This April, Netflix is changing up its user reviews in a major way. At a press briefing yesterday, the company announced that instead of rating movies and shows on a one to five star scale, you’ll only denote how incredible or incredibly crappy a movie is with a simple “thumbs up” (a la Facebook likes) or “thumbs down.”
If you choose “thumbs up,” Netflix will search for similar suggestions, while a “thumbs down” will, as expected, do the opposite. According to Variety, Netflix VP of Product Todd Yellin explained that testing showed people were 200% more likely to rate a movie with thumbs versus stars. Yellin also said that a thumbs rating system is more reflective of user behavior, since people would give playful movies fewer stars than say, documentaries, but would still watch them more often.
That all makes sense, but leaves me wishing that there were a "semi-like" option — a flat hand, perhaps? With the new system there's no middle ground: You either like Santa Clarita Diet or you don't. But how often do you watch something and come away with mixed feelings?
According to Entertainment Weekly, Netflix will attempt to appease those of us wishing to leave a so-so rating by offering a percentage match score that will correlate with your behaviour. If a movie is a 75% match for you, it's probably in sync with the other movies in your "recently watched" queue.
One potential benefit: An end to a stars system means that what's suggested to you is less reliant on other users' opinions. This could stop trolls, who might bury a film or show with multiple one-star reviews, in their tracks.
You've got a couple of weeks left with stars — then it's all in the thumbs. While you're getting your ratings in, don't forget to check out Netflix's secret request page.