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Thu, Apr 11, 2013 4:32 AM

8

Visible edit history

Picking this up from the IMDB forums:

I would like to see a history link on each page, similar to other sites like Wikipedia, which you can click to see who has been editing the article. It doesn't have to be visible to ordinary viewers, just those who log in and edit.


http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000042/n...

There have been a number of threads about serial contributors of misunderstood information (if we are being polite), information that changes submissions added by expert contributors who know a lot more about about the topic that these more... troublesome contributors:
http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000042/n...
http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000042/n...
http://www.imdb.com/board/bd0000042/n...

The history feature on Wikipedia keeps people honest and if there are problems it is easy enough for users to crosscheck the other edits from the same contributor and sort the mess out, hopefully heading off the more well-meaning (if misguided) editors at the pass preventing more widespread problems. It is one of the most useful tools they have, along with related ones like reverting edits.

As all the submission information is stored, it seems like it'd be easy enough to reshffle this into an edit history page and bingo!!

Responses

Champion

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8 years ago

Emperor, this is a great idea! I planned to submit a similar idea. However, you have articulated the case better than I would have.

A major strength of Wikipedia is that edit histories are public. This allows readers, editors and administrators the ability to verify and validate the content of an article.

I have had concerns over the years about the credibility of cast and crew lists for films and other media. I’ve observed a number cases of what appears to be capricious changes.

The IMDb has already set precedence for edit histories for FAQs and Parents Guide for titles. An example of these is those for The Shawshank Redemption (1994).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111161/faq
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111161/p...

Although a full Wikipedia-like delta history is probably not practical, including the history of changes would be. There is the additional complication that many updates not only affect title pages, but also name pages.

Champion

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8 years ago

Thinking about it, from their comments, it appears staff might already have the ability to see the edit history, so it might just be a matter of letting logged in users see it too.

Although a full Wikipedia-like delta history is probably not practical, including the history of changes would be.


Yes a complete system to see the changes won't be needed, especially as IMDB deals with additions to individual database fields, so we don't need to see the exact differences, it is easy enough to show the name of the field and what data was added, that'd be enough for the issues here.

It may also be that IMDB don't want vast quantities of submissions data blocking up their servers, so they could purge data that is, say 2 years old (perhaps keeping the initial submission record for reference purposes), as this would be enough for a check for dickery, but they probably already have a system for this (I haven't checked if they keep all the submissions I've sent in).

You could also provide a link to someone's submissions from their profile, which would be a good way to demonstrate everyone's good work even if they never trouble the Top 250 contributors charts (I clearly have a dog in that fight ;) ).

Champion

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8 years ago

It appears that IMDb has not deleted any of my paltry 117 submissions.

As a point of reference, IMDb has retained one of my submissions from 2004-07-04 13:05:36. For your amusement:
http://www.imdb.com/updates/update?lo...

Champion

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8 years ago

Thanks for that, I was meaning to check mine (although I think your first contribution was earlier than mine, so this is more useful anyway) but that does demonstrate that the information is all there, so the only change would be to make it visible to logged in users so they can check the edit history.

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8 years ago

It just occurred to me that if IMDb were to make the update history of pages available, they would have to be careful not to include personal information, such as birth certificates, that could potentially be used for identity theft.

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Although these are now being sent through data verification, so wouldn't be part of this system (or could easily be filtered out - Misc Comments would make this trickier and you might have to kill them completely).

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Verification can be included in many update forms, including the date of birth form.