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A Self Policing Community

A community that works well

MusicBrainz has a big community: beyond a core of dozens of AutoEditors and possibly hundreds of regularly active editors, as of 2008/03/15 a total of 377222 registered users contribute or contributed information to the database.

Discussions, disagreements, or even fierce oppositions on specific topics are not uncommon. Actually, the possibility for every contributor to discuss style or functioning in an open and collaborative fashion is highly encouraged and is considered one of the big strengths of MusicBrainz.

To do so, there exist a number of different channels, each adequate to either specific problems or a specific approach at solving them (you may read the Help page for in depth details about them), and each having its own auto-regulation process (votes on edits, style mailing-list RFC/RFV) helpful in channeling discussions into productive agreements, both straightening the community ties and empowering contributors.

Why it sometimes doesn't work

There is, though, a shared-basis for all community members that suffer no discussion, most of this common-ground being covered in details in our CodeOfConduct.

People who don't comply to these rules can very rapidly become an impediment, and have a nefarious or disruptive action on either the quality of the database or the work of other editors.

MusicBrainz (like similar collaborative projects) has no "external" regulation mean or banning process to handle such behaviors.

How to make it work: a self policing community

Mitigating bad behavior and its impact on the database is a simple matter of weight. This (very simple) idea relies on the community capacity to actually organize and react as a whole against what is usually (very) isolated individuals.

Hence one of the objectives of this page is to provide a tool for the community to actually mobilize, track and handle such problems with as much efficiency as possible in order to achieve this self-policing process and grow better.

Attention.png Please note that this page is not meant to list casual disagreements, personality clashes, or even occasional trolls between old-timers (such conflicts, past the "hot" point, usually resolve through peaceful discussion and don't require a more formal intervention), but people who clearly (and most times violently) demonstrate their unwillingness to comply to the CodeOfConduct and act in a decent manner.

Common abuse cases and how to handle them for editors

Aggravation, insults

Don't fall for that... as displeasing as being insulted can be, always try to not sink as low as them, and keep a civil tone. Don't let this turn you out from (fair) commenting and voting on their edits, though.

Please also remember this is a pluri-cultural community, with a lot of non-native English speakers - some things you might find insulting may not be meant that way, and even a couple of harsh words in a heated argument don't qualify as abuse. We don't seek sterilization through political correctness...

On the other hand, people knowingly and regularly insulting others are definitely considered a nuisance and should be reported below (specially not tolerable are racist and sexist comments).

  • Example: the editor thedcm was notorious for his unique style...

Use of phony accounts

Some people think that creating multiple accounts is a convenient way to have their own edits passed. If you suspect such a behavior, first check if they are complete newcomers - if this is the case, and if they didn't really meant bad, warning them and pointing out the CodeOfConduct is usually enough.

Just as above though, this is usually not acceptable, and should be reported below once identified. If you want to help in having these under control, you may subscribe to all the editor's accounts, and review each applied edits. Usually, if such an applied edit (through the use of phony accounts) is not correct, you will receive help from others to revert it.

Grudge no-vote

Some people can't stand comments or votes, and react in a childish manner by voting no on the voter's own edits for no other apparent reason than "getting back at them". They may even use additional phony accounts to make the edits in question fail.

The solution to that is quite simple. Obviously report such a behavior here, and help out "the victims" by giving them an "equity yes vote" (that's a yes vote meant only to counter-act the grudge no-vote, with the same lack of consideration for the essence of the edit itself) - be sure to comment your vote and state it's an "equity yes" so that the global voting remains fair.

  • Example: the editor grosnombril (among other things) no voted other people very quickly in his career

Stubborn and repeated actions

Some editors have a very specific "desire" to "sort out" a piece of data into a shape that fits their view while blatantly going against MusicBrainz principles.

If they are newcomers obviously, you should really first try to discuss with them and point out to the relevant parts of the documentation. Though, some people won't stop and will keep trying editing even after numerous explanations. They should be listed here so that others can subscribe to them and prevent the bad edits to come through.

  • Example: the editor siren313 became quite legendary for being overly possessive over the artist name "Apraxia".

Editors currently spotted as abusers

Attention.png PLEASE keep in mind this is not meant as a police tool, and that its purpose is definitely not to turn away people that could actually learn and become peers contributors. Before adding someone here, please be sure they "qualify" and that the problem is a real one, and not a simple cultural misunderstanding.

  • morisimo / missbeks / tubster / benjani - Blatant sock puppetry (which the perpetrator admits, he 'did not want to wait'). The latter three accounts created solely to vote through edits made by the first. Editor seems recalcitrant and happy to learn, and promises not to do it again, but probably bears watching for a while.