keyword_expert's profile

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Friday, August 19th, 2022 8:42 PM

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The "1980s" style keywords should be merged into their counterpart "timeframe-1980s" style keywords

Seven months ago, the "timeframe-" keywords (like "timeframe-1980s") were officially announced. Like them or not, the "timeframe-" keywords are here to stay.

Meanwhile, the "1980s" style keywords remain side by side with the "timeframe-1980s" style keywords, and the "1980s" style keywords continue to be accepted as new keywords. This is resulting in a bifurcation of keywords, which interferes with searches on IMDb, forcing users to run their searches twice (once with each set of keywords). And that requires users to even know about the two separate sets of keywords in the first place.

I believe the preexisting "1980s" style keywords should be merged into their counterpart "timeframe-1980s" style keywords. Otherwise, the bifurcations of keywords will continue and even widen over time.

Here are just a few sample keywords to show the current bifurcation:

timeframe-1950s (1863 titles)

1950s (4305 titles)

timeframe-1980s (1780 titles)

1980s (9877 titles)

timeframe-2010s (2211 titles)

2010s (18110 titles)

Now let's discuss the potential downsides of merging these keywords. The mergers could result in a few erroneous "timeframe-" keywords for titles where people used the "1980s" style keywords to indicate when the titles were produced rather than set. But that will involve a very small percentage of titles. Plus, for those titles, the real problem is with the faulty use of the "1980s" style keywords in the first place, not with merging them into the "timeframe-1980s" style keywords. (Keywords are mostly supposed to involve plots.) In fact, because most of the "timeframe-" keywords were automatically created from the "1980s" style keywords in the first place, these types of errors already exist in the database.

If the keywords are merged as proposed, then over time as people see any such "timeframe-1980s" style keywords on titles not actually set in the 1980s, the keywords will stick out even more than the "1980s" style keywords and will therefore be more likely to be cleaned up (assuming IMDb removes its current block on deleting and editing the "timeframe-" keywords, which is another topic altogether). 

I would also recommend setting these keywords up for auto-conversion (in other words, when people try to apply "1980s" to a title, it will be automatically converted to "timeframe-1980s"). And finally, I would recommend adding a disclaimer for these auto-converted keywords, so the contributor who types in "1980s" is advised not only that the keyword is being converted to "timeframe-1980s," but also that "timeframe-" keywords are reserved for describing plots (not when titles are produced). That will help cut down on the erroneous use of these keywords in the future.

What do people think? Do the benefits of merging these keywords outweigh any potential concerns?

Finally, is there anything special about the timeframe-21st-century style keywords that might warrant special treatment, or should their counterpart "21st-century" style keywords be merged into these keywords as well?

Related threads:

Timeframe keywords

Introducing: Subgenre & Plot Timeframe Keywords

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2 years ago

May I know exactly what is wrong with a simple keyword "1980s" that it has become necessary to complicate it with a redundant "timeframe" addition? When you mention "1980s", that means the narrative takes place partly or fully in the 1980s. It's perfectly understood by anyone and everyone. Why fix something that isn't broken?

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@hurdy_gurdy_man​ I recommend asking these questions on the related threads linked in my post. 

Related threads:

Timeframe keywords

Introducing: Subgenre & Plot Timeframe Keywords

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@keyword_expert​ Done. I hope I will get an answer there.

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1 year ago

As of today, this post is now moot. Essentially, IMDb has done exactly what I was suggesting, except they merged the keywords in the opposite direction (in favor of the "1980s" style keywords instead of the "timeframe-1980s" style keywords).  I am fine with that.

Keywords now displayed on the IMDb iOS and Android apps

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@keyword_expert​ I was always in the favour of this decision but I understand why you insisted on the addition of "timeframe". It is true that many titles have the keyword added simply because the title was released that decade, not because of any plot-related reason.

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@hurdy_gurdy_man @bradley_kent 

I just wanted to clarify that IMDb has not yet merged the keywords. Here is what they said in the other thread I have linked to:

Please note that the “timeframe-” prefix is no longer necessary for plot timeframe keywords, thanks to the new category field. We will be removing this prefix from all existing plot timeframe keywords over the coming weeks. 

It would seem that if the keyword "timeframe-1980s" is merged into the keyword "1980s," then it will be the same net result of what I was suggesting, because "1980s" will in most cases be tagged as a "Plot Timeframe" keyword in the new keyword system.

(edited)

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2 years ago

I am bumping this thread to ask whether anyone would oppose the mass merger described in this post, and if so, why?

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1 year ago

I do still plan to post a future list of these keywords for merger (merging the "1980s" style keywords into the "timeframe-1980s" style keywords).

However, I am not quite ready to do that, until I am fully confident that the "timeframe-" keywords no longer enjoy special protections from deleting and editing. As far as I am concerned, "timeframe-" keywords still enjoy at least some manner of protection. That issue needs to be more fully explored and resolved before any mass merger.

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1 year ago

Per @mike​ :

"To your point about plot timeframe keywords - we are in the process of removing this prefix from all items in the catalog and relying on the category field instead. This is in part a response to the feedback we received about the prefix from this community. Please bear with us while we process through these. In the meantime, we have made updates to the Help guide and contribution interface to reflect this new policy."

This is a "somewhat" merger, going in the opposite direction from what @keyword_expert has suggested.

(edited)