I just found out that iMDB has closed their forums, and deleted all the past discussions. Apparently this just happened today, although it was announced 2 weeks ago. I hadn't been to the site in the past 2 weeks so I didn't know it was happening. Their reasoning was supposedly that there was too much trolling and flame wars and shit (as there are in most open forums) and they want people to use Facebook for discussion instead. They are keeping the data base but just removing all discussions.
I reckon it was a budgetary reason because forums do take a lot of moderation , which means a real person has to be paid to do that job. I never had a registered account at iMDB so I had never posted in their forums, but I had often read them, so I am unhappy they are gone. Often times after viewing a movie or Tv show, I would have some little question or confusion about a plot point, and I could always go check their forums and there was always someone who had already asked the question I was wondering about. These were questions not answered by the summary or cast lists, these were plot questions, like "why did that guy do that thing". I never needed to post because someone else inevitably had already asked my exact question and it was always answered by someone else.
So I am not happy it's all been erased , and Facebook is a poor replacement. Many people don't want all their internet activity linked under a single account. If you get in some trivial debate about a movie with someone, you don't need them to be able to see where you work and who all your friends and family are in one click. Facebook also does not lend itself to in depth discussions, it truncates longer comments so you have to click to see the whole thing. Facebook is just built around quick mindless actions like thumbs up or thumbs down, emojis and brief sentence fragments, not based around written, reasoned communication.
I will certainly admit that the iMDB forums had their share of trolls, racist and sexist comments, etc. But so does the comments on Youtube, and I would never want them to delete all commentary on Youtube! How else can you ask the content creators a question? I never had any problem just scrolling past the low value posts to find the high value posts. It's really not that hard.
It's very sad to me that the format of message boards/forums/discussion boards is dying out. When I first got on the internet in 1999, the first sites I joined and participated in were message boards. I met many friends there who I later met up with in real life.
I got a job moderating message boards, that later led to other jobs as moderators and community managers. Even now, that is still my preferred format to interact with people online. I like it better than twitter, facebook, instagram, live chatrooms or blogs. I feel like the message board format lets you get to know people the best and it is the most conducive to thoughtful conversation. I went to weddings and to funerals of friends I had met in message
boards. I fell in love, I traveled to stay with friends in other states
and countries, all from friendships begin on message boards. I don't
believe that would ever happen with twitter and instagram!
Do they have the potential for abuse and negative speech? Of course, but the positive still far outweighed the negative.
I did find this site which has apparently archived the discussion boards from the top 1000 movies and shows. (or top 10,000?) Anyway it's backed up the busiest boards from imdb, and has empty boards for all the other movies and shows, which can have new discussions posted.
Maybe I will actually register there and post occasionally.