[mb-users] Permanently destructive edits
stocktonrgs at earthlink.net
Thu Apr 26 20:58:55 UTC 2007
>> Anyone vaguely familiar with wikipedia knows about vandalism,
>> whether it be intentional or not, the destruction of data (with no
>> wiki style undo) is a detriment to the lifeblood of musicbrainz, both
>> from a financial and community perspective.
> This has been a point made against MusicBrainz since day 1, yet every
> "attack" on the database has been quickly warded off by enlisting a
> few people to counteract the vandals. Wikipedia is resilient to
> attacks as an IBM study showed:
> I've found the same to be true for MusicBrainz: When someone starts
> doing something stupid, people notice and counter-act it. The power of
> the community is quite strong and I have faith that we can handle
> these types of things.
> Furthermore, we have backups of the data and a detailed data history.
> Should someone cause serious problems, we can go back and load an
> older data set on some server and work to salvage the lost data.
>> All I am saying, is that right now the data is open to a huge
>> security risk with very little effort and no abiilty to 'undo'. If
>> that does not scare the living daylights out of anyone who invests
>> time and/or money into musicbrainz, I don't know what will.
> I think its wrong to classify this as a "huge security risk". In
> classic terms of computer science, yes. In modern terms of social
> interactions on the net, not really.
I'm not going to argue about "huge security risks" here, since you
clearly have a better "big picture" view than I do. However, the effect
on the community of permanent deletions may be larger than you think.
As a moderate-level user of MB who puts in 2-5 hours a week on data
entry, I do periodically find myself "seeing red" and wondering why I
bother to put in the effort -- because some album which I laboriously
entered in the past has disappeared and now has to be re-entered again.
Given that these MB actions basically involve throwing away
volunteer-supplied labor, they serve as a strong counter-incentive to
users to provide any *more* volunteer labor.
I cheered when the voting system was updated so that I was informed when
people voted against my edits -- finally I could see when my work was
about to be destroyed and at least ask the "villains" why they were
doing it. (Although this doesn't really work as well as it might, since
often there is a lone "no" vote which comes in at the very end of the
voting period, so that my edit is dead before I'm ever notified that it
is "controversial". [This, at least is my perception. If the voting
system has changed to render this scenario less likely, then never
mind.]) I really believe that the suggested move to notify moderators
when an album that they entered in the past is scheduled to be deleted
*and give them time to act upon the threat* would have a similarly
I don't want to denigrate the effort required, nor do I want to propose
more mechanism than is needed. I just want to point out that the
problem *does* happen now, and that this is an area that can (for me at
least) have a disproportionately negative effect, since seeing your work
disappear forever without a hint is extremely de-motivating.
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