Handling name of transgender artist

Looking at option 1:

A low activity Artist asks for their deadname to be removed.
It is.
Two weeks/years/decades later someone finds an un-entered CD/folder by Artistdeadname and re-adds Artistdeadname to the db.

Looks to me that the Artist asking to have their deadname forgotten in option 1 needs to be offered the option of being on a list.

Otherwise MB will need to tell them, “We will happily remove Artistdeadname but it could be back in the db within a month or a year”. And I think that news could be unwelcome and troubling to someone looking to have their deadname forgotten.

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FWIW, that’s what we have currently done when we have removed legal names (which is rarely). We’ve told them that we will remove it, but if they do not ensure it’s also removed from the other few places online where it can be found, it’s perfectly possible it will be readded by someone who doesn’t know better.


This probably wouldn’t be surprising to people who are familiar with the internet?

Anyway, I’ve used the words ‘artist intent’ for a reason, because in this case we are not dealing with an information removal request by the artist. The issue at hand (happy to be corrected if this is wrong?) is this:

  • some don’t think a deadname is correct for releases that have later been changed by the artist
  • some do think the deadname is correct for releases that have later been changed by the artist

And after hundreds of posts and notes that there is no community agreement. A guideline (or at least, some kind of precedent/statement) would solve the issue of endless disagreement re. these edits. MB is used to navigating the nebulous concept of ‘artist intent’, though it is never perfect. We don’t require the artist to step in themselves, though it’s nice when it happens.


this feels like an oversimplification

in the case of digital releases that were first posted under a different name, we have the options of:

  • only using the current name
    • there have been arguments about the accuracy of this, as the credit upon first posting was different
  • leaving the originally credited name on one release, and creating a new release with the updated credit
    • this leaves us with one release that only refers to the artist by deadname, and one release with a questionably accurate release date

we also have the issue of physical releases on which deadnames have been printed in ink

  • if we keep the deadname in the “credited as” field, we have releases referring to people by deadname only
  • if we remove the deadname from the “credited as” field, we have release pages that don’t match what was printed

the goal is to have accurate data presented in a respectful manner

i’d argue there is no good way to accomplish that given the constraints of the MB data model/presentation layers


this is a good summary of what I think. however, not everyone agrees.

because, one extreme says we have to leave the old name there, and just ignore the new alias.

the other extreme thinks we should completely remove it from the database.

I don’t think either extreme will ever bend their opinion. i don’t really feel good when debating this with either side. i hope we reach a consensus soon, whether or not everyone agrees.

i can’t politely emote what staying in this thread does to my mental state. I think I’ll [try to] leave it alone for a while.

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I’m not against someone coding more layers into the DB, but if there is a concern re ‘outing’ a trans artist as outlined in this thread, then having some names linked/findable together will be a concern no matter how you layer or display it. So the same difficult call still has to be made.

I have simplified it, but doesn’t it boil down to: When and where do we use what name?

Also whenever a thread turns to coding solutions I’ve rarely seen it actually happen. But I would love to see that tide turned. Using both names but hiding one of them isn’t a bad solution for plenty of cases I’m sure, but that kind of 50/50 solution could probably be implemented pretty well using the current credited as and alias options.

Emotion and sentimental bias is what in my opinion has been poluting both the topic raised and many responses and opinions on the matter.
(perhaps my own included)
You seem to be looking for an honest and good balence, so I am honestly interested in what emotional difficulties you are experiencing on this topic.
It’s obviously your prerogative to expand on it or not, but I think it could help in seperating subjective arguments from objective arguments.

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i’ve tried doing that on test.musicbrainz.org, i didn’t find a good way to handle it, if someone wants to try putting together an example that’d be awesome


We don’t have to get this right immediately.
We just need something good enough for now.
Then we can see what develops.

Proposed Guideline:
Where an Artist has demonstrated a substantial desire to have a previous name removed from their products that unwanted name is to be stored as a “search hint” Alias and the Artist’s desired name used on all of their products.

If this approach turns out to be unacceptable to an Artist then we can tweak or change.

If they want the name removed completely and not re-entered in the db then it could be removed and they could be offered the option of them sending a weekly automated email to MB asking that any instance of their deadname be removed.


Such rules should only apply where it is actually deadnaming a trans person (or other similarly discriminated person).

Other artists name changes (“I like this name better now”) should not be handled this way in my opinion, as where the obvious harm of deadnaming does not apply the benefit of accurate historical information is worthwhile.


Proposed Guideline versionA2:
Where an Artist has demonstrated a substantial desire to have a previous name removed from their products on the basis that it does them significant harm, such as unwanted close association with a deadname, that unwanted name is to be stored as a “search hint” Alias and the Artist’s desired name used on all of their products.

If the Artist wants the name removed completely and not re-entered in the db then please contact an administrator.
end of guideline

Back office process versionA2: The administrator will, in cases such as deadnaming, remove the name from the db and offer the option of the Artist sending a monthly automated email to MB asking that any instance of the deadname be removed from the db, and explain that the automated email is necessary as MB does not keep a list of names removed from the db.

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The artist already has a way to keep an eye on the DB, with no extra admin required - they just have to make an account, and hit ‘subscribe’ on the artist MBID.

The person would be asking (explicitly or by implication) that the deadname be removed and not re-entered.*

Having to keep manually checking that a deadname had not re-appeared would be a stress, and I think an unreasonable one given that an semi-automated method would appear to be easily constructed.

*The person is asking that the deadname be removed with the goal that the deadname not appear now or in the future.
They are not asking that the deadname be removed for 1 second/1 day/1year/1decade before replacement.

“Look we’ll take your deadname down but it could be totally up to you whether it is re-added almost immediately. Yeah there are anti-trans activists who go round trying to out transgender people but thats your problem, do not try to make it ours”, appears unlikely to be received with gratitude by many transgender artists or their supporters.

I don’t think it’s a bad idea, but I don’t think having an admin check monthly emails (essentially, have them check subscriptions on behalf) is realistic. This whole discussion needed admin/mod input about a hundred posts ago but MB doesn’t even have staff resource for that minimum.

This is the reality of massive global and community driven databases. I think artists would be very grateful for a guideline that allows them to take control. Wikipedia is well known enough now for people to understand that the internet is something that you sometimes have to keep an eye on.

But by all means, suggest away. I just think a guideline is the part that’s more likely to happen :+1:


Maybe you’re right.
I’m no coder.

Maybe an automated monthly email could auto activate a search for a Artistdeadname and then have an Admin notified only if there is a match found.
Which would result in the same amount of work for the Admin as when a Artist reports that their deadname has been re-added.

The extra cost to MB would seem to be in setting up and maintaining the “email-> autosearch-> notify admin if instance found” process. This one process would work for all artists seeking removal of re-added deadnames (and for any other instances where a name needs to be kept out of the db).

As I said I’m no coder but it would seem a cool thing to create. I’m thinking that MB IRC would be the place to see if this kite gets any love.

47 posts were split to a new topic: Deadnames and deadnaming

This topic is temporarily closed for at least 4 hours due to a large number of community flags.

I’ve been gone from editing for a while, but now I’m back. Unfortunately, it seems like that there are no editing guidelines yet regarding this issue.
The one thing that everyone agreed with from what I can tell is that changing the name on release groups and recordings is fine. That’s what I will do for now then. I expect those edits to go through unopposed.


As style leader, yes, this is fine - if someone complains, please point them to this statement :slight_smile: