Netflix Apps Will Today Begin Ditching Star-Based Rating System for Thumbs

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Netflix has announced that users will today begin noticing its new thumbs-up and thumbs-down rating system as it appears across various apps and on desktop computers, following a reveal earlier in March that the streaming company was planning to ditch its 5-star rating system.

In the previous system, users had to choose between 1 and 5 stars to determine how much they liked a show, and using that data Netflix displayed the same information back at them for titles they have yet to watch. So for a new TV show, Netflix might suggest it as a 4-star title, meaning it's something the user should enjoy. This system confused many users over the years, who believed that the stars were a community aggregate of a show's overall quality, not a personal recommendation system tailored for each user.


That'll begin changing today with thumbs, which will ask each user to decide simply whether they want to give a TV show or movie they've watched a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, which Netflix compares to dating apps like Tinder in a new promotional video also debuting today.
We are retiring our five-star rating system and replacing it with a simpler and more intuitive thumbs-up and thumbs-down. A thumbs-up tells Netflix that you like something and want to see similar suggestions. A thumbs-down lets us know you aren't interested in watching that title and we should stop suggesting it to you. You can still search for it, but we've heard what you were trying to tell us -- you aren't a fan -- and it will no longer show up on your homepage.

In either case, using thumbs helps us learn even more about your unique tastes so we can do a better job suggesting stories we think you'll love.
With this data, users will also begin seeing far simpler percentage numbers accompanying unseen titles they might be interested in. Called a "% Match score," Netflix said that this is a prediction of what its algorithm thinks each user might enjoy watching based on what they've previously given a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. So a show they might be particularly interested in would have a "95% Match," for example.


Netflix wasn't clear on when the new rating system would begin appearing across its devices, like iOS and tvOS, but it's likely to debut on Netflix.com ahead of the company's suite of companion apps.

Article Link: Netflix Apps Will Today Begin Ditching Star-Based Rating System for Thumbs
 

Singin Hobo

macrumors regular
Jan 16, 2008
146
10
Texas
This switch has been long over-due in several publicly reviewed areas. People doling out stars like professional movie critics—giving and taking at their whims—doesn't really serve anybody. All we need to know is "Are you glad you watched/read/whatever this thing?"
 

tunerX

Suspended
Nov 5, 2009
355
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This switch has been long over-due in several publicly reviewed areas. People doling out stars like professional movie critics—giving and taking at their whims—doesn't really serve anybody. All we need to know is "Are you glad you watched/read/whatever this thing?"
With the old system I only ever used 2 or 3 stars.

Liked it or didn't like it.
 

sman789

Customer Support
Staff member
Dec 25, 2007
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Richmond, VA
I could care less about the rating system. As long as the algorithm gives me the goods. It suggested Haters Back Off (it's extremely dumb and low-rated) and I loved it! It did not suggest the newly released Five Came Back even though that's right up my alley.
 

Xavier

macrumors 68030
Mar 23, 2006
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Columbus
It seemed like every show on netflix was 3 stars or less. How is that helpful?

Thumbs up or down seems like it be be better.
 

AJClayton

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2007
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Dorset, England
I know I'll get flamed for saying it, however this is an Apple rumours site or has it been renamed NetflixRumors?

Having said that, I found this article quite interesting as I also didn't realise how the star system really worked. It might explain why some real cr*p seemed to inexplicably have a high rating.
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
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I know I'll get flamed for saying it, however this is an Apple rumours site or has it been renamed NetflixRumors?

Having said that, I found this article quite interesting as I also didn't realise how the star system really worked. It might explain why some real cr*p seemed to inexplicably have a high rating.
Popular/userful/interesting apps and services that get used (or can be used) on Apppe devices get coverage on sites like this. Pretty much how it's been for quite some time.
 

now i see it

macrumors 601
Jan 2, 2002
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Wow, it's doubtful many people understood the star rating. One would naturally assume that the number of stars was the mean average of all users ratings. Now we find out it has nothing to do with that & they were "fake" stars.
What a retarded & misleading rating system!

The most logical rating system is thumbs up/thumbs down (tomato/smashed tomato) with user percentages like used in rotten tomatoes. Nothing mysterious about that. Someone at nextflix really over thought the rating system last time to the point that it was meaningless & worthless.
 

earthTOmitchel

Contributing Editor
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Mar 6, 2015
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Wow, it's doubtful many people understood the star rating. One would naturally assume that the number of stars was the mean average of all users ratings. Now we find out it has nothing to do with that & they were "fake" stars.
What a retarded & misleading rating system!

The most logical rating system is thumbs up/thumbs down (tomato/smashed tomato) with user percentages like used in rotten tomatoes. Nothing mysterious about that. Someone at nextflix really over thought the rating system last time to the point that it was meaningless & worthless.
I'm not even sure how I learned how the stars actually worked, it's very easy to misunderstand them. People commenting on our Twitter post even still seem to not get that stars were never a community ratings system. I think that's the reason why the hatred towards thumbs has come up: people think Netflix is moving from community ratings to personal ratings when in fact it's just making personal ratings easier to understand.
 

KALLT

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2008
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People doling out stars like professional movie critics—giving and taking at their whims—doesn't really serve anybody. All we need to know is "Are you glad you watched/read/whatever this thing?"
Who is ‘we’? The public? Netflix?

Netflix is more interested in your behaviour than your opinion. If they were interested in what you truly thought about a film/series, they would not do this. ‘Liking’ something does not tell you anything about how much a film/series means to you. I like anything with 3–5 stars, but I would still prefer to see more stuff that I would give 5 stars. Now I cannot give this feedback anymore. I was always under the impression that Netflix looked closely at your ratings to determine your personal recommendations. It seems that this did not matter after all.

I think that's the reason why the hatred towards thumbs has come up: people think Netflix is moving from community ratings to personal ratings when in fact it's just making personal ratings easier to understand.
They just needed to replace the ‘red stars’ with something else, like a different icon or percentage points. Taking away tools to give more granular feedback about a film/series is not the right approach to me.
 
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Apple blogger

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Feb 28, 2013
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Loved the line where they said "you may find house of cards 1 star, but your politics loving brother finds it 5 star"! Hit it perfectly on the point. Great ad! And hopefully a good change
 

earthTOmitchel

Contributing Editor
Staff member
Mar 6, 2015
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Who is ‘we’? The public? Netflix?

Netflix is more interested in your behaviour than your opinion. If they were interested in what you truly thought about a film/series, they would not do this. ‘Liking’ something does not tell you anything about how much a film/series means to you. I like anything with 3–5 stars, but I would still prefer to see more stuff that I would give 5 stars. Now I cannot give this feedback anymore. I was always under the impression that Netflix looked closely at your ratings to determine your personal recommendations. It seems that this did not matter after all.



They just needed to replace the ‘red stars’ with something else, like a different icon or percentage points. Taking away tools to give more granular feedback about a film/series is not the right approach to me.
They are replacing it with a percentage point system, so now it'll say like "85% Match" next to something you might like. But I do agree that they could have done something less binary than thumbs up and thumbs down to achieve those percentage points.
 

Sylvan

macrumors regular
Apr 27, 2008
129
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California
Interesting. I just wish the Netflix app for my ATV 3 would get updated. I find the interface to be clunky compared to the one on my Roku.
 

tonyr6

macrumors 65816
Oct 13, 2011
1,390
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Brooklyn NY
I can't rate anything on the website since it changed. It is messed up bad. It won't even let me remove things I rated. Also programs on the website still show the star ratings.

As you can see some programs let me rate them thumbs up or down on the website sometimes when they showed up in the spotlight.
 

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Douglas B

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2010
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Sydney
"This system confused many users over the years, who believed that the stars were a community aggregate of a show's overall quality, not a personal recommendation system tailored for each user."

Wait, it's not a community aggregate?! Had I know that I would have found it much more helpful. :(
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
9,436
3,446
Don't watch netflix but would love to see how it will introduce "like/dislike".
Glad that Apple Music still keeps star rating after removing it from early iOS 10.
Maybe people are preferring to provide simple feedback: yes I like it/no I hate it.
 

Defthand

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2010
1,277
1,635
Unless the audience is the same demographic, ratings are useless. My tastes are going to be different than a teen’s, even if we both like the same genres. I quit renting movies on iTunes that have high audience ratings. Inevitably, the movie would be some unoriginal story with an actor who is popular with tweens.

A better ratings system would only show ratings from people who share a common demographic and tastes. You could achieve the latter by listing some movies you liked a lot. iTunes or Netflix would only show you ratings from persons who share your opinion of the questionnaire’s list.
 
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C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
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Unless the audience is the same demographic, ratings are useless. My tastes are going to be different than a teen’s, even if we both like the same genres. I quit renting movies on iTunes that have high audience ratings. Inevitably, the movie would be some unoriginal story with an actor who is popular with tweens.

A better ratings system would only show ratings from people who share a common demographic and tastes. You could achieve the latter by listing some movies you liked a lot. iTunes or Netflix would only show you ratings from persons who share your opinion of the questionnaire’s list.
It seems like that's at least partially why Netflix's system has been the way it has been.