Peter_pbn's profile
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Mon, Dec 20, 2021 4:37 PM

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Timeframe keywords

Many new keywords have been added (recently, I think) starting with timeframe-:

https://www.imdb.com/find?s=kw&q=timeframe

We already have other keywords for decades, centuries etc. to indicate the setting, just without the word timeframe.

I tried to delete a few that I thought were misapplied, but was declined. I'd like to know if these keywords were added by IMDb, and if IMDb has any preferences with regard to the use of such keywords?

A specific question is about TV series that stretch across decades. For example, Saturday Night Live has has six decades and two centuries added. I'm not sure this tells the user anything that wasn't already obvious. But also, I'm not sure if this usage is in keeping with the guideline that says, "Keywords submitted to the TV series page should be relevant to and describe the entire series."

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Hi Peter

Thanks so much for raising this.  Yes, those keywords prefixed with "timeframe-" were added by IMDb staff, as we are working to make our keywords a bit more standardized and structured to aid title discovery. We have actually just published an update to our keywords submission guide.  In short, we are now specifying that if a keyword describes the timeframe the plot is set in, then it should match one of the values we have now specified in the guide, which are all prefixed with "timeframe-", e.g. "timeframe-1950s".
Regarding SNL - those existing items are correctly aligned with the new policy, as the timeframe of this series crosses multiple decades.
Cheers!

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Thanks for the update.

I'm not sure about all the additions, though. For example, timeframe-2010s has been added to Game of Thrones and timeframe-1990s to The Lion King.

(Looks like those titles already had the existing keywords 2010s and 1990s, which may be why you also added the new keywords.)

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Thanks for highlighting these examples Peter_pbn. You are correct, these shouldn't have been tagged with the timeframe keywords. This is one of the reasons why we created a new keyword format - to categorize plot specific timeframes to differentiate them from the current decade keywords, which can reference just the year of production. For example, 1970s on Star Wars. I've removed those now from the titles.

Thanks,

Will

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Personally I wouldn't want 2010s or 1990s there either (nor 1970s on Star Wars). Searching by year range can be more efficiently done in your search features.

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The "timeframe" keywords are ridiculous and totally useless.  There are so many over keyword issues that the staff should address. I can only wonder why this nonsense is happening.  Do you have too much time  on your hands?  Hard to believe since so many keyword issues on this page cannot get a staff response.

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Just to illustrate how ludicrous the "timeframe" keywords  are:

For 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), they are:

timeframe-1960s
timeframe-2000s
timeframe-21st-century
Yes, the film was released in 1968, hence the first;
Yes, the film has 2001 in its title and that is possibly a year date in the plot, hence, the second and third.
BUT... with its flash forward into some unknown future, some unknown year, and some unknown century, wouldn't the most accurate such keyword be:
timeframe-eternity
Are these silly timeframe keywords just to be about the year of release, or a date in a title, or dates mentioned in text on screen or in dialogue or narration?
Useless nonsense.
The year-(4 numbers) keywords, i.e. year-2001, accurately report the factual information.
Decades?  Centuries?  (Millenia?)  Eons?  
This is just pretentiousness.
Thank God that I no longer try to monitor keywords like I once did, and have turned most of my attention to auditing on-screen credits, which are sorely lacking in accuracy.
(How about "timeframe-timeless," for the classics?  But, then, again, that is so subjective that it has no place as a keyword.)

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Are these silly timeframe keywords just to be about the year of release, or a date in a title, or dates mentioned in text on screen or in dialogue?

No, the new guidelines that Michelle referred to say, "Used to specify what timeframe the title’s plot is set in."

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Back to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), What in its plot line suggests:

timeframe: 1968?

It begins with the dawn of man, and ends at sometime in the way-off, etherial future.  To be accurate, the best timeframe would be as I suggested: timeframe: eternity.

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As I pointed out and Will acknowledged, some titles obviously had the wrong keywords added.

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I looked forward to seeing the staff review all the titles to which they are applying timeframe keywords.  You would need to watch every title very carefully for these keywords to be accurate.  Is IMDb hiring a whole platoon/phalanx/army of new staffers for this overwhelming task?

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Inevitably it will mostly be contributors applying the keywords, but the benefit here should be that there are guidelines with definitions of these keywords.

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@Michelle​ said:

Regarding SNL - those existing items are correctly aligned with the new policy, as the timeframe of this series crosses multiple decades.

I'm not sure Michelle's answer is entirely responsive to @Peter_pbn's question. His question was:

But also, I'm not sure if this usage is in keeping with the guideline that says, "Keywords submitted to the TV series page should be relevant to and describe the entire series."

Technically, Peter is right. For example, since the SNL series has run for six decades, the keyword "timeframe 1970s" is relevant to only one-sixth (0.167%) of those decades. One-sixth of a series is hardly the "entire series."

In my opinion, the real problem is with the guideline language that says "Keywords submitted to the TV series page should be relevant to and describe the entire series."

I have never interpreted that language strictly or literally. For example, if a keyword is relevant to 90% of the episodes in a series (not 100%), I think it's generally okay to add that keyword to the title page for the series as a whole (depending on the context, and assuming the keyword is otherwise a proper keyword).

But the SNL example (one-sixth of a series) is stretching my reading of this guideline even further, to the point of breaking.

Thus, the new "timeframe" policy is an obvious exception to the guidelines, except that the guidelines don't acknowledge this exception. 

I would suggest correcting the language to something like the following (which also helps avoid other misinterpretations of this guideline that we have seen in the past):

Episode-specific keywords submitted to the TV series page - Keywords submitted to the TV series page should be relevant to and describe the entire series as a whole or a majority of the episodes, except for the "time-frame-" keywords (discussed below), which are appropriate for series that span multiple decades. Keywords that are not specific to a particular episode should not be added to that episode only.

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@Will
@Michelle 


Going forward, what does this mean for the preexisting keywords like "1980s," "1990s," etc.? Those keywords still exist.

1980s (9897 titles)

1990s (11359 titles)

Should those keywords be merged into "timeframe-1980s," "timeframe-1990s," etc.?

timeframe-1980s (1634 titles)

timeframe-1990s (1560 titles)

If mergers are not made, then these two sets of keywords will be bifurcated going forward, which is rarely a good idea. 

You have pointed out that in the past, some contributors may have been using the preexisting keywords to indicate when titles were produced or released, rather than when they are set. I suppose that is possible, but I don't remember ever coming across these keywords being used like that. After all, keywords are supposed to be primarily plot keywords. I think the vast majority of contributors understand that and know better than to use keywords like "1990s" for anything other than as plot keywords.

I don't necessarily have a problem with using the "timeframe-" prefix for these plot keywords. But I do think it could be a problem to have essentially two sets of keywords that largely mean the same thing. That would interfere with keyword-combination searches, for example.

Has IMDb staff thought about this? Have you already ruled out merging these two sets of keywords into the new "timeframe-" keywords?

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You have pointed out that in the past, some contributors may have been using the preexisting keywords to indicate when titles were produced or released, rather than when they are set. I suppose that is possible, but I don't remember ever coming across these keywords being used like that.

As noted above, The Lion King (1994) has 1990s, and Game of Thrones has 2010s.

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I think we are referring to two different things, @Peter_pbn​. I was referring to the "1990s" style keywords (what I call the "preexisting" keywords), and how those were used prior to the introduction of the "-timeframe" keywords. My point was that prior to the introduction of the "-timeframe" keywords, I believe the vast majority of people were using the preexisting keywords as plot keywords, rather than to indicate when titles were released, or if they were using the preexisting keywords in the latter sense, it was very minimal.

I do understand that the "-timeframe" keywords, when introduced, were very "off" in many cases. But that wasn't what I was asking about. 

Or are you suggesting that The Lion King and Game of Thrones not only had those incongruous "-timeframe" keywords, but they also had the counterpart preexisting keywords ("1990s" and "2010s") even before the "-timeframe" keywords were introduced?

(edited)

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As I said above: "(Looks like those titles already had the existing keywords 2010s and 1990s, which may be why you also added the new keywords.)"

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@Peter_pbn​ Thanks for clarifying. I did read that part back when you first wrote it, but wasn't fully remembering it today.

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@Will
@Michelle 

I am still curious about the bifurcation between the "1930s" and "timeframe-1930s" style keywords. The new instructions tell us to not submit the 1930s-style keywords if they involve the plot for a title, but what will happen to all the preexisting 1930s-style keywords? Should they be merged into the timeframe- keywords? (I realize that will likely result in a few mistaken timeframe- keywords, but those will likely also get corrected over time.)

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By the way, SNL has often has sketches set in caveman times, medieval times, the old west, all the way to the future and the far future.  These are plot timeframes, too!

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