Ending Spite Tags for Genres

A recurring pattern I’ve noticed is deliberately tagging artist and release pages with spiteful, inflammatory tags:

Having artists tagged with these spite-tags is both puerile and unfit for an encyclopedia, but compounding this issue is the vandals’ deliberate downvoting of legitimate genre-tags. It’s gone from being light-hearted to malicious.

Unfortunately, it cannot be determined which user is doing this, so it’ll be up to the moderators and admins to deal with this problem. Which users are responsible for this? Is it possible to remove their ability to vandalize the genre tags?


I know of one prominent editor who added upvoted such tags. It seems they are using two accounts even. (maybe the other is no longer in use but there are no edits so can’t tell)


How can you tell who added or modified a particular tag? Doing so doesn’t generate an edit that shows up in an editor or entity’s editing history.

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That seems to be a problem. It cannot be determined who made such tags.

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Looks to be mainly white power/racist bands haha. I even see I upvoted this tag on a few of them, even though I didn’t add them :joy:

I think as long as they aren’t genre tags, and don’t stray into areas that are against the code of conduct (though I’m surprised that there aren’t more explicit rules there around hatespeech etc?), I don’t see how it is ‘vandalism’. Seeing that a subset of people don’t like a band is just as useful if you want an ethographic view of a band as seeing them tag something as a favourite. AFAIK the freeform tags don’t have a specific useage in mind, so it’s open to whatever someone wants to put in. I would be interested to know how you would put the intention of the field as you see it? As it is such an open field maybe we do need more guidelines (I couldn’t find any).

Incorrectly genre tags up or down is of course very annoying, but as long as good voters outnumber the trolls I imagine the problem should sort itself out? Maybe we need a ‘artist genre tag discussion and voting thread’, which might be quicker at fixing a incorrect genre tag than getting a mod to dig into the data.

However, if someone is ‘gaming’ the system by using multiple accounts, or getting a group of people to dishonestly alter tags en-mass, I would 100% want this moderated.


These likely same users deliberately downvote genres the bands play, so yes, it is purposeful sabotage of the genre tagging system. If they just kept those puerile tags up and didn’t go out of their way to downvote the genre tags, then it would be only a minor problem. But no, they have to do this passive aggressive move for God knows what reason.


It seems there was such a feature:


Aren’t the nazi bands who are passive aggressive in your examples?
I don’t know exactly what is passive aggressive, so I might mistake, though.
But I know what nazi is, it’s not just lame, it’s pure crap.


Oh but I see now sorry.
Maybe people who tag them as nazi may be doing that for non-nazi bands, for bringing up shame because of personal reasons, and thus your request.
As we can downvote, it seems enough to me, but let’s see…


Starting this topic with the examples you chose makes me seriously doubt your good intentions. Nazis must fuck off.

Making it visible who added which tags would also be counterproductive as it would open up the editors to harassment for such tags by nazi sympathizers.


This is already possible with a bit of extra effort. One would just have to scrape the site for all public user tag pages.

I’d rather have the “who tagged this?” feature back so people don’t have a false sense of privacy.


Agreed. People who have issues with the politics of these bands can simply rate them 1 star out of 5. That field is designed entirely for personal opinion. And if we wish to keep their identities anonymous for ratings, that would be fine by me.

Deliberately downvoting legitimate genre tags is purposeful sabotage. As a music encyclopedia, do we sincerely wish to enable such behavior? I don’t want such behavior endorsed no matter what their beliefs may be. I certainly wouldn’t like it if some wingnut crank went through the listings of various liberal, progressive or left-wing acts and downvoted their genres and upvoted spite tags like “Pinkos”, “Cucks”, “Fags” or any other such garbage.

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If it’s important to you to get change happening I really would draft some guidelines re. tags for discussion here. I think it’s a good idea.

It’s only ‘sabotage’ or ‘vandalism’ when we have rules or guidelines around the usage of tags, and I couldn’t find any. As it stands the field is just as open for personal opinions as the rating field. The only related code of conduct I can see is the broad:

  1. Do not abuse or game any of our projects

But this still needs guidelines on tags to be able to be enforced consistently.

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Not sure if I would call this “a bit of extra effort”, and ideally I’d like to see this fixed too (e.g. by allowing users to hide the tags tab on their profile).

  1. Sabotaging nazis is good
  2. Downvoting tags simply means “I disagree with this”, using this to hide nazi bands from genre lists seems to me to be a valid use.

If the tagging system is abused in demonstrable ways (e.g. by adding slurs as tags), I would expect the normal CoC enforcement to delete such tags.

Seconding this, I would really appreciate making the CoC clear in its intent by explicitly listing some unacceptable behaviors like racism or homophobia.


If we do not have rules against this purposeful sabotage, perhaps it’s time we draft some.

Sabotaging tags for bands on account of their ideology is not a precedent that should be enshrined, the ethics of their ideology notwithstanding. An individual artist’s beliefs do not necessarily reflect upon the genre they play. A racist Bluegrass singer should not have his genre tag downvoted because a user doesn’t like his lyrical content. If a user doesn’t agree with their ideas, then he can rate it 1 star out of 5.

Listing far-right bands is no more an endorsement of their beliefs than listing any other expressly political band from a diametrically opposite set of convictions. We are, first and foremost, a database of releases. These bands have recorded and released music in physical formats. To have such bands removed on account of their ideology is to deny they ever existed at all. That is frankly not something I wish to support nor should it be a principle others should champion.


I fully agree.
Please let’s not introduce some ‘cancel culture’ ideology here.
Smart people will form their own opinions.
Dumb people, well, are dumb.


It’s (at least in theory) perfectly legitimate to tag a band with whatever, since tags are meant as freeform user-defined stuff. As such, there’s nothing wrong with people tagging stuff as “lame” or “fail”. “scum” is more debatable, but still not a huge issue IMO that would deserve censorship. I expect there’s a line - whether that is libel (if someone tags an artist as “murderer” who never killed anyone, they might legitimately complain) or just all-out attacks. We haven’t had any complaints really testing said line yet though.

Downvoting genres you disagree with is fine. Downvoting genres you think are correct “for the lulz” is vandalism, and if someone does this consistently, I’d expect them to get a temporary ban of some sort. A very bad black metal band or a black metal band with themes I personally might find abhorrent is still a black metal band, after all.


Indeed, I have nothing against downvoting genres that aren’t quite accurate within a given style. For instance, downvoting a Pop Country artist tagged Outlaw Country makes perfect sense, but not downvoting “Country”. Both Pop Country and Outlaw Country are two subgenres of Country.

What I’m talking about is exactly what you describe: purposeful sabotage of an artist’s genre for whatever reason. As much as I find tags such as “Twats”, “Scum”, “Fail”, et al to be reprehensibly puerile, they can coexist with other genre tags provided the person adding them doesn’t deliberately downvote valid genre tags. What we have here is someone feeling it’s their right to downvote entirely valid genres presumably because they oppose the artist’s message.

Since we’re on the topic of far-right bands, let’s look at Skrewdriver. It is indisputable their work up from All Skrewed Up to and including Hail the New Dawn is Punk Rock and Oi!, yet both are downvoted for absolutely no reason:

If you think I’m making this up, the community at Rate Your Music unanimously voted All Skrewed Up as Punk Rock (account required to see votes). Same with the singles “You’re So Dumb / Better Off Crazy”, “Antisocial / 19th Nervous Breakdown” and “Built Up / Knocked Down”. Skrewdriver’s Oi! albums are all unanimously tagged accordingly as well:

There is no reason in the world to vote against Punk Rock or Oi!, yet here we are. Just because you feel their message goes against the ethos of the broader subculture doesn’t automatically make their music not Punk or Oi!. This form of abuse would never be tolerated on a site like Rate Your Music. Why should it be allowed here?

On a similar but unrelated note, ironic genre tags are similarly abusive. It shouldn’t be tolerated if you purposely tagged Britney Spears as Death Metal despite her never once performing such music throughout her career.


When did we decide that the star rating system was for opinions and tags weren’t? That’s just not the case. It needs to be written down somewhere.

If you can’t draft something that we can find consensus on then this thread is a totally pointless vehicle for opinion (though that can also be fun).

P.s. can anyone discuss Nazi music without bringing up screwdrivers shitty ‘punk’ first album or is that some kind of law :joy:


I’m not a moderator, so my power only comes in the form of gentle persuasion. However, I think there should be penalties for deliberate downrating perfectly valid genres for any reason other than not being the genre played by the artist. That should be the rule for adding and upvoting/downvoting tags. If you merely disagree with the specific style played by the artist (ie: Pop Country/Outlaw Country example mentioned earlier in this thread), then that’s within the spirit of debate for enthusiasts of a specific style of music. On the other hand, any user caught purposely downrating any artist’s genre tags (for instance, NSBM band’s “Black Metal” and/or “Metal” tags) simply because he personally opposes said artist’s messaging should be punished.

I have no idea how these rules could be implemented (again, that’s up to the discretion of the mods/admins), but if a user is caught doing this once, then he should have his tagging privileges revoked for at least one month before having them returned. Perhaps all his genre tag up/downvotes should be canceled as a consequence to further reinforce the message that deliberately vandalizing artist entries is unacceptable. Repeat offenders should be blocked from contributing anything (including adding artists, cover art, et cetera) for one month. Each and every subsequent violation should be subject to varying degrees of punishment. Anyone caught using a sockpuppet to circumvent bans/blocks should be subject to even harsher punishment.

That sound fair enough?

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I’m not sure if that would have the desirable result. Using sockpuppets to circumvent a ban will lead to the ban of the sock as well. There is a user who once created hundreds of sockpuppets. Sometimes I would discover a new one almost every day. It got quite tiresome keeping track of them all the time.

Also the permissions system isn’t fine-grained enough yet to block specific features (except writing edit notes or editing and voting altogether)

Before any sanctions are applied people should try to speak to each other. Preferably directly (in fact, I just sent them a message).
If that fails someone higher-up can be involved. This would be the current community manager Freso