Friday, September 21, 2007

Missing Faves?

Clearly there are few small irritating issues in the last release - in particular, this odd occasional missing Fave. Perhaps this is more than you want to know, but let me describe a tiny bit of the web architecture to you (and this is going to be a mix of oversimplification and overgeeky, that i hope will cancel out into a digestible whole):

the website you see is really a whole bunch of computers (servers) with identical code. When you log in to your account, you're logging into to one of these servers. The servers are themselves connected to a lot of different databases -- data about friends, account data, ratings data, list of movies... Sometimes when something is wonky on the site -- say the stars go away or your reviews disappear -- its a glitch in a database, but not the website in general. One component might have to get rebooted or something, and then it all looks fine again. Data isn't ever lost. But it LOOKS gone when you're online. Alternately, sometimes something goes weird with one of the servers. this is rare but does happen. How you experience this is that you might get a Netflix site error, but you retry, and everything is fine.

Anyway, the core functions -- adding movies to Queue, recommendations, shipping -- all that stuff is really robust. My new stuff in Community is very raw and, as you can tell by the speed with which you are seeing new features, is prone to have glitches. No fears: you're doing the right thing letting us know where the probs are. I hope it's not too irritating. This is largely why we aren't going to announce or promote these features right now. We have more to get right first, problems to tweak before millions of people are using it. So thank you for your patience and i'll let you know as we revise code to fix some of these things.

POST SCRIPT: Currently, there is a cap on the number of Faves or Fans that will be displayed -- 16 of each. You can have more, but only 16 show to you (there is no "more" page yet). To the outside, however, all of them are presented with no limit. Like i said, this is a work in progress. Add to this the fact that some folks are private, and it's been a little harder to debug this than usual. But we're on it now.