How reliable (permanence) are online movie databases?

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Back in 2016 I made an account on a website called trakt. This account lets me keep track of all the shows and movies I had ever watched. A couple years into this habit of mine, I noticed that quiet a few shows and movies were missing and/or had missing information from the site which led me to making an account on the two websites trakt pulls information from; themoviedb and thetvdb. Since then contributing and editing entries on these two websites (mostly themoviedb) has become a bit of a hobby of mine.

Fast forward to I think...early 2020...Suddenly masses of images on themoviedb are deleted in bulk. I believe it was images that were uploaded prior to a certain date- I dont know what the date is exactly. The images can no longer be seen- even in the edit backlog history feature the site has. There was no explanation ever given- well other than they actually can't give an explanation of why it was done.

This got me thinking, how much is contributing to an online database like themoviedb worth really? How likely is it that one day, perhaps soon, the site will go down permanently- with all the information and images collected disappearing with it? Would the information/pics be backed up or be able to be restored somehow with...API (Im really not sure what that even is but I know its a thing)? Theres a lot of work- time and effort, put into researching and editing entries on a site like this...and I was wondering if any of yall have any thoughts about this...



Theres a lot of work- time and effort, put into researching and editing entries on a site like this...and I was wondering if any of yall have any thoughts about this...
Anything you put a lot of effort into and then post out on the net should be stored locally, and also backed up (by you).



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I use icheckmovies.com - never had a problem, although I'm not sure how they store their data.
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Yeah, there's really no full-proof way, unless you:

a) backup/export from the site in question (many have options for this, thankfully), and
b) learn a little something about programming, even if low-level.

If you do b) you can always take that exported stuff and reformat it somehow.



Anything you put a lot of effort into and then post out on the net should be stored locally, and also backed up (by you).
Amen to that because 'the cloud' is just someone else's computer. If it really matters to you also store that info locally.



To be clear though the concern is these massive online user-contributed projects' permanence. How worthwhile is it to contribute to these projects in considering the likelihood that they disappear from the internet? Its not really about whether my specific contributions will be saved, but more so is there a point in making my contributions to these online databases if the whole thing will go kaput in the near future. I feel like some of the responses probably think I'm talking about worrying that my record of movies and shows Ive watched will disappear when thats not at all what I'm talking about.

Anyway, so you guys are saying it is quiet possible (easy?) to backup the information from themoviedb right? And how likely do you think its probably been reliably backed up by many many users- and how easily and do you think they would reupload that information somewhere else online in a situation where the site were to permanently go down?

Also, anyone have any theories on why there was a mass elimination of images from the site? Based on their response I would imagine its probably something legal...although thats still vague...



Anyway, so you guys are saying it is quiet possible (easy?) to backup the information from themoviedb right? And how likely do you think its probably been reliably backed up by many many users- and how easily and do you think they would reupload that information somewhere else online in a situation where the site were to permanently go down?
It's a lot to backup, but I do have local copies of a lot of the data here, since that's better than spamming their API dynamically over and over. They do require that you refresh it every so often. But if they vanished today all the movie data I have here would still be there. I have not, however, made local copies of the images, though I might at some point just too be safe.

That said, TMDB's been around for something like a decade now.

Also, anyone have any theories on why there was a mass elimination of images from the site? Based on their response I would imagine its probably something legal...although thats still vague...
I think it's almost always a quality issue. They're usually supplanted by better versions of the same. But I think the system could use some work, for the reasons you've alluded to where things just disappear and aren't exactly replaced.

It's a tough problem, though.



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To be clear though the concern is these massive online user-contributed projects' permanence. How worthwhile is it to contribute to these projects in considering the likelihood that they disappear from the internet? Its not really about whether my specific contributions will be saved, but more so is there a point in making my contributions to these online databases if the whole thing will go kaput in the near future. I feel like some of the responses probably think I'm talking about worrying that my record of movies and shows Ive watched will disappear when thats not at all what I'm talking about.

Anyway, so you guys are saying it is quiet possible (easy?) to backup the information from themoviedb right? And how likely do you think its probably been reliably backed up by many many users- and how easily and do you think they would reupload that information somewhere else online in a situation where the site were to permanently go down?

Also, anyone have any theories on why there was a mass elimination of images from the site? Based on their response I would imagine its probably something legal...although thats still vague...

There is currently a game in this forum where users are counting to one-million by posting images. At the rate we're going, we're never, ever going to get there. I guess that's not the point. Permanence is pyramids. Life is for the living.



There is currently a game in this forum where users are counting to one-million by posting images. At the rate we're going, we're never, ever going to get there.
Not if we try hard enough
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I think it's almost always a quality issue. They're usually supplanted by better versions of the same. But I think the system could use some work, for the reasons you've alluded to where things just disappear and aren't exactly replaced.

It's a tough problem, though.
Really? Just to be clear, and to make sure were talking about the same thing... I'm not sure how familiar you are with tmdb/what exactly happened with the mass deletion of images that happened a few years ago. Tons and tons- I'd have to imagine thousands and thousands of images were deleted from tmdb INDISCRIMINATELY- automatically. Im pretty confident that lots of good quality images were deleted although theres no way (I could) to prove that now that theyre gone for good. This made probably thousands of image reports (and uploads) over the years completely pointless as they were all deleted anyway, as all images uploaded before a certain date would eventually disappear anyway.



There is currently a game in this forum where users are counting to one-million by posting images. At the rate we're going, we're never, ever going to get there. I guess that's not the point. Permanence is pyramids. Life is for the living.

lol. but I mean permanence in a practical sense not the literal theoretical meaning of eternity. As in, the database is I believe something like maybe 15 years old, and within the last 3(?) years there was a mass deletion of the site's images. So, I'm talking about practical, reasonable time periods, like permanence in the sense of the foreseeable future maybe a decade or two into the future. Shit that's within our lifetime, and for the uses and purpose of the now and soon-to-be-now.



It's a lot to backup, but I do have local copies of a lot of the data here, since that's better than spamming their API dynamically over and over. They do require that you refresh it every so often. But if they vanished today all the movie data I have here would still be there. I have not, however, made local copies of the images, though I might at some point just too be safe.

That said, TMDB's been around for something like a decade now.


It's a tough problem, though.
Oh cool you have backed up some of themoviedb.org? Cool. thats some wizardry shit. programming and api makes my brain rage quit. I tried to read about api once (several times) and I did. not. get. it.



The other interesting thing though is how often I will discover movies and shows I actually enjoy just in the process of researching and editing information onto that database. And the process itself is quiet fun. If only I could get paid to do this and it wasn't just voluntary....



..Cool. thats some wizardry shit. programming and api makes my brain rage quit. I tried to read about api once (several times) and I did. not. get. it.
I was just reading something about Google's Manifest v3 and APIs...and I realized I can't wrap my head around just what an API is exactly?



It's a lot to backup, but I do have local copies of a lot of the data here, since that's better than spamming their API dynamically over and over. They do require that you refresh it every so often. But if they vanished today all the movie data I have here would still be there. I have not, however, made local copies of the images, though I might at some point just too be safe.

That said, TMDB's been around for something like a decade now.



It's a tough problem, though.
Question though...if "they vanished today", what exactly would you even do with all that data you have backed up? Like would you be able to (help along with other people online) restore the database again?



Really? Just to be clear, and to make sure were talking about the same thing... I'm not sure how familiar you are with tmdb/what exactly happened with the mass deletion of images that happened a few years ago. Tons and tons- I'd have to imagine thousands and thousands of images were deleted from tmdb INDISCRIMINATELY- automatically. Im pretty confident that lots of good quality images were deleted although theres no way (I could) to prove that now that theyre gone for good. This made probably thousands of image reports (and uploads) over the years completely pointless as they were all deleted anyway, as all images uploaded before a certain date would eventually disappear anyway.
I'm not sure if I know what you mean or not, I just mean that it's pretty normal for images to not be there after awhile and for new/better ones to show up. If there was some kind of special event where many were removed in short succession, I don't think I noticed.

We've been using TMDB as a data source for something like eight years, for reference.



Oh cool you have backed up some of themoviedb.org? Cool. thats some wizardry shit. programming and api makes my brain rage quit. I tried to read about api once (several times) and I did. not. get. it.
Yeah, when someone marks a film seen, has a review approved, or visits one of the movie pages, it checks to see if we have a local copy and, if not, creates one. And then we refresh every so often. I'm sure we still have only a fraction of the total, but I also think this is one of those "20% of the films account for 80% of the requests" power law distribution things. As of right now we've got a little under 21,000.



Question though...if "they vanished today", what exactly would you even do with all that data you have backed up? Like would you be able to (help along with other people online) restore the database again?
I could feed the basic information back in some format, yeah, but I imagine sites like Letterboxd have as much or more, so most of it would probably be redundant.



I'm not sure if I know what you mean or not, I just mean that it's pretty normal for images to not be there after awhile and for new/better ones to show up. If there was some kind of special event where many were removed in short succession, I don't think I noticed.

We've been using TMDB as a data source for something like eight years, for reference.
Ah youre not familiar with what happened yeah and probably to the reporting system too I see. When you say "we've" are you referring to movieforums.com?



Okay now Ive understood youre talking about backing up movieforums- which uses tmdb as a source ahh makes sense.


edit: I probably didnt get it cause I dont think I really get how this site works yet with the crossing off of the movies.