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Fri, Nov 3, 2017 12:16 AM

Ongoing changes to several IMDb features

As you may have noticed, there have been many changes to IMDb in recent months, and many more are in progress now with planned delivery over the coming weeks.

One of IMDb’s top focus areas for 2017 has been to replace the remaining parts of our old software systems with more modern maintainable versions, enabling us to accelerate product development and therefore deliver new features / searches / content to you. In the process, we are continuing to make customer experience improvements, feature simplifications to improve usability, and identifying opportunities to bring consistency across our desktop / mobile platforms.  The ultimate aim is to serve all our customers better and to continue to grow the IMDb content and services in 2018 and beyond.  Once complete, the new system will enable us to more easily address any remaining longstanding bugs as well as faster fix any new ones which may emerge.  An example of visible change as part of this process is the new Parents Guide (for example Blade Runner 2049 (2017)) which moved off the problematic swiki system where only a small number of people could make edits and over to a managed data type.

Some of the features on IMDb are more than a decade old and as part of upgrading the backend technology, we are making a combination of interface refreshes, feature simplification, consolidations and deprecations. These decisions are not made lightly and are driven by a myriad of data metrics; however, we’ve built a very passionate customer base over our 27 years and we have seen some deprecations cause customer confusion/frustration. This is not our goal, but we know we cannot continue to deliver the site and features our users deserve and we aspire without making these changes. 

As a heads up, there will be more changes in the upcoming weeks. We will announce the most impactful changes in the Announcements section of Get Satisfaction. For changes with lesser impact, our team will monitor Get Satisfaction immediately following the change to provide helpful guidance to users. 

Thanks,

Col Needham
Founder & CEO, IMDb.com

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Official Solution

Employee

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4.1K Messages

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3 years ago

This is in reference to gromit82's post below:
Would the staff be willing to post a page that will list the features and functions that have been removed, and explain the future status of those items -- that is, whether they are (a) going to be brought back, (b) going to be brought back but with some significant changes, (c) under consideration to be brought back, or (d) not going to be brought back at all? 
Thanks for the suggestion.  We are just about finished with the retirement of the old software. We have less than ten items to go from the starting set of over 210, and the remainder are mostly on the small side -- some are simply HTML pages still served off the old system; the largest is advanced name search for which there is a drop-in replacement with a whole set of bugs and limitations removed (including the dreaded 10,000 result limit; the same limit will be removed from advanced title search in Q1 2018).

Given we are talking about over 200 systems / features and many of the changes only added functionality and/or fixed bugs, producing a comprehensive list is not going to be practical, sorry.  Everything with an announcement thread can be located by https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb?topic-list[settings][type]=update and we are encouraging the teams to keep either the main announcement up-to-date or to add an official reply as appropriate (although sometimes things are moving so quickly that it is simply best to get on with building the software). 

The items which were not announced (sometimes deliberate, sometimes accidental) which have active threads are:


Col Needham
Founder & CEO, IMDb.com

1 Message

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60 Points

Hi.. I realise imdb.com was probably long overdue for a makeover and streamlining of the interface. This is good move and will make the site appear more dynamic. Unfortunately, I have a vision impairment which makes looking at images too small to view... (I liked the posters and the image galleries, particularly for the older movies & actors). When I click on them, they appear to be just static thumbnails. Any chance when you review your changes, that you can re-instate the images galleries to how they behaved on the old web-site.  Thank you for reading. :)

Employee

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Sorry about this.  Do you have an example name / title page where we can take a look? 

Official Solution

Employee

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4.1K Messages

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140K Points

3 years ago

A quick update on the progress here ...

Yesterday, on Friday 29 December 2017 at 3:41pm PST (11:41pm GMT) the final piece of old software in this multi-year migration moved to the new platform. 

Thank you for your patience so far.  We appreciate change is always hard -- please be assured we are doing this to build a much better IMDb for the long term. As noted elsewhere across other announcement threads (see https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb?topic-list[settings][type]=update), the final timing here left us no alternatives other than making some (mostly temporary) painful cuts in functionality of some features. On the plus side, it also made us examine some underused or outdated features and determine to simplify or remove them. Sometimes the best thing to do to improve the usability of an interface is to remove the least used features. Sorry if a personally beloved feature was in this latter set -- you can always gauge shared interest from other customers and lobby for its return by posting in the relevant "Ideas" section here on Get Satisfaction (for the web site, see https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/categories/imdb_imdbcom?topic-list[settings][type]=idea).

For those interested, the final change was the advanced title search (ATS) form at http://www.imdb.com/search/title. It was a relatively small change so the page is pretty much as before, except the (broken) keyword suggestion search field is now a (working) manual field, and the entries in the include / exclude menus in "Lists" are now in most recently modified order for consistency with the rest of the site.  The suggestion search powered keyword field will return early in 2018.  This now clears the way for an upgrade to the back-end ATS software which will remove the 10,000 result limit. This same limit has already been removed from advanced name search at http://www.imdb.com/search/name via a similar upgrade as part of the migration work. 

We are already working on adding / returning features on the new platform.  The pace of this work will increase when more of the team are back in the office after the New Year holiday next week. Please see the individual announcement threads at https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb?topic-list[settings][type]=update to keep up with specific progress as things launch. 

You should already see a more consistent interface across the main IMDb site, and in 2018 you will see more consistency across all parts of IMDb (web site, mobile web, iOS app and Android app). If a feature is missing or limited in one or more interfaces then there's a good chance it is at least in planning. 

Repeating some text which I wrote in another thread earlier this week ...

The numbers we are watching here are all showing improved customer engagement, with even more potential as things like review sort orders and ratings filtering are added back in the New Year.  We now have: a consistent design across all core pages on the web site; list editing on the Android app; all user reviews readable everywhere; consistent (and automatic) character pages; news available everywhere; all data published  everywhere as it is processed and available for instant editing (not random sections running 24-36 hours out-of-sync); an easier data cross-linking format; a better help system; a faster suggestion search powered contribution system; more visible core box office information; more modern list editing (okay yes, drag-and-drop on web is an unfortunate casualty, but the rest is better IMHO); the end of the unmanaged wiki systems (open for all contributors, with FAQ coming soon). This had led to new registrations at an all-time high across 2017; data contributors and data contributions similarly on all-time highs, yet (ignoring temporary holiday backlogs this week) the fastest ever overall processing times plus with the smallest ever backlogs.  Behind-the-scenes almost everything is now on the same modern software platform with simpler, faster paths for future changes; hundreds of (sometimes) years old bugs have been resolved; scores of longstanding requests / suggestions have been implemented; consistency has improved hugely between the nine "on platform" sites and apps which our team directly supports (with more work to do here in 2018).

Of course, not everything today is perfect nor in its desired end state. As mentioned, we had to make some awful short-term trade-off decisions to ensure we completed the technology migration in 2017, but we are confident the short term pain is worth the long term gain. 

Sonny: "Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end." from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1412386/quotes/qt1645298 :-)

Thanks again for continuing to bear with us.  Lastly, thanks to the amazing IMDb team who have all worked hard across 2017 to get us to this point.  Onwards now to our traditional end-of-year "thank you" to IMDb's top data contributors which will be published as on Monday as usual (archive from 2016 and earlier, available at https://contribute.imdb.com/czone/top_msg). 

Col Needham
Founder & CEO, IMDb.com

Champion

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1.7K Messages

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55.8K Points

3 years ago

Is one of the changes that the backend is now more synchronized to the front end? I've noticed now that you can edit changes made to a title within hours if not minutes whereas it used to be at leat 24 hours before you could edit submitted data before?

Employee

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4.1K Messages

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140K Points

Yes, this is one of the benefits.  It is currently in testing now so not everybody has access to this all of the time quite yet. 

1 Message

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90 Points

My film Served Like a Girl has been attacked over the last week by a group of white supremacists. I did not have a single one star review until the last week? Now I have 17? These are personal attacks. As are the death threats. None of these reviewers have actually seen the film. How do I get them taken down?

Employee

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4.1K Messages

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140K Points

3 years ago

Another recently launched benefit from this is you can now click the number of episodes on the title main details and full cast pages of any TV-show to show exactly in which episodes the person appeared directly on the page.  For example, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4574334/ (by clicking "9 episodes"):


185 Messages

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6.8K Points

This is a curious change. I'm not sure whether it's helpful and shouldn't be on the "episodes cast" page. With shows that are 100+ episodes it could be maybe tedious to go through. 

4.2K Messages

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133.4K Points

Another recently launched benefit from this is
you can now click the number of episodes on the title main details
and full cast pages of any TV-show
to show exactly in which episodes the person appeared directly on the page.
 For example, from
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4574334/ (by clicking "9 episodes"):
by Col Needham, Official Rep
- - -


The Bold and the Beautiful
TV Series (1987– )
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092325/

Series cast summary:
Katherine Kelly Lang    ...   Brooke Logan  4,277 episodes, 1987-2017 

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0485810/


- - -


https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/-actor-in-the-most-episodes
by ACT_1
Posted 4 days ago



Employee

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4.1K Messages

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I'm not sure whether it's helpful and shouldn't be on the "episodes cast" page.
If you mean pages like this one -> http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4574334/epcast then please see https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/tv-series-full-cast-crew-pages as title/epcast is being closed this week. The functionality is now on (in this case) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4574334/ and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4574334/fullcredits 

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Not *really* the same functionality, though.

1 Message

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122 Points

I don't find this as a benefit.  I prefer if I am binge watching to have all episodes cast opened together

1.7K Messages

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58.4K Points

3 years ago

Thanks for the heads up and I'm looking forward to more improvements. Some things at the top of my mind that I hope will come along:
-the new genres, obviously,
-a proper place for dubbers, obviously,
-being able to view one's photo additions/corrections/deletions in one's Update History,
-the return of the Location Tree,
-shorter/"prettier" links for the new Help Center,
-users not being referred to as customers by IMDb. I don't mind advertisers seeing us as customers, but I'd like you guys to think of us as users of this incredible database.

Employee

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140K Points

No timelines (of course) but most of these are on the roadmap for the future at some point.  The Location Tree will need more "customers" (sorry) to request it;  I was a big fan of the location tree, but it is customer feedback which counts above all. 

No chance of shorter URLs for the new help as the longer URLs aid discovery by search engines, sorry.

We prefer "customers" over "users" because of the subtle difference in English between the nature of the two;  there's an old joke in somewhat poor taste which posits "Why do only drugs and computers have users whereas everything else has customers?" :-)

4.2K Messages

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133.4K Points

We prefer "customers" over "users" because of the subtle difference in English between the nature of the two; 

Col Needham, Official Rep

How many ... ah, People here purchase something from IMDb
IMDbers should be users
AMAZONers should be customers


https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/customer
customer (plural customers)
1. A patron; one who purchases or receives a product or service
from a business or merchant, or intends to do so.


https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/user
user (plural users)
1. One who uses or makes use of something, a consumer.

2. A person who uses drugs, especially illegal drugs.

3. (computing) A person who uses a computer or a computing network,
especially a person who has received a user account.

4. (pejorative) An exploiter, an abusive user
(a person who uses something or someone unfairly, selfishly and/or unethically).

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Marco: If you want to support the Locations Tree, please give it a vote at https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/restoring-the-locations-tree.

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58.4K Points

Col, thanks for the response (and the joke :) ).
I'll never complain about customers vs. users again. (although I do feel a little addicted to IMDb :) )
I see your reasoning behind the longer URL's for the new Help Center. Hadn't thought about that I have to admit.

Gromit: I voted for restoring the locations tree. Let's hope more customers vote for it.

2 Messages

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82 Points

There is no such thing as a new genre.
Whether you like it or not, you are a customer. You pay by advertisements viewed.
ACT_1 unwittingly pointed out that you are a customer.
customer (plural customers)
1. A patron; one who purchases or receives a product or service
from a business or merchant, or intends to do so.
You receive a service from IMDB. Due to the use of OR, payment is not required to be considered a customer.

1.7K Messages

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58.4K Points

Whether you like it or not, you are a customer.
Well, as I've said four weeks ago, "I'll never complain about customers vs. users again".
There is no such thing as a new genre.
What I meant was a new genre to IMDb. For example, it is currently impossible to tag a soap opera with that genre because it is not (yet) a genre at IMDb:https://help.imdb.com/article/contribution/titles/genres/GZDRMS6R742JRGAG?ref_=helpsrall# (that being said, it's not impossible for new genres to emerge, I'm not quite sure, but I think reality-TV is relatively new)

11 Messages

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506 Points

There IS such thing as a new genre at IMDb -- at least two at first sight: 1) erotic (because “Adult” is used primarily for hardcore porn); 2) concert (because now for live concerts often misused documentary genre after they are not staged music films).

1 Message

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382 Points

You are not the customer, and you are not the client. You are the commodity that is being sold to the advertisers, who are the real customers. All that counts here are numbers, not the satisfaction of the users.

Employee

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4.1K Messages

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140K Points

3 years ago

The next change is now live, please see https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/updates-to-the-ratings-pages-and-functionality

This also includes an update to the title/ratings page, for example: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052357/ratings

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58.4K Points

Can a staffer please explain why the hell this happened? I believe the Contributor's Charter forbids me to speak my frank mind about this, but it seems that a lot of stuff has simply been deleted and replaced by nothing. Why?? Or am I missing something here and did you add more functions than you removed somehow???

Also, why hasn't this been announced on this part of GetSat?

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Why the shock and swearing? If you read the top post, you must have noticed that it isn't just about additions and updates, it specifically talks about "feature simplification, consolidations and deprecations".

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58.4K Points

Well, I guess I just thought things would get better instead of worse, that's all.

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How is this worst? Or are you commenting in the wrong subtree? I just don't see how the ratings changes should evoke any emotion at all.

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58.4K Points

How is this worst? Or are you commenting in the wrong subtree? I just don't see how the ratings changes should evoke any emotion at all.
It's not the new lay-out I responded to, it's the removal of a large number of features connected with your ratings: https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/updates-to-the-ratings-pages-and-functionality

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This also includes an update to the title/ratings page, for example: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052357/ratings
My ideas/questions/complaints about one's Vote History are on that thread, but I do wonder: Why did you remove the mentioning of a Top 250 position on the ratings pages? I don't see a reason for removing them and I think these links helped getting people to those lists and having them spend more time on IMDb as well as discovering new titles to watch.

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1.1K Points

Well, alright, I prefer the compact way it was before, but it's no biggie. However there used to be a link to go to the previous episode on the ratings page.

57 Messages

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4.3K Points

3 years ago

On reflection, I think it is good that IMDb is undergoing a modernisation. The loss of some features has been a shame, but I look forward to seeing improvements in the future. I appreciate your transparency about the situation as well.

The images below compare the old and new designs of the Your Ratings page. I like that the new design is more detailed, showing the number of votes, age rating, runtime, and genre. I also like that the IMDb score is now alongside your own score. My only criticism over the design is the availability information at the bottom, which is really just a promotion for Amazon.


4.2K Messages

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133.4K Points

3 years ago

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled [ New Changes to IMDb ? ].



IMDb is here to provide information about Movies and TV shows and the people involved
http://www.imdb.com/stats
Titles: 4,633,621 | People: 8,248,515   (Credits: 92,130,317)

with features Users can Use to keep track of their favs
and add comments, trivia, ratings, etc
about 266,164,000 messages were posted on the IMDb Boards Aug 6 2002 ... Feb 20 2017 - (GONE)

Oh, and how many Users add information about these Movies and TV shows ?? (for free!)
https://contribute.imdb.com/czone/hall_of_fame

How many of the 82,340,000 IMDb Users requested these changes ??
http://www.imdb.com/user/ur82340000/

There are a lot of complaints here about these changes
Most of the Users do not know about GS to write more complaints

How many Users need to sign a petition to undo these unwanted changes ??
- - -

IMDb Traffic Statistics
https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/imdb.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMDb
- - -

PS
I have been a registered User looking up information here almost everyday for 17 years



Thank you IMDb !!!

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140K Points

The context for all of this is explained in the announcement at the top of this thread.  The changes are the best path forwards and will complete the groundwork for future enhancements in 2018 and beyond. 

We accept that people will not be happy with all of the short term changes, but what would be worse is allowing the old systems to continue to slow progress.  If you look through Get Satisfaction you will see hundreds of old threads complaining about inconsistencies, bugs, complexities on IMDb -- the root cause in most of these cases (and the reasons they are not easy to fix) are the old software systems. It is time for the old systems to finally go. 

6.2K Messages

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154.3K Points

3 years ago

It might be all too obvious, but it is worth pointing out anyway that the electronic world is changing crazily right now. Look what happened to the Hulu Plus. In mid-to-late 2017, the "New Hulu Experience" was rolled out for a number of streaming device models, and a lot of subscribers detest it. Support for the YouTube app on the original Wii was needlessly abruptly retired. The transitions from seventh generation video game consoles to eighth generation renditions have been a rough ride as well. Microsoft Windows "Ten" is itself spyware, whereas the previous versions were barely that. The world-wide web in general is deteriorating as web developers scramble to pander to the masses of mobile device users (the newest and youngest of whom may be unfamiliar with the true scope of computing). For the time being, internet relay chat (IRC) is still sacred, but for how long? It looks like Hyper-text Transfer Protocol may simply take over the functions of a number of other communications network protocols.

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154.3K Points

3 years ago

As we know, a vast majority of the customers to IMDb haven't, aren't and won't notice any of the changes. It's also not being reported in the news let alone headlines. There are about a dozen or so articles around the web that reported on the decommissioning of the message boards, and even fewer YouTube videos or Reddit threads addressing the matter. It's as though IMDb belongs to the deep web, even though most of it is on the surface.