets all the notification emails (which contain the convenient link to rate the movie that someone under my account has just returned).

  14. Just wanted to chime in on the 1/2 stars (General #4) idea. I've often wished there were an option between "disliked" and "liked"...

  15. I would like to be able to identify people that who are 90% and up compatible with me. Currently I don't know of a way to do this now.

  16. Absolutely love the progress that's being made, and look forward to seeing these ideas implemented.

    A few minor things:

    It'd be nice to occasionally include "new discs" under new releases--by that I mean, if there's a new edition of an old movie out, please include it. Part of the reason I love Netflix is the access it gives me to older movies that you can't find in theaters or rental shops. (And I'd like to take this time to plug "Sleuth"; please get a new copy of that in).

    I don't know if it's been addressed, but I miss being able to put a minireview under the items in my custom lists.

    And you mentioned starting discussion boards for people with no listed friends. I do have some listed friends, but that doesn't mean I don't want to discuss film with strangers I may or may not add to my friends list.

  17. Just thought of something to add on to that last post: Maybe there could be an area where users could request and vote on new discs they'd like to see enter rotation.

  18. And maybe an alternative to the Top 100, which seems to rank movies based solely on how many people are renting them, not on the ratings they're being given. You could expand that to genres as well.

  19. Another thing, Michael. Do you think that we could expand cast listings, as you'd mentioned before? We needn't know who "Waiter #2" and "kid with hat" are, but it would be nice if all the main and secondary players were listed, along with writers.

    Also, if there are any nude scenes, could you display photos of them so that we can see if it's anything we'd object to? (just kidding)

  20. Some vacation, eh Michael?

  21. I vote yes yes yes to the "allow accounts to have multiple queues" idea. I don't know how feasible it is, but it drives me crazy to have to switch logins just to manage my two queues.

    Also, a request to my fellow commenters: since this blog is supposed to be focused around Netflix, could we maybe put an end to the subversive insults and grinding of personal axes? All of the sudden this blog got quite politically charged over the last few days...

  22. ability to upload a *.gif as your avatar.

    ability to sort my queue by title and/or genre.

    a friend suggestor maybe. i'd like to have more friends just to see what others are watching. and the ability to say no i don't want to be suggested, spied on, etc.

  23. Fair point, Shaun [guilty as charged], but where else to address one's frustration with all the 'subversive insults and grinding of personal axes' that often reduce the review section to a forum on moral relativism rather than a thoughtful evaluation of the movies we're trying to learn more about? These technical tweaks are all fine and dandy, but isn't this site ultimately about movies, and all the NEW places and ideas they can take us to? But I apologize for hauling in my own baggage, and will respectfully bow out of the discussion.

  24. I think I might vote against .gif avatars...If used because of .gif's transparency capability, that's fine; but a screen full of animated avatars could become annoying VERY quickly.

    Multiple Top 100 ranks would be good, too. Maybe instead of the "popular in your area" rank, which is next-to-useless to me, anyway. Apparently my town has extremely mediocre mainstream taste, and seeing it all the time just depresses me.

  25. Shaun, I do apologise if my comments seem unwarranted or offensive, but I don't think they are. You will not find me (someone to the left of most Americans) reviewing or voting on reviews of films aimed at those on the right. Clearly, on the films I mentioned and many others, there are people posting reviews and voting up and down reviews with a political agenda. I'm not talking about being intelligently critical of the premise of a documentary, which I believe I've done--to a left-leaning documentary. There is no way to entirely keep politics out of this website, nor should we. But when one group seems to make a concerted effort at silencing another (by burying their reviews behind pages of reviews they deem appropriate) I'm going to voice that I object. Especially when those reviews do not reflect the opinions of viewers based on their ratings. When a film has an average rating of 3.5 or higher and the first 5-25 pages of reviews have nothing above two or three stars, this is clearly the case. I don't think that's an inappropriate topic for discussion on this blog.

  26. On my wish list:
    1.I agree with the others about more ways of sorting the queue - perhaps columns that we can just click on.
    2. Half stars or another star to indicate something between liked and disliked.
    3. A list of FAQs instead of just a search feature.
    4. Notice about new features, changes in account pricing, etc. on the home page.
    5. Ability to sort lists in different ways, also.
    6. Another column while browsing movies to sort by date.
    7. A forum to actually discuss the movies.
    8. I would like to see the custom lists just called "Lists," since I use mine mainly to supplement the queue, but they could be different things to different people.

    A big thanks for all you do and for allowing us to convey our wishes.

  27. mort, pt:

    I totally agree that there are a lot of problems with the review system. People rate a movie poorly if it has subtitles, was damaged, disagrees with their political views, or one of a hundred other different reasons. I totally agree with you that this paints an unfair picture of many movies (including many good ones), and that the ability to "weed out" these reviews is necessary. All I was getting at was that not all of these reviews are political in nature, and they're not all from the same demographic of people. I guess I felt that the issue itself could be discussed without explicitly calling out groups of such people who contribute to it. Isn't it sufficient to discuss the culprits in broad terms?

    To be fair though, the comments on this blog aren't nearly as bad as the crap I see from people on IMDB. :)

  28. Pornography warning on "NR" or not rated titles.

  29. I agree with Mort. Upon integration of the "vote for a review only once" rule, void all previous numbers (133 out of 245 voted helpful). If that can't be done, void all the reviews and we can start from scratch.

    And Mort, it's not just the conservatives, look at what the youngsters (arguable liberals) have done to quality films squarely aimed at a more mature audience, while giving their own films 5 stars and voting 500 times on their reviews (Good Shepherd).

  30. Two things I would like to see:

    1. The ability to flag a review as not applicable - those that complain about not getting the disk, it was cracked, etc.

    2. A rating between "liked It" and "Didn't Like It" maybe "Neutral" or "Eh". I have tried to see a few movies I didn't really care for, but didn't actively dislike either.

  31. Just a thought, but with no real solution that comes to mind. Requesting a movie that we can't find in the database isn't straightforward. First, we have to go to help and then we have to do a topic search. Not that this is difficult, but it isn't really transparent. And when we do this, we get no feedback whatsoever as to what happens with the request. There are several movies I've requested that I know are in print, but have yet to show up as being available or even listed as "release date unknown." They just don't show up at all. So it's a bit frustrating.

    My only idea would be a section of the site that deals with requests like these. Maybe something telling what movies have been requested and how many times and maybe the status for each one. Maybe a forum/message board for this type of thing.

    I'm not really sure of what the solution is, but I'd like to see something that's a bit more user friendly and informational.

  32. This is a democracy, guys...I don't think you should erase anybody's review even if it is political. Only those comments that are clearly not a review such as "disc cracked", movie in chinese, therefore couldn't watch it" etc, should be flagged and removed. Those wanting a professional review and a more accurate rating can check rottentomatoes or metacritic. But I think we have to be patient. Everybody is entitled to an opinion, which will always be biased by each other's own belief system, anyway.

  33. I would like to be able to suggest corrections to movie listings without having to go to the "contact us" page. I had to copy and paste the movie's link so I could be sure you would know which movie contained the mistake, but I think if you had a link on each movie's page like "report an error" or something, it would be easier.

  34. I agree that reviews should not be removed just because they reflect differing opinions.

    What I do think we should be able to flag for review and possible removal are those "reviews" that are not in any way pertinent to the content of the film itself. Then I would like to see action taken on the requests where applicable. I know that we can report reviews now for a few transgressions, but is anything ever done?

    Example - after watching a documentary on a political figure I was reading through the reviews and came to one that was written by someone who claimed to have spent a few months last year working for the person profiled in the film. The author of the review claimed to have witnessed incidents of sexual harassment by the person profiled. Nothing of this nature has ever been reported in the news, and considering the stature of this person in the US political world, it would be all over the news if charges were filed - now or at any time in the past. I have flagged this "review" for objectionable content three times now over several months, yet as of yesterday it was still there.

  35. How about having all the suggestions posted, converted into a vote-layout where we could all vote on what we would like to see rolled out next, and then you guys would have an idea of what we feel is important for us as members and users of the site?

  36. @CL - Perhaps their system isn't letting you flag multiple times (making your 3 votes really only 1 vote), and if it is like most community flagging systems, it will take more than just one person flagging to make something happen. I suppose that if no one besides you is flagging, not much is going to happen.

    @ Others -- Am I missing something? I didn't see anything in the post that said they were going to remove politically charged reviews. (Actually, I don't see reviews being removed at all). I'm not sure what everyone is debating.

    My vote here: sorting the movie reviews by the similarity percent.

  37. Walterm: I can only speak for myself, but I never intended to suggest that reviews should be removed if people review a film negatively for questionable reasons. When I suggested "weeding out" reviews I guess I was particularly referring to "non-reviews", i.e. "the disc was scratched".

    There already is a way of weeding out reviews you disagree with; namely, by voting it "non helpful". Then again, I don't see that as the proper use for the feature. In my opinion, if it contains helpful information, regardless if you agree with it or not, it should be considered "helpful". However, even the downvoting system won't quite help those on the blog that are apparently part of a smaller minority of viewers whose votes will be outweighed by the majority. But unfortunately that's just the way the world works. In my opinion, as long as it is a bonafide review and doesn't contain questionable content, it should stay...

  38. I think Mort's earlier point is getting lost here, that it sometimes seems (and there's obviously no way of knowing for sure ) that the word has gone out to strongly discourage the viewing of certain movies with a well co-ordinated series of - not just negative - but apoplectic reviews/tirades, and an avalanche of 'unhelpful' votes so that, with this vote-centric stacking system, one has to determinedly scroll through many pages of 1 and 2 star reviews to get to a 4 or 5 star one, even when the averaged vote is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. Solution? Either have those that liked the movie become equally motivated and pro-active (to Jane's democratic point), or introduce a work-around this disproportionate negative representation by being able to list reviews many different ways, which seems to be in the works anyway. Peace out!

  39. ps. To be clear, the 'avalanche of unhelpful votes' obviously being for positive reviews, with a commensurate amount of 'helpful' votes for negative reviews to make it appear that most people hated a movie, when that's in fact NOT the case.

  40. you sould make the friends list like myspace... we can also view some peoples movie profiles and also can friend request anyone.

  41. 1) I miss the ability to see ratings for all of my friends on one page.
    2) I hope you develop the "Watch Now" feature quickly, as I have a Mac and use Firefox.
    3) The "Buy Now" rows on my Queue are rather obnoxious (I realize you have financial/legal obligations, but if they were smaller or off to the side it'd be much easier to read when there are clumps of movies all for sale).
    4) Add "Exclude movies you've seen/rated" where it isn't already - Watch Now, Local Favorites, etc.
    5) Ability to delete an account profile.
    6) Ability to sort filmographies / award lists by years, so if I want to watch all Scorsese's in order, I don't have to make a separate Excel spreadsheet.

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. This is non community feature that I finally figured out and thought I should post. The search engine has always been insufficient in some ways, but I figured that when it shows that it finds a record and then can't pull it up it has completely failed me. Every once in awhile I have a moment and forget how to spell, and I trust that search engines will try and compensate. Unfortunately I found a bug.

    Any time you are trying to search for a title with adouble consonant and leave one out it will show it finds a record, but you can not view it.

    For example: Try search the title "Girl Interrupted" comes up just fine. Now Search "Girl Interupted". It shows one match but says that there is no matching criteria. You can try the same thing with "Hitchhiker", just leaver out the second "H" and you will see.

    Just hoping someone is working on making our search window more useful. Thank you.

  44. I think you should bring back an old feature - an icon that shows which of your friends watched and rated the movie you are scrolling over. I belive that feature also showed the number of stars your friends rated it.

  45. We already have the ability to see how our ratings match with other members. You see the 73% or 81% next to their name. The feature I wish to see is that same system applied to Roger Ebert and the other paid movie critics. I want to see my percent compared to Roger Ebert. I bet it would be around 15%. The reason I wish to see this feature is so I can find actual film critics that I can trust, read their past and current reviews, and add their picks to my queue on Netflix.

  46. I'd like to see reviews of films sorted by percentage similar to you. I'm much more interested in what somebody who's 85% similar to me thinks of a film than somebody 23%.

  47. I think the "was this helpful" system for ranking of reviews is close to useless. People who "love" a movie give a thumbs up to every positive review, and thumbs down to three-star and less reviews. People with a negative view of the movie are happy to express their opinion and move on, meaning there is no counter balance to the fans. (This of course can work in the opposite way if the movie is truly horrible, but the result is the same: you have to wade through the prevailing opinion to get to reviews with some balance.)

    It's absurd, for a move with hundreds of reviews (and fans with questionable taste) to have to click NEXT>NEXT>NEXT just to get to a few honestly critical reviews.

    If you intend to keep the system, at least provide a way to filter the reviews.

    (Meanwhile, exposing reviewers' anonymous 5-star lists, reviews, etc., is a great leap forward!)

  48. Could you please provide an advanced search with the ability to choose "whole word or phrase", filter on genre, etc.?

    For example, if I search for "Toei" (the name a Japanese film distribution company), I get:

    "Your search for 'toei' resulted in 4883 general search matches and 196 matches for instant watching..."

    and the first two "popular" matches are "Robert De Niro" and "The Da Vinci Code".

  49. I think we're all agreed that the current review system doesn't work, for all the reasons that Nibiru mentions, in addition to the fact that the first page or two naturally get set in stone very quickly with the lion's share of the votes, so it's often more a matter of first-come-first-served and prolificness [certain recurring names hardly needing to be named!] than actual 'helpfulness'. But Michael's list suggests that this is already being looked into, with various different ways to re-shuffle the reviews to get to the ones that we personally find helpful rather than it just being a numbers game. We wait with baited breaths, oh ye Netflix gods!

  50. michael, from netflixJuly 21, 2007 at 3:02 PM

    (not gods, but yes, we listen, yes we're working on it, and with luck, you won't have to wait too long.) Listening to everyone's debate is helpful for us. Sometimes y'all say the words we're thinking but having trouble articulating, and sometimes you feel deeply for something we have a hunch about, but like the encouragement that we're working in the right direction. Clearly, when you folks debate topics, it helps everyone imagine some of the debate we have internally but probably aren't going to post here. Lots to do. Lots of good ideas. Thanks, and keep em flowing...

  51. When evaluating people who have a high "Similar To You" percentage, I'd like to see how many in-common movies that percentage is based on. If its only 5, I won't put as much trust in it. Next most important is how many movies the other person rated five stars that I rated one star. I'd like to see a list of those movies for each member I'm evaluating. I don't care so much about the movies I didn't finish because nothing grabbed my interest; rather, I want to see if there are any movies on that list that I hated and hope never to see the likes of again. Finally, once I've decided I don't have similar taste to a member, I want to be able to screen out their reviews so I don't come across them again and have to reevaluate them.

  52. Re the 'search' function, I agree with others about its being overly insistent on letter-perfect spelling, often either announcing "your search found no matches" or throwing up 86 vaguely related names and titles rather than "did you mean such 'n' such, peabrain?", like most search engines do when you're only 1 or 2 letters off.

  53. I have a suggestion about leaving notes. Can it be possible to get rid of the limit on how long our Notes can be. I want to tell my friends what I think and create a forum with them, but we can't write enough. Reviews are different because they need to get approved. You should approach the Netflix Friend tab in a similar way to Myspace or Facebook, where we can also search for friends, add them, and constantly talk about movies. As well as control our settings, emails, privacy, etc.

  54. Thanks for providing a forum to actually listen to and solicit feedback from your customers. I don't know of any better way to provide services that your customers actually want - almost takes the guesswork out of it.

    My suggestion: just as you can divy up DVD "slots" among an account's profiles, please allow us to also divy up Instant Viewing time among the profiles. Currently, only the account owner even has the option to watch anything instantly. Also allow secondary profiles to see what's available for purchase, and receive their own notifications when movies are shipped/received from their queue.

    In short, treat the secondary profiles as just another account, giving the account owner the option to limit the activities allowed by the users of the secondary profiles.

  55. (Topic : writing reviews) Forgive me if this is a cretinous question, but is there a way to underline/italicize/make 'bold' certain words in a review? I've obviously tried the standard Java Script shortcuts. If not, is that something that others might find useful, since I see a lot of 'shouting' upper case? I'm on a Mac, if that make any difference.

  56. Techno-challenged movie loverJuly 23, 2007 at 2:05 PM

    Boy, reading this wish list and the hundreds of additional ones in the various threads is pretty dizzy making, especially to those of us that are pretty damn happy with the way Netflix is set up now. It seems the only way to keep everyone happyish after raising expectations so high would be to add as many features as technically possible, but then make them all optional so that each person can customize the site to their own needs. Because even though the 'power-users' are obviously dominating these pages some of us don't need or want all the bells and whistles, and 50 tabs on each page.

  57. mr. sanity clauseJuly 23, 2007 at 2:14 PM

    dear techno challenged m l, yours is the first sane voice I've read in days here. I'd hope Netflix will keep the rest of us in mind as they build all these features. More is not always better. There is elegance in simplicity. (Reading more of the posts here, it certainly looks like they understand this.) Pray.

  58. One suggestion that I have for Netflix is to be more forthcoming with information about problems it is having.

    When the Doctor Who Series 2 DVDs were pulled because of the data problems they had, there was never any info about when they would be replaced and start shipping again. It took a really long time for Netflix to replace those DVDs for some bizzare reason.

    The site is down right now and has been down for quite some time, but no information as to what is going on is forthcoming. All of the etas on when the site will be back up have been pushed farther and farther forward until they've apparently just given up and stopped trying to give an eta.

    More honest information up front would make users feel better when things are going wrong.

  59. Rough night? Be assured that lots of us went to bat for you out there with our 'shit happens' and 'read the new harry potter book' banners; although a little more info on the 'see ya soon' page might have defused some of the mounting hysteria. But hey, at least you were missed - and then some!

  60. michael, from netflixJuly 24, 2007 at 11:25 PM

    yes, not too many days in netflix's history quite like today. luckily.

    it was oddly bonding. and for many of us it was a work-as-usual day, building stuff, planning upcoming releases, debating the big questions. but thank you for your kind wishes. we who build the website do believe that most folks appreciate what we're trying to do--make our product and service better. i'd wager a guess, for instance, that our customer service is in good form these days: our 800 numbers finally easy to find, and calls answered almost immediately in almost all cases. (not that long ago, remember how the joke was that you couldn't even find an 800 number at the netflix site; don't hear that anymore, do you.) we've had various issues over the years that we've steadily been fixing, week by week. maybe the site's worse without the purple dude (yea, i still miss him), but his absence helps my ability to rapidly improve the community, and that's the way it is around here. we're deeply committed to month after month of pretty radical improvements. nothing like a day like today to sharpen everyone's focus. still, i'm glad it's almost tomorrow. cheers

  61. The ability to reserve and pay for kiosk-based DVDs located in my neighborhood directly through my Netflix queue/account, perhaps using promotional code system.

  62. Ability to flag age appropriateness in your review, like commonsense. Helps when you're renting for kids and nice thing to share among friends with kids.

  63. Ludite (a.k.a. ' t-c. l. m.')July 25, 2007 at 9:55 AM

    Dear Mr. Sanity Clause, reading Michael's excellent 'The Product Tax' suggests that he shares our prayers that elegance and simplicity not be sacrificed for 'coolness', so I think we're in good hands. And thank you for your lone-voice-in-the-wilderness support; not that some of these ideas aren't really good - we just don't need ALL of them!

  64. Just a quick one here, i think it'd be cool to be able to see how many hours of "watch now" time you've used up.

  65. @galivan - Do you mean total or per month? You can see the per month totals (how much you've used and how much you've got left) by clicking "Instant Watching Activity" on the "Your Account" page.

  66. One thing I would love seeing on Netflix is a release schedule for upcoming DVD releases. This is not a community/friends suggestion but I wonder if the feedback I send in through the site ever gets taken seriously so I figure I'd try here.

    A thorough and regularly updated schedule for future DVD releases is not easy to find. Netflix is good at updating their dates, but the only way to see them is to go to each movie's page. Why not take this data and put a page in New Releases (which is currently useless since I need to have that week's new releases already in-queue if I want to actually get them) where we can see ALL scheduled DVD releases for the near future? This would be a fantastic feature and would really help to ensure that people don't miss movies they'd be interested in simply because they weren't aware of its release.

  67. It would be very helpful if reviews were posted on our 'Reviews and Lists' page at the same time that they appear as one of the 3 'most recent reviews' so that any necessary corrections can be made right away. As it is, with the 24 hour or so time lag, the review has often already been exiled to back-page oblivion before we can edit it. Is there some policy or technical reason for this delay that I'm missing?

  68. I would like to see an ability to see movies coming out a week before they are released. Currently you can only see movies released on tuesday the sunday 2 days before. I would like to be able to see new releases a week in advance it see if I want them at the top of my queue

  69. I'd like to see a page for my friend where I can see what she has at home and also, what is in her queue. Thanks!!!!!

  70. Would love to be able to access an alphabetical list of all the movies (etc.) that you carry. Have often re-discovered movies that I've always meant to see but had forgotten about by doing random searches of movie lists. Just one one way to unearth those buried nuggets! Thanks.

  71. Make that : "...just one more way..."

  72. One feature I would love to see is the following:

    When I click on "Add" I would like to have an option to choose where in the queue to save it. I often add movies and then have to visit my queue to put them in the order I like. Tedious.

  73. I'd like for Netflix to give me the option of choosing full screen format for my movies. I get most of them in wide screen which are a pain to watch.

  74. I love Netflix and am a huge fan. I always joke around that I need to turn myself into Netflixholics Anonymous - I talk about it all the time.

    I work in market research and do a lot of website usability research and always talk among my Netflix friends and colleagues about ways to improve the queue. I am always maxed out on my queue (500) and it has gotten very difficult to manage. I also know of many people that are too lazy to manage their queues so that by the time they get a movie, they are not in the mood for it and it just sits in their homes, decreasing their interest in the service.

    I have tons of great ideas and would love to help out - I have written to Netflix twice in the past and received no reply, and would just love to be in touch with someone in the research/ design department at Netflix. Please let me know if you are interested! My office is based in New York City and we have a research facility where we do website testing.

    Well, another thing is that I have converted many people to Netflix, so it would be nice to get some perks for that, e.g. 3 extra rentals for the month.

    Thank you for being such a great service.

  75. I need to be able to request that movies be added to the Netflix library or else I will hv to get those unavailable movies some where else.

  76. Here's a feature I'd love to see: it would be mighty helpful when I'm looking at my queue to be able to have a column or something that I could leave little notes to myself as a reminder of why I put that obscure movie on my list in the first place. You know, something like, "recommended by Bill" or "saw the preview" or "New Yorker liked."

  77. I’m pretty darn pleased with all the activity at Netflix. I very much appreciate this opportunity to offer feedback and receive updates and explanations. It’s so much better to know that what we want matters, and is factored in whenever possible.

    I wouldn’t characterize most of what I’ve seen here as whining or nit picking… I do see a lot of enthusiasm and insight… a lot of good ideas as well as a lot of understanding that everything can’t possibly be implemented or addressed at once. I’m glad to see this communication going on… Other than a few people that seem to have lost their temper or their perspective on occasion, but even there I sometimes understand where they are coming from.

    Missing on the list from the post… (unless I missed it) Is the advanced search feature brought up earlier that filters for things like rating, languages, country of origin, actor, director, etc… An improved spell check would be helpful, meantime I’ll keep using google to correct my Netflix searches.

    And about reordering the queue… Personally I don’t want to organize it by any but manual means at this time. However I can see at least some appeal in automated restructuring so I’ll ask that if anything of the sort is implemented that we first be able to ‘lock’ anything in the list we don’t want changed. One guy may only wish to lock his top ten… another might be planning his whole month and want to lock 20 or 50… I’d rather be able to lock the top of my list than manage separate pools of lists.

    Plus I still like the idea of being able to organize “saved” movies in my main queue. I could let them stay pooled at the bottom or move them to the top where they would be passed over for delivery until the release were available. At which point they would automatically be in position for delivery at first possible availability.

    Review rating integrity is a huge issue. It isn’t only politics that causes a problem. “The Good Shepherd” for example is highly rated according to the star rating, but a lot of kids, and fans of “The Born Supremacy” saw it, were predictably bored, and pissed off enough to vote for, and write, negative reviews en-mass, even though there aren’t enough of them to seriously bring down the rating they dominate the reviews. Thus virtually all the top reviews for a nearly 4 star movie are negative, two-stars at best. Apparently people who otherwise give the film a high star rating aren’t motivated enough to delve two or three pages deep to find a reviewer who likes the film, while those that don’t like it can easily find the low rating reviews at the top. Which means without any interference reviews at the top will stay there and the disparity between the top member reviews and the actual movie rating will continue to grow. However, it doesn’t stop there because my positive review for the film, which should have stayed lost and buried deep under all the negative reviews, has, along with a large group of other positive reviews, been slowly moving it’s way toward the top. The only explanation is some person or group of persons with a lot of time on their hands is doing this on purpose.

    It’s a mess…

    I don’t think existing problems with already established reviews can be easily fixed… I’d just be happy if the multi-voting could be stopped from some near point on out.

    And if it’s true the “top 100” is based on rentals rather than ratings… I think I’d prefer it the other way round too.

    Pt suggested a Netflix friend suggester… that’s an interesting idea. For those who opt-in to it, it could introduce you only to your most compatible matches as well as those who are also looking for compatible friends. Opted-out should be default though.

    And Waltern might have an excellent suggestion there… If the reviews were sorted as to each subscribers similarity, listing most highly similar at the top, so the reviews rank differently for each subscriber, there would be no more point in trying to manipulate the order of reviews by multi-voting because it would have absolutely no effect. Is this a possibility? Ranking reviews by the number of votes cast makes no sense anyway, because some of these reviews are getting in years before the movie is even released, by the time it is released it already has a lot of votes even though absolutely NO ONE has even SEEN it. Is there a downside to this I’m not seeing?

    I’m with Jandy, I hate animated avatars and I don’t care what’s popular local to me either.

    I’d just like to point out too that important notices posted to the home page are of no use to me. I use my explorer favorite to jump right to my queue or friends page. I can’t even remember the last time I was on the Home tab.

    I also would like an easy link to the page where I can suggest new titles. Preferably at the bottom of every page, because that is where I look for it until I finally remember it’s two clicks deeper.

    If you implement forums or message boards, maybe you can reserve one where members can ask and answer each other’s questions.

    From another anon…

    “When evaluating people who have a high "Similar To You" percentage, I'd like to see how many in-common movies that percentage is based on. If its only 5, I won't put as much trust in it. Next most important is how many movies the other person rated five stars that I rated one star. I'd like to see a list of those movies for each member I'm evaluating…”

    I don’t want to ‘see’ any of this, but I would very much appreciate it if the system evaluated all the important variables like that and ranked the reviews properly on it’s own. I don’t want to have to go through and analyze each reviewer myself. That said, it might be useful at some point to ‘ignore’ reviews from certain members. Hopefully though, the new ranking system will negate the necessity.

    To a recent anon… You can request new DVDs for the library. Go to ‘contact us’ at the bottom of the page, then ‘Title Request’ in the middle of that page under Requests and Suggestions.

  78. I for one would love to see #16 (published API's) made available. I'm wanting to create a plug-in for Windows Vista Media Center so that registered Netflix users can play the "Watch Instantly" movies from within Media Center. As it stands now, I might be able to do it by parsing URL's and RSS feeds, but it would be much easier (and cleaner) to use a published API. I think that once the Windows Home Server takes off, you'll have a lot more "Media PC's" penetrating the market. Having a plug-in like this that is easily downloadable and installable from the website would be a huge marketing advantage for your company (especially considering that the "watch instantly" feature is your only competition to Blockbuster's brick-and-mortar stores).

    Anyhow, please consider this a priority project. You will find a huge programming community which will embrace this and build some great applications with your brand name in the spotlight.

  79. I would like to see some sort of content filtering feature. For example, the ability to allow R rated movies, but filter movies with nudity or high sexuality. It would be nice if the recommending software used film content as a variable. The goal of the recommending software is to predict how well a person will like a movie. But for many people, especially families, content is a very important factor when renting a movie, and yet it is not implemented in the recommending system. For example, although I may rent some comedy movies, that does not mean I should be recommended American Pie. Thanks!

  80. I suggest you do the same business with "books on tape" that you do with movies.

  81. I don't know if this blog item is still being followed, but I have almost 1000 notes in my Notebook. It would be nice to self-delete or time delete (e.g. 6 months) a note. Really a file size issue that should impress Netflix management. :--))