[mb-style] Recording/track distinctions

Lukáš Lalinský lalinsky at gmail.com
Thu Jul 21 06:16:16 UTC 2011

Hi everybody,

I'm really not sure what to do, but I thought I'd at least give it a
try. I'm personally unhappy with the NGS style guideline changes that
increase the differences between track titles and recording titles.
This is generally about the trend to have "as-on-cover" data in track
titles. I know that many other editors (usually people from the "top
editors" page that we used to have) disagree with these changes and I
think we should do something about it, otherwise MB ends up with two
groups, one of which will be ignoring the style guidelines and MB will
become a mess.

A little bit of NGS history. NGS was a fuzzy topic for a very long
time. If there were concrete ideas, they were unrealistic to
implement. What is currently implemented is basically based on my
"simplified NGS" idea. The idea was to strip down the other NGS ideas
and deal just with the most important problems, which were: track
merging and multi-disc releases.

The point is that this version of NGS was never intended to have such
significant distinctions between recording and track titles. Track
titles were meant to represent recording title variations in the
context of the release. The same style guidelines would apply to both
titles, recording title just being just the most commonly used track
title. The recording/track model was mostly based on
http://wiki.musicbrainz.org/TrackMerging which doesn't even consider
explicitly maintained recording titles.

The situation is now different and we are using track titles for
"as-on-cover" titles, which I believe it wrong. It is wrong, because
we have no alternative for properly normalized track titles that
consider the context of the release. People think that recording
titles solve that problem, but they don't because they don't include
the release context, so you get problems like these:

 - Missing extra title information (e.g. "album version", "original
mix" or "live")
 - Different spelling of the same language (e.g. UK/US releases)
 - Different language (e.g. identical official release with different
titles in different countries, I don't count pseudo-releases here)

There were the original problems why it was necessary to introduce
track titles. We wanted to merge identical recordings, but doing it in
the old database schema would mean we lose this information. Now, if
you force people who liked MB for normalized data to use recording
titles, they have to deal with these problems, but it's worse because
recording merging is now reality. It's just like implementing
recording merging without adding separate track titles. All in all,
for these people (and I expect they are vast majority of MB users),
NGS is worse than MB was before.

Do you think it's possible to revert these style guidelines at this
point? I expect that most people either never read them or ignored
them, so there isn't much data changes, but I also expect that the
people on mb-style are usually for these changes, so... :)


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