Gadgets & apps

This article was published on April 12, 2022

Netflix’s new ‘double thumbs up’ rating isn’t enough for nerds like us

GIVE US MORE FEATURES OR GIVE US DEATH


Netflix’s new ‘double thumbs up’ rating isn’t enough for nerds like us
Callum Booth
Story by

Callum Booth

Editor of Plugged by TNW

Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He w Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He writes about gear, gadgets, and apps — with a particular focus on Apple — and also makes the occasional odd video. Basically, he's halfway between an abrasive gadget nerd and thinky art boy.

Fans of ratings, rejoice! Netflix has introduced a new way for you to display your affection for a show: a double thumbs up.

This is the first change of the rating system since 2017, when the company moved from a star system (ergo, one to five), to the like or dislike model (thumbs up and thumbs down) that we’re all familiar with.

Now, Netflix is shaking this up again with the launch of a third option — the super like (or, if you want, double thumbs up).

Netflix double thumbs up example
Here’s what the ‘double thumbs up’ (or… I LOVE THIS!!!) looks like in the wild.

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The explanation for this is straightforward: the streaming giant wants to improve its algorithm and, with it, the content it serves you. To this point, Netflix described the launching of the double thumbs up as “[helping it] get even more specific” with recommendations.

This means when you give something this rating, you’ll not only see more thematically aligned content, but also shows that either include the actors, or are from the same production company of the work you double liked.

The new feature should be live now (although, at the time of writing, not everyone at TNW has this option), but if it hasn’t appeared yet? Don’t worry, it won’t take long.

I’ll get this out there: the double thumbs up is good news, but it’s not good enough. Netflix can — and should — do more.

One of the best rating systems I’ve come across recently is on StoryGraph, a book tracking and recommendation system.

Yes, there’s a star rating system. This not only goes from one to five, but also allows quarter measures (ergo, .25, .5, and .75), which is perfect for the anal amongst us (i.e. me).

The real joy of StoryGraph though is its thematic rating system. Here, you’re given a series of checkboxes and choices allowing you to choose the type of tone, pace, plot, and characters the book contains.

example of storygraph rating system
Here’s an example of the sort of ratings StoryGraph shows for a book.

What this allows is a far more precise way of analyzing something. It not only helps you think about what you’ve seen (and what you like), but it also improves recommendations, as the algorithm has a far better understanding of how you viewed the work you consumed.

It’d be amazing if Netflix could introduce a feature set similar to this.

Of course, I understand why it moved away from a star system — a thumbs up or thumbs down is far quicker and easier, especially if people are using it across a range of devices. There’s nothing stopping the streaming giant from having a button underneath this asking if you want to provide more detail.

If this was the case, everyone wins. Netflix opens up a whole new data stream and is able to improve people’s recommendations.

A double thumbs up is a step in the right direction, but come on, Netflix, we can do better than that.

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