About the concept of genders (hijacked and off topic)


:+1: That’s a great idea.
I did some digging and I basically found 3 models:

  1. many pre-defined gender-options (e.g. some dating sites).
    I haven’t created an account on any of these sites to look further into this. Also I think this is the worst option.
  2. Genders as instances created by the community (e.g. Wikidata).
    On Wikidata you can basically create an item for any gender (as long as it meets the notability policy), but making it available as an option for gender seems to need community consensus. E.g. Angel Haze has 3 references stating that she is agender, but changing her gender from non-binary to agender is not possible because it’s not an accepted value for gender (btw it’s called sex and gender on Wikidata because it’s used for animals too I guess).
  3. Free text only (e.g. Wikipedia, Mastodon).
    Wikipedia doesn’t categorize people by pre-defined genders, but simply makes it clear in the text (use of pronouns or mentions of the gender the person identifies as). On mastodon you can define up to 4 labels for yourself and enter any value for the label and the content.

Option 2 is a lot of work, very slow and I don’t really get the point of why other people have to approve of the use of any gender. So I prefer the free text option.

PS: To show that this is not just a theoretical issue I created a collection of artists on MB that are mislabeled or not labeled at all because the correct gender doesn’t exist in MB.


Is this in some way different from the proposal from Llama_lover, which you seem to support?
(you clicked the ‘love’ icon for that post)

This seems the most sensible option to me too, since I think nobody but the artist himself can decide and choose the name for the preferred designation?


Do you mean that any editor would be free to enter designations such as ‘genderqueer’, ‘genderfluid’, ‘transfluid’, ‘none’, etc. for persons, without any sort of reference or some source?
I don’t think that’s a good idea.


Why are you scared of non-binary genders? Applying a gender to an artist is just like adding any other info, so why should it be treated like it’s a bigger deal? I could right now make auto-edits that make Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart be a member of the Pussycat Dolls, Adolf Hitler be the legal name entry for Yoko Ono and create an artist that is 3000 years old and was born in space.
All musicbrainz functions can be abused, but I assume most editors take editing seriously and the others will eventually be caught and blocked anyway.


Where did you read that I am scared?
It is just that this is obviously a sensitive subject.
Words as ‘offending’ and ‘disrespectful’ are very close around the corner.

If no reference for this is required at all, I can imagine editors entering things like ‘gay’ and ‘transsexual’, without any requirement to substantiate it.

While I have a hard time understanding that words such as male, female, him or her can be considered offensive words, I can imagine that a person could feel offended when somebody entered ‘gay’ or ‘transexual’ on a website with some authority such as MusicBrainz, when the person himself considers that incorrect, or perhaps even just doesn’t want such personal information published out in the open.

I think this is much more private and sensitive than some editor erroneously entering the wrong name for a person or a band, or that somebody plays kazoo instead of saxophone.

So, my intention with this is also to protect persons and artists, and not let others decide for them, or force them to something they might not agree with.


Neither of those is a gender. And yes, transsexual is an offensive term. But assuming only correct terms for genders are used why should mislabeling in one direction be more disrespectful than in another? Mislabeling is always disrespectful and that’s exactly what’s happening on MB now. “Other” is not a respectful label for someone who is not one of the other two only available options. What’s so hard to get about that?

But by arguing against a change you are doing exactly that. You are forcing editors to put artist (and themselves - MB has genders for editors too, not just artists) into one of three predefined boxes that many don’t agree with.
Above I posed a link to a collection of artist that openly and proudly label themselves with a gender that is not available in MB.


Yeah, you are very respectful.
You misquoted/misinterpreted me a couple of times now, and you assumed to know my state of mind.
Are you certain of my gender also?

That is again an incorrect statement.
I supported the proposal for a change that Llama_lover made.
The exact same proposal that you supported?

So you are really confusing me.
And not in a very pleasant manner to be honest.

I’ve given my honest input on the matter, hoping to contribute, and perhaps learn something.
But it seems you are looking for some fight, and that you consider yourself the spokesperson for some ‘group’ of people.

I think for the sake of the matter at hand it is better that I don’t respond to you anymore.


I would find it extremely disrespectful to require some kind of evidence for some genders and not for others.


MusicBrainz’s Code of Conduct currently specifies that you should provide explanations when you make an edit as well as include links that support the edit. This is obviously not strongly enforced, but is more important for more controversial edits. I don’t see how the case being discussed here is any different than a number of other edits that could be made, as @paulakreuzer also pointed out. You should always provide helpful edit notes when editing, regardless of whether you’re changing gender data or some other information.


I can understand where that comes from, but maybe it depends on differences between group thinking vs. individual thinking.

If you are approaching it from the point of view of a group, I would perhaps agree with you.
The ‘group of non-binaries’ could have an issue that ‘the group of binaries’ have a simpler choice in this, and that they have not.
But then, anybody could bring up endless amounts of groups that have limitations that other groups don’t encounter.
That doesn’t mean the options for the group that has other options than your group should be limited in their options.

I am more of a person’s person.
A person being offended to me trumps a group that somebody assumes to possibly be offended.

The option for any editor to put a label on an actual living person as being ‘gay’ or ‘transsexual’, without the request from MusicBrainz to at least substantiate it by providing a simple link, in my opinion increases the chance that an actual person will feel hurt or offended.

insert edit,
People following this thread with some attention will have understood this already, I am using the words ‘gay’ and ‘transsexual’ here as a deliberate, potentially offending (and yes, incorrect) choice of words.
Only for the purpose of trying to imagine (thinking out loud) what might happen if any editor could enter anything in the ‘gender’ box without at least putting some very minor effort in investigating and providing at least a simple link.
Please don’t get (or let anybody give you) the impression that this is a result of sloppiness or ignorance.

I am sure that some will interpret or read this as something like “binaries do not have to show their ID, and non-binaries must show our ID”.
I think these people are completely missing my point, and are thinking very one-dimensional.

In my mind (and it’s why I agree with Llama_lover’s latest proposal on this), the intention is that by requesting editors to at least provide a link to substantiate their entry, editors are slightly curbed and guided in this matter, and more importantly, it provides a small layer of protection of personal information about the artists we are discussing here.

And as you might have figured out by now, that artist to me is more important than any group he is (assumed to be) in :wink:


Well, that’s probably my point.
These new developments concerning ‘gender’ have proven to be very sensitive, and a lot more personal than the information and data that MusicBrainz has been handling up till now.
I think it doesn’t hurt to objectively discuss and evaluate this to see if existing rules and regulations would work adequately on them.


Nobody but you is talking about gay or transsexual here. Neither of those are a gender. Gay is a sexual orientation and I don’t think MB will ever have a concept for sexual orientations as they are nobody’s business. Transsexual is an outdated term for a person who underwent surgery to change their private parts and I am 100% certain that MB will never have a concept for private parts - whether it’s a penis, a vagina, a neo-vagina, a penoid or whatever - because it’s nobody’s business.

We are talking about gender here. Actual genders that exist and that are not any more disrespectful to be mislabeled as than to be mislabeled as male or female. Sure if we change things mistakes might be made, but currently mistakes are forced, because of missing options.

MB has always handled gender and didn’t handle it very sensibly. That’s the whole point. There are no genders that are more personal than others.


It does hurt if it’s derailing the discussion, and I think it is at this point. Instead of discussing “the concept of genders” (in relation to MusicBrainz), you’ve brought the discussion to be about verification about an arbitrary (and hypothetical!) edit type. Please make a new topic if you want to further discuss edit and/or data verifiability etc.


I am sorry if that is what happening and if I am part of it.
Derailing was of course not my intention.

The validation aspect was not brought up by me, but I indeed thought it was a relevant component in discussing and possibly deciding on a new framework for gender.
I also had the impression that this thread would be open to pertain all aspects that might have a specific relevance to ‘gender’ in relation to setting up a new system for it.
It seems not, and I agree that this part of it has been debated more than enough by now, so I concur in not bringing it up again.


What I fail to see addressed is how Other is supposedly disrespectful and leaving the field undefined supposedly isn’t, when the former is meant to encompass everyone who doesn’t neatly fit into one box. Especially when some alternative terms such as non-binary are likewise defined in reference to the two big elephants in the room. Adding a free-form text field for Other would be an option, but this can already be handled with the annotation.

Renaming Other isn’t however, since it also applies to inanimate objects that have neither gender nor sex. Hoping to include any possible gender identity in the dropdown is also not going to work, as those terms are (forgive the pun) fluid over time and tend to resist neat classification.

But unfortunately, data is the business of putting stuff into boxes.


It is disrespectful to not provide labels for everybody if we provide them for some.
Leaving the gender blank for people who don’t fit into one of the two boxes we provide is also disrespectful.
In the specific case of the edit that lead you here I chose blank over “other” as genderfluid is not “other” than male or female, but both.

Yes, but that is an accepted term that implies criticism of the concept of binarity while “other” implies “we have no idea what you are, but you’re definitely not one of the two things we know”.

Or with tags. I’m okay with that, but then there should be a guideline stating just that. I’d actually prefer tags because then you can easily display all persons of a certain gender on one page just like you can with male and female. Also an annotation only reading “This person identifies as agender” is a bit on the nose.

Then there should be an option for “not-applicable”. “Other” doesn’t fit for genderless objects anyway.

So one rather easily implemented solution would be to create a new option for “not-applicable” and rename the “other” option to “non-binary/genderqueer”. If you select that a short text should appear that could read e.g.: “This is an umbrella term. If you know the specific gender-identity for this person please state it in the tags.”.


Why does MusizBrainz store genders? What is its relevance to history, both now and the future? Can the world live without it? Who but the artist can faithfully fill this in? Are we doing a disservice to the artist by forcing this choice on them (lack of data can be as revealing as the data itself)? For the most part I deal with artists that have passed away do I have a right to assign a gender to them when they cannot speak for themselves?

I have found no use of the genders data when searching for or attributing artist data. I am not sure I have seen a wiki that mentions male/female. I understand collecting every ounce of data from a album, recording, work, or “other”, but for the most part we are not collecting gender data, we are “assuming” gender data (both past and present).

I do not want to sidetrack this discussion as it is informative and important. Maybe I should have created a new discussion. If the moderators feel this is the case or if the topic shifts then feel free to move it.


I can’t give a definitive answer, but I would venture a guess it’s primarily for searchability/identification purposes.
For example, if two artists share a name but are different genders, having the field filled for the both of them can help tell them apart.


There are people that are interested in having the option to be able to select e.g. female composers.
As we speak, there is some project going on at MusicBrainz to see if it’s database concerning information on female composers could be improved on, or perhaps deserves some extra attention and support in getting it more complete.
Many will find that a noble cause, and even with stretching my imagination to its limits, any ‘offending’ argument against it would be very far fetched.

Some others might find it interesting to learn about female drummers, or female bassplayers, or compare possible difference in interpretations of classical piano or violin pieces between these two genders.
Also if an artist is a vocalist, or it concerns the members that build up a choir, it is musically relevant to what sound of voices you might expect.

So I believe there is both a social, and a musical relevance in at least having ‘male’ and ‘female’ as genders on MusicBrainz.
(just as in the real world)

But I feel the above shouldn’t really need to be defended.
Also because, as also the OP of this very thread stated (and this is something I do fully agree with): this gender discussion here should not be about removing, or limiting existing ‘rights of some groups’.
(and let it be noted that I cringe by using these last ‘big’ words in the context of MusicBrainz b.t.w.)

So I really hope no serious thought will be given to a notion of possibly removing ‘male’ and ‘female’ from the MusicBrainz database.
Extending or improving on it in a sensible manner, great.
Limiting or removing it, no.


I prefer women voices and way to sing, for instance.
For me then, it is important to know for singers.