timothy_gray_el34lojg1aih1's profile

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Friday, March 10th, 2023 10:45 PM

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Error with adding subgenre keyword "kids-family"

One of the official subgenre keywords recently added is "kids-family", for family movies specifically aimed at kids. However, when trying to add this keyword to a title, a strange error occurs. The keyword is automatically rejected as "not valid" due to being "too subjective". To check and see if I was the only one having this problem, I used the advanced title search. Sure enough, not one single title has been given this subgenre-keyword.

Follow this link to see for yourself: https://www.imdb.com/search/title/?keywords=kids-family

Screenshot of edit attempt:

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1 year ago

Apparently the keyword was first blocked by request and then added to the list of suggested keywords shortly after.

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@Peter_pbn​ Interesting. There seems to be a war going on over the recent change to subgenre keywords

It seems to me that many of the problems going on here could be fixed if the subgenres were made totally separate from the plot-related keywords instead of the current system which is trying to lump them together in the same location.

(edited)

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@Peter_pbn​ 

Thanks for catching that. I had no idea until now.  I am not sure when exactly I caught that keyword, but staff blocked it (in response to my list) on June 21, 2022, and then you noticed on July 15, 2022, that the keyword had appeared on the official list of "approved" subgenre keywords. 

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@timothy_gray_el34lojg1aih1​ 

It seems to me that many of the problems going on here could be fixed if the subgenres were made totally separate from the plot-related keywords instead of the current system which is trying to lump them together in the same location.

You are not the first to suggest this, although I happen to disagree.

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@keyword_expert

Subgenres can be "styles." Subgenres usually involve plots, in a broad sense. Subgenres are usually "notable," because they describe the entire title. And subgenres can be a great way for visitors to search and discover titles. 

I kind of see your point, but couldn't the same thing be said about genres proper, not just subgenres? Think of how much less convenient it would be if genres were removed from their current location and placed among the other keywords. It's much easier to be able to see the genres separate, especially when it's a popular title with 500 or so keywords attached to it.

I wouldn't recommend banning style- or genre-related keywords wholesale, for one particular reason: IMDb doesn't always do a perfect job of making all of the existing genres available to be added. Avant-garde/experimental, for example, is a genre that should have been added a long time ago, but IMDb staff refuses to get this done, so it's nice that users can step in and add it as a keyword to compensate. It's also useful to add stylistic things subgenres like "neo-noir" into the keywords for the same reason.

Style/genre keywords are necessary as a fail-safe, but ultimately, I still think it would be easier to use if they were kept to the side where users wouldn't have to sift through a lot of other keywords to see them. Heck, they could even be shown on the same page as the rest of the keywords, just as long as they were placed together instead of scattered throughout.

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@timothy_gray_el34lojg1aih1​ 

Style/genre keywords are necessary as a fail-safe, but ultimately, I still think it would be easier to use if they were kept to the side where users wouldn't have to sift through a lot of other keywords to see them. Heck, they could even be shown on the same page as the rest of the keywords, just as long as they were placed together instead of scattered throughout.

IMDb has already implemented a change almost exactly like you describe, but only when IMDb keyword pages are viewed using the IMDb app on a smartphone, and only for the official list of suggested subgenre keywords. Eventually this change will also be rolled out for viewing in all platforms, including on computers.

This is why whenever users add a subgenre keyword, we are asked to categorize it as a subgenre keyword. Then IMDb will display all subgenre keywords at the top of each keyword page in a special subgenre section.

If you haven't already done so, download the IMDb app on your phone and view a keyword page for a title that already contains official subgenre keywords, and you will see what this looks like.

(edited)

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@keyword_expert​ It all makes sense now. I'll be glad when this change is rolled out for web users, because I don't use mobile very much.

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1 year ago

Hi @timothy_gray_el34lojg1aih1 -

Thanks for reporting.  I filed a ticket for the appropriate team to investigate and resolve the prior blocker.  As soon as I have an update I will relay that information here.

Cheers!

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@Michelle​ 

I think Peter already figured out exactly what happened. But regardless of how it happened, is "kids-family" really an appropriate subgenre keyword? Isn't it redundant?

After all, here is IMDb's official definition of the Family genre:

Family Should be universally accepted viewing for a younger audience. e.g., aimed specifically for the education and/or entertainment of children or the entire family. Often features children or relates to them in the context of home and family. Note: Usually, but not always, complementary to Animation. Objective.

Examples: Toy Story (1995) |The Wizard of Oz (1939) | Mary Poppins (1964)

I guess there is an argument to be made that everything in the Family genre is targeted either to (1) kids or (2) kids plus the rest of their families, in which case there might be keywords "kids-family" and "family-family." But again, all of this seems highly redundant.

The official definition of "kids-family" refers to kids "7 and under." Still seems largely redundant given that the Family genre means "for a younger audience."

family animals-family Marley & Me, Beethoven, Babe, Black Beauty A family-friendly plot that features non-human animals as the main character(s).
family kids-family The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Blues Clues Movie A family-friendly plot catered specifically for young children (7 and under).

(edited)

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@keyword_expert​ I wonder if the initial motive for making the "kids-family" subgenre is an attempt to separate the stuff that everybody likes (Lion King, Toy Story, etc.) from stuff that little kids love but most adults find insufferable (Barney and Friends, Paw Patrol, etc.). But if that's the case, the description ruins it by setting the age limit too high and listing The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh as an example.

I agree that the subgenre is totally redundant as currently defined. Virtually all "family" films can be appreciated by children as old as 6-7 years. It might be helpful to make a distinction for stuff that's specifically aimed at toddlers, but as it stands I think the description and listed examples are too broad for that to be useful.

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1 year ago

This is an unrelated point, but I just noticed also that on the help page for subgenres the subgenre "farce comedy" is missing both the examples and the description.

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1 year ago

Another unrelated error: Period-drama is on the list twice, once in the drama, and once in the romance section. I assume the second instance is supposed to say "period-romance".

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I've created a separate thread to talk about these issues, since they weren't getting much of a response here.

https://community-imdb.sprinklr.com/conversations/data-issues-policy-discussions/miscellaneous-errors-on-keyword-help-page-subgenres/64149e4ff24ba958c581f576

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1 year ago

For the past couple years, whenever IMDb staff block keywords, they always list the reason in the alert message that pops up when you subsequently try to add the keyword as "too subjective."

But there are many other reasons why a keyword might be blocked. For example, a keyword might be blocked because it is a genre, because it is too vague, because it contains inappropriate language, because it is poorly formatted, etc.

These alert messages used to give other reasons for blocked keywords, like "too vague," for instance, but no blocks created the past couple years have given any reason other than "too subjective."

I wonder why staff started limiting all keyword blocks to the message "too subjective." I'm guessing this has just been a simple oversight. 

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Well, our dear Bradley Kent often complaints about some keywords being too subjective.

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@jeorj_euler​ And he complains even more loudly about "genre-infused" keywords. But he's not the only one -- on these types of complaints he and I usually agree. 

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“kids-family” is a terrible subgenre ... just a repetition of the Family genre, which is intended to be limited to titles deemed "acceptable” viewing for the “entire” family, including (apparently) the youngest.

And, yes, this is extremely subjective.  I am constantly shocked at some of the titles that my friends with young children allow their children to watch. (Anatomy of a Murder? Vertigo? The Grearest Story Ever Told?)

Also, wasn’t “kid” rejected long ago EVEN as a keyword, in favor of child.  That was to avoid confusion with baby goats, wasn’t it?

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@bradley_kent​ 

Also, wasn’t “kid” rejected long ago EVEN as a keyword, in favor of child.  That was to avoid confusion with baby goats, wasn’t it?

Pretty much, except that happened less than 13 months ago, which was arguably not "long ago."

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At age 82, thirteen months is still “a long time ago."

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@bradley_kent​ Understood, but I suppose that would also be a "subjective" viewpoint (to bring the conversation full circle).

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1 year ago

If we need a keyword for expressing the idea that a title is directed toward or appropriate for young children, I don't think that "kids-family" is a particularly good way to phrase that. 

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@gromit82​ Agreed.

Such is the problem with many of the official subgenre keywords, which seem to have been labeled rather arbitrarily and in many cases in conflict with the rest of the guidelines.

I'm thinking of keywords like "whodunnit-mystery" (which uses the British spelling of "whodunit"), the weirdly worded "classical-western" (instead of "classic-western"), the completely generic and nearly useless "other-sport," the patently redundant "docudrama-drama," the awkward "for-grown-ups-animation" (instead of the much more common preexisting keyword "mature-animation"), and the redundant "sitcom-comedy." 

A root problem with these keywords is that IMDb staff appear to be insistent on using genres as hyphenated suffixes in every single official subgenre keyword. I have never understood why they deem that necessary. I think people are capable of intuiting that the keyword "sitcom" is referring to a subgenre without using the redundant "sitcom-comedy" instead. And it's also possible to have subgenres that fit underneath multiple genres, e.g., "giallo" should be used instead of trying to pigeonhole all giallos into "giallo-thriller." 

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@keyword_expert​ It's also awkward how they have things like "Epic" under multiple genres, so if a movie is an action-adventure-fantasy-drama, instead of adding "epic" just once, you end up having to submit it four times ("epic-action", "epic-adventure", "epic-fantasy", "epic-drama").

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And, as I have said before, HOW is it possible for a title to have a subgenre that includes a genre without also having THAT genre as a genre?  Makes no sense.

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@bradley_kent​ 

And, as I have said before, HOW is it possible for a title to have a subgenre that includes a genre without also having THAT genre as a genre?  Makes no sense.

This is why, for example, "alternate-history" should probably not be listed by IMDb as an official subgenre keyword. After all, the official definition of the "alternate-history" keyword ("The plot features a historical event that occurs or resolves differently than it did in real life.") directly conflicts with the definition of the History genre ("While some characters, incidents, and dialog may be fictional, these should be relatively minor points used primarily to bridge gaps in the record."). 

Certainly the subgenre keywords were not properly thought out before their big roll-out. I wonder if these problems will ever be fixed.

(edited)

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@keyword_expert​ The "fictional-war" keyword is like that too. The War genre definition specifies that the title must pertain to a real war.

The "fictional-war" keyword should remain in existence, but it shouldn't be considered a subgenre of the War genre.

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@gromit82​ 

Another good example.

The "fictional-war" keyword should remain in existence, but it shouldn't be considered a subgenre of the War genre.

Agreed. I feel the same way about the "alternate-history" keyword.

I feel like whomever dreamed up all the subgenre keywords did not do their due diligence. 

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Exactly!  I have nightmare visions of an IMDb staff committee creating these subgenres, not knowing what they were doing, and letting persuasive, tho misguided, egos make the final decisions.

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@bradley_kent

And, as I have said before, HOW is it possible for a title to have a subgenre that includes a genre without also having THAT genre as a genre?  Makes no sense.

I actually disagree with you and @keyword_expert​ on this point. This feature is useful in cases where titles blur the lines of the primary genre definitions, but have an undeniable influence from one of them.

For example, Pulp Fiction (1994) is to many people the quintessential example of "dark-comedy" in a movie, but most people would hesitate to describe it as a "comedy" in general. It would be odd to see it on a list of "Top 100 Comedies of the 1990s" or something. It makes perfect sense to me how this could be reflected on IMDb by having the main genres be Crime/Drama, while the subgenres include "dramedy-drama" to indicate that there are strong comedic elements in an otherwise dramatic film, and "dark-comedy" to indicate the style of comedy.

(A lot of dramas also have strong satirical elements without being outright comedies.)

"Contemporary-western" is another example where this is useful. Many of the films considered contemporary-westerns, despite taking place in the present day, retain enough influence from traditional westerns that it doesn't seem odd or out of place to call them a western outright. Some of them, however, are more subtle in the ways they adapt the western to a modern setting. I don't think it's really necessary or advisable to add "western" as a genre to No Country for Old Men (2007); nevertheless, I do think it's a perfect candidate for the subgenre "contemporary-western".

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Sorry, but I couldn’t disagree with you more.  This would be creating an engulfing quicksand of subjectivity that would “swallow” logic.

One, I am assuming, learns the basic format of outlining and logical thinking in grade school.  A main point (a genre) is further divided into supporting points (subgenres).  There needs to be a “first team" before there is a “sub” team.    Nothing can be “sub” to "something else" unless that “something else” already exists.  Subgenres are “subordinate” to the “commanding” genre.  Even in IMDb’s created list of subgenres, they are organized by and attached to IMDb's genres.

As to Pulp Fiction, I deduce that it belongs in the  Comedy genre, with dark-comedy as an appropriate subgenre.  Respecting your way of thinking, perhaps “comic-relief” would be an appropriate keyword.  I, however, found about 80 percept of it funny.  It made me laugh, smile and grin at lot, even at some of the ludicrous violence.

By the by, aren’t keywords subordinate to subgenres, which are, then, in turn, subordinate to genres?

P.S. I don’t think IMDb agrees with me.

(edited)

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@bradley_kent​ Trying to apply airtight logic to categories of art is an exercise in futility. It is not math. It is not science. Everything about it is inherently subjective. The simplistic rules we learn in grade school are useful for completing assignments, but they are inadequate when it comes to analyzing something as complex and ethereal as the art of storytelling. I find it a lot easier to analyze and categorize works of art when the 'rules' are treated as a general guideline and not as an inflexible, rigid system.

Obviously, calling something a "subgenre" implies that it is subordinate to the genre. Having the subgenre without the genre defies the basic logic of the hierarchical tree system of labels that we use. The difference between you and me is I think the hierarchy of labels is a silly pretense in the first place and I don't take it too seriously. Filmmakers don't create car-action/road-trip-adventure/farce-comedy films by measuring ingredients like chemists in a lab or pastry chefs in a bakery. They make the art, and critics/audiences apply the labels ex-post-facto. The labels are just an attempt to describe what's being seen in general terms. I really don't care whether it makes perfect sense or not as long as it feels right and gives me a general impression of what the movie's like.

P.S. Keywords were never meant to be subordinate to subgenres or genres. They exist on a different plane altogether. A film about an airplane can be anything from a raucous comedy to an intense thriller to a riveting documentary or even a dull training video for flight attendants. All of these would have the keyword "airplane" in them. It simply means that there is an airplane in the picture.

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1 year ago

Oh!  I forgot Category, which seems to sometimes exist between Subgenre and Keyword, although not always!

Much of this problem seems to emanate from IMDb’s creation of its own subgenres, many of which are extremely subjective.  The choices in this “organizational tree” are IMDb’s, not objective observations of what traditionally exist in the arts.

Curiously, melodrama, the traditional narrative genre that would probably have millions of titles, IS NOT EVEN an IMDb subgenre, but must be categorized as “Other”!   

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@bradley_kent​ Melodrama is one of the suggestions I included in a post I created called "Suggested additions to subgenre keywords". I figured maybe if I put all of them in one place maybe it might get some attention from the editors. If you have any other suggestions (I saw you mention "screwball-comedy" in another comment somewhere), perhaps you could leave a comment on that page.

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11 months ago

Hi @timothy_gray_el34lojg1aih1 -

Keyword kids-family can now be added.

Thanks!