Should we follow the guidelines if we don't agree with them?

@outsidecontext: That 12 (in words: twelve!) Booklets and 12 back covers show the title written in one line and without any comma does not make you reconsider your opinion?


Probably would, but I haven’s seen those yet. The discussion so far centered around the cover, and that doesn’t support this case (rather the opposite). Is there some scan of some of the booklets and back covers somewhere?

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@outsidecontext Of course, like in every one of my uploads. The paperwork is the crucial initial information to all of this MusicBrainz-Project here. I am of course aware that any decision I made has to be backed by a scan of the paperwork as a proof for everyone in the present and future.

I have to admit that in this special case I uploaded just the covers, because the booklet scans I have from this very series, ironically lack pages - I could provide them anyways, if demand exists.

You did though provide the spine for Vol. 12 (same series of releases) that says:

Edit #56314627 - MusicBrainz
MD+G R 3361 Max Reger • Sämtliche Orgelwerke Vol. 12 • Rosalinde Haas

@jesus2099 Yes, and an example one of the contents pages (from the booklet of Vol. 11).(

After a few days of thinking I came to a conclusion: I will not upload any booklet nor any back cover for the hundreds of remaining albums I have in my library which are not in the MB-Database yet. Since you are not interested in the information on the paperwork and every arbitrary “guideline” trumps the information in the booklet, you will have to trust me that my entries are correct - no more black-on-white-“proofs”, which aren’t obviously of any worth for you. And since I will be the first one to enter them, no one will ever be able to correct them in the future - because “old mistakes weigh heavier than new corrections or black-on-white-proof”, as I’ve learned from this discussion. I’ll save myself a lot of work in not having to make pleasant .pdf-files out of single-page JPEGs and I for myself will know that all my entries are correct - that will be enough for me. And you’ll just have to believe me - or research the internet for informations if in doubt … - Isn’t that what you all wanted? - Oh, and you and your users may stick with blurry and tiny cover images derived from Amazon - and I will stick with my own high resolution scans. Deal?


There are three principles in MB:

  • The highest one being artist intent (needs proof beyond just scans of cover art).
  • Then comes the style guides which are mainly there to fix errors and standardize stuff.
  • Where no guideline applies or the cover art provides an exception to the guidelines the cover art should be followed exactly. This might be the lowest priority rule, but it still probably accounts for 80%+ of the data.

So cover art is important. There are just some rules that trump it.

That’s not even slightly true.


@Hape40 I understand your frustration. I’ve been put off adding data here for similar reasons. Some albums in my collection I know would take hours of faffing around to fit the rules. So I’ve just skipped over them as I just don’t have the time to get all the fiddly bits right.

There are some people at MB that seem to specialise in driving away the music geeks. Rules are more important to them that accurate data. (I always laugh at the way “guidelines” are seen as totally unbreakable by some)

Discogs is a good place to upload artwork.


My opinion, apropos of nothing specific in this thread: Guidelines should be just that: guidelines. As in, this is the way it is generally done (or in the absence of overriding information, do it this way). Information entered that does not follow a particular guideline but is not demonstrably wrong should be acceptable.


Yeah obviously. But edits changing that data to follow the guidelines have to be accepted and not undone later.

@paulakreuzer So I assume you are perfectly fine with me not providing any further scans of paperwork? Ok, I’m fine with it, too. Who needs annoying facts and black-on-white evidence (not to mention: “reason” - totally overrated!!), when we instead could have the pure teaching of the MB-dogmas!!!

Look, I can’t tell you what to do with your free time and if you choose to interpret me telling you that cover art is important to mean that you should not upload cover art then I can’t do anything about that.

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Funny thing is the person in charge of the style guidelines agrees with you. They are a Guide not hard and fast Rules.

It is the database pedants who fight hardest over this. It is funny if you look at some people’s editing history as all they seem to do is make corrections to other people’s data.

People come here for many reasons. I come here due to the music and thought it was a good place to catalogue my music collection whilst sharing the data I have on the covers. It can take ages to scan all the pages of a release in, then edit and crop them, upload them. Carefully fill in all the details of a release, attaching as much data as possible.

And then it gets demoralising when someone shouts at you for using an apostrophe they don’t like. Or they start shoving colons into a title that never had or needed colons.

(For me colons are frustrating as I also use this data for tagging and naming files… and that colon messes up file names. But hey, that is just my personal use and I find ways around that.)

I find it a great pity when people like @Hape40 are driven away. He wants to supply new, fresh data which takes hours of work. I can understand how that gets frustrating spending all that time only for someone to fuss over a comma.

@Hape40 I thank you for your time you have spent on adding your data. There are many of us here who do appreciate it. And many many more of the silent users of the data who certainly appreciate someone who knows their collection and spends time uploading new, fresh, accurate data. :slight_smile:


Are you still attacking @Hape40 with this one? I can’t see where he has tried to turn over edits that have been made.

All your edits of the titles of Sämtliche Orgelwerke, Vol. 1-12 seem to have now stuck. These were all originally without the comma - as per the covers. Your edits to all of them are in place now. I can’t see @Hape40 overturning any of them.

Isn’t this the more sensible way it should stay? Let the data be entered accurately. Let the artwork be uploaded accurately. Let the data be checked fully. And if “corrections” need to be made then they should be done in a calmer manner whilst respecting the guidelines are “to guide”.

I am very disappointed by how this is turning out. MusicBrainz needs the music geeks as much as the database geeks. Someone has to provide the data. And he followed the guidelines. Fresh data should be the king here.

(I really didn’t want to come into this debate as I see and agree with points on all sides here… but hey, I am in a bad mood and fancy an argument :rofl:)


Wow thanks, really classy.

I’m not attacking him with that, I’m just saying that that was what started this discussion and nobody here ever said that entering new data without following the guidelines would be wrong. You’re the one atacking me claiming that I have that position.

He did not. Check the edit that started this. It is not fresh data and it is changing data that follows the guidelines to no longer follow the guidelines. It was voted down and we really shouldn’t be talking about it anymore.
I never said anything against adding new data as it is on the cover art and I never said anything about not uploading cover art.


Maybe. I personally wouldn’t make such edits, but I also wouldn’t no-vote someone who did.

Also – and this may or may not be a valid point, but here you go – I would take into consideration the experience of the editor. If someone has been on the site for a long time with many accepted edits were to make an edit that didn’t follow a guideline, I’d let it go. Conversely, for a new editor potentially unfamiliar with the guidelines, I’d coach them along, but unless there is just bad data (for example, picking the wrong artist), I wouldn’t “fix” their edits.


That’s pretty much why I’m here as well, but an important part of the cataloging is that with MB I am leveraging all the data that you and everyone else has contributed. If I just wanted my own catalog, I could start from scratch on my own copy of the MB server.

My attitude is that following the guidelines is the price of admission for getting to play with everyone else’s contributions as well as my own. MB doesn’t use title case the way I would use it. Eh, okay, I’m willing to adapt to that.

In any case, I don’t see @Hape40 arguing that there shouldn’t be any guidelines at all; as I read it, their argument is that “releases should reflect the Booklet/covers as close as possible”, which is itself a guideline, just not one the MB community has agreed on.


@highstrung we do not argue over the catalog (of virtual works), which also exists inside MB, but over the releases. These are two different things. A work was written by a composer and stands for its own, even if it would never have been printed/played/recorded. And a release is one of thousands of emanations, manifestations in our real world, which has its own data written on the covers/booklet maybe even with (orthographical or factual) mistakes or inconsistencies in itself or in relation to the work or other releases. But it is what is is. Their bare existence makes them “true” in themselves. It is not my duty to override what is clearly written in black on white by the producers of this very release in the paperwork - often many years ago. We cannot and should not try to change what is printed in thousands of physical copies out there in the world (even the thought seems foolish to me!). We cannot “heal” inconsistencies some editors at the record labels made willingly or inadvertently in their paperwork years ago and which exist thousandfold as physical copies in the real world. Searching a release in the database means searching it with its mistakes on the cover. You can’t tell any one who searches the database that he must not type into the search field what he can clearly read with his own eyes on his physical cover, but what you consider(!) to be correct and consistent and what should be written on his cover! But we can link and relate them to the respective “ideal, virtual” work of Bach or Beethoven, which as an act produces consistency in itself, as all “faulty” - let’s just say different releases are tied to the one virtual work they represent.

This topic has gotten way, way, way heated. I’ve closed the thread now.

The original question of the edit referred to at the start of the topic was regarding whether it was okay to make data not comply to our current guidelines if it currently/previously was complying. The votes on the edit say that no, you should not.

Other topics that have come up:

  1. Is it okay to add new data not perfectly following the guidelines?
  2. Should you upload cover art?
    Absolutely! The cover art makes a reference for future editors (which might include the original editor/uploader), and can help make a case for when you make exceptions to a guideline.

One solution to the standardised/cleaned data vs. exactly-as-on-cover was mentioned earlier by @reosarevok:

Until the time where we have the developer-power to finish implementing this however, the guidelines are as they are, and should generally be followed. There may be good reasons to not follow them in some cases—and I personally believe there was a good argument for the original edit, considering the whole series. However, the discussion got swallowed by rhetorical fallacies and psychological manipulations (ofted baked into a big dish of gish gallop), which are not kosher.

Please feel free to visit any topics discussed within this, but make sure to keep the discussion tempered and in line with our Code of Conduct.