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[mb-experts] Asking the wrong Questions (Was: too many FreeDB imports?) Don Redman Fri Aug 11 22:21:34 2006

On Fri, 06 Jan 2006 05:54:43 +0100, Nikki wrote:

Most users, in my experience, just do the few clicks required to import an album from FreeDB without bothering to fix the style or even check whether
the album even exists. Why is finding a tracklist such a ridiculous

I think these are the wrong questions, and I want to strongly support Marco's point.

I wish we could stop talking about bad data. If we handle it properly there is no bad data. Let me explain:

Someone looks for an album with a common but wrong search term or using a badly tagged track. MB does not yield any results, so the person adds the album _he_believes_ it is to MB.
_This_ album will be found by future equally wrong searches.
Instead of deleting it, we should merge it with the correct one in way that _retains_ the wrong search terms. Much like the ArtistAlias feature.

Marco is right: MusicBrainz is developing a culture in which 'we' are trying to _defend_ 'our' good data from 'stupid' people who corrupt it because 'they' do not put enough work into cleaning it up.

This approach is
a) stupid
b) not scalable

ad a) The assumption that 'they' are 'stupid' or 'lazy' is plain wrong. Fact is that they use MB from their point of view. However, MB is shutting itself off so that it takes months to realize that your point of view is different from the general MB point of view and than to adapt to the general MB culture. That would be the same thing if you'd require everybody who wants to visit Paris to speak fluent French.

ad b) If you look at MB and its users forming an ecological system, you will realize that these users enter an important bit of information into MB: The fact that this track is searched for by these terms. Currently we _discard_ this information over and over again. We defend ourself from information which is out there. It will come back again and again. And the more MB gets useful, the more often it will come back.

So here are some completely different questions:

How about logging all the search terms?
How about never again deleting duplicate albums, but merging them into the correct one? How about a search index that uses this merge data to redirect future bad searches to the correct album? How about not deleting bullshit albums but changing their release status to a new type "Hoax", and adding a sensible annotation? These would not be displayed on the album listing, but the information would be used for searches. People would then suddenly be presented with _meaningful_ search results: "This album is a very common homeburnt copy, its files are shared on many P2P networks. However, the tracks are compiled from the following three albums... You might want to tag you files with the correct metadata instead." (from the Hoaxe's annotation). How about this option if your search did not yield any results: "Perhaps you searched using wrong terms from bad tags. You can for help on the mb-users MailingList or the musicbrainztaggers IRC channel."

In one word:

How about we stop trying to defend ourselves from so called 'bad' data, and instead find ways to absorb that data into MB in a meaningful way, turing it to 'good' data.


PS: And additionally this one: Robert, how about we start to get WikiDocs out of the box _now_. Screw my exams!

Words that are written in CamelCase refer to WikiPages:
Visit http://wiki.musicbrainz.org/ the best MusicBrainz documentation around! :-)
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