The more I read through people's reviews, the more I've been noticing that the majority of these reviews are apparently seen as mostly "unhelpful". Which, frankly, I don't understand at all. It seems like people are too "unhelpful" happy or something. Given that the majority of reviews are the same, even the ones that don't seem as though they should be unhelpful have a very low helpful:unhelpful ratio. Hardly any reviews maintain an even ratio, and basically none are found more helpful than unhelpful. I feel like people who have already seen these movies are going through and marking the reviews that they simply disagree with as "unhelpful", which isn't how the system is supposed to be used. IMO, unless the review makes no sense or says nothing about the movie there should be no reason to hit the "unhelpful" button. And to be honest, if every review from good to bad and everything in between has a majority of unhelpful votes, than what exactly is helpful?
But I've been wondering how we can depend on any of these reviews anyway. Personally, when reading through reviews, none of them ever sway my intention of viewing a movie. Because I can't trust a good review of a movie any more than I can trust a bad one. I have no idea what kind of movie taste these people making the reviews have, nor is movie taste always so specific to begin with. But usually the good reviews are written by people who WOULD like that particular movie in the first place. Just as an example, when going through the reviews of something like Kyle XY, you can only assume that the average 5 star reviewer is a young teenage girl. The same could be said about something like Legendary with John Cena, the majority of the 5 star reviews are from people who WOULD rate something like that 5 stars to begin with, and therefore anyone finding the 5 star reviews helpful fits into the same category. So whether or not a movie is terrible, the review with the majority votes is usually always a 4 or 5 star. And even with that majority of votes, it usually still has a low helpful:unhelpful ratio. So unless you've seen the particular film/tv show in question, how would you know which of these hundreds of reviews to make a decision based off of?
I want to have an "unhelpful" button for the rating/reviewing system as a whole. Because that's really what it is. And so are the suggestions. Because, having rated 1300 movies (not even close to actual amount I've seen and could potentially rate since many I haven't seen in a long time, there are lots of movies I have seen but can't simply seek out from memory, or they are simply never presented to me in the suggestions or "rate shows & movies" section), the suggestions really don't make much sense nor do they seem to be any good. It's making it very difficult to find new things to watch, especially when it comes to the instant queue.
I'm not sure I agree with your observation that most reviews have a majority of not helpful votes, but I unequivocally agree with your second paragraph (and partially with your third). Even if there should be a majority of unhelpful votes, you can still find the "least unhelpful" (i.e. best) reviews on top of the pile.
Netflix's old system with friends (and their ratings) was a much better way of doing it, imo. I know my friends and whether or not I can trust their taste in movies, so having their ratings available to me was immensely helpful in deciding whether or not to queue something (and some friends I got to know better through seeing their ratings and later comparing them to mine). But that's gone the way of the dodo and is (in all likelihood) not coming back.
With respect to your inability to find new movies, yes, the recommendation system is not really working for a lot of us (strangely, Netflix is really good at predicting what I'll rate a movie, but then they recommend me movies I already have queued or think I'll rate 2.1 stars). Fortunately there are alternative sources for movie suggestions. Here's one, for instance (warning, shameless self-promotion) and here's another. And if you look around on the net, you can find sites that'll come up with personal recommendations based on how you rated other movies (just like Netflix's system), but I don't really know how good they are, I'm still busy with my own list and the "detours" that list has introduced me to.
See the problem I'm having is that even the "least unhelpful" reviews that have the majority votes are usually 4 or 5 star ratings. And obviously I'm not going to think that every review with the majority votes is a 4 or 5 star movie. I could choose any movie at random to search for and almost always the top reviewer is a 4 or 5 star rating. Whether I choose something like "Barbie: A Fashion Farytale" or "I Spit on Your Grave", the top reviewers are still 4 and 5 star ratings.
I guess my main point about the whole system is that it doesn't work because of the human element. Often times the top reviews conflict with the average rating anyway. So it's really only helpful as far as gathering content information like Scott P said, which the majority of reviews don't even bother to touch on. They just say how much they either like or dislike the movie...
It makes me think that the site would be better off without the whole review system. Since I usually find myself judging a movie based off it it's general overview and average rating anyway. That usually seems to be the most helpful. And what it guesses I would vote may be right a lot of the time, but I find that it's wrong just as often.
I'm not saying I could do better, but maybe that it's not necessarily needed or working very well because it's such a complicated task for a computer algorithm to ever properly execute.
That aspect, I totally agree with, there are too many fanbois writing "OMG BEST MOVIE EVAR!!!11" (or more mature versions thereof). I often read the most recent reviews instead of the top rated reviews, although that's of course still no guarantee (there are a lot of "disc wouldn't play, send new", "I didn't finish it, boring" and "holocaust never happened" reviews), but it tends to give a more nuanced picture of the movie in question.
I rely on recommendations from this place a lot when queueing new movies, people can often come with really good recommendations based on what other movies you like.
People tend to mark unhelpful reviews that they disagree with, or if they don't like the person that wrote it. This is a problem with any site that uses this system. It's a problem on Amazon as well. Some sites now only have the option of voting that a review is helpful.
I use reviews more to find out about the content of a film than to decide if I will like it.
I only would click a review heplful if it was truly helpful. Like if a review helped me change a flat tire or bailed me out of jail, something like that.
So far nothing.
Oddly, since I deleted all my reviews and ratings (and even the account) NF has been spot on predicting what I would rate a movie. Yet even their million dollar recommendation system still combines movies that would cause a mutant from a far galaxy to cringe.
I would say that you just not even read any NF reviews that have any votes (it's all a cheating racket anyway).
You got your wish. I have not seen a review with more than two votes for "Not Helpful." It is absurd to see reviews getting 504 votes with 502 of them Helpful when the review barely says anything. Just once I'd like to find a review that has more Not Helpful votes than Helpful. I dare you to find one. It isn't there. If it is, I bet it is only there for you and that Netflix is returning Reviews it thinks will be Helpful to you. That's the only way I can figure out why I only see so-called helpful reviews. Because I maybe rate one show/movie out of 100 with one or two stars. So Netflix thinks I only want to see "positive" reviews or some shit. I don't know. But Netflix reviews are shit. Yet I keep reading them as if in search of the Holy Grail.
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I loved this! I thought that it was very funny. The plane crash was sad. But, the ending is really confusing. Well, I gotta go.
12 out of 112 members found this review helpful
I was psychologically scarred by this movie. I am going to sue fedex i think. I was depressed for a good three days after I watched it and considering i was watching it for a psychology class that probably isn't good. I'm only giving it two stars because I loved Wilson. but they killed him.
1 out of 13 members found this review helpful
Was the second one Cast Away?
That would be hilarious. Not helpful, certainly, but still hilarious...
Thanks, E! I cannot see Cast Away as it is DVD-only right now, but I'm sure you're not making those up. Mostly Not Helpful reviews must exist but it'd soothe my soul to see one with my own eyes from my account.
What Knaldskalle said above:
"Netflix's old system with friends (and their ratings) was a much better way of doing it, imo. I know my friends and whether or not I can trust their taste in movies, so having their ratings available to me was immensely helpful in deciding whether or not to queue something (and some friends I got to know better through seeing their ratings and later comparing them to mine)."
I would also like to see the unhelpful button removed as its purpose is unclear: Are you unhelping because the review is poorly written, because you disagree with the reviewer's opinion, because you don't like the reviewer as a person, or to possibly push your own review forward by pulling someone else's backward?