After in-depth discussion and examination, we have decided to simplify the display of Characters on IMDb, focusing our on-going efforts towards title specific character details. While in concept, we love the idea of character data spanning across all titles, in practice we do not feel our past experience lived up to expectations. The majority of our previous character pages were dead ends, without any related content, providing a confusing and disjointed experience. The filmography credits were often unusable, and the bios many times were inconsistent given numerous disparate story lines. While the previous experience had drawbacks, we truly appreciate all the hard work of everyone who contributed to characters over the years. That said, as of today, we are simplifying the experience, allowing us to retain the character concept while building a foundation for future growth.
With today’s release we have begun this transition. Our new character experience will support title specific images, quotes, and keywords. Moving forward we will no longer support character filmography, biographies, videos, character lists or polls. To aid in this transition, we are temporarily retaining our prior character experience until Dec 6th. This will provide our users time to archive any character lists, polls or biographies which they previously created or contributed towards. If you wish to migrate any character lists or polls, we recommend rebuilding the content with an image list. Existing character lists can also be archived by selecting the “Export this list” option. During this transition, we have temporarily retained the character search option, but will suspend support after Dec 6th. In the coming months, we plan to re-enable character search based on our new experience.
We understand this is a significant change which was made only after careful consideration. We appreciate your understanding.
Here is an example of the new experience
Changes to IMDb Characters
Today we are modifying the display of Characters across IMDb....
by Nic Bachhuber, Official Rep
Joined on October 17, 2014
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You should add Today's date : November 14 2017
Any changes to the fact (?) that
WE can not search and find a Character that does not have a Character page
Our new character experience will support title specific images, quotes, and keywords.Nic: I see how images and quotes factor into this, but I don't understand what keywords have to do with title/character pages.
In the coming months, we plan to re-enable character search based on our new experience.So, after December 6, if someone is wondering, "What was the movie where there was a character named Ugarte?", will they be able to find it?
If I understand correctly, there will be a page at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034583/characters/nm0000048 showing pictures of Peter Lorre as Ugarte in Casablanca and a bunch of quotes from the character. Right? But will there be any way to search for that character and find that page, if one doesn't know the film title or the performer's name?
and polls after Dec 6, 2017. If you wish to retain your past Character
polls, they recommend recreating any Character Lists as an Image List
and then building the poll using the new image list. They apologize for
any inconvenience this has caused, and want to stress the decision to
deprecate their existing Character experience has been an extremely
2. To aid your effort in identifying your character polls, I’ve created
this list of 843 character polls as of 8-Nov-2017. The polls are sorted
in descending order of votes on the first tab and by author on the
3. If I have your email address, I will also send this message to you via
email along with a copy of the Excel spreadsheet.
4. I recommend recreating your live character polls and pending polls as
soon as practical. IMDb is unlikely to extend their deadline and will
probably make the change at midnight GMT (London Standard Time).
5. IMDb will be adding additional wording on the site. For example, we’ll
include a large message on the character pages themselves, referencing
the Get Satisfaction message.
6. The images (which are associated to a specific title/name will still be
visible on the new character pages). In general, if you add a
still_frame to a title and tag it to a name, it will automatically
appear on the new character page. The same is true for a quote. If a
quote is added to a name for a specific title, it will automatically
appear on the new character page. A new character page will “exist” if
it has at least 1 quote/image
7. Recasting a poll from a character based poll to an image based poll
will effectively create a new poll with no voting history.
8. At this time, IMDb is unable to transfer poll counts to the new poll.
9. It’s not realistic to recreate all existing polls; I recommend
reviewing the top character polls and recreating those as new polls, but
not the full list. Please note, anyone who has a poll taker badge will
still have the same “count” post taking down the character polls.
10. When someone accesses a character based list or poll on and after December 6,
2017, the user well see a 404 (page not found) error.
11. I am attempting to archive as many of the character polls as possible on the Internet Archive (https://archive.org/).
I am archiving the polls with the most votes first. Many of the lists,
polls and poll results may already be archived. However, I would not
count on these being archive. For instance, I’ve specifically archive
this poll to the Internet Archive:
Poll: Who Are You?
Poll Results: https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.imdb.com/poll/1wyam4mgszE/results
12. I will create a separate thread where you can post the links to polls
that you’ve converted from character polls to image polls. It’s not
practical to push all of the recreated polls at once. The recreated
polls still need to be reviewed to ensure they will work properly. The
admin will push a certain number of recreated polls per day while still
pushing new polls.
Ideally, the original authors for polls will have
preference over other authors. Given the short suspense time, this may
not be practical.
An image may be accessed via two different URLs (links), one from the title page and another from the character page.
Are links for the same image.
If the character page URL is used instead of title page URL to make the image list, will there be any problem after Dec 6?
= = =
In essence, when a character appears in multiple titles, there will be a character page for each title. A character page is defined explicitly by the title ID and name ID. Is this correct?
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
Harrison Ford: Han Solo
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Harrison Ford: Han Solo
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
Harrison Ford: Han Solo
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
Harrison Ford: Han Solo
= = =
Will this kind of link will work after December 6, 2017?
Current poll as published: http://www.imdb.com/poll/C1W-zbjcRyQ
Is this acceptable/advisable? Or should the list just be remade in the order/manner that it is right now and thus completely lose any evidence of previous vote totals?
To make matters worse, this will make series pages effectively useless. There's already a proble in trying to decipher cast & characters of any show with more than 3 episodes. Inability to search for non-lead characters makes pages for these shows completely superficial.
Hopefully, search features will be restored sooner rather than later. But the proper way of handling the transition would've been to archive the content being eliminated (except polls) and offer the link to that content at the bottom of new character pages. Why this was not done is puzzling. The whole premise is that there's an insufficient number of content-specific character pages, so archiving them would not be a burden. And both archiving and linking could've been automated without much cost. Instead, we got stupid, stupid, stupid...
I loved this function, despite it's (minor) faults.
Removing it altogether means removing access to a source of information ('what titles had a Sherlock Holmes character in it, and who played them') for which it will be hard to get a good and easily accessible answer, without IMDb.
I mean, even if the data wasn't 100% correct or complete all of the time, it was still the most comprehensive and most easily accessible source for this kind of information that I know of. Besides: even if there are other websites where I can find an answer; I don't really want to have to do that, because I go to IMDb for my film/series information. For a number of reasons. :/
I also feel like you could have taken other steps than deciding to remove the function altogether. You could have made it more accessible to 'crowd-sourcing' the addition and correcting of incomplete/incorrect data on the character pages. I have found myself correcting the occasional entry now and then, and I found the process a little tedious. Nevertheless, like I said the function certainly has/had it's merit.
Also, after deleting the Message boards, I hope this trend of removing functionality from the IMDb website isn't going to continue much further. :(
It was also annoying how many character pages were created whereby the creator did not bother to include a corresponding biography, image or quote, or whereby the character has been portrayed by only one actor and in only one title. I never understood why some contributors would do that. Things like that would sometimes present an anathema to the overall contribution effort.
Nevertheless, there was still a lot of potential to fix all of that and to improve the pages so as to make them better than what can be found around the web (mainly sites within the Wikia domain name).
When an actor plays multiple roles in a title, IMDb now considers all of the characters effectively as one character. Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black (TV Series) is probably the most extreme example of an actor playing multiple roles for a title, except for sketch comedy shows.
Her role for the entire series is shown as:
Tatiana Maslany: Sarah Manning, Cosima Niehaus, Alison Hendrix, Helena, Rachel Duncan, Beth Childs, Krystal Goderitch, MK, Jennifer Fitzsimmons, Katja Obinger...
Her role for one episode, Orphan Black (TV Series) Natural Selection (2013) is shown as this on the title page:
Tatiana Maslany ... Sarah Manning / Beth Childs / Katja Obinger
and this for each of the characters:
Tatiana Maslany: Sarah Manning, Beth Childs, Katja Obinger
But, of course, you've balanced that good move by removing another bit of character search functionality by getting rid of episode casts. Bad. Another perfect example of that old adage!
If so, I get that. The character pages are riddled with issues. I'd welcome a complete overhaul.
If you're just getting rid of that functionality, outright, then, honestly, I don't see the point in having character pages at all. As far as I can see, their only use is to see a list of a character's appearances through media and who's played them.
You're stripping out a working (though not perfect) system, and you DO NOT HAVE the replacement even remotely ready.
Common sense would strongly suggest you keep the old system in place. build up the new system (which you're saying you're going to be doing, anyhow) in the background, test it out, show it around, and once the new system is ready to release, make the transition.
The amount of work is the same--you either create a newer, better system or you don't. You have to transition one way or another. Is there a negative cost associated with delaying the transition?
And think about the money you'll lose! Currently, you have users' eyes on your pages for HOURS EXTRA while they wander around a cobbled together bunch of pages which you have already told them you are not responsible for. So, if they have problems, it's not your fault, and they get the thrill of wandering off into the deep, dark woods on their own. And, all the while, THEY ARE READING ADS FROM YOUR SPONSORS! If you kill off this section with nothing to replace it, YOU WILL LOSE ALL THAT REVENUE.
Personally, I do not see the downside to letting things stay as they are until you can legitimately replace the existing system with something better.