Monday, October 8, 2007

Your Profile Page

By the weekend we'll be releasing the outward-facing version of your Profile page. We'll refine this page, but its basic elements are here: a personal statement, some explanation/exposition for how other people and you are similar, and eventually, more headlines from your movie watching (reviews, top 10 lists, activity). I had wanted to provide a place for you to post a link to your outside blog, website, myspace page, etc - but it may not make it by our deadline -- if not, you will at least be able to post the link in the text of your personal statement. See if that works for you.

I'll post some release notes here later this week. We've mostly been working on this profile page and lots of little bug fixes that we've introduced over the past month.

ONE MORE THING: Yes, i've been quiet these past few weeks. It was bound to happen: I couldn't easily juggle a post a day as well as building new features. As I ramp back into a very heavy period of new feature creation, I expect my postings to be more disparate (at least for awhile). I do, however, read everything posted here (they come to me as emails - so i don't miss any). My lack of immediate or complete response should be perceived as "more building, less talking". I have enjoyed all of your discussions with each other. I certainly encourage this. And as it is appropriate, i commit to very candid discussions about how the community will be evolving. As I've said all along here, what we now finally have on the Netflix site is the foundation for our community features. It is not completed. Frankly, it's just getting starting.

62 comments:

  1. "...if not, you will at least be able to post the link in the text of your personal statement. See if that works for you."

    Not that it is necessary, but will this profile page (And fill-in text boxes) allow for html at all? Like the basics of bold, italic, font color, links, etc.?

    It looks great though. Great way to meet more Netflixers. Guess I'll have to work on a bigger avatar, that one you've got there looks huge in the thumbnail.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cool, I'm very curious to find out who Netflix thinks are my favorite actors and directors. That could definitely lead to some interesting movies.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the community features but my reviews keep disappearing and reappearing??? What is going on and will this be a trend now?

    ReplyDelete
  4. The personal statement text block will not allow for html, unfortunately.

    The actors/directors listing is based on raw number of times the person shows up in a movie you've watched or rated 4+ stars. Unfortunately, for you and me (and anyone who has rated thousands of movies) this tends to shift the lists towards actors/directors with long careers in good movies... so you see a lot of Al Pacino, et al... still, its an interesting listing and it did have nice variation between people. It's just one of a number of quick benchmarks you can use, along with the sim%, the preferred genres, and their 5-star movies, to get a sense of whether or not you trust this person's opinion or that they have something movie-wise to offer you. I'm sure these algorithms will also be refined over time.

    Finally, we're looking into why some people have reviews that come and go. It isn't happening widely, but it definitely seems to be happening to some people. We'll figure it out. In the meantime, sorry for the inconvenience.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This got me thinking about the professional critic's pages (Roger Ebert, etc). It would be nice to see a Sim% for them. I've always been a bit curious about what critics I am most similar to.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Unfortunately, for you and me (and anyone who has rated thousands of movies) this tends to shift the lists towards actors/directors with long careers in good movies...

    Ahh yes. There are certainly a lot of character actors that seem to be in just about every movie I watch. Will still be interesting.

    Side note: I figured out how to see exactly how many movies I have actually rated, not counting all the "not interested". I went into "movies you've rated" and jumped to "not interested" and the number was up in the url, 3261.

    ReplyDelete
  7. baff said:

    "This got me thinking about the professional critic's pages (Roger Ebert, etc). It would be nice to see a Sim% for them."

    This... is a brilliant idea.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this new profile page. It's simply brillant. Thanks Michael! Secondly, I'm one of those users whose reviews keep showing up and disappearing. While I know it's a bug that needs to get fixed and will, I find it slightly frustrating right now. Especially since I've been getting a ton of people reading my reviews and voting on them. Whether the votes are negative or positive doesn't matter to me as much as people are at least taking the time to read them. I've now begun writing reviews of everything I watch and I'm having a blast!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Not super directly related, and I've been looking through recent blog entries to see if this has been addressed, but...

    Is there a reason why there is still a submenu on the Community tab when there is only one menu item (Community Home)? Now that there's a submenu on the side (Profile, Ratings, Reviews, etc), the top submenu seems redundant and definitely had me confused for a while.

    ReplyDelete
  10. is there some way to specify that you would like to have the actual rating on the movies show on my queue (and other places) instead of the netflix predictiong rating.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The page looks like it will be fun.

    Ben,

    I’m not confident I can answer your question really, but it seems to me that the open set-up allows for room to grow. And Michael has indicated that they are nowhere near done with community development.

    And Michael,

    Please don’t worry about a slow-down in blog posts. First, if it means you’re working on the site that’s what we want. Second, I think it’s a safe bet we have other things to do too. A slowdown here when there’s no new hot-topic, means more time for everyone to do other things.

    Becky Glass

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anon 10:54,

    That issue has come up before, it’s under ‘ask mike’ and probably elsewhere.

    There is no way to switch, unless maybe you clear out all your ratings, but I’m only guessing it might work that way. You probably don’t want to do that though.

    The following is from ‘Ask Mike’ answering someone else on that general topic.

    “#2 - Also not my field, but i'll tell you, Todd works very hard on making the star system clearer. I'll pass along your suggestion. You're correct that the red stars are algorithmically derrived - although most people find them remarkably good if you give us some ratings data to work with. If we have NO rating data on you, or insufficient info, the red stars ARE the average ratings. If we have both sets of info (average and prediction) it will show up in the "B.O.B." pop-up when you hover on a movie.”


    Becky Glass

    ReplyDelete
  13. This looks very cool, though I must admit I'm a little nervous about Netflix picking my list of favorite actors for me. I'd HATE it if an actor I strongly dislike showed up just because they happen to be in several brilliant films. I'll probably even be annoyed if actors I feel ambivalent about show up. And on the flip side, there are some actors I love who have been in some awful films... and it would be sad if they didn't show up in my list.

    Maybe later on we could have the ability to create our own favorite actor list?

    ReplyDelete
  14. michael, from netflixOctober 9, 2007 at 1:15 PM

    Angel,

    Yes - you make excellent points. I'll also sometimes see an actor in his first movie, and think to myself "this is my new favorite actor" -- for this and the scenarios you pointed out so clearly, this method is somewhat flawed. On the other hand, it is fairly good and automatic, so you don't rely on everyone generating a list. It's really just to give others a general sense about you and your taste -- movie tastes do tend to be somewhat fuzzy and often-changing. Short of just making everything fully customizable (which isn't out of the question, but it isn't in the cards right now), this is the best we can do. I'll be interested in everyone's feedback on it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I just noticed in the example pic that some of the favorite genres are highlighted in purple, does that mean something? most favorite?

    When I glanced at it yesterday, I assumed it was every other one for separation, but looking closer I see that's not the case.

    ReplyDelete
  16. As the site becomes more complicated, it would be helpful if you could make the instructions about privacy a bit clearer. Under privacy settings, it reads:

    Select 'Private' below to prevent members from seeing your anonymous profile and movie ratings.

    Is this all members, or only members who aren't your Friends?

    I've always been willing to leave privacy settings at their defaults, but as I see the site becoming more open and sharing, I'm going to have to be more careful. I'm not interested in anyone except my Friends seeing my info. thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  17. @Baff -- it appears that the genres highlighted in puple are the ones that you share in common with the person whose profile you're looking at.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @Anon - Your privacy settings only hide you from non-friends.

    @Angel - Ah ha! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  19. AngelMonkey said:

    "This looks very cool, though I must admit I'm a little nervous about Netflix picking my list of favorite actors for me. I'd HATE it if an actor I strongly dislike showed up just because they happen to be in several brilliant films."

    I would agree with you here, but isn't it kind of a non-point since it doesn't say "Favorite Actors", but instead says "Most Watched Actors"? The distinction is subtle, I know, but at least the page is stating facts rather than putting words into our mouths...

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think the auto-generated most-watched-list for actors and directors might be enlightening. I don’t doubt I might have a favorite director or actor and not even know it.

    I know it may sound weird for someone who likes movies, but I hardly ever wait around for credits. I hardly ever remember new names anyway. I feel like Audrey Hepburn’s character in Charade, “I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies I couldn't possibly meet anyone else.”

    My own plan is to work any amendments in to the profile text. I hope it will be decently substantial. At least the 2000 characters we get for reviews.

    Becky Glass

    ReplyDelete
  21. @shaun -- You're absolutely right. I hadn't paid attention to the wording on the page before, as many people were just refering to it as "favorite actors" here in the comments. The distinction is certainly important and, crazy as I may be, I do actually feel a bit better about this "most watched..." phrasing. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. To diverge briefly, don't forget that Michael is speaking at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry on Oct 19. Really hope a few of you Chigflixers can make him feel welcome on all of our behalves. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Its actually kind of a mix of most watched and favorites. Most common actors/directors in our favorite movies.

    @Michael - The 1st and 2nd columns of actors are duplicated. Maybe this was just a mock up, but if its a bug...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Speaking of the Museum of Science & Industry (sorry for continuting the off-topicness). Are there certain hours you're going to be there, Michael? Also, the museum website said there was a special ticket (on top of general admission) you need to purchase for the Star Wars exhibit -- will we need to get this if we want to see you?

    ReplyDelete
  25. michael, from netflixOctober 9, 2007 at 4:06 PM

    man, we're really off topic here: i don't know much about how the museum plans to handle the talk. We should talk this conversation at least to the droidmaker.blogspot.com blog... i could meet with netflixfans before the talk, if y'all have blogish questions too, if that interested any chicago people. let's move this converation to the other blog, and leave this for the netflix stuff. s'cool?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Not sure I like the idea of all these algorithmic versions of us being offered-up for the evaluation of our peers, but will in all fairness reserve judgement until I see what all that dispassionate number crunching spits out. Any vetoing allowed? For instance, most of my family enjoyed both 'Bottle Rocket' and 'Night at the Museum', but if that causes Owen Wilson to show up on any of our lists....

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anyone that writes their bio in Latin and enjoys the work of the little known Sygonry Weaver gets my vote!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Not trying to be mean, and I do love all the features you guys are working on, and I really do appreciated. But there are always so much problems, I kinda wish you guys would just stick to basics and leave it alone. AND WHERE DID ALL MY FRIENDS GO?

    ReplyDelete
  29. A couple of comments about the "Favorite Genres" portion. It seems like this area of the page is given a lot of "weight" due to its prominence and location - however, in my opinion, that kind of information isn't very useful to me. Particularly with genres like "Drama" and "Comedy" - they are so generic that they really don't tell me anything about a person. I think that info is much less valuable than the "Movies in Common" section below it.

    Also, the random strips of purple in the genre box make my head hurt, probably because they are so staggered (I know they're not random but hopefully you see my point). I would maybe consider bumping all of the "common" genres to the top of both lists (with a purple background if you wish) followed by the rest of the favorite genres that differ between the lists.

    Just my two cents...

    ReplyDelete
  30. It’s funny how different people can be. They way we judge aesthetics and how we like to use things. Keeps the developers job nicely interesting I’d guess…

    Because I like the use of the purple to highlight shared tastes. The asymmetry doesn’t bother me and I like the idea of a quick visual queue like that. That’s how I quickly gage where the similarities really are for a ‘similar’ fave. I quickly scan the yellow and red stars of rated movies, then I can focus in easily on what differences there are and judge how important they might be.

    In fact I was thinking about asking that they use the purple to highlight my friends over in the ‘recent activity’ section on the community page. I’d like to easily differentiate my friends from my faves in the list and thought at first that might work just as well as splitting the list in two somehow. But then I decided that though it might help me pick out friends, it would make each line harder to follow across the page so left it alone.

    Anyway, back to the new page, it might not give much information on generalized categories, but the less common and the more specific ones and even seeing which general categories had the weight to make the list, that could be more useful than it may first appear.

    I also like that the eye is hit first with the colorful and more generalized information on the left and then we move to the meat of the matter in all it’s juicy detail over on the right.

    Becky Glass

    ReplyDelete
  31. Will we some point to able to change the 50/50 balance of friends to faves on the activity bulletin? Like, I have 1 very nice but minimally 'active' friend and a dozen or so dynamo faves. Would be great to be able to allot them at least 18 of the 20 slots instead of just 10.

    ReplyDelete
  32. By far, my favorite genre is Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Ironically, I think the vast majority of Sci-Fi & Fantasy is absolutely awful, so it never even shows up in a long list of my favorite genres. Hollywood churns out an amazing number of cheap Sci-Fi movies. Even most of the high budget movies are awful (if you've got the money, there is no excuse not to hire a science advisor and listen to them).

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure there is much Netflix can do to their calculations to figure out that I love Sci-Fi & Fantasy. Maybe also look at the percentage of movies rated in a category. If 20% of the movies I watch are Sci-Fi vs. the average person watching only 5% Sci-Fi, then Sci-Fi is definitely a favorite genre, even if I rarely rate them over 3-stars. I'm not even sure that would work for me though since I work very hard these days to avoid bad Sci-Fi.

    ReplyDelete
  33. For two days now it is saying that I only have 2 reviews-- when I have written 28!!! It is bumming me out man...

    ReplyDelete
  34. Check to see if they are on the movie review page and just not showing up in your community page. Mine come and go under community but are usually still on the movie info. It also seems to take about a week for the Community page to catch up with new reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Same here, mine do the vanishing act on the community page all the time, but I have never seen them vanish from the movie pages.

    Becky Glass

    ReplyDelete
  36. This looks awesome! Loving everything so far-great job :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Good morning - I noticed that there is a comment regarding disappearing friends - I, too, have lost friends and am a little sad...will they return? Do I need to invite them again or suggest they change settings?
    Friendless in Maine

    ReplyDelete
  38. Please allow us some way to invite other Netflix users to become Friends.

    At least allow us to choose whether we can be contacted by other Netflix members.

    I have several Faves at 80+% that I would LOVE to have as Friends.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Michael said : "I had wanted to provide a place for you to post a link to your outside blog, website, myspace page, etc..."

    I was amused to read on your excellent Droid blog that one of your interests is 'social networking on the internet'. Because once people can link their Netflix profile to their social profile, won't that last degree of separation between those that want to hook-up - whether in the real or the virtual world - be gone, despite your assertions that all these new features are solely about finding movies?

    ReplyDelete
  40. michael, from netflixOctober 12, 2007 at 1:36 PM

    Fair enough, Tom. But still, the fact that Netflix would respect people's right and ability to hook up is different from providing (or improving) the hook up tools on our site. If you link your Netflix-self to your far more accessible Facebook-self, all the power to you. But I stand by my assertion that the Netflix site is about finding movies.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Yes, as long as this just remains a voluntary conduit to the outside world (which many people seem to want) and no-one can come knocking on the door of those of us that want to remain anonymous, it seems like a reasonable compromise. Thanks for the response.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Not sure this is the best place to put a link to pirated movies.

    ReplyDelete
  43. If they're indeed pirated, I really apologize, and would be happy for Michael to erase my post. But I read the 'terms of use' very carefully, which suggested that they had all the necessary permissions, as long as it was just for personal use.

    ReplyDelete
  44. The first section is a list of movies not yet on dvd, and a lot of the movies have pirate icons added to them in the upper left corner. Anything is possible, but I'm guessing few (if any) of them are posted legally.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Of course, this is a great example of why its so silly that Mac users don't have Watch Now access due to lack of a DRM that won't even slow down pirates anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Don't you think that an overtly pirating website (with a pirate as a logo, which I assumed to be ironic) would be shut down by the studios within the first hour of operation?

    Incidentally, every other post on these threads seems to be your's, Baff. Are you the official Netflix blog custodian?

    ReplyDelete
  47. No, I'm just some guy with too much time on his hands.

    ReplyDelete
  48. More of a Good Samaritan, I'd say. And having done a bit more research I'm sure you're right about the site. Guess I'm just rather naive, and there are just too many of them to shut down. But I'm surprised that Google wouldn't police their listing better since this was on page 1 of another search I was doing. Let's hope Michael erases this whole exchange before anyone gets arrested by the FCC!

    ReplyDelete
  49. FEEDBACK: What I want is the ability to pull in my existing contacts from GMail, Hotmail, Outlook, etc and like the other community sites, (FaceBook, et al) is to find out which of them is already a subscriber and to have the option of adding them as a friend. SO LONG AS NETFLIX does NOT abuse this information by spamming my contacts with invites. But it would help me interact with my friends and family more.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Is there an easy way to find those whose similarity is the closest to my own?

    Also, I am ranked 2,422 as a reviewer - how can I see the top reviewers?

    ReplyDelete
  51. "Is there an easy way to find those whose similarity is the closest to my own?"

    Not exactly 1-click easy, but... On the bottom of the community page is a box with 4 similar people to you. It randomly displays 4 from the 50 (or whatever) most similar to you. You can reload the page every 10 minutes or so to get a new set of 4 people. I have marked the most similar to me as faves so I can easily find them again.

    "Also, I am ranked 2,422 as a reviewer - how can I see the top reviewers?"

    You can't...yet. Michael has said that they are working on some sort of list.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Baff,
    I hope you’re still reading this topic. I didn’t want to post this “off topic” and this is the best place I could find. I’m posting this not because I’m cynical, and no, I don’t follow all of these practices. I am posting this to help address problems with showing people their reviewer ranking, and with the ranking system itself. I don’t consider all of the points below to be “bad”, but like many good things, they can be misused.
    How to increase your “Reviewer Rank”:
    1) Always give a positive review.
    a. Netflix gives points for reading a review, then adding the movie to a queue. If you write a negative review, and the reader doesn’t add the movie to his/her queue you get nothing.
    b. People click on a movie because they’re interested. A positive review confirms their choice, and they find it more “helpful”.
    2) Don’t review controversial movies.
    a. No matter what you say about a Michael Moore movie, half the readers will find it “not helpful” because they disagree.
    3) Don’t disagree.
    a. This goes back to point number 1. No matter how eloquently you write, if you give a bad review to a popular movie, everyone will find it “not helpful”.
    4) Tell people this movie is “the best”.
    a. For some reason, stating that a movie is the “best” comedy, documentary, Matt Damon movie, etc. really raises your “helpfuls”.
    5) Review movies before anyone (including you) sees them.
    a. This puts your review at the top of the list. More people will see it, hence more influence.
    b. Watch the “New Releases” area for movies you can review first.
    6) Review unknown movies.
    a. You have little influence when you’re 1 of 1436 people who reviewed the movie “300”. But if you’re the only person to review “Interkosmos” you have more influence. Be sure to give it a positive, “Best”, “must see” review. See Nos. 1 & 4.

    ML in Orlando
    Reviewer Rank 597

    ReplyDelete
  53. One thing I would like to see added to profiles is the percentage of movies rated 1 star, 2 stars, etc.
    So if I see that 30% of a person's ratings are 5-star, then I know that that person is an "easy grader".

    ML in Orlando

    ReplyDelete
  54. I think that is a great point, ML. I think it is important to be able to see if the reviewer is an "easy grader." In my case less than 3% of the films I rate are 5 stars.

    ReplyDelete
  55. @ML - I don't work for Netflix, I am just a helpful reader here. Michael gets every post as an email though, so I'm sure he saw it.

    I'm going to redo my profile description soon, think I will add my rating scale and star percentages to it. My 5-stars are about 10%. My 1-stars are about 1%. I've seen a lot more 1-star movies than that, I just don't remember their titles (I tend to remember the ones I paid to see rather than the tons I saw on TV over the years).

    ReplyDelete
  56. This is cool, and I've been looking for "my" profile page, but I can't seem to access it. When I go to the tab marked "profile" it just gives me all the options, not the page itself.

    ReplyDelete
  57. It has been mentioned that 'most watched actors' stat tends to favor actors that are in a lot of movies. I have a suggestion:

    Instead of counting the raw number of films staring an actor seen by the user, why not tally a percentage of that actors movies seen by the user. Thus, if I see 25/28 Jason Lee movies, and 30/55 Tom Hanks movies, its clear I'm a bigger fan of Lee (89%) than Hanks (55%).

    Of course, it may be wise to throw in a minimum of maybe 5 movies to enter consideration. Otherwise people who are only in 1-2 movies will often rank highly just by coincidence.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I think it is shameful for Netflix to be ignoring all the Mac users wishing to use "watch Instantly". They should give serious consideration to all of us that elected to use a better computer; MAC OS 10.5 on Intel can do anything. Only the lack of foresight and consideration could possibly explain ignoring us.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Paul,

    They're not ignoring you. Fact of the matter is that movie studios require copyright protection on all streamed/downloaded content (currently in the form of Digital Rights Management or DRM). Microsoft was willing to license their DRM, Apple was not.

    If you really want to use Instant Watch on a Mac, use Boot Camp and install a MS OS. Or give Apple a call and voice your displeasure directly to the source.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Why are profiles going away?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Is ther a way to comment on or connect with (someones) review?
    Nikka.be@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  62. Netflix is fucked up. They appear to sort comments based on whether or not you approve of a movie. If you don't approve, they bump your review to the end of the list. Since many movies have 8-9 pages of reviews, being at the end of the list means your review essentially DOES NOT EXIST, because no one will ever see it. Is it so hard to have a fair review system?

    ReplyDelete