Monthly Archives: July 2004

Server Updates

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Users

Changes to How Votes Work

Previously if a moderation expired
(1 week after it was entered) and no-one had voted
on it (not counting abstentions), the moderation would simply stay open
until someone did vote on it.  We all know where that got us
– a rather huge backlog of moderations waiting for votes. :-(

Now, the behaviour is a little different: once a moderation has expired
and there are no non-abstaining votes, then the system checks to see if
there are any moderators who are subscribed to the moderation’s artist
(not counting the original moderator).  If there are none, then the
moderation is accepted.  If there are subscribers, then the
moderation may stay open for up to a further
1 week.  (If a vote is cast within that time,
the usual rules apply).  If after that extra time there are
still no votes, then the moderation is accepted.

This therefore differs from the old behaviour in two ways: (1) The default
state for a moderation with no votes is to be accepted (instead of
languishing in an “open” state).  (2) The length of time that the
system will wait before doing so depends on whether or not the moderation’s
artist has any subscribers (not counting the original moderator).

Thanks to Matthias Friedrich for implementing this!

Web-Based Automoderator Elections

After several rather disorganised and confusing Automoderator elections,
it was decided that something more formal, controlled and automated was
probably a good idea.  Hence, the AutoTransaction elections are now
held via this web site.  If you’re an
Automoderator, you can nominate someone for Automod status by clicking on
the “Nominate” link on their profile page.  Anyone may examine the
election information, but it is a private ballot and only Automods may
vote.  The system posts automated messages to the
mb-automods mailing list.

MusicBrainz Mirror Servers

Rob has done lots of work to ensure that the system is more “replication
aware”.  There are various things that MusicBrainz mirror servers can’t
do – for example, they do not store any moderator / moderation data. 
Hence, you can’t log in to a mirror server, and you can’t submit TRMs to one
either.  So when you’re on a mirror server, at various times you’ll see
messages to the effect that what you’re looking for is only available or
possible on the main server.

Other Changes

Moderator Names: previously the system accidentally allowed
non-unique moderator names.  Obviously this was not a good thing,
so moderator names must now be unique.  Any duplicate moderators
have been merged together.

FreeDB Imports: MusicBrainz now remembers the FreeDB category/id
and stores that information in the moderation data as the album is
added.  The ModBot will also a note citing the URL of the FreeDB source
data, like this: “Imported from
http://www.freedb.org/freedb_search_fmt.php?cat=rock&id=710aca08“.

Voting: There was a bug whereby if two votes were cast on the same
moderation at the same time, then the “yes/no” totals could become
wrong.  This has now been fixed.

Error Messages: Errors thrown up by the database were often
not reported to the user.  For example, you may have seen a page which
simply said “Error:” (without giving an error message).  This has now
been fixed.

Disc ID Detail: On the Album Info page, you can now choose to examine
the details of any Disc IDs attached to this album, including the length of
each track (according to each Disc ID), in seconds or sectors. 
Example 1;
Example 2;
Example 3.

Album Attributes: When adding albums, the release type/status now both
default to “I don’t know” (i.e. “None”).  Also, on the “Edit album attributes”
page, you can now remove album attributes (set them back to “None”).

Guess Case: “Guess Case” now recognises
[untitled], [unknown] and [no artist]; it also no longer adds spaces
to punctuated numbers (e.g. 1,234.56)  It more correctly capitalises
hyphenated words “Like-This”.  It no longer capitalises “disc 1″ (and
so on), nor various common non-English articles of speech
(der, und, de, du, les, et, …). 
It knows to capitalise YMCA, NYC and R&B.  (all changes by Rob
Rowe).

Release Editor: If there are no releases, you now immediately get a
blank row so you can add a release.  On the “review changes” page which
follows, the album name is now shown.

Miscellany:
Adding a moderation note to “change track name”
now also adds that note to the “change track artist” mod. 
The “Add to Cart” (Amazon) button has been fixed (by Andy Grundman). 
There is now a link to the Style page at the top
of the “list of moderations” pages. 
You can look up a moderator name on the main Search page
The section headings in the bar on left (e.g. Quick Search) are now
hyperlinks. 

Changes mainly of interest to MusicBrainz Server Programmers

Replication

As part of the work to improve the support for mirror servers, the way that
database connections are configured has completely changed: see the section
entitled “The Database” in
DBDefs.pm, and see also
Database.pm
Additionally, InitDb.pl now checks your
Postgres locale settings, and can take care of more of the configuration for
you.  “InitDb.pl –clean” now runs the scripts in the right order.

The INSTALL file and the
Import HOWTO have
been updated to reflect the new way of doing things.  A couple of
errors in INSTALL have also been fixed.

LoadReplicationChanges
now shows a message if we’re continuing to process a packet
part-way through.  As soon as the downloaded replication packet
has been decompressed, it is deleted.  The sanity checks on
schema_sequence and replication_sequence have been fixed. 
In ProcessReplicationChanges,
the progress meter has been tweaked to be more useful. Also, as
each replication transaction is processed, the packet data is deleted,
so that we can safely stop and restart, and be sure that we restart exactly
where we left off.

Miscellany

UpdateWordCounts now only writes to
the database if the numbers are currently wrong, to avoid creating
unnecessarily large replication packets. 
daily.sh now only show the
output of RunReports if
there was an error. 
QuerySupport::AssociateCDFromAlbumId was unused, and has
been removed. 
Mason 1.26 compatibility has been achieved by not using newlines between
<& and the component name (fixed by Matthias).

CreateTables.sql has been tidied up. 
An error has been fixed in InsertDefaultRows.sql. 
$trm->LoadFull was unused, and has been removed. 
Many instances of $sql->Finish have been moved to the
correct place in the code, or added where missing. 
$discid->LoadFull now always returns a reference to
an array, instead of sometimes returning undef. 

Variables in MM.pm have been tidied up, and some TODO comments have been
added.  MM::CreateDumpRDF was unused, and has been
removed. 
The RDF parser module (Parser.pm) has been rewritten, and is much more
maintanable.  Additionally we can now handle multiple ordinals per
query (in case we should ever need to do that). 
In Mail.pm, error checking has been added to the code which actually sends
e-mails.  DEBUG_MAIL_SPOOL has been added (handy for
testing).

Bugs and RFEs Closed

Dave Evans