Bring Back "Buddies": a unique and interesting feature of the old version
I liked finding movies that my friends and I might have liked together. That feature seems to be missing (or at least hard for me to find) in the new beta.
We have started building this feature. We hope that it will be available by Spring.
Carlos R. commented
ML should not try to be just another social site. That said social aspects added to a site allow for community interaction and communication and without a strong community there is essentially no site, no word of mouth advertisement, so on.
That said ML is a great service without the Buddies feature, which I had not heard about until today. It's good to know I can explore this in the still available classic version of ML, but the primary driver for me to use this site over others is the accuracy of its primary algorithm. Despite its granularity ML is shocking accurate at predicting what movies I'll like and what I would rate them.
Still, being able to more easily interact with other cinemaphiles would be really neat.
Please bring this to the new site!!! It's the only reason I use movielens. I've told many people about the site because of this functionality alone. Without it there isn't much reason to recommend movielens above a myriad other movie recommendation engines.
I highly recommend you bring back this feature, especially if you can do it without requiring facebook. I cannot find a single site that does this without the requirement of facebook, and it's really frustrating for me and my online or work friends that I'd rather not share personal details with, but do enjoy watching movies with.
Jani Pääjärvi commented
First, thanks for the great service, I have not chosen any movie without your help for ages.
That being said, unfortunately the lack of Buddy feature is a showstopper for me (and my wife) in this otherwise great new version of Movielens.
We live the busiest time of our lives with our two young children, meaning we have extremely little time for ourselves after all the work, housekeeping and other mandatory stuff. We used to watch a lot of movies before the kids were born. Back then it did not matter if we sometimes happened to pick a bad movie - hey, we had all the time in the world.
Nowadays we have to handpick our movies very carefully, as we don´t want to waste our precious me time to stuff that don´t entertain us.
The buddy feature has totally saved us - until now.
The buddy feature has also been one of the key selling points making your service stand out from the crowd when we have talked about your service to other couples - who have also become users.
So please, do consider bringing the Buddy back!
Jani & Johanna (launching the old version and savouring this particular time for a movie we´ll both enjoy)
Kyle Robichaud commented
Ya, I quite liked this feature. it was useful to see some sort of common ground between me and friends.
Rodrigo Coin Curvo commented
My girlfriend and I use it all the time to find movies we'll both enjoy. Please, get it back! (maybe with a better UI)
classic.movielens.org is still there for you. Constructive thoughts are welcome.
Can anyone recommend a site where you can compare your movie taste with friends and get mutual recommendations? Because my favorite one just changed into a fancy blinky-blinky that has the main reasons for the awesomeness of its previous versions missing.
Thanks for the suggestions - we're going to discuss the buddies feature as soon as we roll out the next release. At that time we'll make sure to incorporate these ideas into our design discussions.
And if they don't want to "save their ratings" (i.e. sign up for a ML account), that's fine. They don't have to. ML will still generate a list of recommended movies they'll both enjoy.
So it becomes basically a no-strings-attached free sample of ML magic for the would-be buddy who hasn't joined yet.
Well, here's the idea in brief: you click an "invite buddy" link & give your intended buddy's email address.
ML emails the person your invitation, which includes a list of 50 or so movies with clickable stars to rate & the instruction: "To start, rate the movies you have already seen."
After they're done rating, ML finally hits them up with the ask: "Do you want to save your ratings, and be able to add to them in the future, so you can request movie recommendations for yourself or with buddies any time?"
If they say yes, & provide their email address & create a password, they've joined!
Yes! I really liked the old Buddies feature. It was fun & a good way to spread the Movielens word. You had to get a friend to join & rate enough movies to start getting recommendations. Then you'd make each other buddies & Movielens could offer suggestions of movies you'd both enjoy. Brilliant! I have an idea for how to make it easier to use. I think I'll post it as a separate idea.
I only just got my girlfriend to sign up to the old site so we could use this. It's very good.
I personally thought it was a really cool idea, but I could never convince anyone I knew to make an account, let alone rate enough movies for the suggestions to be meaningful.
Thanks for the additional feedback. Yes, the current feature is too confusing and not especially interesting. There is a ton of potential for "social recommendations" and "group recommendations" that we have not yet realized (but would like to).
I love that this feature is/was available in ML. For a long time I wasn't able to use it because I couldn't get my buddies to register, and when I did, they didn't stick around long.
Eventually I found someone to use the feature with, and it was very hard to understand.
I expected a sorted list of movies we would both/all enjoy, with the ability to see each persons (predicted) rating. Additionally, and seperately, I wanted the ability to browse their ratings. I don't know how much of this was possible because I was pretty damn confused.
That may explain your low usage of the feature? I think it's a unique and potentially great feature. Really, most of us can find and pick movies we personally enjoy, given a little effort. But finding a movie for multiple people is sort of practically out of the realm of humans :)
Thanks Luke. We also think there's a lot of potential there. Social media is a way to make it easier to find buddies to connect with, and we are likely going to explore more ways of helping users share movie opinions/actions with other users.
Luke Daniel commented
This feature has so much potential. I've been using MovieLens for several years with a few friends and always wanted the option to view our ratings in a side by side comparison. A person's artistic taste is one of their most defining characteristics, so OPTION is the key word here. I am not private about my taste in movies, but I would understand if someone were. This does not have to affect the buddy search filter. I don't see a problem with that being a static feature.
My college roommates and I spent a lot of time in the living room on our laptops rating on this site, using it as a platform for discussion and debate.The potential for an extremely unique and novel social aspect is here but has not been tapped. I don't know if you plan on linking with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. but a social media post reading something like "Jenny just rated Ben Hur *****" would be an excellent conversation starter and would definitely bring more attention to the site. Again, this should be an optional feature and should probably be disengaged by default.
I would be disappointed if this feature were left behind. It may be underused currently, but I can definitely see the potential here. The more users find movielens, the better the service becomes.