The Beatles members identifiers

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Looking at their main page and relationships makes those artists really not ambiguate and not really lacking an unlocalisable disambiguation comment, IMO.

I am one of the editors who always adds a disambiguation comment to Artist entries when I create them, and often when I edit them. Why? Most of the Releases I add are for local, modern, classical music, by Artists who are not (yet?) well known.

In that context, I think this is not the correct test for whether a disambiguation string is needed:

I see these Artist entries as search results when typing a name into an Album Artist or Track Artist or Artist Relationship field. These results show only name and disambiguation string. It is really valuable to know from the visible result that the entry either is or is not the Artist which I want to use.

It is possible to click on links in search results, opening an extra tab with the main Artist page for each possible match, but it is much slower.

I encounter fairly often the case where I am entering an Artist with a fairly common name, and find out that there is already another, minimal Artist entry in the database, for a different person. And fairly often, the other entry has no bio, no link to a home page, few Relationships, only a Track Artist mention for a performance on one Release once. It can be hard to tell if a minimal entry like this is or is not for the person I seek. A good disambiguation string really helps.

Yes, the disambiguation comment is not localiseable. Yes, it is a problem. I think of this as one of many ways the MB system forces editors to use English when editing. The answer is to improve the system, not to stop using one of the system’s very useful tools.


Those artists have been there from the beginning of MB and I don’t think anyone has ever confused them with some others:

Paul McCartney

Ringo Starr

IMO the only artists who really require a disambiguation comment, also require you to open their page to really make sure there is no confusion.

“Those artists have been there from the beginning of MB and I don’t think anyone has ever confused them with some others”

There are generations other than “ours” who have never heard of “The Beatles” (believe it or not). So as they stumble across Ringo sometime in the future and see the disamb (The Beatles) they just might take a minute to learn about the Fab Four who were each one of THE BEATLES. Adding the disambiguation was well done imho.


Another future Paul McCartney that would also be a British singer?
Ringo Starr’s case was already discussed, anyway:

It’s not really a uncommon name. And this other Paul McCartney does not need to be a British singer to cause confusion, after all MB is a music database and not a database of British singers :wink:


Why future? Paul Patrick McCartney is a vocalist in a seemingly UK-based band, and Paul P.J. McCartney is a vocalist in a Northern Irish group. (Those two may be the same, but I can’t find anything to verify either which way.)


And for Ringo Starr, while there is only one of those, there are several Ringos and at least two Starrs.

I guess my question would be: if a unique artist is disamb’d, what is the harm? What is the downside of doing this?


It looks bogus to me.

I said British because it’s one of the artist attributes that should be displayed in the searches before we add bogus comments everywhere.

None of the examples (PJ McCartney, Ringos) did cause confusion in my search screenshots.

But let’s settle it here in our different point of views.

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What does?

Both of the UK vocalist McCartneys I mentioned were added after that screenshot of yours was made.


When I added them in I was expecting a vote to be triggered. I had forgotten that they would AE due to them being blank.

Put it to the vote. Delete the two comments and post the links back here. Seems the democratic way.

I generally agree with the other thoughts in this thread. It is bogus, but harmless. A little bit of clarity has never harmed.

Like @Jim_DeLaHunt pointed out, there are times when trying to find an artist via the GUI to link to a recording and disambiguations are really handy then as you have no lookup ability at that point. I’ve been adding some old obscure punk bands lately and some of the artists barely have names on the cover art. Disambiguations help save a lot of time during selection.


For future edits, when you want to avoid auto edits, there is a checkbox for this, near the Create edit button.


Seems to me a lot of this discussion would be avoided by adding the following to search results:

  • area, if set
  • years of birth/death, if set
  • any targets of a member-of AR (if more than 3, perhaps those with the most releases?)
  • if a certain threshold of oerformance ARs us reached: the most common instrument(s) (counting vocals as an instrument) (requiring at least N such ARs, and again as a top 3) (*)
  • if a certain threshold of technical ARs is reached: most common of those (mixer, recording engineer)

That would likely remove the need for many disambigs (like “UK flautist” or “bassist for Some Band”).

In addition, for all of these, localised versions can be produced. This could probably all be done at indexing time too.

(*) can get tricky. Would be even better if this could aggregate things, like showing woodwind for someone playing multiple woodwind instruments.


Replacing disambiguation comments with auto-generated ones feels like the wrong path to go down, the strategy chosen by e.g. Wikidata to disambiguate everything (or at least as much as possible) feels much better due to the long-term impact IMO.

Localizable disambiguations would be a nice addition, and IMO the best technical solution to this whole problem. Wikidata is a good example for how nice this can work as well:

The Description is the analog of our disambiguation comments.


Why? Localising all or even a significant chunk of disambiguation comments is going to be a huge task. If these are automatically generated from relationships, all translations will already be in place.

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But relationships can change, and since you can’t think about all the artists when entering relationships, a simple edit could create confusing auto-generated “disambiguations”. I am certainly not against showing more information from the entity data in search boxes, but I am against claiming they are equivalent or even superior to manually entered comments.

I am not sure it’s actually necessary to localize all the disambiguation comments all the time into all the languages, for a large portion of items Wikidata also only has English plus maybe German or French descriptions. But where it’s desired, necessary, or just possible because you know the language, you can localize them as you come across or create items.


I keep seeing large search pages being shown in this discussion. Where I need disambiguation is when I am editing relationships. If I am adding an artist, then I am dealing with that tiny list view control and the search results. Disambiguation is ideal for this


What was a simple question is getting out of hand here. Who on earth would do all that translation work?

If I need FULL details on the selected artist, then I can click on their name and open the page. You can’t put everything into a disambiguation.


In many cases, nobody :slight_smile: (and that’s ok!)

The main benefit of Wikidata-style multilingual disambiguations is that we could have, say, French disambiguations for French artists (which are much more useful for French editors!) while still having an English one to allow non-French speaking editors to figure out who this artist is and whether they should or shouldn’t use it. We do want to eventually move towards a more international website after all :slight_smile:

That said, this is quite a lot of work and probably won’t happen anytime soon - it works great on Wikidata because the entire system is built around it. But I at least would love to see it happen :slight_smile:


I have tried to manage Wikidata simple merge and all this multilingual comments are really a big mess to manage.

I hope we will have something built from the already multilingual attributes and relationships, as @Zastai suggested:

Which benefit was then emphasised by @mfmeulenbelt:

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Note that I was not suggesting /replacing/ disambiguations. I was suggesting tweaks to search results that would (potentially significantly) reduce the need for them (and result in localised text for no extra effort).