Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I already miss visiting IMDb's message boards.

When it comes to getting  information about movies and television, there used to be no better source than the internet movie database.  This site, also known as, was the place to go if you wanted to know more about your favorite films and tv shows.

As most of us know, the site was especially useful when it came to its message boards. This is where users gave their opinions, shared thoughts and gave links to stuff that would make it easy for us to get more information about our favorite shows and stars.

The reason I'm writing about this, is because a bit more than a month ago, boards for the site were closed. For some reason the owners of the site decided that these forums weren't needed anymore and that they would get rid of them.

The official reason for this decision was that the message boards 'no longer provided a positive experience for the users' and that 'the decision was made only after careful consideration and was based on data and traffic.'

As one might have guessed, these explanations weren't really based on facts and reality. It was pretty obvious that the available data didn't match with the conclusions and that the management team was  simply making excuses to justify their decision.

After all, almost everyone who visited the site thought that the boards were full of useful content. The forums helped us to make decisions about whether to check a movie or whether we should give a certain tv show a chance.

When it comes to the real reason that the boards were shut down, it's fairly obvious that there was outside influence and pressure to get rid of the forums. It's a safe bet that IMDb's management - owned by Amazon - didn't even make the call.

By that I mean that film studios obviously didn't like the idea that there would be honest discussions about films and tv shows. They didn't like the idea that users would be able to give honest and easily accessible feedback about their products.

For big film studios, it's much better if we just visit official pages and sites that are full of fluff. It's much easier for them if they get to control the narrative and direct us to sites where negative opinions don't get any visibility at all.

After all, that's exactly what IMDb's management suggested we should do, if we wanted to discuss films in the future. They stated that we should go to facebook or join specific 'fan' sites, where our specific 'needs' would be better met.

Of course, when it comes to this whole thing, I'm not saying that there weren't any problems with IMDb's message boards. I'm not saying that everything was great and that these discussion forums couldn't have been any better.
On the contrary, when it came to these boards, almost every discussion forum had their specific posters and trolls that didn't add anything to the discussion. These users were either too fanatical, ignorant or just trying to get a rise out of others. 

At the same time, when it came to the site as a whole, clearly the positives outweighed the negatives. It's super obvious that the boards served a real purpose and added to the experience like no other site has been able to do.

In that sense, I genuinely miss visiting Imdb's boards and getting information about my favorite tv shows on a daily basis. I miss these forums and just wish that someone would be able to come up with a  replacement for the boards soon.

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