Folks who write about movies, and just movie fans in general, know how valuable a resource IMDb is. Having all that information in one place is incredibly handy, and without IMDb there, the process of research would undoubtedly be a lot more difficult. For some, IMDb is not just a place to look up information about movies both well-known and obscure, it's also a place to engage in discussion about movies via the site's many boards. Or at least, it used to be.
Unfortunately, these days the number of people using the boards is dwindling. And in many cases the discussions going on there are evidently not living up to basic standards of civility. Where does that leave the vaunted institution of IMDb's message boards?
This will come as very sad news for those who do still frequent the IMDb boards, but the site says that because of various factors it is shutting down the feature on February 20th, 2017. Private messaging will also be disabled as a result. IMDb (via Variety) explained the reasoning behind their decision in a statement:
After in-depth discussion and examination, we have concluded that IMDb's message boards are no longer providing a positive, useful experience for the vast majority of our more than 250 million monthly users worldwide. The decision to retire a long-standing feature was made only after careful consideration and was based on data and traffic.
IMDb is giving users two weeks to archive any posts they want to keep and to get in touch with fellow users to exchange contact details. The site says it will "continue to enhance our current offerings and launch new features in 2017 and beyond that will help our customers communicate and express themselves in meaningful ways while leveraging emerging technologies and opportunities."
It's easy to look at IMDb's statement and conclude that the message boards are shutting down because the trolls won. That may be part of it, but a big part of it too is the reality of how people interact nowadays online. Message boards are simply not as important as they once were, not with all the social media options out there, and comment sections and the like. Was a time when IMDb's message boards were very lively indeed, but anyone who's visited in recent years has seen a steep decline in quantity and quality of discussion.
Just what new features IMDb has planned to help users express themselves is anyone's guess. For now it seems they prefer that users interact via the site's Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts (which certainly helps the site more than having people talking on the message boards). Needless to say, those who used IMDb's message boards will have no trouble finding new places to go to have their vibrant discussions about movies. IMDb will still offer its many lists and other entertaining features like the Top 250 and Bottom 100.