Plot Summary Help

Help Contents

The Plot Summary page is part of the new collaborative editing feature on IMDb. We've created the ability for contributors to directly add/update/edit/delete Plot Summary data entry for titles.

The Plot Summary feature is the place to add a summary of the plot of the title, but not including spoilers.

We're still asking you to follow our guidelines set out for English titles:

Any analysis or opinion of the film should be left out of the Plot Summary page. e.g., "This film is one of Hitchcock's finest." It is up to the viewer to decide if he/she likes it. This includes performances by actors and actresses. Plot summaries should be more than 3 lines (240 characters), but still reasonably BRIEF. Aim for a paragraph of about 10 lines. Where possible, try not to use any actor or actress names in the plot summary. This is already taken care of in the movie database. If possible, use the character names from the movie. All copyrighted material is excluded from the plot summaries database. This includes movie guides, newspapers, and even the blurb on the back of the video case. Further, plot summaries must be your original work. No plot summaries may be copied from other websites, which includes blogs or official sites, unless you can prove ownership. You should always spell check any summaries you submit.

Please note that we (and our contributors) are still adamant and passionate about ensuring that our data remains as structured as possible and properly categorized, so if you add data here that is irrelevant, it is highly likely that other users will remove or revert it.

Here are examples for the two different types of Plot Summary you can create, two for a movie, and one for a TV episode.

You can check out the Plot Summary for the movie The Matrix here.

You can check out the Plot Summary for the movie The Women here.

You can check out a Plot Summary from the TV series "Firefly" for an episode entitled "Out of Gas" here.

The Plot Summary page consists of one section into which you can add summary information about the title, or edit the information already added by another user.

It's very easy to add to or edit the plot summary - just click on the "Edit" tab near the top of the page. While you edit the content you can always press "Preview" to see how your edits will look live on site. Press "Save" when you are satisfied with your changes. Press "Cancel" if you want to cancel your changes.

Keep the Plot Summary policies in mind when editing:

Please include actor or actress names in the plot outline, by listing their name in parentheses after the first occurrence of their character's name. Example: Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp)

Do not add content that obviously fits other sections of IMDb. We do not want to replicate information that can easily fit in one of our pre-existing categories. "Hard" data like cast/crew information, release dates or box office numbers are still going to be edited and managed via the regular submission process (click here if you want to learn how to contribute to non-Plot Summary categories).

You must be a registered IMDb user and authenticate your account to start editing a Plot Summary page.

You must authenticate your account to start editing a Plot Summary page. Please click here to do so now.

This extra authentication is voluntary for most site features, but is required for gaining the ability to add/update/edit a Plot Summary page.

Authenticated accounts help us produce features to reduce the amount of spam, trolling and other malicious or disruptive activity on our site over time.

Text can be decorated with square brackets to format it in the following ways:

Basic font modifications:

i: [i]italic[/i] becomes italic

b: [b]bold[/b] becomes bold

Color coding:

Red: [red]red[/red] becomes red

Orange: [orange]orange[/orange] becomes orange.

Yellow: [yellow]yellow[/yellow] becomes yellow

Green: [green]green[/green] becomes green

Blue: [blue]blue[/blue] becomes blue

Purple: [purple]purple[/purple] becomes purple


[link=title number or person number] will link to a title page or a person page.

You can retrieve the person number, also known as the nconst, from the URL of a person's page. For example, [link=nm2106835] becomes Cynthia Lea.

You can retrieve the title number, also known as the tconst, from the URL of the title's page. For example, [link=tt0093832] becomes Red's Dream.

Links to urls: [url][/url] becomes .

Spoilers: [spoiler]Spoiler text[/spoiler] becomes here's a big secret!.


Paragraph break: [p]

We are working toward standardizing our markup across all our tools, so if there's a particular bit of markup that is egregiously bad, or so wonderfully good that we should incorporate it, please let us know in the message board only.

When you click "History" button, or the "view full history" link at the bottom of the page, you see a pull down menu that has a list of the times and contributors that have edited this category. You can select one of these and view how the plot summary has changed over time. If there is a serious error in a current version of the plot summary, or it was damaged while saving, you can revert back to a previous version by making that the current selected version, then clicking revert.

Please note that "Reverting" a section of text simply because you don't like the content or disagree with a judgment call in that content is frowned upon. Our tools allow us to monitor topics that undergo reversion too often, and we may take action if we feel reversions are made inappropriately.

Every Plot Summary page has a "Watch" button on it. By clicking the "Watch" button, you are adding the page to your "Watchlist". Your "Watchlist" will list all the pages that you want to keep an eye on and revisit.

We suggest you bookmark your Watchlist and then check it periodically to see at a glance which Plot Summary pages have been updated.

You can also access your "Watchlist" by going to your account page and clicking on "View your Watchlist" (under the History bar).

Before editing a plot summary, please stop and think about why and how you want to edit the summary. Simply not agreeing with someone is not a good reason to edit. Inappropriate use of editing is considered a violation of our terms and conditions by our administrators.

Use the "Discuss" page (click on the "discuss" tab at the top right-hand corner of the page) to discuss with fellow IMDb users ways to improve the current postings.

One good reason to edit a category is if it violates our Terms and Conditions; then you can delete the question by pressing the "Edit" button and editing/deleting the relevant content.

You can view our plot summary editing policies here.

Please remember: avoid using Revert unless you're reverting to correct/remove obvious vandalism. Simply not agreeing with someone is not a good reason to revert a section of text. Use the "Discuss" page to discuss with fellow IMDb users ways to improve the topic posted.

If you do notice obvious vandalism, revert the changes by pressing the "History" button or "View full history" link, and choosing the version you want to revert to from the drop down menu. If, after carefully reviewing the version you select, you still think that there is still a reason to revert the page to this version, click on the "Revert" button.

To help you compare between versions, check the box next to the "show changes" option, which lets you compare between two versions of the topic. Text that was deleted between the two versions is marked with red and a strike line over it. Text that was added between the two versions is marked with green.

Admins have the ability to lock a Plot Summary page from editing. It is usually done (a) permanently for policy pages, such as this one, (b) temporarily, in the case of an edit war, and (c) temporarily, in the case of frequent vandalism.

The discussion page of the locked page will remain open for editing and is the best place to discuss ways to end an editing war.

Locking a page on any particular version is not meant to express support for that version and therefore requests should not be made that the protected version be reverted to a different one. As a general rule (unless in a case of obvious vandalism) the page will be locked in its last version.

Requests for unlocking a page should only be made when the risk of vandalism to a page has dissipated or the sides in an editing war have reached an agreement on the discussion page. Use the "Report a problem" link at the bottom of the page to request a page unlock. File a request, and one of the Admins will handle the request. You will know that your request was answered by an Admin when the status changes to "Close".

The Plot Summary page itself is not a place for opinions or arguments. The purpose of the Discussion page is to give Plot Summary editors a place to discuss issues and reach a consensus and by doing so, to avoid editing wars on the content page itself. The discussion page is also a place for suggestions for improvements for the Plot Summary page.

Please keep in mind the Discussion page policies when posting in the discussion page.

First, read the entire discussion page. (Find it by clicking on the "Discuss" tab at the right-hand corner of the webpage.) If other users are discussing the same issue you want to add, join their discussion instead of creating a new one. If, after reading the entire discussion page, you find that you do have a new issue to discuss, press the "add" tab at the top of the page. Type the issue to discuss in the "subject" line and a short description or your point of view on the matter in the text box. To keep track of replies to your newly-posted issue, visit the page frequently and consider adding the page to your "Watchlist".

Click on the "+" button at the end of the comment you want to respond to and type in your answer/comment. Press the "Save" button to save your comment, or "Cancel" to discard it. Your answer/comment will automatically be placed in the correct place on the page.

Once you have pressed "Save" you cannot edit your posting.

Once you press "Save", you cannot edit your posting in the Discussion page.

Group responsibility is the key here; the entire IMDb community, including ourselves and users like you, will work together to prevent people from adding bad information.

If you notice bad data on the site, help us by editing the data and correcting it. But please remember, different people have different views: Respect other contributors and interact in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Treating others with respect is key to collaborating effectively. The best way to reach a consensus is discussing the issue with other contributors by using the "discuss" page.

We also choose to require plot summary users to authenticate their account before being able to edit plot summaries. Users who violate the plot summary policies will have their authentication removed and will no longer be able to edit a plot summary page.

Please report this using the "Report a problem" link at the bottom of the page.

Remember: It might take time for Admins to respond to requests, so please be patient and respectful.

We understand that some titles are more prone to editing wars. If you notice such a case, please use the "Report a problem" link at the bottom of the page.

Please do not request a lock if:

1. You notice a single event of vandalism - instead simply revert the change.

2. There is a content dispute - instead peacefully discuss the issue in the relevant discussion page.

Remember: It might take time for Admins to respond to requests, so please be patient and respectful.

We're eager to hear what you think and how we can improve this feature. We'd also like to know where we can extend collaborative editing beyond Plot Summary. We have some good ideas, but more suggestions from you would be even better!

Please let us know at this message board.