Choosing between two options is much easier than choosing between five. That’s why Netflix is about to ditch the five star rating system it’s had since the beginning.
You can no longer think a movie is just “OK” and slap three stars on it before forgetting whether you even watched it to begin with. Instead, you must like or dislike a movie. Why the change? Speaking with Variety, it’s just the way of the future according to Todd Yellin, Netflix’s VP of product innovation. Yellin lays it out like so:
Five stars feels very yesterday now, [that old system] really projects what you think you want to tell the world. But we want to move to a system where it’s really clear, when members rate, that it’s for them, and to keep on making the Netflix experience better and better.
Which is all to say, Netflix thinks we’re rating movies based on what what we think the world wants us to like. Sowe give Oscar-nominated foreign documentaries five stars even though we fell asleep halfway through, because that’s what critics tell us to do. Likewise, people tend to rate movies they’re not supposed to like, like some random Adam Sandler movie, three stars or less, even though they will watch that one a few times.
The rating system will be introduced alongside a new percentage match feature that shows how good a match a movie is based on your previous ratings. That means a close fit will show something in the 90 per cent range, while something that you probably won’t like will hover around 50 or 60 per cent.
Perhaps we cannot be trusted with five options. Or perhaps we’re so terrified of being judged for our opinions that we present fake opinions to the rating-crunching robots at Netflix because we just need the approval of someone. Whatever the reason, thumbs up and thumbs down ratings will be rolling out across Netflix in the coming months.