Aside from a looming 'Ultra' tier that could raise prices while restricting features like 4K, HDR or simultaneous streams, Netflix has recently notified users of one feature that's definitely going away: written user reviews. While Netflix dropped the five-star rating system from its apps early last year, on the website users can still write down and share their thoughts.
In an email notifying users who had recently left a review, Netflix blamed the change on declining usage, which at least one user turned that back around on the company for removing bylines and star ratings. Despite their limited appearance on the service, even recently-debuted shows feature hundreds of comment entries. According to CNET, while Netflix plans to stop accepting reviews as of July 30th, they will be readable until mid-August.
If you're wondering why Netflix might make the change, a quick perusal of the reviews suggests some possible answers. As it spends billions of dollars on original content, the company may not want to enable a public forum for it to be disparaged, or give space for people to comment on third-party content that has been removed. Also, for a company that famously does not provide numbers regarding the popularity of content or participate in tracking by outsiders, the feature stood out curiously as a public representation of subscriber's responses.
The use of "review bombing" by trolls in search of new battlefields for their cultural warfare is also a problem That's what happened to comedian Amy Schumer's Netflix special last year -- just before the company switched from stars to a simpler thumb up/down system -- while recent releases like The Last Jedi show similarly suspicious trends. For a feature that doesn't play into its continually evolving recommendations and automatically sorted categories, investing in the kind of community management or moderation required to deal with internet trolls might not make sense.
None of the tools we've recommended for augmenting your Netflix use include spaces for written reviews, although a site like InstantWatcher will include any awards a piece of content has received and put IMDB one click away. If you'd like to see your own reviews before they go away for good, then click right here, it's just as simple as pulling up your viewing history.