Search: Improve character search

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  • Idea
  • Updated 4 years ago
  • (Edited)
Currently the Character Search only includes characters that have their own "character page". This is a significant limitation and I rarely find what I am looking for when using this type of search. It would be much better if you could search across all characters in all films.
Alternatively, as has been suggested elsewhere, add a Character Name field to the advanced film title search (provided it searched all characters in all films of course!)

[NB Really I just wanted to contact IMDB to suggest this as an improvement/new feature to the database but couldn't see where to do that other than make a post]
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Posted 4 years ago

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Photo of Dan Dassow

Dan Dassow, Champion

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Hi JH,

This is the appropriate forum to make suggestions to improve IMDb.

Currently there are 1258 ideas ([settings][type]=idea) that IMDb users have suggested. When considering an idea, the IMDb technical staff balance the popularity, the overall utility, the difficulty to implement and resources required to implement an idea.

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In general, I like your idea. However, I see some problems that may make this impractical to implement.

1. Currently, a character search returns links to existing character pages and the corresponding title. Your suggestion would require that the search would also need to return the names of characters that do not have character pages.

2. The majority of characters without pages are minor character. Including such characters in the results could lead to very cluttered results. If IMDb were to implement this idea, they may wish to allow users to exclude characters without pages.

Adding the character name as a parameter to the advance search could be implemented without adding character without pages.

Note: I am a long time user of IMDb, not a staff member.
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Hi Dan,

Thanks for your reply - wasn't sure as new to this forum although have had a login on IMDB for a while.

Unfortunately I don't use Facebook or Twitter or any of those type of things, just email and real people ;-)... so I can't see this idea going far! Shame.

I see your point completely about getting too many hits on a "character search" if it trawled all the entire database - I had my reservations. But adding it as an additional filter in the Title search would actually mean reducing results if the person searching could add extra info. Of course this would increase the query/search time if it was across the entire set of characters and I'm guessing that was why they introduced characters pages.

The thing is, typically, characters get their own page because they are well known - so there isn't usually any problem figuring out the film(s) they appear in. It diminishes the needs for a character search (at least the one there is in its present form) since you can in effect go to the character page to see a list of films to scan through to find the film you are looking for. In fact Wikipedia probably has a page/hit for the character, which means going away from IMDB entirely - and that can't be in the interests of IMDB.

The other thing I'm not sure about is who adds films to the character page? Presumably any/every character page could be incomplete, so having a way to search for a variation of the name and know you would be searching the whole dataset would mean you aren't reliant on someone keeping the character page up-to-date.

Anyway, perhaps someone else more active in social media will post a similar request and this feature will get added!

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DavidAH_Ca, Champion

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The Character search existed long before the Character pages were implemented. Obviously, in this case all characters were returned. Then, when the Character pages were set up, the search continued to return all characters, showing the (at that time few) pages first followed by the list of others. Once the new pages increased in number, only they were returned.

I have never been happy about the removal of the full list of Characters in the search. There are times I could use the result; for example, I may remember a character name and want to use it to find a movie I don't remember the title for. Formerly, this was a simple search, but now I will not find them unless they  have a page, which under the current rules basically excludes any character that was only in a single film.
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I hadn't realised that about the Character page (more than one film). Makes it even more restricted than I thought. 

Yes I remember when it used to do everything - I've been using IMDB for many years, back when it was still small but growing fast. Great resource, but would be better if we could query all the data.