IMDb is to close its message boards and private messages. It stopped short of blaming trolls but said the boards “are no longer providing a positive, useful experience” for most users.
Announcing the move, the site said users were increasingly switching to IMDb’s social media pages to discuss movies and communicate with editors. It didn’t comment on whether that’s because posting on Facebook is inherently great or if it was more that the message boards had stopped being pleasurable to use.
Maybe I’ve been lucky, or it’s to do with the type of movies I’ve looked up on the site, but I’ve never found a particular problem with the boards. However, most responses to the announcement have pointed to a lack of moderation leading to the worst of online discussion, with personal abuse and unpleasantness commonplace. It seems the more general boards proved much more of a problem than those dedicated to specific movies.
The boards will remain open until February 19, during which IMDb recommends users archive any content they want to keep. That suggests it may remove the boards altogether, which might be a sign it thinks the amount of unwelcome content got too big to weed out the worst of it and then keep the rest available as a read-only archive.
The site also warns the personal message feature will go on February 19 and that users who want to stay in touch should exchange contact details before then.