Encouraging Adding Edit Notes

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Before I create a ticket, I thought I would run this by the community for comment.

Missing edit notes seems to becoming more of a problem all the time, or perhaps I’m just becoming more sensitive to the complaints I’m seeing from other editors. I tend to see more of this (no note on an edit) from new and less experienced editors, and I suspect that this is because they don’t know what to write or don’t (yet) have an appreciation for the importance of an edit note.

There have been suggestions about making edit notes mandatory; however the counter-argument is that this may lead to an editor putting junk in the field just to get past the non-blank requirement. That may very well happen in some cases, but remember that edit notes are permanent, and bad (nonsense) notes will be forever attached to the editor that entered them. This could negatively impact their chances of ever being elected as an AutoEditor.

My suggestion is more along the lines of trying to educate the editor with respect to the importance of providing good notes for all of their edits. If an editor submits an edit and there is no edit note, perhaps a “nag” screen could be displayed asking them to confirm that they are submitting the edit without including an edit note. Wording could be something like:

Best practices are to include an edit note citing the source of the information for every edit submitted. These notes will help other editors confirm the information and vote for the edit. They will also provide information for the edit history in the event that changes are made to the record in the future. Please see the guide on How to Write Edit Notes for more information.

Are you sure that you want to submit this edit without an edit note?

What do you think? Is something like this worth the effort, or is it just wishful thinking on my part? :wink:


More common than this is when editors circumvent the requirement by using a special character of some sort to trick the system into submitting a blank edit note. I’ve been seeing this for years now; nothing has ever been done about it.


That’s just so wrong. Those are probably editors that I would likely scrutinize a bit more and not ever consider nominating for AutoEditor.


What about a pre-selection of the most useful answers, like (examples only)
a) as written on cover
b) as seen on publishers website http://xxx.yyy.zzz
c) I’m the artist/member/involved with this work/release


This is the first I hear of it. Have you submitted a ticket about it?

Edit: Seems like it is MBS-9111 and that I actually did vote for it, so I guess I had heard about it before. :sweat_smile:


IIRC, we had in the past a suggestion close to the edit note box that editors could write “disc in hand” for example, which resulted in some editors simply using that for everything. Incl. digital releases and other cases where even having a physical disc at hand wouldn’t make a difference. I like @rdswift’s suggestion of linking to the guide to allow for additional context more.


I like the idea of pop-ups and harassing editors into joining in properly.

There will still be people who ignore the edit notes.

If a blank doesn’t work, then they’ll add a single dot. Or write “note”.

Suggestion - no edit note, or low quality edit note as judged by an AE, and the edit extends to 14 days. Or something that would be auto-edited now becomes something that needs votes.

Harass the editors into better quality notes. Stick bad editors into a slow down sludge.

Sometimes there are cases when the edit itself is the edit note. When I am adding wikidata \ discogs \ imdb \ etc links I rarely add an edit note as the edit is self explanatory. Similar with typos \ apostrophe’s \ etc.

Any new data, or change of data, then I add plenty of notes. Sometimes too much as I have had AEs complain about my longer notes. If something took me a while to check, then I’m going to leave plenty of notes about it in case someone else wants to know.

Personally one that annoys me are the number of merges that are done without any notes at all. Far too many recordings get merged based on just time and acoustIDs and it is impossible to tell who is bothering to check if the tracks are really the same or if names are just common. And yes, I am talking about those big editors who seem to always merging and then get annoyed if you ask questions. The trouble is some music really is different versions but only the fans of the band would know those differences.


I support this idea, btw your text example is also pretty good :wink:

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Hello, I’m (sometimes) one of the culprits here.

Whenever I add a new artist/label from within the release editor I always link to all the official social media sites for those… and subsequently leave the note empty, because as usual I’m too lazy to copy over all those links to the edit note; especially when they’re right up there in the r-s fields.


@rdswift Instead of Are you sure that you want to submit this edit without an edit note? Why not display You must submit a pertinent edit note for this to move forward. It’s concise and easily understood “even if we put no teeth in it”. That might encourage the originator to post something. If they fail to add any note when trying to submit, the software could then display “Unjustified submission”. So, no note, no submission. Yes, it still doesn’t address fictitious notes but maybe someone has an answer to that.

That is certainly an alternative, but I think I’m in the group that would prefer no note over a trash note. That way it is easier to find through some sort of database search [pseudo code: select all edits where count(edit_notes) = 0 or first(edit_note_author) != edit_editor] for follow-up or special processing consideration (e.g.: extending the voting/review period, forcing a review period for what would otherwise be an auto-edit, or requiring at least one vote before allowing the edit to be applied). Unfortunately, special processing consequences again drives “bad” editors to putting in trash edit notes to get around them. Thus I would rather try to educate editors.

This also (sort of) supports the concepts introduced by @Zas in: Idea: Editor experience points


The more you put in a block, the more someone will find a way around it. So there will always be bad notes. As well as the times when it is a “good note” when it is blank due to the edit being an obvious one.

You can’t stop bad editors, but you can help nudge people down the correct path.

The “Experience points” system would help to give some kind of real consequence to bad edits. Currently there seems to be nothing stronger than “please don’t do that” to say to someone, who then ignores that request as they don’t see the edit notes anyway. Leaving the only solution that someone else cleans up the mess.


Hello @rdswift. My post was aimed at the “no edit note” problem. I am in total agreement with the @Zas proposition. That might solve a multitude of problems.:smiley_cat:

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I definitely support the idea of good edit notes, but at the same time, if I had to put in an edit note every time I change “membranophone” to “drums”, or add a disc ID, it would be (mildly) annoying.


Thus you would just need to click that you confirm there is no edit note. Simple.


confirm there is no edit note would be a good start. but we should have a list of edits that dont have edit notes for certain kinds of edits such as adding a new artist or a new album stuff like that because they normally have things wrong or missing it would then give people away to double check them


Would having context dependent (type of edit) suggestions, for what might be useful to put in an edit note, get bus better edit notes?

Add External link to a Discography and the suggestion asks "Maybe tell other Editors what matches between the MB Artist and the data on external link? ".

The Editor might write:
Matches for genre, name, role, dates, works and geolocation.

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Please report said editors using the “Report editor” on their user profile. Once I or someone else has prodded them and they continue to do so, we can either mark their account as being untrusted (which will make all their edits go into the voting queue), disable their editing and voting rights all together, or (in really bad cases) straight out delete the account.


I’m not too good at this myself, but I think leaving an edit note whenever you add a Disc ID should be done, to tell what the source of the Disc ID is. Some releases end up having multiple Disc IDs, and with no edit note, there’s no clear lineage of where said Disc IDs came from.

Edit: Another thing that might be good to add for Disc ID addition edit notes is what client was used to calculate the Disc ID, as some will inevitably have bugs: Disc IDs from Hybrid SACDs

Same for “membranophone” → “drums”. While this will likely be correct in 99% of cases, there’s still the 1% where there’s some ambiguity. Knowing your source or arguments/reasoning for why you decided to change the instrument would allow other/future editors to consider whether this edit was in the 1% or not.

I’m pretty sure “pertinent” is too “high brow” for non‐native/fluent English speakers. And I also don’t like that the statement would be wrong. Even with the suggestion of making no-note edits open for 14 days instead of 7, the edit would still move forward (eventually). Let’s not lie or otherwise confuse people more than we already do (– ideally we should confuse less!).

That said, I don’t like the idea of neither checkboxes (one more click for making a mostly simple edit) nor of requiring an edit note for submission. Like others have said, this will almost certainly lead to more bad edit notes than good one. I’d like more contextual nudges and hints and reasons why editors should leave edit notes (for pretty much all edits) close to where edits are being made, ideally also with tips on writing good edit notes (or link to somewhere talking about this).


I think these complaints mostly come from me. Until recently I just voted “abstain” on edits that have bad or no edit notes, but that that didn’t send a message.
Now that a large percentage of all open edits are viewed by 2-5 voters I am more vocal as I really think it’s reasonable for the editor who already made the research to leave an edit note, so x voters don’t have to do the research themselves too.

Two of those I don’t consider very helpful - at least in many cases.

“as written on cover” is helpful if it’s written big on the front cover and ideally the voter uses jesus’ script that displays (small) cover art for each edit.
Otherwise each voter still has to click through to the cover art to be able to vote on the edit.
“as written on cover” + url to the relevant cover art is much better

“I’m the artist” can sometimes be helpful, but in most cases artists don’t use MB for a long time, so they will most likely be inexperienced editors so whenever I read a note that just reads “I’m the artist” all I think is: does the editor even know what they are doing?

This is more of a punishment for active voters than for the editor in question.

I have thought about posting a “bad edit notes hall of shame” on the forum, but that wouldn’t be very nice.

This is true. If the edit is so obviously correct according to uncontroversial parts of the style guide leaving no edit note is totally okay imo and forcing all editors to always leave an edit note would just be wasting everyone’s time.

This is another example I think is totally fine. Especially when adding featured artists or so while doing another edit and you already have the edit note for the first edit in your clipboard.

What annoys me personally are merge edit notes that just read “merging into oldest MBID” as written by a script. Recording merges already do require an edit note so you can submit them, but using this script circumvents that.
The mass merge sctipt on the other hand mostly leaves helpful edit notes, though I’d love to see more additional edit notes written by the editors, e.g. like “same label” when merging recordings from different compilations as otherwise it seems like these albums have nothing in common.