A little over a month ago, after what’s believed to be a response to downvoting trolls, Netflix replaced its 5-star rating system with an even simpler up / down voting one. From the get-go, I hated the change, but for the sake of not jumping to conclusions, I decided to use it for a bit and see if I’d warm up to it.
I haven’t. I still love Netflix, but this move has become a thorn in my side. Netflix replaced an easy-to-understand rating system with one that isn’t actually that helpful, even to someone who has a large list of content watched on the platform.
There may not be such thing as a “perfect” rating system, but it’s frustrating to see a popular platform like Netflix go from a suitable one to another that essentially hides what other people think about a show. One thing I can say is that whenever I did stumble on a piece of 1-star content, I could generally understand why people rated it as such (I’ve only given a 1-star rating once or twice ever – it takes a lot of fail to earn that from me).
One of the most frustrating aspects of Netflix’s move here, to me, is the fact that all of the content I took the time to give a rating no longer had a rating at all. I’ve hovered over content I’ve watched on the service, and there’s no up or downvote at all. Considering the recommendations I am seeing, it does seem likely that the historical data wasn’t dismissed with this move, but the fact remains that these “match” percentages don’t tell me anything at all about the actual quality of a title on the service.
Netflix has an enormous catalog. You could spend your entire life simply glued to it if you were so inclined (please don’t do that). It stands to reason, then, that those who sit down to watch the service would like to avoid wasting time loading up subpar content. Someone could see a 100% match for a piece of content that doesn’t deserve it. That’s if those percentages were even accurate to begin with.
The content I watch the most on Netflix is standup; I must have watched 50 or so to date. That includes all of Louis CK’s and Bill Burr’s specials. It doesn’t make sense, then, that two of Louis CK’s specials are not pegging 100%, but instead sit at 84% and 91%. A Rob Schneider special comes in at 83% – and believe me, I don’t put the two comedians in the same category.
Even stranger is that two comedians I’ve never watched on the service, Russell Peters and Gabriel Iglesias, each have a special listed as a 94% match. That is straight-up nonsensical.
Perhaps over time, as I dole out more thumb clicks, these “matches” will be more accurate, but I don’t hold out much hope based on initial impressions.
Ultimately, I don’t care why the perfectly suitable 5-star system was abandoned. I just think the alternative is woefully useless. Judging a titlecard by its graphic is probably more accurate than this new system is.