Review: Rating System(s)

Netflix relatively recently changed from a 5-star rating skill to “thumbs up” and “thumbs down.”  I hate it.

And yes, I do mean “active dislike and will try to get this changed somehow” level of negative emotion.

I can’t stand polar rating systems.

I know, this is a level of nerd – hating something so inane as a rating system, but let me break it down a little bit.

This is how I rate using 5-stars:

  1. I hated this (probably didn’t even finish it). Never show me anything like this again.
  2. I dragged myself through it, but I will never willingly watch it again.
  3. It was Ok. It probably kept me entertained enough in my current mood – I might watch something like this again, but THIS was probably a one-time-watch.
  4. I enjoyed this. I think other friends of mine with similar taste would also like this.
  5. OMG. Everyone should watch this movie. And watch it again.

I don’t know if everyone else has ever thought this much about their rating systems – but I like getting recommended new things and I know my taste can be a little weird.  A simple “yes” or “no” doesn’t really cut it.

Netflix knows I like comedy specials.  Gabriel Iglesias gets 5 stars. But Jeff Foxworthy has gotten 4 and 1 stars (sometimes I find him funny, sometimes I don’t).  Jim Jeffries got a 3-star response.  It isn’t ALL comedy specials I like. It’s specific types of humor.  There is a swath of specials Netflix recommended that got 1- and 2-star responses. I don’t like humor that is cruel to people (sometimes not even when “punching up”)   It is not as simple as “yes yes yes” and “no no no”

There is a grey area of “hmmm” that this overly simplistic rating system just can’t capture. As the person who will receive suggestions based on these ratings – I want Netflix (or anyone else) to be able to do a good job and they can’t with this stupid system of “yes” or “no.”   I will end up leaving a LOT of things just un-rated because it isn’t enough “no” or enough “yes” – and Netflix will have no idea why.

I’ve wanted a streaming music service that would let me do this.  I have to switch radio stations regularly because i get…. bored is the wrong word. Distracted? I like a very wide variety of music – from A Capella gospel (Rockapella is one of my favorites) to M.I.A. over to …. oh pick.   I do care more about what is actually being sung than a lot of people I know, but that is why I would really like a rating system beyond “up” and “down.”

I can definitely give a thumbs down to their thumbing rating system.


2 thoughts on “Review: Rating System(s)”

  1. I totally agree with this. I was very disappointed to see the rating system change. I have been using Netflix since it was a DVD delivery service and have always loved that the system could recommend things that were of interest to me. I have found many many shows I would have never even considered because of it!


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