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Five Stars? Try a Thumbs Up! Netflix Ratings Changes Are Coming.

Last night, via The Verge, word hit the Internet that everyone’s favorite content streaming service, Netflix, would be making a rather dramatic change to the way that we rate the different programs on the app.

Currently, when you see a TV-show, movie, or other video on Netflix, you can rate it on a scale of 1-5 stars, 1 being the lowest, 5 being the highest.

According to the article, this will now be changing to a Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down system, a’la Siskel and Ebert.

The reason for the change is, apparently to improve the experience for you – the user.

Pulled from the article:

Switching to a binary thumbs up/thumbs down system might seem less granular than offering five stars, but [Netflix vice president of product Todd] Yellin said there’s an implicit understanding with thumbs up/thumbs down that people are doing it to improve their own experience rather than trying to rate it for the rest of the world. And at the end of the day, it’s really about just getting more people to rate things.

“What’s more powerful: you telling me you would give five stars to the documentary about unrest in the Ukraine; that you’d give three stars to the latest Adam Sandler movie; or that you’d watch the Adam Sandler movie ten times more frequently?” Yellin said. “What you do versus what you say you like are different things.”

This somewhat frustrates me as a user, as this reduces the reviewing process to a simple good/bad extreme. We have this issue right now among many other services – Rotten Tomatoes forcing reviewers to say positive or negative, even dating apps like Tinder – and I feel this type of reaction is exactly why everything on the web is seen as THE BEST or THE WORST and any type of nuance in opinion, let alone conversation, is falling by the wayside.

Maybe I’m a grumpy old man yelling at the cloud here, but sometimes I like giving a 3-star film a chance, or telling others to try something that may not be perfect, but is still worth their time. You may note that I never put a score or letter review to things here, and that’s exactly why – sometimes an experience is greater than a good or bad separation, and it bums me out that we’re starting to lose the middle.

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe this will be the best innovation to ever come to Netflix, but right now, I am very skeptical.