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“We have decided to disable IMDb's message boards” (imdb.com)
425 points by ivank on Feb 5, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 324 comments

Thumbs down to whoever decided to close the boards.

I'll miss being able to argue about why a movie is rubbish with someone who thinks it's fantastic, or vice-versa.

There's some great discussions on some of the movie boards where people talk about the stories and motivations of characters etc. Sure it gets heated sometimes, but that's life. You just navigate around that stuff and find things worth responding to.

Sending people to "Facebook" is not an alternative as there is no facility to divide discussion per thousands of movies over there, and... it's Facebook, the fast food of online discussion. It's designed more for small packets of latest buzz more than dedicated threaded topics. What a joke IMDB, they should fix their boards with post-limits, voting up/down posts, and community moderation.

There are some really interesting things you find on the message boards:

- I once came across a nomadic TV watching club - they'd decide to watch a classic TV series, and then go to the board for that series to hold weekly discussions (you go in one week and see them discussing the first episode, then go in the next week and see them discussing the second, etc.). When the series was finished, they'd announce the next series they would watch and migrate to that board.

- At one point the board for Kingdom of Heaven was a bunch of history buffs discussion history (and occasionally mentioning the movie).

- Coming across threads that had been going on for over a decade was always interesting. Someone made a comment, a year or two later (long after they've left) someone else comes along and responds to them, a couple years later someone else responds to that, etc.

- The discussion of movie finances could be really informative, and definitely gave me a much deeper understanding of how things work and what it means for a movie to be profitable (basically, it's really complicated).

And of course, the boards were a great place for things like recommendations, up to date news, and learning about things you missed in the film.

Hopefully the Internet Archive gets to archive these before Amazon deletes them in a couple of weeks.

The nomadic thing! Used to do something like that with random Internet forums, it was great fun :)

We had a small group of friends and/or religious zealots (Discordians) from all over the world, and we'd pick a medium-smallish webforum on a random topic and we'd go on safari. Dress up our avatars with little pith-helmets, register an account and uh, explore the local wildlife.

We didn't really try to disrupt or actively troll anything, just have a bit of fun and, well, basically we'd roleplay stereotypical Bri'ish explorers and I dunno it was hilarious :-)

Reactions varied widely. Sometimes moderators just got spooked because five new accounts registered all at once and they were acting silly and it looked like a troll invasion (but we were always nice and polite and we offered them tea) depending on their sense of humour, sense of adventure, sometimes we'd get banned within minutes, otherwise we'd hang around for a day or two, check out some discussions, actually being helpful if we could, just play in the "general discussion" sub or photoshop some pterodactyls on their memes. The better forums really got in on the joke, great times were had, and occasionally some of their forum members joined our little band. If we didn't get banned, we'd try to leave a link to the next place we would explore.

Possibly an opportunity to create a website just for the "nomadic TV club"?

I imagine they'll migrate somewhere. But they won't have the same opportunity to pick up random people as they float from board to board (they won't be nomadic anymore).

Reddit ?

Tell them to migrate to reddit. It's perfect for these kind of things.

Head to https://letterboxd.com — besides looking and working beautifully, it's designed from the ground up as a social movie site to find, review, track and share great (and awful) watches. The list functionality is superb — Best car chases? Submarine films? Movies where white people solve racism? Got it.

That looks lovely, but as most other movie communities there's no import option. After having rated hundreds of movies on IMDB and Trakt, I really don't like the idea of starting from scratch, again.

There is an import option for pro users: https://letterboxd.com/about/importing-data

I've been using Letterboxd extensively for 6 months now - after 13 years of rating everything on IMDB. The experience of rating and reviewing a movie is superior on Letterboxd, definitely. But when I need discussions about a movie, or if I need to know an exact detail (revenue, soundtrack,...), I still head up to IMDB.

TMDb just yesterday launched discussions for each movie and TV show

you can have discussion in comments on trakt.tv or try to convince admin of TMDb to enable it again


This looks interesting, as I use imdb mainly for lists, and they are too inconsistent to me - there's a watchlist, but no watched-list, for example. Or I haven't found it, because the ui is so inconsistent. Does Letterboxd have the option to export your activity / lists?

Maybe Trakt would also be an alternative for you? They have a "watched" list as it's their main feature. Lots of media centers automatically submit what you watched to the site so it's great to keep track of things.

Here's what it looks like for a profile with some data:


TMDb just added Discussions feature, other then that they have watchlist, ratings, etc

trakt.tv and TMDb are better options than letterboxd

the watched list is the list with your ratings.

That's not the same, as I rarely rate movies I've watched.

on TMDb you have discussions, can import watchlist and ratings from IMDb lots you can create any list you want (watched but not rated as you mention for instance) plus of course it has discussions for each movie

+1 for letterboxd. It offers both great value as a "single player" and a "multi player" website, and is in my eyes a model for what a social network centered around a hobby/interest should be like.

it doesn't have boards so it's useless as replacement of imdb boards, better use comments on Trakt.tv or try to convince admin of TMDb to reenable forums for each movie again


Hi, I couldnt find the discussion boards for each movie. Either I am blind or this isnt a alternative.

check TMDb, the most known open alternative to IMDb added discussions just yesterday

The sad part is it's due to a very small amount of trolls that did a lot of damage. I can't help but be disgusted that these guys are now laughing about IMDB shutting the whole thing down because of their actions.

Well, it's time to come up with a better solution than 'don't feed the trolls.' I have been saying for years that trolling (the aggressive kind, not the witty mutual banter kind) is a serious problem and the response is almost always 'oh just don't give them attention, that's what they feed on blah blah.'

this ignores the fact that trolls and bullies systematically pick on people who are vulnerable and target their specific vulnerabilities. Telling people to just ignore it is equivalent to telling them that their injuries don't matter and you're not interested enough to help, and can't think of a single suggestion to do anything the problem they're experiencing. That is an implicit endorsement of the idea that aggressively trolling other people is basically acceptable.

> Telling people to just ignore it is equivalent to telling them that their injuries don't matter and you're not interested enough to help

No, it's equivalent to giving them a toolset to make many attempts at injuring them unsuccessful.

I'll be the first to admit that "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is a porous filter. But removing it because it's not perfect only makes people more vulnerable. Rather than finding a way to address things that make it through that first-pass filter, now the new solution has to fix everything at once. (As we've seen, you've already established that partial fixes are unacceptable.) Good luck finding a solution.

> Telling people to just ignore [...] is an implicit endorsement of the idea that aggressively trolling other people is basically acceptable.

Telling someone that life involves exposure to things they might not like and they're going to have to find ways to deal with it, is in no way an endorsement of those things. All it is, is not coddling.

Pointing to the existence of unpleasant things in life is very different from just shrugging them off. If you're really concerned, do something about changing the behavior of the antagonist instead of worrying that you might be 'coddling' the victims.

Most places do have rules designed to remove trolls. Like everything else in life, a balance is needed; focusing solely on either end of the interaction is not productive. Both sides need to be addressed.

If aggressive trolling is occurring, the trolls should be punished appropriately, but in the meantime, the intended targets should do what they can to prevent escalation.

Yeah but the targets already know that advice. It's like telling a rape victim 'stay away from creepy men.' That's not helpful advice in most cases, and it's doubly annoying when the advice-giver isn't obviously making any effort to confront the bad actors, but handwaving about the existence of rules or laws. It's not enough to just put a rule in place, bad actors need to be confronted and attacked for the bad behavior they engage in.

If you're really concerned, do something about changing the behavior of the antagonist

Once you suggest a mitigation strategy that doesn't have laughably bad cost/benefit in comparison to teaching coping mechanisms, I'm all ears.

Until then: stop telling me to "do something." I can't figure out how to fix the world for you, rise to the occasion yourself. If you do find it, it'll be easy to convince me to join.

Yes, one should help the targets of bullies to be resilient. In addition to that, one should make it clear that bullying is unacceptable.

And, perhaps, depending on the forum and the degree of confidence that you have the whole story, one should take action against the bullies.

I think the problem is just that people use one word, "troll", for too many different things.

We can keep using "troll" for people who are saying things to get people riled up [http://www.flamewarriorsguide.com/warriorshtm/troller.htm].

But we need to call people who pick on others "bullies".

As for scum who post threats, email pictures of dead people to their family members [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikki_Catsouras_photographs_co...], etc, we may need a third word. I can't think of a good one -- is there something like "pervert" but without the sexual overtones? Maybe "thug", although that also might not be the best choice? "Stalker" is used ironically too often. "Scum" sounds too over-the-top.

Even the word "bully" isn't strong enough. "Bully" is a diminutive term that sounds like it describes an unimportant/childish problem. (The word originally meant "lover" or "friend" in Dutch.)

When the target is an online community, I use the term "attacker" in the infosec sense.

When someone sends threats, I think the best term is "harassment."

> The word originally meant "lover" or "friend" in Dutch.

That doesn't seem very relevant though; modern day Dutch language speakers have absolutely no such association with that word — the word it came from is not in modern use and is unknown to most. Only a dedicated linguist would recognize the Dutch etymology of 'bully'.

I think "attacker" and "harassment" are both accurate but I feel that they are too clinical/adult/long/abstract for people to get angry about. You want words that a 5-year-old understands, and you want words that conjure an image.

You know, I'm past worrying about the feelings of trolls. They're not owed fun or any protection for the activities they enjoy, and if they don't like getting kicked out of civil forums for acting like assholes then too bad.

The issue is that everyone has a different perspective on what constitutes "trolling" and what doesn't. These "civil forums" frequently develop a habit of banning anyone who tries to do anything other than shout more echos into the echo chamber on the pretext that they're "trolls" or otherwise unsavory community members. A policy that encourages such casual non-concern for participants is likely to result in some very one-sided outcomes.

Sorry, I don't think that's an accurate reflection of online social dynamics. Echo chambers certainly exist and I've run into that same problem myself, but I managed to disagree without disputing other people's freedom to participate in such forums, doxxing people, making death threats, or engaging in any of the other activities that obnoxious trolls are well-known for.

I quite agree with you. I'm only saying that when you talk about bullying to third parties using the word "troll", sometimes the third party will imagine something less serious than is actually happening.

Ah, I see - I overlooked the fact of being rooted in internet culture for longer and more deeply than the general population sometimes impedes communication.

I'm always on the lookout for better words to get key concepts across so I'll add 'troll' to my list of terms that need a better descriptor.

Meatball wiki has developed a specific approach based on soft security[1], Consumerium has a similarly based approach based on leveraging the lowest troll[2] vs sysop power structure.

[1]: http://meatballwiki.org/wiki/SoftSecurity [2]: http://develop.consumerium.org/wiki/Lowest_Troll

"today, the word troll are both verb and noun, and are applied loosely to any outsider. If you don't like someone's manners, he is a troll. If you don't like a gadfly, he is a troll. If you don't like a philosopher, he is a troll. If you don't like a inquirer, he is a troll. If you don't like a humorist, he is a troll. If you don't like a teacher, he is a troll. If you don't like witches, they are, well, witches and must be witch-hunted. Thusly, from weirdo to witches, from teachers to philosophers, from gadfly to firebrand, from loner to gay, they are all trolls online at your call. Quick spun the guild of killfilers and troll-criers. Anyone who has contrariwise things to say or the manner of saying it is a troll." - "troll ignorance", Xah Lee


If you still want to comment on movies on IMBD but don't want to direct your comments to Facebook or some other website sign up on "The New Internet" (areyoureal.com) you can comment ON TOP of ANY page of the internet including movie pages located on IMDB.

Also, to your point our platform eliminates these malicious "trolls" you speak of. By authenticating each user, their real name will be attached to comments which means they are less likely to "troll" if it is attached to their reputation.

MeatballWiki (http://meatballwiki.org/wiki/MeatballWiki - a fork of the original c2.com dedicated to virtual communities, now in read only mode) had a few pages with insights on trolls, mostly linked from http://meatballwiki.org/wiki/WhatIsaTroll

This also touches on one of my favorite essays on social software: A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy ( http://www.shirky.com/writings/group_enemy.html )

In many cases, the community can do an acceptable job of moderating when given the tools to do so. There is often a core group within the community that tries to keep things sane. Back in the days of usenet, we had people who would moderate because they cared about usenet as a whole and their news groups in particular. Shared kill files, honoring their cancel posts... and for the most part, it worked.

Now days there are three different structures of social software that are dominating - and dealing poorly with trolling. There is the "the community does it all" but lacking the necessary tools to moderate. Reddit and Stack Exchange are the two that most obviously fill this domain - community moderators that scale very poorly. On the other hand you've got the "use a third party like discus" to host the comments. And frankly, that which has some significant lack of moderation tools for the people using it. On the third hand you've got the self hosted forums run by a company - news sites often have this. All moderation is done by the staff and that fails horribly in terms of making sure the comments are something that one wants to read.

While the don't feed a troll worked back in the usenet days where the entire community could ostracize the people (or actively remove their attention seeking ways by canceling messages or just not accepting those posts), those moderation tools haven't made it back into today's social software along with the ability to have a site that is able to be moderated by the community and has a strong enough core group to do the moderation without rapid burn out.

Don't feed a troll was an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. It meant much more than just ignoring them, and the tools to ignore them were more available.

Kathy Sierra's rebuttal to "don't feed the trolls" during Gamergate makes this point very well: http://seriouspony.com/trouble-at-the-koolaid-point/

Real ID helps but no one wants that.

Looking at the Facebook comment sections some news sites include, I'm not convinced it actually helps.

Tech people believe in real ID because most tech people are leftists.

Leftists call racists "racists" because under their own set of values that's a horrible thing to say. Imagine if a tech guy was outed as a racist. That'd be the end of his career. Look at what happened to Brendan Eich when it was discovered he doesn't support gay rights.

What they don't understand is that there are more economy sectors other than tech and places other than San Francisco where your life won't be ruined if someone discovers you're a racist. So, real ID is pretty much irrelevant for a big part of the population. That's why it doesn't work.

I remember hearing recently that using real names doesn't help with online bullying. Here's an article I quickly found saying they're more hostile when using real names[1]

[1] https://qz.com/741933/internet-trolls-are-even-more-hostile-...

A bit but I don't think anonymity is the root of the problem, although it's certainly an amplifier of bad behavior. But FB's 'real name' policy is frequently used to harass people by falsely flagging their account as spam, triggering an auto-suspension until the owner shows FB a copy of their photo ID.

Which is fucking bullshit when you think about it.

IMDB says the decision was based on traffic and data. They don't mention trolls.

"we have concluded that IMDb's message boards are no longer providing a positive, useful experience for the vast majority..."

they don't explicitly say "we're shutting down because of trolls", but i think the message is pretty clear.

It's not clear at all. Probably what they mean is that out of every million unique hits, only a small fraction actually use the message boards. Meanwhile, the message boards, being dynamic, are expensive to host.

It's definitely expensive, but aren't they heavily AWS based? More importantly, aren't they an Amazon sub-company?? I understand that they could rearrange the resources elsewhere but I don't think, at least this time, it's a merely cash problem.

Yeah but that's corporate bullshit to avoid litigation by admitting there's a problem. As a company IMDB is not especially interested in movies or in the quality of the service they provide to users, only in maximizing the revenue stream from them. They have a very aggressive approach to gathering data; if any of your personal information shows up in their database it's virtually impossible to get it removed, for instance.


Accusations of "trolling" lose some legitimacy when the word "troll" becomes "anyone with a political believe I consider unacceptable".

The watering down of the word "troll" made me suspicious, but what I've found is that in the last 15 years it seems like we've regressed in our collective ability to reason about online conversation.

It used to be the case that "flame" was a word people knew, and that flamewars were treated as flamewars. Team "not getting involved" would peel off from the conversation and warn people with positions at stake not to get involved - there was no productive disagreement to be had in a flamewar. The people who couldn't stay away _knew_ they were in a flamewar. Everyone else knew to just let it run it's course. Nobody's opinion who mattered would be dumb enough to be swayed, so we just ignored the flamewar until it burned out.

Unrelated: In same time period, a lot of websites have popped up with content and editorial direction that profit off of the fact people get trapped in perpetual flamewars; maintaining/replenishing their audience by pouring fuel onto the fire. I'm sure this is a coincidence.

Your comment reminded me of the word netiquette.

And now I feel grumpy and old. :\

The cost to moderate the boards is probably not insignificant. The revenue they provided (directly) I'm sure made the decision pretty easy to make when looking at it only through the lens of a cold spreadsheet.

I find that weird though; message boards generate a lot of pageviews and are generally rich in content, so they would also generate a lot of advertising revenue.

The message boards on IMDB is nearly the only reason I ever go on IMDB, just after watching a movie. I never go there for their content since there are much better sites out there presenting the info (themoviedb), + there trailers are terrible slow to load (at least where I live) compared to Youtube or even Apple hosted trailers.

I just checked out themoviedb, but there's a lack of information compared with IMDB. For example technical specs of the film like aspect ratio are missing.

well, at least they have now discussions for movie fans leaving IMDb

Actually, the CPMs are probably fairly low compared to the high-dollar CPMs IMDB gets on its main movie pages. And half the time the discussion isn't really branded per se, it's just banter between fans (or trolls). Forums can create high engagement from a pageview standpoint, but the content isn't really "controlled", so the CPMs are (I'm guessing) rather minuscule in the grand scheme of things.

I thought Reddit had pretty good discussions about movies.

I rarely go onto Reddit these days. After their warrant canary disappeared and their CEO was caught editing comments, I feel like it's no longer a website I want to support.

There aren't any real alternatives though. Voat is like 4chan fucked some YouTube comments and then had a Danares Targaryen style demon baby.

Imzy is probably what you want. It's very clearly messaged from the beginning that moderation is important.

Voat was really cool initially, but it's become a cesspool or racism and hatred. That echo chamber is almost as bad as the Reddit echo chamber.

Though it's just a crapshoot quality wise.

Some of the best discussions on movies that I've been a part of are taking place on archival movie torrent sites. There are many passionate, smart, and well-educated film buffs around those sites that have a depth of knowledge that I haven't experienced in many other corners of the web.

I'm very interested in learning more about that sort of topic. Would you mind sharing some of those websites? If you aren't comfortable sharing them publicly my email is in my profile.

Not at all: please check out /r/TrueFilm and /r/flicks.

Reddit is a garbage dump.

Keeping a board that's gone toxic on life support is not a good idea. They can always restart it later on with a better system. IMO, once a community hits the point where people are fighting each other because they both have competing ideas of what it should be about, the people who provided most of the valuable conversation have already left and there's nothing to do but shut it down and learn from your mistakes.

what you want is the Cinema Discusso subforum on SomethingAwful

  Thumbs down to whoever decided to close the boards.  
  I'll miss being able to argue about why a movie is rubbish with someone who thinks it's fantastic, or vice-versa.
This would be a great opportunity for you to start your own film community then.

Not a sensible remark. Making a huge network of message boards attached to a major database of film, TV, actors and crew is not exactly something anyone can just throw together in their downtime.

"Hey IMDB fans, good news I've installed a PHP message board on some shared web hosting where you can continue the discussion". Errr.. no. That's not gonna cut it.

Developed/ran a message board software for 4 years.

Running a large message board network is one of the worst experiences I have ever had. You are constantly wasting time moderating people, blocking people, recalculating algorithms, dealing with attacks and explaining to the police you don't have the IP address in question. Every large message board I have developed or managed revolted or sued us ([1][2] random example revolts). One of the largest being niketalk.com. THIS, while making NO MONEY. Users that use generic message boards are extremely hostile towards ads and refuse to pay for anything. EVERYTHING done by the moderators is overblown and people working there are publicly quartered.

Yeah no thanks. I would have removed the boards too - then got a coffee.

[1] http://mashable.com/2010/08/30/users-revolt-against-new-digg...

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/07/reddit-re...

I developed and ran social networking features for a fashion site with an almost entirely female audience, age range 20-50. I was fully expecting bad behavior but was surprised as it grew that people were unfailingly nice, supportive and encouraging to each other, with only a few exceptions. Of course I'm aware that females, like anyone else, can be nasty to each other, but it barely happened here with membership in the thousands. It would be an interesting social experiement to replicate that on a larger scale while limiting the demographic by gender, age, and so on to see how it affects the behavior of the group.

I would guess fashion-interest is a better selector for positive interaction than female. Try an all-female board about veganism and watch them eat each other alive in a race to the righteousness bottom.

Seems pretty civil and reasonable to me: https://www.reddit.com/r/vegan/comments/4hnzyz/why_are_most_...

Reddit doesn't really work like a traditional forum. In a traditional forum everybody has the same visibility, in reddit it's very easy to create like-minded communities because anything controversial gets out of view very fast.

> I would guess fashion-interest is a better selector for positive interaction

Wow, I would have guessed the opposite. Devil Wears Prada? Mean Girls?

Oh well, that's what I get for forming opinions without real-life evidence.

This seems like odd and unsupported speculation to me...

> membership in the thousands

This is pretty tiny, by Internet messageboard standards.

Even a tiny subreddit has tens of thousands of users, and "smaller" subs have over a hundred thousand.

I suspect that your good experience had more to do with the small number of people than the topic or demographics.

I've noticed the same thing on Reddit in subreddits where women make up 50% or more of the population. When I'm posting in these communities, I tend to be given the benefit of the doubt and receive a lot more supportive or cheerful replies instead of walls of text/sarcasm/"well, actually". It's made me unconsciously change my posting habits.

I can confirm that the general quality and civility of discussion in TwoXChromosomes spiraled downward extremely quickly once it was made a default subreddit. It was designed as a haven for women to discuss women's issues with other women on reddit, and has become one more public pool for gentlemen to tip their fedoras and "raise a debate" on paternity law, when the community was never meant for that sort of discussion in the first place. The day it went public every thread was full of long time community members begging for it to be reverted immediately, and pretty much everything they predicted came true.

That just shows that any time you open stuff to participation by the general population and lift it out of obscurity, it turns to shit. Just look at our elections. We'd be better off just having a monarch.

I think the factors that make, or break, an online community are: The number of active users, the visibility of posters (so reputation is at stake), and the ability for the community to self-moderate.

There seems to be a magic threshold when the user base size crosses it and suddenly people are more disruptive. Based on my observation of a few online groups I've participated in.

As an additional data point, I moderate a forum that's coincidentally mostly male (a function of the industry it serves), and they too are (at least on the forum in question) pleasant, friendly and supportive, with only a very few exceptions.

it barely happened here with membership in the thousands. It would be an interesting social experiement to replicate that on a larger scale while limiting the demographic by gender, age, and so on to see how it affects the behavior of the group.

If you want the results of that experiment, you'll find it in the conventional wisdom among reddit moderators and dedicated users. Subs with under 10,000 subscribed users are not only good interpersonally, the content of the subreddit is in it's heyday. If the userbase balloons, or the content quality nosedives, then you get bad interpersonal interaction.

I ran a popular blog and message board for Dave Matthews Band fans called WeeklyDavespeak. Anecdotal, but I put an all female staff in place in charge of the boards and there was effectively no drama.

I ultimately had to take to boards down due to waning interest in the band and the continuing attention cost of keeping the server and message board software up to date.

A fascinating proposition!

Agreed. I used to moderate the largest English Starcraft forum. We had a pretty low tolerance for poor behavior, and people would cause shitstorms on other forums about our allegedly heavy handed moderation style.

I'm no longer active on staff duties but the site is going strong so I'm guessing we did something right.

As far as online games go, Starcraft seems to on the less toxic side in my experience.

I agree with this, the Starcraft community experiences losses as a learning opportunity.

Team liquid is what I think of when I think of active moderation done right

That's a name I havent heard in a long time. Some of my best gaming experiences were with people I met there. Agreed 100%

Those guys and the DAD clan from TFC (now disbanded) had some of the greatest mods. They kept the places in check but they had a sense of humor about it.

What was your TL ID? :)

TeamLiquid has some sensible rules[1] that are being carried out by a numerable sensible staff members[2]. Its longevity speak to the effectiveness of this formula.

[1] - http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/tl-community/17883-tlnet-ten...

[2] - http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft2/TeamLiquid.net_Staff

Hi 2pac! ;)

Thanks for the compliment :)

Interesting to read your post. I had always thought running a forum would be hard work but somehow rewarding.

What where some of the reasons you would get sued?

Not quickly responding to DMCA complaints[1], subpoenas[2], death threats [mainly just working with police], illegal content. With one forum, the owner sued saying that content was 'theirs' and wanted us to provide the mysqldump as a settlement.



Thanks for replying. I guess hosting something successful will result in these becoming a daily reality.

Great point.

They're just much harder than people thought.

It's weird that people thought you could just bolt comments onto a webpage without problems, because we had all those years of Usenet to show that it wasn't that easy.

...he posted, on an online comment system.

edit: before the parent comment was edited, the most charitable reading of the comment was that internet commenting systems have a net negative effect on humanity

That's an awfully big generalization to post on an internet commenting system.

His comment made me slightly sadder than I was before I read it, so from that viewpoint it is accurate.

I can not agree with the "making NO MONEY" assertion. Many users come here to get the opinions of others about a movie. Another example: The success of Amazon is for a part to the positive/negative comments because you need the experience of users about their product. The money do not come from the comment, but they bring visitors... and their money.

Seems like a lot of that can be solved by simply not moderating or censoring anythng.

Sure. Just have boards filled with childporn and dick picks. Let me know how that goes.

CP is never welcome and gets removed. Even un- or barely moderated boards do so.

Dick picks, on the other hand, are tedious but not inherently bad.

The point is -- it needs to be moderated.

For a message board run extremely well see whirlpool.net.au

It's basically the forum for all of Australia. They seem to have found the perfect balance between moderation and creating a good culture.

^^ This comment is being discussed by Australians on twitter here: https://twitter.com/decryption/status/828462981096710149

4chan seems to do ok. Or maybe not, depending on your perspective. There are a ton of smaller chan style boards that are awesome and don't seem to have the problems everyone is talking about here.

4chan is moderated to the hilt.

It's moderated but far more permissive than the internet at large. Also, maybe they're really good at deleting complaints about the moderators?

It's not really comparable because their boards have a limited number of active posts and the bigger boards get so much traffic anything is gone within a few minutes. So if you complain about something and they don't respond within the hour, it's gone anyway.

Still they have big problems with spam, ddos attacks and moderator turnover and that is after they delegate the bigger problems to /b to be mostly ignored.

Yes 4chan is a mess, but I'm glad it's there.

Though 4chan does have moderators.

So why is there so much racism, doxing, and other horrible behavior? Or are only some of the boards moderated?

All boards are moderated in a completely different way. Most of the boards have a pinned post with the rules. Most moderation occurs stealthily.

Also, racism and doxxing are not comparable at all.

The double-edged sword of not moderating based on racism and other undesirable behavior is that your job as a moderator is much easier, but you have the terrible reputation that 4chan has. I am personally fine with boards that allow pretty much everything other than CP and other illegal content. I think this is how a number of chan boards operate.

Do they both not belong to "horrible behavior?"

Is this "If you can't beat em, join em" Nazi edition? Half the challenge of the other boards out there is keeping the waste of molecules that constitutes 4chan away.

Out of all of the people who would like to frequent message board, some of them can't stand boards with a lot of censorship; and others can't stand boards which don't have strong moderation.

Surely some forum hosts will desire to serve those users who desire strong moderation, and for these forum hosts, not censoring or moderating isn't a solution.

This is pretty bad move and here's why: IMDb relies on users using the site, editing entries, facts, quotes and correcting things.

These are the community, and they are movie fans, hardcore fans, the reason why IMDb continues. The "db" in IMDb has been created, by hand, by volunteers - the users who use the message board.

IMDb has totally overlooked the value of the Message Boards - they are for the community. Remove this and IMDb as a whole will suffer.

Consider this comparison: Imagine if Wikipedia said that it was only going to have Facebook logins for editors. All user pages were being deleted, no user meetups were allowed and no meta discussion about pages was allowed, but only that normal articles, the main thing non editors read were to be kept. Thats a stretched comparison - the idea is the the message boards are how the community works, not just some little addon that non community members don't use.

All true. They've grown fat off user-created content, and are about to discover that their user base isn't that sticky and their database is easy to clone. AOL was once the biggest thing on the internet, and look at them now.

As a general matter, if you've ever wanted to disrupt an existing firm but have been unsure about whether it's practical to unseat an incumbent, times of economic and political uncertainty are absolutely the best environment to go about it. I don't think it's a coincidence that the first tech boom peaked at a time of (relatively minor) political crisis.

It would be like Y Combinator shutting down its "message board", citing "Increasingly, Y Combinator customers have migrated to Reddit"

If hacker news doesn't stem the growth of trolling (which has pushed out plenty of my friends) then it probably will eventually "shut down" new signups for a while.

Odd, I don't see a lot of blatant trolling on HN at all. Care to name some examples?


HN has the least trolls of any board I look at.

Can you provide examples?

I've seen almost no trolling here, it seems to get shut down pretty quickly.

Only time will tell if this is a good or bad decision. I bet they crunched the numbers and felt that they could save money by no longer needing to maintain a moderation staff, or potentially move that staff to more important projects.

Judging by the flame wars I've seen on IMDB, their moderation staff is small to non-existent.

IMDb relies on users using the site, editing entries, facts, quotes and correcting things.

Are you sure about this? My impression is that they rely on IMDBPro subscriptions.

They did in the beginning, not so much now I guess. The worst thing was when the removed all the actual writers from films and replaced them with the official writers, due to a deal with the WGA or similar.

This is probably the most insightful comment here.

This is incredibly sad news. I have been a regular reader of IMDb message boards for over 15 years now. It's the last actual forum that I still visit.

There's so much valuable information stored on those boards, it's a tragedy to see it get deleted. Sure the most popular movie threads might be filled with toxic flamewars, but the long tail of more obscure movies has reasonable discussion and human recommendations of other similar movies. It's precisely this why I'm extra sad about this whole situation. It's not difficult to find a community to talk about the next Star Wars, but there aren't really any places where discussion (in English) about 20 years old Dutch movies happens.

Exactly. The good finds on the boards are worth the bad contributions - which could be managed with a bit of effort and changing the format.

The value of attaching discussion to a movie database is unmatched by any alternative.

Take for example the old obscure film Stalker (1979). We see discussions 4 pages long about the meaning of the dog in the film. Or this one, "Other 'visually beautiful' films?", and people respond with suggestions. This information will be lost, and the opportunity to create similar threads in a sensible place in context with the movie, also lost.


'Stalker' is not an 'old obscure film' and reams have been written about it. For instance, a recent book - http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/04/books/review/geoff-dyers-z...

The point I was making is that non-mainstream films released a long time ago still have active quality ongoing discussion on IMDB.

I didn't invest a lot time choosing an example film. You're not happy with my choice in Stalker, then replace it with whatever you like that happens to have good discussion on the boards. Perhaps "Celine and Julie go Boating (1974)" would qualify as obscure...

Is anything considered obscure anymore? Before the internet if you wanted to watch Salo (Pasolini), you'd be out of luck unless some film festival was showing it. Now you can just grab the torrent and head to IMDB to join the discussion.

Old and obscure? That's Tarkovsky, man.

same here, been user for 14 years. since there was no alternative everyone headed to IMDb boards to discuss movie so you could always find someone, now after destroying the boards not sure where to go, since everyone will try to find some place to discuss movies, though there is none really with critical mass of users

i am thinking about trakt.tv though it's just threaded comments, but better than nothing since rotten tomatoes have read only forums and tmdb and metacritic doesn't have even that. my movie watching experience will be severely affected by lack of discussion after finishing movie, might as well watch less movies because of lack of place to discuss them

4chan has a television and film board, it's less 4chan than the other boards.

If the IMDB boards were shut down due to the actions of malicious trolls, sending folks in search of a new movie forum to 4chan is rather ironic.

it has board created already for every single obscure movie?

i think better option would be enable forums on TMDb as they discuss here


For you -- other users not accustomed to 4chan's "charm" can find it extremely painful, even if 10% the discussion is high quality

Though it's no replacement for a forum, my side project has been a web app that finds thematic links between films. I use it to find hidden gems and such. I've had zero traction here on HN, but Gizmodo just did an article on it:



Another nail in the coffin for the open web!

As I mentioned in another comment [1], I read the discussion threads but have never actually contributed to them. I can easily click a link to view all past discussion related to the film I'm interested in without having to sign up and become a member. This would be impossible in Facebook or Twitter where discussion is ephemeral, not conducive to thoughtful expression and not intended for archival or organisation.

It's a real shame that IMDB are just going to remove the boards. Even if they didn't want to allocate resource for maintaining a community, IMDB could have opted to make the forums read-only and keep them as an archive for posterity.

On a tangential note, IMDB is one of the few sites where I see ads because they're not using third-party trackers (as far as Privacy Badger can tell).

1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13571893#13572081

They were implementing a rolling expiry of posts already, so the battle for posterity has probably already been lost (unless IMDB itself has historic records that it will release):


Agreed on keeping them up. Even if just for the SEO value and organic traffic.

i never stumbled upon in boards in Google search results, are they even searchable from outside?


"We thought we would get a community of fans for free. We didn't realize that maintaining a community requires active engagement, setting rules for behavior and enforcing them. We really didn't think anyone would bother being a troll. This is all too expensive to do properly."

i think it might have something to do with litigation. Wikipedia says that they have been sued by actors that got their age revealed on the message board https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMDb#Litigation

And now California has a new anti-ageism law; wikipedia says "The bill forces IMDb to comply with requests by the actors featured on its pages to remove information about their age"

so they might have decided to close the message board for fear of litigation.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects services from being responsible for what users post:

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider"


They may not be responsible, but if they're asked to take it down via DMCA request or a court order, they have to either comply or go to court. Obviously if it's other user's content, it's just easier to comply. Once these start coming in more frequently and adding up, the maintenance costs of that user contributed content add up as well.

Although it's widely used for general censorship, the DCMA is supposed to only cover copyright issues. So the parent comment's concern about "anti-ageism" posts would not be a DCMA issue.

That link contains one suit on grounds of ageism and the plaintiff clearly lost:

In 2013, Pechman dismissed all causes of action except for a breach of contract claim against IMDb; a jury then sided with IMDb on that claim.

Then after the plaintiff refiled the suit:

"All claims against IMDB were dismissed by the court in March 2015, handing Hoang zero damages.[41]"

That is the only suit regarding ageism for IMDB which is a 26 year old company.

But that undoubtedly cost IMDb money. Litigation on its own can be enough to sway the risk/benefit scale, even if the civil complaint is entirely baseless.

>"Litigation on its own can be enough to sway the risk/benefit scale"

We are talking about one frivolous law suit in 16 years of an online presence. I would say by that the risk/benefit ratio is pretty decent.

Even more to your point: 26 years!

So it's less work to simply just destroy one of the most used online forums because a few actors in California feel like they're too old.

Most used online forum? Is there data to back that up?

For one, complying with the law is pretty important. For another, when your livelihood is based on (to a non-trivial extent) your physical characteristics and appearance, having your age revealed, and possibly aging you out of more glamorous roles, is an important protection to ensure.

I have no idea why this was down voted, it seems like it was a calculated decision. Litigation can destroy a company (just ask Gawker). Being responsible, legally with consequences, for monitoring the entirety of your site for age disclosure is expensive. Not only to do it, but the cost of litigation for when you miss one. That's probably a big part of the calculation.

Someone suggested that it's because moderating is expensive, which is true, but IMDB has been moderating their site for a long time. I don't think the cost of standard moderation was a big part in the calculation, simply because they have been doing it successfully for years. I think they are also aware of the value of their message boards simply by tracking page hits.

Having said that, public figures are excluded from privacies generally granted to the public. There are plenty of public records of everyone that discloses their age, even though they are not a public figure. To pass a law requiring IMDB remove age disclosure with consequences is very bad law. Not only that, the people that are the "victims" have the financial ability to litigate. It's even worse if other publications like tabloids are excluded from this requirement.

Will the law prevent age information on wikipedia articles? If i google an actors name and age first there is Googles inline information and then links to Wikipedia.

You can't really say that when they have been around for 16 years.

To be fair, IMDB have been at this game for a long time, they're not a random startup pivoting after 6 months. They've probably learnt those lessons a long time ago, I guess something has changed of late whereby keeping the forums stopped being worth the effort.

I don't think you can say that IMDB's management is unaware of how to manage community engagement. It is an offshoot of a usenet community from the early 1990s and the founder is still actively involved in the site. IMDB is one of the oldest and most successful user-contributed media sites on the web.

It is incredulous they are calling two weeks notice "ample time" for people to organise alternative contacts with friends they may only know via a handle and manually archive their years of messages. I expected better from IMDb.

I would be very surprised if your issue was even realized or considered.

It explicitly says that it was.

That was my reaction as well, but it turns out that most movies don't have messages going back very far. This was by design, it seems: http://www.imdb.com/help/show_leaf?boardswhydeleted

I don't think they care about that.

Perhaps I'm oldfashioned but all the discussions that happen on the "social web" are very scattered, volatile and basically instantly forgotten. So I don't really find that a good argument to delete these archives. That they're overal low-quality discussions, that's true, though.

I guess it has more to do with "Focus", and that comes before "Nostalgia".

Welcome to HN, 5_minutes, are you really saying that because you think these interactions are "instantly forgotten," that that's a reason to keep the archives?

No I am merely stating that the discussions on the social web are perhaps the new trend, but not necessarily a reason to discontinue the classic forum setup. Perhaps, for example, IMDb could've invested a little bit more on the usability and interface of the forums, instead of letting it die just like that. And then at least the conversation would have had an honest chance to be hosted on their own platform. Because as it currently is, it's not just on another platform, it's just lost....

I agree. Keeping archives of decade old arguments between random strangers seems like a waste of digital resources. It's like taking and storing minutes for the water cooler conversations in your office. I wonder how many petabytes of forum content there is out there on the web

> seems like a waste of digital resources

Yes, that's exactly the same what Sumerians did say back a few 1000 years ago. Why keep all these clay tables about ordering wine? Who is gonna be interested in that kind of stuff in 10 years?

Don't you think that such an archive would offer a nice glimpse into our current culture a few hundred years in the future?

I've posted about this in other places on this thread, but after feeling the same way as you, I looked at some old movies, and found that most posts are fairly recent. It turns out that IMDB has been expiring posts all along.

Your argument is sound though. Comments on websites, even if filled with trolls and fakes ought to be treated with respect and saved for posterity, since they give an important insight into the current zeitgeist.

Oh, I don't know. I was a daily user of Usenet for years, but the vast majority of the time I don't miss it. (Yes, I know Google still has some unevenly preserved and mostly difficult to access portion of the content.)

Here's the point: if you put some of the great content that was created there 25 or 30 years ago in front of the current generation, what is the general reaction? A yawn, that's what.

It might be fascinating in a few thousand years, but I won't be around then, and the planet might not be either, so why should I care?

For a certain definition of "nice", possibly. It's a little bit of a depressing thought that some future culture might find only our online comments and study our culture through that.

What else should they find of our current culture? Our books are written on very cheap paper which will not survive the next 100 years.

it's not arguments, there are plenty of intelligent discussions which can help someone watching movie years later, there is no surprise to see thread old 10 years answering your questions about movie and also people joining old threads and reviving them with other new people and seriously, flat forum with few comments is really in 2016 any storage problem? so lame YouTube videos are OK but storing few gigabytes of comments or decades is issue?

I see your point, but looking at size, you could take the comments from Amazon, IMDB, and probably Reddit combined and it wouldn't come close to the size of Instagram's archive, let alone YouTube. Text is probably the smallest format we have in existence which may make it less valuable, but also less expensive to keep.

That's a great analogy.

It's a pity, the boards of not popular movies sometimes had very interesting discussions. I got in the habit always check the message boards after watching a movie.

I've never really posted though, just been a lurker. I hope the Internet Archive archives this in some form.

It's the same for me. I've never posted because usually other contributors have already provided interesting observations or interpretations. If I have a question, odds are someone else in the past two decades has already asked the same question. While, I've noticed the quality of the discussion in inversely proportional to the popularity of the film, even for mainstream films you can identify the useless threads quickly enough or back away if/when they get derailed.

I also do the same, but recently have been doing less and less because, well, obviously, the level of discussion is so low (at least judging by more mature standards like HN) that is just a total waste of time. Even the gems are too sparse and too few to be worth the time lurking there.

I've found some of my favorite movies on iMDB in recommended movies threads. It's sad that they don't think it's worth it to keep. I get that their forums are infested with trolls, but they could just relaunch it on new a platform. Hell take discourse, pick some good posters as moderators, move the good threads and archive the rest. Amazon is already doing the forum thing on DPreview, why can't they just copy the concept to iMDB?!

if you are looking for recommendations then taste.io or taste monster are better anyway, automated recommendations by imdb were always horrible, recommendations from users in boards were OK but i think you are better off with websites i mentioned

i will be missing discussions about different interpretations of movies, things i haven't noticed, plot holes,etc., it was pretty much my ritual in last fourteen years, finish movie and head to imdb boards for better understanding of movie (yes i am not guy watching comics movies and most of the mainstream crap) or discussing ideas about things not actually shown in movie to viewer

note after shutting down boards will be my movie watching experience severely affected, i can only hope some other movie site will introduce boards and welcome imdb refugees

at the moment - rotten tomatoes has boards implemented by they are read only, trakt.tv has threaded comments but not boards, metacritic and tmdb have nothing and that's pretty much it from sites which mean something and have some visitors, different subreddits are just pure mess to discuss movies, it has to be on page with movie information i can find quickly through Google without going through tons of reddit results

> Amazon is already doing the forum thing on DPreview, why can't they just copy the concept to iMDB?!

Can you elaborate? I checked out the DPReview forums[1]. They seemed solid enough, but no obvious connection to Amazon.

Does AWS have some forum-as-a-service product I'm not aware of?

[1] https://www.dpreview.com/forums

Amazon acquired Dpreview in 2007, but as far as I can tell it didn't change anything to do with the site or forums. Those forums have pretty much remained unchanged for a long time.

Less trolls on forums where the subject matter is focused, and requires interest in digital photography. IMDB subject matter can be anything related to movies including how hot this or that actor is, or how ugly or crap they are! This will spawn heated debate, but that's fine by me. A sad loss, the IMDB forums are amusing and reveal a lot of varied opinion and expression.

DPReview is owned by Amazon.

The younger generation or even people newer at the internet never learned how valuable those boards where. IMDb failed with the newer generation and that's why they are shuting them down (the fact that they have to spend resources to keep them up doesn't help either). The comments here (up until now at least) are a representation of their failure as everyone states that nothing of value was lost and most didn't bother with IMDb's boards ever (Hacker News' biggest audience IS that younger generation).

project on HN apparently don't watch movie or search superhero crap and other sophisticated stuff, otherwise it's hard to understand why would anyone agree with shutting boards where movie fans discuss movies, especially those less known and especially since there is ZERO alternative to easily find discussion board for some obscure movie you just watched where would anyone head

people... watch...

can't edit my comment in my HN client

Amazon, the owner of IMDB, does not understand the value of community, apparently seeing it as a cost instead of as an opportunity. So instead of taking advantage of the knowledge and interest of 250 million users, they have given that community to Facebook. Instead, they should have given better tools to their users by making IMDB into a social network for movies. What a waste.

If bulletin board software was made today and was free of the archetypes and styles of the 90's and 2000's would they be more popular today? Spent a lot of time on them during those years and I still find valuable information there whether it's how to fix a car or what strategy should I use to play a certain game.

I think these communities were more tight-knit. They had some modicum of moderation as you typically had to sign up and typically you had to be a good citizen for a while before posting threads. This is in comparison to many social media where you can begin trolling with little to no effort.

Reddit favors gamification or conforming to popular opinion. Many of the forums I frequented didn't have any sort of rep other than post count and maybe join date to see seniority.

I see a lot of sites I used to visit go this way including the forums for Magic: the Gathering. Based on user numbers and the rise of social media platforms they are very likely going to substitute for the old tight-knit forums of yesteryear.

Discussion boards also provide much longer-lasting content. Twitter and Facebook are totally ephemeral.

Reddit content seems to be somewhat valid even after the discussion has ceased, but once discussion leaves a subreddit front page it basically dies. That applies to HN too, of course. Discussion boards usually resurface a topic when someone answers, resulting in a longer discussion and a chance to revisit the topic.

>I see a lot of sites I used to visit go this way including the forums for Magic: the Gathering

I used to post on the "official" WoTC MtG forums a while ago (2010ish) it was essentially dead back then. Threads would sit for weeks with no replies. I can see how it wasn't worth the effort to maintain/moderate them.

Sites like Channel Fireball etc killed the forums. I strongly dislike the MtG reddit page but discussion does happen there.

The forums dedicated to specific formats seem to be going strong still (i.e the mana drain for vintage).

They seem to be adopting the same public comment that NPR did when they shutdown comments - "we aren't shutting it down but rather we are simply 'migrating' community engagement to Twitter(and perhaps other social media outlets.)"

I find relegating community engagement to Twitter creates an uneven experience in that I have to go "out of band" to participate when I am already on the IMDB site. Also discussing movies(or any art form for that matter) via 140 characters is hard for me personally to take seriously.

I wish they had provided numbers for the volume that uses the comments section vs Twitter as it would have been interesting.

Maybe this change will create an opportunity for an alternate movie site?

This just shows how Amazon is only interested in selling movies, not building communities. Can someone recommend any other movie forum with similiar scale?

nothing with such scale at moment, can only hope that TMDb takes this opportunity, you can write them here


other than that only place to discuss movies are comments in trakt.tv but they are pretty dead

Since the announcement I've looked and haven't found anything. This is a huge bummer since the value in the comments were discussions outside of the larger movies.

I've learned many things about movies I've enjoyed and appreciated the other takes of movies I hadn't thought of.

If you do come across something, please let us know.

check trakt.tv comments and support this feature in TMDb discussion


update - TMDb launched discussions yesterday, currently linked only from desktop, on mobile you have to add "discuss" at the end of URL or wait few hours until it will be implemented for mobile layout too

just to update you, in the end TMDb yesterday launched discussions, it's open website build by users since 2008

This would be a good opportunity for someone to build an independent message board layer similar to gitter or genius. Its been tried before unsuccessfully but sooner or later someone will get it right. As the web becomes more closed, this could be a platform for more open discussion.

the thing is it must have already big database of movies and enough users, only other sites meeting this are rotten tomatoes (disabled read only forums so apparently not interested), TMDb (nothing, seem they are not interested in this opportunity judging by discussion in their forum), Metacritic (nothing), Letterboxd (nothing and too few users) and trakt.tv (has threaded comments for specific movies, but also not that many users)

i talked with my friend running one of the biggest subtitles website who had obviously enough database of movies and TV shows, but he ain't interested because of legal responsibility for content of comments and need of expensive moderation, though i would think this could be outsourced to Disqus and legally comments would be stored on their servers

I think the PP is referring to an independent, content agnostic system for layering discourse and messaging on top of third-party content systems.

I wonder if the current revolution in AI will accidentally kill online message boards.

Here's the line of reasoning. Some of these steps are probably already occurring.

- It will be easy write a bot that understands what's being said.

- A bot can follow many threads at once, multiplying the reading workload for humans.

- A bot can pull large amounts of information together into a cogent argument, or at least one that cannot be dismissed by a human without a fair few minutes of reading. For instance, if I want to troll people by coming with reasons why women should not be allowed to vote, my bot could spin a yarn about how Switzerland is an advanced industrial country that only in 1991 allowed its remaining women to vote. I could pull data about women being left-leaning, more emotional, and so on. And the data needn't actually be true, I can quote sources with wrong numbers, create new sources, and so on. You, the interested debater, would have to follow this pile of crap and debunk each item, eating up your whole evening.

- In order to defeat such a bot, someone will invent a fact-checking bot (Like a GAN, it could decide whether you were botting your argumentation). Sounds good, but wait. A fact-checking bot would have to present its side of the story. And how would it do that? Just like a human, here's your points, here's why they're wrong, here's the actual facts, and so on.

- So now every message board is bots talking to bots.

- Humans will have to fall back to heuristics, like "read the first line and decide if there's a point". But of course a bot can figure out what the weaknesses in your heuristics are.

- People will get sick of writing on boards, because well, they're not for people.

IMDb's message boards have terrible UX and are mostly devoid of good content. That said, I wonder how loyal posters on the boards will take this. I can't imagine how frustrated I'd be with a site if they suddenly decided to delete 10 or 20 years of my commenting history. E.g. what if HN or Reddit decided to delete comments and just kept story links?

as active user using boards for 14 years it's very frustrating, i don't really care much about past comments, but about inability to discuss anything new i will watch, it's part of movie watching experience, without all those discussions you don't know how much you missed during watching movie

i can only hope other major website (tmdb, RT, trakt.tv, metscritic) will take advantage of this and introduce boards for specific movies and TV shows (never used general imdb boards), because essentially imdb is dead for me since February 20, i can have ratings and watchlist anywhere, only reason i really kept going there were discussions

Another piece of Internet History gets deleted, that's a pity. Personally it literally was the very first url I memorized back in IE3 times, and eventually first online user account as well (June 1999, wow, time flies).

Strategic mistake. The so-called "open web", even with crude user interfaces, is a more credible source of information than easily manipulated and falsified "news" feeds on closed platforms like FB.


I mean, stop being sad as in feeling defeated. It's not an end, it's a problem in the continuation. You are hackers, and the announcement gives a very clear clue as to what you can do to solve this problem; archive the content, mirror it, and launch your own decentralized movie discussion platform!

Think about how The Pirate Bay is backed up these days; dozens of TPB mirrors exist to guarantee the continued existence of the service. Decentralization is good. This is good as in it's good to be reminded not to put your eggs in a centralized (and commercially motivated) basket!

The Movie database (TMDb) added yesterday (February 6th) Discussions functionality for each title (movie/TV show).


You will find it in top left of the page next to poster under Discussions button with Bubble icon, so feel free leave IMDb which abandoned users and plan to delete their content.

You can return back to movie page by clicking on name of movie. Discussions have two categories - General, for general topics regarding movie, Content issues is self explanatory regarding content on main page.

Link from mobile view is currently NOT available, should be rolled out today accoding admin (Travis Bell) words. As temporary solution you can add "discuss" in the end of mobile URL.

I am not in any way affiliated with TMDb and registered there like 2 days ago when finding sad news that IMDb is going to delete my comments I wrote for 14 years and what's worse won't let me discuss movies with other movie fans.

After doing research of alternatives (Rotten Tomatoes, MetaCritic, Letterboxd, Trakt.tv and other) I consider TMDb the best alternative to move on with your ratings, watchlists and discussions, none of other sites mentioned earlier have proper discussions, only other alternativ are threaded comments at Trakt.tv.

It seems crazy that in this time of wanting to hoard and mine user data Amazon (who owns imbd) would close down a direct channel for collecting user information.

If trolls really were the issue then why not use that as an opportunity to devise a new bot to watch and moderate that. amazon is always exploring new ways to use machine learning and this could have been a great use case.

It all seems to go against their core principles.

This is such a terrible idea. By far the main reason I go to IMDb is to see and participate in the discussions on the movie I just watched.


By far the main reason I go to IMDb is to look up actors and movies. And when I did accidentally see a comment, it was usually pretty low-quality.

there are tons of alternatives if you just look for movies and actors without discussion - letterboxd, rotten tomatoes, metacritic, etc

TMDb would be one of them, plus now they launched discussions for each title, so i am moving there,i like the free concept managed by users like Wikipedia

feel free to move to TMDb, each movie had its own forum, it was just launched yesterday so don't expect years of collective wisdom but can hope it will get traction and people will start discussing there

Hi all! I am a co-founder of Trakt and I thought you would all like to know our thoughts on this.

We are planning on significantly revamping our community engagement experience. In fact, it is our most significant project for 2017 and we sketched out the plan over a weekend last month.

Trakt has a form of threaded discussion on our web app today. But of course, it has a long way to go before it can fill the shoes of IMDB. The feedback we are seeing here about what people appreciated about IMDB is extremely helpful, so please do keep it coming, or feel free to reach out to us directly. That said, our approach will be different from traditional forum-style discussions because we see an opportunity to vastly improve the experience by following the lead of today's well-executed communities.

Of course, our intention is to facilitate discussions within Trakt that are categorized within specific media like a TV episode, a movie, and likely more options such as directors and actors. While doing so, we have two major priorities that I hope will set us apart from what you previously had available to you:

1) A community built on respect and reputation. A great example is Product Hunt, where I can always count on having a productive discussion should I decide to provide feedback to a maker or hunter.

2) A composition experience that helps you make beauty out of words. Of course, Medium has done a wonderful job with this and I hope to apply some of the lessons learned from their platform as it has evolved.

In the meantime, if you're interested in seeing your IMDB data imported to your Trakt account, there are multiple members of our community who have built wonderful tools to enable you to do this. Here's one: https://github.com/damienhaynes/TraktRater

Thank you!

trakt is cool, but it's more on side of sharing and social aspect, i was recommending your website until TMDb launched their discussions, since it's closest alternative to IMDb (plus as bonus pretty open platform), you have there movie and actors info plus you have proper discussions since yesterday

diversification and competition is healthy but too much fragmentation ain't good either

I understand the gigantic task of moderating boards on the scale that IMDB's probably were, but social network accounts are definitely no substitute as history on these is not tuned for searching. They're flat streams of haphazard comments to whatever is posted on these accounts.

I just now chose to search IMDB's Facebook page for "Star Wars The Force Awakens" for a recent huge movie, using IMDB's supposed "replacement" to these forums. It ought to get no better than this. Top three results:

1. Which film do you think will be the next $2 billion dollar movie?

2. John Boyega to star in Pacific Rim 2

3. Daisy Ridley to star in novel adaption Chaos Walking

None of these are even about the movie I searched, much less a focused discussion! It's completely useless. But that's not because Facebook's search engine is bad. It's searching what has been posted. No, it's because Facebook is not a search engine for catalogued knowledge to begin with. Why? Because Facebook doesn't even contain organized information. It's the wrong tool for this job. It's like going to a pub to extract information rather than going to a library.

This is in extent a problem I've felt has grown worse lately. The big social networks are eating up the web which is not only a loss due to consolidation and reliance on what the giants decide to do (a ton of eggs in very few baskets), but because social networks are tuned to be live or at best "the fresh of today". That works when chatting daily with friends, but not to look up thoughts and opinions on a movie from 1995, or anything else for that matter.

There is also a conceptual difference here, even if social networks did catalogue information to be browsable. They usually work as advertisement platforms and people write reactionary comments, while on a message board people go there in order to indulge themselves in a discussion or get questions answered = much higher discussion quality. Even if the IMDB boards weren't exactly always top quality, they were often much better than the swamps of Facebook.

TMDb which is in service since 2008 just launched discussions for movies and TV shows, feel free to discuss them there, it's also pretty open system which style be preferred by HN readership

Eh. They were mostly people starting threads with the title "This movie sucks." Not much valuable discussion there.

The signal to noise ratio was poor, but there was some signal. It would be a tragedy for it to be deleted.

I think tragedy is going a bit too far. Unfortunate for some hardcore fans, sure, but some things are just not worth keeping around and most of those things are message boards.

It's time to admit that message boards, as a genre of open-web feature, are a failure without clear topics and strict codes of conduct.

IMBd's boards had neither, and I'm glad to see them go.

Mixed feelings about this.

I'll miss inane arguments about movies, but I'll be glad to see the back of the "Oh she's growing up fine" comments on under age actresses' profiles. Creepers are creepy.

And not much of value was lost. Those boards had terrible usability. IIRC not long ago you could only see one comment per page and had to click on every single comment to read the thread.

That changed a little while ago but you still have multi-pages for comments and it's hard to keep track of who replies to whom. They also have these weird signatures which are completely impossible to distinguish from the body of the comment unless the poster used a different color or something.

Not that the discussions were generally very insightful, mostly celebrity gossip and flamewars.

That was a terrible default setting, but you've always been able to change it, or at least you have been since I started using it in 2003-ish. You're right, though, it was an extremely poorly-designed bit of forum software with some baffling choices.

>IIRC not long ago you could only see one comment per page and had to click on every single comment to read the thread

That's the case on medium.com right now for comment replies. I was surprised to see how nested comments and replies work there. It's terrible.

Not a great loss, but it's amusing to read imdb's definition of "ample time" to backup anything of value.

IMDB's been expiring messages all along, so there isn't much there to backup. After reading this announcment, I wanted to save the fanboy comments for Cloverfield (2008) back from when it was first released, since I regard it as a classic example of the phenomenon, and they are already long-gone.

you are wrong, if you used flat thread settings you could see all comments at one screen at least in last ten years

their forums were horrible, but usable with flat layout and there was none alternative anyway, so no point complaining

I know that a lot of people don't frequent the boards so they might not see value in them, but I have a few experiences over the years that endeared this community to me. One was right after watching the second movie in the Matrix trilogy: the cliffhanger left so many open questions that the conversations around it were immensely interesting. I think actually that a few of the theories then (Zion in a zion and others) ended up being way more interesting than what actually happened in the third movie. In fact I think the Watchowskis were reading and following these theories themselves too or maybe I'm not remembering that correctly (it's been a while).

Another interesting one was right after watching Primer. A movie like that is meant to be talked about. I remember reading these boards and watching the movie again because there were so many interesting theories about what happened.

These are only two instances but over the years there were so many others where I'd watch a movie and then go to read about theories about the plot. The movie has to have a plot worth discussing for this to have value though, so in as non-condescending way as possible I wonder if perhaps people don't value that type of movie any more at all. Or maybe the number of boards where nothing interesting is being said dwarfs the ones that do. I don't know is, but I do feel like this is a huge loss because there are so many theories that will be lost forever.

Agreed. One of the only times I contributed to the board was on a thread discussing why time travel in Timecrimes[1] (superb movie!) was not consistent. Without spoiling it, we ended up discussing all sorts of alternate theories in an attempt to have it make sense.

Another cool thing is visiting the boards of interesting movies or shows that are still far out from release. You usually find details about estimated release date based on current progress and photos from production.

[1]: http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0480669/

yep, time crimes was very good, i remember very good discussions also in The Prestige board regarding teleportation

btw TMDb just launched discussions yesterday so feel free to participate there, of course don't expect years of comments, but feel free to copy interesting topics you made from IMDb

I have no idea why we decided that everyone who makes content or provides a service must also be great at moderating commenting systems.

Disaggregating comment from content is a great move for the web. It's part of the process of offloading commenting systems to people who are good at running them.

There's no reason we couldn't eventually have a browser plugin that appends a forum to a side-panel on every page online. In fact, Google had one of those, called Sidewiki. It was one of the most visionary ideas for the web that no one ever used.

"I have no idea why we decided that everyone who makes content or provides a service must also be great at moderating commenting systems."

I think the key here is this has been one of, if not the biggest movie rating / db site in the world for years and years and they won't do it. This isn't some poor bloke in his basement struggling to moderate, it's a massively popular website that should have some resources.

Everyone doesn't have to be great at moderating when they start up forums, but a hugely trafficked website that's been there forever should maybe get a handle on it, if they've been offering it for a long time.

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