Undefined aka titles

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Sometimes when a title is corrected the former title becomes an alternate title with an undefined country and attribute. When you try to correct one the form says to delete it and add a new item. However, the deletions are not being processed.

Example:
190331-165545-981000

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Peter, Champion

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Posted 1 year ago

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Joel, Official Rep

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Hi Peter,

Thanks for your post.

I've removed the duplicate title now, this should update shortly.

If this has occurred a few times, are you able to provide a few additional example submission references for me to dig into? 

Cheers,

Joel 
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Peter, Champion

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Some other deletions that were not done (entries with attributes had already been added):

#190321-195917-299000
#181209-150631-913000
#181107-082106-800000
#181005-194352-588000
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Will, Official Rep

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Thanks Peter, I've fixed these for you now and taken further internal action to make sure you don't encounter this problem again.

Regards,
Will
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Peter, Champion

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The first one I posted about (190331-165545-981000) is still there.
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Will, Official Rep

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Apologies Peter, I thought that one had already been actioned, I've removed it now.

Regards,
Will
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ljdoncel, Champion

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Hi, Joel and Peter:

Perhaps I can help a bit here (otherwise, I'm sorry... ). If I'm not mistaken, every alternate title with no country/region defined AND that is not tagged as (original title) needs to be deleted rather than corrected (as shown in the screenshot above).

First, a few numbers... From title.akas.tsv Apr 2019:

ALTERNATE TITLES: 3,766,128
         With a defined country/region: 3,313,625 (88.0%)
                    Original titles: 17
                    Unspecified: 2,177
                    Not original titles: 3,311,431
         Without a defined country/region: 452,503 (12.0%)
                    Original titles: 395,768
                    Unspecified: 12
                    Not original titles: 56,723

Original titles (or unspecified) aren't available in the akas update form, so actually there are 3,368,154 editable alternate titles, of which 56,723 (1.7%) are locked in the sense that can't be modified (only removed). The interesting question is, how many of those "non-original non-localized aka titles" have a correspondent verbatim "non-original localized aka title"?

Current answer is:
4,665 TITLES
[e.g. Das Mädel vom Ballet (1918) ► The Ballet Girl (1918) (undefined) & The Ballet Girl (1918) (USA)]
Maybe these titles should be scrutinized one by one and remove the unneeded entries...

Although we can't say for sure that all these locked titles have appeared because of the mechanism discovered by Peter, I think I can narrow down the list of titles to better investigate this issue because fortunately I had a copy of title.akas.tsv 31 Jan 2019. Comparing both tsv archives, 160 of those 4,665 aka titles (with the aforementioned conditions) have appeared in the last 9 weeks.
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ljdoncel, Champion

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Here's the list:
I could publish the complete listing of 4,665 titles if required.

Cheers!
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Will, Official Rep

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Thanks ljdoncel, the problem here is more how we are handling the delete requests which cause problems in our systems, but can still be applied internally if handled correctly.

Regards,
Will
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ljdoncel, Champion

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Thank you very much for the clarification, Will.
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Matt

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Almost impossible to delete AKAs with "undefined" attributes.

After a title merge, AKAs from the old title are often added to the kept title with "undefined" info for Country/Language and Attribute. This looks confusing and the information is often duplicate of correctly added AKAs. These undefined AKAs are impossible to edit; trying gives the message: "Sorry, it's not possible to correct this item directly. You will have to delete it and add a new item instead." However, deleting them is hardly ever accepted by the data editors.

For example, I have tried many times to delete the two incorrect undefined AKAs at Pokémon Red with varying levels of detail in the explanation. The most recent rejection for Contribution #190329-002145-835000 gives the standard meaningless response of "We were unable to approve this contribution. We did not capture a specific reason during processing."

Why is it so difficult to do this? And shouldn't they just be added correctly (or not at all if they're duplicate) in the first place?
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Peter, Champion

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I also agree with the last question: Why add such incomplete entries in the first place?
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Will, Official Rep

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The entries exist due to a number of reasons - title merges, internal edits, historical items, but still if you are submitting a delete on that item, they should be actioned nonetheless. 
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GoodFlixGary

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One of the ways these bogus "undefined" AKAs are created is from a title change rejection. If you submit a title change and the editors reject it, it'll likely get added (automatically?) as an AKA instead, always with no country defined and with the attribute set to "alternate title".

Many of the bogus entries (with unset countries) have no attribute, but the ones that have an "alternate title" attribute most likely came from this sort of failed title change. It's happened to me several times.
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GoodFlixGary

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@Matt: I notice Pokémon Red finally had its undefined AKAs removed. Do you know how this was done?
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Matt

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Will said below that he did it.
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Will, Official Rep

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Hi Matt,

Thanks for the report, I've now taken a look and done a clean-up on that title. Apologies for your poor experience and lack of clear guidance on the reason. Our technical teams are aware of the issue, though we do have an internal workaround if handled correctly. I will update this thread once this is resolved.

Regards,
Will
(Edited)
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piznajko

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Unable to get an update approved, whch was requested by imdb.com system.

Previously this movie had 2 alternative titles, which "Country/Language" field blank. When I tried to udpate the "language" field, I get a message:

Sorry, it's not possible to correct this item directly.
You will have to delete it and add a new item instead. [do it]

When I try to do that => imdb staff accepted the update (e.g., entering the same 2 titles, this time with the "Country/Language" field completed), but while the "new entries" got approved, removing the same 2 entries (with "Country/Language" field missign) got rejected. Why? The instructions themselves said to remove and "re-add" these two entries. So I'm confused.

Thanks.

ID #190414-025849-430000 (rejected 1st time)
ID #190414-183617-749000 (rejected 2nd time)

ps. here are the screenshots:






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piznajko

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Thsi is frustrating. How many times are IMDb staff going to reject such submissions?

For this movie https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3182620/ (referenced above) after being rejected twice before:

ID #190414-025849-430000 (rejected 1st time)
ID #190414-183617-749000 (rejected 2nd time)

I just got rejectd again, for the 3rd time, with reason given "Other. We were unable to approve this contribution.We did not capture a specific reason during processing."

ID #190504-004543-256000 (rejected 3rd time)

@Will could you please take a look at the submission and help approve #190504-004543-256000  ?


Thanks!

(Edited)
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piznajko

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@Will Has there been any progress on this? Requests on this still keep getting rejected :/ Thanks in advance for any update

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GoodFlixGary

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled delete undefined country AKAs.

So many titles have an AKA with an "unidentified" country (and no attribute). These invalid AKAs cannot be deleted by a contributor. You've acknowledged over many years that this is an error, an artifact from an old system or something, and that they need to be deleted, yet here we are again and again complaining and nothing changes, no fixes, no removals.

Why not write a BOT that scans system-wide and in two steps: 1) deletes all occurrences of AKAs with no country set, for which AKA title already exists with the country code set, 2) for all other occurrences of AKAs with no country set, where the AKA title is not duplicated, scan the page for the country of origin and change the country of the invalid AKA to it.

Doing this manually by each contributor is obviously a waste of time since it never works. You have an editing anomaly. If you try to set the country on such an AKA you get an error that this can't be done. Why the heck not? Instead, it tells you, delete the invalid AKA, and create a new one with the country (this is kind of "duh" since it is *impossible* for a contributor to create an AKA without setting the country, only your broken system can (and does obviously) do that).

So you choose deletion of the bogus AKA and create a new correct one. Problem is, while the new AKA is created fine, the deletion of the invalid AKA without a country is always REJECTED by your editors! So the problem never gets fixed. I've tried resubmitting the deletion request with many different explanations including quoting the error messages that tell you it can't be changed and you MUST delete it, but every request is still denied. This appears to be a problem with training and informing your editors of this long-standing problem.
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Matt

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I'm convinced most of their data editors are either bots or people who click accept/reject without actually reading the submission, like the moderators at Facebook. Perfectly reasonable edits get rejected with no explanation despite them having a feedback system. And there is so much data that doesn't meet the guidelines and so should never have been accepted, then deletion requests get rejected.
(Edited)
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GoodFlixGary

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You might be right; who are these mysterious editors and why can't we edit ourselves and see the results immediately and just have them reviewed afterward and possibly changed/deleted, the way it's done on Wikipedia for instance. This is how IMDb used to be. Since Amazon bought it, it's been run steadily downhill. Don't get me started on that...

In past years, you could delete those Undefined AKAs fine, and simply add the correct defined one, both in the same edit. Now that never works.

But my bigger concern with this particular Undefined AKA issue is that the technicians have known about it for many years (at least 8 years ago when I first became a contributor), but have never fixed it. Why?

And why are we mostly ignored now (like this old thread I just got merged into without my updates)? I think technicians and sysops and moderators are just tired of hearing about the problem. But why not fix it once and for all? The mysteriousness of this boggles my mind.
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piznajko

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Matt unfortunately, you might be right. Which, frankly, is really said. The imdb leadership really doesn't know what it's doing with it's database and they are falling behind places like TMDb (which, despite being a "non-profit", still provides clients access to its film 100%-created-by-volonteers database (and probably not for free), to commercial places like justwatch.com etc.

(Edited)
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Jeorj Euler

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Wow...
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Marco

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And there is so much data that doesn't meet the guidelines and so should never have been accepted, then deletion requests get rejected.

I've submitted over a hundred deletion requests today and they all were accepted. Do you have an example of data in the database that doesn't meet the guidelines, has been reported and didn't get deleted or altered?
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Marco

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why can't we edit ourselves and see the results immediately and just have them reviewed afterward and possibly changed/deleted, the way it's done on Wikipedia for instance. This is how IMDb used to be.

This is not true. IMDb never used to be like Wikipedia when it comes to immediately displaying contributions.

Since Amazon bought it, it's been run steadily downhill.

Amazon bought IMDb in 1998. Are you saying that for the last 22 years, IMDb has steadily run downhill? If so, shouldn't they be out of business by now?
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GoodFlixGary

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@Marco: You say you made over a hundred deletion requests in one day, of AKAs with undefined country codes, and they were all accepted the same day? I find that hard to believe. They always take at least 24 hours to respond, sometimes up to 4 days, in my experience, and are rejected 100% of the time.

We'd all like to know how you did this, and what exactly did you write in the explanation box.
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GoodFlixGary

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@Marco: Yes IMDb used to display your edits immediately. Maybe you can't remember back that far or weren't around then. They didn't have a backlog table like they do now, of when your edit will be posted, taking in some cases up to a week.

Very difficult to contribute like that, especially when you have to wait for one edit to post before you can make another, for example when some changes require multiple steps. And then you have to monitor your submissions with the new tracking system, which never used to be necessary of course, but was instituted relatively recently simply because of the delays and the frequent rejections you might get on all kinds of data, not just bogus AKAs.
(Edited)
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GoodFlixGary

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@Matt: You commented that the mysterious IMDb "editors" could be bots and people who don't read the explanation boxes when they click accept or reject. I notice that submissions never get processed on weekends (despite phony backlog Sat/Sun dates you get), which tells me that they aren't bots. I suspect these editors are out-sourced, and may not read English very well, and at least are too lazy to try, so they ignore explanation boxes (especially if they're long), which belies their more frequently encouraged use and expansion.
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Matt

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Gary, you're probably right about that. Re Marco's comment, I don't think he's referring to specifically AKAs.
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Matt

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Marco, here's an example of an edit that was rejected but shouldn't have been for a credit that shouldn't have been accepted in the first place. (I did everything correctly.) I'm not saying it happens 100% of the time, but it happens enough to not be an anomaly.
https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/contribution-rejected
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Marco

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Re Marco's comment, I don't think he's referring to specifically AKAs.

I was referring to contributions in general because your statement also seemed to be about IMDb in general.
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Marco

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Re Marco's comment, I don't think he's referring to specifically AKAs.

I was referring to contributions in general because your statement also seemed to be about IMDb in general.
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Marco

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Marco, here's an example of an edit that was rejected but shouldn't have been for a credit that shouldn't have been accepted in the first place. (I did everything correctly.) I'm not saying it happens 100% of the time, but it happens enough to not be an anomaly.https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/contribution-rejected

This is an example of a very messy area indeed. Foreign dubs are a mess on IMDb, I totally agree. IMDb should create a special place for dubbers on a title's page, but this been asked since (at least) 2003 but unfortunately hasn't materialized yet.
Perhaps voting for this idea will help: https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/suggestion-for-new-feature-voice-actors

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Marco

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@Marco: Yes IMDb used to display your edits immediately. Maybe you can't remember back that far or weren't around then. They didn't have a backlog table like they do now, of when your edit will be posted, taking in some cases up to a week.

I haven't always been around (I contribute since 2001/2002), but all submissions I send during that time where checked by staffers before they were added to the database. I remember creating a post on the ol' Contributors Board being very happy that a new title I submitted was online in only six days. That was very fast at that point. In the (early) nineties, e-mails had to be sent to IMDb staff members, so there was also a check by staffers before information made it online.
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Marco

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I suspect these editors are out-sourced, and may not read English very well, and at least are too lazy to try, so they ignore explanation boxes (especially if they're long), which belies their more frequently encouraged use and expansion.

I think it's simply a case of being understaffed, as most companies are. Most companies I know off have more work and/or more ideas about how to improve their work and/or the customer experience than they have people to do the work and implement the improvements. Obviously, most companies cope in the sense that they don't run out of business, but they have to cut corners somewhere because the cost of personnel is always the biggest expense a company has.
This doesn't mean I feel IMDb is doing a good enough job, because I think they aren't (see https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topics/does-buccaneer-island-2000-really-exist?topic-reply-list[set...), but I'm quite certain it hasn't got to do with them being lazy, out-sourced or not knowing English well enough.
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GoodFlixGary

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{Copied from merged thread}

Here's one. Can anyone delete this manually for me?

200316-054134-314000
200316-055258-005000
200316-224218-714000
200317-084152-038000
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GoodFlixGary

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{Copied from merged thread. Note to moderators: When you merge a thread and block the original from new replies, please merge the whole thing not just the original post, so we all don't have to copy and repost all our replies in the new thread.}

Here are a couple more:

200319-223531-430000 That one's pretty simple: the AKA is already listed with a country, so this one is a duplicate with the country undefined.

200319-224749-147000 This one has two: one that's a duplicate (with undefined country) of an AKA that has the country defined. The other was one I tried to set the country and it said I had to delete and add – so I did that and the add was accepted immediately but not the delete. Now it's just another duplicate undefined that needs to be deleted.
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GoodFlixGary

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Why merge a new thread into one last responded to 11 months ago? After that, piznajko posted some new problems, and got no response even after his repeated query 7 months ago. Warren, this thread is obviously dead, so why merge? Seems like an attempt to shove us off into oblivion where nobody will see us. The purpose of posting a NEW thread is to start up the conversation again, since the previous one has gone unanswered long ago.

This is especially noted with this particular topic, since the technical problem is one that has been going on for many many years and has never been fixed.
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Matt

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They prefer to have one thread per topic. Replying to a thread bumps it back up. I think it's better to have it all in one place to prevent repetition. Anyone who previously posted about it can get a notification about the new merged post, which is how I saw your comments. I wouldn't have ever seen them otherwise.
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GoodFlixGary

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Here's another try of the 2 Undefined AKAs under one title that both need to be deleted. This is the same as 200319-224749-147000 in my previous post:

200320-034628-460000.
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GoodFlixGary

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@piznajko: I tried submitting the same AKA delete request on Bitter Harvest tt3182620 that you did a while ago: to delete "Devil's Harvest" (undefined country) for the reason "country code undefined. manual correction not allowed. delete and will re-add."

My submission number 200320-030731-063000.

I noticed that the same AKA title was already listed but with a valid country (USA) and an attribute (working title), so the entry to be deleted is just an incomplete duplicate.

It was rejected as usual but for a very strange reason:

"Reason: Duplicate
We were unable to approve this contribution.
The item you have submitted is exactly the same as a submission that you have already entered, which is still pending review by our staff."

I only submitted this once. Maybe whoever or whatever declined it was confused in that the AKA itself was a duplicate, not my submission...
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GoodFlixGary

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Success! I think. I submitted a delete request on tt0871205 (Mr. Bean's Red Nose Day, or Police Station). My submission (200320-040054-020000) was to delete the AKA:

"Comic Relief: Police Station" (country=undefined)(attribute="new title") for the reason: "delete and will re-add with country". In this case there was no other AKA listed with that title already.

It was rejected as usual BUT the deletion happened! Somebody is perhaps doing something behind the scenes maybe? Or the editor changed his mind afterward...

I've now added the same AKA but with a country (and a different attribute), and it's been accepted already (fast).

But wait, there's more. I'm now in the process of changing the original title, and so far that's pending, BUT something is happening as I'm writing this: there's now ANOTHER undefined AKA that just got added! It's the new title from this pending original title change, with country undefined and with the attribute "alternative title". Yep, I mentioned this previously. This is what happens when you try to change the original title and it gets rejected (says pending still but it'll change to rejected in a moment).
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Ed Jones(XLIX)

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I've had that very same thing happen.
It adds an AKA. Do not know why this issue persists or has not been addressed.
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GoodFlixGary

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SOLUTION or WORKAROUND

Here's a temporary (possibly permanent) solution or at least a workaround to the problem of AKAs with no country set.

If you find an AKA without a country, check to see if that AKA title is already listed WITH a country. If you see it, then: IGNORE the AKA without a country.

If you don't see it, create a new AKA with the same title and set the proper country. This will be accepted fine. Then: IGNORE the AKA without a country.

Check the attributes for accuracy as well. For instance if the AKA with no country has an attribute that's different from another otherwise identical AKA, you may correct the attribute on the AKA with a country, or create another AKA with the same country but use the attribute of the bogus AKA without country.

In every case, don't bother to submit a deletion of the AKA without a country. It won't work and just wastes time.

A year ago there were over 4600 titles with bogus AKAs with no country set (according to earlier posts in this thread). Over 150 of those had popped up in just 2 months. The anomaly is still happening now a year later, their creation has not been solved, and the ones already in existence are still there which indicates their inability to be deleted has not been solved either. The total is probably around 5500 by now, and will continue to increase, and will NEVER get fixed, obviously judging by the many years this problem has been going on.

It doesn't prevent the creation of the correct AKA with the country set, so best idea is to ignore the problem. That seems to be what IMDb is doing.

By the way, while you're at it, looking in the AKA list, change all the AKAs with no attribute to the attribute "imdb display title", as long as you use that attribute only ONCE per country. If there are multiple AKAs with the same country, choose the one best-suited for the "imdb display title". IMDb likes this and encourages this now.
(Edited)
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piznajko

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I mean it's kind of a solution, but not really. IMDb shouldn't list exactly the same title twice: once correctly with the correct country and once with a bogus "unidentfied" field for country. It should only get listed once.

Frankly, imdb should've looked into this long time ago - this is a long overdue data enry issue.