Monday, December 10, 2007

Some "Friends" Problems?

UPDATE 7/12/07 12:30pm
Okay, here's the bottom line. We've got some fixes that we'll implement in the next couple days. The good news is that this will improve things for many of you; the bad news is that it won't improve things for some of you - alas, probably the heaviest users. The reality is that you've uncovered a serious issue, and that the real solution is not quick. We're working on it now, and i'll have more information as it comes in, but there will not be a fix possible that cures this for those of you with many friends and many ratings. (It doesn't seem to affect Faves or Fans use.) Through your input and alerts, this has been caught - but i have no happy words for those affected (check early next week to see if it has improved for you; it could take that long for the fixes to ripple through the system and membership). More news as it becomes available. (And if anyone comes up with some work arounds that improve experience - PLEASE let me know here.) Sorry, and thank you.


UPDATE: 7/11/07 1:03pm
Thanks for the info and the alert. I think you've uncovered a flaw in the design of notes -- When we first implemented it, we hadn't fully fleshed out what happens in the cases where someone has lots of friends and lots of notes and lots of ratings and rentals. There are a number of ways we are exploring to address the problem, but i'd like to ask members who only have 1 or a couple friends and use the notes features to let us know if you are having problems. It is unfortunate that this is starting to affect our most active users. I'll let you know as the situation improves. Until then, consider some of these features unstable. My apologies (I might have been writing this blog when i should have been anticipating that problem...)

I"ve noticed a couple people reporting problems with Friends only working partially, or the Notes features not working at all... those postings were the first we had heard of it -- with no unusual outages on this end, lest you believe we just weren't reporting it.

When something goes wrong its almost always widespread (meaning: everyone has a problem at the same time -- which didn't happen in this case), or it is connected to a new software release on our side (which didn't happen either, we haven't changed this code in some time, so if it is now broken, it's not obvious what caused it). Regardless, the postings on Hacking Netflix got us to look around and see if we could deduce if there was a bona fide problem, and if so, what was going on. I certainly believe some people are having occasional issues, but at least at this early stage, they don't seem to be widespread bugs and they do seem to (magically?) self-correct. Anyway, we're still looking into it. Leave comments here if you've got these problems too, and any specifics you can relay about how they manifest and if/when they seem to self-correct. It will help us get to the bottom of it.

31 comments:

  1. Yes, I was one of the complaintees on the other blog. I did call Netflix Costumer Service a a week ago when the problem fist showed up. The strange thing was 'most' of my friends had no problems but a few did. So I waited patiently for days then called customer service again. in addition to the emailing Netflix. I certainly don't meant to be a pest, just been quite frustrated by it.

    Today right now it seems to be working, but I thought that once yesterday as well. Thanks for looking into it. It will be nice to have the ability to keep my notes and leave them again.

    Cheers!
    Matt

    ReplyDelete
  2. BTW: I love the "Code Green: Community (and Netflix) are up."

    great :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. code red!

    5pm EST 12/10/07

    it's gone again. I was in the process of trying to FINALLY catch up on replying to the notes when it went away AGAIN!!! this is really trying. Please do what you can. I'm gonna lose my mind here soon.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've noticed it come and go a few times over the last couple weeks. The notes go away and also the "what your friends thought" section on movie pages.

    I haven't noticed any connection to anything else though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @ Baff,

    For me, it makes the entire friends page disappear. Also I can not add friends even search to find there profile to see if an email is listed. I have been leaving people hanging left and right with un-answered notes because I cannot get into them. I had notes for about an hour or two today but I thought it was *fixed* so I didn't jump right on it. It was only about 10 minutes after I started working on them it was gone again. I wish they would have just stayed gone because I keep loosing my place. It is almost infuriating. If I didn't have such a cool demeanor *and* cold beer, I would be ... well, even less happy.

    Michael, please remove the "Code Green." It made me think things were working again and in-fact had I not seen that I would have downed a cup of coffee and tried to speed through catching up on the last week while I had the chance. The intermittent part is what is bothering me the most.

    [deep breath... big gulp...]

    hoping thing get sorted out VERY soon.

    -Matt

    ReplyDelete
  6. Last week Friends was gone for me entirely for about four days. See, normally I have my Friends page bookmarked and just go straight there, skipping the Community home page (I do look at Community home as well, I have most parts of Netflix bookmarked so I always go directly where I want to). When I would try to go directly to Friends, I would get the 'Friends is down' message that we get when you guys intentionally take it down. This was occuring at all times of day, and I believe it was Thursday through Sunday (although that might be wrong). Community Home was still working for me, but the link to my Friends home still got me the 'down' message. Likewise, my bookmakred link to my Notebook got me the 'down' message; I could not even access my Notebook, so I don't know if there were actual problems with Notes. My bookmarked link to 'My Reviews' worked. On Thursday (I think) my bookmarked link to Friends actually brought my Friends page up, but it only showed 5 of my Faves, and nothing else! Quite strange indeed. An attempt to refresh that page brought up the 'down' message. The nest day, everything was fine, and has been since. I am using AOL dial-up, running Vista.

    ReplyDelete
  7. In my previous post, I say that on Thursday my bookmarked link to Friends actually brought up the page but it was 5 of my faves. Actually this occurred on Sunday (or whenever the fourth day of the outage was, which I suspect was Sunday).

    ReplyDelete
  8. My notes are down right now.

    I can view my lists, delete things from them, but not add to them.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yeah, but what about when we leave notes for all of our current friends -- and then we get NEW FRIENDS several months later? All of our NEW FRIENDS can NO LONGER SEE any of our previous notes! This is ridiculous! Can you please fix ASAP?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Personally, I would rather not see every note ever written by my friends. I'm really only interested in the notes they send specifically to me. I've written a bunch of notes to friends and none of them would I want to get sent to new friends.

    I already have a ton of notes people have generically sent out to all their friends about movies I will never have any interest in watching. I would gladly delete the vast majority of them from my notebook if I could.

    They used to have something called mini-reviews which sounds like what you want. Several people have asked Netflix to bring them back.

    But, if you want everyone to be able to see your reviews, why not just write reviews?

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Scott Rose

    There you go with that "ridiculous" again. Is anything not "ridiculous"?

    @netflix

    Friends are down at this moment for me. Can we get an update as to the issue?

    ReplyDelete
  12. re "There you go..."

    Hey Netflixjunkie, easy Man! We're all trying to help and/or critique in our own way and style.

    ReplyDelete
  13. @ Sam: no, Netflixjunkie was not overreacting. Scott Rose is ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
  14. 1 friend, no problems with notes after a recent test run using OSX/Firefox.

    How about a delete box for each note?

    ReplyDelete
  15. My freinds page was down when I left for work at 6Am ET, and is still down now at 12:30pm ET. Through any link, I get your standard 'down' message.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Friends is still down for me completely at 2:30 ET. Micheal, if it might help find the problem, this is my profile: http://www.netflix.com/StrangerProfile?prid=171163033&lnkctr=fsb2spro

    ReplyDelete
  17. All the more reason to dump the notes and bring back mini reviews :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. michael, from netflixDecember 12, 2007 at 2:46 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Maybe so, Eric - but either way, it's going to take some time to dig into. A notes overhaul has been pending for awhile. This latest bug pushes that forward. No easy fixes.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This 'notes' vs 'mini-reviews' issue keeps coming up. What are/were the pros and cons of each? And does anyone know why notes replaced m-r's , seeing as how the latter seem to have been so popular? Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  21. @anon - Mini-reviews might not be as popular as they seem on this blog... I just take the chance to plug them any time I can because I really miss them :) In fact, Michael posted a survey a while back about which one people like more (notes or mini-reviews), and notes won out. To be fair, however, I don't think a lot of people really knew what mini-reviews were.

    The mini-review feature was simply a way to leave pithy little comments about a movie to your friends. Whatever comment you left would show up for your friends on the movie page alongside your rating.

    Notes was intended as a replacement for mini-reviews, and in many ways, it really is just an extension of the preexisting functionality. The main additions provided by Notes are that you can target which friends they go to (mini-reviews were always visible to all of your friends), you can leave more than one about a particular movie, you have a notebook so that you can see all of them in one place, and there are several ways in which you're notified whenever a friend leaves a new note.

    The reason that I (and several others) don't like Notes is because it also changed and/or removed some of the things that we loved most about the mini-reviews. Specifically, since notes are targeted at particular friends, any new friends we add can't see the old notes we've written. And if we change our mind about a movie, we can't go edit our old mini-review, we have to leave a new note to stand there in conflict with our old one.

    There was a whole discussion on this a while back, if you'd like to see the two sides of the issue. The posts are called "Notes" and "Notes Continued...", from June 1st and 2nd.

    ReplyDelete
  22. @ Eric. Wow, over and above! Couldn't have asked for a clearer side by side. Many thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I don't understand the complaint about "mini-reviews" / comments. I wrote thousands of them. I still have them. ALSO; You can still do the same with the current feature, just send it to yourself. Now, you can choose who to share the review with. The

    An addition that would be prefect is a button to select that would allow the not to be shared with ALL friends; so that when you add new ones, they could see *that* note on the movie at a glance page.

    Over all the notes now is a much better feature IMO than the comments were. I really do like the idea a edit/delete anded to the notes. The delete box shouldn't be hard the edit box would be very helpful. I always catch my typos after clicking done. I realize the problems this could bring up but when you get to it... I think it will add a lot to the feature.

    The community features - specifically notes - allows us to chat about the thing we all love, and make friends with other like minded individuals. This feature is a huge asset that puts Netflix (already the best) even further ahead of any other competition on the market.

    I do have two problems with the limit of 50 friends. Rapidly becoming a challenge for me. Primarily, I don't think the friends in my wifes queue and mine should count together. I think we should each get 50 like everyone else gets. Maybe once the bugs gets worked out then the limit can be raised to 100 per queue. At least for now, don't count all my sub queues together. That would make me even happier.

    Thanks so much!!
    Cheers!
    -Matt

    ReplyDelete
  24. "Primarily, I don't think the friends in my wifes queue and mine should count together."

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but isn't it x number of whatevers (Friends/DVD's/etc) per account, so if we chose to divi those up among family members doesn't it make sense that we each get proportionately less of that finite pie?

    ReplyDelete
  25. @Anonymous,

    Well, no. See, I pay more for two extra movies out for my wife, and two extra movies out for my cousin and so I am paying for all those slots in all three queues. but now that my wife wants to have NF friends. I have to say NO. because I do not have enough friends slots for her to become active in the NF community too. If she wants NF friends its going to have to be through me. Now I really don't want to have to be that controlling chauvinist. All I have to do is cancel her queue and delete those extra movies out and then I get get all fifty. I just let her fend for herself to start a NF account, which won't happen. So, the fact that NF has sub ques has me paying for 7 out at a time instead what they would be getting only 3 out. Therefore, since we are three different people, why are all three account crippled? If I sacrifice the extra accounts for the NF features all to myself then NF loses an extra 4 DVDs out at a time per month. Thats all I'm saying.

    Cheers friend!
    Matt

    ReplyDelete
  26. Well, Matt, I'm neither an economist nor a marriage counselor, but how about this -

    Instead of paying for '7 out' ($41.99), you reduce your plan to '5 out' ($29.99) and get your wife a '2 out' plan ($13.99) : total cost $43.98. Maybe your cousin could kick in the $1.99 balance!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Well, freind, that's a very good idea, but...uhh... Matt should:

    Instead of paying for '7 out' ($41.99), you reduce your plan to '3 out' ($16.99), and get your wife and cousin a '4 out' (23.99) to share. Let them fight over who gets more freinds, and you get to pocket a whoppin' $1.02! ;)

    Now why IS that '3 out' cheaper than any other plan?

    ReplyDelete
  28. @ Friend and e,

    Yes, There are other options. They are possible.

    But each queue is given a 500 limit that doesn't need to be shared. My first choice preference (over any other [truly viable options], thank you) is to have the Friends feature follow the same pattern as the queues.

    Kicking the other queues out defeats the purpose of have the Sub-queues option Netflix created. I am not in a huge hurry to decide today, because I still have room for more friends and the desire for more folks to chat with ;-)...

    But the it is going to be an issue soon. So, a simple request to the Netflix team is as I stated :)

    Thanks for your help though. If it comes down to it I’ll see what other options we need to pursue.

    Thanks Friends!
    Matt

    ReplyDelete
  29. @e - Nice finesse! Except then Matt's poor wife gets stuck with the free-loading cousin's rental issues. Decisions, decisions.....

    @Phatz - Good luck! And thanks for your many thoughtful posts and lists.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I have only one friend and it will show his current movies he has at home But his queue has not updated for me in months!!! same movies from top to bottom and they never move! Has anyone else had this problem?
    It doesn't sound like a big deal.. but he is where i get most of my movie ideas from.. and i like to see what he is up to.

    ReplyDelete