Open letter to IMDB - please stop deleting movie message board threads

Dear IMDB,

Some movies are fascinating, and the message boards that IMDB provides offer an avenue for fans to discuss the most varied aspects of a movie, from the underlying philosophy to plot aspects, goofs, special effects, or music.

However, IMDB automatically deletes older threads from the message boards. This was probably a good measure a few years back, when server storage and bandwidth were much more expensive than today. However, I believe IMDB should reconsider this decision in the light of (new) facts:

  1. Storage is very cheap nowadays. Two $100 mirrored 300Gb hard drives can store 300,000,000 messages (assuming a generous average of 1Kb per message, including metadata stored in the database).
  2. One of the main points of forum or message boards is to store knowledge, so the same question won't be asked over and over again. By preserving threads, a knowledge base will naturally be created around a movie, and users won't keep asking FAQs. Note that the existing FAQ feature is not designed to host discussions, and indeed does not.
  3. Answering an FAQ would greatly benefit from existing threads. This is shown eloquently by the Gattaca (1997) FAQ, which does not have any entry as of 2009-Apr-05. Indeed, existing threads are very scarce (any discussions older than 2008-Nov-28 have been recently deleted).
  4. By preserving user-generated content, IMDB practically enriches its site for free. If IMDB also allowed web crawlers to index the message boards, it would receive extra traffic and ad views, quickly offsetting the cost for any extra storage required by the boards.
  5. The majority of IMDB users seem unaware of this policy and when encountering questions that have already been discussed, direct other users to search the threads. Unfortunately, there is no search function, and the threads have often been deleted.
  6. I responded to other counter-arguments in this thread on the Help message boards, which in the meantime got deleted. Note that, as mentioned above, the Internet Archive does not crawl the IMDB message boards due to the settings in robots.txt.

Thank you for your consideration,
Dan Dascalescu

What can you do as an IMDB user?

Please submit a suggestion to the IMDB help desk, asking them to reconsider deleting threads. Feel free to link to this page. Also, please vote in the survey below.

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