Citations to reveal sources of information (a suggestion for long-term development)

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Currently, IMDb does not provide a way for contributors to include source citations for display with contributed data.  Implementing that capability throughout the system would presumably be impractical in the near term, but perhaps might be of interest as a very long-term possibility?

Today I used IMDb to find some information about some movies and TV shows.  Upon finding a questionable point of information on IMDb (in this instance, an unlikely airdate for a future TV episode), I searched elsewhere and found no reputable source.  Without a source citation for that information on IMDb, I had no reason to be confident that the information was correct or reliable.

Yesterday I used Wikipedia to find some information about some movies and TV shows.  I followed citation links to find sources of some information that interested me.  Some of the cited secondary sources provided evidence of primary source information that gave me confidence that the stated information was likely correct.  Some other cited sources were not so conclusive, but still it was useful to know the Wikipedia writers' sources so that I could judge them for myself.

For long term future development, could IMDb consider providing the ability to include source citations for most types of data?
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(closed account)

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Posted 6 years ago

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Dan Dassow, Champion

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I STRONGLY support this idea. Thank you for keeping the ball rolling on this issue.

I wrote this in an earlier thread:
https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/bio-trivia-exclusion-of-rumors-or-gossip
Thank you for posting this Lucus. This is an issue that I've been concerned about for quite some time. Whereas as an editor on Wikipedia I can provide a citation for trivia, IMDb does not have any provision for providing a source for information.

It would be helpful for IMDb to provide a way to include citations for trivia. I fully appreciate that IMDb started crowd sourcing well before Wikipedia was established and that retrofitting trivia with a means for citations will take a long time for transition. Although far from perfect, what Wikipedia states regarding information on living persons can be instructive.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Five_pillars
All articles must strive for verifiable accuracy, citing reliable, authoritative sources, especially when the topic is controversial or is on living persons. Editors' personal experiences, interpretations, or opinions do not belong.
For example, I wrote the IMDb biography for Paxton Whitehead before the Wikipedia article. Although I used the same sources for both articles, I was unable to provide them for the IMDb biography, whereas I can and did for the Wikipedia article.

IMDb already has a news feed from its NewsDesk partners. This could be used as a source for future citations for trivia.

When I have a more coherent suggestion / idea, I will propose it in a separate thread on IMDb Get Satisfaction site. In the interim, it would be helpful to discuss what is practical for IMDb in this thread. I would appreciate the thoughts from other IMDb users and staff members on this subject.
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Providing a means to cite sources of information for IMDb will be a long term investment in increasing the reliability of information on IMDb. A major problem that Wikipedia has is link rot, when links to citations either change or disappear completely. When implementing a means to provide citations on IMDb, link rot needs to be addressed.
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(closed account)

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Dan, thanks for reminding me of your reply in another thread where, on November 30 2014, you specifically noted the lack of citations on IMDb, an issue that you said you've "been concerned about for quite some time."  Regrettably,  I had forgotten that discussion.  You deserve credit for having specifically suggested citations before I did.
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Lucus,

I am much more interested in fostering a discussion among IMDb staff members and knowledgeable contributors. For IMDb to continue as the preeminent source of information on film and television source of information, the public at large needs to be able to trust the information. Providing reliable sources of the information may help establish or re-establish that trust.
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"I am much more interested in fostering a discussion among IMDb staff members and knowledgeable contributors. ..."
At least the idea has been acknowledged (I see that an employee clicked the Like button on this thread, and the status is "Under Consideration").  Let's hope IMDb may choose to participate openly in further discussions on this topic at some point.

I, however, may or may not participate in further discussion on this.
(Edited)
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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At least the idea has been acknowledged (I see that an employee clicked the Like button on this thread, and the status is "Under Consideration").
If I recall correctly, a staff member can like an idea without setting the status.
Let's hope IMDb may choose to participate openly in further discussions on this topic at some point.
It would be very helpful if IMDb employees can participate in an open discussion on this topic. However, IMDb employees have to be careful not to disclose corporate strategy and other intellectual property in a public forum.

Likewise, Wikipedia can provide an example of how to cite information on IMDb, there are elements of the Wiki model that probably do not fit within IMDb. For instance, all edits to Wikipedia is attributed to a user ID or an IP address. Full attribution on IMDb is probably unlikely.

I will provide additional thoughts as they make sense.
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Sorry, I didn't really intend to imply
cause-and-effect when I wrote:
"... an employee clicked the Like button on this thread,
and the status is 'Under Consideration.'"
Dan wrote:
"If I recall correctly, a staff member can
like an idea without setting the status."
Yes, of course.  Again, sorry, I should've reworded
my comment to avoid implying cause-and-effect.

Dan wrote:
"... IMDb employees have to be careful not to disclose
corporate strategy and other intellectual property
in a public forum."
To be clear, I didn't mean to suggest otherwise.
"... There are elements of the Wiki model
that probably do not fit within IMDb. ..."
As I'd intended to mention in (an earlier draft of) my original post above, I do understand that IMDb clearly is not Wikipedia and is not built on the Wikipedia model. There are many substantial and fundamental differences.  The comparison was meant as a starting point to open this discussion of the citations feature suggestion.  I would not expect any hypothetical future IMDb citations feature to necessarily  closely follow the Wikipedia way of doing it.  Different approaches are possible.
(Edited)
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Cord Wainer

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IMDb has crazy/beautiful Technical Specifications:
Crazy/Beautiful (2001)
Runtime 1 hr 39 min (99 min)
2 hr 15 min (135 min) (director's cut) (USA)

I believe that the "Director's Cut" does not exist, except as the wish of a fan, and the reported 35 minutes cut (at the insistence of Disney) have never been incorporated into any released version of this movie.

Multiple searches online for any record of a Director's Cut have produced no positive results at all.

Without a citation this entry is misleading and time-wasting.
(Edited)
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Nobody

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(Note:  I'm the original poster of this thread,
although my account name has changed since then.)

I'm just bumping the discussion to add a peripherally related note:

In another thread, there has been some discussion about one bio that has been repeatedly examined and re-edited by staff,  yet (at the time of this post) contains at least 9 occurrences of the unusual notation "(proof needed)".   (I don't recall seeing that notation on any other bio pages before.)

The "(proof needed)"  notation may be functionally similar to Wikipedia's "[citation needed]" notation.  But unlike IMDb,  Wikipedia has a capability to display source citations.  IMDb currently doesn't have such capability.

Since the mentioned bio has been examined and re-edited at least twice by staff,  yet up to now  the "(proof needed)"  notation persists,  a question therefore arises as to whether IMDb really wants to accept such notation.

If IMDb really considers the "(proof needed)"  notation acceptable and useful,  methinks it would be more useful if combined with the ability to display source citations.

And so we are back to the topic of this thread,  which is the idea that it would be useful for IMDb to have some way to display source citations.
(Edited)