Monday, September 17, 2007

Today's Release is Live

Well, after the intense posts of the past week, everything else just feels mundane. I've not seen 300+ comments before on a blogpost - is that normal? (And not just little snipes, but often well-considered essays!)

Alright. I'm VERY interested in your first and continued impressions of the FAVES functions and what is working/not working here. Today's release is a complex set of new elements and as much as i hate to say it, there are likely to be some edge cases that are buggy. Any help you can provide as to what might not be smooth yet would help us out (remember for bugs: OS and browser info).

It's rolling out now, and should be everyone's experience in about an hour.

167 comments:

  1. First off, about the blog comments: I would say no, it's not normal. And the reason has already been mentioned: a blog response page is not at all the ideal medium for a conversation (let alone a serious one). Not saying that the blog should go away (it's great), but a Netflix user forum for discussions of all kinds (movie and/or site related) would be GREAT.

    On to the new changes - I like them, and they seem to be working fine. I was able to add a couple faves, see them appear on my Friends/Faves page, browse my Faves' info (including -gasp- their friends and faves), etc. Rank seems to be working OK, and of course I'm developing a complex over how low mine is (kidding). I did notice that some people didn't have a rank - maybe it was a temp glitch during rollout, or maybe they don't have enough data to compute a rank? If you've already answered that question in an earlier post, please disregard.

    The new "flag review" changes look OK as well. I even tracked down an inappropriate review to try it, and it seemed to work OK.

    Nice work Michael.

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  2. Great job, Michael et al! I've been messing around with all the new features and haven't seen any bugs or glitches. Can't wait to start finding and adding new users to my faves!

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  3. If the blog attracts a lot of readers you must expect a lot of comments. But even if that is not the case, controversial topics always have far more posts than ordinary topics. You haven't seen nothin' if you think this has been excessive, especially as compared to longer established commercial blogs.

    I agree with Shawn that a forum might be useful eventually, assuming you guys have someone to moderate, which could become more than a full time job when everyone who might be interested finds it. (even a small percentage of 6million can be quite a lot of people)

    Where did the page to set movies to private go? I can't find it.

    What kind of activity will I be seeing from faves under “Your Friends’ and Faves’ Activity” on the Community Home page? (I already know about the friends part)

    Clarification and more detail on how ranking and some of this other stuff works would be helpful even if it is scattered and hidden in other posts on the blog.

    Thanks,

    Becky :)

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  4. And like right now, I’ve been using another guy’s five star ratings (%76 sim to me, near 1500 rank) to find movies I haven’t yet rated. Does he get a little credit for helping me find and rate the movies I haven’t been able to find using my old method of finding and rating the movies I’ve seen?

    And then there’s this… I found him in that little (four person) sim-to-you box on my community home page? How do people get into that box? I think someone asked before but I don’t remember seeing that answer.

    Becky

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  5. Where did the page to set movies to private go? I can't find it.

    Click Community Tab up top, then click Friends & Faves on the right, then Movie Privacy up top under Community.

    What kind of activity will I be seeing from faves under “Your Friends’ and Faves’ Activity” on the Community Home page? (I already know about the friends part)

    Under the Friends part, there will be headers for Your Favorites and Your Fans, once you have some.

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  6. michael, from netflixSeptember 17, 2007 at 1:31 PM

    @ Becky -
    First, the Movie Privacy stuff, and inviting Friends stuff, is all now in the subnav when you're looking at your Friends & Faves page. The Preferences page for changing Friend's names is gone.

    About the rank: i'll talk more about this soon. But quickly, people don't get "points" for you co-rating along side them, but they do get points for you adding movies to your Queue, a little bit. The get more points if that movie actually SHIPS to you. If you save them as one of your Faves, that gives them more points than if you don't.

    IF someone has no rank, they are past the multimillion point, or they don't have enough data to get counted... AND REMEMBER: rank is only calculated every week, not every day. Have fun.

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  7. This will probably get asked by someone soon: How do I remove a Friend or Fave?

    Go to their profile page and on the right under their icon will be a button for Remove Friend, in the place you would normally see Add to Faves.

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  9. I've added a couple Faves (about 30 minutes ago), but I do not show up on their Friends/Fans/Faves page yet. I have already started seeing my Fans showing on my page though.

    OS X, Safari 3.0 Beta if it matters.

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  10. Not intending to thread hijack, but... I'm trying to change my profile picture and it's not working. I figured I would mention it in case the feature is misbehaving.

    Windows XP, Firefox 2.0.0.6

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  11. And then there’s this… I found him in that little (four person) sim-to-you box on my community home page? How do people get into that box? I think someone asked before but I don’t remember seeing that answer.

    Those are 4 random people that are 65+ Sim%. You can reload the Community page every 10 minutes or so to see a new group of people there.

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  12. S'looking good, Michael & NF Team, and all working as promised on Mac/Foxfire in NYC. Congrats and many thanks for your great efforts! My only beef is that #1 is precisely who I suspected it would be (don't worry, no spoilers here), rather than someone who you don't see on every other movie page, as you assured us! But Lord knows he/she has earned it!!

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  13. Can we have an "Ask Baff" thread too, please. Not that we really need one with him fielding every ball like this! Thanks for your great and selfless service to the community ;)

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  14. Subnav of ‘Friends and Faves’ from the floatie side-bar thingie…

    Thanks Michael, found the ‘movie privacy’ tab again.

    That’s some cool factors in the rankings calculation there. I’m looking forward to more detail.

    I’ll have to read more of the guys reviews before I add him as a favorite. (he’s got a lot of them) Which is why I want to know what activity of his I’ll be seeing if I do. Will I see if he rates a new movie or only if he reviews one. I assume I’m not going to see what he queues or actually watches as with my friends. I’m also concerned with my friends activity being pushed off the list with all my faves activity. I’ve kinda been using that little activity box on the community home page more than the friends page lately so I wondered. I’m sure following this guy’s reviews might be useful, but I still know my friends better, and even with that 79% he’s reviewed a lot of movies I’m just not interested in.

    Becky

    PS: Random sims (10 min update)… Thanks Baff :)

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  15. becky glass said:

    Will I see if he rates a new movie or only if he reviews one. I assume I’m not going to see what he queues or actually watches as with my friends. I’m also concerned with my friends activity being pushed off the list with all my faves activity. I’ve kinda been using that little activity box on the community home page more than the friends page lately so I wondered. I’m sure following this guy’s reviews might be useful, but I still know my friends better

    I second this concern.


    Also, I'll probably feel dumb for asking this, but... where exactly are you guys able to see who's at the top of the rankings? I feel like Michael mentioned this somewhere in a previous post, but heck if I can find it. A little help, baff? :)

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  16. Will I see if he rates a new movie or only if he reviews one.

    Fave's Reviews and Ratings show in the Friends & Faves Activity list.

    Can we have an "Ask Baff" thread too, please.

    Heh, only if they start paying me. Though then it becomes 'work' and a lot less fun.

    where exactly are you guys able to see who's at the top of the rankings?

    As far as I know, there isn't a page that shows everyone's rank. The only way to see someone's rank is to go to their profile page and see it next to their icon on the right. If you go to a few movie pages and look for those people with "870 of 930 people found this review helpful", it probably won't be too hard to find the top 10.

    On a side note, I didn't expect my rank to be anywhere near what it is. Must be the 2 lists I made, since I have only reviewed 5 movies.

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  17. You do realize this blog is featured on Blogger's "Blogs of Note" section on the homepage... right?

    Hence the increase in traffic. Congrats! :)

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  18. I haven’t yet seen a top-list where rank is concerned. The individual rank is there with our ‘member since’ and nickname info. My guess is the guy just suspected who might be in number one position and clicked on his profile to confirm his guess. If there is a top-list yet. I don’t know where it is.

    Becky


    PS: I was much higher than I expected too. If it's weighted toward lists then I'll be dropping next week for sure then. I just deleted all mine so I can restyle them. Decided I could make them better... just seemed easier to start from scratch.

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  19. If it's weighted toward lists then I'll be dropping next week for sure then.

    I've seen some people with lots of lists that had low ranking. Probably more accurate to say its weighted toward useful and well-named lists. Whatever gets people to come take a look at your list and then decide to add movies from it.

    For any who might care, I added a link to my Netflix profile page on my Blogger profile page (accessible by clicking on my name up above). I'm actually quite pleased to find out that people have found my 2 lists useful.

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  20. Michael and Baff, how did the 1 vs 5 Thunderdome extravaganza shake out? Is there a full page of sims% in the works? That would make this exploration all the more fun.

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  21. Michael and Baff, how did the 1 vs 5 Thunderdome extravaganza shake out? Is there a full page of sims% in the works?

    Heh, those would be questions just for Michael. I don't work for Netflix, I just try to answer some of the easier questions so Michael can focus on questions like yours.

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  22. Well... I'm liking the new stuff so far. Great job, Michael!

    The 500 queue limit is becoming more frustrating than ever with all these new movies I'm discovering due to the Community additions. ;)

    Like others have mentioned, I'll look forward to the ability to view multiple "pages" of Recent Friends & Favs activities. I know I asked about this a while back when that Community block was first added and you suggested that the Recent Activities events might get rolled into the Notebook. Any report on how this is (or isn't) developing?

    Baff, that was a great idea adding your Netflix profile link to your Blogger profile. I have done the same. I hope that in this scenario you feel that imitation is a form of flattery. :)

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  23. If you go to a few movie pages and look for those people with "870 of 930 people found this review helpful", it probably won't be too hard to find the top 10.

    I seem to be wrong about this. I took a look at a bunch of such reviewers and none of them even had a higher rank than I have. The only person I have found so far with a higher rank I found because they had a high Sim%. They had also rated over 10k movies.

    Anyone found a better way of finding the influential people yet?

    I hope that in this scenario you feel that imitation is a form of flattery. :)

    Nope, sorry. I decided to take it as a mortal insult instead ;P

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  24. "I don't work for Netflix"

    I know, Baff. Was just teasing you since you'd become the go-to-guy on this thread ;) . But it's great that you and many others help answer any questions that you can.

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  25. How can you tell, if at all, if someone has added you to their faves?

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  26. Anyone found a better way of finding the influential people yet?

    I don't know of a fool-proof way of finding them yet, but I do remember Michael saying something about that those who rate and write reviews of rare movies will get higher points. That might be clue anyway.

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  27. How can you tell, if at all, if someone has added you to their faves?

    Go to the Community page then click the Friends & Faves tab on the right.

    Below Your Friends will be a Your Favorites section, and below that will be Your Fans if you have any.

    There doesn't currently seem to be a way to see other people's fans. Michael said they would be mixed in with our Faves and Friends on our public page. Maybe Michael changed his mind, or its a bug, or maybe they only get added once per day?

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  28. Emergency! Even with only 5 'Friends and Faves' my activity box is pretty much unreadable. At the very least 'Unique in Nowheresville' should be booted to provide more space, but better still give it its own page. Already part of the Master Plan, perhaps?

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  29. #1 is the first reviewer on the movie The Method review page

    With 4000 ratings, 1643 reviews and 0 lists.

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  30. First things first, the blog link being at the bottom of the page sucks. I guess you're trying to force me to bookmark you.

    I just saw my ranking. I still think it's the silliest concept and a complete & utter waste, but if it makes you happy wth. Mine made me giggle. I think I'll play it in the lottery.

    So far friends/faves gets a thumbs up from me. I like seeing my friend's friends. I often been curious about them. Adding a fave is simple. I like how the user pic link is at the bottom. It's easy to see them. I like not having their real names. I'm happy that there's only a link and photo as well. My friends know who I am because my friends KNOW who I am. I was not happy with the idea of random strangers knowing my full name or having to go private.

    The best part of this feature is linking from person to person to person. I don't see a problem with it. I don't see an issue with privacy. (I have worked for a utility during deregulation and in the ins./medical industry so I know privacy. This is no big deal.) It's not like we can search users. I think when people see the information they can actually see, they'll calm down.

    I also have agree with Shaun. When it comes to discussion, a forum would be much more beneficial.

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  31. michael, from netflixSeptember 17, 2007 at 5:46 PM

    Heya folks. Some user notes (that will find their way to a posting once i organize my thoughts):

    1) yes, it's a bug that your fans aren't mixed into the outward facing Friends & Faves page. We'll see about restoring them.

    2) The Friends & Faves Activity block. When you only have Friends there are only 10 slots here for info. Once you add a Fave, you have 10 more slots here. 10 are dedicated to Friends, so even if you have 100 faves, they won't force out what you used to see for the 10 datapoints on your Friends. All your Faves jockey for the 10 Faves slots. So, yes, if you have lots of Faves, this could be a little awkward. If someone is proving to be un-useful, just remove them as a Fave. The point is that they remain useful.

    3) I'd like to revise the Notebook page to be a history of the Activity block, along with note details. It is not on the short-list of fixes and features, but it's in mind and i'll let you know how it rises to the top of priorities.

    4) Sounds like you found #1. I'm not sure he/she/they even knows they're #1. (It is sort of the point that none of us can bug him/her... and disrupt that great productivity. I can tell you that the #2 reviewer is pretty far from #1, and the pair of them are way ahead of the pack. On the list of things to get to is a "leaderboard" of sorts -- the most influential folks here. But in the meantime, yea, you just will stumble across them.

    Am i missing anything big?

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  32. Michael, it would be nice if all the prefs and options were accessible from one place, like the account page maybe.

    dw

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  33. Hey! This may be a, "NO? Duh!" situation but I just noticed I deleted that auto-list they gave me with all my five star picks when I deleted all my other lists. Fantastic! I hated that thing.


    Baff,

    73% sim to me… however…

    I’ve only rated just under 2k in much less than a year… 18k+?

    That’s going to take awhile…

    AngelMonkey

    75% sim to me…

    Pretty much agree on Mirror Mask… Took my breath away that one did…

    (like being crushed to death by a very big but very interesting looking sculpture would take my breath away)

    Philly,

    (on privacy) Still an issue… but I’ll leave that discussion back on the privacy thread, it’s all there anyway.

    Michael,

    Glad to see I keep 10 slots for my friends, now I can safely go find some faves.

    “3) I'd like to revise the Notebook page to be a history of the Activity block, along with note details. It is not on the short-list of fixes and features, but it's in mind and i'll let you know how it rises to the top of priorities.”

    Could be useful… Would that include friends and faves both? The whole Activity block? If so I think I’d prefer that information segregated as well.

    Thanks,

    Becky

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  34. Boy, for a 'private person', you sure are a sharer, Ms Becky! I still slightly resent the 'influence meter', like I went to see a show to relax and enjoy myself, only to discover that my every response had been recorded and relayed to the public without a release waiver. But, like everyone else, I can now laugh if it's low and feel gratified if it's high. So, all in all, a very interesting day. And with Michael shaking things (and us) up every couple of weeks, I'm sure there'll be plenty more ahead.......

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  35. Well, after rating over 1600 movies and tv shows and having Netflix tell me they have 0 suggestions for me, I can see how top ten lists, similarity percentages and friends and faves activities will be able to help me find some new movies to watch.

    One thing that would be helpful, though (and I know it's been mentioned before)... if the "your friends loved/your friends hated" did that pop up thing that happens on other pages (like your queue). The pix are too small to see what it is that my friends loved or hated.

    Very cool updates; I've been playing with the site all night long (and still no bugs or glitches!).

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  36. @Becky - I've only rated about 3500 movies. I marked about 15,000 as 'not interested'. I will eventually mark another 5-10,000 likewise. There are just a ton of music, sports events, etc that I know I will never want to watch.

    Angelmonkey is 79% for me, actually added a couple movies from her lists.

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  37. Baff,
    You said:
    And then there’s this… I found him in that little (four person) sim-to-you box on my community home page? How do people get into that box? I think someone asked before but I don’t remember seeing that answer.

    Those are 4 random people that are 65+ Sim%. You can reload the Community page every 10 minutes or so to see a new group of people there.


    But mine showed:
    Click on the picture to see what makes you similar
    CN 760631
    53%
    Similar To You CB 680965
    52%
    Similar To You
    tsv 1086354
    43%
    Similar To You TW 1496406
    41%
    Similar To You

    Is the "65+ Sim%" rule working?

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  38. Michael,

    This is great! I've been having a lot of fun finding faves but I do notice one glitch (?).

    The number of faves on the right hand tab when I open Community is more than actual faves. 14 show on the tab but there are actually 10.

    ?

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  39. Michael said, re friends/faves activity : "10 [slots] are dedicated to Friends..."

    But what if, like Angelmonkey, you have 25 friends? This important component of the Community page just doesn't seem to be getting the breathing space it needs and deserves. Also, maybe 'friends' and 'faves' could be differentiated one from the other by typeface or 'bold'ness?

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  40. @chawk: dare it say it, but you have 14 fans, 4 of them appear to be "private" -- and thus are invisible. We'll work on the messaging to make that clearer.

    As for having 25 Friends and finding the Activity stuff a bit... insufficient... yes. That kind of thing in on some future improvement lists. But not this quarter. Sorry.

    As for a visual distinction between Friends and Faves? Hmmm... that's a good idea.

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  41. Michael, great work with this rollout,

    What would be the top five things to consider if one wanted to move up in ranking?

    Also, by the avatar, perhaps the number of ranking could be included there, instead of just seeing it on the community page. This way, it could be viewed everywhere; i'd look at someone who has a review with a higher ranking than one with a lower one.

    What's the lowest raking? So far I've seen: Rank: 3,867,287 (Mine is: Rank: 12,652)

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  42. Hee hee. This is so much fun getting to know the movie tastes of each other. =)

    I actually have 21 Friends, but really only half of them actively use Netflix. But yeah, even with that, the Recent Activity list is unruly. I do look forward to improvements here, whenever that may be.

    I must say, I do feel more inclined to write more reviews -- but not becuase I want to raise my rank. Rather, I want to be able to share my movie opinions with my Fans who can't see the hundreds of Mini-Reviews I've already written for my Friends. I think it would be awesome if mini-reviews were brought back and if they were visible to Fans as well Friends. Or if "Fans" were one of the checkboxes that could be selected when writing a Note. Of course, in the case of Fans, it would have to work for current and future Fans... but I think Notes should work for current and future Friends too. Also, I don't think it should send e-mails to Fans when written, but it would show up on the movie pages under a new section: "What your Favs Thought". You see, there are plenty of opinions I don't want to bother the general Community with in a full review, but which I'd like to share with someone who specifically selects me as a Fav.

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  43. @Anon - I had just assumed the cutoff was 65% because that is the lowest I had seen. Perhaps its 4 random people from the 100 (or whatever) most similar to you.

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  45. I am comforted with the thought that there is a very special place in hell reserved just for spammers.

    I thought it was called Nigeria...?

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  46. Congratulations to talltale! #1 with a bullet!

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  47. AngelMonkey said:

    I think it would be awesome if mini-reviews were brought back and if they were visible to Fans as well Friends. Or if "Fans" were one of the checkboxes that could be selected when writing a Note. Of course, in the case of Fans, it would have to work for current and future Fans... but I think Notes should work for current and future Friends too. Also, I don't think it should send e-mails to Fans when written, but it would show up on the movie pages under a new section: "What your Favs Thought". You see, there are plenty of opinions I don't want to bother the general Community with in a full review, but which I'd like to share with someone who specifically selects me as a Fav.

    It's like she's inside my brain! I cannot stress how much I agree with this, and how much more useful I think it would make the Netflix community page...

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  48. I am wondering how I can easily access a review written by one of my "faves" when they are a prolific reviewer (200+) and the movie may also be heavily reviewed by others. Doing a keyword each through all of those pages seems too tedious. But when I receive notice that a fave of mine has posted a new review, the hotlink for the movie takes me only to the movie page, rather than directly to the review I'm interested in reading. Any way around this?

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  49. Don’t have faves yet so I don’t know if there is an easy work-around.

    The following thoughts are sorta related in that they have to do with easily getting at a reviewers reviews.

    It is a task to get through someone’s ‘more reviews by’ list when they have hundreds of reviews. Some collapsed form of an alphabetical list might be help. Smaller images, or none maybe. Title and reviewers ratings ofc. The ability to expand and collapse reviews individually or by full list for those who prefer browsing through on ‘all expanded.’

    Ordered by date written only helps when you want to see their most recent stuff regardless of what it is. Perhaps a choice of how they are ordered? Date written or title?

    I was wondering if we could have a little button or link marked ‘review’ when going through a reviewer’s five star rated movies. As long as I can ‘open the link/button in another window’ to read that review it would work. But better yet would be to have the review pop-up, like the movie info does, without opening another page at all.

    I use other peoples rated movies to rate more of my own now, but I also add a lot of movies to my queue when I’m doing that too. It would be nice to see someone’s review as well as the movie info without leaving their 'rated page.' If I’m still undecided I can still open the movie link and read the other reviews. But this way I would have instant access to a review by a person who’s already proved themselves useful.

    Becky

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  50. @Michael - I may have found a bug, though not sure why it happened. Yesterday, I added Angelmonkey as a Fave, but today she was not in my Fave list.

    @Angelmonkey - Did you toggle your privacy on/off in the last day? If so, that might explain it.

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  51. M from N said - *...they do get points for you adding movies to your Queue, a little bit. They get more points if that movie actually SHIPS to you. *

    The only pity of this is that it doesn't take into account the other very important function of reviews, which is to protect readers from stinkers. Bad for Netflix perhaps, but good for flixers. The 'helpfuls' can obviously reflect the 'phew!' of a bullet having been dodged, but I'm wondering if there there isn't some additional way to thank people for persuasively waving us off the occasional dogs that get recommended? Or are we being encouraged to only write-up movies we loved?

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  52. I'll give you this Michael : along with the slight discomfort that I (as one of those much vilified introverts) feel about being evaluated and then either embraced or rejected (much too curious to go into hiding) there's a definite new crackle and buzz on the site as networks (of movie opinions, not people, he quickly added!) begin to expand and interweave across the country. Excellent 'Vision Thing', Sir!

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  53. #6mill…That’s an interesting point.

    It also occurred to me to wonder if a reviewer gets points taken away if we then come back and rate a movie low that we watched on their recommendation.

    Becky



    pst Anon, Ditto on the vision thing, still woulda worked dandy as an opt-in tho. ;)

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  55. @Baff - No, I haven't touched my privacy option. I'm still public as ever... and you're still showing up in my Fans list, so it probably is a bug. The only thing that may have changed is that I added you to my Favs last night. However, on my end it seems to be working fine -- you just show up as both a Fan and a Fav.

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  56. I've been following the site on and off and I think it's doing a great job, and this is a great resource for people. However, I have some question that have nothing to do with the current thread:


    1) I can't find a link to the netflix blog on the site anymore. It used to be under Community, but I can't find it.

    2) My friend is able to just click and drag his queue to rearrange them - I can't. Is this a java/flash/whatever problem that I need to upgrade?

    3) We really need to be able to rate movies .5 stars. Like 3.5, 4.5, etc. If we're already able to do this I apologize, but I can't. I can only do whole stars.

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  57. Foster--read back over the blog entries from the last month...all of your points have been discussed at length (and mostly aren't settled yet).

    I may have missed this, but does it affect our rating if a friend adds a movie from a Movie Note of ours?

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  58. @Forster - Let's give Baff a breather.

    1. It's now at the bottom of the page (was apparently confusing people where it was, unlike now!!).

    2. A recurring complaint from people. Check with customer service. They're all in Portland, OR now, hence very nice and helpful.

    3. If you have a spare 1/2 hour check Todd's post on stars in the archives.

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  59. Here another concern… It relates to an old problem of mine but a new aspect didn’t occur to me till just now.

    My concern is backlash. Now, with ‘friends and faves,’ and later when we will see a ‘top list’ of most influential reviewers. I’m wondering if the ability to mulit-vote on a review won’t become much, much more of a problem.

    I think I mentioned before that at one point, I seemed to have had all my reviews come under attack. Movies that were highly unlikely to have anyone finding and reading them got roughly the same amount of ‘not helpful’ votes as movies that were highly likely to be seen. (as long as they remained in most recent that is)

    That happened shortly after writing reviews on politically controversial titles btw. I think they just followed the review from the movie page back to my ‘reviews & lists’ page and used that to mark all my reviews ‘not helpful.’

    Now, I’m afraid people might target highly influential people in the same way to reduce their rank and attempt to reduce their influence. Like people with unusual tastes, or obvious or supposed political or social leanings for example.

    Has/can anything be done to keep that from happening?

    What about the general practice of misusing the ‘helpful’ and ‘unhelpful’ as a means of punishing and rewarding? Can/Should anything be done to address that?

    I’m not sure what any of those numbers under my reviews really mean anymore.

    Becky


    ps Foster,

    1) The blog link moved to the very bottom of the community page.
    2) Sorry, it seemed to boil down to what version of browser and what release you have. (whether you have everything fully installed that you should. It’s all buried in the other posts somewhere.
    3) Half stars is a common request. No word yet as I recall on if that might be adopted.

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  60. I think you have to find a better place for this blog. I was a daily blog reader, and took me more than a day to fin its new location. Seems to be almost invisible to newcomers.

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  61. @Becky. Totally agree about punishing/rewarding/gaming/etc., but it seems that the only thing NF can do is to only allow each account member to vote ONCE (as with the flag and the poll, no whatever-the-hell-that-was intended) - and I'm pretty appalled that they haven't yet got around to doing that since it's always been a glaring bug, and has been a major complaint for months now. But how could they stop someone from e-mailing everyone in their address book and telling them to "go forth and smiteth the evil Becky", pray tell?

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  62. @Angel I re-added you to my Faves as soon as I noticed you were gone. You disappeared off sometime after you added me as a Fave, because last night I saw you in both lists (Fan/Fave).

    Someone else vanished off my Fave list about an hour ago, not sure who it was.

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  63. j,

    Don’t know… but we’re much more likely to scare up one nut-job with no life than to scare up one nut-job who also has a bunch of friends that do his bidding.

    I do know that I found it discouraging. Since genuine votes roll in so slowly, my strongest incentive to continue writing reviews in the face of it, was just plane obstinance.

    That’s the irony of my particular situation too.

    On one hand my ‘reviews & lists’ page has been a nuisance because it allows easy access if anyone did want to attack them.

    On the other hand you want that available so that people who genuinely want to read and vote on your reviews in an honest fashion are able to. (one vote per review either way I can be happy with)

    In my case I get a double-whammy of irony and disincentive because I’m now private in order to keep my friends private. Anyone who wants to get to my reviews can’t easily do it anymore using ‘reviews & lists,’ whether they want to attack them, OR whether they want to honestly read/rate them.

    That’s my particular Catch-22. (which is a really good movie btw)

    Becky

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  64. I would be more happy to see netflex work on the delivery issues. Friends and such mean nothing if you end up with us all moving to Blockbuster. The service promised is lacking.

    Perhaps you need to have Saturday service made available. Waiting to get a movie for days and days is ridiculous.

    If netflex does not improve soon I will be dumping them for Blockbuster.

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  65. @anglemonkey

    I couldn't agree more... bring back mini-reviews (and convert all my notes back to that format)! I've shied away from writing full-blown reviews (strike it up to longstanding writer's block incurred by too many years of graduate school in english lit.), but have lots of "two-cents" (now notes) which, frankly, are beyond brilliant. :)

    I'm a 72% match with you, angel, and so you're my first fave!

    Dan

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  66. sbxyq☺☺☺ Jon's brain-fart for the day! ☺☺☺

    In what direction does the ranking work, ascending or descending?

    Just curious if "1" is the best (or worst), doesn't really matter, I got a long way to go either way, my rank is 84837 ;-)

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  67. Regarding the link to this blog: why not put it on the secondary navigation line on the Community page? There is only one other thing there, the static text "Community Home", so there's plenty of room to insert the link to this blog there. Have it open in a new window so that even if someone gets confused, there's no harm done as the Netflix website will still be there underneath. Sticking it down on the bottom where no one is ever possibly going to find it is a big waste, and big diservice to your own blog! Doesn't really make much of a difference to me since I read the updates through your RSS feed, so it's not like I need to go searching for a bookmark, but if it's new people you want coming here rather than just the same few you always hear from, hiding the link out of plain site is not the way to attract them.

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  68. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  69. @Michael - The person that vanished from my Faves list has reappeared on it. Maybe this is similar to the bug that causes people's reviews to come and go? At a guess, I'm thinking data spread across different servers. Server A asks for data from Servers B, C & D. Server C doesn't respond fast enough, so Server A only sends me the data from B & D. I come back later to view the page and I get all the data because the load on Server C is lighter now.

    @2mcabre - Yes, 1 is the most influential, 5 million (or whatever) is the least influential.

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  70. I would be more happy to see netflex work on the delivery issues. Friends and such mean nothing if you end up with us all moving to Blockbuster. The service promised is lacking.

    Development of the community section does not slow down delivery. Two different departments. I get my movies on the 2nd day... like clockwork. Your lack of prompt delivery may have more to do with your proximity to a distr center.

    If netflex does not improve soon I will be dumping them for Blockbuster.

    Maybe you are closer to a Blockbuster Distr Center and it will indeed work better for, not to mention that it might make more movies available for the rest of us. Good luck!

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  71. Maria said : "I think you have to find a better place for this blog".

    Yes. Everyone agrees except Michael; and there's insurmountable rub! Although he has been known to change his mind, haven't you, pretty please, very distinguished-looking beard, good eye-contact, etc.... (has it really come to this?) How about in both places, like 'community' is, so it's on every page PLUS where it makes sense for it to be?

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  72. Can I throw in another off-topic request? The star ratings that show for movies are currently Netflix's "Buest Guess". I would like to be able to change it so it instead shows the compiled average rating of other users.

    Thanks!

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  73. I think I mentioned before that at one point, I seemed to have had all my reviews come under attack.

    Becky, I hear you. And Katie bar the door should you ever give a negative review to a fanboy film. Try ripping a Superhero or Comic Book or Jackass film and watch your influence free-fall. I think I remember reading something from Michael a few weeks back that addresses this.

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  74. re: Mini-reviews

    I'm not sure what everyone is talking about; they were gone before I even found about them (through this blog). But I recently commented in the "Killing Movie Notes' Email" post about being able to leave a note about a movie that I watched that my friends (or strangers) can look at if they're interested, but that isn't emailed to them specifically. Is that what everyone means by "mini-reveiws"? If so, add me to the list of those who want it back!

    PS: Baff and AngelMonkey are showing up as 85% and 86% similar to me; that's better than the four in the "Members with similar tastes to you" box!

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  75. @Becky. I'm sure both scenarios apply. I only suggested the e-mail because the other day I had 25 helpfuls and no unhelpfuls on a movie (and thanks to you all), and suddenly the next day I had 27+ and 18-, suggesting that the word had gone out to demote my review; maybe if every voter's home phone # was revealed....? Oh well, they must be pretty miserable people to be that bitter and punishing about something so innocuous as a movie review, poor things. The trick is not to take it personally -- Michael taught me that, unphazed as he is by criticism, as long as it's well-argued criticism, supported by quotes and examples!

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  76. YES, BigRig! The averaged stars are much more dependable; and of course show up when you trigger the description pop-up. I actually brought this up the other day, and Michael seemed a bit surprised 'since Todd works very hard on those star estimates' (to paraphrase), but he said he'd talk to Todd about it. Maybe we need one or two more 'ME TOOs' on this blog and via 'suggestions' on the 'contact us' page. Any other shoulders to the wheel on this?

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  77. @ang - Before Notes existed, there were "Two-cent Mini-Reviews." Just like Notes, they were a small blurb you could write on each film. The differences were:
    1) You couldn't specify the recipient(s) of the mini-reveiws... all your Friends would see them.
    2) E-mails were not sent out when you wrote a mini-review.
    3) New Friends would be able to see all mini-reviews you had written prior to them becoming your Netflix Friend.

    When mini-reviews were replaced by Notes, all our already written mini-reviews were converted into Notes... so now whenever we add a new Friend, they can't see all our old Notes. The core difference from an engineering standpoint, is that each Note seems to be tied to each person you "send" the Note to, rather than being tied to the movie the Note is about. The intention for the change, I believe, was so that Friends could have one-on-one "conversations" about a movie through Notes. But from what I've heard on this blog, it seems that most people just use them the same way they used to use mini-reviews by selecting to send every Note to "All Friends."

    Unfortunately, Notes is awkward at best when used in this manner. So many of us are really hoping that Michael decides to either bring back the mini-reviews or at the very least "fix" Notes so that new Friends (and now Fans) can benefit from all the work we've already done writing them.

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  78. I fear that the poll but the final nail in that mini-review coffin. Partly because, in the absence of this excellent description, lots of people didn't know or remember how they worked.

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  79. @harry - I fear that a bit as well, but I certainly hope that's not the case. I think the poll was misleading for a few reasons. First of all, many people on this blog never experienced mini-reviews, so they didn't know what they were missing or that bringing back mini-reviews would allow most of the functionality of Notes to remain intact. If I was a new member and didn't know what had been, I probably would have voted to "keep Notes" too because I like the functionality it provides (not knowing that I can get the same desired funtionality out of mini-reviews).

    Also, there was an additional choice for the poll that was something like "modified reviews that could be as long as full reviews, but would only be viewable by Friends." So basically... the same as mini-reviews, but not restricted by length. So I think that the votes from the mini-review supporters were split between the "mini-review" choice and this "new review type" choice. And if you added the percents together for those two choices, it actually beat out the "Notes as they currently exist" choice... but only by a couple percent.

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  80. "The intention for the change, I believe, was so that Friends could have one-on-one "conversations" about a movie through Notes."

    I've only ever used Notes for conversations, never for reviews. I didn't vote on that poll though, since its not a big feature to me.

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  81. @mini-reviews

    All of my friends lament the change from two-cent reviews to notes, as do I. That's the only poll I'm aware of... if someone can point me to another, I'll cast my vote (unless of course it's too late).

    dan

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  82. Note on the Average Rating stars-these are still available if you go to the movie page or in the little square that pops up when you hover over the title/box picture. It is just underneath what Netflix thinks you would rate the movie.

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  83. Yes Dan, too late. And, just as AngelMonkey said, the confusing maxi-review option really split the vote. Let's just hope that our belovéd Team were smart enough (and of course they were) to add-up the mini and maxi-review votes and listen to the irrefutable lamentations of the people.

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  84. Delivery issues-That is more likely due to your area than Netflix not getting your movies out fast enough. I usually get my movies within 1 day, 2 or 3 tops. I've noticed that different places also return them at different time periods-so perhaps it has to do with where you are dropping them off or your mailman. Blockbuster doesn't even come close to Netflix-never did like them-your loss i spose!

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  85. @cynder66. Re : "Note on the Average Rating stars-these are still available if you go to the movie page or in the little square that pops up when you hover over the title/box picture."


    Very true, but it's really annoying having to open the pop-up or the movie page for every movie, since many of us find the averaged stars a much more useful guide that the computer estimate of what we might possibly, but not necessarily, rate a movie. I'd just propose reversing it, so that everyone sees the same member average vote (which effectively eliminates the highest and lowest votes) throughout the site, but can see their computed rating on the pop-up and movie page.

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  86. @AngelMonkey... thanks for the explanation about notes/mini-reviews. I think "two-cent mini-reviews" are exactly what I was wishing we could have. Can I change my vote? I want a recount! :)

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  87. So far a fascinating cyber-social experiment. The only part that doesn't seem to add anything to the mix is the ranking system, which is at best amusing, and at worse anxiety-provoking. And may your good-hearted and fair-minded members across the land prove me wrong, but I'd be really interested to know how many helpful votes and movie additions #'s 1 through 10 got today, who'll inevitably become targets to 'knock off his/her pedestal' even though they never submitted their names for this crowning. And what I can be absolutely sure of is that even if you're at 3,674 there's little or no incentive to claw you're way to 3,623 by writing reviews and lists through the night for the next 6 months. In a word : Gameshowzeitgeist. And I know that you're classier than that.

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  88. Hey. I'm heading out to the movies, but i wanted to say one thing: Why do you want the blog link back in the subnav? You all know where it is, so it must be because you want others to find it. I want others to find it too, but not at the expense of people doing what they came to netflix to do, and that's to find some movies. The blog is a distraction to that. I'm glad it's available - a link on every page of the site. I think that's a move up, frankly. Yes it was great having it in the subnav, but we have the greater good to think of, and in spite of your honest attempts to convince me of ways to present this site without being confusing, i'm sorry. it is to a lot of people. you're special. face it. if you can convince me somehow of the value of this blog (and i say this honestly: there are thousands of people who read this, but we have MILLIONS of members); I'll bet that most people are fine with being able to find it once they have heard of it.) But please: explain why it should be up there. I'm interested. Should I make a new posting?

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  89. Michael, simply so more people can find it, whether they're looking for it or stumbling across it, which adds to the diversity of voices (no offense guys). If you were to send out a mass mailing to let every member know where it is you'd never hear a peep out of us again, but you seem very resistant to doing that as well. You're a very hard man to persuade. And probably just as well or this site would be changing by the minute rather than by the week!

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  90. Michael, there's a big ole honking SPAM post on the Netflix Privacy thread. It's been there quite a while so I thought I'd point it out. Don't want him to benefit from posting it there.

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  91. If this blog is such a bothersome distraction, then why not just do away with it? If it is informative or helpful in any way, why not make it easier to find by putting the link back in the subnav?

    Seriously, people who want to find movies will find them and still have time to read/post here. We are not so narrow slow that it's one or the other, and I don't mean just the people who have already found the blog.

    From your comments over the weeks I've gotten the impression that you really don't think much of the intelligence or common sence level of Netflix members in general.

    Have a little faith. We might surprise you.

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  92. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  93. I agree with Michael, I don't think the vast majority of people have any real interest in reading this blog and certainly not slogging through all our debates. Most the people who are really interested have found it.

    What I think a lot more people would be interested in is a "Future Netflix Features" page. Something simple like:

    ----------------------
    ----------------------

    Here are some of the features we are working to add to the Netflix website over the next few months:

    ** Instant Watching for Mac & Linux!
    ** Half star ratings!
    ** Mini-reviews for Friends & Faves!

    For more details and a chance to give us feedback on these features (and other possible future features), come check out our blog!

    ----------------------
    ----------------------

    Its simple, direct, only needs to be updated every month or 2, and in 1 minute customers can get a rough idea of what's coming. If they want to know more, they just click the link to the blog.

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  94. Blog-link:

    Not only do light Flix users not want to see this blog in my experience, they get pissed even knowing it exists. None of my friends want to do anything other than easily and quickly, find, rent, and watch movies. And I even had one of them get angry just hearing me talking about this blog and the community stuff.

    “What don’t they get! All I want to do is rent movies!” I’m serious, I was fielding flack for Netflix this past Sunday.

    They resent anything at all that complicates their doing just that. Move something, make them have to run a new maze to do the same thing they already knew how to do, and they are right to be angry, to consider it stolen time. ‘Zip-zip my queue is full, on to the next thing.’ That’s how I suspect the vast majority really want it. They do not like clicking a link and finding themselves in unfamiliar territory. And it’s not that they are stupid, they may be smarter than us actually, it’s because they just don’t want to spend the time.

    It makes sense to me that Michael would make the link easy to find but not easy to stumble into. This is a pretty ugly and unwieldy thing going on here. As useful (hopefully) as it maybe, it’s not pretty. You hang your washing out back, not out front. I’m with Michael on this. Make it too obvious and a lot of confused, angry people are going to show up making it even more unwieldy. They will use it to try and report broken discs and such. The only people really interested in this kind of thing are the kind of people that will find and follow a link that shows up at the bottom of the pages anyway.

    BTW Michael:

    Is that a serious number, for real? Thousands reading this blog? That should be enough I’d think to supply Anon with some more diversity. Why so mute I wonder…

    Mini-Reviews:

    Mini-Reviews would be a ‘yes’ for me. Missed out on the feature and the Poll. :(

    Our projected star ratings:

    Personally, I like seeing both my ‘projected star rating’ and the ‘average rating’ on the pop-up where I can compare them. But I kind of still would prefer seeing ‘viewer average’ everywhere else. I still like knowing what the hive-mind thinks. Besides, it’s traditional. ;)

    Ranks:

    I can’t tell yet if the ranking will be of any significance to me yet or not, or if it will help me find the type of movies I’d like to find. (movies unlike the one I just watched darn-it) I won’t really be able to tell ‘till we can see a top-list. I hope our ‘percent sim to’ will show up there as well, so I have an indication how well someone might match me as well as how ‘influential’ they are. A very influential Anime freak isn’t going to help me find what I’m interested in. I don’t want to discover that three pages deep.

    Becky

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  95. And Katie bar the door should you ever give a negative review to a fanboy film. Try ripping a Superhero or Comic Book or Jackass film and watch your influence free-fall.

    Frank W. - No kidding! I try to avoid that snake pit entirely. Too many times have I read terrific, thoughtful and valid reviews of films such as these, only to see their rating listed somewhere in the basement. I recently faced the dragon with a negative review of the new Halloween reboot... I will have to see how that one holds out.

    @AngelMonkey - I added you as a fave yesterday (70% sim), just enough in common to trust your opinion and enough wiggle room to discover something new. BTW curious - The highest sim% I have run across is 82%. Anyone seen higher than that?

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  96. Personally, I like seeing both my ‘projected star rating’ and the ‘average rating’ on the pop-up where I can compare them. But I kind of still would prefer seeing ‘viewer average’ everywhere else. I still like knowing what the hive-mind thinks.

    @Becky - Agreed. I am particularly impressed with the accuracy of the "projected star rating" on films. Sure there is the occasional miss but, more often than not, these projections are (for me at least) eerily on the money. The "hive-mind" ratings are fun for me as well.

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  97. @Baff. A bit late, but : You're welcome! Gotta share the load, here. And yet no thanks from Foster, I couldn't help noticing, even though 3 of us rushed to his aid like a drowning man!

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  98. Blimey! All 34 reviews have disappeared again! My faves will wonder what the hell good this new fan is to them without one soddin review or list!! Why does this keep happening?

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  99. Here's an idea to consider:

    Should your Faves ratings show up on the movie page for any movie they have rated?

    Since the Friends section eliminated the ability to look at all Friends ratings at the same time, I go into the movie page to see what each of my Friends who has seen it thought about a particular movie. It would be helpful for me to see the ratings of my Faves there as well.

    I would LOVE to be able to see all my Friends (& Faves) ratings in decending total star order like before, but outside of that seeing Faves ratings on the movie page makes a lot of sense instead of having to dig for it.

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  100. The highest sim% I have run across is 82%. Anyone seen higher than that?

    I have found and added to my faves three 84%s and one 83%.

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  101. movie watching loverSeptember 19, 2007 at 7:24 AM

    Well, I tried it, enjoyed it for a while, but frankly, between all the member research and the blog reading, I was no longer making a dent in 700+ movies already in my queue and movie file, to say nothing of the implicit pressure to rate and review to keep my far more productive faves properly fed. And so, like Becky's friends I'm for now going back to basics. Thanks for a great if short ride, and have fun y'all.

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  102. @star ratings

    This one is easy... simply make it an option under My Account / Preferences: which rating do you want displayed in lists/queues... the hive rating or the anticipation for you rating?

    Personally, I'd prefer the hive/average user rating to appear. Of course users can always access both in the pop-up. I'm sure others like it the way it is. Why not give the user the choice?

    It's got to be simple programmatically... just a flag.

    Dan

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  103. Agreed, Dan. But we've many of us been suggesting A or B options for weeks now to try to resolve issues, but Michael, in his wisdom, seems to prefer keeping the site as homogenous and one-size-fits-all as possible. But let's see - what the stars under each movies mean seems like a real biggie that effects every user every moment they're on the site, so maybe we can prevail upon him on this one?????

    Spam alert on 'The Blog Link' (Sept.9th).

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  104. Regarding which ratings display (average vs. estimated):

    Put me in the camp who loves the estimated ratings and would rather see them first. I think it does a fantastic job of weeding out movies I'd never choose to watch while also elevating some hidden gems to the forefront. Maybe it's just because I've rated a good cross-section of movies? I only rent movies I think I'm going to like, but my wife keeps a steady supply of crap like Miss Congeniality 2 coming in, so I get stuck watching movies I don't like fairly often as well.

    And, just for the sake of repetition (since I've posted similar sentiments in nearly every other semi-relevant thread), you can place me right in the middle of the "bring back Two Cents Reviews" camp :)

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  105. @Eric. That's great, and makes very good sense (aside from marrying someone and then humiliating them in public : Miss Congeniality 2!!!!!!). Some of us would just prefer that there be a choice. Also, since we all see the average star ratings until there's enough rating data on us to be able to generate estimated stars, we already have a two-system format. We're just asking that we have some control over it.

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  106. I figured I'd chime in on the various issues/questions at hand.

    - I personally prefer the "projected" star rating up-front (the way it is now) since it's been terribly accurate for me, but I always look at the rollover to see how it compares to the average ratings. I would, however, have no objection to a setting that could swap the two, but I also understand the sentiment of less preferences = less confusing to the masses. And if we're going to waste another precious preference setting on something... can't we make please make it a setting to enable 1/2 star ratings? ;)

    - As I've already made it painfully obvious, I'm pro-mini-review!

    - I've seen a handful of 85% and 86% sim to me. However, I often find that some people with lower percentage sims have more similar movies tastes... but I might be wrong about this since I can't see the whole picture (see my comments from a previous post on why I want to see all star ratings, rather than just 5-star ratings). However, I have a Friend who is 93% similar to me. But Michael has said that the algorithm for determining Friends' sim percentages is more accurate than the one used for everyone else.

    - I don't mind the blog link being at the bottom of the page. I have this blog bookmarked. I do think it will prevent people from finding the blog... but I understand that people might not like stumbling into it. I like Baff's idea of the "Future Netflix" page... but that could open up a can of worms for Netflix if they ever post a feature there that they decide, ultimately, not to implement.

    - I absolutely agree that Favs' star ratings and Notes should appear on individual movie pages below the star ratings and Notes of my Friends.

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  107. Well, it’s not a thorough scientific type analysis by a long shot, but the movie I just watched and didn’t like was way off. It projected me at 5 stars.

    5!

    The hive-mind said 3.5…

    I’m rating it 2.

    How flixbot came up with 5 I don’t have a clue. I wish something in the description or top reviews had warned me off but no such luck this time. Hopefully 'friends and faves' will help keep this a very rare occurrence.

    A movie I heart my…

    Becky

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  108. And if we're going to waste another precious preference setting on something...

    Waste? I think the solution is to have 2 preference pages. A Basic Prefs page that consists of all the settings we have now, and at the bottom of that page have a link to Advanced Settings. Anyone looking to avoid complexity won't even click to look at it. Yet, it would have an addition 10 or so settings for us power users. Simple for those who just want to watch movies, and complex for those that want control over their Netflix experience. One-size-fits-all for the masses and custom tailored for power users, at the same time.

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  109. @Baff… Thanks, I figured a lower ranking was better. Was trying to figure out how the systems works and what gives more points.

    I think the more friends you have, and the more friends they have give you a much better ranking. It really doesn't matter, more of an "Inquiring minds want to know" kind of thing…

    Michael? Perhaps a breakdown of the scoring system?

    @AngelMonkey… I added you as a fave yesterday, lots of similar likes, though anyone who loves the PP Girls is "A OK" in my department.

    I've been in an "Anime" only mode for awhile. I've seen so many movies that (IMHO) most of the garbage coming out of Hollywood is not worth my time.

    @JayMikey… I actually had an 87% like you.

    @Netflix…

    What I would REALLY like to see happen is more incorporation of movie data/ history like at imdb.com, whether it be co-joining with their database, or expanding your own to include more in-depth movie data.

    and… A place for hard core movie fans to openly discuss movies by genre.

    @Baff… You hit the top three so I'll second it here…

    ** Instant Watching for Mac & Linux!
    ** Half star ratings!
    ** Mini-reviews for Friends & Faves!

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  110. @Netflix…

    P.S. And note that IMDb.com has "Message Boards"…

    Just saying is all 8-)

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  111. Baff & AngelMonkey I'm now your fan. Both of you were in the 70% range for me and well, from this here blog you seem like two pretty bright cookies so I will add your opinions into my world of movies! Thanks for sharing.

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  112. Okay, I guess I'll open the dance when it comes to questions about the new features. I've attached myself onto talltale (#1) as a fanb0y and I'm now monitoring his/hers activity on my community page. And here's where I'm puzzled, because talltale seems to write already existing reviews every day... According to the activity-list talltale wrote a review of "Kinamand" on September 18, but I know for sure that I've read that review before September 17. What's going on? Is someone rigging the system already?

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  113. How are you all finding each other to Fave each other? Is there a search or are you posting your link somehow somewhere?

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  114. "One-size-fits-all for the masses and custom tailored for power users, at the same time".

    That's the ticket! Although I very much doubt that Michael would be able to justify the necessary person/hr investment for such a relatively tiny number of members. Maybe if there were a small surcharge for all the extra features? I'd certainly pay a few extra bucks for a self-customizable 'platinum' membership'.

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  115. @Becky If you go to the movie page you will see a section right under the description, "WHY IS THIS RECOMMENDED". I have had Netflix highly recommend movies based on a single 4-star rating I gave.

    @2mcabre Michael mentioned that he would be giving more details on the ranking system soon.

    The more I think about my rank, the less I think its due to my 2 lists (though I'm sure they add to it). I'm thinking that since I have rated so many movies, and a large percent of my ratings are probably within a half-star of the mainstream (though there are plenty of popular movies I haven't liked), a huge number of people see me with a high Sim%. So, a lot of people have seen me in the box of 4 high Sim%. They click to look at me and see my outrageously high number of rated movies, which gives them a reason to look closer at my 5-star ratings (and my lists).

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  116. @Knaldskalle - They probably edited the review.

    @Anon - Try clicking on some of the blue names in the blog here. Some of us have added a link to our Netflix page onto our Blogger profile page.

    @Harry - A lot of the advanced settings have already been programmed in.

    Various privacy settings? Done
    1/2 stars? Done
    Display popular ratings instead of predicted? Done

    Currently all the work they have done on this stuff (and more) is going to waste in order to keep Netflix "simple".

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  117. one quick comment: it is a bug (and thank you for pointing it out) that the reviews featured in the activity table were based on their modified date, not their created date. We'll fix that forthwith.

    The anti-multi-voting stuff is mostly in place, but will be fully rolled out in the next week or two. This should curtail the aggregious gaming that is still possible.

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  118. Don't know if this is a bug, or an oversight, or just something that annoys me... but...

    When it shows me that a friend or fave has added a new review in the activity block, there's no way to go directly to read that review. If I click the movie title it just goes to the movie's main page. If I click on the persons name, it just takes me a to their page of ratings. Going to their review page doesn't help either... if they've got a million reviews I have to search through all of them to find the new one. It would be great if the movie title link in the activity block would take use directly to their review so we could easily find it.

    On a different note, in regards to my feelings about the importance of being able to find the link to this blog: even though it isn't a Netflix top priority, Michael and those of you running this have shown us that you obviously listen to and react upon what people here are saying. You've made direct changes to the Netflix website based on feedback and discussions here. Therefore this blog is important, there should be more people interacting on it, not less. I still don't think it should be stuck at the bottom of the page where no one will find it other than by accident. If it's just an afterthought than why have it at all? It's called the Netflix Community Blog, but is it really a community if only a handful of people know about it or use it?

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  119. @Baff: I initially thought so too, but the level of activity was just so high that I figured it couldn't be that. We're talking 10 "new" reviews just today (even for edits, that's a pretty high number, I should think).

    @Michael: I problably got this wrong, but are we supposed to see the number of "fans" someone has at some point?

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  120. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  121. Tips on improving your rank (for those that might care).

    1) Write reviews.
    But, remember that quality matters far more than quantity. 500 reviews saying "This movie sucked" or "This movie rocked" isn't going to get you much. 50 well written reviews will get you far more. Try to avoid spoilers. "The ending was unbelievable" is far better than "I didn't believe it at the end, when the good guy fooled the bad guy into shooting all his own men." If you put spoilers in your reviews, people will actively avoid any of your other reviews.

    2) Rate movies.
    The more movies you rate, the more people will see you with a higher Sim% and so come see what movies you liked that they might like too. Even if you haven't reviewed any movies.

    3) Make lists.
    Bad lists: "Movies I've seen", "Movies with Blue in the title", "Underrated movies", "Cool Movies", "50 Random Thrillers". These are too generic, people don't have any idea what the list will have in it from the title.
    Good lists: "My All-Time Favorites", "Underrated Comedies", "Underrated Horrors", "Tear Jerkers", "Great Low-Budget Movies", "Movies with Anti-Heroes", "Feel Good Movies", "Totally Wierd, Totally Great", "Movies like Star Wars", "Movies like Godfather", etc. Most people don't care what movies you liked, they want to know what movies you LOVED! They want your recommendations, not just a list of random movies in a category, they can get that from Netflix easily.

    3b) Extra Credit.
    Let people know about lists you made that they might like, but don't bother them with the lists they don't care about. You hang out in an Anime forum? Make a list of your favorite Anime, and put a link to it in your forum signature. They probably won't care about your list of tear jerkers though, so don't distract them with a link to it.

    4) Add a Picture/Image.
    Adding an picture or image to your profile makes you more human to people rather than just another random number and random image.

    Combining all these should get a lot of people checking out your movies. But, even just doing one of them can greatly increase your rank. Its all a matter of how much work you want to put into it.

    Hope somebody gets some use from this buried this far in the comments.

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  122. Baff: "I've only rated about 3500 movies. I marked about 15,000 as 'not interested'. I will eventually mark another 5-10,000 likewise. There are just a ton of music, sports events, etc that I know I will never want to watch."



    It seems an easy way to move up in the rankings might be just to rate thousands of movies as "not interested." The number of movies we rate seems to weigh heavily on our having a high ranking. Everybody can go and easily rank thousands of movies as not interested in minutes. Shouldn't thoughtful reviews and really interesting tastes in movies, count more than just numbers? After all, do we really need to go and rate all the horror movies as not interested to indicate we don't like the genre?

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  123. I hope someone's still reading these comments now that this isn't the newest post...

    Michael, I noticed something on my Friends/Faves Activity block that might be a bug:

    09/20 ______ Rated "Delta Farce" -3 star.

    Yes, that's negative three star. And yes, the date is in the future, unless Netflix is using some time from the Eastern Hemisphere (it was 09/19 10:00 PM EST when I first noticed it).

    The person that rated it is a Fave, not a Friend, in case that helps...

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  124. "Shouldn't thoughtful reviews and really interesting tastes in movies, count more than just numbers?"

    Yes, and they do. Nobody is able to see how many movies I have rated until they come to my profile page. So, that had nothing to do with why they were curious about my ratings, though it might have made them more curious after they saw it.

    "After all, do we really need to go and rate all the horror movies as not interested to indicate we don't like the genre?"

    No. I wouldn't suggest anyone do that unless they really, really wanted to. Even then, I don't think it would work very well for gaming the system.

    I marked so many as "not interested" for my own purposes. It had never been my intent that anyone would ever even know I had done so. Netflix made it public without my knowledge.

    Anyway, you could mark every single movie as "not interested" but you would just show as a very low Sim% to everyone, so nobody would ever come look at your page to know that you had.

    Well written reviews and similar tastes to other people are far more important.

    If it ever did become an issue, Netflix could easily change it so that only the number of actual ratings was shown.

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  125. Baff,

    Why Is This Recommended… Thanks, good tip. I’ll try to keep that in mind, it might help sometime. I went back and the one I watched just doesn’t compare in quality to the one’s the recommendation was apparently based on though. I can see the connection. It’s just hard to see why “raters like me” gave it a 5. My guess is that not many people have rated the movie at all, and those that have are inclined to be generous.

    Michael,

    Glad to hear works being done on multi-voting. I’d love more detail on the anti-gaming type stuff thing when it’s all done. That would be great. :)

    Becky

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  126. So, Michael, is the site activity thus far pretty much as you'd : a) hoped, b) expected, c) feared? I throw in 'feared' just because a few of our more freewheeling fellow bloggers are 'hooking up' as each others faves -- makes perfect sense to me if their sim%'s are high, but if people are blogging and flixing using the same nickname does this represent an element of the much decried 'socializing' to you, with the consequent loss of a critical 'degree of separation'? After all, with a snapshot and home town revealed doesn't their unmasking just become a matter of when, not if? And if they don't givahoot, should Netflix? And how I envy them that wonderfully fearless openness.

    Not quite clear where 'fans' fit it. I've clicked on a few people whom others have picked as 'faves', and they still show up as having '0 friends and faves' (all work and no play....?) - shouldn't they at least have x number of fans? Is that a bug or a misunderstanding on my part?

    Much enjoying the endless new avenues of exploration, both movie-wise and member-wise. Many thanks for figuring all this out - much more dazzling in practice than 'on paper', just as you said it would be!

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  127. And btw, I seem to moved up from the 7,000's to the 4,000's overnight! Don't ask me how 'cos I ain't done a damn thing in the last few days except try to catch up on my movie watching. Plus all my reviews have been down for the last couple of days, so you guys better keep working on that elusive magic formula! Although Baff, yes, the outfit alone warrants a 10 to 20,000 slot boost!

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  128. Well I can tell you this much. Rating movies moves your ranking up HUGE!

    I moved from 84K to 57K from being bored yesterday and rating about 100 or so more movie titles, course I was reminded of the titles by viewing other members lists of rated movies.

    Now to work on lists…

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  129. Yes, guys...Go ahead and rank thousands of movies as not interested. As maria pointed out, this'll get ya for sure into the top 1000. The more movies you rate the higher your place in the ranking. I think the method needs some tuning up, Michael!

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  130. michael, from netflixSeptember 20, 2007 at 9:39 AM

    rate all you want. it may move you up some... but at the end of the day, i seriously doubt it will move you into the top numbers. the feature is new, and i'm sure your number will shift around for a while as the dust clears and new behaviors form. remember: it only updates once a week (give or take), so it will tend to "chunk" a little at first.

    rating is a fine start. just don't believe it's as weighted as it looks right now.

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  131. Hmmmm, interesting. I rarely rate anything 'not interested' (mainly just exercise videos!) because I figure that even though I don't like a particular movie I don't want the 'recommender' to cut off all the movies that it deems to be 'similar to' that movie. Call me crazy, but I'm much more interested in being offered lots of movie choices than in gaming my ranking -- what are we, in 3rd grade here??

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  132. Warning: If you rate a movie as "Not Interested", Netflix will stop recommending all similar titles to you.

    I agree with Jim. I almost never rate movies Not Interested for fear that it will mess up my recommendations. Sure, I may really not be interested in renting "The Shield," but it doesn't mean I won't be interested in renting some other prime-time TV drama of the same ilk.

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  133. I make a point of only using the Not Interested for titles that are recommended for me that I'm truly not interested in. I even go through my list of Not Interested ratings once a week and clear the rating for titles that are no longer recommended for me. Perhaps a little neurotic, but I like to try and get the best recommendations as possible.

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  134. My rating dropped quite a bit after last night’s recalculation. Last week I rated another 500 or so movies, but deleted my lists so I could start from scratch. (it will take weeks at best to rebuild them) I’m wondering how stable rank will be anyway, because though I might have changed nothing other people out there might be busy bees. Unless you’re one of the ones’ who are way ahead of the pack, I suspect we’ll be moving up and down the ranks like jumping-beans.

    Jim,

    I don’t think not-interested ratings will be used to game rank because the impact seems small from my experience. Though, one recalculation isn’t going to give us an indication of how it’s all calculated from the user end really. And personally I’m finding a lot of categories that I’m really not interested besides exercise videos. Old third-rate TV shows, new-age or inspirational stuff, romper-room… the list just grows and grows.

    Michael,

    Some clarification on how Netflix treats ‘not interested’ movies would be really great. Is it really not going to recommend “The Simpsons” because I wasn’t interested in “The Family Guy?”

    Becky

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  135. Todd's the guy that handles that, but I think he's hiding in case we start yelling at him about half stars again! Personally I'd rather ignore recommendations I'm not interested in than risk some programmer or silicon chip thinking that The Family Guy and the Simpsons even belong in the same Solar System.

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  136. I have marked movies as 'not interested' in every single category. Netflix always has about 150 recommendations for me, which is about where I like it. Its obviously not removing them all.

    I know some people have over 4000 recommendations. That to me would be useless.

    I'm sure it does do a few funky things to the predicted ratings though. Every category has a bunch of predicted 1-star movies for me. I go through every category every few months and mark most of those 1-stars as 'not interested'. Every once in a while I see something down there that I might some day want to watch, but the vast majority of it is trash.

    If someone were to go through and mark every single movie as 'not interested', that would put them at the very bottom of the rankings list, not the top. If this ever did be come a problem for some reason, it would take Netflix less than 5 minutes to fix it.

    If you wanted to game the system, there are far easier and more productive ways.

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  137. Re the new flags, has anyone seen any of those "....not a review" reviews jettisoned yet? That's going to be a terrific weeding-out tool when it starts kicking in.

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  138. I (HEART!) the new "rate to reveal 2 new movies" feature, with 8 to 10 suggestions for each movie, depending on how many stars you give it. Entertaining AND informative!

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  139. @Michael… A layout bug…

    First my basics…

    XP (100% updated) with IE 7.0.5730, plenty of hardware and all that jazz… Screen resolution is 1024x768 32bit…

    OK… The Problem…

    I click on a member who is in the "%Like Me" section of my community page to review their list of rated movies.

    I find one I haven't seen and click on "ADD".

    The window that opens is opening to far too the right and causes the page to scroll. Its not centering on the page as it does elsewhere.

    It does repeat every time, seems almost as if the window opens just to the right of the longest titled movie.

    That is all… ☺ ;-) ☺

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  140. This is so frustrating. Some people have 4000 recommendations? Or 150? I guess I marked too many movies "not interested" because I usually have 0 recommendations. So now I have to unmark all those movies so I can get other recommendations, but 10 to 1 they show me only the movies I don't want to see. Which is why I marked them "not interested" in the first place. I wish there was a way to clear the rating for all of them; this is gonna take forever.

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  141. Movies in Common & 4 Stars

    Michael question...
    Can we get an enhancement to the Community feature so that when we add a Fave to our list we can compare movies we have both seen and see their 4 star movies, also? (like the friends drop down sort) It seems that right now we can only see the other person's 5 star movies and I've run into a couple of people who show 70+% sim to me but they are tough raters and only have a few 5 star movies and few in lists so their similarity must be in other ratings. I'd really like to see the 4 star movies of theirs and what other movies they have seen that match to mine.

    I know - want, want, want - we always want more. But your community features are so cool. A huge enhancement!

    I still have the issue of the side tab showing a different number of Friends and Faves than actual(it isn't that some are private) and the faves seem to come and go like reviews do sometimes.

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  142. For Example - When I went back to the site - right now it shows 26 Faves on the side tab on Community Home. I click on Friends and Faves and it shows 10 on the side tab and 10 pixs. It actually should be 12 I think but 2 have dissapeared.

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  143. @Ang. In my experience the key to recommendations is at the high end, not the low. After I heard that recs don't kick-in for anything less than 4 and 5 stars (i.e. 'not interested' + 1 star + 2 stars suppress movies, and 3 stars are considered 'neutral'), I pushed all my 3 stars up to 4, and my 4 up to 5 stars, with the result that my recs literally went up ten-fold within a couple of days, may Eisenstein, Bergman, Wells, Bresson, Fellini, Tarkovsky et al have mercy on my soul....

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  144. Michael - Bug ?

    Ok I've been playing with the Faves. It's actually not very interesting to add Faves and they not show up or show up briefly and dissapear. The cool thing is the keeping them afterall.

    So, since they kept dissapearing and no matter how many I added I only saw 10 - I just decided to add a lot more and see what happened. I still only saw 10 on my page.

    However, I went into my son's profile and he had me as a fave. When I clicked on my pix from his page all the ones I saved showed up for him to see. The pix and nickname were there but no %.

    I still only had 10 on my page. This isn't about privacy. I'm using FoxFire so I tried it on IE and it was the same there.

    I wanted to try deleting the sub profile to see if that would make any difference but there doesn't seem to be a way to delete it.

    Any ideas? Or will I just not be able to add more than 10 Faves?

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  145. I also have very few recommendations (17 at the moment, I believe), but that's because I have to think very highly of a movie to give it 4 or more stars. I realize it's a trade-off, but I choose to accurately reflect how I felt about a movie rather than artificially "jacking-up" my ratings to get more recommendations. And besides, a bunch of my ratings are lower than they should be because 2 stars used to mean "Just OK" and 1 star was "didn't like it". But whatever. I won't bother going back to re-rate everything until we get 1/2 stars (hopefully someday).

    I'd like to second wanting to see more than just 5-star ratings. My long-winded explaination of why is in the "Thunderdome" post comments. But mostly, I really want Fans and visitors to my profile to be able to see my 4-star movies because with the way I rate, that's high praise, and I'd like to share those movies.

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  146. AngelMonkey
    Here is an example of the problem I have with dissapearing Faves. I added you as a Fave days ago. Your pix stayed for a day then went away. But if I go into my son's profile and click on my icon and look at my Faves the way a strange would they are all there as well as yours.

    In other words everyone but me can see my Faves. Sounds funny but it's not.

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  147. michael, from netflixSeptember 20, 2007 at 10:03 PM

    No, it's not funny. it's a strange bug. i've seen it too, but was unsure what i was seeing. Very hard to debug. I've forwarded everyone's comments about this disappearing fave thing to our team so we can start to fix it. Once again, thanks for the input.

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  148. AngelMonkey said : "I choose to accurately reflect how I felt about a movie rather than artificially "jacking-up" my ratings to get more recommendations".

    I totally respect that, but all I can say is that I've seen some really terrific movies that I would probably never have known about had I not adapted to way the recommendation engine has been (I think misguidedly) set up. I've said it before and I'll say it again, that since 3 stars is billed as "liked it", then recommendations should start at 3 stars, not 4. If that happened everyone's suggestions would skyrocket without them having to mess with their ratings.

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  149. @Angel - You just re-rate a bunch of movies? You just went from 79% to 73% for me.

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  150. @Baff - Strange. No I didn't. I did put in a handful of new ratings in the past couple days (maybe 10) for movies I saw on other people's pages and saw I had never rated before... but I doubt that small sampling could have such a large effect. Have you been doing lots more rating?

    I wonder what else could cause such a discrepency or fluctuation in sim percentage. You're holding at 78% sim to me at the moment.

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  151. Oh right, I marked another 100 movies as 'not interested' yesterday. Must have been something in there you gave a high rating. Nobody else in my friends/faves/fans changed at all.

    A bit odd that I didn't change at all to you though.

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  152. Hey guys, shouldn't you 2 just exchange e-mail addresses, and have done with it?! We promise to shut our eyes and count to 100 while you post and then erase them!

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  153. Love the new features! Just one question, how do you tell if you have been added as a fav by someone else and where can they see that they have been added as a fav to you? If there is a way to tell please post for me. Thanx! Again the features are terrific!!

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  154. Just one question, how do you tell if you have been added as a fav by someone else and where can they see that they have been added as a fav to you? If there is a way to tell please post for me.

    @Anon - If someone else has added you as a Fave they will appear in another list below your Faves entitled Fans.

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  155. Well... we're kinda "testing" how things work here. I would imagine that's helpful to everyone, including Michael.

    Baff, I believe that sim % is based on how similarly the person rated the movies you also rated. This is why my friends who have only rated 300 movies say I'm 77% similar to them, but they only show up as 63% sim to me. Because of all the 300 movies they rated, we rated very similarly. But of all the 2500 movies I've rated, they only rated a small percentage of them similarly. It's weird because often I find people with very similar movie tastes have low sim % to me because they just haven't rated enough -- the more movies you rate, the lower sim % people become to you that haven't rated as much as you.

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  156. The more 5 star lists I see the more strongly I agree with AngelMonkey (among others, but she always presents her case particularly well) that there should be the same star dropdowns for 'public' members as we see for friends. Because as it is we're understandably seeing the same 'ol 'Citizen Kanes' and 'On the Waterfronts' again and again, with frustratingly few buried and possibly imperfect gems, which I suspect are all bunched on the 3 and 4 star lists. And if someone has, say, rated 'A touch of Evil' 1 star and 'Deuce Bigalow' 4 stars, then we desperately need to know that!

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  157. Yes, but I have rated far more movies than you have, so it would seem to me that the number you see should have been the one to change so much.

    Maybe this goes back to what Michael said about them taking shortcuts to estimate the Sim% for non-friends.

    Perhaps it works something like this: For calculating the Sim% I see for you, Netflix just looks at the movies in your favorite genres, and vis versa. It could look at very different movies to calculate each of our numbers. All the movies I marked 'not interested' were in 1 category (not sure, but think it was Sports & Fitness). Whichever category, it wasn't one of my favorites.

    Another possibility is that they calculate the Sim% I see for you just looking at the movies you gave 4 & 5 stars, and vis versa.

    I'm doing an experiment. I rated 5 of your favorite movies as 'not interested', all movies I hadn't seen or rated We'll see what that does to our numbers tomorrow.

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  158. I hope this question hasn't been asked already - I skimmed for it before posting:

    What should I do if I want to change someone from a Friend to a Fave? I have a lot of people on my friends list who I don't even talk to anymore, but I like having their ratings, quotes, queues, and recent activity available to me. I don't want to lose their info by removing them as a friend before I add them as a fave.

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  159. I've done this.

    Just click the Remove Friend button. Then it turns into a Save to Fave button. Just click it again. Presto!

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  160. If you change someone from a Friend to a Fave, you will lose access to their notes, queue and 1-4 star ratings.

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  161. @Angel - I still see you as 73% today. So, your 5 5-star movies I rated as 'not interested' seems to have had no effect on my end. Rather surprising to me. Did your number change?

    I'm thinking now that those 100 movies I marked as 'not interested' were not the reason for the 6% drop. It must have been the 10 you rated or the 5 that I rated with stars. Maybe you gave a 1 to one of my 5-stars. 6% just seems like a huge overnight leap when we must have well over 1000 ratings in common.

    Perhaps Faves/Fans are recalculated with more accuracy like Friends are? Though you are the only person on my list that changed more than 1% the last few days and nobody else has mentioned seeing a big change.

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  162. Haha. Well, it's a mystery to me. You actually went up a percent to me today (79% now). How very very curious.

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  163. I'm not sure if this is the right place to leave this comment-- I'm having a hard time navigaiting this blog looking for subjects-- but my main concern about "friends" is I don't know if I can control when netflix notifies my friends about things like when I leave a note and that makes me wary to do anything with the features. I loved the "my 2 cents" thing but I am very embarrassed to have been the cause of my friends' personal e-mail boxes receiving invitations to see my notes. I want them truly to just "live on the site" (as the FAQ says!). I've run a few little tests that show that at least some of my friends definitely get alerted by netflix about my activity. I suppose they could use e-mail filters but I do not want to be associated with spam, you know? Thanks-- Bonky

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  164. Its up to your friends to turn that off if they don't want to receive the emails. The setting is under Your Account, then Email Subscriptions.

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  165. how about we add a change that will actually matter?
    who cares about making a profile... this is netflix, go to a real networking website.

    when will it possible to watch movies instantly on a mac? not everyone in this world owns pcs.

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