Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Latest Reviews"

We're going to be slowing down the flow in the Latest Reviews. A number of little aspects of this section will be improved as early as next week.
Looking a little further down the road, i wonder if any of you care about the reviewer or the sim% as much as the review and its rating. I know it is hard to judge as your opinion may change once this is flowing more normally and with control, but try anyway: what if these reviews were presented more like this:


(Ignore the review text - this is a sketch of how we could design this)

Is this better or worse than the current implementation? What else might you tweak here?

52 comments:

  1. This looks great. The smaller sim% is fine, and the avatars can certainly go (and not just from here, to be perfectly honest!) if it means being able to read more text. And then when one does click 'read more' it should take us to that review, not just the movie page to go a-hunting. 'Pause' button excellent. Better and better, it gets. And I'm still reeling with joy and relief at being able to edit/delete some of my dumbasser reviews! Thanks, guys!!

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  2. i really like the ability to 'pause' the scrolling reviews. many times i didn't necessarily want to go on and read the entire review that someone has written, but i did want to read the snippet. i also like that i can see how similar the reviewer is to myself. keep up the great work. i know that you have a bunch of us telling you the "best" way to do things -- you manage it very well. :-)

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  3. I still don't see why anyone would care about random reviews from random people. To me it's useless information and just taking up space. Then again, I'm not really interested in anything on the main Community page so I just bookmarked the Friends page instead so I can go right where I want to.

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  4. For me the sim% is the most important thing, I have no interest in reading any reviews below 70%. Would still like to see some minimum sim% for those reviews, even 50% min would be great. I agree that the reviewer icon is very unimportant in that window. I see that the Sim% is clickable, what will that lead to?

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  5. I'm always interested in seeing my predicted rating.

    It might also be nice if the reviews were limited to movies I have not yet rated/added to my queue and that my predicted rating is 4 or above.

    I assume the only reason to care about other people's reviews is to find new movies that might interest you. Adding these filters would help make that easier.

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  6. I agree that with baff - the similarity percentage is the most important part to me. If I see a review written by someone with a low sim percentage to me, I'll either ignore it completely or I'll laugh and say "well, that makes sense" when we completely disagree.

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  7. I'm finding myself disagreeing with a lot of high sim%'s and agreeing with a lot of lower ones, so would rather trust my own judgment than a mathematically formula's : so keep all the reviews in there, to enlighten some and amuse others.

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  8. I haven't doubted you guys for a minute, and that concept screenshot solidifies that. I love the potential look. That "Pause" button was suggested by another blogger on here, and I'm glad you listened to him.

    You guys are great. Can't say the same for Netflix customer service, but at least You're doing your job.

    Please implement everything you mentioned. Thanks :)

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  9. The "Latest Reviews" personally don't interest me and I find the scrolling rather annoying.

    With this pause button does it mean once I hit pause it will stay paused even if I logout and back in or is it only for that session? If it's only for that session I would like to see an option to permanently pause

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  10. Hey guys, if you don't want to read the new reviews, fine, but please stop complaining about them. Just bookmark your little gaggle of friends, like reviewer #3 did, and happily shut out the rest of the world. But some of us ARE interested in what 'strangers' have to say (and weren't your friends strangers once?), so please don't keep trying to deny the rest of us this interesting and valuable new resource for not only new movies, but also, God forfend, new ideas.

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  11. I'm not really interested in the random reviews - I watched the trailer, I know the director / actors' other work, and I know what the critics thought; what does a random reviewer add to my knowledge?

    But if you implemented Dustin's suggested improvements above (omit movies I've rated/added & only show 4+ predicted star movies for me) then I suppose it would be much more interesting.

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  12. I wish readers could rate all these comments, even if they don't like to post. Because I'm seeing the same recurring few names on every topic, which doesn't give us much of a sense of what the general consensus is.

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  13. I agree with mike (and others) that avatars can be removed, and agree with baff (and others) that, for me, sim% is the first and most important thing I look at.

    That being said, I like this proposed format a lot better and I think it will make the feature a ton more usable.

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  14. Totally agree with baff's comment regarding SIM% being way important. Maybe a drop down menu that allows members to select only those scrolling reviews from those who are above a certain % similar. I would probably set the drop down for me at around 70%+ too. But some might like a 50% SIM level or maybe even lower, so a drop down would work well to personalize the experience.

    Dustin's point about allowing variable filtering based on stars also a good idea.

    Pause button: Good idea.

    Add an "Email this Review" button too, since I like to send movie reviews to my friends. This will also help build up the "Friends" community, if you include the web address in the email that goes out to the recipient.

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  15. I'd say it looks better than the current review list. Icons are not needed - % is important. I'd like to click on the review and go to the full review instead of just to the movie page.

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  16. I personally don't care about the review details from other people that I don't know. I don't think it is a necessary feature.

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  17. I like the layout, and I think you definitly need to keep %sim to you. I think that's an important may to judge how seriously to take the review

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  18. I like the look of the new format a lot better, but I'd like to offer up a different viewpoint on the sim% and the predicted ratings. Since the random reviews have started scrolling by, I've discovered that I sometimes enjoy reading the viewpoints of people who don't have similar tastes to me. I also like to see reviews of movies I probably won't like, simply because they either reinforce my assumptions or cause me to take a second look. In short, the complete randomness of the whole thing is what makes it so interesting to me. The only thing I might want to see get filtered out is reviews on movies I've already rated, and I'm not even sure I'd want to go that far.

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  19. Thank you, Eric! The sims% are a helpful guide, but everyone is treating them like some kind of Divine Revelation. If you blocked out the sims% I bet you'd be hard pressed to guess right every time whether they were high or low based on the review. And if you check, some sims% are low just because that person hasn't rated many movies, but still has interesting things to say. This is all sounding awfully tribal, folks : 80% and up are 'family', and everyone else "stay the hell away".

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  20. This is sort of off subject:

    But how can I get my username to change! I try to change it, but it just goes to another generic name again with lots of numbers! PLEASE HELP!

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  21. Off-subject is frowned on, but have you tried : 1) re-booting, 2) using a different OS, or 3) working from a friend's PC/Mac using a different OS?

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  22. I actually prefer the %similar to me first, rather than the star rating. If i see someone gives a movie 5 stars and then get to the bottom and they are 15% similar to me, it seems like a waste of time.

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  23. Add me: http://www.netflix.com/BeMyFriend/Pk9kl7LQ0JzYE9WdslRD

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  24. For me it would be better to see only reviews from people with a high sim%. I *really* wish there was a way to search, find & save all the users with high sim% to me - then I could just save time by reviewing their lists & recommendations.

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  25. I love seeing the sim%, it lets me know whether or not I can take that reviewer seriously. However, I don't agree with the idea to only see the reviews of those with a high sim% - half the fun of seeing other people's reviews is to disagree spiritedly. Am I right? I'm right.

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  27. personally, i see very little difference. like m.oron i, too, find myself disagreeing with the people who supposedly have high similarities to me. to be frank i'm finding the rolling reviews annoying. at first i thought 'oh good new movies,' but now i wish they were gone. i really don't care to see reviews of movies i have no interest in.

    to tell you the truth, i click the community tab and go straight to friends home. i don't care about other's movie lists because i don't know who those people are or if i have the same taste. i also am tired of being reminded that my fellow Philadelphians have bad taste. yup, i just go to my friends. i know them. i trust them. there ya go.

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  28. Since the major hit of the new changes seems to be the high sim%, why not, as some have suggested, just post the top 25, 50, 100,... (depending on the brain-drain involved) ? I sometimes see the spinning circles 'thinking' just to get 4 (or 1, 2 or 3!), so the list could obviously only be updated once every 24 hrs instead of constantly. I know it's rather prosaic compared to this playful spin-the-bottle approach, but I think that's what people REALLY want : a good old fashioned list of like minded movie-mates. Thanks.

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  29. One thing that might help weed out a few reviews that clog up popluar movies is to stop showing reviews that more than 5 people have deemed "unhelpful" without anyone calling them "helpful". That way, you wouldn't have to sort through a bunch of "0 out of 10 people found this review helpful" reviews. People can always reserve the right to edit and resubmit a review.

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  30. Tough call, Freedom of Cluelessness an' all that. Plus they themselves, friends or family usually give them at least one vote. Maybe 5 flags, properly adjudicated by Netflix, and you're out?

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  31. I find myself, much like M.Oron said...
    disagreeing with a lot of high sim%'s and agreeing with a lot of lower sim%'s , no rhyme or reason to it! I also dislike the "proposed" look more than I dislike the one we have now....
    keep trying please!

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  32. Hello, thanks for all the proposed changes and hard work you must be doing. I would be happy if the reviews I wrote actually showed up. Lately its not happening at all. Its so bad I might leave netflix.

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  33. Just wondering if it wouldn't be worth assigning a couple of customer service personnel to monitor these threads and respond to whatever questions they can as they come up. Many of these posts can obviously be dealt with as chalk marks in column A, B, C, or D, but definitely not all, which can give one a bit of a sense of whistling in the wind.

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  34. Speaking of customer service, I have to second a complaint on another thread about the sudden loss of e-mail help. It certainly explains why so many everyday user problems are showing up in these blogs! The service was always pretty terrible - a 3 day wait, and then often a generic and unhelpful reply - but surely it would have made more sense to improve it rather than just shut it down? It's not only frustrating, but often just not possible to stay on the line for extended periods.

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  35. I think it's great..I love to read the comments and the similarity to mine percentage..

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  36. With the new layout, is there any way to create a placeholder for the movie picture/cover art? When I'm looking at something at the bottom of the page, the text on the page jumps up and down every time the reviews list is updated. After staring at it for a few minutes I realized it's because when it switches to a new review, the picture for the movie disappears and then reappears, causing the review itself to shrink and grow. It's really hard to concentrate on other parts of the page.

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  37. I love the avatars, so don't boot them! I like the sim%, although making it smaller would be fine. Having a way to scroll through all the reviews quicker would be good: A one-liner with a "read more" prompt would be fine. I liked the profile sketch that Netflix used to have. I could read a few words about the reviewer and in most cases, I knew whether I would like the same movies that he/she did. Isn't anyone else interested in seeing this revived?

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  38. Isn't anyone else interested in seeing this revived?

    No.

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  39. I like the sim%, but how about one more line of text before having to click the "read more" link? I would like to go directly to this person's reviews page to read more.

    I like the avatars. It gives me more insight to the member's personality than just a user name.

    How about a scroll feature to skip through the movies I don't like and stop on the ones I am interested in.

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  40. "Isn't anyone else interested in seeing this revived?"

    Most people never filled it in, which is obviously why they dropped it, but I don't see the harm in providing a space for those who want to. I, like most people, it seems, would prefer to remain anonymous, but would also be curious to know a little something about the reviewer. Humans!

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  41. "It gives me more insight to the member's personality than just a user name".

    That's the problem. We either come across as dull for leaving the default one, dopey for posting our cat or pretentious for assigning ourselves the Chinese character for wisdom. I'd rather come to the review without preconceptions, including (and maybe especially) the fatal curse of a low sim%. But I seem to be TOTALLY alone in these feelings, so am clearly an idiot.

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  42. There seem to be a few "Submit Review" buttons broken or at least not working properly on my browser (Vista)...for instance, this disc, when I click "Submit Review" always comes up saying "Review Submission Error", and I;ve tried dozens of times now: http://www.netflix.com/Movie/Lost_Treasures_of_the_Ancient_World_The_Seven_Wonders_of_the_Ancient_World/70047200?dmode=ATAGLANCE&lnkctr=mdp-backToAtAGlance&n=1&trkid=202653

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  43. Ditto on mac/firefox. I just ignore the error sign now because the reviews seem to appear anyway.

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  44. I have found this "community" movement displeasing. I've been a Netflix member since 1999 and have never been disappointed by any major website changes until now. I loved the addition of 'Friends' but I don't like the 'Community' at all. If I want the opinions of people I don't know, I'll look at them on the reviews on individual titles. I really preferred the 'Friends' tab as it was. There needs to be a way to set the community to default to friends. A user shouldn't have to bookmark another page to get to a page that was previously a top-level page. The large "latest reviews" box is rather obnoxious. I wish there was a way to dismiss it the way you can dismiss suggestion boxes on the homepage.

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  45. I would really like it if SOMEONE would do SOMETHING about the totally irrelevant reviews that seem to pop up all the time. Take a look at top reviews of "An Enemy of the People" page, for instance. Not one of them have anything to do with the movie in question! One is obviously a review of the wrong movie, the other is a message to the Netflix staff and the third is a reprimand of the first review. It's ridiculous!

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  46. michael, from netflixAugust 19, 2007 at 1:37 PM

    @Knaldskalle,
    it IS ridiculous, and it should be addressed in an upcoming release in september. We've been tuning the FLAGS to be more responsive. I'll let you know when it's revised.

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  47. But the flags only deal with the problem after they've jammed up the system. As I've asked before, why not also address the problem at the source, where people write and submit their review? A note spelling out that it can't be used to report a disc problem since it won't be read by the appropriate dept, so they must use the link in their queue. In fact even if they click "See our Review Guidelines...." it's not clearly spelled out. And these nimrods... I mean... much appreciated subscribers clearly need VERY specific instructions.

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  48. @Michael, from Netflix

    Thank you for the prompt response! I know it's something others have pointed out before, but this one example was just the last straw for me... I like the reviews, I care about them and it ticks me off when they're not working/used the way they're intended to.

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  49. This feature is annoying and unnecessary.
    Just because you watch a movie does not mean you have the skills to adequately write about it. Most of these reveiws are terrible and not helpful.
    You should hide this feature and make it available to those who wish to view. NOT A FEATURE THAT AUTOMATICALLY POPS UP.

    thank you

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  50. It would be useful if I could display the posted reviews with highest percent similarity first. What I am really interested in is what the movie reviewers, who rate movies like I do, thought of the movie. Now I have to search through pages of reviews to find the reviewers with highest similarity.

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  51. Michael @ netflix,

    Personally, I love the "Latest Reviews" section. It is a place for me to stumble on a film I may have dismissed or overlooked, as well as, amusing snipets from members who's taste in film is... er... um... "different" than mine. Actually the reviews (posting and reading) is the main reason I log on with such obsessive regularity. However, I have had a serious issue with getting my new reviews (approx 10 over the last 2 weeks) posted. Customer service was no help and other members, clearly, are not having the same issue. Perhaps my cust service code (892 145) could help you shed some light on this issue I am having.

    JayMikey in Baltimore

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  52. Showing the reviewer's sim% isn't important to me because I haven't seen any with high sims who actually have the same tastes as me.

    But a feature that might be kind of interesting to think about adding some time down the road would be to view random reviews by genre. Sometimes, I'll watch ten movies go by in genres that don't interest me and I get bored and stop looking.

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