Branding brief

My friend Niclas Ljungberg overheard me complain about how discombobulated and disconnected the MetaBrainz branding currently is. There is some cohesion between MusicBrainz and MetaBrainz, but almost none to the newer projects like CritiqueBrainz and AcousticBrainz. And very few people are fond of the current logos (plus, they haven’t aged very well). When Niclas heard this, he said: “I can help you!”.

Getting help in the area of marketing and business is rare, so I jumped at the chance. Niclas and I sat down where Niclas interviewed me about how all the pieces currently fit together and how I  think they should fit together. The deliverable from this conversation is a “Branding brief” (PDF). It talks about the current state of things, the goals and then gives context and some suggestions that a graphic designer can use to start designing cohesive logos and cohesive site designs that we can use for our sites. It does not propose any concrete actions — please keep that in mind when you read the brief.

The next step is to work with a designer to turn Niclas’ branding brief into some logo concepts that meet the outlined goals. At this point, we’re not exactly ready to take any concrete feedback from the community — I’m mostly sharing this to show that I’ve started a process to fix our current branding situation.

I’m very happy with how far things have come in this process and I wanted to give a heartfelt thanks to Nicals for donating his time to help us improve our overall presence on the net.

Thank you Niclas!

Server update, 2015-02-23

We have another server release out today (a little over a day late, as given away by the title). The most exciting change this time around is CritiqueBrainz integration: on release group pages, the most popular and most recent reviews from CritiqueBrainz are now displayed, along with links to write your own. Hopefully people find these reviews useful and interesting and are encouraged to start contributing to CritiqueBrainz themselves!

As usual, the release contains a variety of other bug fixes and improvements, detailed in the changelog below. Thanks very much to chirlu, Freso, reosarevok, and the MetaBrainz team for their work on today’s release. The git tag is v-2015-02-23.

Bug

  • [MBS-4928] – It is possible for non-auto-editor users to submit ‘approve’ votes
  • [MBS-5959] – _uniq indices for editor_subscribe_{artist,editor,label} not unique
  • [MBS-6763] – Entity merges don’t save Ended if there’s no date
  • [MBS-8200] – ws/js/edit does not validate release event dates
  • [MBS-8201] – Dates with year == 0 are invisible
  • [MBS-8203] – Spurious spaces in relationship target lists
  • [MBS-8224] – Events can’t be rated via /ws/2/ratings

Improvement

  • [MBS-6164] – Filter out duplicate annotations when merging
  • [MBS-6885] – hard limit height of wikipedia excerpts the same as annotations
  • [MBS-7477] – Add a unique constraint on track (medium, position)
  • [MBS-7872] – Show CritiqueBrainz reviews on the release group pages
  • [MBS-8205] – Remove entity browse pages
  • [MBS-8220] – Align Artist columns in discographies

Task

  • [MBS-3998] – Editor may vote / may add edit note checks should also be done at the Data level.
  • [MBS-6451] – Update cleanup code for Amazon India and Brazil
  • [MBS-8107] – Add autoselect for Sina Weibo URLs
  • [MBS-8176] – Add autoselect for CD Japan URLs
  • [MBS-8192] – Add autoselect for work-level IMDb rels
  • [MBS-8199] – Unset the date for release events that have 0000-00-00
  • [MBS-8226] – Add ClassicalArchives.com to Other DBs whitelist

Code of Conduct overhaul

Hello!

Our Code of Conduct is probably over 10 years old and hasn’t had much of a review over time. I’ve heard various complaints about it in the past few months, so I’d like to start a general discussion about it:

  • What do you like about the current version?
  • What do you hate?
  • What is outdated and needs to be removed?
  • What is missing and should be added?
  • Do you even think that it needs an overhaul?

If you have any comments, please post them below. Your comments will determine my next actions on this project.

Thanks!

Welcoming Rassami Hok Ljungberg to the MetaBrainz Board of Directors

I’m pleased to announce that Rassami Hok Ljungberg of 2Pears, the organization that puts on the Music 4.5 seminar series, has joined the MetaBrainz Board of directors! Rassami is well connected in the music scene in Europe and has an extensive network of contacts in the music industry. Rassami has already been informally helping spread the word about MusicBrainz and its related projects for the past couple of years. I’m quite pleased that I get to work with her more formally now — welcome Rassami!

Rassami replaces outgoing board member Brian Zisk. Brian has been a board member for over 9 years and has done amazing things to help raise the visibility of MusicBrainz and to generally support our projects. Thank you for all of your support over the last 9 years, Brian!

I find it interesting and lovely that we’re swapping one amazingly connected maven who puts on music conferences for another amazingly connected maven who puts on music conferences. This is a conservation of mavens, while at the same time increasing the diversity of our board of directors.

Win-win! Thank you Brian and Rassami!

Style update, 2015-02-11

New updates to style are here! We gave proper definitions to “social network” and “online community” (and while doing that we split last.fm from “social network” into its own type). Also added a few formats and other types, a few relationships, and removed the ultra-specific “Promo Only” guideline (which is now in the label annotation as guidance, like for so many other labels in MusicBrainz).

Improvement

  • [STYLE-279] – Add "Place of Worship" as place type
  • [STYLE-323] – Last Fm not a social network
  • [STYLE-334] – Add IMDb links for works
  • [STYLE-411] – Demote the Promo Only guidelines to label-specific guidance
  • [STYLE-425] – Add a general Shellac/78 rpm format

New Feature

  • [STYLE-415] – Add "Review" URL to events
  • [STYLE-428] – Add a "revised" artist-work relationship
  • [STYLE-430] – Add a "Musical" work type

Task

  • [STYLE-402] – Improve online community and social network relationship types
  • [STYLE-423] – Add Flexi disc as a medium format

Server update, 2015-02-09

We’re back with another release! We’ve got a good amount in this release, with patches from the MetaBrainz team as well as chirlu, nikki, reosarevok, Freso, JesseW, and Johan Hattne. A short preview of changes:

  • Releases with many mediums (more than 10) now don’t load medium data by default — with JavaScript on, they can be expanded in place, and without javascript there are newly-minted pages per medium. This also removes the regrettable requirement for JavaScript being on to display release data, which we’d had as a temporary improvement here.
  • Table of Contents offsets for CDs are now returned when the discid endpoints are used.
  • The subscription emails were running into an issue with memory usage, which means some users were not getting emails (or only getting emails sporadically). The script has been reworked to have predictable and lower memory usage so that it’s not killed. Good job on our users for providing it a hard enough task it finally fell over though!
  • Importing and replication should now work with the newest version of DBD::Pg, which made a change that broke our code.
  • A variety of new improvements (many style-related) and bugfixes.

The git tag for this release is v-2015-02-09.

The full list of tickets fixed:

Bug

  • [MBS-2948] – Set track lengths from disc id should indicate the mediums that use the tracklist
  • [MBS-3452] – Merged release annotation is in wrong order
  • [MBS-3841] – Loading releases or release groups with lots of discs often gives 502
  • [MBS-5692] – Internal server error when trying to create a new user with a blank database
  • [MBS-7238] – span.name-variation disappeared from release pages
  • [MBS-7402] – release page regression. inline external URL relationships link to MB only
  • [MBS-7442] – User asked to confirm unchanged “strange” barcode
  • [MBS-7900] – Duplicated tags in tag-list element from ws/2 XML request
  • [MBS-7920] – Nonfunctional rating on release group merge page
  • [MBS-7968] – Inline search triggers searches when the field only contains whitespace
  • [MBS-7985] – Attributes help link does nothing
  • [MBS-8010] – Entity tabs are broken when adding a release group to an existing artist
  • [MBS-8019] – Release tabs broken on the remove disc ID page
  • [MBS-8056] – Loading large-ish releases is very slow in Opera 12
  • [MBS-8058] – Documentation says viewing data doesn’t require JS, which is wrong for releases
  • [MBS-8084] – lightbox html escaping
  • [MBS-8095] – “Edits for your subscriptions” emails have not been sent for at least 3 days
  • [MBS-8104] – Tracklist times entered without colon doesn’t work for times that are not three digits
  • [MBS-8117] – 504 Gateway Time-out when trying to view edits for a Release Collection
  • [MBS-8118] – “Editor flag” edit search criterion fails if given multiple values
  • [MBS-8126] – Import scripts fail with newest DBD::Pg
  • [MBS-8156] – Timeline graph checkboxes are broken in Opera
  • [MBS-8157] – “Script too large” error prevents releases from rendering
  • [MBS-8159] – No secondary release group types in recording search results
  • [MBS-8185] – Series and Events’ “other db” URL rels are not currently being validated against the whitelist
  • [MBS-8191] – Collection edit lists are not made sufficiently private

Improvement

  • [MBS-2656] – Sorting in subscription emails should use collation
  • [MBS-2737] – Limit size of release page
  • [MBS-5752] – Make sure Trove URLs are autocorrected depending on the entity to which they’re linked
  • [MBS-7943] – Add support for TheSession.org events
  • [MBS-8040] – Add admin interface for editing attribute tables
  • [MBS-8164] – Add tests for event collections to Data::Collection

New Feature

  • [MBS-8180] – Return TOC offsets with disc ID in web service

Task

  • [MBS-8106] – Add Instagram URLs to the sidebar
  • [MBS-8138] – Add a bunch of sites to the whitelist for DBs (II)
  • [MBS-8189] – Move last.fm autoselect to the new last.fm relationship