Updates to Characters

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  • Announcement
  • Updated 1 year ago
  • (Edited)
Today we are modifying the display of Characters across IMDb.
 
After in-depth discussion and examination, we have decided to simplify the display of Characters on IMDb, focusing our on-going efforts towards title specific character details.  While in concept, we love the idea of character data spanning across all titles, in practice we do not feel our past experience lived up to expectations. The majority of our previous character pages were dead ends, without any related content, providing a confusing and disjointed experience.  The filmography credits were often unusable, and the bios many times were inconsistent given numerous disparate story lines. While the previous experience had drawbacks, we truly appreciate all the hard work of everyonewho contributed to characters over the years.  That said, as of today, we are simplifying the experience, allowing us to retain the character concept while building a foundation for future growth.

With today’s release we have begun this transition.  Our new character experience will support title specific images, quotes, and keywords.  Moving forward we will no longer support character filmography, biographies, videos, character lists or polls.  To aid in this transition, we are temporarily retaining our prior character experience until Dec 6th.  This will provide our users time to archive any character lists, polls or biographies which they previously created or contributed towards. If you wish to migrate any character lists or polls, we recommend rebuilding the content with an image list.  Existing character lists can also be archived by selecting the “Export this list” option. During this transition, we have temporarily retained the character search option, but will suspend support after Dec 6th.  In the coming months, we plan to re-enable character search based on our new experience.
 
We understand this is a significant change which was made only after careful consideration.  We appreciate your understanding.

Here is an example of the new experience
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080684/characters/nm0000148



Nic
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Nic Bachhuber, Employee

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Posted 2 years ago

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Stephen LeBlanc

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Hello Nic,

I believe this is a tragic mistake.  How to find all films TV episodes with any of the following characters:

Jesus Christ
Tarzan
King Author
Flash Gordon
King Kong
Harry Potter
etc.


As of right now, just search for the character on imdb!  It generally works great and provides information that it is hard to find any other way.  WHY delete this?  Is it hurting anyone or anything?  IMDB is a great service for both DEEP FANS and general users.  This feature works reasonable well for BOTH.  It's already here.  Why kill it?!?
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Hi Stephen,

Sadly, the character pages depend upon old technology that IMDb is forced to phase out. I'm not happy about this, since it adversely affect the polls. I hope that the IMDb technical staff will provide an alternate means to search for characters in the future.

In the interim, you can use Google search as a less than perfect substitute.

For instance, to search for "Jesus Christ" enter the following in the search box:
site:imdb.com "Jesus Christ"
https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aimdb.com+%22Jesus+Christ%22&oq=site%3Aimdb.com+%22Jesus+C...
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Jeorj Euler

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We'll probably just wind up relying upon Wikipedia and Wikia.
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djv-6

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What do you mean "old technology"?
What, relational databases don't work any more? Because that's what they're populating the pages with, whether they're using an actual database for it or simply static pages built such a way as to mimic that functionality. (And it should not be that difficult to recreate identical structure in a database if the latter. All you need is some scripts and time to run them, and time you have because you can first create the complete structure and only then make it live.)
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djv-6

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And, Dan, search engines do not always give you all the results. They only give the ones that have been indexed.
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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djv-6,
And, Dan, search engines do not always give you all the results. They only give the ones that have been indexed.
We are in violent agreement on that point.
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Kat Cody Roberts

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Dan, I don't understand how these pages use old technology.  You're still having to use relational databases or as djv-6 said above, static pages built to mimic the functionality, when creating the quotes character pages (which are pointless, sorry). It seems to me IMDB just doesn't want to keep up with the complexity of the old character pages. Can you tell us the real reason?  Ok so I just read some of Col Needham's posts on this thread and he explains things very well. So now I understand. Go read his responses on page one of this thread start at the top. They do want to eventually go back to the character pages as they are now.
(Edited)
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Jeorj Euler

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Kat Cody Roberts, can you tell which IMDb site pages are part of the old platform versus the newer? We can all tell by the layout. All of the pages generated by the old software have the index of sibling path pages (of a given IMDb subject [title, real person, fictional character or so]) listed on the left side of the page, whereas the newer has them listed on the right.
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djv-6

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Unlike Kat suggested, Col Needham's posts on this thread didn't explain much to me.

Upon reading the Upcoming changes... thread, however, it seems to me that the whole site has been built as a patchwork of (at the time) hyped-up technologies or home-brewed kludges without any larger design, each with their own particular system, instead of doing things right. It also seems that now the hardware on the system with the character information is dying or the system is reaching its EOL one way or another and so, rather than doing the right thing this time by importing the data in the new system, the IMDb is (again) taking the easy way out and simply scrapping the data along with the old system. In its place, it seems, they are scraping together a feature on the new system that sort of looks like the old without its actual functionality with promises that all will be well at some unspecified future date. That's what this seems to me.

I simply don't see a way to look at this and not think this is simply poor change management and intentionally throwing away data and features that could be fairly easily preserved. All it really takes is some scripting and processing time for it to run, unless they've really screwed the pooch.
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Jeorj Euler

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It does feel slightly like a "nuke the ghetto" situation.
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Jay Tee

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Character page.

Changes to character pages
Would IMDb please return them to their original formats. Thank you. 
It helps when you want to see else has played the characters in other adaptations eg
Sherlock Holmes, Dracula etc. It also makes it easier to find the titles of these movies or tv adaptations
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Steve Crook, Champion

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Hello Col et al,
Have you given any consideration to something that I suggested on the old message board system soon after you first introduced Character pages - that you restrict them to those that have something on the character page (some trivia or a full biography). There are too many IMHO where you have a Character page that doesn’t say anything much about the character, just giving a filmography. That leads to confusion with too many different characters on the same page

Steve
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djv-6

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The filmography is the most useful thing about character pages. The trivia is nice but that's just a low-brow distraction. By you logic they should get rid of most of the actor pages as well, because, in addition to filmography, most of them only contain the most inane stuff, if even that.
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Guilherme Simões Reis

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Yes, djv-6, off course, you are absolutely right. People are really missing the point about what character pages are important for. That is a shame.
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CuriousUserX90

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Something to know about Characters on IMDB having their own pages, it allows you to see a good amount of details about them on the site, not to mention that it allows us to see quotes from each film specifically from them.
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CuriousUserX90

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I mean Quotes pages don't have any option for viewing quotes spoken only by a Certain Character.
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Bob Hole

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This truly makes IMDb less useful, and I will be spending _much_ less time on the site, with many fewer eyeballs in front of you advertisers.
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Comminsk Andy

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The pages are unreadable.  For *any* kind of information.  This must be a deliberate sabotage to kill IMDB.

Why would you want to do a fool thing like this?  I mean, why?  I oddly just want the regular old imdb, read the cast, crew, reviews.  You know, information about a film like you've done for 25 yrs. 

R.I.P., Wackjobs.
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churi onethousandandone

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I too hate the idea.  IMDb was most useful to finding out what other shows any particular actor was playing in.  For example, if I saw an actor I didn't know anything about but I liked his/her performancce, I'd look up what else the actor playeed in, there were links to the shows I was intrerested in, together with ratings, brief description of content, what other shows were people interested in, etc., and we could instantly check it out.  Now I will have to find another site  that provides all this info.  The proposed changes really suck!  Good bye, IMDb.
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Zorikh Lequidre

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Well, frack. It seems that the function is shutting down already. I used to be able to find every movie and TV show with Captain Marvel, but now when I enter the character name "Captain Marvel, I only get four listings, including two with variants of the name, and that means there are a whole bunch of appearances I am not getting. And I really need to find all the movies and TV shows with a Captain Marvel in it for a research project.
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bderoes, Champion

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The pages are still there until Dec 6. Did you click through on the 4?
Doesn't this page help?
http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0027409/
That is one of the 4 listed when searched for character Captain Marvel.
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djv-6

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Well, this is a f@*king stupid change. The very function of character pages is to be able to find out which titles include that particular character and who the character was played by. It is a very good way to get a list of movies with that particular character, as an example listing all the Jack Taylor or Jesse Stone movies in publication order. Especially if you only have the translated name of the title, it's easier to find the title in such a list than using the search feature, which has always been kind of crap.

It's idiotic to expect all the character pages to be filled to the brim with useless trivia, as you seem to have been doing. Those things are a bonus. The real gem are the connections on the page and now you're removing them? I mean seriously, I've yet to see a change on IMDb that hadn't made the user experience worse.

Of course one of the reason why the character pages weren't perhaps used as much as they could have is that you, IMDB, did not improve them. For example, there was a longstanding problem with them that you couldn't get a full list of all the episodes with that character in them. It was always limited in length and the longer version removed the actor information. That resulted in not being able get the list of all the actors playing that character easily. An example would be Laurie Forman in That 70s Show: I don't think the character page ever listed Lisa Robin Kelly, because of the episode limit. And the full list removed the actor information. I reported the bug, but nobody f@*king cared.

The thing is, if you, the IMDB, want to stay as the go-to resource for movies, you need to support and come up with more of the sophisticated uses, or the users will find alternative resources and leave you behind. (Well, you're at least throwing out people who like Kevin Smith's movies by removing a very nice resource for the characters in his universe.) The connectedness of the information and access to those connections is the very thing that sets you apart from run-of-the-mill movie sites and now you're destroying it.

You may think that the cast lists and forums are your core, but you of all people should know that discussion forums and the database of information is surprisingly easily rebuilt elsewhere by crowd-sourcing, if you manage to piss off the community and drive them away. That's how you did it in the first place. With decisions like these, you're a myspace waiting to happen.
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bderoes, Champion

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@Col Needham

Can you help us understand why the Character pages must be removed before the new Search functionality will be implemented? Are you re-using the character codes, so that doing a character search would get mixed results if you leave the existing pages in place?

(I don't see any evidence of that yet, since ch0000574 is the code for Bugs Bunny under the old hand-built page http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0000574/, but when I open the new version for one of his titles, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119160/characters/nm0123354? the nm0123354 is for the actor voicing Bugs, and I don't see the ch-code anywhere.)

Also, can you explain how you will build a good automated search for a character's filmography? Especially for something like a religious figure, whose name is frequently adopted by the general population. Ex: searching for Jesus won't just yield portrayals of the religious figure.

Because I couldn't find a way to automatically archive all the character pages there, I was going to suggest people start saving character pages to web.archive.org But I think that's only useful to view later if you know the url of the archived page you want. If you eliminate the ability to search for the removed pages, I suppose Google search could help with that, but I'm not clear how long they keep dead links.

Thanks in advance.
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Jeorj Euler

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Maybe the founder/CEO will explain sometime in 2018, but right now the staff is tight-lipped about why they are in such a rush to get rid of all the software for the old platform.
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djv-6

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What's so weird about this is the order this is done in, assuming the links in character pages are even going to make a comeback. Doing this in production by killing parts of the site is insane.

What you should be doing is something like this: First you build the database and copy all the information (and this can be scripted easily), then you check to see that everything was copied right. After that you set up scripts to catch up to the current state of the old pages (as they may have changed in the meantime) and the procedures to update the old pages and the new database simultaneously. Then you observe that the system works properly, write and format the new pages that use the dynamic system (that hopefully isn't too reliant on client-side scripting) and come up with the server configuration to retain the old URL scheme on the new system (or change all the links, but that's stupid because it breaks every link on other websites). Then you test it in-house. Only after that do you swap the old live version with the new test version. And, finally, now that the old version is fully static, you make final backups of the old content. (And yes, I'm assuming the new version of the site makes automated backups and generally does the right thing performance-wise, etc.)

The thing about the character pages is that you could easily just initally copy all the additional content and the links in the list of titles to the database and then make the pages dynamic (or semi-dynamic) - even if the old pages are fully static. That way you wouldn't lose anything. You could easily pull in the quotes dynamically by matching the character information in each quote in a title against the character information in the title page and even generate new character pages for them if they do not already exist. It just seems so obvious and easy to do, so I don't get this.
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Jeorj Euler

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It's like attending a school where parts of the building/campus are closed off for renovations.
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djv-6

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It's like attending a school where they're renovating maths, English and library buildings/rooms for an indefinite time during which they don't give lessons in those subjects and they start by destroying the books and study materials to make room for the renovations.
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Jeorj Euler

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I've actually experienced campuses like that, for university, high school and junior high school. For school, the wood shop and metal shop facilities were shut down for the entire duration of my attendance.
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Patrick Sweeney

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Does this mean that user created character bios go off into oblivion or do they have a place in the improved IMDB?  Is there any user created content in IMDB that the IMDB admins can definitively say will not be deleted to improved user experience?
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Jeorj Euler

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We can perhaps expect to see IMDb being reduced to being merely a list of titles kind of like the menus of the streaming services of Hulu, Netflix, Crackle or Amazon but with just a little bit more information like "technical specs", "copyright holder" and "budget", maybe "reviews"; like Rotten Tomatoes.
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Dimos Dicoudis

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Rotten Tomatoes is a bit of a joke. Try finding titles that are older than the 1990s, and it has more omissions than entries. 
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Amit Amola

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IMDB admins, whomsoever in your staff gave you this idea was terribly terribly wrong. I am pleading you not to go through with this change. It's one of an integral part of IMDB and is used a lot by people who are an avid fan of TV shows and movies. You've to understand that some people just care about ratings and that's all they come to IMDB to see. Some enjoy new trailers(but weirdly youtube is faster in playing them- so better improve that) and see what's the new movie that's coming and that's what they come here to see. But any avid fan does seriously check out where a particular character has been elsewhere the movie he/she was watching. Like for example I found out through IMDB only that Frasier wasn't just a character in Cheers but has a whole show based on it named same as his name and boy oh boy that show is on top of my list.

So if someone of you out there is really listening to me and trust me I am not the kind of person who spends his time babbling about politics on social media or similar crap like this, I am telling you don't make this change.

It's my sincere request, please let this particular feature be as it is.
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Steve Crook, Champion

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> Like for example I found out through IMDB only that Frasier wasn't just a character in Cheers but has a whole show based on it named same as his name and boy oh boy that show is on top of my list.

But couldn't you also find that out by checking the filmography for Kelsey Grammer where you would soon spot a show called 'Frasier' where Kelsey also played "Dr. Frasier Crane"?

    Steve
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Richard Björkman

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So, you're taking away the only feature I used character pages for, i.e. looking up which actors that has played a certain character? Well, that's.. just not logical in any way whatsoever.
Would you be so kind to please reconsider that change and not take away a great feature?
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CuriousUserX90

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It also seems like a good idea for us to view quotes that are dedicated to specific characters.
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Mike Smith

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I'd rather IMDB delete this character section and bring back the message boards. They were far more useful when looking for opinions from the average person, instead of relying on professional "critics." That gutted the site.
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Dimos Dicoudis

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Honestly, who cares about professional critics? They get paid to write rants about films they do not like. The average Internet troll can give similar "informed" opinions and they do it for free. 
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silkstars

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Massively disliking this decision. I often use character pages to find film prequels, sequels and chronology. This will now only be possible IF the same actor has played that character and therefore you can see by the actors credits. 
I think rather than taking time to change the character pages the time could be spent sorting out the problems.
Very disappointed and a tad annoyed.
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Dimos Dicoudis

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It gets much more annoying when you like the character, but don't particularly care or even remember the actor portraying him. 
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Peter, Champion

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Regarding the reference to keywords, which gromit asked about in a previous post, I noticed this addition to the keyword submission guide:

-character Used to denote a character's appearance in a title. The formatting should be presented as the name of the character first, followed by "-character". So, for Star Wars, we'd list Han Solo as "Han-Solo-character". This can be used for both fictional characters, and fictional portrayals of real life people (including when someone is playing a fictionalized, scripted portrayal of themselves). Please note that if the character is recurring in a series the character keyword should only be added to the parent and not individual episodes.

https://help.imdb.com/article/contrib...
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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It is not usually clear whether a poll suggestion is a new suggestion or a character based poll recast as an image based poll. Please use this thread to provide information for these character based polls:
FAQ: List of Live Character Based Polls Recast as Image Based Polls

Please provide this information for your new image polls based on live character based polls. These polls may have the same title as the existing live character based polls. They will be treated as any new poll suggestion.

Title:
Get Satisfaction Thread:
Image List:
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J.J.

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Stop ruining IMDb!! There is nothing wrong with it the way it is. First the message boards now this. Just because you're the biggest and most popular online movie database currently doesn't mean you can't be overthrown. Plenty of giant seemingly indestructible companies managed to meet their end through constant poor decisions, don't take your success for granted, LISTEN TO YOUR AUDIENCE WHEN THEY DON'T LIKE SOMETHING (Don't just censor their criticisms like you did with my previous comment regarding the boards). You want your site to stand the test of time? Then don't destroy it, pretty simple really.
(Edited)
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CuriousUserX90

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Exactly, see what it's resulted in based on what's happened this year:
*No place for IMDB Contributors to discuss titles and get to know other IMDB Contributors.
*No place to find out information dedicated to Specific Characters. No place for us to view Movie Quotes dedicated to Specific Characters either.
*It's now much harder to link things in Trivia Items, easier it is to simply type in names than remember weblinks for pages.
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J.J.

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IMDb are slowly destroying themselves. In less than 5 years their site will probably no longer exist due to their constant falling popularity. Their admins are probably laughing at this comment but they don't realize how quickly a drop in popularity can escalate. Things that had been around much longer than IMDb have gone completely.
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Mike Smith

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Maybe Amazon is cutting costs. They figure by gutting the site they can cut back on server size and usage. It's a stupid decision on their part, because when your most devoted users are flooding you with feedback about the changes, ignoring them is the easiest way to make them leave. In decades past, there was little a person could do when companies made sudden changes to the way they did things. In the internet age, there are thousands of new websites starting up everyday. If enough people kick up a fuss, some enterprising tech designers could create a new site in a similar manner. Get some advertising revenue behind them to start up, you never know what can happen.
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Jeorj Euler

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Well, most visitors will not even notice the reductions and downgrades. Also, the matter is not covered in the news, not even at the "citizen journalist" level. I'm not aware of a single article on the world-wide web reporting on these site-specific events.
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ACT_1

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Well, most visitors will not even notice the reductions and downgrades...
by Jeorj Euler
- - -


IF all of this was on the Old IMDb Boards
there could be millions of comments & complaints
Perhaps that is why IMDb decided to  delete the Boards and hide changes and such on GS
where most Users do not know about or want to sign up

- - -



Now 82,950,000 Users
mcgiroux
IMDb member since December 2017
http://www.imdb.com/user/ur82950000/

- - -

http://www.google.com/search?q=site:getsatisfaction.com+Changes+to+IMDb+Characters

https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=getsatisfaction.com+Changes+to+IMDb+Characters


(Edited)
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Jeorj Euler

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To be literal, I'd have to disagree. The quantity of users to chime in with disapproval would max out at about 500 or so, a higher number than here, but still low and certainly not millions. I don't why you're taking note of search results that only show what is going on, on GS.
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J.J.

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Jeorj Euler millions of people have already given up on IMDb and millions more will follow.
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ACT_1

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To be literal, I'd have to disagree.
The quantity of users to chime in with disapproval
would max out at about 500 or so, a higher number than here,
but still low and certainly not millions.
I don't why you're taking note of search results that only show what is going on, on GS.
by Jeorj Euler

https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=getsatisfaction.com+Changes+to+IMDb+Characters
Found a few posts on this topic on other sites

without GS ...
https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=Changes+to+IMDb+Characters


as you remember ... IMDb Boards had a limit of 600 posts per thread
Started out with no limit and ...

Most replies to one post -
8,900 on Feb 15, 2002 and many more each week
"Jennifer 'Love' Hewitt-Yay or Nay?"
 mollymae1 : Thu Dec 30 12:11:40 1999
www.imdb.com/oldboards/showpost.pl?Board=Thesps&Number=47656
 Reply number 8,255 by ACT1 : Mon Dec 31, 2001
www.imdb.com/oldboards/showpost.pl?Board=Thesps&Number=981021
 Listed in "Actors & Actresses: Discuss your favorite performers." Message Board
www.imdb.com/oldboards/wwwthreads.pl?action=list&Board=Thesps

YOU IDIOTS, SPOCK WOULD KILL FREDDY AND JASON
 Star_Hero http://www.imdb.com/user/ur4251683/boards/profile/
 Tue Mar 29 2005
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0329101/board/thread/17236596 - Freddy vs. Jason
 2,306 replies
[Post deleted] This message has been deleted by an administrator - Mon Jan 28 2008

Message Boards started May 7 1999
New Message Boards started Aug 6 2002
"We have decided to disable IMDb's message boards on February 20, 2017"
- - -

Dhalgren, people who are unaware of the situation will not understand why you want to boycott,
and rest assured, most of the people who visit the IMDb site are unaware.
by Jeorj Euler

IMDb does not care if 10,000 users want to boycott

952,643 Users Registered in November 2017
                                         
Fri Dec 01 2017 http://www.imdb.com/user/ur82844702 29,998 registered
Sat Dec 02 2017 http://www.imdb.com/user/ur82874700 35,550
Sun Dec 03 2017 http://www.imdb.com/user/ur82910250 36,250
Mon Dec 04 2017 http://www.imdb.com/user/ur82946500

Now there are.. http://www.imdb.com/user/ur82960000
Only a few actually do anything on IMDb and less at SG  (56,310 Members)


IF IMDb removed the POLLS - Then there would be heaps plenty complaints !!!



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Jeorj Euler

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Until I see articles, blogs and vlogs (e.g. YouTube videos) surfacing, I won't be convinced as to the multitude of people who care, one way or the other, about what is going on with the IMDb site. There are only half a dozen videos on YouTube featuring a person ranting about or at least acknowledging that the message boards went offline.
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J.J.

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@Jeorj Euler and I suppose you were convinced Hillary would win as well. :P
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Jeorj Euler

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No. I was not convinced she would win the election for POTUS. The polls were unconvincing :P

Maybe I see your point. I'm not too sure. Even if a lot of web stuff surfaced addressing the matter, I still might not be convinced, but at least I would have something to work with. My interpretation of the lack of voices on the matter is that awareness of the matter is extremely low. You can't care if you don't know.
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CuriousUserX90

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For instance, if someone wants to see all the quotes Yoda has to offer, they'd need someplace to go to: www.imdb.com/character/ch0000015/quotes

As stated above, quote pages of pages don't have any option of viewing quotes that are only spoken by specific characters.
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Peter, Champion

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The new character pages have that, specific to each film:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080684/c...
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Q Leo Rahman

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A main character page that lists all the character quotes from all the titles they had was very helpful. This new format, not so much. 
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Widsith

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If there's a way to screw good things up or make bad things worse, IMDb will find it eventually and do it "to improve the experience."  I'm surprised anyone is still surprised by this.
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stefano stefano

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While I complained (and still complain) the wasteful changes in the My Ratings pages, this one is ultimately understandable. People created character pages for thousands of pointless characters, including unnamed waiters, cop #1 and cop #2, or even narrators (http://www.imdb.com/find?ref_=nv_sr_fn&q=narrator&s=ch) and "himself" (http://www.imdb.com/find?ref_=nv_sr_fn&q=himself&s=ch). Most of them just consisted of a single credit and were, actually, dead ends with little or no room for expansion.

That said I hope to have back pages about significant characters who spanned multiple works, such as D'Artagnan, the Popes, the POTUSes, Robinson Crusoe etc.
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Karine Boulanger

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First the forums and now this. You really want to drive away users and forbid them to contribute to imdb or interact, dont you? You keep deleting what makes imdb different from any other site about movies. You should try to come up with ideas to complete and better infos rather then deleting what you dont like. I have been around long enough to remember when a lot of infos in here were far from comprehensive. It was completed and enhance over time by the community. By the way, getsatisfaction sucks.
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William James M

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I get how the character lists werent perfect, but you dont chop off your arm to sooth an itch.
I was using these character lists to know which episodes of particular shows had the character my daughter likes in them. Like, which episodes of The Lion Guard have Simba? Stuff like that. And now I cant. I don't really see how I am getting any satisfaction from any of this.
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Dhalgren

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Horrible, IMDb continues to destroy any usefulness it might have had, which should be of great concern and embarrassment to Col Needham and co.

As this destruction continues, I will spread the word against the site and encourage a boycott through my contacts in the film and television industry. Shame on you for spoiling this once great resource.
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Jeorj Euler

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Dhalgren, people who are unaware of the situation will not understand why you want to boycott, and rest assured, most of the people who visit the IMDb site are unaware.
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Cabel John Gribben

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Whoa, seriously not a fan of this. Characters are memorable, I often find a movie I'm looking for by searching the character. What, I'm expected to return to the inferior method of posting on reddit or a forum in hopes to find a list of movies any given character is in? Boo.