This is coming off of a comment @culinko made in another thread, in response to me half-complaining about needing to retype artist credits over and over: “what about if we got pre-filled aliases as options when crediting artists differently?”
I personally feel that aliases are one of the most neglected parts of the database, even more than works. That makes sense – they aren’t used anywhere but searches, so there’s not really any incentive to add them. At the same time, most artist credits will be shared between at least a couple releases/recordings/relationships, and yet there’s not any easy way to do so beyond copy/paste. In fact, many of those shared ACs will also appear in the (properly populated) alias page as artist names; it would be nice to formalize that commonality, and allow selecting aliases to easily fill an AC field.
I’m not entirely sure what the best way to do that would be. My vision so far is that activating an AC entry creates a drop-down list of all the aliases marked as “artist/legal name” of the associated artist similar to the search when doing so on the artist field itself, but the nature of each is different enough that that might be confusing – you have to select one of the displayed artists, but you should always be free to write an AC that doesn’t match any of the aliases. Likewise, we wouldn’t want to automatically add every AC as an alias, but would it be better for people to go to the artist page to add new ones, or do we want to design a new floating dialog for adding aliases from the relationship editor/entity edit tab?
A related, but distinct, question is how to use the release aliases; several months ago when I was first starting editing, I asked about Album/Track Sort Order, and was told – for the former – that it was covered by the field on the alias; that definitely makes sense, but Picard doesn’t seem to touch aliases at all (unless I’m missing a plugin that does) and so I have to fill those fields manually in my files. I’ll agree whole-heartedly that selecting an alias isn’t trivial and that different people may have different strategies, but if we could get a couple selectable systems for doing so, that would give release aliases a purpose as well.