Monday, September 10, 2007

This Weekend's Release

Sometime around this weekend On Monday Sept 17 we're releasing these changes in Friends and the Community. We're not "promoting" it yet, but do want to see how you like it, how it works for you, and so on. We'll announce it widely once y'all have banged on it for a bit. The key elements have been described in detail in prior posts, but a brief reminder would be:

1) "Favorites" (aka "Save to Faves"). Find reviewers or raters you like, and save them. Their recent activity (ratings and reviews only - nothing else) will show up prominently on the Community Home page. Even if you don't use Friends, this is a simple, less invasive way to personalize your Netflix site experience.

2) Rank. Someone at Netflix is the #1 most influential reviewer. We'll see who that is soon enough. But all of us have some ranking. Easy to ignore. Interesting to ponder. Based on a complicated set of factors, including number of highly helpful reviews (movies with few reviews provide most value), number of fans (people who have added you as a "Favorite"), and movies added to queues from your personal pages.

3) Subnav changes. Alas, the blog and other important items have been moved to the bottom of the page; Friends-related items are on the Friends & Faves page. Preferences is gone (yes, gone). Although you can still type in the URL and get to the page. We're phasing it out entirely, starting now.

4) Review Flags. The thresholds have been tuned, and very quickly you should see bad reviews going away and objectionable content managed. It's a community effect, so your vote alone doesn't change things -- but if disparate folks feel the same way, the automation should handle it properly.

5) Friends' Friends. Seeing who is connected to the people you are looking at is a core function of online communities, and will be fun and helpful for movie discovery. Only your real Friends are visible with a real name, and movie info like queue and rental history - this is unchanged. But now you can see their friends, or the friends of reviewers. This is new. They will only be identified by their anonymous nickname and avatar, but you'll see 'em.

RELATED TO THIS: we will be sending out an email to ALL Friends users tonight which will notify everyone of this change and give y'all time to tweak your nickname/avatar if you'd like. Because of your feedback on this blog, we're also making sure that you can select PRIVATE on your Profile page, and this will make you completely invisible outside of the Friends connections. This gives you an added level of comfort, I suppose (although being anonymous is pretty good comfort). Please read the terms of use if you have question. This is going to be a very safe network, but you convinced me that opting out is really important.

We're not done with Community just yet. Lots of improvement and new features still in the works. But i think with this release the shape of things is starting to take form.