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Reddit comes up with easy solution to Netflix’s most annoying problem

Polygon logo Polygon 5/30/2018 Julia Alexander

© Netflix

No, I don’t want to watch The Office again

Netflix is very good at letting people revisit almost every movie or TV series they’ve already seen.

Netflix is not very good at hiding those same titles after they’ve been viewed. The homepage favors displaying TV shows you’ve sat through nine times or a movie you just finished. People may love Eyes Wide Shut, Netflix, but they don’t want to watch it again and again for the rest of their lives. That’s just masochistic. It’s an annoying problem, and it’s only made worse by Netflix’s less than favorable browsing options. Don’t hover over a title too long or a trailer will suddenly start playing, for example.

Anyone who subscribes to Netflix has encountered this issue, which is why a Reddit thread that took off early this Wednesday came up with a reasonable, simple solution: Create a new tab for anything a user has already seen.

“Its quite hard to scroll through all of the Content if I have already seen a lof of it / seen the TOP recommendations of the genres,” Reddit user Boranox wrote. “I would love to have them being removed from the Frontpage for that and rather appear in a ‘already watched’ section.”

Hallelujah. An entire section dedicated to everything you’ve ever watched on Netflix that is still available to stream. It’s not a foreign concept, either. Netflix already has a “watch it again” section, where it recommends things you’ve already seen. The streaming service recommends new titles based on movies you’ve already seen, too, using an algorithm to personally recommend TV shows or movies that you might like because of what you’ve already watched.

Netflix is exceptional at keeping us interested and invested in its service by reminding us of what we love. It’s not as good at encouraging exploration and discovery. The user interface is meddlesome, and that makes browsing even more anxiety-inducing. Netflix wants us to be comfortable. Why try out a new arrival on the platform when you can just watch Friends for the hundredth time.

Unless it’s a Netflix original, the chances of finding anything new and interesting on the front page aren’t high. It’s designed to let you continue watching something you started but possibly grew bored with, and encouraging revisits of series or films that are safe bets.

The aforementioned solution offers an easy way to separate titles we’ve already seen and new movies or TV shows that we can explore. The bigger issue is how this ties into an earlier move by Netflix that upset subscribers. The company recently removed the five-star rating system, which people often used to hide movies or TV shows they weren’t interested in. Netflix introduced a disliking system that did not go over well with subscribers, who complained that the front page was getting worse with every new update.

“The new rating system has significantly reduced my enjoyment of Netflix, to the point that I’m considering cancelling,” one user wrote on Reddit. “I took the time to rate everything I could (i.e. that I’d seen) and its recommendations remain terrible. At least when the star system was in place, I had a rough idea of what to expect.”

Polygon has asked Netflix for comment, and whether this is something the company is looking into.

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