Author Archives: ruaok

Changes to our style process

At the MusicBrainz Summit last month in Copenhagen, one of the topics to
be discussed was the state of the style guidelines and style process.
One thing those present agreed on was that the process was in need of
reform, for several reasons: the complexity of the process,
inconsistency with other processes in the project, the high level of
individual commitment required to make changes, long-running discussions
without conclusion or followthrough, and ultimately the state of the
final product, the style guidelines themselves. The inaccessibility of
our existing process meant that many users, both new and old, avoided
the style process, and this hurts the project: style is part of what
makes MusicBrainz what it is, and low participation means our guidelines
have grown both internally inconsistent and out of sync with community
practice. Nor is the style process a new problem for MusicBrainz:
historically, it’s changed several times and some past style leaders
have vanished into thin air.  After all, it is a hard job, for a
volunteer, to convince many voices to come to a consensus.

To improve upon these issues, we’ve decided to make two major changes.

First: to designate our JIRA issue tracker at tickets.musicbrainz.org as
the central coordination point for style issues. This way, any issue, be
it style-related or code-related, is reported and discussed in the same
place (and should an issue be misfiled, it’s easily corrected). The
issue tracker can also collect links to other discussions, in edit
notes, the forums, IRC, etc., and store links to related issues such as
features in need of implementation.

Second: to promote our current Style Leader to Style Benevolent Dictator
For Life (Style BDFL). Nicolás Tamargo (reosarevok) will then be in
charge of considering tickets and implementing changes in the style
guidelines. This change shifts the burden of evaluating style issues
from the community to our newly appointed BDFL. For simple changes and
for simple improvements to consistency and writing style, the BDFL can
change things directly, without need for lengthy discussion. Of course,
his work won’t happen in a vacuum: for changes that are complex or
contentious, the role of the BDFL will be to gather feedback and
determine the next steps before making changes. To this end, he may
occasionally call for a non-binding vote on a particular topic, to
collect a snapshot of community opinion to augment existing discussion,
all in order to make a better informed decision.

We hope that this new process will make contribution to the creation of
style guidelines easier and less onerous a commitment for everyone, and
that the resulting style guidelines will be more up-to-date, more
consistent, and more clearly written and organized. To test it out,
we’re going to try this process for 6 months, and then review how things
have progressed and if the process needs further tweaking or even
complete replacement.

Looking for someone to represent MusicBrainz Music Hack Day Boston

Music Hack Day Boston is happening on Nov 8-9 and I am looking for someone to attend and represent MusicBrainz/CritiqueBrainz there. Ideally this person would be knowledgeable about how our Web Service works, what data MusicBrainz has and how our schema is laid out. You must be comfortable giving a short (~5 minute) presentation about MusicBrainz/CritiqueBrainz at the beginning of the event. And you should also be comfortable answering questions during the event.

If you live in or near Boston and are interested in helping out and attending MHD Boston, please leave a comment here and I will get in touch.

Thanks!

Search server release: 2014-10-08

Paul Taylor has written a few fixes for the current search server, which we just deployed. Thanks for your hard work on this release, Paul!

Release Notes – MusicBrainz Search Server – Version 2014-10-08

Bug

  • [SEARCH-258] – Search api returns zero results with unicode hyphen instead of dash in query
  • [SEARCH-314] – Combining diacritics are not handled correctly
  • [SEARCH-328] – Phrase search fails on Artist field if the artist credit is a multiple name credit and the join phrase within db contains no whitespace
  • [SEARCH-373] – Searching places by tag doesn’t work
  • [SEARCH-379] – JSON recording response embeds track artist credit inside an artist credit
  • [SEARCH-383] – JSON return an array called ‘artist’ instead of ‘artists’
  • [SEARCH-387] – Search Server Indexing Failure

Improvement

  • [SEARCH-386] – Use bigrams to improve relevancy of CJK results

2014-11-17 schema change release details

We’re now 60 days away from our fall schema change, so we’re announcing the tickets we intend to implement for the next schema change release:

  • [MBS-1059] – Types of list/collection: This new feature will allow a user to specify what type of list/collection they have.
  • [MBS-5458] – CD Stubs replication: Replicate the CD Stub data as part of our replicated data feed.
  • [MBS-6201] – Add an “event” entity: This is the big feature for this release. This feature allows us to record events like concerts or recordings, both future events and past events!
  • [MBS-7551] – Add folksonomy tag support to all entities without them. This features will allow users to tag any of our entities.
  • [MBS-7638] – CreateIndexes for instruments wrongly looks at label tables: During our last release we created an incorrect index. This fixes this mistake.
  • [MBS-7784] – Support for data tracks in tracklists: This new feature would allow us to properly track Audio-CD data tracks in our tracklists.

Besides the events, there isn’t anything earth shattering in here.

New autumn schema change date: 17 November, 2014

Due to two conflicting summits in (our own and the GSoC Summit) around our usual schema change release date, we’ve decided to move the autumn schema change to 17 November, 2014. This will ensure that our developers are properly rested before attempting a hard task such as a schema change.

We hope this won’t cause too much trouble for everyone downstream.