Saturday, September 22, 2007

In the Works

In the next release we're going to be pulling apart the (outward facing) Reviews & Lists page into two pages - a Reviews page, and a Lists page. There's no particularly new functionality at this point, but it will be much clearer (and I think more interesting looking) to have the Top 10 Lists exposed as artwork and not a list, particularly in this orientation. The Reviews page will pretty much be like the "More" reviews page today.

(Here are some early sketches)

I can imagine there will be comments here that we should have a toggle/option between list view and poster view; that's not an unreasonable request. But by now you all know our bias here at Netflix: logical simplicity trumps expanding control and preferences. While i'd never say never about a toggle (i can certainly see when one is preferable to another), it's lower on priorities right now. Anyway, a more likely improvement to the presentation would be a fixed logic, for instance, "show as posters for 24 or fewer, show as a list for 25+"). I'll keep you posted on what improvements to expect as time goes on.

There will be other features coming out also, but i'll talk about them individually, as appropriate, over the coming week. (By the way, the next page to quickly follow these is probably going to be a new one: the outward facing Profile page -- with a return of the "personal statement"). More on that later as well. Cheers.


  1. I like poster view better than list view for looking at lists. I think it's much more visually appealing and makes it easier to tell what a movie is without having to roll over the movie title. I'd personally prefer poster view for all lists, even long ones... but just with a next page button to bring up the next 20 or so movies in the list.

    Also, when you posed the separation of Lists and Reviews in the "Thunderdome" posting, I had put it at the bottom of my priority due to the fact that it doesn't actually give any new functionality to the site. However, I've realized over the past few days while looking at lots of lists how much of a user interface improvement this could be. So I'm very glad its coming so soon. :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. As is, I prefer poster view, with 'next' buttons for long lists. But, I would much prefer a list view that included my ratings so I could quickly get an idea of whether I agree with the list and identify which movies I haven't seen. I really like that about looking at people's 5-star ratings.

    I suppose not all lists are meant to be 5-star movies, but would still help to give a personal frame of reference.

  4. Before my comment gets buried, I have one small request for the main community page. In the part that scrolls through the list of recent reviews, can you include a small "Pause" button - in addition to the mouseover pause?

    I think that would be great to have. It's hard to watch T.V. and look through the scrolling list at the same time.

    Thank you.

  5. Great! Can't imagine ANYONE complaining about this one! That first page is always rather distracting, torn as one is between checking out someone's lists or reading their reviews - and occasionally ending up doing neither if both branches are dauntingly heavy with fruit.

    The only possible note of dissent that I can imagine is a lingering discomfort with the oddly and confusingly misnomered 'Top 10 Lists' - but it seems that that poorly named ship is now far out to sea, am I right?

  6. I doubt hardly anyone is a fan of viewing the top tens in list style over poster style. Poster style is the logical choice and superior by far.

  7. Michael,

    Sounds good, I’d say I can’t wait… Only I can… because in the meantime I’ll be watching and rating more movies. I haven’t even had time to consider rebuilding my lists so I have lot’s I can do here.

    True, I’d love more control if you ever do figure out how to make the complexity of choice simple… (good luck) but my first priority beyond that is that things are well ordered, (easy to find and use) and then quick to load. If I can’t collapse and expand, I’d rather see the full graphics and reviews on the reviews and lists pages any day, even considering the load-time.

    However, I hope you never add graphics to the ratings pages. It would make them so much slower, right now I can zip through looking for gaps in nothing flat, and if I need to check a title the pop-up is all I need in that case.


    About the top-10 lists… I don’t think anyone has been thrilled with any of the possible labels for them but no one seems to be able to come up with something better. I know I can’t.


  8. B, what was wrong with 'Members' Lists', as they were always, and accurately, called?!

  9. The average person apparently didn’t know what that meant, the inference is that they know what a ‘top-10’ list is by comparison, so more people will click on it and play with it now.

    No one has been able to come up with something that is both descriptive to the average newbie, and accurate in implying that the lists can be longer than just ten items, or don’t even have to be ‘top.’

    The decision as I recall was to stick with the more widely recognizable label even though that doesn’t communicate as well how much choice and flexibility you have in creating them.


  10. The Friends part of Netflix has been down for the last couple hours. Mentioning it since last time it happened on a weekend, it went unnoticed a couple days.

  11. Friends is working for me. Maybe fixed in the middle of the night. Elves? Netflix Elves?

  12. I know this has been mentioned, but maybe while attention is focussed on lists...there's still some glitch that prevents the addition of certain titles to custom lists. The one that seems to have to do with apostrophes. I'm still having that problem ... anyone else?

  13. Community features finally back up (12.50ish Eastern). But at least it gave us a chance to catch up on the Sunday papers. So THAT's how you spell Ahmadinejad..... And who knew that Marcel Marceaux was even still alive, let alone no longer so?

    Instead of 'Top Ten' how about : 'Your movie lists'. Sufficiently simple, yet descriptive? I can see how 'Member Lists' might suggest arms, legs, hands, feet, etc.

  14. I too am having problems adding certain titles with apostrophes to my list as well. They are movies that Netflix has (which I rented from Netflix) but they can't be entered when creating a list, for example, the movie "The Devil's Miner". For some odd reason it will call up other titles that have similar names, like "The Devil's Rejects", but not the exact movie I want.

    As for the reviews page, I would really love it if there was an option (or have it this way by default) to show the newest reviews that a person has written first. When it shows up on my community page that a friend has written a review, I currently have to either search for it through all of that persons reviews, or search for it on the movie page itself. It would be a lot better if that link on the community page went directly to the review, but if that's not gonna happen, second best would be to have the review page in most recent order (or even alphabetical).

  15. Anonymous said...
    I know this has been mentioned, but maybe while attention is focussed on lists...there's still some glitch that prevents the addition of certain titles to custom lists. The one that seems to have to do with apostrophes. I'm still having that problem ... anyone else?

    Yes! This is very frustrating. So many movies won't add due to the apostrophe or the wrong movie adds because it has the same name but was made in a different year.

    Also, the "add to lists" feature needs to be added to the movie page when you search in "Watch Instantly" section. Right now "add to lists" isn't there.

    I like "Your Lists" as the name also. Simple and direct.

    It looks like posters are used now with lists of 12 or less. What happens with lists of 100 or more? There was a list showing in the Member's Top 10 Lists on my community page with 1200 titles in it.

  16. Yes, the list building functionality is a little buggy. Michael and company know about it and said that it would be improved eventually... but in the meantime, you can add any movie to a list by going to that movie's page and clicking on the "+ Add To Top 10 List" link which appears in the left-hand sidebar at the bottom of the "Featured in the following Top 10 lists:" section.

    Regarding more recent reviews being up-front, that is actually how it is set up. There is currently a bug that is making recently edited reviews show up as just written in the Friends & Favs Recent Activity panel, so when you click on the link, you have to search for the buried review because it was actually written a long time ago. Michael acknowledged this bug and said it was on their list of things to fix.

  17. if any one can help me on this im on my why with this please help

  18. I wish there were a way for members to click on an icon or link to their own reviews. I'm a newbie and want to see quickily what I last reviewed so to improve my writing and reviewing skills for others viewing this site. Right now I have to 'search' my last movie or use the queue to cheat my way back to the reviews I submitted. Too much work, or maybe I'm new and can't find my way. HELP>>?

  19. If i understand your request, try this:

    Select the Community tab on the top of every screen; then
    select Reviews & Lists in the sidebar to the right of the Community page.

    That will show you all your reviews, the most recent on top, and you can edit them there.

    Is this what you were looking for?

  20. Go to the community tab, once there, on the far right is a floating side-bar… where you will find the several useful links. The one you are looking for is ‘Reviews and Lists.’ Many of these features are due for changes, including the layout of your reviews and lists, so keep that in mind. But that is the best way to get to your reviews right now.


  21. I've always used the 'Reviews and Lists' link on the Home/Browse DVD's page (under the heading 'Guides').

    Fabby (and we don't doubt that you are), we'd love to help but I'm afraid you're going to have to be a wee bit more specific.

  22. That's much better, Michael. The posters/DVD covers will be much nicer than a list.

    I think it's an interesting coincidence that you use Larry MD's list when it seems clear that he's someone who goes through his list voting up his reviews. He's the only one I've noticed who really obviously does it.

  23. courtside stenographerSeptember 23, 2007 at 9:04 PM

    Uh-oh! Cat fight alert.

  24. No cat fight. Truth is truth. I've looked at many profiles. Every single one, with more than five or so reviews, had some reviews with fewer than ten votes, lost way down on the review sequence, and reviews with more negative than positive votes--with one clear exception. Miraculously, all of Larry MD's reviews have many votes and not one review with more negative votes than positive--very odd for someone with over 400 reviews. This leads me to a conclusion of which I'm reasonably certain. If I'm made to doubt that conclusion, I'll gladly withdraw the assertion and humbly apologise.

  25. Careful now. 'Truth' would be an authenticated Netflix print-out of multiple votes coming from the same computer or account. Your anecdotal analysis is called 'conjecture'.

    ps. This is not Larry. Just an impartial observer who'd very much object to this being blasted out into cyberspace about me without any chance of rebuttal, just as I imagine you would.

  26. I don't know if Larry is gaming the system or not, but I do know that I have often found his reviews helpful and well written. I don't always agree with him, but he doesn't put spoilers in his reviews and I usually understand why he did or didn't like the movie.

  27. Frankly, I've never taken those votes too seriously anyway, since I often read some totally fatuous review that has dozens of votes (self? class-mates? friends? family?) and pages later a brilliant one that has no votes at all. At least Larry's reviews are good, and IF there's any gaming going on we can be sure that Mort will be matching the incoming 'Helpfuls' with an 'Unhelpful', vote for vote! That's why we need to be able to re-shuffle reviews in various different ways - especially by sim% - as discussed at length on previous threads.

  28. OK, I have to admit, Larry's votes are highly suspicious. I find it extremely hard to believe that 77 of 100 people would find the following review helpful:

    "I ordered this film twice and both times it arrived in pieces. Figuring I'd been cursed, I didn't order it again."

  29. Heh... I was debating whether to stay out of this discussion or to chime in with, "I don't find it hard to believe that if someone always writes well thought out reveiws that they would have mostly 'Helpful' votes on all their reviews."

    ... but then I read Baff's last comment. That particular review's "Helpful/Not Helpful" rating really is highly suspect.

  30. Thanks Mike, for the help in finding my reviews, I am the 'anonymous' member who asked for help. I did not intend to stir up the ratings......Thanks to Becky, too. I'm new here, so please keep that in mind. Thanks again!

  31. Regarding Larry,

    Suspicious or not it seems unfair to pick on just that one guy.

    Besides, as much as I understand how destructive it is to accuracy and fairness, I understand at least a couple of reasons people are tempted to game.

    A few days after I deleted my lists for a do-over I deleted my reviews as well, and there were a fair number of them. Some I didn’t like any better than my lists… the rest I dumped too because I figured that even if I didn’t improve them, I’d resubmit when the voting situation improved a bit. (Not much incentive for reviews now anyway with ‘private’ on too.)

    Anyway, if anyone had seen them, it would have been obvious that I too had succumbed to the temptation to abuse the voting flaw in the first months of my subscription.

    First you ”gotta” try it just to see if you can. Then you just can’t believe you can. Then you realize you can actually reorder reviews, simply and easily, over time, especially on selections with only a few pages of reviewers.

    For me it wasn’t getting my review to the top I was having fun with… (I actually found it annoying that I could no longer tell how many positive votes were genuine.) But sinking reviews I didn’t like, for whatever reason, while raising those that I figured were being neglected or treated unfairly. (Yes, it’s unfair, but easily ‘justifiable’ because it’s so obvious sometimes that it’s been done by the ‘opposition.’) And yes, I did include my own reviews most of the time when I was boosting others, so over time that was clear to see on the ‘reviews and lists’ pages.

    Then I got bored with it of course, and for a while there half my reviews were normal looking and half were obviously ‘gamed.’ Then awhile back, after writing a review for a couple of political titles the attacks started rolling in on all my reviews, and even the ones I’d previously ‘gamed’ were at best split 50/50. (Poetic justice? Or just inevitable?)

    Then there were other quirky indications of even more weirdness, for example my review for “Good Shepherd.” Most people hated the move at the very least because they thought it would be like the “Borne” movies. Very few people who wrote reviews actually seemed to like it. My review quickly sunk deep into the mire. Then, several weeks back, I was shocked to see about 60 new votes had accumulated on my review all positive. (The only review to remain on the positive side after the attack.) I went to the movie review pages and discovered that a huge block of positive reviews for that movie was rising up the queue, mine included.

    Then also, with my fairly positive review of “The Da Vinci Code,” that review was still building up more negative votes than any other, over a hundred, and it has always been buried hundreds of reviews deep. Someone’s very dedicated and very busy there as well.

    So… clearly I’ve been on both sides of this… and though I hesitate to divert this thread even further… I just thought I’d say that though I regret the contribution I made in undermining the integrity of the reviews, I also understand the temptation. If you really want to take the question up with anyone I’m still hanging around… seems more fair than singling out people who probably won’t ever know about it, let alone get an opportunity to defend themselves.

    Btw: My favorite thing was hitting all the non-reviews with unhelpful, back in the day. Or especially the people who reviewed Bonus Materials as if it were the movie. I’m sorry to the extent where I had a negative impact, but I’m not really sorry so about that… That was way fun. ;)


  32. There would be no gaming, or responding to gaming, etc... If Netflix would switch to a voting system similiar to IMdB, where your vote only counts once.

  33. michael, from netflixSeptember 24, 2007 at 4:31 PM

    This weekend...

  34. And there I was feeling bad about having once given myself an extra 'helpful' when going for the 'next page' button (I swear)!!!

  35. Is the community page updated only 1 time a week? The last reviews I did are on the movie pages but not on my community page.

    Since I usually see only 10 of my Faves (although I have 16) and now I don't see the last reviews I'm wondering if it's because that data is on a different server than I'm on or if it's going to update weekly.

    Anyone know? Does anyone else have this issue?

  36. @Michael - Are all the old votes going to be tossed out so we can start with a clean slate?

  37. Ditto. If someone as conspicuously conscious of moral relativism as Ms Glass is making a total mockery of the voting system, I can't even begin to imagine what other games are being played out there. Once the one-person-one-vote enforcement is finally (and long overdue) put into effect this weekend, let's just wipe the slate clean and then allow the chips to fall where they rightly may. Yes, yes, I know : ain't gonna happen -- too much of a disruption to the site. But please at least provide us with some way to get to the many excellent and untainted reviews now unfairly pushed back to the back pages without having to click through page after page after page......

  38. Becky (equally appalled) GlassSeptember 24, 2007 at 11:31 PM

    I wish I could delete my prior voting as easily as I deleted my reviews, I’m just glad I wasn’t heavy-handed with the ‘not helpfuls’ and that I stopped goofing around when I did… or I’d feel much worse. My only consolation, weak as it is, is that my own impact was minimal… which of course is no consolation really because I unquestionably contributed to the pollution when I didn’t have to.

    That’s why I so loved the idea someone had earlier of replacing ‘most helpful’ as the measure of order, with ‘sim ratings’ instead. In theory at least, you’d be seeing reviews by the people most like yourself and perhaps most helpful to you as an individual. Ofc, I don’t know if that is a real possibility practicality wise. Even I can see at least two big problems with it, but it would be fantastic to see the reviews presented in an order customized in some way by similarity to the user. Then it wouldn’t matter much what damage had been done by gaming, or the fact that most don’t use ‘helpful/not helpful’ as it was intended, or the sad truth that brilliant late comers will never be seen again once they drop off ‘most recent.’ Maybe even, a good number fewer action/thriller enthusiasts would get stuck watching a long and achingly cerebral drama like “The Good Shepherd.”


  39. Michael: EXCELLENT !!! I pray for release from this endless cycle of “helpful/not helpful”. It is a time consuming misery. The Flamers and the Trolls will finally lose their weapon! Of course I vote for myself! You allow it! I also delete those reviews which are on the loosing side. Rewrote others, copied reviews I was happy with, deleted them, then reposted in a few days, and built them up. Because no matter what your “influence” ranking says, if the review isn’t in those first 3, it’s meaningless. Very few of the six + million Members click past that first page. So if your review isn’t there, you have no influence. Only those of us who cruise the review pages even know who “talltale” is! I respect him and love reading his work, but in his own way he has (subconsciously) “gamed” the system. Never writes reviews of controversial movies, almost no blockbuster popular movies, seeking out the small, unique, the weird: exactly what you described what you were looking for! Was not surprised he was chosen # 1.

    I try to write reviews from the gut: a nice visceral reaction to the movie. Let others write mini novel tomes, I try to keep it short- Member time is valuable and I don’t want to waste it.

    Anyone who’s cruised the review “boards” has seen plenty of people who vote for themselves (and others: I vote for an extensive list of others, Members would never know it was me, I don’t even have a review posted at that movie, like “talltale” I just like their reviews). The latest trend is groups of people doing what used to be solo work (Babel). It’s not right, it’s just the system.

    So, if Netflix is going to adopt the IMDB voting system: it has 3 great functions.

    1) You can never vote for yourself.
    2) You can only vote ONCE for every other review
    3) You can click away on the buttons to vote for that review: IT DOESN’T COUNT !!! But you can click away your frustrations and waste as much time as you want!

    After installing this software, if it is at all possible, PLEASE RESET ALL HELPFUL/UNHELPFULL numbers to ZERO !!!

    We can all start from scratch within a nearly incorruptible system. I would be perfectly happy with that, since I got “hooked” because someone flamed me (Elfin Lied).

    Then those top 3 reviews would actually reflect Members opinions (although democracy may not deliver ratings movie fans would agree with!)

    Anyway…Things are always more complicated than people believe (or blog). Given and honest system and a vote reset:


    I thank all of you, from Baff to Mort, and everyone in between. Peace, and may we get the idealistic movie review site we all are looking for.


  40. @Larry - I think you may have had a copy/paste error. Your reviews for "The Brothers Solomon" & "Fierce People" are exactly the same.

  41. This combination of ruthless competitiveness and sickening cynicism really makes me want to erase all my reviews and go 'private'. Good riddance? Maybe. All I know is that I've really tried to honor the rules (such as they were) and never voted anyone 'unhelpful' unless they were clearly talking about themselves or the condition of the DVD rather than the movie itself. This is all very depressing.

  42. Chawk,

    Sorry can’t help with your question from earlier…

    I don’t remember how often that stuff is updated, but I think it’s more often than once a week. Once a week was for the ranking calculations wasn’t it?

    I don’t have reviews up now so don’t know what’s going on with them. They used to do their vanishing act fairly regularly though when they were up.

    I don’t have a lot of faves but the one’s I have are all there and have stayed put whenever I’ve checked on them.


    Ps: Anglemonkey and Baff, you should each have an invisible fan btw... which would be me. Ofc I can't see if I'm showing up to you... I just wondered.

    And: Don't give up Anon... It’s being worked on... if you must feel something feel pity for the weak. ;)

  43. Pitying the desperateSeptember 25, 2007 at 1:02 AM

    Becky, you I can forgive, since you voluntarily came clean and clearly feel bad about joyriding the all too manipulatable system. But Larry MD, smoked-out as he's been and acting all "thanks be to God and Mort and Baff that this long dark nightmare is finally over, kissy, kissy" is truly revolting. Please let's get rid of the ranking system altogether since people like this (and we all know at least one) are going to find a way to game the system however many safeguards Netflix tries to put in place.

  44. ps. And Becks, please get your friends into a witness protection program asap and come join us out here in the 'real world' (HA!).

  45. @Becky - Nope, can't see you.

    @PTD - I'm hoping Netflix will set the system to ignore all votes from anyone who attempts to game it. Should be pretty easy to spot them the first week of the new system.

  46. Thanks Becky Glass.

    Maybe as time goes on the dissapearing reviews and Faves will be corrected.

  47. The problem with sorting reviews by sim% is that the reviews that have been clearly marked as Unhelpful could show up first. Some of those might still be good reviews that just got gamed, but there's a good possibility that some people would wind up seeing something like this first: "u shouldnt watch this bcuz it sux lol." With no way to vote the review down (since they would be sorted on sim%), some people would be stuck looking at that drivel until a more similar person wrote something else.

    Once the gaming issues are resolved, it might be useful to list reviews by some combination of helpful + sim%, but even then, I find that good reviews written by dissimilar people can still be more helpful than mediocre reviews written by someone with similar tastes. So if the gaming issues are resolved (and especially if the votes are cleared out, but that's not very feasible), I'm all about keeping the reviews sorted the way they currently are. The only change I might like to see in the ordering is if reviews from Friends and Faves can be automatically moved to the top.

  48. All "gaming" issues aside, the problem I see with the current sorting of reviews is that newly written reviews, even if excellent, get pushed off the first page before they can even come close to getting enough votes to compete with those at the top with hundreds of votes.

    I've only written 4 reviews, but they all have mostly helpful votes (which isn't saying much, since they have so few votes). But those reviews that aren't new are buried deep deep in the listing pages because they have less than 20 votes each... and they haven't gotten a new vote in over a year. Why? Because they're buried, so no one reads them, so no one votes for them, so they can never work their way to the front of the pack.

    I've pretty much accepted this, which is probably the main reason I never bothered to write more reviews -- why bother if no one will ever read them. I voted for all my reviews once. I actually didn't know you could vote for your own review more than once until I read about it on this blog.

    At least with the option to sort reviews by most similar to you (I think you should be able to toggle back and forth between the two types of sorting), it will bring reviews up to the front that otherwise would never see the light of day. Then more people would vote on them... so then they would have the chance to get to the front of the list when sorted by helpful votes.

    Also... sorry for adding to this totally off-topic discussion. Wasn't this posting about poster view of lists or something? ;-P

  49. @Eric . Don't forget the re-calibrated and already non-gameable flag option which now allows us to jettison the non-review reviews by consensus, however many strikes that turns out to be. In fact I'd be very interested to know how many, and how long it would take. Maybe I'll look for an egregious example and post where it is so we can do a trial run - would that be OK, Michael?

    @AngelMonkey. Being able to see so many people's review pages should very much help counter that buried review syndrome. In fact I'm going to go to yours right now to vote on every darn one of them if it's going to help get you writing again, something you do so particularly well.

    Oh, and yes, sorry : posters please rather than lists whenever practical numberwise.

  50. angelmonkey said:

    "I've only written 4 reviews, but they all have mostly helpful votes (which isn't saying much, since they have so few votes). But those reviews that aren't new are buried deep deep in the listing pages because they have less than 20 votes each... and they haven't gotten a new vote in over a year. Why? Because they're buried, so no one reads them, so no one votes for them, so they can never work their way to the front of the pack.

    I've pretty much accepted this, which is probably the main reason I never bothered to write more reviews -- why bother if no one will ever read them."

    Again, AM and I are on the same page here. This is precisely why I want my Mini-Reviews and don't bother with proper Reviews - I put time and effort into writing some decent reviews long ago, only to have them buried hopelessly for all eternity. In fact, the only review of mine that has any visibility was for "XXX", that (to my knowledge) is the only 1-star review I've ever seen voted "most helpful".

    So yeah, any move towards making reviews more visible would probably make me more likely to contribute again (although it wouldn't diminish my desire for mini-reviews!)

  51. @Shaun - YES, exactly. I've written hundreds of mini-reviews, which goes to show that I love to contribute when I feel people will actually benefit from my work. But also yes, full reviews and mini-reviews serve a very different purpose. Both are necessary, in my opinion.

    And thanks, Pete. I wasn't fishing for helpful votes... but I won't stop you ;)

  52. Thanks, but I prefer to have my reviews non-gamed, even though this system is going away in a couple days.

  53. You're absolutely right, Baff. Although I'd never vote more than once, and A/M's reviews all happen to be rather good; as I'm sure you'd agree since she's one of your Faves. But by providing a link to your profile and reviews aren't you kinda encouraging our support, while at the same time risking punishment from anyone that doesn't like something you say? No way of controlling the intention of people's votes, whether benign or malicious, which is why I prefer to keep my blog entity separate from my site entity.

  54. Posting a link to my page does not deny my right to ask people not to game my reviews. I can't stop it, but I can ask.

    People are welcome to read my reviews and mark them helpful/unhelpful as they think they deserve. But, I will not encourage people to blindly vote on my reviews either way. (Not that I am claiming sainthood)

    I'm really getting the feeling that a bunch of people are already planning to ruin the new system as quickly as they can. Thats sad. I really hope Netflix takes a heavy hand on the abusers, its the only way this system will ever become useful.

  55. well, I certainly won't be one of them, I promise you that. I feel no less strongly about this issue than you, and am sorry to have been so flip about it earlier. It just seemed ridiculous that someone as smart and articulate as AngelMonkey should be feel driven out of the process because of the way that it's been set up, so was just trying to encourage her so get back in there - and would NOT have voted helpful for any 'scratched disc (etc.)' reviews. But my timing and tone were both lousy. I'd be totally in favor of sever penalties - including termination of contract - for anyone that tries to mess with the voting once it's been updated at the weekend.

  56. It’s distressing but understandable why so many of you aren’t writing more reviews Distressing, especially since you guys are so smart and funny, even when I don’t always agree with you. I hope this fix works sufficiently, or if not that it’s still going to be top on the list for man-hours, because once it is fixed I have a really, REALLY good feeling about the results.

    I even hope that this new access will help correct the past over time, assuming the clean-slate option isn’t employed ofc.

    The problems with using sims to order member reviews are pretty significant, as Eric pointed out very well, thus probably don’t meat the threshold for benefit over cost to develop. I don’t really know…

    But what about adding to, or replacing, ‘Most Recent’ with random reviews from the other pages? In a way it’s not exactly fair that on less-reviewed movies ‘Most Recent’ can remain for months and perhaps years. Some of my first reviews from approaching a year ago were still listed most recent until I deleted them. Doesn’t seem fair to the reviews stuck below the first page. (Stay there long enough and when I’m finally knocked off I could conceivably jump right to the top of the list.) There would be no loss in quality for that section because after all, ‘most recent’ doesn’t even attempt to consider ‘quality’ anyway. Also… now that more people will be collecting fans, and thus a reason to keep writing, the reviews will start coming in faster. Perhaps especially for unusual, independent and classic movies that seem to be rather neglected by reviewers so far. So it will probably be even less likely that you or anyone will be able to catch your ‘most recent’ review as it flashes by that first page anyway.


    PS: Baff, I’ve only voted, either way, on reviews for thing’s I’ve seen. But I haven’t seen any of your reviewed yet. :( We share quite a lot of top five’s you know… going to write more reviews? I’ll be watching one of those you got there right now, but not for awhile yet… Anyway… I’m watching, and ready whenever you are. ;)

  57. @pete and baff - Oh, no. I wasn't encouraging gaming either. I assumed Pete would only give me Helpful votes if he actually thought my reviews were helpful, go figure. It didn't even occur to me that he would give me multiple votes just for the purpose of doing so. But apparently it didn't occur to him either, so that's good. :)

  58. Becky said - "I’ve only voted, either way, on reviews for thing’s I’ve seen."

    This is so interesting, because is shows how different even our interpretations of helpful / unhelpful can be. Here's an extract from the FAQ explanation that Michael recently posted :

    '....It asks whether or not you found the posted review to be helpful for your making a decision about whether or not to add that movie to your queue'.

    So it's really not necessary to have seen a movie, fair and honorable as I think your intentions are.

  59. Thanks AngelMonkey! Suddenly I was the bad guy, having never consciously 'gamed' one solitary vote in over 4 years! And St. Baff, maybe ease up on that wagging finger of yours. You were happy enough giving pointers as to how people can boost their influence beyond just having good reviews and interesting 5 star movies, which to me is a form of gaming - so we all have our own different lines that we're uncomfortable crossing, don't we?

  60. @Becky I- did write a couple reviews on Saturday, but they haven't shown up yet (or maybe you see them and I don't). I may get more into writing reviews once the new system is in, dunno.

    @Pete - I'm not saying you (or anyone else in this thread) are a bad guy. All my reviews got 2 more positives today (I don't know from who). Almost certainly from people on here. Hopefully because they liked the reviews. I was simply requesting that people don't spend the rest of the week voting on my reviews just for kicks.

    If everyone were to follow my pointers on how to increase their influence/rank, there would be a ton more aptly named lists and spoiler free reviews. Thats not gaming the system, thats using it how its meant to be used.

  61. Yes, was just being defensive. Many of your suggestions were very good - maybe it was just the (to unfairly paraphrase) "post a real cute pic of yourself" that I found a bit manipulative and off-topic (not unlike this whole thread, sorry Michael). No saints OR sinners here, I think. Just a bunch of people interested in making the site as good as we can possibly help make it.

  62. Yeah, I suppose that pointer is a bit of gaming. When I wrote it though, I was thinking more of icons that would suggest the person's favorite genre.

  63. michael, from netflixSeptember 25, 2007 at 5:02 PM

    So this is simple and clean and in effect this weekend: one member, one vote per review. Same with Flags. We are not going back and zortching all the old votes... and yes, some of them are likely gamed a bit... but going forward, you can only vote once. There won't be any messaging right away (ie "you have already voted for this review") but as you guys said, let em click away thinking they are making a difference.

    As for changing the sorting of reviews, that is on the table now and we are working on a number of items that relate to this, so it won't happen immediately - but it is a good idea (i like sorting by Sim%, but you should probably be able to sort on any number of variables).

    And finally, punishing the guilty. No, we aren't planning on punishing those in the past who have abused this. I sort of hope that with the increased difficulty (i'd never say impossibility) of gaming the votes, it will happen very rarely, certainly moreso than now. Punishing those who abuse the FLAGGING system, however, is a different matter. We can see who does what there, so while we won't do anything right away, if it looks like a problem, we'll be on it.


  64. We are not going back and zortching all the old votes

    Bummer. Gonna be some heavy gaming this week.

    let em click away thinking they are making a difference.


    you should probably be able to sort on any number of variables


    No, we aren't planning on punishing those in the past who have abused this.

    I wasn't suggesting punishing past abusers, just people who abuse the new system.

    We can see who does what there, so while we won't do anything right away, if it looks like a problem, we'll be on it.

    Fair enough.

  65. I'd maybe have disabled a self-vote altogether as some sites do, but this sounds both fair and practical. Of course the 'bad me' would have rather enjoyed seeing the number of times a person tried to vote for themselves show up on their profile, plus a 1,000 rank demotion per incident. But the 'good me' says "Time to move on, jerk". Thanks, as always, for being on the case, Michael.

  66. Thanks, Michael. Sounds peachy. I look forward to the eventual addition of review sorting options!

  67. Michael,

    Sounds real nice. I really didn’t expect you to be that ambitious with the sorting thing, that would be a real bonus if you guys can swing it. Real exciting…

    Becky :)

  68. Please forgive one more digression, but it might save too many more : Is "Ask Mike" still viable? If not, I'd totally understand with all that's going on, but if so, can it have permanent berth on the front page - say in slot #3 - so we don't keep messing up all these other threads?

    Posters vs. Lists? : Posters (duh!)

    One person one vote : Fabulous!

    Multiple ways to organize reviews : Brilliant!

    Michael Rubin : Fabulously brilliant!

  69. michael, from netflixSeptember 25, 2007 at 11:14 PM

    Mom? Is that you?

    No... seriously, how do i keep a posting in a fixed position here? I'd be fine with it in the #3 spot give or take. I could put a permanent link on the sidenav -- i suppose that might work... let me experiment...

  70. I could put a permanent link on the sidenav

    Very cool and very easy to find! But now you're going to be inundated with questions, I'm sure. Hopefully, they won't all be about missing or scratched DVDs. :)

  71. It's been over a week since my reviews posted to "My Reviews"...they're on the At-a-Glance pages but not grouped with the rest of my reviews. Off-topic, I know, but I'm just sayin'...

  72. Is there a way, or will there be, to see my lists as others see them? Will we be able to add our own text with each movie like we used to? (I’m pretty darn sure I used to be able to do that… ? )


  73. To see your lists as other people see them, go to your list page and delete "&myprofile=y" from the url.

  74. link to stories sites who link to you. You can post summaries of your movies on, with your name, e.g., and then readers will come to your site to rent - story reinforces movie and vice versa making it a much fuller experience.

  75. Is there way to create a list of movies by themes and then let others add their favorites or leave comments?


  76. what about linking to the amateur video sites that link back to you e.g. YouTube or ? People looking at these videos would be tempted to rent from you