Jeff Dickens (2)

Every time someone adds a matrix variant, a puppy dies.

Please take a moment sometime and review the Voting Guidelines (RSG §20.2.5.). I believe more releases should be found Complete and Correct. For one thing, this makes it easier to choose a release when it is necessary to "copy-to-draft." I would hope, also, that it would serve as a signal to prevent people from doing non-essential edits, like Style edits or Matrix variants. On the other hand, there are a lot of griefers, so they might just search out Correct releases.

Discogs is social media, and not everybody is good at social media. In fact, in my opinion, most people are not good at it, including myself.

I have been on discogs for a few years, and I have identified several types of users. I will not speak much about the other types, except to say that I do respect them greatly. I am the type who is by far much more involved with the interface, the "corporate style" if you will, the formal representation of releases, and the proper presentation of data. My "role" is not very respected, generally, though, to be fair, there are plenty of people who do notice, and are kind enough to involve themselves in this aspect of discogs. I will just say, there is one other large contingent of discogs users who are deeply involved in the comprehensive accuracy of the data, who divine the names, places, and relationships of the players in the music world. They work it out in the forums of what is what, what is OG. I do respect them greatly, but I confess, I do not relate well to that crowd. There are also other "types."

Once you get acquainted with discogs, you may find out the real heart is in the History of each release. And here is where difficulty can arise. If you get involved with tracking down where each piece of data came from, and how reliable it is, then it becomes necessary to trace the data entries back to the contributors who provided them.

What are "the Guidelines"
When you edit, when you make a change in a release's data, there are Help tabs available which will lead you to discogs Guidelines. One of the most interesting things I read early on in my discogs experience was: The Guidelines are guidelines; they aren't rules. This is an important point to try to understand. There is a fair amount of innovation in discogs data. There is flexibility in how some of the data is to be recorded. But the Guidelines shape much of the method that should be used. Many Guidelines are vague, some seem mutually contradictory, and some are nearly universally misunderstood (such as Reissue versus Repress). Some guidelines could easily be improved, such as the proper sequence of images. And many guidelines are amended by recent discussion in the Forums, where users and staff hash out problems that the Guidelines create or fail to address.
So, it's vitally important to understand the Guidelines. And every discogs user, newbie or expert, must patiently listen when someone says that something is being done incorrectly. Very frequently, there has to be a correction.

The value of Submission Notes
By far the most neglected guideline in discogs is a "meta-guideline" regarding Submission Notes. If you find yourself faced with a long page-full of History, it can often require a daunting effort to trace each data change back to the person who entered it. Sometimes you will see other users questioning or disputing a change. And if a problem is not recognized and corrected immediately, it can often remain unresolved in the data sometimes for years. Figuring out when a wrong turn occurred is difficult when users don't bother to make a clear, even if brief, note about what they are editing.

What is a release?
The coin of the discogs realm is the "release" -- the fundamental data structure in discogs is the release. A release is a single production of a single recording, that can be distinguished from similar items that portray that original source. A well-loved performance might appear on a vinyl record, and later on a CD. Each is a unique release. This well-loved recording may appear on one vinyl record label, and on a different vinyl record label. Unique releases. It may appear on a US record, and on a UK record. Unique releases. It may appear on a certain record label, and on the exact same label with typographic changes to the album printing. Those are unique releases, each requiring their own release submission in discogs.

Discogs is evolving. I entered this social media database relatively late. I'm a newbie. But at the time I started, an important change was taking place. Releases, which previously represented fairly identical items, are now being broken out and separated into "families" of releases which may appear identical, but which have minute changes that are trackable to the production facility and even to the production event (job) from which any particular item was created.

For example, a particular record, with a particular design of its labels, was once simply seen as one release. Now, that release is being broken into multiple releases, with each new release identified by the pressing plant that manufactured it. The multiple pressing plants may all create a consistent product, indistinguishable by the average consumer. But discogs logic has decreed that each production facility is really generating a unique item, even if it looks (or sounds) the same as one from a factory across the country.

So in discogs terms, two releases of the same recording are uniquely different from each other if they are produced at different physical factories. The same distinction applies with releases produced at completely different times. If a record is produced one year, and then produced a year later, and if there is some way to distinguish them, they are considered unique from each other, and two different releases.

The second most-ignored guideline
Next up is images. Enjoy this thread post while I work on my commentary (don't trouble yourself with the tedious follow-up posts).

Tips 'n Tricks
My profile evolves from time to time, and I have had different sections come and go. But I here present a little Tip 'n Trick which is a little arcane, but potentially fulfilling for some.
Lists are an interesting part of discogs, where users can pile together items (releases, artists, or labels, or even Master Releases) that the user feels share a connection. Lists are not implemented terribly well. One of the little things I find frustrating is locating a particular item inside the list when you know it's there somewhere. Lists can be arranged in only one way: sequentially. But if a list is organized sequentially, it's fun to see where in the sequence any particular item has been placed. Here is a way that has been pretty effective for me to find something:
a) Go to the list in question
b) Copy the url of the list
c) Go to google
d) and Enter "site:" (without the quotes) and Paste the url of the list
e) Paste in front of that the Artist and Title (or whatever) of a particular release you're interested in
Try this as an example! It works!:
Ween ‎The Pod site:https://www.discogs.com/lists/Original-Cover-Tribute-Cover/166450
f) Hit Enter
The location of your item is often the second link. The first link provided is usually the front page of the list.
Enjoy!

Commentary
Another section that comes and goes. I feel sad when I have to do edits like this:
https://www.discogs.com/release/13719951-I-Care-Because-You-Do/history#latest
https://www.discogs.com/release/25446-I-Care-Because-You-Do/history#latest
There are a definite group of users who actually enjoy the "Where's Waldo" of discogs. They know where the differences are, but they don't trouble themselves to point it out, and I conjecture, they get a rise out of knowing, while others have to struggle.

Pet Peeves
I have a lot of discogs pet peeves, and I think I have them stored in a text file so I'll bring them all here at some point if we're lucky. Meanwhile, I'll add them as they occur to me.
1) If a release is voted Correct (or Correct and Complete, of course) please, please think twice before you add a churn edit to that release. Any edit will eradicate the Correct vote. So, adding something unnecessary like, especially, a matrix number, clobbers the Correct vote. The Correct vote is important in my opinion, and should be considered like a warning sign. I look for Correct releases when I want to submit a new release, and I need a release to copy-to-draft. It makes sense to start a new release with a template that's been deemed correct by someone. Don't blithely clobber releases that have a Correct vote on them, please. By the way, send a Correct vote if you are sure a release is correct. Look at the guidelines to understand the parameters of these votes. Discoggers are very grudging about giving Correct votes. You decide why.
2) If you see a merge request where it has become plain the merge is not warranted, why not vote No? I sometimes see merges like this, and it's pointed out there is an error in the data that causes the confusion, and the interested parties are forced to wait thirty days until they can fix it? So stupid, people. Just vote No in a situation like this, and hopefully, someone can repair the data while it's still fresh in their minds. Uncanny to reflect on people's behavior on something like this. It hardly costs anything to vote No if you're already there evaluating the situation. Ethel, get me a drink.
3) Unfortunately, I have found I have to keep away from the forums whenever possible. I am familiar with moderated Internet forums because I was once very active on Magic the Gathering forums. But unmoderated forums are not for people like me. I have ventured into unmoderated forums in years past, when I had to visit gamer forums for some reason. And I do not do well on discogs forums because I apparently attract ad hominem attacks, and I have little patience for threads going off-topic. As on gamer forums, the discogs unmoderated forums are cliquish, so voices of dissent are hollered down by unreasonable logic, ad hominem attacks, changing the subject, ignoring points and questions, feigned misunderstanding, and dogpiling. It isn't for me. To make matters even worse, I often communicate in a frivolous style, which is particularly prone to ridicule. It doesn't blend well with the scholarly tone many discogs forum users adopt. Magic forums, such as The Source, can be quite academic in tone, too. But there is a moderator to keep the would-be librarians in check when somebody like me pipes up.
To be fair, I can sometimes be abrasive and abrupt myself, but I don't really mean to be unkind.
It is somewhat remarkable that the database per se is able to police itself, more-or-less, with nominal moderator intervention, but in my opinion, the more open format of a forum requires moderator involvement, involvement which discogs is not willing to invest (it can be labor-intensive). But simply knowing that a moderator may be watching keeps most people in line and on-topic. Alternately, recognizing that they can get away with infractions unscathed, many users will repeatedly abuse others, and will, in my opinion, joyfully render discussion moot.
4) Making a forum link in a release History which is just a generic link to the top of the forum thread. And the thread is dozens of posts long. Nobody should be obligated to search your meandering 81-post forum thread to try to figure out what you are talking about. I refer to this as passive-aggressive. If you are going to nominate a forum thread to validate some edit you've made, have the decency to point out the decision point of the thread. Using the "Permalink" function, your browser will update, and the exact post will be targeted by the URL in your browser Address bar.
5) See my long, brutal autopsy on a typical vinyl BaOI: https://www.discogs.com/forum/thread/828585
6) Some things come and go as discogs trends. One annoying thing that is definitely on the rise is the embrace of they "bullet." The typographical bullet, because it exists in Unicode, is sneaking its way into thousands of discogs titles, artists, and tracklists. The guidelines are customarily vague on this matter, but I personally do not see a reason why the bullet, which is not a bona fide punctuation, has to be an exception where we dutifully transcribe it into discogs data.
It's a graphic design decision, people. That's what it is. It may be the most common graphic design decision, but it's still graphic design -- not text, not language, not punctuation, and not an "artist joiner" or what-have-you.
People have a terrible time with the context of discogs data, and I don't blame them. What could be more arcane? But the comma and the slash have been determined to be about all you need unless there is a "joiner" there on the release. But that's not what the bullet is. Even though it is in the spot of a joiner, even though it serves as a separator, it is a graphical object, not punctuation, not words, not language. Use a comma or slash, please.
Recent Activity
submitted Dave Hollinden, Andrew Spencer (2) - Slender Beams. 7 days ago
submitted Adam Ant - Wonderful. 7 days ago
submitted London Parris And The Apostles* - Them Boys. 9 days ago
posted a review of Jean Michel Jarre* - Rendez-Vous. 13 days ago
This is definitely loud, louder than other records played along with it in a series. It's also quite noisy, musically. Jean Michel doesn't like to have too many rest notes on this album. He keeps the racket going just about continuously. A bit... See full review
posted a review of Daryl Hall - Sacred Songs. 13 days ago
For those who might possibly be unaware, this is a requirement for Fripp fans. It represents a true pivot in Fripp's career, his musical path -- a three-point turn including Exposure and Peter Gabriel's dark, foreboding midwifery of the 80's. This... See full review
submitted The Who - Join Together. 14 days ago
submitted Carlos Santana & Mahavishnu John McLaughlin* - Love Devotion Surrender. 18 days ago
submitted The Capitalaires Quartet - His Grace Reaches Me. about 1 month ago
submitted The Roches - A Dove. about 1 month ago
submitted Shostakovich*, Maksim Shostakovich* Conducting The Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra And Chorus* - Music For Soviet Films "Zoya" And "Pirogov". about 1 month ago
posted a comment on Black Sabbath - Master Of Reality. about 1 month ago
Picked up my 1886th CD today at a thrift store. It was Black Sabbath Master of Reality. I already had a copy, but for a quarter, I figured, it would be nice to have two.
I stuck it in the car stereo before I even pulled out of the parking lot. Then... See full review
posted a comment on Various - Soul Of The Machine - The Windham Hill Sampler Of New Electronic Music. about 1 month ago
The first track is fairly Ambient. The rest is firmly New Age. There is no Experimental of course, and certainly no Abstract.
posted a review of Mary Bue - Self-Cylinder. about 1 month ago
This would otherwise be 3 stars but there are significant technical problems. I couldn't get beyond Track 8 because the digital corruption took over. It starts at Track 1.
This is significantly better than her first release. I wonder if the master... See full review
submitted No Artist - Environments (Totally New Concepts In Sound - Disc 4). about 1 month ago
submitted Mary Bue - Self-Cylinder. about 1 month ago
submitted Bach*, E. Power Biggs - Organ Music Of Bach. about 1 month ago
submitted at17 - Kiss Kiss Kiss. 2 months ago
posted a comment on The B-52's - The B-52's. 2 months ago
Does sound quite good.
My copy was glued into the inner, and I had to wrap one hand in microfiber towel, and pinch the inner sleeve with the other hand, to extricate it from the inner sleeve for the first time. Hard to cope with when you're a little... See full review
submitted The Labor That Kills - It's Occupational. 2 months ago
submitted The Roches - Moonswept. 2 months ago
submitted Bryan Ferry - Another Time, Another Place. 3 months ago
submitted Black Sabbath - Master Of Reality. 3 months ago
submitted Roger Waters - The Wall (Live In Berlin). 3 months ago
submitted The Kinks - Low Budget. 3 months ago
submitted Yngwie J. Malmsteen* - Trilogy. 3 months ago
posted a review of Biohazard - Biohazard. 4 months ago
My copy appears almost flawless but it does not play without serious skipping and distortion. Tried on two players. Caveat emptor.
posted a comment on No Artist - Discogs Sandbox Release™. 4 months ago
I pray this took hours or days to write. If you came up with this off the top of your head... it is a remarkable command of discogs foibles.
posted a review of Cowboy Junkies - The Trinity Session. 4 months ago
9/15/19
Cowboy Junkies - The Trinity Session
I have only heard a few other of their records, but I’m pretty sure this release is their Magnum Opus.
Track 1 is the weakest item on the CD. It’s not bad, but it is accappela, and it doesn’t have near the holding power as the... See full review
posted a review of Yardbirds* - Broken Wings. 4 months ago
A1 to A3 are straight rip-offs. A4 to A6 are recorded off the radio, with Dick Clark interrogating a young woman groupie. B1 is a bit of a mess. B2 has some dynamic expansion (pumping) which makes it a little challenging to listen to; fades out... See full review
submitted The Harmonic Choir, David Hykes - Hearing Solar Winds = À L'Ecoute Des Vents Solaires. 4 months ago
submitted AlixSandra* - Me, Myself & I. 4 months ago
posted a comment on Phinehas - Thegodmachine. 4 months ago
Track 7 has an editing or mastering error at 2:10, unless that is how it's supposed to sound. The transition at 2:25 is pretty shaky too. Track 9 has a shaky spot.
posted a comment on Leo Kottke - My Feet Are Smiling. 4 months ago
3rd release on capitol, and three oranges, and orange labels
posted a review of Björk - Debut. 4 months ago
Little bit of a concept album, especially when you get to Track 4 and the audio drops out.
submitted Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual. 5 months ago
submitted Peter Kater - Rooftops. 5 months ago
submitted Peter Pan Players / Marc Field - Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter. 5 months ago
submitted Alec Wilder - The Truth About Windmills. 5 months ago
posted a comment on Rare Earth - Willie Remembers. 5 months ago
Are you talking about the mannequin? Because there's a mannequin, but there is also an extra hand that looks like a woman's hand, but I don't see the woman.
posted a review of Vanilla Fudge - Vanilla Fudge. 5 months ago
I cheaped out and picked up this CD, even though the Japanese release was next to it in the store for a dollar more.
I wish I would have gotten the Japanese issue because it has a believable claim of being remastered. This release does not say... See full review
submitted Peter Pan Players - Snoopy's Christmas. 5 months ago
posted a comment on Grover Washington, Jr. - Skylarkin'. 5 months ago
To be fair, the CD wasn't added to discogs til 2014. musicmonkey was begging in 2012. Just mentioning for my amusement!
submitted The Three Suns - Twilight Time. 5 months ago
submitted Various - Dick Clark Solid Gold Show #3. 5 months ago
submitted George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. 5 months ago
submitted Aterciopelados - La Pipa De La Paz. 5 months ago
submitted The 5th Dimension* - Up, Up And Away. 5 months ago
submitted Digital Underground - Sex Packets. 5 months ago
submitted Ron "C"* - "C" Ya. 5 months ago
submitted George Shearing, The Quintet And Amigos* - The Way We Are. 6 months ago