Miscellaneous Credits Handling

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Hi All,

The IMDb Help Desk representatives , after months of very frustrating dialog and repeated copy-paste standard answers, suggested I put this to the community. Please note that everything I'm writing here is factual and based on my contact history with the aforementioned.

By some nebulous thought process, IMDb has chosen to treat the Miscellaneous Crew category (MC going forward) as any other category, such as Director or Producer or Actor. Conferring the same weight to it when deciding the order in which they appear in someone's profile.

Since IMDb lumps a lot of credits in MC, I can see this making sense when an important credit within the MC outnumbers a credit outside the MC (my suggestion actually).

i.e.: you have 5 Line Producer credits in the MC and no other credits outside of MC has more than 4 credits. Then MC can indeed take the lead on other categories.

BUT (and this is what IMDb Help Desk seem to refuse to see or acknowledge or even pass on to the developers for brainstorming) there are no other logical instances where the MC should come before a Producer or Director or Actor or etc. category.

We have all paid our dues. So we all have a myriad of credits that fall in MC. None of them being really relevant to what we have become or are doing now (with the earlier stated exception).

i.e.: imagine you have done a lot of the entry jobs in various departments; you could easily have racked up 10 to 20 credits in MC never getting the same one more than 2 or 3 times. You finally get your break and finally are recognized as an Actor or Director. All goes well for you and you garner 15 credits in both Director and Actor. By any measure, you are an Actor or Director or both. Yet under the current IMDb system, the MC category will always appear before both Actor and Director.

IMHO, it's just poor design and detracts from IMDbs relevance.

I would suggest that IMDb start treating the Miscellaneous Crew category with a different weight than the other categories to reflect a more accurate image of the professionals listed on IMDb (with the eventual above stated exception).

Any thoughts, suggestions?

Thank you for your reflection, time and eventual support.

Cheers,

Michael
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Michael Saouli

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Posted 4 years ago

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Michael Saouli

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Curious about how effective this site is. If anyone read the post above, may I request that you reply with a simple: "Read" or even "R"?

Based on responses I see on other posts, it doesn't seem that many people read these.

Thank you :-)
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Matt

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People may read them, but there's no point commenting if you have nothing to add. There's a "Me too" button for people to say that they have the same issue. Many posts just get answered before many people see them. The answer isn't always what you want to hear though.
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Michael Saouli

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Fair enough and thank you. I'm new to this :-), so still trying to find my bearings.
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no nonsense

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Support and obviously Read ;-)
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Matt

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You make a good point. One thing I would say though is that IMDb's main purpose is not to be a free online CV for film-makers and actors. It's a database to catalogue film and TV credits. The page about you is not your page but just a page about you that anyone can edit. So it's not relevant to IMDb whether or not your page makes you appear how you would like to appear.

My issue with the Miscellaneous Credits section is that, as you stated, it lumps together a whole lot of unconnected credits. That's obviously the point of it being miscellaneous, but there are too many that fall within that category. Many of the more important ones (e.g. Line Producer, Production Co-ordinator) should be moved out. There are some credits that are generally in there that could easily be put into other categories. There could also be new categories, such as one for caterers and suppliers. If this was solved, it would lessen your problem.
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Matt

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Having done some research, I've found two things. 1) Line Producers apparently are in the Producer section, so that's good. 2) The reason the number of categories is so limited is because of technical limitations. I completely understand their reasoning, but there are still some things they could change. I hope they work out the problems.
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Michael Saouli

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That's great news and I'll take your word for it. It was actually one of the Help Desk members who provided the exemple of the Line Producer being in the MC and thus trying to justify that MC should always be treated like any other above the line credit category.
So it would appear that those months of frustrating "dialogue" bore fruits somehow since they at least would have extracted LP from MC.
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DavidAH_Ca, Champion

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Line Producer has been a Producer credit for years, if not from the start of the site. Unfortunately, sometimes credits get accepted into the wrong section (particularly MC).

At the moment, for the simple Line Producer credit, there are 145,761 items in Producers and 433 in MC. Both sections also have a number of modified credits in each section, but only a few of each one.

They might have been better to mention Location Department credits, including Location Director. These people have been extremely vocal about their desire for a separate section
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Michael Saouli

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Totally agreed about IMDb not being an online CV, for that they offer indeed a paying subscription on the pro side (or at least use to).

But IMDb, from what I understand strives to make pertinent relevant information front and center, so it is odd that they treat the MC as any other (as to the technical limitations, while it can be a possibility, I'd be very surprised if it were the case, as this would indicate an obsolete underlying structure to the whole Db).

If the problem is indeed technical, then IMDb should definitely not provide the same weight to the MC category, this would help circumvent the eventual technical problems, if any).
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Matt

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The technical limitations are less to do with how many sections that can display and more to do with how the data is processed. They explain it in some of the help pages. It seems like the data for each section is processed separately. So splitting the sections would for some reason require the data to be processed separately, which may not be efficient. Similarly, certain sections, such as Costume, are broken up, presumably because there is so much data within it to process that it warrants two separate sections. It's an odd system, and I don't understand why the sections that are displayed in the credits need to match how the data is separated for processing.
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Michael Saouli

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Now this seems to make sense and points (based on the available information) to algorithms that can be (and perhaps should) be improved and probably the dev are working on it. From an outsider's technical pov, not knowing the codes used at IMDb, there are no valid reasons for this suboptimal behavior. One can only guess that the dev have to deal with legacy code that isn't easily optimizable given the comings and goings of devs. My empathy goes to them (in a previous life I coded then PMd coders).

Having said this, it would appear to me that all can agree that the way the MC category is given equal weights as the others is not a good aspect of providing relevant information to the public and it seems to me that recoding that portion is really light work for any good dev. So it comes down to making the time to do it.

I have no doubts that IMDb has great coders. If only they heard about this. I can't imagine either of them saying: "nah, this is too complicated to do or no, no, no, totally makes sense to lump a Miscellaneous Crew category with defined/named credit categories and certainly not at the end".

Any time you see a survey that list all possible answers alphabetically (as they should) including "Other" or "I don't know" (as they shouldn't), you know for a fact either a rookie was coding or poor thinking was involved.

Honestly, I can't think this to be the case here. Based on my experience with the Help Desk over the last several months about this issue, I think that the dev haven't even heard about this.
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DavidAH_Ca, Champion

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Similarly, certain sections, such as Costume, are broken up, presumably because there is so much data within it to process that it warrants two separate sections.
Actually, I don't believe the split of sections (with the exception of Cast into Actor and Actress) were influenced by the amount of data.

I believe they split off the credits most likely to be listed in Title Credits, and who are most often recognized in Awards.  So Cinematographer is separate from Camera, Art Director from Art Department, Costume Designer from Costume Department, and Set Decorator has their own Department.  The most common case for each of these credits is a single person per film; adding this one into the Department would not make a significant change in the list size, at least relative to the over 12 million Actor credits.

Compare the list of Oscar Award categories with these 'split' categories, and you will find a significant correlation.
(Edited)
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LuvsToResearch, Champion

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Michael, I do know that over the years, IMDb has broken out more and more categories from the Misc. Crew section into sections of their own. Apparently there may be plans to break out more in the future , such as Location Manager, etc. When or if this might happen is unknown.
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Michael Saouli

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Thank you for this insight :-). Correct me of I am wrong, but this suggest to me that there is indeed a problem with the catchall Miscellaneous Crew category and that the developers are already trying to address this and have so an ongoing basis. If this is correct, then the Help Desk is wrong in affirming that the MC category should have the same weight as the other categories. Hence I hope that the dev will read this and agree and see to it that the MC be given a weight that puts it after all the other "identified" or "named" categories (for lack of a better descriptor).
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bluesmanSF, Champion

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I read when you first posted. I didn't comment as I don't think they should give different weighting.

I do notice you posted this as reporting a "problem" but that since the system is working as intended it should just be marked "not a problem" with nothing more to say.

I just changed it to a suggestion of an "idea" so people could/would comment for or against or maybe even offer ideas to improve on your suggestion (since that seems to be your intention).

The thread seems more of a suggestion box item rather than a problem which normally means something needs repair.
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no nonsense

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IMHO it's a problem. But support if this stays as an idea. Impressed by your number of posts :-).
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Michael Saouli

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Hey Bluesman,

I don't think that "weighting" came across as correct in my original post. By "[...] different weigh [...]", I suggests that imdb treats "Miscellaneous Crew" as ALL companies do; putting it where it belongs: at the end of other identified, meaningful, information providing categories. 

So far, I haven't read a single convincing post from imdb, suggesting that letting the MC category was the utmost logical behavior to have; and how could they since this change in behavior is a mistake that was introduced when imdb overhauled it's look.

Please don't take my word for it and check these links:
1. Pre-relooking (it worked logically as it should): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/reference

2. Post-relooking (no longer working properly):
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/

Now in my book that's an unintended mistake.

I'm however shocked to see the amount of energy that imdb is investing, in not correcting this mistake, but in trying to justify the unjustifiable.

imdb itself acknowledges that there is a problem with the MC category and is addressing it.

I don't believe, however, that denying the evident mistake that was introduced post relooking makes imdb more readable and relevant.

So I would kindly request that this changed back from idea to the problem that it was first filed under and the problem that it clearly is.

Thanks again for your time and consideration.
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Michael Saouli

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Hey Bluesman,

I still haven't heard for you.

Can you please re-instate this as the problem that it is per the evidence that I provided you with over a month ago?

In addition, if you required further proof, please check the iPhone or iPad App. Under the name, it shows the incorrect ordering of credits (Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Director).

Then when you click on All filmography, suddenly, a more proper order is showing:

Producer (5)

Director (3)

Actor (1) (imho this shouldn't appear this high)

Cinematographer (3)

Miscellaneous (3)

Editor (1)

So any way you slice it or dice it, there is a mistake.

If you are unwilling to re-instate this as the problem that it is, can you please pass this on to a staff member? I think it is time that some staff member got involved.

Cheers.

PS: Here are the links that show that this is indeed a mistake:

1. Pre-relooking (it worked logically as it should): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/reference

2. Post-relooking (no longer working properly):

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/
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Michael Saouli

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Hi there,

Personally and from what I've read so far, I think this is a problem and a big one and not just for me. 

There is, in the world at large, no justification nor precedent to allocate the same weight to a catch-all category than to the other relevant categories.

When this happens it is usually an oversight or an error in either thinking or coding.It is never a conscious justifiable choice as how could this be? (I understand that there might be some less than optimal legacy coding that makes this a particularly hard challenge for IMDb's devs whereas it should be a quite simple and straightforward recode.)

My intention is to bring this positively and constructively to the devs so that it can be addressed and fixed (or implemented if I follow the logic of your intervention).

If you are confident that the best, fastest and most efficient way to achieve this is to relabel this from the problem that it is to an idea, I am more than happy to wait and see what happens.
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no nonsense

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IMHO it's a problem and support if this stays as an idea. Thanks for taking the lead on this Michael. I hope it works. IMDb will gain in relevance and clarity.
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DavidAH_Ca, Champion

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I don't think your suggestion of down-rating Miscellaneous Credits is going to fly. As you noted, the 'prestige' of the items in Other varies widely. Assume for an example, IMDb assigned a weight of 50% to Misc Credits. I can just hear the screams when someone who had 4 credits in Camera as clapper loader but has moved over and now has 6 as  location assistant manager but those 4 clapper loader items outweigh his 6 location ones. People will usually (grudgingly) accept the current system when it doesn't work the way they want, but I don't think they would accept this downgrading.

The only way I see to get around this would be to weight each Occupation which would not only be very expensive both to implement and process, as well as opening a real can of worms as to which occupation is worth what value.

As has been noted above IMDb has plans to move some occupations to their own section, but this is not a simple change. Each section is, as mentioned, processed separately so a full queue has to be set up with all the relevant checks and messages, and someone has to be assigned to process the data. On top of this the display pages must also be modified. IMDb is currently updating the Update system, and making it easier to make such changes is, I believe, one of the aims of this overhaul. I don't expect they will try to break out any new sections  until this update is complete and fully tested.

IMDb's philosophy on this section is clearly explained in the Submission Guide: Miscellaneous Crew which states in the last paragraph :
We are aware that every department is important, and the presence of a job in this list should not in any way be seen as an attempt to trivialize it. Over time, we have split a number of job categories out of this list, and we intend to split even more out in the future as time permits.
Finally, I would note that the sort by job is the default only on the basic version; on Pro, which is what professionals are expected to use, the default is to sort by Release Date within Project Status/Type and the job or jobs for each Title are shown like a character name, e.g. one of Ben Affleck's credits:
 The Town – Doug MacRay, Director, Writer (Screenplay)
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Michael Saouli

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Hey David,

I agree with your first two paragraphs (not down-rating MC and not weigh every occupation).

I have also noted that imdb has recognized the multitude of problems with the MC category and is doing their best to address that.

I see no difference in behavior between the basic and pro versions. If this was correct, then it should show: Producer - Director - Cinematographer for me (or Producer - Cinematographer - Director)  in the pro version. Instead it shows the same as the basic version: Producer - Miscellaneous Crew - Director.
 
So far, I haven't read a single convincing post from imdb suggesting that letting the MC category behave like any other was the utmost logical behavior to have; and how could they since this change in behavior is a mistake that was introduced when imdb overhauled it's look.

Please don't take my word for it and check these links:

1. Pre-relooking (it worked logically as it should): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/reference

2. Post-relooking (no longer working properly):
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/

In my book that's an unintended mistake.

I'm however shocked to see the amount of energy that imdb is investing, in not correcting this mistake, but in trying to justify the unjustifiable.

imdb itself acknowledges that there is a problem with the MC category and is addressing it.

I don't believe, however, that denying the evident mistake that was introduced post relooking makes imdb more readable and relevant.

I had suggested a "fix" that would address the credits that are still in the MC category and that are important for some professionals to see listed as first:
" If within the MC category, any category collects more credits than any category outside of the MC category, then it is a case where we could logically justify the MC category appear in front of others with less credits"

But counting all the credits of all the categories within MC to give it a disproportionate weight just isn't right nor correct and thus the MC category should always appear after the specific categories with the above suggested exception until imdb figures out the best way to deal with the MC category.

I would like to also emphasize that you shouldn't underestimate the number of professionals irritated by this issue.

Less than 10% of imdb users experiencing this frustration will contact the imdb help desk. Of those, less than 10% will take the step to got to getsatisfaction. If your'e still with me, we're down to less than 1% of frustrated users. Now because of the added barrier and hurdle of creating another account (and not being able to sign-in with one imdb or amazon credentials, you loose another 80 to 90 % of users ... meaning we are down to less than 10/20% of 1% of imdb pro users frustrated by this issue.

And then, more hurdles and stops here ...

I hope we can move this positively forward and that at the very least, for now, imdb will correct the mistake it did when changing the look of the pages as noted above.

Thanks again for your time and consideration.
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DavidAH_Ca, Champion

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IMDb is primarily set up for fans, not professionals. In 2014 IMDb had "over 200 million unique customers per month, and obviously professionals are only a small percentage of that. The changes made to the default pages (which I personally do not like) were made to appeal to the wider audience.
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Michael Saouli

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Hey David,

This is happening on the public/fan site (as well as pro side too).

It's a question of consistency (and logic). There is a problem.

(I'm pasting some of my replies to Bluesman from a month ago.)

In addition, if you required further proof, please check the iPhone or iPad App. Under the name, it shows the incorrect ordering of credits (Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Director).

Then when you click on All filmography, suddenly, a more proper order is showing:

Producer (5)

Director (3)

Actor (1) (imho this shouldn't appear this high)

Cinematographer (3)

Miscellaneous (3)

Editor (1)

So any way you slice it or dice it, there is a mistake.

Can you please re-instate this as the problem that it is per the evidence that I provided to Bluesman over a month ago (since then, he's gone awol on the subject)?

If you can't re-instate this as the problem that it is, can you please pass this on to a staff member? I think it is time that some staff member got involved.

Cheers.

PS: Here are the links that show that this is indeed a mistake:

1. Pre-relooking (it worked logically as it should): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/reference

2. Post-relooking (no longer working properly):

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/

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Vincent, Champion

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I'm not sure this is really that big a problem for most people. If a person really does move beyond the MC section then they will eventually out number it in some other area.

I would like to see more things get moved out of the MC section though, which would make the MC section shorter for everyone in general..
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Michael Saouli

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Hey Vincent,

I think it is a credibility problem and consistency one ... for imdb itself.

Best.

(I'm copying my answer to David.)

Hey David,

This is happening on the public/fan site (as well as pro side too).

It's a question of consistency (and logic). There is a problem.

(I'm pasting some of my replies to Bluesman from a month ago.)

In addition, if you required further proof, please check the iPhone or iPad App. Under the name, it shows the incorrect ordering of credits (Producer, Miscellaneous Crew, Director).

Then when you click on All filmography, suddenly, a more proper order is showing:

Producer (5)

Director (3)

Actor (1) (imho this shouldn't appear this high)

Cinematographer (3)

Miscellaneous (3)

Editor (1)

So any way you slice it or dice it, there is a mistake.

Can you please re-instate this as the problem that it is per the evidence that I provided to Bluesman over a month ago (since then, he's gone awol on the subject)?

If you can't re-instate this as the problem that it is, can you please pass this on to a staff member? I think it is time that some staff member got involved.

Cheers.

PS: Here are the links that show that this is indeed a mistake:

1. Pre-relooking (it worked logically as it should): http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/reference

2. Post-relooking (no longer working properly):

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/

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Michelle, Official Rep

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Hi Michael -

The display of categories on the IMDb.com website is ordered based on the number of individual credits in each one (not titles). The display generically refers to the number of credits in the category headings when in some cases it would be more accurate to identify this number as the number of titles instead. This is due to the fact that in most cases the two numbers are the same.

We are aware of this slight inconsistency, and may eventually address it or make other changes to make the headings information clearer; however, due to various other priorities, this is unlikely to happen in the near future and we can't commit to a specific timeline.

I have marked this thread as "Idea", if you have further suggestions of feedback about this display you are welcome to post them in this thread.
(Edited)
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Michael Saouli

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Hey Michelle,

Good to hear from you.

While I agree that there are inconsistencies, I've spotted many myself, this thread isn't about any of them. I'm happy to read that imdb will address those when it can.

The problem at hand here, and it is a problem as you'll see from the screen shots and two links provided herein, stems from when imdb changed the layout of the webpage to match that of the app.

The problem is limited to the summary "headline" under the profile photo where the three Credits Category that are supposed to provide a relevant glimpse of the persons work have become "inaccurate" post-relooking.

Any way you look at it, a "Miscellaneous" category should never appear before a more "relevant" category (and I'm aware that imdb is aware that they have challenges regarding the credits contained within the Miscellaneous Crew category and that it is doing what it can to see that category improved over time).

Even at imdb, pre-relooking, the "Miscellaneous" category didn't appear before Cinematographer (to use my profile for instance).

Pre-relloking: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/reference 
the top 3 categories are indeed relevant and representative.

Post- relookig: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1904958/
"Miscellaneous" creeps in there and that's not relevant.

Now I spoke with enough developer to know that to switch back the erroneous behavior of the post-relooking summary "headline" to the correct one of the pre-relooking one is apparently "quite simple and not that resource intensive". Are they wrong?

I hope that imdb will see it this way and re-instate the correct behavior for the "headline" summary 3 titles/credit categories.

Note that, personally, the issue won't affect me past year's end as I will have distributed an additional 2 shorts that I have produced, directed, shot and edited; but as a committed imdb proponent, I'd love to see this fixed for all other users. 

Here are the screen shots for your convenience: