Wikipedia talk:Citing IMDb/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2


Feel free to state your position on the current WP:Citing IMDb proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account WP:RS tertiary sources.
  • Comment: It seems too soon to hold a survey after the proposal was developed in the course of a day. I think that we should continue the above discussion with additional editors and share arguments and counter-arguments before we launch a poll survey. —Erik (talkcontrib) 17:02, 30 November 2008 (UTC) [Semantic improvement. :) —Erik (talkcontrib) 23:18, 30 November 2008 (UTC)]
  • Please read the note above, there is no poll here. The only thing there is: the reasons anybody might support or oppose the current proposal. In case you think anything should be added, changed etc. in the current policy proposal please do not hesitate to spell it out in your comment(s).--Termer (talk) 17:26, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Maybe it is just me, but for a topic as complex as this, there should be extensive discussion prior to a survey. Editors with different perspectives can weigh in, and points can be clarified with each other before people affirm their final thoughts in their support or opposition of the proposal, which may subsequently be shaped in the discussion. That way, the sum of all arguments can be presented more concisely. I just think that this got too formal too quickly. —Erik (talkcontrib) 17:33, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
There is nothing complex about IMDb nor about supporting or opposing the current policy proposal. everything is as straight forward as it can get. However, WP:There is no deadline either, there s no hurry to close this discussion, so please take all the time you need.--Termer (talk) 17:47, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Clearly it is not as straight-forward as it can get, as editors are still discussing and defining the boundaries of the proposal. I agree with Erik - a poll is premature until its terms have been agreed upon. Drafting a proposal is not the same as actually presenting it as ready for consideration. Right now, the discussion is still about deciding the specifics of the proposal. If you must insist upon a vote, however, then I must Oppose as it is not finished with development. Girolamo Savonarola (talk) 19:40, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Once again, this is not a poll. In case anybody thinks the proposal is still in development, fine. Just that in case anybody has any constructive suggestion what should be changed or added to this guideline, please do not hesitate to bring it forward. That's what this survey is all about.--Termer (talk) 23:15, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support the IMDb is a valid and valuable source of reference once it's about solid facts listed in the current proposal under "IMDb content suitable for Wikipedia". Anything under "IMDb content not suitable for Wikipedia" is not encyclopedic and inclusion of such material or "facts" should be avoided on Wikipedia all together. I believe the current proposal fairly represents the value and limitations IMDb has for WP purposes, and in order to put an and to constant controversy about the reliability of IMDb on WP, the policy would be essential for creating a more constructive working environment for Wikipedia editors.--Termer (talk) 17:10, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support the current proposed guideline clarification as being suitable for explaning limitations on just what is and is not reliable on IMDB for purposes of verification of encyclopedic informations as required by policy. It clearly and simply states what is acceptable and what is not and why. However, further input is welcomed as this is not yet engraved in stone. But if a guideline is simple and clear, why confuse it? Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 00:48, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, IMDB may be a great fan source, but it does not meet any of Wikipedia's reliable source guidelines. It should never be used as a cited source, ever. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 17:02, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Can you elaborate on why not even the two points of suitable content are not acceptable? —Erik (talkcontrib) 17:11, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • MPAA ratings, in general, should not even be included in film articles, so that's pretty useless, and it can be easily and better cited from real sources. The rest gives no actual evidence of reliability and just like the rest can have errors (and frequently do). All of that information is easily, and better sourced elsewhere, with cast/crew already implicitly sourced by the film itself. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 17:17, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment: sourced by the film itself? That is not exactly in sync with the idea of WP:REF. How would you suggest using it as a part of the footnote system? Adding a note that please see the movie and the credits? Or are you suggesting that official websites that might have credit lists should be preferred to IMDb? I don't think it's a good idea simply because once it's about major blockbusters, fine, I don't see any problems with it. But if this is made into a general guideline, anybody can make a movie and an "official website" for it and that's where IMDb comes in, filtering out any movies that are not notable in the first place. (Unlike Wikipedia that has films listed that don't raise above home video level) And again, nobody is saying that IMDb should be trusted blindly but in that sense it doesn't differ from any other source out there. So in case you have alternatives, please spell out the "better sourced elsewhere". So in case necessary it could be spelled out also in the guideline, for example: "instead of IMDb following sources should be used...".--Termer (talk) 18:38, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Um, wrong. It is well established that the credit lists in the film are considered a valid source, without having to use a specific reference, same as the plot. And yes, official websites are preferred to IMDB, or reviews (which almost always discuss all principal cast memebrs), or actual news stories, or any other actual RELIABLE source. Not some user edited site well know for having errors in all areas of the site, not just some areas. It does not meet [{WP:RS]], adn again, should NEVER be used as a source, period. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 20:16, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
With respects, that same logic can be used to declare the entire New York Times or Washigton Post as not reliable simply because they include informations that are accepted as unreliable as opinion (op-ed pieces, letters to the editor, etc). Even in the biggest blockbuster, you will never find an complete cast and crew list anywhere but on IMDB as taken directly from the film credits. And again, with respects, IMDB is NOT user-edited... that's wikipedia. IMDB has a vetting process to consider informations before it is decided to publish a submission or not. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 21:05, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
No, it can't (and, letters to the editors are not usable as sources). The entire of IMDB is user edited, and the "vetting" is flawed and does not mean its reliable. Almost anything submitted is accepted as long as it seems plausible enough, which is one reason it has so many errors. No one checks the information, its just checked to see if it looks wrong or not. It is not any different from Wikipedia, except we check after the fact. They don't even ask for valid sources or require it before accepting any submissions on anything. And a complete cast/crew list isn't necessary here at all, only major cast and major crew, all findable any any good review or even on the film poster (and, of course, the film itself). -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 21:10, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
You have an interesting way to agree with me and disagree at the same time. You simply restated what I had myself said. Some parts of the Times have been determined to be unreliable. Other parts have been determined to be reliable. That is what this proposal is ironing out... just what parts of IMDB may be considered reliable and just which parts cannot.
"The entire of IMDB is user edited". Incorrect, and with continued respect, IMDB is abosutely NOT "user edited". That's wiki.
"Almost anything submitted is accepted as long as it seems plausible enough, which is one reason it has so many errors" Incorrect. Nothing is accepted simply because it sounds plausible. It IS checked. The suggested IMDB sections in the proposed guideline have far fewer errors than almost any other "reliable source"
"They don't even ask for valid sources or require it before accepting any submissions on anything" If the submitted information is not found correct by their fact checkers, it is not published.
" No one checks the information, its just checked to see if it looks wrong or not." Incorrect. The information is most definitely checked before publication. Looking right is not good enough... it must BE right.
"And a complete cast/crew list isn't necessary here at all, only major cast and major crew, all findable any any good review or even on the film poster (and, of course, the film itself)." Policy mandates Encyclopedic content must be verifiable. If an article includes a fact about minor cast/crew, that fact must be verifiable per policy. We are not here discussing WP:N, we are discussing WP:RS.
Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 22:27, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Using the film itself as a source is an established and accepted usage of primary sourcing, so long as the information is objective and uncontroversial. This has been discussed at length before. (Maybe a year back? I think this was initiated by Pixelface as an ancillary question regarding TV episode notability.) Girolamo Savonarola (talk) 20:53, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
So basically the answer to alternative sources was that instead of lets say relying on credit lists from IMDb written in black&white the movie itself should be used as a reliable source in Wikipedia instead? I must be missing something, if IMDb follows credit lists and people are known to make mistakes from time to time over there, why would it be any different on Wikipedia? The bottom line, I have no problem with somebody going through credit lists and copying them to WP separately from IMDB. Just that how exactly is that reasonable? if you do not want to rely on IMDb because of human error, yet it's not a problem on Wikipedia? I think in case anybody uses films as primary sources on WP, getting it WP:VERIFYED with for example IMDb becomes more like a must instead of dismissing it entirely.--Termer (talk) 23:31, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

←I think some of us are approaching this from the wrong angle. For me, I've largely stayed out of this because whether reliable or not, I see no real need to cite the IMDb in a genuinely encyclopedic article. It lacks sufficient context in its entries to provide the supporting information that's required. For example, I could have sourced the cast list at Changeling using IMDb, but in doing so I'd simply be left with a list of names and characters. There'd be no point. Instead, I've used articles from newspapers and magazines such as Variety to add the names as and when interesting casting information has come up. Similarly with the crew; the significant members (DP, production designer) each have sections devoted to their art. For most films I'd imagine that if a cast or crew member is relevant enough to be mentioned, they will be in sources that will provide more information than the IMDb is able to. And again, should some technical detail be relevant (type of camera or film), that too will be covered in detail beyond that which a mere list will provide. I can see circumstances in which it would be very useful to cite the IMDb, but these are most likely to be for films that are still in production, where there is an absence of in-depth coverage, and therefore not covered by this proposed guideline. Other occasions where the IMDb coverage may trump that in the usual sources might be for more obscure films, such as foreign or older ones. With that lack of published information, can we really be sure that the IMDb's staff is able to vet these as well as it might for more mainstream productions? What access to sources for these films do they have that we do not? Steve TC 00:17, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

  • Comment:Please guys, lets not turn this into a general discussion about IMDb. I think everybody involved here is aware of how IMDb can be useful and what it's problems are. Please lets concentrate on getting WP:Citing IMDb worked out here. Please suggest clear alternatives in case you don't agree with the current proposed guideline. thanks!--Termer (talk) 04:07, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
    • Actually, you're dead right. My comment was a more general one that would be more useful in some kind of essay on writing good film articles, and wasn't really useful to this discussion. The only reason I put it here was to show that we're spending a lot of time debating something that I feel doesn't matter in the long run. The last point stands, however. Can we be sure that with an ofttime lack of published information for older, foreign and more obscure films, that the IMDb's staff is able to vet these as well as it can for more mainstream productions? Steve TC 08:40, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I concur with Steve. If you're going to IMdB as your source in any situation, then I would seriously call the notability of the article into question. My general perception of IMdB has always been that it's a less-than-reliable source for a good chunk of stuff, and I'd rather not see it cited at all. For the stuff you might want to cite it for, the reliability of that information is often in doubt (i.e. obscure foreign or older films). In any case, if you brought an article with IMdB sources to WP:FAC (or a list to WP:FLC), you would be asked to remove and replace them fairly quickly. I don't see why we would allow the inclusion of IMdB sources when our best work deliberately doesn't use it at all. IMO, this guideline edges too far on the side of WP:CREEP for my tastes, and I personally would want something like WP:VG/GL for films with this included rather than being a completely separate guideline. — sephiroth bcr (converse) 08:47, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment (Weak Oppose). I think this should be worked on a case-by-case basis here. I think we have a clear consensus that IMDb should certainly not be cited for the material outlined in "IMDb content not suitable for Wikipedia," correct? If the issue then becomes "Released films," I would personally only cite it when there are other sources available to back up its content (in which case I wouldn't need to cite it in the first place). IMDb should not be the only reference available for a fact, nor should it be used as the primary basis of an article. If you follow a strict interpretation of WP:RS, there is not a single criteria that IMDb qualifies for and passes. Per Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources, "Tertiary sources can be helpful in providing broad summaries of topics that involve many primary and secondary sources. Some tertiary sources may be more reliable than others, and within any given tertiary source, some articles may be more reliable than others" which supports my view of differing IMDb pages having differing reliablilty. And again, because we generally agree that IMDb is not the most reliable of sources, I would hold that IMDb should generally be avoided in citations. DARTH PANDAduel 14:38, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose this page being no more than an essay this proposal is simply rule creep. There are plenty of other policies and guidelines already which cover this subject clearly. travb (talk) 22:07, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that there is an issue regarding the other policies and guidelines - the question at hand is how they are being interpreted relative to this specific case. Either way, this shouldn't be regarded as an essay, as that's not its intent. For the moment, a rejected proposal is the current status unless this is reopened. Girolamo Savonarola (talk) 22:25, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
In good faith it must be accepted that this is a new proposal and not simply the old proposal in new clothes. You tagged the last proposal as rejected on July 24, 2007. The discussions and relevent talk pages were reviewed by Metropolitan90 on November 29, 2008 and the proposal re-opened almost 1-1/2 years later and Termer began rewrriting the proposal from the ground up, addressing the concerns of the earlier discussions. Per WP:AGF this one is not the same as the previously rejected guideline, as earlier concerns have been addressed. When one discoubts the occasional WP:ATA, the consensus actually seem to be in favor of the clarifications set forth in this new version of the old proposal. Just goes to show that consensus can change. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 23:38, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
There has been no clear consensus for the new version, and the participants of the discussion left a month ago. I'm not opposed to further discussion, but when no consensus has been established and no current discussion on the guideline exists, it is a de facto rejected proposal. Should discussion revive (discussion of the guideline, not the tag - ie, not this discussion), then it can go back to a proposal tag. Consensus may change, but there needs to be both a clear consensus and an active discussion for that to occur. Girolamo Savonarola (talk) 23:53, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
As you just noted at your talk page, with a definite degree of fairness, characterizing the other side as responding inadequately (to the other side's standards of discussion) is a hallmark of arguments and is not synonymous with silence. Just saying. arimareiji (talk) 00:56, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
And as I've noted, the discussion here has been dead for a month, unless you're counting this discussion about a tag rather than the actual guideline. My point wasn't a S=E one, but rather that nothing is happening here, so this should not be tagged as an active proposal for the moment. If editors want to discuss the putative guideline again, the tag can always be returned to the proposal one, which I doubt anyone would disagree with. Until such a revival, this is a dead (not silent) forum. That is my point, but please let me know if I'm unclear. Girolamo Savonarola (talk) 01:17, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
My point was that, as you noted, it's not reasonable for one side to unilaterally decide the other side isn't responding adequately. You say this is dead (if you discount Schmidt for not being novel enough); Schmidt says consensus has been reached for it (if you discount what he calls WP:ATA arguments).
Both of you are on "sides" in this. My only "side" is whoever has the preponderance of unrebutted arguments. I tend to agree that "Support" has the preponderance, which is why I spoke up and said so. But as I said on your talk page, I'm absolutely willing to review that based on a reasonable-length summary of arguments you think I missed by virtue of their age. arimareiji (talk) 01:32, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
With no disrespect, I don't think you have enough experience to arbitrate. (Nor did you offer prior to weighing in.) If a neutral and experienced party that both sides agrees to wants to arbitrate this, then that's fine. In fact, such an offer has already been made by one of the admins, but it will probably be held in a fresh forum such as an RfC, and likely in the new year. So I'm a little puzzled as to what role you're trying to create for yourself here. Your opinions should be heard, but it sounds like you're trying to make them something more than that. Am I misreading? Girolamo Savonarola (talk) 01:41, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting any such thing. I'm offering the chance to practice convincing someone who's not as deeply involved as you or the other long-term partisans here. It might come in handy before the "battle" escalates further. And I'm trying to gently remind you that as a partisan, you can't reasonably be an arbiter and declare the other side to have lost. arimareiji (talk) 01:50, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Support - As the lengthy discussion on this page shows, there is considerable opposition to using IMDB as a source by those who would characterize Wikipedia policy as forbidding its use. The supporters have evinced a lot of unrebutted arguments, which to my mind speaks of strong consensus for it by contrast with the view that consensus is majority opinion. Yes, I realize that means I'm discounting my own "vote" as well, since I see no need to copy all of those unrebutted arguments here and pretend they're my own. But insofar as perception creates reality, I feel it necessary to say that I'm convinced that this proposal is a completely reasonable compromise that allows well-sourced material and excludes material submitted sans oversight. arimareiji (talk) 23:53, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
If you want to re-open the discussion, by all means feel free to do so. Girolamo Savonarola (talk) 23:54, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
And for myself... I was waiting for rebuttal and never got any. Just a rehash of repeated arguments as noted by arimareiji. Now if silence is comsensus, then I might then consider thr proposed guideline as being accepted. I was surprised that you took silence as an affirmation of your own views, when it was not the case. As I noted above, this proposal is not the same as the one you closed in the Summer of '07. It only shares the same name. And arimareiji is as qualified to opine as any on the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Yes, definitely time to re-open... or keep open, as it was never closed. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 01:56, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Apparently I have not been clear enough, so I will restate. Silence equals consensus only applies when there is no opposition. It is not a license to interpret people's arguments or counter-arguments as unrebutted - were that the case, each side would claim that the other side didn't appropriately answer their arguments, which is exactly why the argument is happening. If people felt their points to be adequately addressed by the other side, there would be no disagreement to begin with. Silence equals consent explicitly states that where discussion is widely advertised, where a sufficient and reasonable amount of time to yield comment has been given, and where no objections are raised, a measure may be construed to have passed as consensus, since everyone was informed and no one objected. It ceases to be a usable pretext and becomes moot as soon as any objections are raised. At that point, you have a discussion, consensus building (or lack thereof), etc. We can argue what (if any) consensus has been reached, but you cannot argue that no one objected and therefore there was silence on the matter. I am tired of reiterating this point, as many others have tired of reiterating their arguments, which is why they chose to leave instead of endless rebuttals. Not having the last word is not the same as not having raised a valid point. On that note, I will leave you in possession of the page, as I am now convinced that I should have joined the others and left this page as is, since the current thread cannot bode well for any further discussion on the matter. Enjoy. Girolamo Savonarola (talk) 02:12, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Sorry to have you disgruntled, as you are a skilled and respected editor. My own points (all waaaay above) were never answered, which is why I had this page set on watch and kept hoping. I can appreciate what you are writing here, but you've raised another point when you write about silence being consensus and point out it applies, "where discussion is widely advertised". It can only state that it wasn't. I found out about it myself by accident. If any of us had tried "advertising" the discussion, it would have been seen as lobbying, so we didn't. And when you write furthr about silence being consensus in, "everyone was informed and no one objected", I can only respond that I was not informed. Who was? How was it done? Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 02:36, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Likewise about finding it by accident. I believe that up to this point it's remained a discussion for mainly just those involved in GS's group in the Film project. This would be perfectly legitimate if IMDB would only ever be used in the Film project, but there is a wide swath of projects that will be affected if Film decides that IMDB is unusable.
From another section on that page: "Ending a discussion requires careful evaluation of the responses to determine the consensus. This... may be done by any independent editor (i.e., not the primary authors, the editors proposing the guideline/policy status, or the editors strongly defending the proposal during the community discussion)."
(paraphrase) If a discussion hasn't gotten a reasonably-wide response, it needs to be promoted elsewhere before evaluation.
And: "Discussion may be closed as either Promote, No consensus, or Failed. Please leave a short note about the conclusion that you came to."
I don't believe any of these were followed. arimareiji (talk) 16:01, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose – for whatever it's worth at this point. This is process creep and unnecessary. I don't see why this isn't rolled into a style guideline or similar. In any case, if you ever brought an article to WP:FAC or a list to WP:FLC, you'd be asked to remove the IMdB links immediately, so this is all a moot point. And if you'd take time to stop bickering above, you'd realize that there's no consensus to making this a guideline; ergo, it's a rejected guideline, not a proposed guideline. Bureaucratic scruples aside, this is the reality of the situation. — sephiroth bcr (converse) 16:47, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm glad to see that things are clear at least for some. Please Sephiroth BCR and also travb, in case this is a rule creep, please spell it out how do "...other policies and guidelines cover this subject clearly"? I would also need to repeat a question asked by GS above: "the question at hand is how they (policies and guidelines) are being interpreted relative to this specific case? Perhaps a number of editors including me who have raised this question are missing something? That the reliability of IMDB for Wikipedia purposes is not getting interpreted differently all the time? including the questions is raised frequently at WP:RSN [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7], in fact almost every single page in the archve has something about IMDB without receiving a clear answer ever, only pro and against opinions.
I couldn't put it better myself than SMcCandlish: I'm getting a little tired of this one. We have a whole slew of templates for citing IMDb, and IMDb is cited, probably over a million times, in Wikipedia. Yet I keep running into people asserting that IMDb isn't a reliable source for Wikipedia purposes.
Therefore I'm afraid opinions like WP:CREEP aren't good enough this time. We need to come up with a clear guideline that addresses the question whatever the final result is going to be. Therefore please feel free to suggest alternatives to the current proposal so that a some kind of consensus could be reached! Thanks!--Termer (talk) 20:57, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Our quality content doesn't use it. Ergo, it's inappropriate. End of story. You'd never spin an argument to convince a FAC/FLC reviewer that you'd need it. That alone makes this guideline unnecessary, as you're pointed towards WP:RS. And in any case, this is process creep because it's an entire guideline addressing an incredibly specific issue that can be easily put in a larger style guideline. — sephiroth bcr (converse) 10:53, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
The difference between this proposed guideline and putting it in a larger style guideline is a pure technicality that has secondary importance. The priority would be spelling out something that the majority can agree on.--Termer (talk) 15:07, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
I've seen this argument crop up repeatedly in my review of this discussion, and I believe it's circular logic: "IMDB refs are low-quality because there aren't any FA's with IMDB refs. When you name examples of FA's with IMDB refs we'll immediately remove them. This proves that they're low quality, because now you have no example." arimareiji (talk) 15:37, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
PS. RE Sephiroth BCR. The claim that "quality content doesn't use it", I've heard that before but it seems to be untouched with the reality. Last time some said so, it didn't took long to find one. It was 300 (film) back then, this time an IMDB ref in a featured article came up after second click Jurassic Park (film). Last time I found and pointed out an IMDB ref in a featured article it was removed:[8] and only replaces with an alternative after I provided one.[9]. If things like that make sense to anybody, I clearly must be missing something.--Termer (talk) 15:48, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
No, I'm referring to the current FAC/FLC process, in which we have dedicated source reviewers (Ealdgyth, Juliancolton, Dabomb87) that check this stuff. I don't really care about the standards FAC had nearly a year ago in which this was not present. That we're removing IMDb refs from old FAs only indicates that the standards have risen in regards to sourcing since then. — sephiroth bcr (converse) 17:12, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
But we're not and never have been talking about IMDB and their use in the FAC/FLC process. We're not speaking about IMDB as reliable to source notability. As in an example I have used above, not all parts of the Washington Post are usable. The Post is not dismissed in toto because some parts are unusable. There were disucssions as to what was and what was not usable with the result being that the parts of the Post can be used even though some parts of it are unusable. That is what is being done here for IMDB. We're here only to determine what parts are and what parts are not usable for terms of WP:Verifications. And as for "removing IMDb refs from old FAs only indicates that the standards have risen in regards to sourcing since then", is only indcative that these are being removed because there is no clear-cut guideline on how IMDB is to be used in light of their own standards having risen. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 19:09, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
If our quality content doesn't use it, it shouldn't be used anywhere else. It doesn't matter whether it's for notability, verification, or otherwise. There's no point in using it only to have to remove it when moving up the assessment scale. And no, I see the removal of IMDb refs from old FAs as indicative of the fact that they're simply inappropriate and that is the line being taken against them. — sephiroth bcr (converse) 20:18, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
So because they do not use it, it should be panned? And because it is panned, it should not be used? Sorry... and with respects, I cannot get behind such circular logic. It has repeatedly been stated on this page that IMDB is not to be considered for notability, so using that as part of your dismissal is moot. Cite IMDB sets out and limits in just what narrow way IMDB might be used for verifications... ONLY. Nothing else. Reviewing earlier discussions it is seen that there has never been a clear cut definition of what was suitable or not. Again, tossing out the entire database simply because certain (CITE IMDB defined) parts of it are unsuitable is akin to tossing out the entire Wall Street Journal or New York Times because certain defined parts them are unusable. The proposed guideline is very careful to define what is usable for WP:Verfication and what is not. Notability has never been part of the consideration. Thank you. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 03:30, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

(outdent)Saw my name, had to comment. Didn't read the entire mishmash of comments up there for tldr reasons. This is my take: if we can find out exactly what kind of fact-checking IMBD does to ensure accurate information, then it can be used. If there are certain facts that are checked, then we should use those only. If none of IMBD can be proved to be fully reliable, then we shouldn't use it all, whether for stubs or Featured Articles. Dabomb87 (talk) 20:41, 1 January 2009 (UTC) OK, did some more reading. Seems to me that the only info that can be proved wholly accurate without a doubt is the WGA and MPAA info. Everything else is either iffy or out of the question. Any information that is iffy or out of the question should not be used. Dabomb87 (talk) 20:44, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Food for thought

Naun, Chew Chiat. "Cataloguing, Lies, and Videotape: Comparing the IMDb and the Library Catalogue". Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. 41 (1): 23–43. doi:10.1300/J104v41n01_03.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

One fundamental respect in which the IMDb differs from most library catalogues is that it is the product not of a specialized profession, but of the combined efforts of members of the motion picture industry, IMDb staff, and the IMDb user community. It seems clear that once a film is submitted for inclusion in the IMDb, something like a conventional cataloguing procedure is carried out. The IMDb information pages explain that the cataloguing information is taken mainly from on-screen credits (formally prescribed as a chief source of information in AACR2 cataloguing) and various kinds of promotional material. Presumably, trained staff would be required to enter this information into the database in an appropriate form, e.g., using preferred forms of actors’ names. Most films are initially catalogued during pre-production and their IMDb records are updated throughout the production and release period. IMDb users are invited to submit additions or corrections, which are reviewed by IMDb staff.

But this core, as it were, of hard bibliographic data is surrounded by a large penumbra of “value-added” data contributed by a variety of sources. Actor biographies, for example, often appear to be contributed by members of the user community. The disadvantage of having contributed data is that its accuracy cannot always be verified and that–as we have seen with plot keywords–consistent practices cannot be enforced; but this seems a small price to pay for the wealth of information that the IMDb has to offer. Like cooperative cataloguing itself, the IMDb is a collaborative enterprise, but it is one in which the diversity of its community of stakeholders is clearly a strength.

What stands out is the sentence I've bolded. —Erik (talkcontrib) 16:39, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Siklos, Richard (May 28, 2006). "From a Small Stream, A Gusher of Movie Facts". The New York Times.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

Like the social networking sites that are now so popular in media, IMDb has found that much of its success is built on the participation of site visitors. Last year, Mr. Needham said, its users submitted information to the database 16 million times, adding minutiae like what commercials Hollywood actors have performed in abroad, or what video games they have done voice-overs for.

When its users are not adding information, they are perusing -- or debating and challenging -- material related to the 787,000 film, television and video game titles detailed on the site. One can learn, for example, that while Jennifer Grey played Jeanie in the film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986), Jennifer Aniston played Jeanie in the TV series "Ferris Bueller" (1990).

Those submissions are then monitored -- vetted is too strong a word -- by a team of editors who take their entertainment geekdom seriously. Any factual mistakes they may not find on their own are usually brought to their attention by users, who also make frequent accusations that some Hollywood wannabes who submit their biographies to the site are padding their resumes.

Again, the bold sentence. —Erik (talkcontrib) 16:42, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Kaltenbach, Chris (October 21, 2005). " born of a man's love for movie". The Baltimore Sun.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

Today, it's rare that a movie question can't be answered with a visit to Yes, mistakes do pop up occasionally, and because so many people consult the site, erroneous information can spread quickly. "We are not infallible," says Keith Simanton, IMDb's managing editor. "With almost 2 million people listed on the site, it's very possible to get things wrong." But when mistakes are pointed out, officials of the site take pains to correct them.

The IMDb's value as a reference source for popular movies is second to none. If there's a criticism of the site, it's that more esoteric films, along with older films and lesser-known filmmakers, are sometimes given short shrift.

Another. —Erik (talkcontrib) 16:53, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Montagne, Renee (December 20, 2005). "Commentary: IMDB turns 15 years old". National Public Radio.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

Now IMDB isn't perfect. They fact-check, but on occasion, somebody who's nobody ends up with a listing. I personally had more than one production listed and a few--Surprise!--crew members that I didn't realize were on the payroll. Hey, here's a little tip for my friends in Tinseltown: If you're going to say you worked in a certain capacity on a production, make sure that position actually existed. Note to guy claiming to have directed the seventh episode of the short-lived TV series "Platinum": There were only six episodes.

Probably a little anecdotal, but there's a couple more of these out there. —Erik (talkcontrib) 16:57, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Warren, Chris (2002). "The Credit File". Los Angeles. 47 (7).  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

The way the IMDb collectsdata hasn't changed much under Amazon, either, although the process has been upgraded and streamlined. Tens of thousands of users still submit cast lists of movies, celebrity bios, and other information. Not all of it gets published, however. "There's a misconception in the Industry," says Dorfman. "Anybody can submit information to the IMDb. That doesn't mean it's going to be posted."

All new information first undergoes automated checks to filter out obvious mistakes: No matter how vehemently someone insists that John Huston will direct the next Star Wars installment, the information will be disregarded. Submitters are also graded according to their track record of accuracy "Based on other information you've submitted to us, you either move up or down a trust scale," says Dorfman.

The material then goes to an editor for additional verification. If it's an actor's birth date, for example, the editor might check social security or DMV records. As the IMDb has evolved, it has forged ties with official sources of information such as the Writers Guild of America, which helps ensure that all members' screenwriting credits are listed accurately Studios are also providing information about past and upcoming movies more readily than they once did.

Still, questionable information occasionally does elude the safeguards. Only Hollywood insiders would catch some of the mistakes: Matt Damon's agent is listed as PMK, which is a publicity company, not a talent agency Other submissions are even more dubious. According to the IMDb, most of the dialogue in Alien was ad-libbed, Charlton Heston rehearsed his role in Airport 1975 by flying a 747, Darth Vader never said, "Luke, I am your father," and Mel Gibson stands free foot eleven. Users also like to point out that Michael Douglas is older than Catherine Zeta-Jones and that Steven Spielberg uses music in his movies.

Every week, Dorfman says, the company is contacted by someone--usually an actor, director, or producer--who wants to change something in his or her credits. Often the request is to delete a title, not add one. "Sometimes we can't figure out why they don't want to be associated with a project. Your mind is probably going to adult films and things like that," says Dorfman. When one actress claimed a soft-core title was in her filmography by mistake, an editor obtained a copy of the film and watched it. There she was, clearly recognizable and listed in the credits.

The IMDb has been threatened with lawsuits, Dorfman says, but company policy forbids changes unless a mistake can be proved. That can be a problem for many publicists, for whom policing the IMDb on behalf of clients has become a basic obligation. One says her client's filmography included a movie in which the actor hadn't appeared, but when the publicist tried to get a correction she was met with silence. It wasn't the first time. "If you try and contact them to update a r[]sum[], add a photo, it just never happens," she says. Others in Hollywood complain that the site lacks enough head shots of actors (if you're not well known, there's a $35 fee for posting one), or that it has insufficient information on projects in development.

Pretty in-depth. Like I've said, recent films are likely to be okay... it's just the more obscure titles and their details that concern me. —Erik (talkcontrib) 17:07, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Interesting to note that "errors" folks have found are in just those parts of IMDB that are purposely tagged as unreliable by the proposal, and the parts of IMDB you show as generally reliable, are included in the section of the proposed guideline as generally accepted as reliable (oops... that a WP:RS quote). Nice job. Well researched. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 21:14, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Again, I don't see anything new in this Food for thought. It is pretty much the way it is and in case it's helping anybody to make a decision how to go about the proposed WP:Citing IMDb, the food left here has it's place on the table. However, much more relevant would be either supporting or suggesting alternatives to the current proposal, since our coal here is not a general discussion about IMDb but getting a Citing IMDb worked out for Wikipedia.--Termer (talk) 04:18, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

3rd party section

Please contribute 3rd party assessments of IMDb content to the section I just restored. It needs a wider range of opinion represented. Thanks. (talk) 07:29, 3 December 2008 (UTC).

The only purpose the proposed WP:Citing IMDb has is to spell out what kind of content if any in IMDb can be relied on as a source of reference for Wikipedia articles. And in that sense a wider range of opinions are not relevant really to the guideline itself. Such opinions in case published by secondary sources would be relevant to the discussion only perhaps and/or could belong to the relevant Wikipedia article IMDb if anything.--Termer (talk) 08:01, 3 December 2008 (UTC)


I changed the tag from {{proposed}} to {{essay}} stating that this has been a proposed guideline since July 2007.

The creator of this page, User:Girolamo Savonarola marked this page as {{rejected}}

Since that time, the rejected tag has been reverted back to {{proposed}} twice.

Surprisingly, on this Kafkaesque bureaucratic webpage, I can't find any guidelines on how long before a rejected template should be added. Wikipedia talk:How to contribute to Wikipedia guidance has a long argument about the process, but no definitive rules (yet).

Maybe Template:Historical or Template:Essay would be a good compromise. travb (talk) 02:50, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Rejected seems correct to me, and I'd like GS would be a good judge of when his own proposed guideline has been rejected. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 03:00, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
The 2007 proposal to use parts of IMDB was by GS, but led off with all of the reasons IMDB shouldn't be used - many of which have been subsequently rebutted. The current proposal was functionally authored by Termer, and simply proposes without attempting to characterize arguments. GS has repeatedly argued against use of IMDB in the talk page, which hardly makes him a genuine proponent. arimareiji (talk) 03:16, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
It is my understanding that any such surveys or discussions should be closed by uninvolved parties in order to draw any conclusions, either anything has been rejected or if there was a consensus or not.--Termer (talk) 07:26, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
With respects to AnmaFinotera, that GS's proposal of 2007 was tagged by him as rejected is a non-argument. This is a NEW proposal using same name, addressing concerns raised in the 2007 discussions of almost 1-1/2 years ago, and incorporating discussions of the last few months. And in reading the proposal it has very strict interpretations of what part of IMDB is usable and what part is not... and NEVER allows IMDB to source notability... that it be used only as WP:Verifications as per policy. And yes, big facts can likely be found elsewhere, but the proposal is not about "elswhere"... its about IMDB abd the harder-to-veriify lessor facts of smaller and less-than-blockbuster films that it might WP:Verify, and naught else. Just as parts of the Washington Post are usable, other parts are not. We have not thrown out using the entire Post simply because there are portions of it that are unusable. No, we defined what is usable and what is not and moved on. That's what is being attempted here. No blanket pass or fail for IMDB... only a simple determination of what is usable and what is not. Period. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 09:18, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind saying "No guideline is needed, an essay will do." There's already an essay which specifically names IMDB as a reliable source in some situations, and not in others. If that isn't sufficient to convince you, presumably because an essay doesn't have the weight of a guideline, then why would another essay change anything? arimareiji (talk) 15:46, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

  • The reason I changed the status of Wikipedia:Citing IMDB from "rejected" to "proposed" is that I really do believe we should have a guideline about when to cite or not to cite IMDb, because the question comes up all the time at WP:RSN and elsewhere. I think that we should try to get a consensus on the content of the guideline, which may ultimately wind up being more or less favorable than the current version to the use of IMDb as a source. But as far as I'm concerned, it wouldn't bother me if this guideline stayed at the "proposed" stage for months. There is no deadline. Several weeks without comments does not mean that the guideline has been rejected. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 03:55, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • And the one seen today is NOT the same as the one that was "rejected" 1-1/2 years ago. It only shares the same name. Your bringing the discussion back to life is in full consideration and appreciation of WP:CCC and resulted in the proposal getting a tremendous overhaul to address issues and concerns from 18 months back. It ain't the same animal. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 04:05, 9 January 2009 (UTC)


Without having read *every* line in this discussion, I nonetheless feel that there is a major problem in the lack of context for analyzing IMDb. That is to say, what film-related sources *would* be considered reliable, especially by those critical of IMDb? I think it is a go-nowhere endeavor to try to reach a conclusion about IMDb simply by comparing it to itself... (talk) 02:46, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Concur fully. But when I asked for comparisons of accuracy against other reliable sources I got silence. When I asked what error rate is the Washington Post allowed and still be considered a reliable source, I got silence. I did get someone saying that we "naturally" do not allow all parts of the Post... editorials, advertisements, etc... and I agreed. All that is trying to be defined by CITE IMDB is what parts were acceptable for WP:V and what parts were not. Period. Then I got the response that major film facts can be found on the film's website (oops...a SPS) or other websites. Sure. But when responding that those sites will list major facts and not minor, I am told that if it is a minor fact, it does not belong on Wikipedia. Whoops. Wow. Wikipedia is full of notable articles chock full of supportive minor informations... so I suppose that rebuttal was incorrect. The "meat" of any article is the various bits and pieces... some major and some minor... that create the weave of information. An article must have an assertion of notability and that assertion must be sourced. Fine. But they also by neccessity need pieces of information that are not themselves major in constructing a properly encyclopedic article. And since Encyclopedic content must be verifiable, we are here simply to define what is and is not acceptable under WP:V. And despite the nay-sayers, the parts of IMDB that this proposal defines, DO meet the neccessary criteria for verifications as a tertiary source... and no one has shown differently. Schmidt, MICHAEL Q. 04:00, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
You say "But when I asked for comparisons of accuracy against other reliable sources I got silence. When I asked what error rate is the Washington Post allowed and still be considered a reliable source, I got silence."
The reason for this ought to be obvious - compiling such an error rate would be original research in itself. That's why WP:RS doesn't mention such things. Instead it states "Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." If you want to use IMDB as a source, then it is your responsibility to show that it has "a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy" - it is not the responsibility of someone else to show that it doesn't have such a reputation. Your comparison with the print world should clearly show the difference between the two cases - if the New York Times publishes an interesting article, then it is very likely that other professional news organisations like BBC News will pick up the story and report it. Articles published by the NYT will be taken seriously by other professional news organisations, because the NYT has a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Newsfeeds from Reuters and CNN are taken seriously in the corporate world - a single report can cause stock prices to fluctuate wildly. This does not mean that these organisations are perfect, but that mistakes are rare, and when made, are acknowledged and retracted. As far as I can see, IMDB has no such reputation - what professional organisations rely on IMDB? Who vouches for and relies on the accuracy of IMDB? Where have they acknowledged errors and retractions? Where are the reliable sources stating that IMDB has a reputation for accuracy? This whole argument hinges on not understanding how Wikipedia and WP:RS is supposed to work - it is not up to some random Wikipedia editor to decide whether they, personally, think that IMDB has such a reputation. The personal opinion of a Wikipedia editor is irrelevant - instead, provide published examples of experts and others either explicitly stating that IMDB is reliable and accurate, or implicitly relying on IMDB for their own work. I note again that it is up to an editor wanting to use a source to show that the source in question is considered reliable by other professionals and experts in the field - it is not up to others to show that a source is unreliable. (talk) 15:55, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
You miss the point entirely. They asked what the standard was; i.e. what is an acceptable error rate? Compiling the error rates would indeed be WP:OR, but that wasn't the question asked. Certain sections of IMDb are accurate. Same goes for the New York Times and Wikipedia, but I think we can all agree that each entity has sections that are wildly inaccurate. Simply treat them with caution, as the policy says ("According to, <insert actor name here> performed the lead role in <movie name here>") and Wikipedia will be fine. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater doesn't help make this a quality encyclopedia. Attaching unnecessary bias and needlessly demeaning another source of information doesn't help the situation. — BQZip01 — talk 22:28, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
The point being missed is that IMDb may be neither more nor less reliable than any other film information resource, because it essentially compiles its content from those other sources - that is, those who contribute the data do. By asking about context, I am asking what specific published (internet or paper) film data sources *would* Wikipedia accept? If it is accepting any other sources, it is doing so arbitrarily. Written film history is relatively new and is much based in studio publicity material and often self-aggrandizing stories told by professionals to an interviewer or in a personalized work (biography, autobiography). There are no great groups of scholars sitting about sifting thru production records, interviewing everyone and even watching past films, or walking about the studio offices and shooting locations during the pre-, actual-, or post-production of most films.IMDb contributors use a newsfeed for some of its current film info, and occasionally gets direct publicity items from which it extracts data. But the vast majority of films in the database have been built from contributions of several people, and they are as often as not copying stuff found in other places. If IMDb would be found to have a higher error rate than other sources, it would only be because it aglomerates the undocumented "information" put out by various and sundry sources, errors and all, into one place. Considering that Film History itself is largely built around a mixture of urban legend, publcity puffery, gossip-column reporting and a handful of preserved and partial records (and, even official Minutes of the Meeting, in any business, are generally synopsized and sanitized summaries only)variously published by the likes of McFarland, the AFI and other error-fraught publishing agencies.And if some other resource among these has a "reputation for accuracy", it is more often than not a matter of politics than objective study: check out the "New York Times Movie Reviews" online site. If you think NYT is a bastion of accuracy, please advise me why it is supplementing its own movie reviews (which sometimes read as if the reviewer did not really *watch* the film) with skreed from the All-Movie Guide - and I am confident it is far more error-ridden than IMDb and always has been; and that it is less amendable to correction than IMDb, where contributors regularly are policing titles with which they are familiar for intrusion of misinformation which has become engrained by being transferred from book to article to website over 4 decades, as well as deliberate hoax material sneaked past by the occasional troll who meddled in earlier years. In short, this whole discussion is just so much mental masturbation, as, at least with regard to film, there is no shortage of high error rates among the whole of the recorded resources available, individually or combined. Like Wikipedia itself, submissions are taken in on good faith from credentialed contributors, and are reviewed and corrected by others as often and best as possible. If you don't allow IMDb as a "reliable resource", you really can't allow anything else either. (talk) 04:09, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

a conclusion

It seems the current version in the form of an essay adequately addressed the questions. There is no reason IMDB shouldn't be used as a source or reference like it is spelled out by the essay. And in case FA article reviewers insist, they should be free to replace any use of IMDB on Wikipedia film articles with alternative sources. Not that it would make a difference in my opinion, if an alternative source says the exact thing as IMDB. But for now, it seems we can put this question to rest. The bottom line there is IMDb content suitable for Wikipedia and in case anybody in the FA process likes to get the IMDB replaced with alternative sources, they should be free to do so as they please.--Termer (talk) 05:26, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Concur, with the additional observation that if someone finds an IMDB reference which is contradicted by an unimpeachable source, I doubt anyone would protest replacing it. But I don't see how finding sources which show IMDB was accurate (and using them to replace IMDB) demonstrates that we should consider IMDB unreliable. arimareiji (talk) 12:46, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

No. This version's "Suitable content", part 2, is still fundamentally flawed. Editors may often use stuff from there to start an article here, "such as the cast list, character names, the crew lists, release dates, company credits, awards, soundtrack listing, filming locations, technical specs, alternate titles, running times, and rating certifications", but if there is any controversy, the site should be viewed with skepticism and not considered a reliable source. It's too easy for questionable, unverifiable info to appear on IMDb for such info to be simply deemed "suitable". For instance, the awards section for Like Mike lists an award from the 2003 Austin Fantastic Fest. I think that's somewhat suspicious, given that the first Fest was in 2005. Info supplied directly by the WGA and MPAA is fine, of course, but grouping any other info in the same "suitable" category is a very bad idea. Gimmetrow 23:41, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

I see the award I note above is now absent from IMDb. While it was on IMDb, I had to deal with editors trying to add it here. Gimmetrow 05:08, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Reviving the proposal

I have modified the proposal slightly and removed the "rejected" tag. It is unclear to me why some editors want to reject this proposal rather than come up with something better. I have lowered the status of a major category of data in hopes of building a consensus.

If you believe that everything on IMDb is junk and it should never be cited in Wikipedia, I disagree with that, but I would rather see someone propose that and get a consensus in its favor rather than to leave the citability of IMDb in permanent limbo. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 04:23, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

  • The current revision of the proposal is appropriate and accords both with how editors actually cite imdb and how the Reliable sources noticeboard usually comes down on the subject. I support it. Protonk (talk) 18:04, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support seems like a good compromise that might help to sort things out in case the IMDb controversies on Wikipedia arise again.--Termer (talk) 04:32, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support I opposed this before, but I now support it. Ikip (talk) 12:04, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Support imdb does in fact have a good reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Dlabtot (talk) 21:12, 31 March 2009 (UTC)


[10] This version isn't really bad, but it also doesn't say much of anything. As far as I know, most editors working on films know that WGA-identified credits from IMDb are reliable. (Old versions of WP:RS actually said so, even.) MPAA-identified ratings are also OK, but relatively few film articles have that content (for various reasons). In practice, the cast and character lists of released films often get used to fill out a cast list, but the cast and characters can also be verified from the film itself, and where they disagree, the film takes precedence (except in unusual circumstances, such as multiple release cuts). The other film editors I interact with would probably not use IMDb for anything else except as a sanity check (ie, a claim of a release year that doesn't match IMDb would be a flag for further investigation). So I'm a little unclear - what do the authors intend this guideline to tell us? Gimmetrow 05:08, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

First of all I was stunned fining out that it has become it seems general practice among some film editors to accept verification of the cast from the film itself. If this is not WP:OR and in conflict with core WP policies that articles need to be based on reliable, third-party, published sources than I don't know what is.
Now, it's not that much about what the guideline needs to tell us because everybody has their opinions about the reliability of the IMDb. But since the question gets raised all the time at WP:RSN. And guess I personally am just too lazy to scroll through frame by frame films credits on DVD-s, I for example am motivated to get a some kind of compromise on Citing IMDb on Wikipedia. Because I personally think bashing IMDb and calling it unreliable lets say compared to any other sources out there, is completely unreasonable and I even don't understand the motivations behind it. So the bottom line, there are editors who'd like to use IMDb and others that don't. And since WP works not only on WP:RS but also on WP:consensus, we're trying to work out a some kind of consensus on the question here.--Termer (talk) 06:34, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
There's no interpretation in repeating the closing credits of a film, so that's not original research. Gimmetrow 07:13, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Well, there clearly is an interpretation around that somehow "repeating the closing credits of a film" on Wikipedia is a more reliable method than the same practice at IMDb. In case that makes sense to anybody, please let me know how.--Termer (talk) 13:44, 12 March 2009 (UTC)


I'd like to know how biographies on IMDb are to be considered.

  • I see almost no specific mention of the biographies in all of the discussion on this talk page and its archive. Just
    1. "Actor biographies, for example, often appear to be contributed by members of the user community." (on this talk page)
    2. "These items, questionable even post-release, include trivia, biographies, awards, technical specs, and filming dates and locations." (talk page archive 1)
  • The project page doen't mention them specifically, not in the list of Disputed uses nor in the list of Inappropriate uses. Unless perhaps the words "any potentially contentious material about living persons (BLPs)" are to be interpreted as to automatically include these biographies.

Debresser (talk) 02:29, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Biographies are one of the parts of imdb that I don't think should be cited. Dlabtot (talk) 02:47, 5 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Biographies should never be cited. There fails to be any reliable attribution for such information. Look at Richard Gere, for example... the mini-biography is written by, and the trivia items are so jumbled. Do you really want to cite this page for Gere being "Irish-American" when this fact follows, "Is referenced in the 2001 hit song 'Crying at the Discothéque' by Swedish dance group Alcazar"? There is no reason or rhyme to the structure of these pages. —Erik (talkcontrib) 15:03, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

potentially contentious material

I'd like to ask you to explain me with down to earth examples what is (and what is not) considered "potentially contentious material". It seems that in the past I might have misunderstood some things here, so please explain this to me carefully. Thank you. Debresser (talk) 11:54, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Anything that cannot be verified by a reliable source, but especially negative content. Claiming that someone is anti-Semitic, for example. —Erik (talkcontrib) 15:03, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Time to close this proposal

Please note this excerpt[11] from Wikipedia policy WP:PG :

A failed proposal is one for which consensus for acceptance has not developed after a reasonable time period. Consensus need not be fully opposed; if consensus is neutral or unclear on the issue and unlikely to improve, the proposal has likewise failed. It is considered bad form to hide this fact, e.g. by removing the tag. Making small changes will not change this fact, nor will repetitive arguments. Generally, it is wiser to rewrite a failed proposal from scratch and start in a different direction.

--Bob K31416 (talk) 13:52, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Hi Bob K31416 failed proposal? the latest Wikipedia_talk:Citing_IMDb#Reviving_the_proposal There are currently 4 supporters and 1 who remains sceptical but doesn't object the proposal either. So is it just me or has something gone wrong with the math here? There has always been controversy surrounding the use of IMDB on Wikipedia and this WP:Citing IMDb is definitely better than nothing.--Termer (talk) 03:34, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

There hasn't been any activity re this policy proposal for 2 months. If there was sufficient consensus for acceptance of this new policy then it should have been accepted instead of idle. Since it wasn't accepted, it is reasonable to conclude that there wasn't sufficient consensus. Regards, --Bob K31416 (talk) 13:54, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

IMDB as a source?

Please see Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources#IMDB as a source? for a discussion about establishing a policy, guideline or central discussion on IMDB. Maurreen (talk) 03:40, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Now archived at Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources/Archive 25#IMDB as a source? AusTerrapin (talk) 14:36, 6 June 2010 (UTC)


Please see WP:RS/IMDB. Cheers, -- Cirt (talk) 15:31, 22 July 2010 (UTC)


I added some hatnotes to link to more essays and project info for IMDb. Widefox; talk 16:42, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Existence of a movie

Would it be ok to use IMDB as a source to prove the existence of a movie? Arved (talk) 09:22, 30 October 2013 (UTC)


Where exactly was consensus to mark this as a guideline determined? It looks to me as if the only such proposal failed. DES (talk) 02:10, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

  • I'm left wondering the same thing... Technical 13 (talk) 02:10, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I un{{guideline}}d it as a disputed action. DMacks (talk) 02:13, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Sorry guys, please AGF. I did not know there was an essay shortcut ({{essay|}}) over a guideline shortcut and I did not know the guideline status was disputed. --Regards, MrScorch6200 (talk · contribs) 02:20, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
I am not assuming bad faith or indeed any particular motivation, I am just asking for further info. A guideline tag usually indicates that there has at some point been a consensus discussion to designate a page as a guideline, although not always. DES (talk) 16:30, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Verifiability versus notability

Should we add a section explaining that even when content on IMDb qualifies as a reliable source, it can be used only for establishing verifiability and not notability? It would give something to point to when explaining to a contributor that IMDb disinterestedly lists the credits for every film and TV program it encounters and that inclusion of a person on these lists is trivial. —Largo Plazo (talk) 13:16, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

While it is true that mere listing at IMDB does not establish notability, facts cited there could contribute to notability. For example, a person listed (reliably) in the cast list for a notable film, particularly if in a major role, gains some notability from that. If the claimed reason for notability is having been a prolific performer, appearing in hundreds of films, then the IMDB might support such a claim. DES (talk) 16:37, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Movie Ratings

I cannot believe that this article about citing the IMDb doesn't mention the movie ratings. That's pretty much the #1 thing people visit the IMDb for, and you'd think that after the 6+ years this article has been around it would mention whether citing the IMDb movie ratings is appropriate, disputed or inappropriate. Even if it's disputed, then why isn't it listed in the disputed section. -- (talk) 11:58, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

  • I agree- this really needs to be added to the page in some format. The thing is, many people like to cite IMDb user ratings as a sign of notability and I've had to remove this from multiple articles. I think that the idea was that it would be considered part of user comments, but I think that this needs to be explicitly worded in this essay. I'm going to add this in to the section about user comments just so it's explicitly worded. I've never seen IMDb user ratings considered a reliable source and the only time they've ever warranted a mention in the article is when the ratings have received coverage in the news, like in the case of Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas. For those coming in that are curious as to why they cannot be used, the reason is because anyone can leave a review/rating (and sign up for an account), so it's extremely easy to sway ratings for a film, especially a film that is relatively obscure and holds little to no ratings. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 03:35, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Using IMDB as a source for date of birth

Can I cite IMDB as the source for a wikipedia article subject's birth date? (talk) 00:14, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

No, that portion of a BLP needs a much better source than the bio section of IMDb. Guy1890 (talk) 04:04, 11 August 2015 (UTC)