Server Updates

Two new moderation suggestion reports – duplicate albums, and more duplicate artists.

Not many changes today.  Well, we did have a main release only
two days ago!

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Users

Matthias Friedrich and Wendell T. Hicken have created two new reports:
one listing
duplicate albums
and another one with
more duplicate artists.

“Guess Case” will now put “(bonus disc)” (or “disk”) in lower case.

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Server Programmers

The database import script is now potentially much faster
(down from 2 hours to 20 minutes).  It also no longer asks two
questions at the start, so it’s easier to run it completely unattended.

The unused “trmstats.pl” script has been removed.

Dave Evans

Server Updates

Voting “inline”, a faster voting infrastructure, send e-mails using your real e-mail address, and a small number of other changes.

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Users

Inline Moderation

(This feature by Robert Kaye)

In an effort to reduce the voting backlog, the system now shows you
one vote at a time whenever you’re on an artist, album or track page.
The moderation chosen is, in order of preference: for this artist; for one of
your subscribed artists; for an artist related to this artist; or anything
at random.  When you click one of the three voting buttons (yes, no,
abs) then the voting panel reloads to show something else to vote on.
The rest of the page remains unchanged.

Faster Voting Pages

The moderation database tables have been reorganised behind the
scenes.  The result of this is that
the voting pages (in particular)
should be much faster.  See “Moderation Table Restructuring” below
for more technical details of what’s actually changed.

Reveal My E-Mail Address

When sending an e-mail to another moderator, it’s now possible
(as long as you’ve told MusicBrainz your e-mail address) to choose
to reveal your e-mail address to the other party.  Doing so makes it
much easier for them to reply to you.  The default setting is
controlled by a new preference, which in turn
defaults to “off” (i.e. don’t reveal my address).
Read the help for more information.

Other Changes

  • When searching for moderations, you can now search for mods
    on artists related to some given artist.
  • Tied votes are now passed (previously there had to be a clear majority to
    win).
  • When sending an e-mail to another moderator, sometimes extra quotes were
    added to the subject line (so instead of the subject being Hi
    there
    for example, it would be “Hi there”).  These
    stray quotes have now been removed.
  • The HTML generated by a “Link with Icon” (for an artist, album or track
    link) now ensures that the icon will be on the same line as the text which
    follows.
  • For “Edit Artist Alias”, “Edit Artist Sortname”, “Edit Track Number” and
    “Merge Artist” moderations, if the record being changed is missing then close
    the moderation with a “Failed prerequisite” status instead of “Internal
    error”.
  • The “Show TRM” page now sorts the matched tracks by artist and album, and
    only shows each album once (even if more than one track on that album
    matches the TRM).
    Example.

New and Changed Documentation

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Programmers

If you download and import the MusicBrainz database (including the
moderation tables) from time to time, read “Moderation Table Restructuring”
(below).

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Server Programmers

Mason

(This feature by Duncan Findlay)

The MusicBrainz server now uses Mason
1.25 (previously we used 1.05).  Mason underwent something of a
redesign following 1.05, so making it past this “hurdle” should help us in
the future.

Moderation Table Restructuring

The moderation-related tables have been reorganised, so as to speed up the
voting pages.  Almost all queries against the moderation tables deal
with open moderations, but Postgres seemed to be having trouble optimising
those queries (despite an index on moderation.status).  Well, maybe we
missed something obvious, maybe not.  Anyway, what we’ve done is to
split the three tables (moderation, moderationnote and votes) into six
(moderation_open, moderation_note_open, vote_open;
and
moderation_closed, moderation_note_closed, vote_closed).  So most
queries can now just refer to moderation_open, which is a MUCH smaller table
than moderation used to be.

As a side-effect, the data for closed moderations is now dumped into a
separate file (mbdump-closedmoderation.tar.bz2), making the
mbdump-moderation.tar.bz2 file much smaller.  Hence, if you
want to download open moderation data but have no need for closed
moderations, life has just become a little easier for you.

Other Changes

The CreateTables-mysql.sql
script has been removed.  It was generally poorly maintained, and
hardly ever tested, and the costs of maintaining it outweighed the
benefits.  If you want to create a MusicBrainz database in MySQL,
start with the CreateTables.sql
script.


RDFDump.pl
has been fixed. RDF dumps now contain all artists
we have in the database.

Bugs and RFEs Closed

Dave Evans

Server Updates

Easy ways to link to MusicBrainz, country / date release information, log in permanently, revamped moderation suggestion reports, and the usual cornucopia of miscellaneous bug fixes and enhancements.

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Users

Linking to MusicBrainz

(This feature by Robert Kaye)

One of the main aims of MusicBrainz has always been to provide unchanging,
globally-unique identifiers for various music-related things (artists,
albums, tracks).  Until recently these identifiers have been all too
hard to find and use. 

The official “permanent” way of linking to HTML web pages for MusicBrainz
artists, albums and tracks is now like this, using the 128-bit globally
unique identifier (GUID) values:

To make it easier to link to artists, albums and tracks as you find them,
there are now two new links next to each linkable item:

Permanent link is a link to the permanent URL, so if you
just want to get the URL without any fancy markup, then you can use your
browser to copy the URL behind these links to your clipboard.

Link to this takes you to a page where you can
choose what appearance you want your link to have, then copy the HTML
provided so you can paste it into your web page (or web log, etc).

Releases

(This feature by Dave Evans with help from Matthias Friedrich)

A Release is when a particular album (or single, etc) was made
available in a particular country on a particular date.  For example,
you could say that the single
White Flag
was released in the United Kingdom in 2003.

The date part of a release can be just a year (e.g. 1977), or a
year and a month (July 1977) or a specific day (12th July 1977).

When searching for albums, or showing a list of albums on the “show artist”
page, the first known release date is shown for each album.  On the
latter page, albums are listed (within release type) by first release date, in
forward chronological order.  Albums with no release data will have
no known first release date.  Albums with a first release date are
listed first, then the ones without.

Releases are edited using the Release Editor page, which works much
like the Album Editor.  It’s based on your session cookie, so
you can only edit one album’s releases at a time.  The main way in
which it’s different from the Album Editor is that when you’ve finished, all
the changes you make are entered as a single moderation.  Hence a
single “Edit Releases” moderation may include, say, two releases to add and
one to edit. 

“Edit Releases” moderations are auto-moderated if no releases are being
removed, and EITHER there are no releases being edited OR the user is an
automoderator.  This should make it possible to initially add a lot of
“release” data without having to vote it all through.

Log In Permanently

When you log in, there are now two extra tick box options:
“Log in permanently” and “Only from this IP address”. 

By choosing “Log in permanently” you will be sent a non-session cookie (it
expires after one year) including your user name and a hashed form of your
password.  When you close and restart your browser, instead of having
to log in to MusicBrainz again, this “permanent” cookie will be detected and
you will automatically be logged in straight away.  You will only have
to log in again if the cookie expires or is deleted, or if you click
“Logout” (which causes this cookie to be deleted), or if your password is
changed.

By choosing “Only from this IP address” you gain some little protection
against someone maliciously “stealing” your MusicBrainz cookies and trying
to use them to log in as you – your cookies will only be valid when used
from your IP address.

As part of the “Log in permanently” feature it was necessary to update the
way in which you update your password – you must now enter your old (existing)
password in order to change it to something else.  Some simple rules
now apply to passwords to ensure that the password isn’t too easy to guess:
new passwords must be at least six characters long, and must be neither all
letters nor all numbers.  Finally, password changing is now done on a
separate page, not the main “update my profile” page.

Moderation Suggestion Reports

(This feature by Matthias Friedrich and Dave Evans)

All the “moderation suggestion reports” have been completely rewritten;
the main visible change is that instead of producing a single (sometimes
VERY long) page per report, each report is now split over a series of pages,
like when you browse over moderations, artists or albums.  This
generally means that the reports are much faster and nicer to use.

There is one completely new report, called “Tracks with broken featuring
artist tags”.  This report looks for tracks which should, but don’t,
say “Foo (feat. Bar)” – for example, “Foo featuring Bar” would be in this
report.  Next to each track found is a link to edit that track’s
name.  The editing is done in a pop-up window.  If the report
thinks it knows what the track name should be, then the link says “Suggest”,
and clicking on the link opens the pop-up with the new track name pre-filled
in with what it thinks the new name should be.  All you have to do is
make sure it guessed right and submit the form.

Editing

When a moderation fails in an unusual way (e.g. failed prerequisite, internal
error) the ModBot now always adds a note describing exactly
what went wrong.  (This was partially implemented before; the gaps have
now been filled in).

The “edit track name” page now shows the warning about pending moderations,
when appropriate.

When adding [non-album tracks], it is now mandatory to
enter a moderation note – you are strongly encouraged to provide some URL
with “evidence” as to what the track is.  A “Guess Case” button has
also been added.

When changing a “Various Artists” track (particularly when first converting
an album to Various Artists), the track name is now split in the correct
place more often.  This fixes bug #854750.

When adding artists, or moving a track to a new artist, it is now possible
to create a new artist with the same name as another artist’s alias
(bugs #788282, #837930).

The “Add Artist” page now has a “Guess Case” button.  It also has a
button to copy the artist name into the artist sortname (but this should be
exactly the same as leaving the sortname blank).

Previously some users experienced a Javascript error while merging artists
or moving albums.  This bug has now been fixed.

The “Guess Case” buttons now put these words in lower case when within
parentheses: acoustic instrumental live demo skit.

Other Changes

The “top moderators” sidebar panel has been replaced by the “top voters”
panel.

When browsing moderations (e.g. when voting), closed moderations now say
“Closed”, instead of “Expires” or “Expired”.  The little red “X” that
you had to click on to delete a moderation has now been changed to a much
more obvious textual link saying “Delete mod”.

A “fix” (run on demand by the MusicBrainz server administrators)
script has been created to find and fix track names which should say “Foo
feat. Bar”, but don’t.  (by Matthias Friedrich)

There is a “fix” script
which recalculates the “modpending” count (and thus, for example, removes
the “mod pending” highlight from things which actually have no mods pending). 
This script had been out of date and useless for a while; it has now been
rewritten and is now up-to-date and useful again.

The “Tag lookup” form has been added to
the main search page,
the idea being to make it easier to do a combined artist+album+track search.

The very old, very out-of-date downloads of the MySQL and Access databases
have been removed from the downloads page.

New and Changed Documentation

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Server Programmers

Two missing foreign keys have been added: moderationnote to moderator, and
moderationnote to moderation.

At server startup, we now pre-load many Mason components, for faster
subsequent response, and for a smaller memory footprint.

A SQL interpolation bug fix in TRM->GetTRMFromTrackId
has been fixed.

Bugs and RFEs Closed

Dave Evans

MusicBrainz Tagger 0.10.2

The 0.10.2 version of the tagger fixed a number of problems from the 0.10.1 version.

This version fixes a few important bugs from the 0.10.1 version.  Files that were
tagged by clicking on the tag icon may have incomplete artist sortname and artist id
tags.  The saved tab can now be sorted by clicking on the header fields, and the
filename in the tabs will never be cut off — now it gets reasonably truncated
and the most important info should always be visible.  Finally FLAC tagging had
some bugs where tags were getting cleared or not written to disk.

Bugs and RFEs Closed

Robert Kaye

Server Updates

Moderation Search; Add Album gets “Guess” buttons; a new “moderation suggestions” report.

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Users

Moderation Search

Previously it was only possible to list moderations using one of a number of
fixed means: for example, “New Mods”, “FreeDB Mods”, “Artist Mods”
etc.  Now, all of these have been replaced a rather flexible
Moderation Search facility.

Moderation Search allows you to find moderations according to any
combination of the following criteria: moderation status, automod flag,
moderation type, moderator, vote cast (by you or anyone else),
artist (including “my subscribed artists”), and moderation ID (range).
You can also query by album, or by track.
Finally you can choose whether to show them oldest to newest, or the other
way round.  The number of possible combinations is
simply astronomical.

The old, fixed search types (“New”, “FreeDB” etc) now simply pre-fill the
search form with the appropriate values.  So for example, you can run
one of the preset searches (say, “My Failed Mods”), and then click “Advanced
Search” to customise your current search in whatever way you please.
There’s a new page which lists
the presets.  If you like you can set a new
preference
to cause the “Moderate” link in the top navigation bar to
go to that page instead of running the “New Mods” query.

Some other points of note:

  • Many more queries than before are possible.  For example, show me
    moderations by (some moderator name) which I haven’t voted on yet; or, show
    me (some moderator name)’s automods only.
  • Many of the moderation URLs have now moved.  Hopefully all the links on
    the site have been updated, but if you do hit an old link (e.g. in an old
    “subscriptions” e-mail) you should get redirected.
  • The “subscriptions” e-mails now contain an extra link, which is
    effectively like “New Mods”, but for your subscribed artists only.
  • There’s now a page where you
    can search for moderators
    (so you can include them in your
    search).  Interestingly this is currently the only place in the whole
    site where you can effectively “browse moderators”.  No doubt a page
    dedicated to doing just that will be added some time in a future release.
  • Sometimes your moderation searches may “time out” – just like normal
    searches (for tracks, etc) the search is cancelled if it’s still running
    after 30 seconds.  If this happens, try narrowing down your search,
    maybe by using the “moderation ID” filter (e.g. only where the ID is at
    least 530000).

Add Album

The manual “Add Album” pages now have “Guess Case” and “Guess Sortname”
buttons.

Other Changes

Previously only two statistics were recorded for each moderator; a count of
“accepted moderations”, and one of “failed moderations”.
Now the “accepted” count has been split into two, one for auto-moderations,
and one for the rest; and the “failed” count has also been split into two,
one for “failed vote” moderations, and one for the other types of
failure.  For example, see your own profile page.

When moving an album to another artist, the original artist is no
longer shown in the search results (bug #576354).

Each moderation type has a name, and just to ensure that the name of each
type is unique, two of the types have been renamed.
Previously there were two types of “Add Track” (one used up to
17th August 2001, and one used thereafter); now the former is called
“Add Track (old version)”.
Additionally there are in fact two types both known as “Merge Albums” (one
for single-artist albums, and one for Various Artists).
The latter is now called “Merge Albums (Various Artists)”.

The “auto-notes” added by the Album Editor (e.g. “The first of a set
of 3 moderations”) were previously recorded against the moderator’s own
name; now, they are added by the ModBot.

If you use the “compact” album listing, then manually switch to a “full”
listing, the expand/collapse links now work, instead of switching you back
to a “compact” listing.

There is now a new moderation suggestions report, called “Superfluous Data
Tracks”.  Thanks to our script/report writer,
Matthias Friedrich, for
this.  This report lists albums which include a final “data track”,
but have no Disc ID.

Also in the are of suggestions reports: the “bad entries” report
now does HTML-escaping properly.  The “unknown” report also now does
this; it also runs much more efficiently, shows counts of how many tracks
and artists it found, and correctly includes the page footer.

Voting more than once on a moderation sometimes caused that moderation to
show up twice when it should not – this is now fixed (bug #829524).

New and Changed Documentation

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Server Programmers

Added help text to the INSTALL file and to MBImport.pl, stating that
the current live SQL scripts must be used to import a live dataset.

RDFDump – the RDF dump file (link) is now valid XML. Previously it tried to
put long lines of hyphens (“—–” etc) within a comment (bug #829181).

Bugs and RFEs Closed

Dave Evans

MusicBrainz Tagger 0.10.1

The 0.10.1 version of the tagger fixed a number of problems from the 0.10.0 version.

This version fixes a number of bugs from the 0.10.0 version.  Some MP3s
would have corrupted ID3 tags after being tagged with the tagger – this is now fixed. 
If you have any files that got corrupted by the tagger, download and install this new
version, and then enable the ‘clear tags before writing’ option.  Then re-identify all of
the corrupt files and write new tags.

Also, tagging Ogg Vorbis files would crash fairly often, and tagging via proxy was also broken.  Both of these are now fixed.

Bugs and RFEs Closed

Robert Kaye

Server Updates

The “Album Editor” has landed! Plus a bunch of other bug fixes and updates.

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Users

Album Editor

The Album Editor lets you edit all sorts of aspects of an album on (almost)
one screen.  Currently this means you can edit the album name and
attributes, and the track names and numbers (and yes, there are lots of “Guess
Case” buttons to play with).  You can also add and remove tracks. 
The Album Editor is found under a link called “Edit All” on each album.

So far there are a few limitations which you should know about:

  1. It only works for single artist albums
    (don’t worry, there will be a multiple-artists version).
  2. When you click the “Enter Moderations” button when you’re done,
    you still get the same moderations we currently have – for
    example, 1 x “Edit Album Name” + 10 x “Edit Track Name” + 1 x “Edit Album
    Attributes”.  A future version will probably enter a single
    “Modify Album” moderation encompassing all of these things, in order to
    (hopefully) make voting easier. 
    See bug #816269.
  3. You can’t use the Album Editor on [non-album tracks].

Other Changes

If you choose to show the whole album when reviewing “Add Album” mods,
there is now an extra preference which, when enabled, causes the “Edit” links
to be shown on those albums.  This saves a page load when you want to
edit the album, at the expense of making the moderation pages a bit bigger.

“Merge Artists” mods now merge by artist ID, not name.  This means that
if the target artist is renamed whilst the merge is open, then the merge
should still succeed.  Also, both the source and destination artists are
marked as “mod pending”.

“Remove TRM Id” mods were previously problematic if they had to be undone
(e.g. if they failed the vote).  This has now been fixed.  If the
TRM cannot be re-added then the ModBot may note “Unable to re-insert
TRM”.  This will only happen on “Remove TRM Id” mods inserted before this
server update, but closed after; mods inserted after the update will be OK.

When the ModBot added a note to your moderations the e-mail used to say:
“Unfortunately moderator ‘ModBot’ has not supplied their e-mail address,
so you can’t reply to them.”.  This message has been removed.

The “page selector”, used on the moderation pages and the browse artists /
browse albums pages, now appears both above and below the things you’re
browsing.

When moving a Disc ID, [non-album tracks] releases are now not offered as a
possible place to move it to.

“Guess Case” now also knows about the following words:
album original single (lower case, if inside brackets);
ft. (becomes feat.); and finally, LP EP BWV and the Roman numerals I to X.

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Programmers

Nothing new in this release.

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Server Programmers

When DBDefs::DB_STAGING_SERVER is set, a “Debug” link appears in the nav
bar.  This takes you to /debug.html, a page which displays your session
data etc.  Currently the debug.html page can be accessed even on the live
server, but this may change in future.

Bugs and RFEs Closed

Dave Evans