Ongoing changes to several IMDb features

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  • Updated 6 months ago
  • (Edited)
As you may have noticed, there have been many changes to IMDb in recent months, and many more are in progress now with planned delivery over the coming weeks.

One of IMDb’s top focus areas for 2017 has been to replace the remaining parts of our old software systems with more modern maintainable versions, enabling us to accelerate product development and therefore deliver new features / searches / content to you. In the process, we are continuing to make customer experience improvements, feature simplifications to improve usability, and identifying opportunities to bring consistency across our desktop / mobile platforms.  The ultimate aim is to serve all our customers better and to continue to grow the IMDb content and services in 2018 and beyond.  Once complete, the new system will enable us to more easily address any remaining longstanding bugs as well as faster fix any new ones which may emerge.  An example of visible change as part of this process is the new Parents Guide (for example Blade Runner 2049 (2017)) which moved off the problematic swiki system where only a small number of people could make edits and over to a managed data type.

Some of the features on IMDb are more than a decade old and as part of upgrading the backend technology, we are making a combination of interface refreshes, feature simplification, consolidations and deprecations. These decisions are not made lightly and are driven by a myriad of data metrics; however, we’ve built a very passionate customer base over our 27 years and we have seen some deprecations cause customer confusion/frustration. This is not our goal, but we know we cannot continue to deliver the site and features our users deserve and we aspire without making these changes. 

As a heads up, there will be more changes in the upcoming weeks. We will announce the most impactful changes in the Announcements section of Get Satisfaction. For changes with lesser impact, our team will monitor Get Satisfaction immediately following the change to provide helpful guidance to users. 

Thanks,

Col Needham
Founder & CEO, IMDb.com
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Col Needham, Official Rep

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Posted 11 months ago

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Adrian, Champion

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Is one of the changes that the backend is now more synchronized to the front end? I've noticed now that you can edit changes made to a title within hours if not minutes whereas it used to be at leat 24 hours before you could edit submitted data before?
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Col Needham, Official Rep

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Yes, this is one of the benefits.  It is currently in testing now so not everybody has access to this all of the time quite yet. 
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lheslov@sbcglobal.net

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My film Served Like a Girl has been attacked over the last week by a group of white supremacists. I did not have a single one star review until the last week? Now I have 17? These are personal attacks. As are the death threats. None of these reviewers have actually seen the film. How do I get them taken down?
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Marco

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Thanks for the heads up and I'm looking forward to more improvements. Some things at the top of my mind that I hope will come along:
-the new genres, obviously,
-a proper place for dubbers, obviously,
-being able to view one's photo additions/corrections/deletions in one's Update History,
-the return of the Location Tree,
-shorter/"prettier" links for the new Help Center,
-users not being referred to as customers by IMDb. I don't mind advertisers seeing us as customers, but I'd like you guys to think of us as users of this incredible database.
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Marco

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Col, thanks for the response (and the joke :) ).
I'll never complain about customers vs. users again. (although I do feel a little addicted to IMDb :) )
I see your reasoning behind the longer URL's for the new Help Center. Hadn't thought about that I have to admit.

Gromit: I voted for restoring the locations tree. Let's hope more customers vote for it.
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ShadyJ

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There is no such thing as a new genre.
Whether you like it or not, you are a customer. You pay by advertisements viewed.
ACT_1 unwittingly pointed out that you are a customer.
customer (plural customers)
1. A patron; one who purchases or receives a product or service
from a business or merchant, or intends to do so.
You receive a service from IMDB. Due to the use of OR, payment is not required to be considered a customer.
(Edited)
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Marco

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Whether you like it or not, you are a customer.
Well, as I've said four weeks ago, "I'll never complain about customers vs. users again".
There is no such thing as a new genre.
What I meant was a new genre to IMDb. For example, it is currently impossible to tag a soap opera with that genre because it is not (yet) a genre at IMDb:https://help.imdb.com/article/contribution/titles/genres/GZDRMS6R742JRGAG?ref_=helpsrall# (that being said, it's not impossible for new genres to emerge, I'm not quite sure, but I think reality-TV is relatively new)
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nonduc nonduc

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There IS such thing as a new genre at IMDb -- at least two at first sight: 1) erotic (because “Adult” is used primarily for hardcore porn); 2) concert (because now for live concerts often misused documentary genre after they are not staged music films).
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Jena Auerstedt

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You are not the customer, and you are not the client. You are the commodity that is being sold to the advertisers, who are the real customers. All that counts here are numbers, not the satisfaction of the users.
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ACT_1

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled [ New Changes to IMDb ? ].



IMDb is here to provide information about Movies and TV shows and the people involved
http://www.imdb.com/stats
Titles: 4,633,621 | People: 8,248,515   (Credits: 92,130,317)

with features Users can Use to keep track of their favs
and add comments, trivia, ratings, etc
about 266,164,000 messages were posted on the IMDb Boards Aug 6 2002 ... Feb 20 2017 - (GONE)

Oh, and how many Users add information about these Movies and TV shows ?? (for free!)
https://contribute.imdb.com/czone/hall_of_fame

How many of the 82,340,000 IMDb Users requested these changes ??
http://www.imdb.com/user/ur82340000/

There are a lot of complaints here about these changes
Most of the Users do not know about GS to write more complaints

How many Users need to sign a petition to undo these unwanted changes ??
- - -

IMDb Traffic Statistics
https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/imdb.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMDb
- - -

PS
I have been a registered User looking up information here almost everyday for 17 years



Thank you IMDb !!!
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Col Needham, Official Rep

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The context for all of this is explained in the announcement at the top of this thread.  The changes are the best path forwards and will complete the groundwork for future enhancements in 2018 and beyond. 

We accept that people will not be happy with all of the short term changes, but what would be worse is allowing the old systems to continue to slow progress.  If you look through Get Satisfaction you will see hundreds of old threads complaining about inconsistencies, bugs, complexities on IMDb -- the root cause in most of these cases (and the reasons they are not easy to fix) are the old software systems. It is time for the old systems to finally go. 
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Sparse

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Here's an idea: Why not ask IMDb users what kinds of changes they'd prefer before making changes? Like, put up some polls to see what people would be opposed to or supportive of.

It's pretty much a unanimous feeling from the community, it seems to me, that the site is becoming increasingly frustrating to use.

Just an idea.
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Vincent Fournols

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@Sparse : let's be fair, Col Needham has announced several weeks ago that there is a extreme need to change the system, which is becoming technically obsolete, and make it consistent, in order to propose new and enhanced services.

I am just baffled that, with the background of Amazon expertise, services and technical framework, this change is so poorly managed. IMDB should have undertaken the technical migration to make it as transparent as possible, proposing "as is" functions, then evolve by proposing improvements. Consulting users, who provide the raw material making the IMDb valuable, would have made sense.

Now, I am so disappointed to witness the ruining of such an image.
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Jeorj Euler

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Our site is a neglected stepchild, I'm afraid.
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Sparse

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I know there's a need to change the system, and I didn't mean to imply that they shouldn't have tried. But before removing essential features with the updated versions, it would have been nice if they asked people.

It's still a work-in-progress though. Things are being fixed little by little. I'll be patient.
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Phil Leguichard

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Some of these layout changes are actually reducing functionality -- not enhancing....

These recent changes to IMDb's interface are truly puzzling. When viewing user reviews now, I can only sort them by "helpfulness" -- but what will become of newly written reviews? If I were to write a review of a film that came out, say, one month ago, it would surely never been seen by anyone, let alone read, because it would be buried beneath hundreds of other reviews! I also wonder why I can no longer view all episodes of a television series on the same page, in compact view. It was tremendously helpful to see them listed that way, as it made comparing ratings across seasons much more feasible. For a show like The Simpsons, which is nearing 30 seasons, I'd have to scroll through 30 independent lists now.

It's bewildering that a website like IMDb, one of the most-visited sites in the United States, could dare not only to stall, but to REGRESS in functionality, in a digital age like the one we currently inhabit. Even little things, like the removal of the availability of the filming dates of a movie, gnaw at me.......I mean if I can't find that information on IMDb, where else am I supposed to go for it? IMDb Pro is aimed at professionals -- I'm merely a cinephile. I really wonder how many more "updates" I can stand. It'd be one thing if I were simply being difficult about adjusting to a new layout. But this is an actual LOSS of faculties, making the website HARDER to use.
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rob

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled What has happened to IMDb??!!!!.

I log on after inactive for a few months and I am shocked by all the downgrades and loss of features. What gives IMDb?? This use to be the best site.
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ACT_1

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I log on after inactive for a few months
and I am shocked by all the downgrades and loss of features.
What gives IMDb?? This use to be the best site

by rob

Joined on December 27, 2017

- - -


There are more Announcements of recent Updates in this Announcements section

Not many Users like the changes


(Edited)
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Col Needham, Official Rep

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Not many Users like the changes
Like all changes, the people most motivated to comment are those who are having the most trouble adjusting to the change or those people who have not yet spotted what is on the short-term bug fix lists.  You know this yourself from observing pretty much every redesign we have ever launched -- funny how "worst change ever" in 2007 becomes a "perfect design" by 2010 -- change is always hard. Please note many of the perceived negative comments are justified constructive criticisms which we are reading, recording and acting upon where appropriate, whether short or long term. Unfortunately we cannot do much with "yeah, everything now sucks" or "just put it all back" type comments (and surely people would not want all the bugs back too :-).  

The numbers we are watching here are all showing improved customer engagement, with even more potential as things like review sort orders and ratings filtering are added back in the New Year.  We now have: a consistent design across all core pages on the web site; list editing on the Android app; all user reviews readable everywhere; consistent (and automatic) character pages; news available everywhere; all data published  everywhere as it is processed and available for instant editing (not random sections running 24-36 hours out-of-sync); an easier data cross-linking format; a better help system; a faster suggestion search powered contribution system; more visible core box office information; more modern list editing (okay yes, drag-and-drop on web is an unfortunate casualty, but the rest is better IMHO); the end of the unmanaged wiki systems (open for all contributors, with FAQ coming soon). This had led to new registrations at an all-time high across 2017; data contributors and data contributions similarly on all-time highs, yet (ignoring temporary holiday backlogs this week) the fastest ever overall processing times plus with the smallest ever backlogs.  Behind-the-scenes almost everything is now on the same modern software platform with simpler, faster paths for future changes; hundreds of (sometimes) years old bugs have been resolved; scores of longstanding requests / suggestions have been implemented; consistency has improved hugely between the nine "on platform" sites and apps which our team directly supports (with more work to do here in 2018).

Of course, not everything today is perfect nor in its desired end state. As mentioned, we had to make some awful short-term trade-off decisions to ensure we completed the technology migration in 2017, but we are confident the short term pain is worth the long term gain. 

Sonny: "Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end." from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1412386/quotes/qt1645298 :-)
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cartman_1337

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@Col Needham; Reading your post makes me a little more optimistic for IMDb in 2018. I'm sure the changes you've rushed out now are great news for your team, but as a user I really can't buy things like "and surely people would not want all the bugs back too", as a matter of fact I can't remember the site ever having as many visible bugs as it does right now. We want our old, faster, less buggy IMDb experience back.... That shouldn't be hard to understand. Rushing out not thoroughly tested new solutions is never a good idea, and does not make you look good or professional, regardless of motivations or long-term intentions.

funny how "worst change ever" in 2007 becomes a "perfect design" by 2010 
Isn't it also funny how the 2007 complaints died out relatively quick, yet now nearly 8 years after the 2010 change, people are still complaining about that? Maybe the 2007 design wasn't perfect, I don't remember the design before it too well, but compared to the 2010 design even a Notepad (from Windows) simple text document of a movie's information looks nearly perfect. As such, I really, REALLY hope that now that you've achieved your dreams of unifying all platforms into a single software (which I'm not really sure is as good an idea as you think, but that's a different discussion), that a new and actually better design is in your plans. Considering you're still on a much-hated and complained about 8 year old (a lot in the computer world) design, it is really well overdue! And when doing so, please take all complaints and suggestions (which as I read them are mostly disguised complaints) into consideration, as well as trying to understand why so many users, pretty much all who actually care enough to comment, preferred all previous designs to the 2010 design.
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Elwood Blues

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I second that as well. Look, I can understand that you wanted a new "backbone" and an interface that looks everywhere the same but from a contributors point of view this new design is just... strange (and I'm saying that as somebody who has been contributing for almost 20 years and remembers the fist design). It is non-intuitive (why are the selections like trivia on the right) and shows topics by default that should be in the background (like the entire "Did you know" section or plot summary at the bottom). By changing line spacing, pages for larger films are now so much longer. And due to bad formatting, only about 40% of the screen is used to display information (look at any movie, scroll down, after "Share this page").
I really hope that you will start making changes ASAP. The contributors view does not necessarily need to be pretty - it needs to be functional.
(Edited)
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ElM.

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I'm not sure that the number of new registrations should be the indicator of the website's growing success... but on an economical level, it makes sens if it does.

I just miss the old IMDb, I used to be very active on the Daily Poll board, and I remember one poll by the end of the day could garner something between 17.000 and 20.000 votes, the lower on the page it got, the less votes it had, but it still managed to make something between 11.000 and 13.000.

Now, you have one lucky poll among many dozens that gets on the frontpage but it is at the extreme bottom with at least 20 sections before you get to it, making 20.000 votes in one week, while the other polls are lucky if they get 300 votes at the end of the day, so I don't know if IMDb has more users but they sure care less about the polls (or the polls lack so much visibility they're almost useless)

I could do without the polls but the reviews' changes were hard to accept, I trust there will be positive changes in 2018, but I'll never consider 2017 to be IMDb's finest hour, the removal of the message boards was like a "beginning of the end" to me.
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Official Response
A quick update on the progress here ...

Yesterday, on Friday 29 December 2017 at 3:41pm PST (11:41pm GMT) the final piece of old software in this multi-year migration moved to the new platform. 

Thank you for your patience so far.  We appreciate change is always hard -- please be assured we are doing this to build a much better IMDb for the long term. As noted elsewhere across other announcement threads (see https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb?topic-list[settings][type]=update), the final timing here left us no alternatives other than making some (mostly temporary) painful cuts in functionality of some features. On the plus side, it also made us examine some underused or outdated features and determine to simplify or remove them. Sometimes the best thing to do to improve the usability of an interface is to remove the least used features. Sorry if a personally beloved feature was in this latter set -- you can always gauge shared interest from other customers and lobby for its return by posting in the relevant "Ideas" section here on Get Satisfaction (for the web site, see https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/categories/imdb_imdbcom?topic-list[settings][type]=idea).

For those interested, the final change was the advanced title search (ATS) form at http://www.imdb.com/search/title. It was a relatively small change so the page is pretty much as before, except the (broken) keyword suggestion search field is now a (working) manual field, and the entries in the include / exclude menus in "Lists" are now in most recently modified order for consistency with the rest of the site.  The suggestion search powered keyword field will return early in 2018.  This now clears the way for an upgrade to the back-end ATS software which will remove the 10,000 result limit. This same limit has already been removed from advanced name search at http://www.imdb.com/search/name via a similar upgrade as part of the migration work. 

We are already working on adding / returning features on the new platform.  The pace of this work will increase when more of the team are back in the office after the New Year holiday next week. Please see the individual announcement threads at https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb?topic-list[settings][type]=update to keep up with specific progress as things launch. 

You should already see a more consistent interface across the main IMDb site, and in 2018 you will see more consistency across all parts of IMDb (web site, mobile web, iOS app and Android app). If a feature is missing or limited in one or more interfaces then there's a good chance it is at least in planning. 

Repeating some text which I wrote in another thread earlier this week ...

The numbers we are watching here are all showing improved customer engagement, with even more potential as things like review sort orders and ratings filtering are added back in the New Year.  We now have: a consistent design across all core pages on the web site; list editing on the Android app; all user reviews readable everywhere; consistent (and automatic) character pages; news available everywhere; all data published  everywhere as it is processed and available for instant editing (not random sections running 24-36 hours out-of-sync); an easier data cross-linking format; a better help system; a faster suggestion search powered contribution system; more visible core box office information; more modern list editing (okay yes, drag-and-drop on web is an unfortunate casualty, but the rest is better IMHO); the end of the unmanaged wiki systems (open for all contributors, with FAQ coming soon). This had led to new registrations at an all-time high across 2017; data contributors and data contributions similarly on all-time highs, yet (ignoring temporary holiday backlogs this week) the fastest ever overall processing times plus with the smallest ever backlogs.  Behind-the-scenes almost everything is now on the same modern software platform with simpler, faster paths for future changes; hundreds of (sometimes) years old bugs have been resolved; scores of longstanding requests / suggestions have been implemented; consistency has improved hugely between the nine "on platform" sites and apps which our team directly supports (with more work to do here in 2018).

Of course, not everything today is perfect nor in its desired end state. As mentioned, we had to make some awful short-term trade-off decisions to ensure we completed the technology migration in 2017, but we are confident the short term pain is worth the long term gain. 

Sonny: "Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end." from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1412386/quotes/qt1645298 :-)

Thanks again for continuing to bear with us.  Lastly, thanks to the amazing IMDb team who have all worked hard across 2017 to get us to this point.  Onwards now to our traditional end-of-year "thank you" to IMDb's top data contributors which will be published as on Monday as usual (archive from 2016 and earlier, available at https://contribute.imdb.com/czone/top_msg). 

Col Needham
Founder & CEO, IMDb.com
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David Lightman

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I'd like to say thank you to Mr Needham & IMDB staff for bringing back "Prolific authors/reviewers & being able to sort reviews by user rating. I previously protested about it and I'm happy to get these features back. Just yesterday I watched a film which is generally praised by everyone and would have wanted to find some negative comments as well - to support my view of the film... today I noticed I can now sort by user rating again. Good.

There are still some small functionality/sorting issues which disappeared by past updates, at least not being able to sort by decades & genres on "Your ratings"-page... I guess that's possible using "advanced search" but that's a bit time consuming/hard to find for average user. 

I'm closing in on 5000 (film) ratings soon and I think most important feature of IMDB for me is being able to sort my ratings according to several categories. I use "Export" (to Excel file) function a lot.
IMDB offers me ability to keep track on films I've seen (rated), sort those films and read reviews (which I do mostly AFTER I have seen a film). Oh and of course checking film ratings to help me with my watchlist...