Does a director trademark keyword ever work?

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From Submission Guides: Biographical Information:
A director trademark can be followed by a shorthand form of the trademark in square brackets. This is cross-referenced to the corresponding trivia list DIRTRADE entries.
From Submission Guide: Trivia:
The trademark keyword(s) should be short and to the point, and should be consistent with other entries for that director. Please use the following format:
DIRTRADE('firstname lastname' (qv)): [trademark keyword]: explanation
But despite my effort, I couldn't find a single instance where a trademark keyword seemed to do anything remotely remarkable (like linking to a certain page) either on a director's biography page or on a movie's trivia page! For starters, I couldn't even find one case where the same trademark keyword appeared both on a title's page and on the director's page...

So, does a director trademark do anything? If not, did it ever? Or, is it just a useless piece of junk that's added by those who read the submission guides and then removed or edited improperly by those who don't, and all it does is confuse normal visitors and make trivia uglier? And if so, why don't we get rid of them all at once?

Also, on a less important note, how is one supposed to distinguish director trademarks from usual, personal trademarks on a director's biography? I mean, I've never seen Eastwood grunting off-screen in his film or QT directing himself rapid-firing and geeking out. I'm sure it's no brainer most of the time, but for the sake of consistency, readability and aesthetics, shouldn't director trademarks on biographies be completely distinguished from normal ones like they are from normal trivia on title pages?
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Posted 4 years ago

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Michelle, Official Rep

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Hi Nardog -

I have forwarded your inquiry to an experienced data editor who will take a look as soon as they can.
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Thank you, Michelle!

Hopefully the same editor could look into my other issue then, which you might have forwarded to people who don't specialize in the things I was actually talking about - not at all to pick on or hurry you because you must deal with a ton of inquiries on a daily basis! - because it is also about the layout/markup of the trivia pages.
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ljdoncel, Champion

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Hi, Nardog and Michelle:

This looks like a beautiful project to work on. In addition to consistency, readability and aesthetics of the database, the rules on recording director trademarks (here and here) are clear. Sadly, as Nardog said above, a cross-reference system between trivia-keywords and bio-keywords hasn't been implemented yet. This does not detract from the fact that data entries should follow the guides and, if IMDB eventually decided to launch that functionality, it would be easier to accomplish with a well-structured information.

I've cross-matched data from plain text files trivia.list, directors.list and biographies.list (05-Feb-2016) and I've compiled a list with (I believe) all the director trademark items both on trivia and bio pages, and here are the results:

Some entries (marked with ) are displayed in the trivia page, but are not recognized as dirtrade items because of an incorrect command. Some others (marked with ) are not even displayed in the trivia page (can only be viewed in edit mode) because of a bad formatting of the argument, usually when the (qv) link is totally or partially omitted, i.e.
 DIRTRADE('firstname lastname' (qv)):
DIRTRADE('firstname lastname' (qv):
DIRTRADE('firstname lastname'):
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ljdoncel, Champion

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While processing the trivia text file I've come across some entries without the dirtrade syntax (), that in practice are dirtrade items. I propose a rewording of the entry () to better exploit the information (note: my English is poor, so my proposal is just a guidance).
  • "Blood+" (2005):
    There is a basset hound in episode 17, which is director Mamoru Oshii's trademark. He...
    DIRTRADE('Mamoru Oshii' (qv)): [basset hound]: There is a basset hound in episode 17...
  • 108 Stitches (2014):
    The police uniform worn by David Banks during the party scene has become a Rountree...
    DIRTRADE('David Rountree' (qv)): [police uniform]: The police uniform worn by David...
  • An American Werewolf in London (1981):
    The title of the movie "See You Next Wednesday" is a trademark of John Landis' work...
    DIRTRADE('John Landis' (qv)): [See You Next Wednesday]: The title of the movie "See...
  • Angel in June (2012):
    In some scenes, you can spot some camera lenses, a goofy trademark of the director.
    DIRTRADE('Jan Xavier Pacle' (qv)): [small lens]: In some scenes, you can spot some...
  • Borderlands (2001):
    The painting created by Romanian artist Irina Negulescu has become director Duane...
    DIRTRADE('Duane Trammell' (qv)): [Irina Negulescu painting]: The painting created by...
  • California Split (1974):
    The film's eight track stereo was instrumental in launching what would become one of...
    DIRTRADE('Robert Altman (I)' (qv)): [overlapping dialogue]: The film's eight track stereo...
  • Coming Soon (1982) (V):
    The last of the 1982 feature trailer near the end is fake and titled "See you next...
    DIRTRADE('John Landis' (qv)): [See You Next Wednesday]: The last of the 1982 feature...
  • Crimewave (1985):
    The studio insisted on reviewing every batch of dailies, criticizing the decision to use cast...
    DIRTRADE('Sam Raimi' (qv)): [Shemp]: The studio insisted on reviewing every batch of...
  • Crimson Tide (1995):
    'Gene Hackman' (qv)'s character wears a pink cap similar to his director 'Tony Scott (I)'...
    DIRTRADE('Tony Scott (I)' (qv)): [faded red cap]: 'Gene Hackman' (qv)'s character wears...
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964):
    'Peter Sellers (I)' (qv) was not keen on multiple takes, one of 'Stanley Kubrick' (qv)'s...
    DIRTRADE('Stanley Kubrick' (qv)): [endless takes]: 'Peter Sellers (I)' (qv) was not keen...
  • Fist of the Vampire (2007):
    Several notable martial artists are used throughout the movie. All of course performing...
    DIRTRADE('Len Kabasinski' (qv)): [martial artist]: Several notable martial artists are...
  • Forever Your Love (2014):
    As is becoming one of Christopher Michael Roybal's trademarks, the film showcases...
    DIRTRADE('Christopher Michael Roybal' (qv)): [single artist music]: The film showcases...
  • Gojira tai Megagirasu: Jî shômetsu sakusen (2000):
    Director's cameo: Director Massaki Tezuka is seen in a white shirt during a post ending...
    DIRTRADE('Masaaki Tezuka' (qv)): [cameo]: Director Masaaki Tezuka is seen in a white...
  • Interiors (1978):
    The film features credits in plain typeface with white fonts on black background...
    DIRTRADE('Woody Allen' (qv)): [white-on-black credits]: The film features credits in plain...
  • Mean Streets (1973):
    The word "fuck" and it's derivatives are used 50 times. At the time of the films release...
    DIRTRADE('Martin Scorsese' (qv)): [profanity]: The word "fuck" and it's derivatives are...
  • On Thursdays, I Do Laundry (2013):
    Cameo: Director T.C. De Witt in the laundromat in the blue shirt and his trademark...
    DIRTRADE('T.C. De Witt' (qv)): [baseball cap]: The word "fuck" and it's derivatives are...
  • Paycheck (2003):
    'John Woo (I)' (qv) originally did not want to do his trademark "Mexican Standoff" in this...
    DIRTRADE('John Woo (I)' (qv)): [Mexican standoff]: 'John Woo (I)' (qv) originally did not...
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993):
    The 'camera breaking the window' gag, already mentioned as a Mel Brooks trademark, is...
    DIRTRADE('Mel Brooks (I)' (qv)): [breaking fourth wall]: The 'camera breaking the...
  • Sangria Lift (2015):
    The role of "Gerry" is played by Dennis Friebe, who is also a professional magician...
    DIRTRADE('Melanie Star Scot' (qv)): [dime]: The role of "Gerry" is played by Dennis...
  • The Alien Invasion (2004):
    As a trademark of 'Rich Ho Kok Tai' (qv)'s films, all the crew members made appearances...
    DIRTRADE('Rick Ho Kok Tai' (qv)): [crew cameo]: All the crew members made...
  • The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927):
    This is the first film directed by 'Alfred Hitchcock (I)' (qv) in which he makes one of his...
    DIRTRADE('Alfred Hitchcock (I)' (qv)): [cameo]: This is the first film directed by 'Alfred...
  • The Quick and the Dead (1995):
    For obvious reasons, this is the only 'Sam Raimi' (qv) film to date (2002) where his...
    DIRTRADE('Sam Raimi' (qv)): [Oldsmobile]: For obvious reasons, this is the only 'Sam...
  • The Star Chamber (1983):
    The picture's closing credits declare that the film was dedicated "For George-Ann"...
    DIRTRADE('Peter Hyams' (qv)): [Spota]: The picture's closing credits declare that the...

As of 05-Feb-2016 there were 1,443 well-formatted dirtrade entries belonging to 264 different directors. Most of them (1,427) have a keyword enclosed in brackets, and there are 712 unique trivia-keywords. As Nardog suspected, only 10 trivia-keywords (along 52 dirtrade items - less than 4%) have an exact match (capitalization included) among the bio-keywords for that director.
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ljdoncel, Champion

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Hence, there's a lot of work to do... I've tried to group together several entries under a proposed shared keyword () that summarizes current similar trivia-keywords () and, if possible, that has a corresponding bio-keyword (); in some cases the bio-keyword doesn't exist yet, but it may be generated from a related director trademark item (). Many entries, however, can't be matched at this moment with a bio item (). With this scheme, up to 989 (68,5%) of the current dirtrade trivia items might be associated via keywords with their analogous trademarks on the biographical pages.

The comprehensive list would be as follows:
 proposed common keyword
keywords on current dirtrade trivia entries
keyword on current dirtrade bio entry
related dirtrade bio entry (without current keyword)
dirtrade trivia entries without a related dirtrade bio entry

I've put a lot of effort into retrieving and transcribing these listings so that IMDB may have a readily understandable view of the current situation with director trademark keywords. I'll go ahead and will submit updates to fix the entries from lists A and B (with a link to this thread so the data manager can see my purpose). I hope that list C helps to find a way of improving the cross-reference integrity of the database. In theory, the following four steps would achieve the goal of a 100%:
  1. Correcting keywords on dirtrade trivia items () so they share a combining keyword ().
    (note: I have the complete list of trivia keywords with their respective titles if needed)
  2. Correcting keywords on related dirtrade bio items () to replicate the shared keyword ().
  3. Adding keywords on related dirtrade bio items () to replicate the shared keyword ().
  4. Creating new dirtrade bio items with the shared keyword () in cases where there isn't a corresponding entry for the dirtrade trivia item ().
If IMDB thinks it's a worthwhile task, I don't feel prepared to perform it though. Maybe someone with experience in English and keywords (some names come to mind) has the skills to do it... Also, a good bunch of "Col-points" is at sight! Ja jaJa ja

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Wow. That is a hell of a work.

Thank you so much for such a deep investigation! Although I appreciate your attempt at fixing all these items, however, I'm also concerned that even if you fix them, some of those items will surely be edited once again in the way they create mismatching keywords as long as the feature is yet to be implemented. During the course of my research (admittedly, I didn't know there was raw data available!), I've come across several cases where a trademark on a director's bio which a trademark trivia keyword on one of their movies was seemingly correspondent to had no keyword in brackets, which I think indicates that the trademark item might have had a keyword attached at one point - until someone found it, thought it was unnecessary and removed it; because, if you were just an ordinary visitor or an inexperienced contributor at IMDb, would you imagine some words in brackets, in some non-consistent capitalization, at the beginning of a tidbit on a director's bio page, which does nothing remotely impressive even if you hover the mouse or click on it, are something that's actually recommended to be added by such a well-established website's contributor submission guide?

I think no. I think we should wait before sending corrections until this feature is finally installed in any shape or form (which will be God knows when), or I'm afraid your effort, at least in part, is going to go to waste. (And if it's never going to be installed, then I'd say, like I said at first, they are way better off eliminated completely because they are just ugly and useless.)
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Jayseph, Employee

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Hi Nardog,

hmm this was a very good question! I've just chatted to Col, and it seems as though that section of the Bio: Trademarks submission guide refers to old display logic which existed many moons ago, and is certainly no longer relevant. There is currently no cross referencing between lists in place and so, as it no longer applies, I will be removing it so avoid further confusion.

However the DIRTRADE prefix definitely does have an impact when applied to Title Trivia. All Trivia formatted in this way will be collated under a specific Director Trademark heading; see here

I'd also just like to thank Ljdoncel for your incredible research! Brilliant work on identifying those trivia items which require tweaking in order to meet our formatting rules. If anyone wishes to make these changes it would be much appreciated!

Thanks again all