Friday, February 10, 2017

IMDb messages boards shutting down

There has been plenty of coverage of the recent sad news, that IMDb is shutting down its message boards. Clearly, mentioning it as such is not attempt to leave you wondering how I feel about it - indeed, the message board became the most useful feature of IMDb for me.

A while ago, it dawned on me that the IMDb message board may have been the first major site to embrace the "web 2.0" idea whereby the internet was not just a one-way conduit for the user to demand information from a producer, but was as exciting, if not moreso, as a two-way environment in which users could contribute content and interact with other users.

As such, as the web grew and changed, it was a point of frustration that IMDb's message boards did not evolve - I would have loved to be able to search the message boards, tag messages or otherwise have more engaging curation tools.

But it never happened. As tired and aged it was, it remained sticky, because it was just great to talk to other people about movies we love, or don't like. However, yeah, the interface was indeed tired.

But, rather than fix it, they're shutting it down. Why? Well, from the link in the opening paragraph, you'll find lots of opinions for why IMDb is doing this - the one that appears to be rising to the top is that the boards had become overrun with bullies, trolls and hate.

There's no question that I had my fair share of run-ins with people steeped in ad hominem and straw man arguments, personal attacks and name-calling (debate is a skill woefully under-developed by far too many who are eager to engage nonetheless); and if too many came to feel that venturing onto the message boards resulted in more antagonism than any helpful or meaningful interaction, far be it from me to dismiss their experiences or impose mine as any kind of standard.

But, for the record, even as tired the interface had become, the IMDb message boards remained, for me, the go-to place to ask questions about the movie that only other viewers could address; to share ideas I had about movies upon which others could ruminate; and to otherwise experience the sharing of movies I liked, or didn't, with others. I enjoyed them, and will miss them.

Below is one of my more enjoyable interactions, for posterity's sake...

(and here is a link to the copy in my Evernote, as I believe the shutting down process will remove them from even read-only access).

So, it is the end of an era, prompting many to ask, "where to now?"

I think I've found a slick, worthy successor as the go-to place to talk movies, which I'll discuss more in depth in a separate post soon to come - in the meantime, if you want a hint, take a look at the newest link, rightmost along the top link menu.

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