Why is it that any Tom, Dick and Harry can just waltz in and edit other people's trivia?

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I've been adding trivia & goofs for quite some time. A few weeks ago I wanted to expand and add some new info on one of them. But I noticed that it was gone.

I remember having seen it on the site before, so it was there for at least some months, perhaps years. Which means either an imdb staff member, or a random person, simply deleted it.

Now comes the best part.

I got curious and checked if it happened to my other trivia or goof additions. I haven't got around to checking all of them, but most of them are intact as far as I see. But some of them were simply changed. I mean redacted. For instance, for the movie Damn The Defiant, I had written:

"Alec Guinness and Nigel Stock also played together in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979). In HMS Defiant, there's quite an age difference between them. (Nigel Stock's character is 34 years old, Alec Guinness' character's age is not mentioned, although he's certainly in his mid-50's). In Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, they play ex-agents of roughly the same age."

But it was changed to:

"Alec Guinness and Nigel Stock also appeared together in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979)."

So somebody thought "Nah, this is too long, I find some of this information unnecessary" and actually took the time and effort to write, go through a few pages, and change it.

Credits to the imdb, though, I re-submitted the same data and explained, and it was accepted.

There was another one, also about the series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Five of the main cast also appeared together in another series, and two of them even made a TV commercial together. This trivia was also reworded, someone came in and removed the part about two actors making a commercial together.

Here's a deleted goof addition, from The Pink Panther Strikes Again. I have no idea why someone should delete it, maybe one of you do:

"After the UN building disappears, the officials rush into a room with a television, almost toppling on each other, to hear what Dreyfuss is saying. However, there was already a television set in the room they came from. In fact, they had just watched the UN building disappear on that television set."

I always write about movies that I have watched (not 30 years ago when I was a kid, but the ones I have recently watched on blu-ray or DVD, so my observations are fresh and correct). I'm very careful not to include unchecked info, rumours, smears or personal information in my data additions. So that can't be the issue. In fact, as you see above, it's difficult to guess what the issue can be. I don't add info about movies like Dark Knight etc. either (always fear the wrath of the fanboys) , 90 percent of my additions are about movies from the 80's or older.

Now, I'm not asking what kind of person would do this, or why. I'm not a doctor, and am certainly not interested in looking into the psyche of this kind of person, any more than looking at a car crash. No, my question is why is it so easy for anyone to simply change other people's input randomly, or delete it altogether.

My guess is that although the trivia & goof additions are checked, corrections and deletions are automated. I hope I'm wrong. But I can't think of another explanation as to why the above Pink Panther goof, for instance, should be deleted, months after it was approved and displayed.

Another question is, which I think is a very fair question, why can others edit my trivia, and so easily? It's logical that only the contributors themselves should be able to edit / remove their contributions. If there's wrong or misleading data in my addition, and a third person wants to correct it, it should not be accepted automatically. A decent, valid reason must be given as to why they want to change it, and the request must be reviewed by an actual, real person.

Anyone who has read this far, thank you. I realize once I get going, I can't stop. But you must see that it's rather frustrating to put your ideas in writing as accurately as possible, get the wording right, format it according to the site rules, and then have your input butchered or removed altogether by a stranger, simply because they can. I realize it's not the end of the world, but this is the right place to talk about it.

Oh, and if it was an imdb staff member that shortened or removed my additions, I'd like to know why. Especially since they were approved in the first place.
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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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Posted 9 months ago

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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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I have submitted long winded trivia and had it rejected. Never accepted. I then tightened it up and viola! Accepted. Shorter is better. The age difference thing may have been better as a stand alone additional trivia submission.
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EASY GOER

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  1. I agree and have done the same thing: I entered long winded, detailed information that was "Not Accepted". Afterwards, I entered a more concise version (of the same topic) and bang! It was "Accepted". Simply for cutting the word count in half. Consequently, use of brevity and being concise play a significant part into whether or not something entered is accepted or not.
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Vincent Fournols

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By essence, IMDb is a collaborative site.
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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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I agree, I also had many trivia submissions rejected, and later approved only when I shortened them a bit. One must always give himself/herself some time and re-read the input before submitting. If I had done so, for instance, I would have worded the above statement better (I realize now that I said "my question is..." and later "another question is..." but only repeating the same thing)

But no, these are additions that are already approved, and been on the site for months, even years. They don't have any defamatory or incorrect stuff. I can't think of any reason why someone should go through all the trouble of editing trivia, other than "because I can, so there too."
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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Two persons caused it to be removed. The reporter of the trivia item, and then a data editor that agreed with the submission of that reporter. As Vincent said above a collaborative effort. Not one single person.
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Eboy

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The way I see it, shorter is not always ”better”. It’s actually sometimes more boring, and even less informative. Editing something just to make it ”shorter” is questionable. But this is just how feel about it. At the end of the day, it of course depends on the case/trivia.

But it’s true that while every ”Tom, Dick and Harry” can submit edits/corrections, they’re all approved - or rejected by the IMDb data editors. IMDb is not Wikipedia.

( Also remember that sometimes there can be multiple different entries of the same trivia bit. So it’s good double check that before assuming that certain trivia is edited/removed. )
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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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I agree with everything said. I have nothing against someone editing my input, on condition that it is either a) improving it, or b) correcting a mistake. But the cases I mentioned are neither.

For instance, if I have the power to change Vince's above comment from 

"By essence, IMDb is a collaborative site."

to:

"We collaborate here."

This is not improving. It's simply ruining it. Then I shouldn't be having that power.

Here's another example, also from the Damn The Defiant! movie. (I also submitted this again to change it back.) My trivia was originally:

"This is the second time Alec Guinness and David Robinson, who plays his son, appear together onscreen. The first was in The Horse's Mouth (1958), where David Robinson had an uncredited role, his first one."

But by probably the same person, it was changed to:

"Alec Guinness and David Robinson also acted together in The Horse's Mouth."

He isn't improving it, he isn't correcting it. He isn't even paraphrasing it. He's simply removing information.

I wonder, when this person submitted his change, what reason could he have given in the "reason for edit" box?

- "I don't like it."
- "Too long, my eyes hurt when I read trivia longer than one line."
- "That's an awfully nice trivia. Be a shame if something happened to it, know what I mean?"

I just can't see a real person, a staffer, to approve these. That's why I assume changes and corrections are approved by a bot.
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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The Horse's Mouth (1958), where David Robinson had an uncredited role, his first one."
This bit of trivia belongs on The Horse's Mouth
It has nothing to do with Damn The Defiant.

It should read, on the page for The Horse's Mouth

David Robinson's debut role.


The correction to the trivia submission is "Correct"!

"Alec Guinness and David Robinson also acted together in The Horse's Mouth."
No Bot involved. Deductive reasoning.
(Edited)
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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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With all due respect, the correction to the trivia submission is not correct.

It's just an extension of the information. There's still a relation, not completely irrelevant. That's the definition of trivia, isn't it: trivial info.

Here's a better example to show what I mean (this is not my own input) from For A Few Dollar More:

"Although Clint Eastwood's poncho was never washed during the production of the "Dollar" trilogy, it was mended. In the final scene of A Fistful of Dollars (1964), the poncho is pierced by seven bullets from Ramon's Winchester. In the sequel, Eastwood wears the same poncho back-to-front and the mending of the bullet holes is clearly visible in several scenes. The mended area, originally on the left breast, is now worn over the right shoulder blade."

Should we only keep the first sentence and remove the rest too, because "they are about another film"?

Or how about this:

"In Marathon Man, Laurence Olivier played a Nazi war criminal. A few years later he played a Nazi hunter in The Boys From Brazil." BEEP sorry, that's another film, you're not allowed to mention other films. Your trivia addition will be cut in half.

This would take the fun and purpose out of trivia.
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Vincent Fournols

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My 2 cents: I find the trivia pieces stating in which other movie some cast members had or have played together totally uninteresting, misplaced and useless. If I want to know the common appearances of two actors, I just use the complex search, which will display the full list and not one or a few of them.
So I understand people who want to trim the information to strictly relating to the actual movie.
This is also a reason why I do not spend so much time reading trivia, because usually more than half of them are... trivial and not very informative.

But, unless mistaken, I have never edited or deleted any of them. And I add new ones once in a while.
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J.

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Someday I'd like to see IMDb allow us to see previous edits of its pages, the way Wikipedia does. Maybe we could even get notified when our submissions have changed.

In the meantime, I recommend archiving your work on http://archive.fo/ or https://archive.org/web/.

The latter site, incidentally, crawls the internet and archives pages on its own. You can already see snapshots of the trivia page for DAMN THE DEFIANT! (1962) from 2012, 2015, and 2017. And I just saved a snapshot of it a few moments ago. Here is the 2012 snapshot: https://web.archive.org/web/20120807061547/http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055884/trivia
(Edited)
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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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Fair enough, but that's not really the point. If you find a certain trivia or goof uninteresting, isn't that what the "I find this uninteresting" button is for?

The point is random people being able to simply come in, change or remove your input and go away. Whether what they change/delete is interesting or not is another discussion.

It's like finding out that someone has been in your house when you were gone. Whether he stole anything or not is secondary. 

A piece of information that's not interesting to you or me, may be very interesting to someone else. A piece of information that makes someone say "nah, I don't like this, I'll just delete it" may be of interest to many others.

Remember, it's not just about "who starred with whom" in another film. They could do it for simply anything that's displayed in the trivia / goof section.
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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Trivia: My house was broken into along with my neighbor one block over. Related...Yes. I don't care what was stolen in his house! I wanna know the details of my house.
Now substitute the word Movie for House!!!
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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https://help.imdb.com/article/contribution/titles/trivia/G42ZNVNNQT6P78FE?ref_=helpsrall#

Trivia

Trivia should be interesting (to at least one other person as well as you) and "relate" to the title.


Another title relates to to the title. But NOT what happens in THE OTHER title.



2. Style & Grammar

  • Do write only in English.
  • Do keep your submissions short and easy to read.
  • Do write all submissions in the present tense.
  • Do not use ALL CAPS.
  • Do not use chat-speak or text-speak.



Your getting into the Kevin Bacon thing. I can make up a trivia item that relates to seven other titles from a single starting point. It can almost be done on all titles. Star Trek and Star Wars are clogged with such things.
(Edited)
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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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The conversation got carried towards the "what's interesting / relevant as trivia" thing. While that's a valid discussion in itself, the point still remains: It shouldn't be possible (or at least this easy) for people to edit other people's input.

What if someone comes and edits / removes some trivia that doesn't have any relation to other movies? Something that's very interesting, very relevant in itself?

Let's say someone has the second most popular trivia item in a major film. And being the well-balanced person he is, he decides to get rid of the 1st place trivia, to take his place. Now what's to keep this from happening? Especially if he has a way with words and can make up a decent "this trivia item is not relevant / interesting / is ambiguous / is a secret of the state and should be removed" excuse to explain his edit request, what's to stop him?

I hate repeating, but the example I gave above from The Pink Panther Strikes Again movie goof demonstrates my point perfectly: It has no relation to another movie, it's true, it's short. But for some reason it was deleted. Not changed, gone.

So what's to stop people from changing / deleting trivia and goofs that actually do fit your criteria of interest / relevancy?

No, something's wrong here. Even if these edit / deletion requests are indeed seen and checked by real people (not bots) they're obviously letting too many things slip by carelessly. Perhaps they are overworked, they must be getting thousands of new input every day, I get that. But it still doesn't make it right.
(Edited)
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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The Sky is Falling. The Sky is Falling.
Getting rid of the first place trivia? Really. For what reason? To be first? Then only an obsessive person would do this and would do it not just on a one time basis, but on a massive scale. They would be caught. There is no name attached to trivia submissions. So why would you do it if no recognition exists? Answer: You wouldn't.
Your making some small valid points. But your big picture extrapolation holds no water.

Nothing is wrong here.
Once in a while an individual brings up this topic. There are probably 50,000,000 users that are active out of the 100,000,000 registered users. Yeah 50 million. This topic, plus others regarding data submissions by everyone is complained about by less than 1% of the total active users. It is NOT a problem that needs serious attention. You are swaying no ones opinion to any alarming level at all.
While the system is not perfect, it functions very well as is.

Thanks for your contributions.
Keep up the good work.
Cheers
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Vincent Fournols

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Trivas and goofs must be editable, because nobody's perfect! Consider this from Bohemian Rhapsody:
Freddie Mercury's vocal range stretched to three octaves, though it was rumored that it spanned four. In 2016, a group of biophysicists and medical researchers concluded that his vocal chords moved faster than the average singer's. His vibrato measured in at 7.04 MHertz, while standard vibrato frequency falls between 5.4 and 6.9 MHertz.
Even for a non specialist like me, it is utter non-sense: A4 is 440 Hz, so at the very most a human voice could reach about 3,5 kHz (~A6). And I doubt it: from my research, a soprano colorature could reach D6 (2,35 kHz), when Maria Callas could reach F5 "only"(1,4 kHz).
But the voice can never sound at Mhz scales (not MHertz).

So this trivia should be edited, at best, or even deleted.
(Edited)
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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Makes my ears Hertz!
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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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I'm even less of a non-specialist, so I have absolutely no idea about these numbers. I do know that some singers have extreme range, Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum reportedly ruined microphones with her voice, and even black metal singer King Diamond has a range way, way above average voices, even great voices.

And I do agree that trivia and goofs must be editable, as I stated above myself, but on certain conditions, of course. Like this technically detailed trivia, which is more likely to contain incorrect information. It should naturally be checked / handled as such. I do not object to that.

But, to give a hypothetical example, if someone puts in a simple trivia saying "Queen had the longest set during Live Aid." and someone else comes and removes it easily, that's what I object to.

Thanks to the imdb staff for their response, and thanks to everyone for the discussion. I had almost forgotten that it was possible to discuss things on the web without someone going "No, you know nothing! Go kill yourself, and your mama is fat too!"
(Edited)
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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Vincent Fournols, to be honest it's not a nonsense per se, it's mostly an incomplete fact, which is even weirder when explained in-depth. Mercury had extra teeth because he had a rather rare genetic condition called hyperdontia: he had 34 teeth instead of 32 and that really helped him to some degree with vibrato. He never had a professional singer education and relied mostly on natural gift + concert experience to modulate his unique voice. It doesn't seem to me as an extreme stretch that he was able to reach four octaves, although other members of Queen were no slouches in that area as well: Roger Taylor despite primarily being band's drummer was a competent singer who reached falsetto with relative ease. I have nothing to say on numbers seen in the trivia, though: numbers is a dead area to me. 

I'd say that just as IQ is not properly measuring intellect (only several areas of math- and logic-related capability) octaves should not be used as one and only factor about a voice. I'd argue that unique timbre has more importance for a singer as some singers with barely two octaves are a joy to hear for their rich and unique voice. Then there's also a type of singing I call acting singing: basically singer may nearly read his lines instead of singing, but emotion one puts into the process makes the whole work shine. Lou Reed, Jim Morrison, arguably even David Bowie (who had a rather powerful vocal ability) were all great singers mostly because of timbre and emotion they put in their singing.     
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Vincent Fournols

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Nikolay,

Anything you want... But no MHz for human voice!!! :)
Look at your amp, and it had got an equalizer, the highest pitch you can tune which is audible for the human ear is about 16 to 20 kHz, and the human voice at it's highest pitch reaches about 3 kHz.
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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Vincent Fournols, I have no amp and I must sing. :) 

In all fairness my knowledge of technical aspects of recording and amplifying human voice is criminally limited considering I'm mixing the songs (and it probably explains while some of the instances are less then successful). 
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Eboy

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I don’t see why these type of trivia bits should be outright deleted. I would (if the topic would interest me enough) probably contact some expert and then together with her/him update/correct the wording. Mistakes or bad grammer doesn't necessarily make it ”nonsense”. But it’s true that sometimes the fans get a bit carried away. Freddie was still just another human being.
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Vincent Fournols

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Fair enough, Eboy, but if we want to stick to the goal of completeness and accuracy that IMDb claims and pursues, I would rather get rid of "unstable" trivia such as this one (along with the awful title summaries very badly translated from French promotional materials...!)
(Edited)
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Will, Official Rep

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Hi Ardan,

Thanks for your message. We agree that both your trivia item and your goof from the original post were valid entries, it does look like two separate contributors edited/removed these items. I can see that you've since amended both of them so thank you for that. IMDb by its very nature is a collaborative site, and as such any contributor may submit an amendment or deletion against an item. It looks like these were incorrect in these cases. We also do not reveal the details of any of our contributors.

I hope this helps to explain the situation.

Regards,
Will
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Ardan Tüzünsoy

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Thank you very much.