No one has made any suggestions as to what tools we can effectively use to collect feedback about what aspects of the MusicBrainz community people think are broken. I’ve looked at a few tools to try and find something suited, but all I found was a lot of ill-fitting stuff.
So, let’s keep it simple and use this blog entry’s comments to talk about what bits about the community are working less than ideal right now. What bothers you? What feels wrong? What should we focus on right away to improve? What should we improve, but isn’t so important right this second?
Now, please remember to keep it polite, respectful and concise — if you are rude or hit me with a wall-of-text, I’ll ignore your comment. Also, please don’t name any names; don’t point fingers. Remember that everyone got a blank slate and is now innocent. If a particular person’s behaviour bothered you, describe the troublesome behaviour, not the person.
If you know of a ticket in Jira that already describes your issue, please reference the ticket! That will make sifting through the comments much easier. I’ll take your comments and try and weave them in a coherent set of topics and then post them somewhere. Exactly where is still to be determined — that depends on the amount/coherency of the feedback I get.
One issue that I prefer to not hear about is MBS-1801, the issue about people ignoring their emails about edits they have made. I’ve already set the process in motion to look at possible solutions for this issue and I hope to have a separate blog entry about this next week.
UPDATE: Some people did comment about solutions on. Sorry for skipping that part. (None of those suggestions really resonated with me either, sadly)
55 thoughts on “Community problems?”
Areas are the only major component of the database that users cannot add themselves
It has been over 6 weeks since the last area was added to the database.
Open area requests outnumber all-time closed requests.
Offers to help in this regard were ignored.
https://musicbrainz.org/privileged there are only 7 users, most of which do not seem very active lately. This area seems less risky than relationships, yet there are 12 editors able to edit those!
Also I never open such requests because I find the process too cumbersome.
That is because the idea was never for humans to actively add them, but for them to fix any oversights or mistakes from the bot(s) adding them – areas aren’t supposed to be a central part of MB so humans were supposed to focus on the actual musical things. For multiple reasons, the bot approach proved tricky – it might make sense to revisit it and either dedicate actual team dev time to the bot, or open area editing further.
For *me* personally the main one has been one of community and communication, to a degree. It doesn’t feel much like a community at times, since unless you’re on IRC or the like, you’re basically editing on your own and often only see other people when you’re told you’ve done something wrong. Even when the people saying that are perfectly polite and helpful (and they mostly are! – the times where they’re not will hopefully be taken care of by the rest of the community improvement plan…) it can still be a bit frustrating if that’s your only interaction with other users. I personally do try to compliment and thank other users when I see good edits that clearly took a lot of work, but in general I think we would benefit from some way of fostering more editor to editor communication. MBS-1801 is probably a good start for that, though! I don’t have many great ideas about this (I do like the “thanks” button thingy that was talked about a while ago) but it’s an area where I’d love to see more people pitch in with proposals 🙂
From what I see from my *support* time, a big problem for new users is that, well, MB is just pretty confusing to use until you know what you’re doing. Some people will never stick around enough to learn everything (e.g. because they only want to add their own music and leave) and some will, but will still struggle for a while. Frustrating both kinds of people is not great, so I’d like to see us try to tackle this issue. A “newbie” mode where you get extra bubbles and popups with help when editing might help, other options would be having a simplified UI for new editors that they can opt out of, or have some kind of “help a newbie” group or place where they can ask on the site itself. My feeling is that a lot of them don’t contact support because they think that’s for more “serious” issues than just a confused new user.
One clever idea I noticed at VGMdb is that there is essentially a forum thread for every artist, album and other major entity there. I think having some discussion mechanism associated with each artist and possibly each release group would be a good way of fostering communication. Another could be to tag forum discussions with the entities being discussed, and those threads could show up on the relevant entity pages.
I think having multiple streams of communication leads to fragmentation. I don’t use IRC, so I feel I miss out on some things. Centralizing communication to a single place could help. Right now we have blog, forums, the edits, IRC, mailing lists, ticket management system and who knows what else? Decisions and consensus made in one place aren’t shared in all, leading to balkanization of the community based on where the conversation is taking place.
+1 for reosarevok points
+ Most of the new users will not even find the point how to add anything, because there is no really easy step-by-step GUI for the absolutely essential and necessary data. Something without all the confusing relationships, areas, works, places, languages, scripts… I assume, most of the new users just want to add an album and maybe a cover picture.
+ If a new user get some data added, nothing happens. There is no “now you have to wait for 7 days and maybe nothing happens at all or someone votes for you or against you”. Vote? For what? I just wanna help, why should someone vote for or against my additions? 1 no vote is a killer, if…. Ok, I let it be in the future….
+ IRC: If you read the IRC protocol, how many different members you will count?. I don’t believe that decisions made in the IRC by a few active people at a specific time reflects the user base. Solved problems in IRC should be added in some kind of Wiki. A wiki without an additional login and voting-system.
+ Development: There are 1000’s of open issues. We even have a Top 100 list. Again voted from users who register a third login for an application called JIRA. The top voted issues have about 35 votes. Only 35 people are interested to express their opinion? The Top 10 issues are mostly older then 4 years. What I want to say: Why should someone vote for an issue, if such issues can’t be solved in 4 years? (I don’t wanna blame the developers. Really! I just want to show the problem, where people start thinking “why shoud I participate, my input isn’t important anyway”.
+ Too many products. Personally and as an example: I don’t see the value in a product like ‘CritiqueBrainz’. No offending. But if I really want to read about an album, I don’t expect a description like “As America finally embraces dance music in national dialogue and contemporaneously chooses dubstep as its surrogate son, deep listening here reveals clearly how many Skrillex-sponsored EDM raves could never have happened without these anthems ricocheting around east London’s grimy interior, under the hardcore frown of old Uncle Dugs.” If I had to decide if want to see something in MB like “Genres” or “CritiqueBrainz” my choice would be clear. Or even shorter: Why not ask the users first, what products should be added to the MB-Family?
Re: InvisibleMan78’s comments about “Development” and “Too many products”: *I* understand why those things are as they are, but I can certainly see why people who do not regularly sit in on the weekly developer meetings etc. don’t see it. It would probably be good to communicate these things better.
ps. Please try to keep a positive outlook and avoid being judgemental in your comments. Thank you. ❤
+1 for sbontrager. I’m sure there is a ticket in JIRA for this, but I can’t find.
IMO all these different channels for communication and documentation is a timesink and leads to avoiding people to use.
– MBS-1801 with last.fm style (only in user-pages) shoutbox.
– Merging mailing lists and IRC into forum.
– Merging documentation to wiki. Pointing wiki pages as sticky in related forum sections. Encourage people to use forum as main communication area.
I don’t know what to do with JIRA 🙂
Can you please allow communication in other languages then english? Sometimes my english is not good enough to understand your documentation or the people in the forum. In other projects you can find forum parts like “Foreign Language Discussions”. This can help a lot especially for beginners.
I think that at the moment it’s hard for new users to join in.
Firstly, it can be difficult to know who to ask for help. To solve this for BookBrainz, we’ve introduced user reputation (although it’s not visible on site yet), which I believe could also work for MB. Users could gain reputation from other editors “starring” particular edits. Then publicise the list of high reputation editors, so that new editors can contact them directly for help through the in-site messaging system.
Also, the UI is complicated, even for performing simple actions. A lot of things could be automated/reserved for advanced editors. A new user should be able to enter a release knowing only the artist, release name and tracks. Automatically create or guess recordings, and allow the release group to be left unset, or guess this too. Presentation of forms is also important here. The forms could be more understandable, so that users not familiar with MB concepts can do the basics.
Another thing which might help keep new users is community goals and projects. I was going to arrange that, then BookBrainz happened. Even something like an Xbox achievement system could encourage more participation in the community, and would probably be less effort (eg. Complete 50 edits for a particular artist to unlock a “Dedication” achievement).
Another potential improvement – scrap all voting and introduce reverting. Voting is next to useless in its current form, and no votes are detrimental to community spirit. As a temporary measure until a new edit system can be introduced, make everyone with more than a certain number of edits an autoeditor.
I do also believe in consolidation of communications channels – I’ve elaborated more on the new blog post for that. These ideas are a bit wacky but hopefully they’ll help inspire some more thinking outside the box.
+1 for InvisibleMan78
I think many new users could use a lot more help/guidance/explanations. I try to have an eye on new releases of “Various Artists” and many new users make the same kinds of mistakes over and over again.
If we want more new editors to become regular editors we should have an alternative approach to “Read 1000 lines of documentation before you start to add or edit releases”. And IMHO many new editors don’t read them at all. There are many new users who don’t get the concept of artists credits, who did not know about the capitalization styleguides, who only enter artists, release and titles, etc and leave release that don’t have enough information to be editable. IMHO small improvements to the explanation texts of the UI could make a big difference.
I think I am up to my 4th edit? The documentation for adding album art and correcting title spelling errors is great.
I liked the idea implied by sbontrager of having a central communication area.
I’m a WP survivor and having a central point for comms might have made that place better for humans.
Extrapolating from the failures of WP and the successes of BoardGameGeek in structuring a humane productive environment I would suggest that a variety of themed forums in which MB contributors could interact at a more personal level. Popular themes might be “What have you been listening to?”, “What are you drinking?”, …
I see there is already a General Discussion forum. but I find topics like “API/Advanced GREATLY varies from Indexed Search” somewhat lacking in promoting relaxed socialising.
I also suggest a Welcome email telling us nubes that silly questions are welcomed on MB.
Congrats on looking at this issue.
Good thoughts here, agree with most. Personally, I have nothing to add (right now), just questions…
“scrap all voting and introduce reverting.” <- what's reverting?
and, is it possible to change my username? [MBz username: AzoreanGiglolo]
Love this site, but the thing that most sucks here is coverart, way below par.
I’m a newb with hundreds of cds, albums, 45’s 78’s etc. I am now retired and doing my best to create a polished digital music library. I am here because winamp no longer uses gracenote. This is not a bad thing because it has forced me learn. I, and thousands of others used to just click update data base, smile and be happy. No more. Reading the wa forums, I was led to MB. I re-learned my eac skills. Yeah, MB is more of a trial & error program for a beginner. The jargon is overwhelming. I have a lot of Various Artists and when I first started using mb, it was throwing my songs all over the place in my library. Now I know why it did what it did but only because I decided to hang in there. Couple of suggestions. Build a glossary!! So many abbreviations, so little time. I still don’t know what Obi means in cover art. Does tray mean the back of the jewel case?
I really didn’t know how to even start a music library. Beginning problems were (and still are) how to separate out my collection. Yes that’s a personal thing but, it would help if one or two suggested library sortings could be posted. Tagging and scripting was “Greek” to me. I still can’t get my mu8 to automatically transfer into my album file. So as some of the above commenters have implied, more explanations would really help starting and keeping mb users.
Thanks to the editors for their patience with my release entry errors.
That’s the issue-tracking software that powers tickets.musicbrainz.
That would be something like wikipedia editing, where changes are applied instantly but can be easily rolled back. With the current editing system, it’s very hard (or impossible) to undo/rollback/revert some types of edits.
Oh man, really resonating with some of the feed back here.
I’m going to keep it brief because I’m on holiday/mobile, but I would love to be involved in drawing up some sort of ui/overhaul that helps people gain entry to the mystical (or so it seems) world of mb editing and Picard (which I think is key to attracting users to start contributing to mb, which later becomes addictive in its own right).
I’ve previously done a suggestion with images here that would help beginners ease into the editing process, without, I think, any serious re-coding: http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a238/aerozol/MusicBrainzsuggestion02.jpg
But I think a broader look at how we get new editors started would be best if there’s time. Something along the lines of earning ‘badges’ for specific edits etc, which would involve a ‘beginner’ badge that holds a person’s hand through all the main edits, would be awesome. I know it sounds lame, but it works (see comic vine for example) AND it helps solve the other problem people are mentioning – giving people a stronger profile ‘presence’ makes them connect with each other and the site (and their persona on the site) much more, severely lacking at the moment round here.
But it all needs some more thought for sure.
Llama lover I also agree with, hopefully I have time to finish these up at some point, and then move onto diagrams of what the concert at types are as well, which may solve the problem?
I agree that getting new editors up-to-speed is important. To that end, it would be nice to work on:
#1. remove the voting thing
‘ve made 190 edits since registering here a month ago.
(So I’m a new user.)
In total, I’ve received 1 yes vote (that’s …. 0,5%)
I don’t like waiting up to 7 days just to get a change applied, a change clearly nobody except for me cares about anyway
Also, I got in total 1 downvote, from some kind of auto-editor (a bot or what is it?) and no way to tell him he’s wrong and I’m right.
#2 discogs import function.
Discogs DB is more complete, correct, and up-to-date for certain genres, now I have to manually update MB with discogs info, gives me RSI
@kvtb, check out the userscripts 🙂
you can use http://www.albunack.net/index.jsp to update MB with discogs (not for “various artists”)
Wow, so much great feedback! Makes me think we have the makings of a great community, we just need an easy way to communicate. I very much like reosarevok, CyberSkull, and sbontrager’s suggestions for on-site communication. There is a vitality that users are waiting to unleash on this site, and their suggestions are the way.
I think Roger’s feedback about making the site friendlier to non-English speakers is also critical to MB’s success. Often I feel a sense of futility when contributing to the site, and one source of that feeling is the expectation that speakers of most languages don’t know or care about the project (as is evident from the major gaps in coverage of–for example–Arabic and Chinese releases). Speakers of a common language should be able to go to one another for support. How can MB internationalise if a few volunteers are trying to support speakers of every language in the database?
As to Aerozol’s proposal for badges: I would love to see an award system that is educational. Wouldn’t it be a shame if a user made a low-quality edit just to get a badge? But guided processes with rewards for making more skillful edits could both improve user experience and data quality. Check out the table of “Characteristics of Work and Play” at https://badgeville.com/wiki/Gamification_of_Work and think about how it applies to MB.
Here’s something I’d like to add: Make important messages prominent in the editor. This would prevent so much cleanup work, and it’s more inviting for new editors. Two examples:
1. The following explanation appears on the Add Alias page:
“An alias is an alternate name for an entity. They typically contain contain common mispellings or variations of the name and are also used to improve search results. View the alias documentation for more details.”
A message like this should be in a colour-coded box with a friendly icon. It should also be revised to a short list of dos and don’ts, and a stronger call to action for the documentation. In place of “alias documentation”, a more compelling link might be “When should I create an alias?” Right now these messages are virtually invisible.
2. MB policy says that an entity’s “Area” should be their country, except for special cases. But if I choose a more specific locale, the UI doesn’t warn me. Also, because the page doesn’t define “area”, how many novice users will make a well-intentioned error? This is where a question mark icon next to each form field could open a balloon help message with an explanation and a link to open the full documentation.
One last thing: In my short time on the site, I’m also finding that policy gets changed and I have no idea when it happened or who decided it or why.
I wanted to add also that the voting system needs to be retought completely. I was thinking about this. How about this:
Basically a grading system for releases and it’s associated ARs.
Basically a release gets entered into the DB without voting. Everytime someone double-checks the data, the quality-level of the release increases and the release-data will become gradually harder to change. Once say 5-6 editors have double-checked the data, the release-data/ARs should be essentially perfect.
If a future editor makes a correction, notify the original editor so that he can double-check if he wants.
Perhaps the experience or level of an editor could have an impact as well.
Not sure how fine-grained this system should be though. Perhaps only at the release level. It would be nice to entice and reward editors that go the extra work with work-related ARs which confirmation of details can be found outside of the release itself (ie JASRAC for Japanese releases)
For releases to be graded though, we would need to agree on a minimum amount of data to be entered. Such as Arranger/Producer/Recording location/Date (for live) at the recording level, and Composer/lyricist information at the work level.
A thought that might hook more of us nubes and get us up to speed quicker: nubes get invited to join an ongoing combined nubes and experienced, socially facile contributors team that focuses on a particular project, eg, original 78rpm blues releases or New Direction releases ( that was hard to type).
And after some number of overseen edits we get a title like “glow-worm”, which is then upgraded to “firefly” after we reach 200 edits.
As for the editing process.
I love the relationship editor at the release level. So much so in fact that I wish it could be used at other levels in MB, such as the Recording and Works pages of an artist to facilitate edits to a large group of entities or even quickly create new stand-alone entities.
Other than that MB really needs to take classical music more seriously. I’ve thought for many years that we need a classical-specific release editor as well as alterations to how the data is displayed for classical music albums..
Also we need guidance and direction in regards to updating the Classical Style guide. There have been many attemps in the past (none recently) on the Style-list but the complexity of the task and bickering on the lists assured that we never get really far.
I agree about the voting being obsolete. I’ve been an editor for almost 9 years now and over that time there have been precious few times where voting was actually useful or, indeed, used. 99% of the time it just makes you wait a whole week before you can get your dose of good feelings about a job well done.
I don’t care what comes in place of voting, just make the edits instant. A wiki-style rollback system sounds like a good idea.
The problem I faced here and then is the feeling that a handful of auto mods are forcing everything to their own tastes accusing me of having different tastes.
I had the feeling 3 or 6 people with similar style tastes were holding up everything.
But this feeling has gone quite some long time ago…
I don’t remember precise examples nor precise anything, it’s just a bad feeling that I had had and that I could not do anything except quit MB or accept things that I was not agree with (like losing info compared with the actual album or change its text when no mistakes).
But now the systems that allow this (like AC) are accepted and available and not voted against, so this feeling of inequity between auto mods who could enforce their views and the hol poloi who must say yes or leave is now gone little for me from quite long time ago…
I like the Thanks edit review button idea by Réo
Agree with PATATE12 regarding the stylistic mores of some of the past super-editors. Also agree that things have improved.
One legacy of that period is that some of the fundamental DB design/stylistic choices were flawed IMO. In particular, the way that Recordings are handled makes no sense.
A recording is an act, roughly equivalent to a performance. However the emphasis on sound on the media leads to a perverse situation where single recording acts have many separate recordings. E.g. The Wailers & Funk Star DeLuxe apparently made 80 or so separate recordings of “Sun is Shining”. Err no. There is one recording (+ remixes) which appears in many dj mixes. From a user perspective, these are NOT separate recordings. From the MB definition they are. Rather than capturing extra info, you are systematically losing the most important relationships between the track on various releases.
If I move from a tracklist to a recording, I want to see all of the versions of this recording. I don’t want to see single recording that corresponds to the particular dj mixed release I started with.
WRT improving documentation – pictures please. Someone above mentioned being confused by an Obi. Just show one. Simple.
WRT to editing and language, how about having a tag/flag where editor asks for their edits to be reviewed by someone who is fluent in a given language. I have found myself editing e.g. French tracklists and I have no Idea about capitalisation or punctuation. Then you get downvoted for a whole release because of some capitalisation errors – by an auto-editor who could have approved my edit and fixed it in less time that it took to write their officious note.
Thanks man for the response.
And, yeah, reverting seems like an excellent idea.
ps. I’m fluent in portuguese, been trying to edit the portuguese (mainly from Portugal) releases.
Nice to see the chatter from people who care about MB. Here is another thought for Nuebs like me. How about a simple set of two introductory videos? One showing a video with step by step entering of a release from 1 artist or group. The second showing step by step for entering a various artist? This would help us get on board with most of the releases we wish to add. It would also be something we could watch several times to get the hang of it. It would help us make sense of what we see in front of us when we try to enter a release for the first time. Just keep it simple with a straight forward entry. Once we have the feel for things, we could go from “Glow worms” to fire lizards.
It would also give the editors a place to show the most mistakes to avoid. Just a link to a utube site would get us there. It would need to be done by a MB editor or super editor so it doesn’t look like something cousin Earl did in his basement. Just say’n.
The voting system has a good thing going. You are able to check a summary of newly “voted down” edits, and are able to revert or redo what you have done wrong. If you remove voting, and add a revert system, you need to make sure that those who did the mistake get a notification.
Also this belongs to the issue, that new users dont get feedback about good or bad edits (yea they get emails, but if u do real edits you get hundreds of emails daily wtf man, this is for real and this is spam) Also these emails open up musicbrainz again, so why email in the first place?
New users need examples, and feedback. They dont know about cat#’s and the like and mix things up easily. For example when merging entities, there is no hint or examples, and a basic check against fool edits. Or even advanced tips, like comparing acoustID or whatnot.
I’m a new user of this software. Either you’ll accept me as such or I’ll have to find another program — either way is OK. I just like to listen to music.
I like the idea of a thanks button. The reason I’m editing in a collaborative database is because there are other editors that help me. They find the things I didn’t, they fix my mistakes, etc. The thanks button is the expression of that.
I like the idea of “badges” too.
I mostly see two kind of editors, with little in between. The first kind does good edits, and each time I interact with them their edits get better. Many of those eventually made it to Auto-Editor. The second kind unfortunately takes a lot of my time while making the minority of edits, which is absurd. Moreover, I only see the tip of the iceberg – if I extrapolate what I see in my subscriptions, a third of the artwork provided by MusicBrainz must be wrong (to add on what AzoresOne said). Mistakes like that give a bad image – I see that in forums where people refuse to touch MB because of the gross mistakes we can have.
Can it improve? Well, there are currently obstacles (mostly editors not being aware of what is wrong) that make it unlikely. Still, after those are fixed, we can also provides incentives.
I think a class between Auto-Editor and Normal User would be helpful. It could make more edits auto-edits, without some of the “godlike” powers auto-editors have. Or reduce the waiting time to 2 days instead of 7 days, etc. However, it cannot be set on stats that do not involves humans, as the second kind of editors manages to get out of things like “limited user” while making terrible edits. However, it could definitively come from the number of “Thanks”.
I’m new in MusicBrainz and I’m not very good in English. The guide for the relationship editor is not very clear for me. If I hadn’t had nice editors who told me that I made an error and explained me how to corrected it, I wouldn’t try to add relationship.
It would be nice to have a step by step guide with screen-shots and explanations to learn how to add relationship for different types of relationship. The manipulation to add a relationship for a composer or a lyricist is the same but if you want to add a relationship for a producer, arranger it’s different.
The case who is difficult for me is when a song is a cover of another song (the direction of the relation, is the relation between a work and a recording, a work and another work?) or when the artist uses a part of a classical music and just adds lyrics.
Recently I had problems to add a relationship between a work in Japanese and English recording. I can’t read Japanese; how am I suppose to know which work is the one I search when there’s no translated/transliterated in Latin’s language?
When I add a new release, is there a way to add the cover of the CD in the same time. It seems I have to add an edit note to add the cover.
There should be instead a permanent voting system on every entity (like a quality system). But the voting should not include yes or no, but it should allow only alternative input. For example if i name a release “Uber Albm”, this is wrong, but someone else votes he must instead enter “Uber Album”. Voting NO is not possible, you have to give an alternative title, or agree by giving the same title.
Now the first edit is instantly active. But its on a period of being visible in a “current new edits pool”, and if a user votes by agreeing with this edit it gets strength. But if another user fixes the edit, there is a fight over which edit is being active for the same entity. Naturally an entity has to store any title that was being given , but only the title that the most people agreed on is active. Next to any entity should be a info box displaying the whole voting history and the like.
If the user has a higher level (ie autoeditor) then their vote gets a higher value. Also you are now able to vote on anything permanently.
Mistakes on experienced users are just as bad as mistakes by new users, so a new user group with different voting time is equally bad as auto editors using the instantedit on a daily basis.
There is also the issue, that editors with a lot of time spam NO votes ,if a new user doesnt give the explanations they expect. They are really destructive especially for new users.
Here’s another difficulty I always think hard about: “Please select the release which you would like the other releases to be merged into:”
I know which release should be merged into (the other release), but I always hesitate in choosing which radial button. I don’t think it’s clear enough, I surely don’t want to make a mistake, or is it me?
@RememberTheMer, multiple recordings is because it is work in progress. They are separate because each person adding a release is adding a recording as they don’t necessarily know which existing recording to reuse, which is normal and safe, IMO.
It’s some other’s job (or some second pass job by same editor) to merge recordings with knowledge… 🙂
why not use other fingerprints apps like sound hound and shazam, maybe the user can choose between each aplication, because sometimes the album or cover is from a playlist and is not funny to have like”to 100 super summer mix 2015″ instead of the real album… and maybe lets add the genre, on many of them…
After all The program is awesome, is the first one that does what i want lets keep improving it i love it, and to get the feedback maybe you can use google+ (many other apps and programs do it)
Regarding badges I think it would be good if credits were given to top editors of various entities when looking at the page for them. Some wouldn’t care, but some would feel good about it saying somewhere on the page that they entered the data for a particular album, and some would feel good seeing how much they had contributed to the page about a big artist.
As a comparison Librarything does that for at least book series, so at https://www.librarything.com/series/Dune there is a margin box listing “Helpers” in order of number of contributions.
Per Starbäck: That would be nice, and useful for future features or edits (Discogs actually mails contributors when a release you contributed on is changed). Conversely I think the “last editor” info on annotations is useless noise if not misleading. I find myself in many of those, yet I only fixed a typo or something.
pankkake, good point about the annotations. I have several times received that credit for just removing all the text that was there, because it had become superfluous.
It’s been about 2 years I’m into MB, I am a free software geek, and innocent/ignorant of issues within the project and community.
I don’t see major problems inside Musicbrainz : it’s already a great project.
That said, it’s always nice to encourage good social behaviours like these blog posts do.
I’ll seize the opportunity for the feedbacks, and sorry if it’s a bit long…
## Social interactions ##
I don’t suffer that much from isolation of community members. I’ve only crossed the roads of a few of you.
I’m reading this blog, have spent a bit of time on the forum, and even IRC. Each channel has its strenghts.
The one I feel there is the less attention from MB staff is the forum (only a minority participate ?), but I still find its activity very acceptable.
I quickly checked your bugs/tickets system. I admit I’m too lazy to register to it. Questions there get very specific and and I don’t want to get involved that deep.
Sum up : I’m unsure replacing communication channels would help. Having a single account (and not separate accounts) for easy login would help a little.
## First steps & obstacles ##
It took me some time to get a decent knowledge on how to make edits, i’ll try to remember what were the obstacles.
I appreciated the *help bubbles* effort shown above.
Suggestion/Sum up : do that.
– Some users think Picard makes miracles and automatically tags their library perfectly, but it’s not. These users ignore the distinction between release and release groups and consider their music is tagged even when using improper release. These users don’t think it’s necessary to submit new releases. While that behaviour is incorrect, it doesn’t really harm.
Sum up : nothing. Edit: or maybe it does harm, since this distinction looks major to me and may lead to wrong edits.
– Same issue made me take time to have my politic for tagging my albums. If I ignore from which exact release this release comes, I’ll usually select the oldest reference, or some Vinyl rip when I have doubts it comes from the CD (btw I know there is a plugin to not fill the ignored infos, but decided not to use it). This problem may solve itself when MB userbase reaches a critical mass.
Sum up : nothing.
– Import scripts are useful, promote them (or integrate them better) ! For some time I tagged directly from my audio files info. Now I mostly import from external databases. Filling manually may have helped a bit as a learning process.
Sum up : make better promotion of these import scripts. Integrate them better with the project/website, they’re little projects in comparison to Picard, but we make heavy use of them.
– I don’t use votes for edits. It’s true they are not very relevant. They don’t bother me either.
Sum up : leave it as it is.
– About open edit delay. Having that delay was embarassing at the beginning, when I wanted more frequently to fix my own edits. Now that I have a better understanding and make less mistakes, the delay could be 3 months before closing that it wouldn’t necessarily annoy me, because my edits now usually don’t need heavy fix manipulations. This is why I’m unsure that edit delay has the effect we want it to have. To allow newcomers to train, it can be nice for them to have immediate feedback and get their playground.
Sum up : I have no clear alternative in mind, but I don’t consider this issue that important, except newcomers have to learn to wait for coming back to their own edits to improve them.
## Picard ##
Picard is quite difficult to understand.
– I took the habbit to add albums to tag one by one (or several for which I feel it’ll be easy for Picard to find them). This habbit is not obvious : when you begin and you want to tag your audio files, you’ll try to look up them all at once !
– Lookup within Picard sometimes works but generally the website answers better. For instance, when it adds “Various artists” as a required field, it misses releases which have been assigned to some specific artist, like the DJ mixer instead of “Various”. I almost never use the search field within Picard. I try to make a simple lookup within Picard, but mostly have my webpage on MB and Discogs open to make my searches. Moreover, searching from unproperly tagged files is prone to fail.
Sum up : There might be things to make Picard more straightforward, and eventually give a few explanations on first start. I remember these software which had «Tips» at startup, which you could hide once you’re confident. Maybe implement this ?
– I had fun writing a scheme for renaming my files. Took me a bit of time. It could be nice to bring Picard with the choice of a few standard naming schemes. This would avoid users to despair for not finding something suitable.
Sum up : Add built-in naming schemes, let previsualize what they do, and leave choice !
– Lookup within MB’s site isn’t that great either. I use the form from main page, and put minimal infos to be sure not to miss the release. I do not mix fields of different types (like “artist” and “album name”) because I need to do several clicks to access that search feature and don’t want to wait page reload. In comparison, discogs is powerful enough to mix all fields at once.
Sum up : Make the powerful search options more accessible, or improve search to allow mixing fields.
## Website / database performance ##
There are days I abandon submitting releases. I’m lucky enough to have irregular activity hours and may contribute anytime. But having “Error looking up MB database” or slow website is a bit irritating. These issues are really regular, but we shouldn’t consider them to be normal.
Sum up : consider efforts for searching where are the bottlenecks ?
That’s all I have in mind for now, I hope this was the right time/place for such feedback, and hope it’ll inspire you. 😉
I’m liking the number of comments on this thread. I think they indicate that if you set out a “suggestion box”, people will fill it. 🙂
While the forums have always had a ‘Feedback and Ideas‘ section, a banner on the main site seems to be attracting new/different voices.
> While the forums have always had a ‘Feedback and Ideas‘ section, a banner on the main site seems to be attracting new/different voices.
There is a lesson to be learned there too!
I think the volume of comments might also indicate a sense of uncertainty.
One little irky thing for me is voting on fairly inconsequential stuff. For example, is there a compelling reason to vote on a Wikipedia link? Or an Amazon ASIN? Or adding a bar code?
Many of these non-destructive relatively minor edits could be auto-edits. That would leave the voting and discussions to edits of more significance.
Well those are sometimes wrong edition linked for instance (ASIN / bar code).
It was the reason, I think.
BTW they are immediately visible even before being accepted 1 week.
With current system, autoedits are not very good for subscriptions (we miss some search conditions for that to be manageable, I have http://tickets.musicbrainz.org/browse/MBS-7912 in mind)…
We would first need the proposed wiki style edit right awau / warn editors of change / revert for this to be auto.
But I’m afraid maybe we would receive even more emails or notices of any kind… We have to think about some stuff…
> is there a compelling reason to vote on a Wikipedia link? Or an Amazon ASIN
Yes, because they are often wrong.
As PATATE12 says, they are immediately applied. Same with adding any entity (artist, release, standalone recording, cover art, etc.): they are immediately applied. As such, it would just makes them harder to spot while not helping the original editor in any way.
I beg you, do not make things auto edits if they bring nothing to the table and do not come with the tools do deal with them. In fact, for various artist compilations, I think the add medium should not be an auto edit, because it makes them hard to track (I wouldn’t have found so many mistakes without LAST_SEEN_EDIT from SUPER MIND CONTROL Ⅱ X TURBO). It’s not a minor problem either, like cover art, the credits of various artists compilations are way below par other databases like Discogs.
I vote no on a lot of amazon link additions etc 🙂
Because this is often a quick edit for a ‘newb’ editor to do, and they usually don’t understand that mb has a distinction between different releases (re-issues etc). It’s also a chance to say hello to them and encourage them!!
But the fact that there’s pretty much no way for these things to happen at the moment, imo:
– someone say hello to the new editor and offer help
– or a new editor to see what they’re meant to do on their first edit, without someone telling them
Pretty much highlights the issues that I see currently.
As a side note Re. Badges/points/scores etc for users posts, edits, to thank them for things, so on, I always picture MBs userbase as the most stat + column filling obsessed people ever. People here will spend thousands (!!!) of hours fixing artist relationships or other details… Showing these stats or activity more clearly and socially via a centralized profile will be like high-grade crack cocaine to pretty much everyone posting here, is what I’m saying :p
Is the first time I would involve myself with this community, but I think I can give some good references about what to do:
– I think reosarevok’s point is critical here. Where you can discuss about MusicBrainZ? Where is the community town’s hall? Luckily, other communities have been there, some with very painful experiences, or others with more or less successful ones, like Stack Exchange http://meta.stackexchange.com/help/whats-meta You need a site to speak about the site, so the first thing that came to my mind was the meta model.
The only thing left is where/how to develop this “meta” MusicBrainZ? Blog posts are suboptimal. IRC is great for back-and-forth discussions but impractical for those that don’t want to use clients, want a broader audience or that their words reach even those that only pass-by (those that weren’t on the channel at the moment wouldn’t know what you said before). Everyone hates mails (generalization), so mailing lists are a big no. Well, what’s left? You can do your own in-house copycat of Stack Exchange Meta to fit your needs, but I think that’s a waste of developers time, and could prove more a pain for the community. For that I would recommend another project that spawned from one of the founders of SE, called Discourse http://www.discourse.org/, which seems to provide most of the tools MB community seems to be asking for.
I skimmed trough some comments (gave up reading, sorry!), here are my impressions:
– The gamification idea might work, sibilant and Aerozol idea might make new users engaged with the work.
– Apparently there’s a forum. I checked it and for some reason it woke in me the animadversion I feel for phpBB. It looks old and cranky! I feel that nobody would ever read that.
– Bugs/FR tracking don’t need to be public, you may use something else and have JIRA for internal tracking. That way you don’t confuse users.
– If I’m not mistaken, Picard is open source. Maybe opensourcing other parts of the project?
– You may need some place where you can coach new users about their submissions, maybe a mentoring program, at request? Debian mentoring comes to mind (https://wiki.debian.org/DebianMentorsFaq) just replace “prospective debian developers” with “prospective edits submitters”.
– A more structured privileges gaining method. Seems to be fast and hard (X edits + Y days). Something more staggered.
I would be subscribing by mail using the “Notify me of new comments via email.” checkbox.
A bit late to this. Most of my opinions have been made on the forums which the MB dev\staff never comment on.
+1 to invisible man comments.
to be honest I gave up a long time ago adding anything to jira….
To be honest I don’t see anything really new here in these blog comments that hasn’t been discussed in the forums over the last year or two.
53 Replies, more then 5 months later and the result is?
Well, the result has been unfolding in subsequent blog posts. Mainly, we’ve got a community manager, (who is slacking on writing his update blog posts) and we’re working on internal communication tools and have made various other community focused improvements to MB server. But really, your questions are answered in subsequent blog posts!