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» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » Film-Yak   » imdb to discontinue message boards

   
Author Topic: imdb to discontinue message boards
Pravin Ratnam
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 839
From: Atlanta, GA,USA
Registered: Sep 2002


 - posted 02-09-2017 12:12 AM      Profile for Pravin Ratnam   Email Pravin Ratnam   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
http://www.imdb.com/board/announcement

quote:
IMDb is the world's most popular and authoritative source for movie, TV and celebrity content. As part of our ongoing effort to continually evaluate and enhance the customer experience on IMDb, we have decided to disable IMDb's message boards on February 20, 2017. This includes the Private Message system. After in-depth discussion and examination, we have concluded that IMDb's message boards are no longer providing a positive, useful experience for the vast majority of our more than 250 million monthly users worldwide. The decision to retire a long-standing feature was made only after careful consideration and was based on data and traffic.

Increasingly, IMDb customers have migrated to IMDb's social media accounts as the primary place they choose to post comments and communicate with IMDb's editors and one another. IMDb's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/imdb) and official Twitter account (https://twitter.com/imdb) have an audience of more than 10 million engaged fans. IMDb also maintains official accounts on Snapchat (https://www.snapchat.com/add/imdblive), Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/imdbofficial/), YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/imdb), and Tumblr (http://imdb.tumblr.com/).

I find this ridiculous. imdb has grown on the goodwill of users who interact this way. Sure, they are entitled to a profit. But the message boards don't cause a loss for them. Just doesn't make any real profit. So why not just leave them there as a goodwill gesture?

Their reasoning that more people prefer to interact on social media regarding movie discussions is ridiculous. More people prefer to interact on facebook, I guess, but it is not for movie discussions. I have never seen anyone of my friends or family discuss movies on their facebook pages and if they did, it would not be an interesting discussion anyway and it would probably be a bunch of people liking each other's messages or taste.

So then I went to imdb's facebook page out of curiosity to see how users were interacting there. If I asked a question about some little part of a movie that I saw (could be an indie or an old movie or some cult movie), I would not be generating a meaningful discussion there. It would get posted as a comment on the imdb site, slowly, it disappears from the main view and most probably is unanswered. Twitter is not conducive for discussions either. what do I do? Search on each movie title's hashtag and then look for comments and then reply to that with the character limits they impose?

And i Certainly won't be going on random people's facebook pages and posting my comments on their facebook pages because they had a comment about a movie I was curious to ask a question about. It would be like going to a random person's room as I was walking by bunch of rooms and heard them discuss movies among themselves and I just wanted to join in.

So how is social media replacing the message board experience? Sure, I can go on twitter and search #thegodfather for comments on the movie, but there is way too much noise there and it is just not suitable format for a discussion on any topic related to the movie.

The excuse that it is no longer a positive experience because of trolls is hogwash. I don't know why some people get bent out of shape because a few immature people join in the conversation. The noise level on imdb forums is not that high, especially once the movie gets older or is an indie movie.

One can get overall plot summaries in other areas. But the message boards were a good place to get hard to find trivia or just a good way to find out how other people thought about something that struck you about the movie, no matter how trivial it was.

And then , there is the privacy thing. What if you want to discuss aspects of movies , whether it involves political thoughts or personality traits that you want to delve into detail that just don't make for polite conversation on a social media site?

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Mike Schulz
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 122
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: May 2007


 - posted 02-09-2017 04:28 AM      Profile for Mike Schulz   Email Mike Schulz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree. This is a terrible decision. I've had my account on there for almost 20 years (damn, time flies!) and while some of the message boards could get hi-jacked by trolls, there was always usually an equal amount of meaningful discussion. I just don't see how any other social media can accomplish the same thing. I guess they think meaningful Facebook discussion is "hey, has anyone ever seen <movie>? I thought it was great!" and you might be lucky to have a couple of responses and those will likely only be "yeah, I've seen it. I thought it was meh" and that is your discussion.

I like the ones Imdb provides because every single movie or TV show has its own message board to talk only about that one specific movie and it is very easy to search. If you were to go to a place like Reddit and find one of the movie subs and then you searched for a specific show or movie, there might be a comment thread that somebody made a year or two ago but guess what? If you make your own comment in that old thread, NOBODY will ever see it.

I guess the next best place to go is Amazon or Netflix? Although I think the comments there aren't really 'discussions' but more just comments that one doesn't necessarily expect to get a reply.

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Scott Jentsch
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1033
From: New Berlin, WI, USA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted 02-09-2017 09:57 AM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think community building is one of the most difficult tasks for any web site or service.

The idiots/trolls/troublemakers will always overwhelm the well-meaning people that try to participate and those that try to monitor/moderate any forum. At the same time, it's very difficult to get the good people to participate and contribute valuable information. I think it's a natural tendency to lurk and not participate, and those that do invariably become overwhelmed or turned off by the noisemakers.

On top of that Facebook and Twitter have exacerbated the problem. They excel at appealing to people's wish to live in an echo chamber. The amount of time that people spend on social media further reduces the chance that they will be willing to participate elsewhere.

While surprising, I don't doubt that there were very good reasons to shut down the message boards. Ad sales aren't what they used to be, and I have to believe that if the boards were making money, no corporation would willingly refuse the revenue. If they can't carry their own weight, that only strengthens the case of anyone that is sick of dealing with the unsavory aspects of keeping them running.

I rarely visit the message boards, as most posts in any actress message boards deal with superficial aspects, and many that you wouldn't want your kids to see. Movie message boards are often "I loved this" vs. "this sucked -- worst movie ever!" fights.

These are challenges that online communities have faced since the days of Usenet. The way to handle them back then was moderation, but that reduced volume and placed a large burden on the moderators, eventually resulting in virtual death. Slashdot tried a novel approach to self-moderation, which worked to a degree, but my guess is that it too was overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of crud vs. those willing to contribute something of value.

I'm not sure that Facebook or Twitter will succumb to the same fate because their success is not tied to the quality of the community. In contrast, the lower the quality of discourse, the more popular they are, and the more money they make. I think the only way they will meet their demise is that people will get bored of them and some new shiny object will catch their attention instead.

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Pravin Ratnam
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 839
From: Atlanta, GA,USA
Registered: Sep 2002


 - posted 02-09-2017 12:59 PM      Profile for Pravin Ratnam   Email Pravin Ratnam   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah but you cannot have a discussion of the finer points of a movie oin facebook or twitter. Or spoiler discussions. Hell, I hail from the usenet era, so a little petty fight won't disrupt my enjoyment of other discussions that coexist with the "this movie sucked" threads. And what is wrong with "this movie sucked" threads. Even in those threads, some of the comments may actually be to the point about some pretentious movie. What I don't like are the spam comments that are on other comment threads for other sites. But imdb has stayed clear of the spam stuff. And from we hear maintaining the imdb boards is not expensive. So they are not losing money on it. They are not making money either, but it would have been a goodwill gesture to let it coexist as the community of participants helped build imdb.
And what I object to is their misleading claim that we won't miss anything anyway as discussions have moved over to their social media pages. Bullshit. Take any movie that is not in the top 10 list right now. And try to get in a discussion about something other than "I loved it" or "It sucked" on social media. You can't. And personal facebook pages dont work for movie discussions unless you and your friends are part of the film community. And even then, can one be frank as one can be?

Nothing wrong with even superficial discussions either. A person should be able to comment about some actress' botched implants or lip fillers or an actor's steroid use and feel comfortable having a fun irreverent discussion about it without feeling the need to have that discussion with their social circle.

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Scott Jentsch
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1033
From: New Berlin, WI, USA
Registered: Apr 2003


 - posted 02-13-2017 03:34 PM      Profile for Scott Jentsch   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Jentsch   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree that the statement about "there are already other venues available" doesn't hold water.

This development makes me want to finish the work on a form of discussion forums on The BigScreen Cinema Guide for each movie, but I'm not sure that the investment would pay off. It wouldn't be as comprehensive, as we wouldn't have actor-specific boards, nor would there be generalized forums for a complete community offering.

The good news is that if someone was interested in offering a community site centered around movies, software packages are available and web sites can be built. It's not a small undertaking, and it wouldn't have near the built-in reach that the IMDb enjoys, so I highly doubt that anyone would undertake it as a self-sustaining (break-even or profit-generating) operation.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10702
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 02-13-2017 09:37 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I never really got into using IMDB's message boards, so I'm not going to miss it when it is gone. Usually when I want to talk movies I come here. Sometimes I'll visit Home Theater Forum or just talk movie stuff at Facebook.

I understand why IMDB users are upset, but at the same time I understand fully why IMDB is going this route. Any forum that is worth a damn requires moderators. A forum with a large number of users needs a lot of moderators. That service is not cheap for a company running a large, commercial web site.

Moderators are now more vital than ever since so many people are digging down to achieve ever new lows at being vicious assholes online. If you have a forum where people are able to anonymously hide behind a user handle rather than using their actual names vicious behavior from trolls can be even more extreme.

Even in this more modestly sized forum the moderators cannot take a hands free approach. They have to step in from time to time. I remember the very brief experiment this forum had with a politics sub-forum. It shut down quickly for very obvious reasons. And that was something like 10 or more years ago. Can you imagine how bad a forum like that would be now under current circumstances? Sheesh!

Web sites with very large forums, like Facebook, are facing greater expectations to more thoroughly police their boards. People are demanding site administrators put a stop to trolling, hate speech, the spread of hoaxes and fake news stories. There is growing fear within the companies who run large web sites that they'll suffer legal consequences if they don't put a stop to some of the toxic garbage polluting many forums and social media outlets. For a company like IMDB it's just easier to pull the plug on that part of their web site.

I'm far more disappointed at the general public over this development than I am at a company like IMDB. For all the ways modern technology has made people more instantly connected with each other we have suffered an inverse effect with our sense of manners and common decency. It's like the road rage part of our id, where you yell insults at some driver who cut you off in traffic even though that driver can't hear you, has been dragged into this realm. We're prone to indulging it, getting a rush out of the emotional exchange. We're not stopping to think what kind of effect it is having on other people or how we're embarrassing ourselves with that behavior.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5198
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-17-2017 12:21 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just another reason to NOT join (or once joined, to RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY) from both Facebook and Twitter. Neither are designed for intelligent, civil discussion, but in fact, encourage the worst to float to the surface. I joined FB only because the kids begged me to and it only took a month or so for me to abandon it; told them that there was an email system in place that still functioned perfectly well where people were able to communicate substantively, long before any of those "social media" shortcuts; so just send emails to me when there is something you want to say and where you can actually develop coherent thoughts.

Luckily I never joined Twitter, and especially now, never will.

IMBD is making a HUGE mistake, believe me. Sad.

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