Proposal:User Tags Standards

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UserTags Standards

Since the 2007-10-14 server release added support for tagging, I propose we use this page to help track of different types of tags. If everyone uses the same (more or less) tags to express something, they would be much more useful in the future.

Don't hesitate to add your ideas here, we'll dig through and clean up this page later if it becomes messy. Let every idea be known now, before the database if filled with ten kinds of different "i-own-this" tags.

Generic ideas

  • Tags should be always singular, except where the plural is clearly different in meaning. (Eg, if you tag and album with some property of the tracks, don't use a plural. Example: instrumental and remix, not instrumentals and remixes.)
  • Accordingly, minimize any other grammar features. Don't use a genitive 's' if you don't really need to. (Eg. Metallica not Metallica's, if you want to associate something with that band.)
  • Try to make every tag as brief as possible, and document here tags that you think are useful.

Generic ideas discussion

Personally I prefer to tag a band like 'Me First and the Gimme Gimmes' with 'covers' instead of 'cover' since they only make covers, the band itself isn't a cover. Because of this saying that tags should always be singular is not sufficient imho -- Prodoc 11:54, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

  • This also applies to "instrumental(s)". For tracks, the tag would be singular, but a release or an artist might take the plural form. I don't think we can really enforce a rule in this regard. --ArtySmokes
    • Well, I did say it's OK to use variations where they're clearly different in meaning, and of course there may be other cases. In the case of "instrumental" I think it's more useful to have both tracks and releases tagged with the singular; in fact, I prefer that whenever the meaning is the same, which is most of the case. Even though grammatically it isn't perfect, it helps (IMO) to have things that mean the same (eg, "played without singers") under the same tag. Now, in the case of "cover" I'm not so sure, I'll have to think about it a bit. It would work as singular because we'll get everything cover-related on a single tag, but there's also the confusion with the other meanings of "cover" (eg, on an album it might refer to cover art). I dunno. Bogdanb


Tags that are useful to describe ownership of the music. These might be useful in tracking who owns a certain release, for example to ask them to check a detail on the track-list. Other uses might be suggested.

  • owned – put this tag on albums that you own. Can also be put on individual tracks if you don't own the whole album (eg, tracks from iTunes).
  • wanted – add this to releases you want; someone might offer to sell you a copy, etc.

I was also considering things like "owned-digital", "owned-vinyl", "owned-cd", "owned-vinyl-unopened", to help collectors, but I'm afraid it might fragment/crowd the tag space. (Searching for "owned" won't retrieve "owned-vinyl", though technically it should. Could the developers tell us what do they think of a namespace thing; currently ":" is not allowed in tags; could we have "owned:digital" appear each time I look at tag "owned", but not at "digital"? Like a sort of prefix search. It would allow a lot of fun things. Of course, then there's feature creep, we might get to atrocities like "owned:(cd|vinyl:((95rmp&mint)|scratched)|cassette)", which would match searches for "owned", "owned:cd", "owned:vinyl", "owned:vinyl:mint", "owned:vinyl:95rpm", "owned:vinyl:95rpm&mint", "owned:vinyl:mint&95rpm", "owned:vinyl:scratched" (but not "owned:vinyl:good" nor "owned:vinyl:95rm&scratched") and "owned:cassette". But just a colon would be enough for 95% of the usage stuff.)

How much you like things

People might want to rate records, so I suggest a "standard" scale. Remember, the rating themselves are subjective, it's just nice to have a common scale (so you don't have to wonder if "rated-5" means that I like it or I hate it). Several suggestions:

Amarok's idea:

This one is nice because it's one-to-ten scale, and it's somewhat descriptive. This means (a) one can approximate the rating at once, without knowing the scale, and (b) having descriptions can help users to decide how much they like something. In contrast, an abstract number is harder to decide on. The bad part is that it's not intrinsically sorted, harder to make math on (of course, it can be easily converted to numbers), and you need to consult the list to remember less-often-used values.

  1. awful
  2. barely tolerable
  3. tolerable
  4. okay
  5. good
  6. very good
  7. excellent
  8. amazing
  9. favorite

Numeric rating:

Just label everything rating-1 to rating-10. Good thing is that it's immediately obvious, relatively easy to sort (except that nasty 1/10/2 thing), easy to remember. The bad parts are the opposites of those above. The worst of these is IMO the fact that it's not really clear what "rated-5" means; the difference between "okay" and "amazing" is relatively clear for any two people, but a 5-out-of-10 rating may mean good for some people but awful for others.

Also, I foresee flamewars on "should we have 10-points ratings, or 5-stars ratings"? BTW, this can work with "1-star",... "5-star", except that "." isn't allowed in tags, so we can't have "1.5 star", which I use a lot in Amarok.

This numeric stuff is also prone to people tagging stuff as "1000-star" or whatever, which might seem cute but it's actually unhelpful because it dilutes the tag pool. We could use something like "rated-A" through "rated-J", with the unfortunate problem that (a) we'll argue about how many letters to use, (b) when we're done arguing, new users will need to check it here to know the limits.

Ratings Discussion

  • I'm not sure this is a good idea to use tags for rating: RatingSystem, once finished, should be used for that. -- murdos 12:50, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
    • Personally, I fail to see any benefit in having ratings. What difference does it make if someone thinks an album is worth 5 stars, or 12 out of 10? For every record that someone loves, there are ten people who don't like it or have no interest. Rather than trying to gain a consensus on how ratings should work within the tagging system, I'd prefer them to be discouraged entirely. I mean, seeing "10 out of 10" on a record you've never heard isn't going to make you rush out and buy it. Just seeing "owned" (a great idea!) would be sufficient, as the reader can always ping owners for their thoughts. --ArtySmokes
      • Well, sure, except I might own a record and hate it :). As I mentioned in a mail discussion, tags are nice because they don't necessarily need to be created for people to read them. (Not all of them, for instance.) With a bit of standardization a lot of nice things can be done with algorithms, like finding similarity between artists, automatic suggestions, and a ton of things I didn't think of yet. It doesn't mean we should all start tagging things according to what each one likes; who's not interested can just ignore them. BTW, I could make an Amarok plugin that submits the ratings I already have in my collection (lots of them), and when a few thousand people do that it can get interesting. But it won't work if everyone uses a different system. Bogdanb


Not much here, but I was thinking about tagging artists by what they (usually) do. For instance, Bruce Dickinson is mostly a vocalist, but Slash is mostly a guitarist. Many modern artists (like those mentioned before) compose/write lyrics for their bands' albums, which is reflected on their "appears on" pages, but they're not composers. Only classical-like composers would be tagged composer. Also, although I'm sure Mozart was an excellent pianist (and more), he would be tagged primarily composer. Someone like Richard Clayderman might have composed some pieces (don't know), but he would be primarily a pianist. Disputes could be solved by tag frequency.

What do you guys think?

  • Tags could be used to replace InternationalArtists by using tags "french", "german", "dutch", ... -- murdos 12:50, 16 October 2007 (UTC)


This is too much for this page, I'm sure the wiki will bloom with detailed multi-page hierarchies of stuff. But it might be nice establish some informal guidelines, in the interest of consistency. Things like separators–"death-metal" or "death metal", etc.

Some things might be easier to standardize than other. For instance, the song tag metal ballad might be relatively easy to agree on. Artist tags like baroque and neo-classical might be easy to add to some artists (and a relatively small and sane hierarchy built; please link it here if you create one). Things like fugue and allegro, and other many classical terms are probably much easier to define and agree on (among those in the know) than things like "melodic death metal ballad"...

Genre Discussion

There is no artist in the world that likes to be pigeonholed, although genre tags are useful for marketing purposes. Every listener has an individual idea of musical style, and generic terms are not quite uniform across the globe. (One man's rock is another woman's soul). If we can't have a drop-down list akin to the (weird) list found in most mp3 players, then the tag clouds might get very large. It might be fun allowing people to tag things however they like (I enjoy coining new names for genres ;)), but it could look quite unprofessional too. Is it possible that a list of "acceptable" genres could be posted somewhere? --ArtySmokes

  • Sure it's possible, if someone is willing to do it :) I suggest adding a few separate hierarchies, like UserTagsStandars/Genres/Classical, UserTagsStandars/Genres/Rock (including metal and stuff), [[[User Tags Standars|UserTagsStandars]]/Genres/Pop], etc. It's OK if there's some overlap between those (eg, nu-metal could go in both rock and rap), we can just put them in both hierarchies (well, graphs rather than trees, probably). Bogdanb

Vocal Language

We currently record the written language of the album and track titles in the language/script fields, but there is no way to identify the vocal language. This is useful knowledge, so for the time being it can be recorded on each track with folksonomy tagging. The syntax is vocal-lang-xxx where xxx is the ISO 639-3 language code. These codes can be found via Wikipedia or Ethnologue.

Existing vocal language tags:


What else do you think tags would be useful for?

  • instrumental – for instrumental tracks or releases -- OutsideContext
  • "needs attention: norwegian-speaker", "needs attention: hangul-reader", "needs attention: csg expert", "needs attention: jazz expert", etc. -- BrianSchweitzer 16:20, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
  • future release — I'll put this on releases that are entered before the release date; they can be checked periodically then. In the future we may get a search query that finds releases tagged future release that have the release date before today, which will help too. Bogdanb
  • Tagging a whole series of labels/artists/releases that are in a group, I realized something else tags could be used for. Check the "trailer music" tag. Couldn't tags be used to do away with all these tedious to update, annoying to even exist, series wiki pages? "series: MultiMaxiUber Music Series" and so on? -- BrianSchweitzer 07:01, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Good point, though we'll need to use a dash instead of a colon. I've tried this for the Café del Mar series, using the tag series-café del mar. It's not bad and it's quick, but in this case the wiki page is still useful IMO, as it can contain grouping and other info.
    • I noticed - noticed that issue too. Perhaps if we instead had some way to automate releases being added to series wiki pages? Ie, series wiki page sets its tag to "series-foo". Every release now which is tagged "series-foo" gets added to a "new and unsorted releases" subsection, where someone can later clean it out and move it wherever it belongs... Would let us use the power of both, without any of the gruntwork. -- BrianSchweitzer 18:58, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
      • My personal taste would be to have "series" written at the end of the tag (e.g. "cafe del mar series") or not included at all. Things like "ministry of sound" (or even "mos"), "now", and "multimaxiuber" would be self-explanatory, I would think. (It would be nice if there was automation with wiki, but I think we have to wait and see if it is really necessary). --ArtySmokes
    I have started using series-daytrotter session for all of the Daytrotter Sessions. It is a lot easier than trying to continually update this never ending series on a wiki page. The only major issue I have is that you don't get a artist column on the tag details page. So at the moment, it is kind of useless, but if we ever get to some standard on series, then it should be easier to scrape. --coeus Template:DateTime