Monday, April 24, 2017

New Netflix rating system is a major fail.

I'm a bit behind on this one as I've been mainly on Hulu and Amazon lately but when I went to Netflix this weekend I found they had changed out the rating system. For why look here. To me the "logic" described is dubious at best. If you Google "New Netflix rating system" you will see it is NOT going over well with anyone. My main gripe is when I'm browsing titles I used to be able to see my rating if I've rated it. That would tell me if I'd already seen it and what I thought of it. Having rated over 2000 titles in the old Netflix system that came in REAL handy. (I have friends that have rated WAY more.) It is really depressing to pick something that looks good only to realize after watching awhile that you have seen it and hated it. The new system does show you the ones you given a thumbs up or down but not the ones you have given stars. Fortunately the info has not been completely lost and your ratings old and new can still be seen from your My Activity page. (I suggest you down load this page while you can.) But that begs the question why they are not displaying that you have already rated it in the browser? Either as the star rating still there in the DB or by converting it to the thumbs up/down system for display.

Another new bit is now for unrated (via new system) titles you see a percent match instead of the average rating of other subscribers. I have not got a feel for how accurate this is yet but again that would infer they are trying get the model even more accurate. Generally the way to do that is to get finer detail of the watcher's like and dislikes not less.

The other issue with a binary system of course is what about the stuff that is just OK? As in stuff that was worth watching once but not again. How do I rate that with love or hate as my only options? Marking it either way will skew their suggestion model and not marking leaves me no way to see I've already watched it. To look at this I downloaded my "My Activities" page with over 12 years of ratings and converted it to a sheet so I'd have the data. And to see how is much this might truly effect things. I found:

  • The single list of ratings on "My Activity" has entries formatted 3 ways which made converting it to a sheet a bit of a pain. (This might also mean a previous change in December of 2015 is affecting this.)
  • Of the 2160 titles I've rated 1897 (~88%) were in the 2-4 star range.
  • 947 (44%) of my ratings are 3s that the new binary system can not handle.
  • 138 of the movies and 23 series I have rated are no longer on Netflix.
  • My average rating under the old system is 3.2
  • Converting thumbs down to 1 and up to 5 my average rating drops to 2.5 with the new system
  • So on average titles lose about 0.7 stars under the new system

Facebook removed their rating system for movies and TV shows awhile back too. While you can still add them to watched / want to watch sections and even write a review as a comment, all those star ratings you did are now toast. Funny thing is when you try to find out when did this there appears to be no stories about. Probably why Netflix thought it was a good idea to follow suit. Unfotunately for Netflix people are noticing.

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