Can Genres Be Deleted/Removed Without Reason [Possibly Solved?]

If i understand correctly, the MetaBrainz community are trying to go down a more community based route with things; certainly a lot of talk about ListenBrainz about and a bit more of the folksonomy and genre feature usage.

As part of this we encourage people to try and submit genres to the various elements we have in the database, which I’m all for. However I have found a possible fatal flaw.

Let’s say we have a fictional track called “A Prelude to Love” by Mr Singerstein. This track is very popular but mildly decisive in the music circles. It plays on Top 40 radio, so some people may tag it as pop. But those who know Mr Singerstein’s other work consider it to be Pop Rock, and are extremely picky that all of their music by Mr Singerstein is classed as such as they consider the genre Pop to be too broad for his work, and prefer to reserve it for say… ABBA.

The common folk who enjoy this song, tag it as Pop. This enrages the hardcore fans who downvote Pop, and upvote Pop Rock. Finally the fans win, because they’re the ones who are mad enough to care about this (stick with me folks) and so the genre tag of Pop is now completely removed from “Prelude to Love”.

But a common folk person comes along and goes “Pop Rock??”, nah I don’t go that deep and comes back and tags it Pop again. Thus the cycle resumes, and the war rages on.

Me, the devils advocate, says well “Prelude to Love” is actually both Pop and Pop Rock; and if you have set your Picard up properly it should only pick the genres you voted for. However it doesn’t stop someone from coming along and removing the genre they disagree with, without giving a reason.

This is my issue, by bug to bear, that someone (anyone) can come along and remove the genre I feel that fits an element without saying why.

My proposal:
Once a genre is added, its added. It can then be upvoted or downvoted depending on how others feel in the community. But if the rating is at 1, and the editor downvotes it to 0 (thus removing it) they should then be asked to give an edit note to why, something like “ABBA really isn’t considered to be Hip-Hop in any part of the world, so I am removing it”.

Can be an auto-edit, just gives some kind of possible paper trail and stops any possible malicious intent / back and forth wars on genres


Your first and third sentences are in conflict. “'Once a genre is added, its added” implies that there will be no removing of it. But the third sentence implies that downvoting it to zero would still do so. So I’m not sure what you intend.

I don’t pay much attention to genres in MB, mostly because I find the variable “depth” of genres too confusing to care about. I’ve also seen far too many examples (not necessarily in MB) of community-driven genre lists (CDDB, for example) peppered with evidence that too many people don’t understand the concept, or even know how to spell them. I was actually surprised, and a little dismayed, that adding genres in MB is not subject to voting.


Sorry, I’ll try and be a bit more clear on that.

“Once a genre is added, its added” - so yes, you can set any genre on any piece of music, but as it currently stands it can still be removed if it is voted down enough (less than 1). My intention is that if you’re the individual downvoting it from 1 to 0, there should be some way of giving a reason for that removal.

The concern comes from that people submitting genres may be personal, and that these bits of information can be removed by others. It’s a bit like someone being able to come along and edit my review on CritiqueBrainz because they don’t like my opinion.

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the ability to leave edit notes on genre votes in general would be awesome… so many times i’ve wanted to justify adding or removing them.

it’d be super cool to be able to say “this release is tagged with pop punk on bandcamp because this is normally a pop punk artist, but this is definitely not a pop punk record, so im voting to remove it and replace with EDM” or “this artist stopped making music about 20 years before hyperpop existed, but they check all the hyperpop boxes so i’m adding it as a genre”.

of course, this could be accomplished with annotations, but it would still be cool to be able to have notes directly attached to adding/removing genres. especially because it seems very few people care about tags and genres lol so an annotation would just be clutter for most.

i don’t really expect this to happen anytime soon because of how tags and genres work haha. but it would be pretty awesome if it did

oh yeah, i’m not expecting this to change anything immediately - just thought of it as something to discuss, as I can see it being a problem later on.

I think genre’s and styles is a massive minefield regardless - because to me, they’re not factual, they’re opinion. Sure there are examples of music that is so totally one genre it can’t really be dismissed, but then there are others that bridge multiple styles/genres and thus arguments form.

This is very similar to flipping through the vinyl racks at a shop finding something under New Wave, disagreeing and moving it to Pop and the owner then coming back and reverting that change.


So, it turns out I may have jumped the gun, but I’m not going to delete or edit this.

Me and @aerozol and @slipmaxim have just done a test. I tagged a recording as Hard Rock, then they downvoted it.

It’s now at 0 but it’s not been removed entirely, this is what I was fearing would happen (that it would disappear) but its stayed - so, consider this solved, by me.


Also, keep in mind that each person only gets one vote per genre and entity. So it’s not like 6 different people can tag something as “pop” and then the same superfan can come and say “no” 6 times :slight_smile: You’d need six different people who disagree to bring it down to 0.


Also, if you tell Picard (or some other tool using MusicBrainz) to only use your own tags/genres, then you will stick get “hard rock” returned as such even if its current vote count is ≤0 – so people who care a lot about genres/tags and only want ones they’ve vetted themselves can still get this. :slight_smile:


But it will disappear when all editors who added this tag remove it.

So now you down vote it and it should be removed for real.

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Yep makes sense, I was just being a big ol’ stupid when I started this thread - but hey, at least its here for posterity in case other stupid people like me arrive with the same idea :stuck_out_tongue:

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