I have a discussion with editor @C5OK5Y on some of my edits and they mentioned their practice is to add [none] as barcode to digital media releases “by default” when a barcode can’t be easily found, even if there’s still a possible chance that the barcode exists. I personally think you should leave the barcode field blank unless you know for certain that the release don’t have a barcode. The “suggestion/guideline” when adding a barcode states: “If you do not know whether the release has a barcode or not, just leave this blank.”, which is in agreement with me, however I am aware that it’s not in the official guidelines and I was told by the editor that it can’t apply well to digital releases because these releases have their barcodes hard or impossible to find, therefore justifying the usage of [none] by default in such cases.
In this specific edit chain I’m doing, it’s not known until which point the single releases started having barcodes (maybe even all singles have one, maybe singles starting from 088, maybe singles starting from ~161), so I chose to add the barcodes to releases which exist on Spotify (extracted via the Web API) and changed the rest to blank (empty), which I consider the default state. The second edit chain is about the first three compilation albums from Monstercat. Those do have the releases on Spotify, but their release date is off by more than a month (in 2 cases) and the track order is different, so I wasn’t brave enough to slap the Spotify links with barcodes to the releases we have but chose to set them blank instead (the barcodes could still match). Another point is that if anyone should find a barcode or lack of barcode for these releases in the future, setting the barcode to any value (including [none]) would be an autoedit (which can’t be an autoedit if the barcodes are set to [none] beforehand).
I would like to know how other people approach such issues and whether there should be any clear guidelines about this (including mentioning digital media releases). Thanks for any input, much appreciated!