Swing DJ’s Album & Song Data Base

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Toon Town Dave
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#46 Post by Toon Town Dave » Wed Dec 15, 2004 3:24 pm

Yeah Nate, that's kind of what I was invisioning. We already have this to a degree when we discuss favorite albums, just in a much less structured fashion. I would see the album review project to be a natural extension of that line of discussion.

There is little value in duplicating what already exists (AMG, CDDB/freedb).

AMG has reviews, as do amazon and others. Reviews are a very subjective thing and we look at critiquing base on DJing for a Lindy Hop/swing dance audience so I see some value in maintaining our own. Also, track-by-track mini-reviews are useful if for no other reason than to add additional subjective comments such as "has long undanceable drum solo at 3:22".

In terms of the review process, I'd rather see multiple independent reviews as opposed to comments on existing reviews available for an album. I think it was Katie that mentioned early on we should make sure the reviewer is known, combine that with a cross-link to see reviews of other albums be the same reviewer (an idea I like from one of the sites Rob linked to) and you can form an opinion of the reviewer's tastes.

Do we want comments on reviews, multiple reviews or both?

Also, something to think about, do we want any member to post albums, reviews or comments? Should it be moderated (requires moderator approval before being committed to the database) or allow moderation after the fact (like the current discussions)?

Nate Dogg
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#47 Post by Nate Dogg » Wed Dec 15, 2004 3:41 pm

I agree, sorry if I was unclear on one point.

I was not trying to imply that we should review the reviews.

So, whether we want them to or not, reviews will influence future reviews. That is why I used Lou Rawls as an example, he is a polarizing figure on this board. That album is considered esstential by many DJs, others consider it a poster child for the kind of music they wish was less common in the scene. I think reviews will influence future reviews, but they don't need to reference each other, in fact, they should not.

One way to keep the database cleaner (less dupes, more standardized*) is to task a small committee the initial entry of albums/songs. The vast majority of users could stay focused on adding reviews or submitting albums to the committee (submitted with an initial review).


* Examples of Standardization issues
"Corner Pocket" vs. "Corner Pocket (Until I Met You)"
"In a Mellotone" vs. "In a Mellow Tone"
"Slim and Slam" vs. "Slim Gaillard and Slam Stewart"
and so on...

Toon Town Dave
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#48 Post by Toon Town Dave » Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:51 pm

Hmm, I don't really like the idea of a commitee, that means a few people have to do work to maintain the site. I'd like to think about alternatives to reduce the amount of moderating/management.

I have two ideas to solve the consistency issue:

Option 1) Create a cross-reference of aliases so if someone enters a recording credited to "Count Basie and his Orchestra" and someone else comes along searching for "Count Basie Orchestra" the cross reference will map the results and treat them as synonyms. We'd probably need to maintain at least 3 alias tables, titles, artists and songs.

Option 2) When adding an album or recording check the database for similar tract, artist, titles, etc. Alert the submitter to the similar information, prompt to ignore or replace names/titles or cancel the submission based on the suggested similar entries. This would not eliminate dups but could reduce them.

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#49 Post by Ron » Mon Dec 20, 2004 5:08 pm

Reviews are a lot of work, and my reviews didn't attempt populating any complex database. Keep it simple, I think. If writing on-line reviews was easy, more of you guys would have done it or would be doing it now. You wouldn't need someone to make a system for you, you'd just be writing reviews and rating CDs and songs right now! What will be different to inspire more people to write on-line reviews once this application is written? Maybe its the ability to have competing reviews, and average ratings.

But if people really want to take this and run, more power to them. It could work. But someone has to own it and organize it and pay for it, and that's no small job.

My thoughts/proposed requirements.

1. Restrict its use to swing DJs, on an honor basis. Allow anyone can register as one, but they have to have a valid email and have filled out a profile "about me". This hopefully prevents people people from multi-voting. Alternatively, restrict the application's use to people accepted/validated by one or more administrators. There are lots of problems with public databases like this all over the internet that you'll have to be aware of. I can see people going in and rating CDs 5 out of 5, just because they thought its average was unnecesarily low, and they took it upon themselves to force it to be more realistic. I can see reviews like "This sucks" and 0/5 ratings, which obviously won't add any value. Or someone might come in and abuse the open database privileges and screw everything up.
2. Make the primary format simple, like Nate said. Maybe anyone can enter a new review item with a minimal number of required fields, like Song or album ID, "Name", "artist/band". And then each review is equal and again, has minimal number of required fields, like "reviewer name", "listenability rating", "danceability rating" and "comment" (100 character minimum. You'll get higher participation with fewer number of required fields. Maybe even the comment could be optional.
3. Have the review item be a specific album or song. So there might be 10 reviews of different recorded versions of "Splanky". Maybe someone later adds cross-references.
4. Make the item database fields (not the comment fields) open to anyone registered to edit, so if someone wants to come along and add more database fields to someone's review, they can. Like adding a track list, BPMs, composer, original performer, etc. Or someone can realize that someone's Song review is on another person's CD review and tie them together. Or someone fixes the name, or adds alternate CD title names. Maybe only administrators can tie two items together, if its determined it is the exact same recording.
5. I used a rating of 1-5 for listenability and 1-5 for danceability, so naturally, I would suggest that be the rating system.
6. Have an automatic database backup method. Almost goes without saying.
7. Allow people to update their own comments. Or delete their own comments.
8. Have a consolidated rating field that averages all of the reviewers ratings.
9. Have a "top CDs" and "top songs" feature.
10. The root song and album ID should be some standard (I don't know what that is, but everyone would need to use that standard, to attempt to avoid duplicates)
11. The administrators have the power to fix people's mistakes in entering such things as the root song or album ID.
12. Have good method of listing reviews by various sort methods.
13. Have various good search methods.

Those are some random thoughts.

Toon Town Dave
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#50 Post by Toon Town Dave » Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:46 pm

Excellent thoughts. Keep 'em coming!

I totally agree with the KIS(S) principle. I see this system bringing two things to the table that address this.
1) The user interface will abstract the details of HTML coding, databases and all that messy stuff from average users (only the development team needs to deal with the details.
2) We already have informal reviews embedded within the current forums. This would provide a more structured approach so it's a little easier to use.

As for entering the data and preventing duplication, that's definitely an area we need to think about. I think there are some good suggestions to seed the database with stuff a lot of DJs have in electronic form already. I have a couple of ideas to try and catch duplication when stuff is entered but it still relies on the submitter to recognize the dup so some moderator attention is required.

I like your top CDs idea Ron. That's kind of along the line of what's the best Ellington (or whoever) CD sort of discussions. Attaching ratings to that sort of discussion could give a decent indicator (if every one rates it high, it must be good :) ).

Having the info in a database bring searching, sorting and filtering almost for free. A relational database does bring the ID's but I generally like to hide that detail from the end user. From my experience even simple ID's confuse users very quickly.

Some people have mentioned that some reviewers may rate things quite differently because of their differing tastes in music (eg Greg and Reuben would probably rate the same stuff quite differently). What about a feature where a viewer can select which ratings to include/exclude from the computation of an average? I'd probably leave this out until version 2 but does anyone see any value in such a feature?

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#51 Post by kitkat » Mon Dec 20, 2004 9:48 pm

Toon Town Dave wrote:What about a feature where a viewer can select which ratings to include/exclude from the computation of an average? I'd probably leave this out until version 2 but does anyone see any value in such a feature?
I think that might be a little overboard--how about just letting us see a username next to each rating that went into the average?

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#52 Post by Haydn » Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:11 am


... So, did anything ever come of this idea?

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#53 Post by Haydn » Wed Feb 18, 2009 10:22 am

Perhaps not then? :wink:

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#54 Post by straycat » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:23 am

Haydn wrote:Perhaps not then? :wink:
Mmm. It occurs to me that in many ways, I'm in an ideal position to do something like this. I wonder if I have even the remotest chance of finding the time....