FAQ: How to Improve the Chance of Having your Poll on the Home Page

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FAQ:  Key Threads - IMDb Poll FAQs Index

This is an update to hb's guidance:

Hi Everyone,

We're currently still in the mode where we hand-select polls for the home page. So what can you do to improve the chances your poll is on the home page?

1. Have a clear non-personal, call to action as the first sentence of the description. The idea is that this initial sentence should be a question and be non-personal (e.g. it stands alone). It's fine of course to have more description after this.

Good: Which of these movie posters is the scariest?
Bad: I locked my keys in the car, blah blah blah

2. Ensure that your first five items (a) have images (b) the image cropping is good.
We are dealing with technical issues related to cropping and it's bad when the very large home page images are cropped poorly. So, if necessary, reorder your choices - BEFORE YOU PUBLISH THE POLL - so that AT LEAST the first five options have images and are cropped reasonably. For instance, images with text on the bottom (titles) often don't crop well.
This is in addition to guidance that hb has previously provided:
• Polls with five choices, must have images for all choices.
• When a poll has more than five choices, the first five must have images.

3. Keep Poll Titles short and punchy.

4. Triple-check your description text for grammar, subject-verb agreement, use of plurals, etc. If the description isn't great, we have to do a manual override on your text for the home page.


Additional guidance from the IMDb editors:

5. There have been several great polls that the IMDb wanted to use, but could not use because of problems with the title. The IMDb Editors cannot currently edit titles for polls.

Poll titles need to have initial caps for all words (except for "the" and other articles/prepositions) and they generally avoid exclamation points (too much like ad copy, alas). Generally, film and television program titles should be in quotation marks.

6. As the editors can’t go in and tweak the headers or copy, they are looking for polls that are ready to go copy edit-wise (double quotes around TV show titles, single quotes around movie titles). They like the clever headlines (“They Do Run Run”) that make you wonder what the poll is about, but headlines that pose a (brief) question (with a question mark at the end) do perform better. (They also cue the users that it’s a poll and we want them to engage.) So they welcome question polls (along with the clever teasers).

7. Since IMDb is US/North America focused, the IMDb editors prefer "Favorite" in the title instead of "Favourite". IMDb uses American English on the site, so for the Homepage, we give preference to polls that follow both Associated Press (AP) Style Guide and American English. We don't disqualify a poll, but it's a good guideline for users.

8. A respected and inexpensive guide to good writing is "The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition" by William Stunk Jr. and E. B. White. ISBN-13:978-0205309023

9. When in doubt about capitalization, use this online tool:
Capitalize My Title
Enter your title and select:
"Title Case" and "AP".

10. The word sexy should not appear in the title.

11. Decades can be abbreviated as '10s, '20s, ... '80s or '90s.

12. http://writingexplained.org/ap-style/ap-style-versus
AP (Associated Press) Style holds that you should spell out “versus” in ordinary speech and writing. For example,
* The proposal to revamp Social Security versus proposals to reform Social Security and Medicare at the same time.

In short expressions, however, the abbreviation “vs.” is permitted. For example,
* The issue of gun rights vs. public safety has been with us for some time.

13. This is a useful guide for common grammar mistakes:
35 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Writing
A Cheat Sheet for the Most Common Usage, Grammar, and Punctuation Mistakes.

14. Cropping for IMDb Home Page

Polls that are otherwise suitable for the IMDb home page are not featured because the images do not crop well. IMDb can't have images that cut off or have big gaps. People and objects within the image should also be clearly visible and properly centered. Movie posters or portraits tend to work best for IMDb Home Page polls, as IMDb can be sure that the images will fill the space and not get cut off.

The grid view is a good indication of what a poll would look like if it were to be run on the IMDb Home Page for title and name lists. For the other list types, the default list view generally shows the images in the same format. The first five images are the ones that are used when a poll is run on the IMDb Home Page. When one or more of the first five images do not appear to crop well, consider switching them with images that crop better unless this adversely affects the poll.

For example, this is a recent poll featured on the IMDb Home Page:

This is a link to the grid view for the list for this poll:


To see the grid view for an image list, the author needs to hand edit the link to the list. For example, this is the standard view for the image list for the poll Future 'Star Wars'Titles:


You can get the grid view by replacing #1 with ?view=grid:


You will note, this specific poll would not work well on the IMDb Home Page.

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