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
Update 11/21: this no longer works. Some sort of changes to google presumably.
The current method which I have tried which works is like so: copy the title of the list; paste it in google. Copy the user name of the list; paste that in google. Enter in google the title of the item you are looking for. It should come up as the first hit.

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:
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.

Another section that comes and goes. I feel sad when I have to do edits like this:
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:
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

Action Description
submitted Various - Action Scene '71. 1 day ago
submitted Off Broadway USA - On. 17 days ago
submitted Jimi Hendrix - Band Of Gypsys. 18 days ago
submitted Various - Hair (The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical) (Broadway Deluxe Collector's Edition). 25 days ago
submitted Burl Ives - Songs I Sang In Sunday School. 27 days ago
Grateful Dead* - From The Mars Hotel
submitted Grateful Dead* - From The Mars Hotel. 29 days ago
Grateful Dead* - Dick's Picks Volume Fourteen: Boston Music Hall 11/30/73 & 12/2/73
submitted Grateful Dead* - Dick's Picks Volume Fourteen: Boston Music Hall 11/30/73 & 12/2/73. 29 days ago
submitted Philip Glass, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra And Chorus*, Robert Shaw - Itaipu / The Canyon. about 1 month ago
submitted The Big Creak - Ask You Again. about 1 month ago
submitted Orson Welles - War Of The Worlds (Part 1). about 1 month ago
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Al Stewart - Time Passages
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Cyndi Lauper - True Colors
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Diana Ross - Touch Me In The Morning
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Diana Ross - Mahogany
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Richard Harris - Jonathan Livingston Seagull
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Genesis - Invisible Touch
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Robert Fripp - November Suite (Soundscapes - Live At Green Park Station 1996)
submitted Robert Fripp - November Suite (Soundscapes - Live At Green Park Station 1996). about 1 month ago
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Van Halen - Van Halen
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Steppenwolf - Gold
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Dead Can Dance - Aion
posted a comment on Dead Can Dance - Aion. 2 months ago
User account is banned. Let that be a lesson to the cheats!
Madonna - This Used To Be My Playground
submitted Madonna - This Used To Be My Playground. 2 months ago
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Bob Welch - French Kiss
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Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill
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The B-52's - Wild  Planet
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Blondie - Plastic Letters
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Bee Gees - Children Of The World
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Dean Evenson - Ocean Dreams
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Queensrÿche - Empire
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No Artist - Moods: Tropical Rain Forest
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submitted Eric Clapton - Unplugged. 2 months ago
Paul Desmond - Bridge Over Troubled Water
posted a review of Paul Desmond - Bridge Over Troubled Water. 2 months ago
How did they do that? The album cover photography edition.
Multiple exposures, at least one of which is a time exposure. The camera's on a tripod, and they take a series of photos of the moving water. Then they work in tandem with the printer, and... See full review
submitted Johnny Cash - Come In Stranger. 2 months ago
submitted Johnny Cash - American Recordings. 2 months ago
Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill
submitted Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill. 3 months ago
submitted Bee Gees - Best Of Bee Gees. 3 months ago
The Beach Boys - Summer In Paradise
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Los Hermanos Carrion* - Folk Rock
submitted Los Hermanos Carrion* - Folk Rock. 3 months ago
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