Users of MusicBrainz and the members of the StyleCouncil put some great efforts in working out detailed StyleGuidelines, which state how data should be formatted. Since we stress these guidelines, people often get the impression that there is a rule that says: "Always follow the style guidelines".
But this is not true. Instead you should stick to this principle.
The Style Principles
If you ask yourself in what style something should be entered into MusicBrainz, the following rules apply in this order (strongest on top):
- Follow Artist Intent.
- If 1 is not applicable, follow Strong Guidelines.
- If neither 1 nor 2 are applicable, use Consistent Original Data.
- If none of 1, 2 nor 3 are applicable, follow the Style Guidelines.
This can also be explained from the bottom upwards:
- (4) Usually you stick to the Style Guidelines.
- (3) If, however, something is consistently labelled in a different style on official sources, then this classifies as Consistent Original Data and overrules the Style Guidelines. Note that you need to provide some evidence for Consistent Original Data (ideally in the EditNote), or your edits will most likely be voted down.
- (2) There are, however, some Strong Guidelines, which overrule even such consistent official style. An example is the Abbreviation Style, which states that most abbreviations are to be spelled out.
- (1) Finally there is the notion of Artist Intent. If you can show that the artist intended something to be stylized a special way, then you should enter it like that into the database. Since it is somewhat difficult to find out what the artist intended and there might be controversial views, it is a good practice to discuss this in Edit Notes or on the Users Mailing List.