Limits on vilifying titles? Spam releases?

Tags: #<Tag:0x00007f2a00d63068> #<Tag:0x00007f2a00d62f00> #<Tag:0x00007f2a00d62d98>


Saw a release title/cover on the MusicBrainz homepage that (amongst other reactions) had me wonder what limits are placed on titles that vilify on MusicBrainz.

Another question related only to the general case, “Is there a standard around spam releases?”

(This is not an argument against any specific release being included. Or an implication that any specific release is a spam release. )


An example would really help, I’m really curious what kind of thing you’re referring to :stuck_out_tongue:
Then we also know what you mean by ‘spam’ in this case.

This has definitely come up before, but as a rule of thumb (eg what we ended up with last time, though I can’t find the old topic in the old forum?) MB stores data but it’s not our job to judge or curate it. But yeah, depends on what exactly you mean!


(I am not passing any judgement at all on this specific release. Rather there are imaginable releases titles, which if they became prolific, would influence my view on whether MB was a worthwhile project.)


I’m actually surprised this hasn’t come up earlier - there’s plenty of pornographic or racist imagery on album covers that pops up on the front page.
Rateyourmusic has a little tickbox with these kind of covers/ releases, that hides it from users in certain countries (eg Germany has strict anti-racism laws), or that you have to sign up to view (which has the added bonus of enticing more people to sign up! nothing like the vague promise of raunchy imagery to get someone to make an account hehe).
I feel like there’s better things to spend time on though, everyone’s probably just been hoping it wouldn’t become an issue…

But as to whether MB is a worthwhile project - MB just stores music data. It doesn’t curate it. And there’s going to be music of every sort in the database as a result.
You may as well be asking yourself “is music worthwhile”!
I’ve certainly added much worse covers/albums by the way > <

By the way, apart from the ‘recent additions’ on the front page, this is a complete non-issue as far as I’m concerned. Telling people what is and isn’t ‘real’ music or what to call their art really isn’t appropriate at all - as long as you’re not being forced to look or listen to it.


There are imaginable scenarios where “MB just storing music data” would be complicity in brutalising acts/human rights violations in my view.

Hopefully these imaginable scenarios will never arise.


[quote=“mmirG, post:5, topic:63060”]
There are imaginable scenarios where “MB just storing music data” would be complicity in brutalising acts/human rights violations in my view.
[/quote]I would say it already is in more than a few cases, as far as I know we currently have no limits on racist or sexually violent imagery and content.


This seems like an appropriate time to quote Sturgeon’s law… :slight_smile:

Actually, I suspect that MusicBrainz beats the odds on Sturgeon’s Law due to the fact that most of the content is prompted by someone’s interest in it.


And I don’t think we should. It would be impossible to draw a line, and a sliding scale towards censorship (and of course nowadays everyone is insulted or shocked by something). And if we started banning certain content, we would be liable for anything that would slip through.

MusicBrainz is simply an archive of released audio from everyone on the planet. Nothing more, nothing less. Editing something on MusicBrainz is not an endorsement. It just acknowledges the fact that something exists. And bad things don’t go away by pretending they don’t exist.


I find the idea of MB as a ethics free zone worrying. I think this needs much more thought and considering the consequences.

A most practical outcome of a “ethics free zone” position is that it is likely that MB’s big partners like the BBC with have organisational ethics frameworks along the lines of “Respect, Equality and Diversity”. And that if MB holds itself as outside ethical considerations then it won’t be supported by organisations with ethical standards.

Then, more importantly, there are the morals and ethics of contributors and supporters.

I’m not sure that others on this thread are imagining the sort of titles/frequency of them being added that I am concerned about. With some minimal coding skills (beyond my level however) the front page of MB could be turned into a vilification slideshow.


MusicBrainz has 30 commercial customers. What if their ideas of ethics and morals clash? What if a company from Saudi Arabia becomes a customer? Do we have to change our guidelines every time a new customer signs up? Or should we only care about the ethics of western customers like the BBC?

It is up to the client to filter the data for what they want to use and what they don’t want to use. MusicBrainz doesn’t have the manpower for that purpose, and certainly not considering the questions I mentioned above.

Wikipedia has articles on some of the worst people in history. Nobody is going to stop using Wikipedia for that reason. I don’t see why MusicBrainz would be any different.

It is true that MusicBrainz is susceptible for adding spam, libel or hate speech. Someone could make a script to mass-add crap to MusicBrainz with “cover art” full of it. It is probably a miracle that that hasn’t happened yet. But that would be obviously wrong, so I think it falls outside the scope of this discussion.


If they are doing business in the western world there will be huge overlaps in their ethical statements Those ethics are under-pinned by laws that make discrimination on a variety of bases illegal. Additonally they have legal responsibilities to their workers.

This is good to read. I was concerned that you meant that there was no right or wrong as far as MB went, when you wrote, [quote=“mfmeulenbelt, post:8, topic:63060”]
MusicBrainz is simply an archive of released audio from everyone on the planet. Nothing more, nothing less.

It is imagined instances that are “so obviously wrong” that I am querying. (Which don’t include, mere tritely offensive things like “Donald J. Trump is a cunt”.)



Depends on what constitutes a spam release. If the release doesn’t exist, it should be removed. If it does exist, it should be kept, and whether it’s just blank noise with a silly cover or not doesn’t really change that fact.

I strongly dislike that, say, nazi bands exist, but that doesn’t mean I think we should forbid people from adding them to the database. If someone makes cover art using child porn or revenge porn or any other actually illegal content, I’d expect that to be removed, since it’s actually illegal. But I would obviously not expect us to remove, say, Scorpions’ Virgin Killer nor its cover.


I think this discussion touches very different points.

First there is the thing about spam releases. I think if somebody just creates a fake entry in MB things are clear: it is not backed by any data and should be removed. But we also had the discussion some time back, whether a release that was seemingly only created to be included in MusicBrainz, but the release existed [1]. Most people agreed that it should be allowed, since it is an existing release with actual music (at least audio, people disagreed on the term music in that case). But that’s a difficult case, and it probably can only be decided case by case.

The other point are illegal, immoral or banned releases. My point of view here is, that MusicBrainz’s job is to collect data about music that was released. It is not MusicBrainz’s job to judge the value or morality of the music, it should collect facts. Music is banned and censored worldwide for a wide range of reasons, and the reasons change both geographically and over time. What might have been completely acceptable on the release date would be considered immoral or even illegal today, and vice versa.

Whether this view is compatible with a certain jurisdiction or one’s personal morality is a completely different matter. So having some way of reporting releases and marking those releases in someway might actually be a good idea, but I think it should be up to the user whether they want to get the releases filtered on that criteria or not.

[1] Has somebody a link to this discussion? Can’t find it anymore :frowning:


This troll artist edits discussed in the old forum.


IMO this is a great place to use tags. Of course, IMO everywhere is a great place to use tags, but still…

A few obvious ones already exist, such as nazi and explicit.


Maybe nsfw? Only half-joking.


If you tag in good faith, all tags are good tags :+1:

(except maybe fixme and similar transient administrative meta-data which should go in the annotation instead)


I’ve begun using public collections to track my “to-do list”, incl. “sub collections” for specific tasks I want to get around to eventually. I reckon I can always remove them from the collections if whatever I wanted to do has already been done when I get around to it.


The sense I make of this is that MB is probably not an ethics free zone. In that, at least reosarevok, expects that the law will be followed.

There seems to be a drift towards interpreting “ethical” as meaning “we should apply cencorship based on perceptions of offensiveness.”

“Ethics” has far broader meanings, especially in relation to organisations. Organizational ethics is a real thing.There is at least one other major online project which is slowly coming unstuck due to ethics being ignored as an important element of how humans work together.


I think the way we work together is completely separate from what music we accept. Having ethics guide our community and the way we interact is absolutely desirable. But excluding music, music that exists and has been recorded and released, is a dangerous path to go. I am not sure where one would draw the line.