Artists' control of their output at Mefi Music June 22, 2009 5:26 AM   Subscribe

I have a fairly radical idea, concerning MeFi Music, which I'd like to run up the flagpole. You know, see if anyone salutes it.

The idea is this: people who submit songs to MetaFilter Music would retain the option of removing them at any time, much like people can do with their videos at YouTube, or the soundfiles that music bloggers make available for downloading through their blogs. This would encourage more people, I believe, to post music here. Why do I think this? Well...

Musicians may want to share their output on a temporary basis, as opposed to forever, for any number of reasons. One is that they may want to put something out there that's not "finished", in order to get a little feedback, 15 minutes of fame, whatever, but they might not want that music sitting there on the web for all time. Another reason might be that the song he/she posted to MeFiMu is suddenly up for consideration by some label (and that might include a self-release by the artist himself) that doesn't want a free version sitting there on the net. Or maybe, hey, come the light of day, that masterpiece that sounded so good after your third bowl (I'm talking cereal, of course) isn't something you want to have people listening to after you're dead. Or before. Or ever.

I also think that having such a system in place might increase the listenership at Mefi Music. Why? Well, take the model of music blogs: people know to stop by regularly to their favorite music blogs to see what's on offer for listening or downloading, because they know it won't be there forever. If people think something is going to be there forever, no risk of missing anything, they're often less likely to visit regularly, and are actually often likely to forget about it. It's not necessarily a good thing, therefore, for people to know that everything will always be there at MeFiMu.

Now, chances are, the majority of posts to MeFiMu would be there forever, and that's great. But wouldn't it be a good thing, for the reasons I've outlined above, if the people who generously provide the free music to MeFiMu could also have the option of removing it, if they want to or need to?
posted by flapjax at midnite to Feature Requests at 5:26 AM (135 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I've had at least two songs of mine removed by a mod. All it took was an email.
posted by item at 5:28 AM on June 22, 2009


I hear you, Item. But I'm envisioning a built-in delete button (again, like YouTube) so that this would be an easily doable thing, no need to trouble the busy mods.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:38 AM on June 22, 2009


I support the idea, flaxjax, if only because I believe that whatever an artist has created is theirs to do with as they please, be it to giveth, or taketh away.

Even if it is as easy as an e-mail to a mod, I think it does innately remove a bit of the control an artist has over his or her IP if they don't just get to delete away without, essentially, asking a mods permission.

That said, this is Metafilter and we have something of a community contract whereby what we do here is attached to our usernames and that is the username's history. I think because of this there may be some resistance (hell, look at the resistance to the 3 minute comment edit window feature).

In short, I support the idea, but I suspect we won't be saluting this flag any time soon.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:44 AM on June 22, 2009


I think this is a good idea, not just for the IP reasons, but also for promotional reasons.

However, there'd need to be some thought about what happens when the song is deleted. Do all the comments go away, etc?
posted by Pants! at 5:55 AM on June 22, 2009


I agree Flapjax - and it seems like the proto-community that's developing over in Me-Mu is mutating, if that's the word I want, into something that's straining at the edges of the petri-dish. Seems like this is a small technical change that would have a measurable positive effect on the community - but at the same time, it sets Me-Mu even further down the road of being its own strain - distinct in several ways from MeFi itself.

(Mind you, the same could be said for AskMe, I suppose.)

Also: Yeast metaphors are awesome.
posted by Jofus at 5:55 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


...we have something of a community contract whereby what we do here is attached to our usernames and that is the username's history.

I hear that too, but I think that submissions of music are inherently very different from other activities at the other MetaFilter sites. They are creative output, on a level beyond, say, a comment, or a post to the blue that points to someone else's website. Music posted to MeFiMu also has a (potential) dimension involving commerce and livelihood, and that's a huge difference.

I think people would be willing to allow for a somewhat different approach, then, from the other sites, if they take these points into consideration.

what happens when the song is deleted. Do all the comments go away, etc.

Well, they wouldn't necessarily have to... I suppose there could be an option to simply delete the audiofile, leaving everything else intact. Kind of like a dead link in a MeFi post. Lord knows there's a million of those, but the posts and comments remain, nonetheless.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:09 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think this is a great idea.

"However, there'd need to be some thought about what happens when the song is deleted. Do all the comments go away, etc?"

I think it would just be closed (like a Blue post is closed after a month), with a comment up at the top in a clear comment box (like the mods use when they delete a post, but in this case generated automatically) which says "This song was removed by the original poster".
posted by Bugbread at 6:11 AM on June 22, 2009


Seems like a no-brainer. After all, it's their own music. And it's hardly "radical" since it'd just be automating something that can already be done by emailing the mods.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:15 AM on June 22, 2009


...it's hardly "radical" since it'd just be automating something that can already be done by emailing the mods.

To clarify, the use of 'radical' didn't refer to the technical aspect of this idea, which could of course be easily implemented, but rather the cultural aspect of this idea. For the culture of MetaFilter, it is actually pretty radical.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:23 AM on June 22, 2009


Seems like a no-brainer. After all, it's their own music.

Respectfully, I hope that this won't be implemented for the same reasons that it has not been implemented on the other MetaFilter isotopes. Once you post something, and it is responded to, whether it is a comment, a link, or a song, it ceases to be precisely yours, and the ability to remove your part of it could be detrimental to the community, which is really what this is all about.

I suspect that the 'email a mod' method will work in extreme cases. Other than that I think once it's out there, it's out there.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:42 AM on June 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ah, thanks for the clarification. Strictly within Metafilter, it is radical to be able to delete your own content. In the grand scheme of things, it's not particularly radical for someone who uploads their own song to the web, on a DIY basis (with no record label involved or anything), to be able to delete the song later on.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:42 AM on June 22, 2009


Once you post something, and it is responded to, whether it is a comment, a link, or a song, it ceases to be precisely yours, and the ability to remove your part of it could be detrimental to the community, which is really what this is all about.

But presumably the mods don't completely buy into that analysis? Otherwise, why would they delete songs upon a simple email request?
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:44 AM on June 22, 2009


People who write clever words retain complete control over the distribution of their words by not posting them on websites that are available for free to everyone and are run by people who aren't themselves.

If artists want to retain complete control over the distribution of their music, they should post it on their own website. Or better yet, don't post it anywhere on the Internet. Keep it locked in a drawer on MiniDisc.

(Or whatever. This isn't a terribly terrible idea. I just like the fact that when something is on MetaFilter, it's there forever. Dead links make me sad.)
posted by Plutor at 6:52 AM on June 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


flapjax at midnite: I suppose there could be an option to simply delete the audiofile, leaving everything else intact. Kind of like a dead link in a MeFi post. Lord knows there's a million of those, but the posts and comments remain, nonetheless.

This would definitely be the best option.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:55 AM on June 22, 2009


Or better yet, don't post it anywhere on the Internet. Keep it locked in a drawer on MiniDisc.

Your sarcasm is really uncalled for and frankly offensive.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:00 AM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Support this suggestion wholeheartedly. I suppose the alternative to votive buttons or emails to mods is simply that uploaded music only stays on the site for a set period before being automatically deleted. This way the artists know that it's a time-limited freebie but the MeFi cultural aspect does retain some integrity. Everone knows that there's only a comparitively short window when stuff can be accessed, and it could inject a bit of heat into the situation. Which would be cool. I agree with flapjax's general rationale, for what my view's worth.

Have to say, with due respect, that I disagree strongly with dirtdirt's view that "..a song...ceases to be precisely yours" once uploaded. This seems to me to stem from a certain philosophical perspective on "freedom" of the web, which is, in fact, misplaced in this particular context. The copyright in the sound recordings and music/lyric rests with the composer and/or artist - or publisher or label in certain cases. As the owner of the work, it is legally a matter for them to decide what is or is not done with a piece. That's why pro musicians (and not just the accountants) get so steamed up about illegal downloading of material. If I had to earn my living this way, I'd be pretty pissed off too....
posted by MajorDundee at 7:08 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


"the ability to remove your part of it could be detrimental to the community, which is really what this is all about. "

The archives are absolutely FILLED with dead links, but I haven't seen that they have been detrimental to the community. It's the kind of thing that sounds like it might be detrimental to the community, but in real life isn't.

"If artists want to retain complete control over the distribution of their music, they should post it on their own website. Or better yet, don't post it anywhere on the Internet. Keep it locked in a drawer on MiniDisc."

Yes, that is currently the case. If an artist wants complete control over their own output, they shouldn't put it on the internet at all. If they want some control, they should put it on their own website, but not MeMu. But we're not talking about the current case. We're talking about changing that case, such that if an artist wants complete control, they should keep their music locked in a drawer, and if they want some control, they should post it on their own website or on MeMu.

You can't argue "We shouldn't change X to be Y" by saying "X currently isn't Y". That's a tautology, not an argument.
posted by Bugbread at 7:09 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I saluted this flag until I realized the second idea is to create an artificial scarcity to attract customers. I'm not so sure about the morality of that, let alone the effectiveness.

But I agree that the person who posts the song should be able to delete it if they so desire.
posted by DU at 7:12 AM on June 22, 2009


As someone who likes to trawl the archives of MefiMusic, I'm not so thrilled about this. Also: what happens if a deleted song was used in a podcast? Could the musician ask for the podcast to be taken down?

Flapjax, what would you think if instead of removing the song, there were merely a button that allowed users to stop downloads of the song? Then, the song could still be streamed on the site and user playlists wouldn't be broken, but the artist would retain some control over the distribution of their music.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:20 AM on June 22, 2009


I recently asked to have a song removed because I didn't retain any ownership or a ASCAP writer credit. I think for reasons like this, it is a good idea.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:21 AM on June 22, 2009


I never thought I would see someone requesting that MetaFilter become more like YouTube.

So this is what it's like when doves cry.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:28 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This seems to me to stem from a certain philosophical perspective on "freedom" of the web, which is, in fact, misplaced in this particular context.

Then I was not clear enough because my misgivings have absolutely nothing to do with any sort of file sharing/"music wants to be free"/RIAA/copyright anything. At all. The way MetaFilter works, for me, is that someone posts something, and someone responds, and someone responds to that and so forth and so on, and to remove any link in that chain of conversation is to affect everybody's subsequequent contribution, which sucks.

Regardless, by posting a song you are inviting a conversation based on it, and that conversation belongs to all the participants, and I do not think it is right to facilitate one of those participants removing their portion. Particularly if it is the initial thing (in this case the song) that is the ball they are taking home.

I understand that shit happens and things change, and I am OK with modly interaction in those cases, but I think a big button to do it yourself is a bad idea.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:29 AM on June 22, 2009


Also: what happens if a deleted song was used in a podcast? Could the musician ask for the podcast to be taken down?

No, I wouldn't suggest that, definitely not. I think that'd be impractical to say the least, and unfair to everyone else who had anything to do with the podcast in question.

Flapjax, what would you think if instead of removing the song, there were merely a button that allowed users to stop downloads of the song? Then, the song could still be streamed on the site and user playlists wouldn't be broken, but the artist would retain

I'm really very keen on artists at MeFiMu having the ability to remove an audiofile entirely, since downloadability is just one factor we're talking about here.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:31 AM on June 22, 2009


no need to trouble the busy mods.

Just chiming in to say that I don't have strong opinions on the "remove my music" option but it's really no trouble for us to remove music.

My concerns are that people would view music submissions as somehow "temporary" with this feature and so they'd toss something up there with the assumption they could just take it down at any time. People who commented or who left feedback wound find these comments gone [or the link dead] and to my mind it would create a discontinuinty. We strongly urge people to not use AskMe for this reason [the "hey I asked a question but now it's answered and I don't want it to be there anymore" situation] because it means that people who contributed answers sort of feel used in a way. I'm not saying there is a parallel in MeFiMu, in fact I don't think there is one, but I don't want to see this sort of thing happening a lot.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:40 AM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty conflicted about this, to be honest. I totally see what you're getting at, and all the reasons for wanting that are absolutely justified, but... it's not just a music posting site. It's MetaFilter, and I know that for me, being able to post my music specifically on a community blog that I've loved and cherished for so long is a major appeal. And given that, MeFi has some deeply ingrained notions about content property that I've always really admired, and I'm not sure I'd want an exception to that for Music.
posted by ORthey at 7:42 AM on June 22, 2009


The difference between emailing the mods to remove a song and having that feature built in to the site sets up very different expectations about what MeFi music is all about. I like the idea as proposed above. It's interesting, and would probably encourage me to check out the Music side more, knowing that there is incentive to stay current. I do wonder what it does for the ability to download the song though. I wouldn't have survived last year without Flyball's Lament on my iPod in the car.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:55 AM on June 22, 2009


Otherwise, why would they delete songs upon a simple email request?

because they don't own the copyright of the song - see the bottom of this and every other page

"All posts are © their original authors."

applying this to comments would be a real can of worms, so i won't go there, but it's clear to me that musicians need to retain their rights and that includes having songs removed

i'm not sure that it would be a good idea to allow people to do it by pressing a button on the page - people should realize that this isn't something to be done casually

i'm really against the idea of having things automatically removed after x amount of time, unless of course, there's some kind of storage problem that makes that necessary
posted by pyramid termite at 7:56 AM on June 22, 2009


I do wonder what it does for the ability to download the song though

Well, if the audio file is removed, the idea is that that's the end of its downloadability. While it's there, it's downloadable, once it's gone, it's not.

i'm really against the idea of having things automatically removed after x amount of time...

Oh, me too. That idea appeared in a comment upthread as some sort of hypothetical situation, but I'm not suggesting that at all. I wouldn't like that one little bit!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:02 AM on June 22, 2009


Upon further reflection, and a cup of coffee, I think the reason this idea worries me a bit boils down to this: the inner perfectionist in me cringes at the thought of empty/broken/missing music links. MeMusic is such an amazing, supportive, positive, welcoming, kick-ass little community, one that inspires me nearly daily. I've said it before, but it's like the open mic version of a website, but not that shitty open mic where everyone is drinking beers at the bar and no one is listening; no, the open mic where everyone sits quiety, listens attentively to every song, and the first person to play doesn't just get up and leave with all his friends after his set.

That said, our ever-growing archive is like a fine collection of comic books. Well-worn, read dozens of times, lent out, dog-eared - and when you find one missing, you sort of freak out a little. I don't want holes in the MeMu record, I guess. The song randomizer is one of my best friends on the internet, and I don't want to come across songs that aren't there.

There, my analogies are done. I swear.
posted by ORthey at 8:03 AM on June 22, 2009


I am opposed to making it easier to delete the songs. If you want a space where it is easy to delete your contributions, you should post it on your own web site.
posted by grouse at 8:08 AM on June 22, 2009


I think it's a good idea for what it's worth. We threw Music together pretty fast and never thought out every crazy long-term aspect of it. I think we should offer removal on demand (with the knowledge that it's a no-undo, nuclear option). I have had friends get record deals (and even one mefi member if I remember correctly) and they had to go and remove every instance of their old pre-deal stuff.

We should also introduce things like embedding (like YouTube does) options where anyone that spots the song can post some javascript to their blog and share the song with more people. Every time I hear an amazing song I wish I could embed a copy of it instead of just posting a link to it and telling everyone to go listen to it.

I guess we should float that embed idea into Music Talk as well, and see what other features musicians could use that are specific to the Music site that we might have overlooked.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:09 AM on June 22, 2009 [8 favorites]


Oh man, I would LOVE to have an embedding option. LOVE.
posted by ORthey at 8:12 AM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Musicians may want to share their output on a temporary basis,

How is that different from any other contribution to the site?
One is that they may want to put something out there that's not "finished", in order to get a little feedback, 15 minutes of fame, whatever, but they might not want that music sitting there on the web for all time.

How is that different from any other contribution to the site?

suddenly up for consideration by some label

Of course if I just say "How is that different from any other contribution to the site" people will wonder about my sanity, but.. Well, lots of people post things which might impact their future employability, for example. So, how is that different from any other contribution to the site?

Or maybe, hey, come the light of day, that masterpiece that sounded so good after your third bowl (I'm talking cereal, of course) isn't something you want to have people listening to after you're dead. Or before. Or ever.

Really? How is that different from any other contribution to the site?!?!?
posted by Chuckles at 8:14 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Argh. An embedding option combined with a "delete my song" option makes my brain hurt. But, I reckon when number one thinks it's a go, it's a go. So, OK!
posted by dirtdirt at 8:15 AM on June 22, 2009


I think it's a good idea for what it's worth. We threw Music together pretty fast and never thought out every crazy long-term aspect of it. I think we should offer removal on demand...

WOO-HOO! Mathowie speaks! And YAY to embedding option! This bodes well for the future of MetaFilter Music, I believe.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:16 AM on June 22, 2009


Emailing a mod is just about the teensiest barrier to removal it's possible to have, flapjax. I really don't think another solution is justified. I would just add a note to the first music post page:

"Thank you for sharing your music! If you ever want to remove it, use the contact form at the bottom of the page to notify the mods and they will be happy to do so."

Also, I always thought music blogs that made posts temporary did so out of fear of copyright lawyers, not to artificially drive more hits. I agree with DU that it feels kind of questionable when there's not a legal reason to do so.
posted by mediareport at 8:17 AM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Er, never mind.
posted by mediareport at 8:18 AM on June 22, 2009


Really? How is that different from any other contribution to the site?!?!?

With all due respect, I think it's very different.
Not better or more important or whatever, just really different.
When you post a song, that song also exists on its own; has a life independent of the site. The song isn't a comment on something in a Metafilter thread (for obvious exceptions, see cortex's catalog.)
An analogy I often think of is that your song is like a picture of yourself. And you think, "hey, I look pretty good in that picture" and you post it. But time goes by and you realize that you kind of had a bit of a mullet in that picture or you were wearing eyeliner because it was 1985 or something. I think it would be nice to have the option to nuke it, although I'd probably never use it.
Sort of like how when we post our profile pictures it doesn't say, "you better love this picture because you can NEVER change it."
posted by chococat at 8:32 AM on June 22, 2009


Music posted to MeFiMu also has a (potential) dimension involving commerce and livelihood, and that's a huge difference.

Many members are independent contractors, writers, visual artists, and run other types of small business. Anyway..

Kind of like a dead link in a MeFi post.

Interesting.. I must say, I have an unfulfillable compulsion to fix the dead links in my contributions.
Well, technically it might actually be fulfillable, but.. Do I really want to be irritating/demanding enough to actually make it happen?

mathowie: I guess we should float that embed idea into Music Talk as well, and see what other features musicians could use that are specific to the Music site that we might have overlooked.

The <img> tag?
Yes, if irritating is the only way to bring images back to AskMe, I'm willing to do it.
posted by Chuckles at 8:33 AM on June 22, 2009


How is that different from any other contribution to the site?

Posting a recording of a song is different from any of the other types of site contributions because song recordings are actually sold and thus have more intrinsic value. A MeFi Music contributor might end up getting a song they posted on a compilation album or include it in one of their own releases, whereas no other contributions to MetaFilter could be directly used commercially as easily. And since writing/performing/recording a song is more difficult than posting something to another part of MetaFilter, the people who post to Music tend to be more serious about their contributions than someone writing a quick comment in one of the other areas. From a legal perspective all of the contributions on MetaFilter are protected by copyright but clearly there are differences in the kinds of issues that come up in providing a discussion forum and hosting music.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:40 AM on June 22, 2009


An analogy I often think of is that your song is like a picture of yourself. And you think, "hey, I look pretty good in that picture" and you post it. But time goes by and you realize that you kind of had a bit of a mullet in that picture or you were wearing eyeliner because it was 1985 or something.

All I can do is repeat myself, I'm afraid.. Really? In my opinion every contribution to this site goes to creating a metaphorical picture of the contributor.
posted by Chuckles at 8:41 AM on June 22, 2009


How is that different from any other contribution to the site?

those who make musical contributions are a lot more likely to need this sort of delete ability than others - and considering that so far, when we click on the button to upload, there's no legal language saying we've signed away our legal rights, legally we retain that right to have something removed, which i'm sure the mods realize
posted by pyramid termite at 8:43 AM on June 22, 2009


Thanks burnmp3s. Now we know that, unlike chococat, you do think that music contributions are better and more important.
posted by Chuckles at 8:43 AM on June 22, 2009


and considering that so far, when we click on the button to upload, there's no legal language saying we've signed away our legal rights, legally we retain that right to have something removed, which i'm sure the mods realize

Yes, well.. This aspect has been discussed at length in the past. My understanding is that mathowie has some prototype legal documents that he isn't entirely happy with for some reason (maybe just that he isn't entirely happy with the effect of releasing them?). My impression from those discussions was that users want Mefi to have perpetual in context right of use.
posted by Chuckles at 8:50 AM on June 22, 2009


My impression from those discussions was that users want Mefi to have perpetual in context right of use.

i haven't agreed to that where my music is concerned and legally, as it stands, it's my wishes that matter, not the users'

if you ever post any music to this site, you can sign away whatever rights you want to
posted by pyramid termite at 8:56 AM on June 22, 2009


Thanks burnmp3s. Now we know that, unlike chococat, you do think that music contributions are better and more important.

I didn't say either of those things, but feel free to argue against any of the things that I actually did say if you disagree with them. My position is that there are inherent differences between the intellectual property rights expectations and concerns on a music hosting subsite than a discussion forum subsite for the reasons I mentioned, and those differences can reasonably lead to different policies on those subsites. It's not as if MetaFilter is a single monolithic site that has a single policy across the board, because there are different rules, features and expectations in each subsite, so making the argument that all contributions are the same and should be treated the same way doesn't make sense to me.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:00 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


need this sort of delete ability

I think if you 'need' this sort of delete ability you probably shouldn't be posting it to MeMu, or anywhere.

Clearly, this is going to happen. And it will be fine. But it is, in Flapjax' terms, radical. I am not a frequent enough participant in MeMu to have a hugely vested interest in this, but the more divergent the structure of Music gets from MeFi the less interested apt I am to participate. One of the things that makes the fabric of MeFi work so well is the relative concreteness of the record. In my humble opinion. I think it is silly to take that away for no benefit.

As it stands if you get into a tight spot, a mod will delete for you, and it works. If you build that functionality in, it says clearly that the INTENT is for impermanence. And that is a very different mode to operate in.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:01 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


In my humble opinion. I think it is silly to take that away for no benefit.

no one's taking anything away - it has always been possible to have music files deleted, you have lost nothing

If you build that functionality in, it says clearly that the INTENT is for impermanence.

it's simply codifying what already exists - i would hope that people wouldn't post things in a hit and run manner, but it's not something i feel i should control
posted by pyramid termite at 9:09 AM on June 22, 2009


no one's taking anything away - it has always been possible to have music files deleted, you have lost nothing

Well, I guess we disagree. The two situations, as I see them are 1) things being posted in good faith with the intent that they stay out there forever, but allowing for flexibility if circumstances should change, and 2) posting things with the assumption being that when you have gotten what you need from posting the piece you can delete it.

I'm not unrealistic, I see the need for things to come down from time to time. But I see the baseline of permanence an important aspect to the social contract here. Again: I guess we just disagree.
posted by dirtdirt at 9:19 AM on June 22, 2009


In my opinion every contribution to this site goes to creating a metaphorical picture of the contributor.
Sure. I personally think that a song is more like a picture of the contributor than a comment is but I guess that's subjective...and that was only half of my point, the other half being that a song is alive outside of Metafilter; it's its own thing.
posted by chococat at 9:23 AM on June 22, 2009


If you build that functionality in, it says clearly that the INTENT is for impermanence.

it's simply codifying what already exists


The codification is an important step, though, because it speaks to how the site is saying that part of the site should be used. Default settings matter. I'm, again, not arguing against people having control over their contributions. But, if we build this into how MeMu works, it does make a statement that "it's okay to put music up and then take it down later" which would be adding a functionality that we don't have anywhere else on the site. So, a few questions this raises

- Will there be any rules to how/why it's okay to take content down?
- Is it okay for people to put stuff up intending for it to be temporary [this is NOT okay for AskMe, for example]?
- what does this say about the role of the music contribution relative to the role of the comments that follow it? To me this is saying that the music is primary and all discussion is secondary to it. This may totally be okay, just saying it shifts the balance.

As a mod on this site, I have to think about edge cases because edge cases are where the rules are tested and the thgns that tend to bother people.

- Edge case where someone posts and then removed every musical contibution they make
- Edge case where someone uses music contributions to hssle other people (how? I have no idea) and then removes them, starting disputes which then have no loci
- Edge case where people are pressured by other people to take things down that they would otherwise want to keep available

I'm aware that is what is being asked for is just the ability to take something down, not a statement that all the music is there temporarily etc, and that this would likely be a rarely used feature. That said, it still makes me feel a little odd, that it's changing the purpose of that part of the larger site.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:25 AM on June 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


Obviously this needs some talking about, and if what it comes down to is Matt wanting to go the Big Delete Button route then that's what we'll do.

But I am really, really powerfully disinclined to go there.

The general social contract on metafilter includes the expectation that stuff posted is going to stay around, that it's being provided to the mefi community in good faith as a contribution to the site, period. This really does go for basically everything someone posts and it's always been that way.

I'm willing to hash out the argument that there's some sort of exceptionalism that applies to Music contributions—again, obviously there is some contention here and that's worth digging into—but I think it's really off the mark to say that that can be taken as a given. It's at odds with the prevailing content philosophy here, and I don't think that effectively encouraging people to break the archives is something derivable from Metafilter as it existed for years before Music ever came along.

To be clear: I fully support the notion of authorial autonomy on content when the rubber meets the road. We have never, ever not honored a request to remove a song from the site and I can't imagine us ever doing so. That the poster retains the rights to their music is not under question.

But we have gotten those requests rarely, and I would like to see that remain a rarity. Honoring those requests under exceptional circumstances is a compromise at best—one I think it's important for us to accept, but one I hate ever having to run up against and one I'm glad is reserved at this point for rare unhappy events. Rights/permission issues of different kinds will occur occasionally, and we totally understand and will run with that, and that's pretty much the one situation that gives me no pause because it's a matter of external forces realistically unforeseeable by the poster when he put the song up.

But even in those sorts of cases, the end result is still damage to Music as a resource and an archive and a collective long-term community memory. What Jessamyn said about how we likewise honor these requests but dislike doing so for e.g. AskMe posts is very true here.

My take is that if it's an issue of people not really thinking through the implications before they post, okay, let's look at making that concept of long-term good-faith contribution more visible or more clear early in the posting process.

As far as the second point in the post: I find the argument that potential removal could incent increased listenership pretty uncompelling as an argument—I don't think it's anything like self-evident that it would have that effect on the subsite's visibility, nor that it's anything like the best possible option for promoting Music—but beyond that, for the reasons above, I think that it is aside from that a really, really bad fit for metafilter.

The idea itself isn't necessarily bad, for what it's worth, and as part of the structure of a site specifically built by design with that as key functionality from day one, it might be great. But this isn't that site or anything close to it, and Music wasn't built to be a swiss-cheese archive.

This is a sorta vehement wall of text, I realize. I feel very strongly about this. But I'm not trying to be a jerk about this, and flapjax, you know I share both your interest in looking after the rights of contributors here and your enthusiasm for ideas that help promote Music and help it blossom. I'm excited about the idea of brainstorming more ideas for helping promote Music and fill out its feature set, and I know this post itself comes from a wholly good-hearted place, even if I starkly disagree with the specific proposal.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:45 AM on June 22, 2009 [5 favorites]


Attempting to drive more traffic by making the downloads more easily removable seems hinky. I understand—and support—folks being able to remove their work, but philosophically I support there being the slight impediment of having to ask a mod.

Subtly discouraging folks from removing their songs, making archives the default, seems like a better idea.

I do totally support the embeddening, though.

And something I'd like, so long as we're asking for ponies—An automatic day/week/month playlist, so I could just click on that and let it play instead of having to load up the songs individually. It'd make it easier for me to hear new good stuff, then go back and comment on that, rather than the current model where I tend to get distracted after a bit or hit a bad track or something.
posted by klangklangston at 9:59 AM on June 22, 2009


Heh. Didn't preview.
posted by klangklangston at 10:05 AM on June 22, 2009


klanklangston, in the bottom right of the Music page you can click on the RSS stream to stream a playlist of the last 50 or so tracks that were uploaded. There's also a randomizer that will play you 50 shuffled, random tracks.
posted by chococat at 10:06 AM on June 22, 2009


oops klangklangston. I, also, didn't hit preview.
posted by chococat at 10:07 AM on June 22, 2009


Monthly archives playlists are a great idea. Increased playlist options in general I can get behind—the main issue is (a) identifying where they should be implemented and (b) sanity-checking that implementation with pb (e.g. I don't know how painful/painless some of the playlist generation is), but in general it's a great idea.

And yeah, I'm totally down with the embed notion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:17 AM on June 22, 2009


I just wanted to add that I think the short term "let me just try one version of this without drums" is a bad idea that should be discouraged. If we did a delete option, we'd require that songs stay up for at least a month because I think it's shitty to be really short time frame on this stuff and the community starts to feel "used" if they're commenting on stuff all the time that suddenly gets vaporized hours later.

If people posted five attempts at getting a song right, and deleted every one shortly after, that would lead to lots of animosity from commenters that were trying to be helpful and might feel snubbed in the end. That feature along with something like embedding would lead to huge missing song problems as well.

As I envision such a delete feature, I think it would be rarely used and used for special cases where you want to take everything down from commercial sites (perhaps you posted a song here, myspace, and other places and would rather have it all live on your own vanity website for your music and/or band) or you get a record deal and HAVE to do this. I don't think Music should be a music-in-progress playground (maybe Music Talk could be more for that) but for final works that everyone can playlist, favorite, download, and enjoy for quite some time.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:23 AM on June 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


While I dislike the idea of running into posts in the randomizer that are not longer there or looking for a specific song to find it was removed, I do think this is something that should be implemented.

There is the concern of "permanence" as often attached to content in Metafilter, but I'm under the impression that this is mostly related to the idea of making people accountable for what they say in discussions. Making comments permanent prevents people from trolling, posting needlessly inflammatory stuff or insulting other people and then removing the comment, but there's really no equivalent for that in Music posts. If the case ever happens, it can be dealt with as it already is throughout the site: as single cases of trolling.

As for the discussion aspect. To be honest, there's rarely ever a "discussion" happening in music posts. Most of the time people post a song and most of the comments say "yay" or "thx for posting it, very cool", and some of them do mention specific details, give advice or suggest different directions for the song, but even when that happens, there is rarely a back-and-forth. Most of the music posts get around 4 comments, and the posts by frequent posters get around 20, most of which are compliments. I really don't think that there is much of a discussion being lost.

All of the edge cases that you mention above, jessamyn, are very sound and I do think they'll eventually happen, but I don't think they'll be the norm. They might be as rare as the current requests to have something removed by the mods. So having this change might result in the same amount of work, but more people satisfied.

Now, if as mathowie said above, some different changes were to be implemented to that subsite, could we have a thread with requests before changes are codified so that some of our requests might make it into the final changes?
posted by micayetoca at 10:24 AM on June 22, 2009


There is the concern of "permanence" as often attached to content in Metafilter, but I'm under the impression that this is mostly related to the idea of making people accountable for what they say in discussions.

I think there is some community value in accountability, but my feelings about permanence of contributions here is a lot broader in scope than that. Fundamentally, contributions here do in my mind become part of a whole, part of the collective value of this place. That goes well beyond just being able to say "oh, well, I remember when you said/did THIS thing, so ha!"; this place is a giant organic shared memory, something I'm deeply proud to be a part of and for which I hold a tremendous amount of esteem, and the long-term reliability, to whatever degree possible, of the pieces of this place staying cohesive is really important to me as a member.

Even if the discussion on Music trends toward the trivial a lot of the time, I don't see it as valueless or that trend as a good reason to shrug off the site's general spirit of community more frequently than totally necessary. It's not just gotcha-insurance, it's the idea of maintaining this place intact as a community space, even if in a sometimes more trivial form, as intact as possible over the long term.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:31 AM on June 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Damn, didn't preview either.

And I gotta agree with mathowie above. While I would reaaaaaaaaaaaaally like the idea of being able to replace my rush versions with corrected, final ones, I do think it would be sort of a pain in the ass if we all are doing it all the time, and that could actually lead to some inconsistency (like when people tell me "I like the song, but the voice is a little bit out of tune", it would be strange if I replaced the mp3 with the correct, in tune, version.).

The idea of using Music Talk for publishing works in progress is a good suggestion.
posted by micayetoca at 10:32 AM on June 22, 2009


it's the idea of maintaining this place intact as a community space, even if in a sometimes more trivial form, as intact as possible over the long term.
posted by cortex

I see your point, I didn't think of it like that because from other comments above it seemed like it was a matter of accountability.

And I would like to clarify something I said above, because I phrased it poorly and I wouldn't like for it to be misunderstood. I don't think that comments and the general exchange in MM are pointless at all. I love the subsite, have learned a lot from it and I really appreciate the feedback I've received. What I meant to say was more that the comments can be very important for the author/contributor of the song, but not so much for a person who accidentally lands there from a google search. That's more what I meant, not that the whole exchange was useless.
posted by micayetoca at 10:42 AM on June 22, 2009


Yeah, and I didn't mean to imply you were like turning your nose up at it, either, but I think it may have come off that way a little. Apologies.

My point is more that I don't think there's a qualitative difference-in-kind significant enough that I'd look at community value different for Music commentary than for any other subsite—while there's certainly differences in degree and style of engagement between every single mefi subsite, treating them with the same general philosophy as a whole wherever possible is what makes the most sense to me, rather than putting the bar at a certain height and saying "okay, anything that's under this doesn't count", you know?
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:01 AM on June 22, 2009


For whatever it's worth, I would post better music if there were an easier delete option. I have music that is commercially available and much better than most of what I have posted that I do not post because I don't want it to be available to the general public for free via an easy google search in perpetuity. For example, I posted two tracks from an EP that is for sale on a major online music distribution system. I would love to have posted all of the tracks for MeFites to check out, but I only posted two of them because I didn't want to kill the incentive for anyone to purchase tracks, since simply googling the name of my band results in links to the MeFiMusic pages. I suppose I could have given them different names and different metadata for the MeFiMu posts, though. If I could delete even one of those tracks, I would post the rest of them in turn - leaving each one up for a month or so. But that's not something that I would email a mod about doing - I would feel like a jerk for wasting the mod's time on something that is essentially vain.

As it is now, with only two exceptions, I post only music that either I have done specifically for MeFiMu, with the understanding that it will be available to the public in perpetuity or that I did for something else but that was enough below my usual quality that I was not worried about ever wanting to use it for something else. If there are others like me, I think it's safe to say that there is a lot of amazing music that is not being posted on MeFiMu because the posters are only willing to post something that is created solely for MeFiMu and, in many cases, has been given significantly less time and effort than other music they do (for example, I'm never going to send out something I do for MeFiMu to be mastered by my mastering guy, so my MeFiMu posts will pretty much always be poorly mastered by me).

That said, I think the proposed delete option might be abused. I think that a fixed time period would be a good idea - anything you post will be un-deletable for six months, a year, or something like that, with the ever-present option of asking a mod to delete it earlier if there is some record deal or something that demands it.

Ultimately, though, I don't feel that strongly either way. If MeFiMu continues as it has, I will still post music and love the site.
posted by The World Famous at 11:04 AM on June 22, 2009


For example, I posted two tracks from an EP that is for sale on a major online music distribution system. I would love to have posted all of the tracks for MeFites to check out, but I only posted two of them because I didn't want to kill the incentive for anyone to purchase tracks, since simply googling the name of my band results in links to the MeFiMusic pages.

This is, in my view, a situation where it's fine that you only posted a couple and you're really, really welcome to set up an off-mefi blog/site to host a rotating selection of the tracks yourself and mention that in a Music post of one of the songs you intend to have stay around forever. Maybe even a Projects post if you've put together something a little bit substantial for the album or your band, etc.

And I say that as someone who really likes your music. If you're for whatever reason not comfortable posting the whole album here in perpetuity, that's fine, but that's more of a practical matter for you I think than a something that should change about Music. (Not to say that you're saying that it should; I get that you're stating a counterfactual here as much as anything.)

If that means sometimes people are uncomfortable for one reason or another with posting a song, so be it; hopefully they can find some nice compromise for sharing a pointer to their external stuff in a way that lets them have whatever arbitrary time-release, link-expiring presentation they want. Certainly I like it when mefi musicians include links to other creative stuff they've done or are doing on their profile pages, for example, and one of the things that might be worth looking into as far as expanding Music's functionality is finding a way to provide more Music-specific profile/social options to make that not quite as generic of a process.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:19 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is, in my view, a situation where it's fine that you only posted a couple and you're really, really welcome to set up an off-mefi blog/site to host a rotating selection of the tracks yourself and mention that in a Music post of one of the songs you intend to have stay around forever. Maybe even a Projects post if you've put together something a little bit substantial for the album or your band, etc.

This is very good to know. I avoided both of those options because I did not want to be treading the self-promotion on MeFi line.

If we can create a clear understanding/agreement in the MeFiMusic community that it's cool to post a link to related songs, a band website, or something like that in the body of a MeFiMusic song post, I think that would be awesome.
posted by The World Famous at 11:24 AM on June 22, 2009


I would support this idea. There's a few I could go ahead and delete and it would free up bandwith/space for MeFi.
posted by ageispolis at 11:28 AM on June 22, 2009


Yeah, it's pretty much the same territory as the "don't self-link in posts, but relevant self-links in comments in moderation is fine" dictum for the rest of the site.

There's a line there, but it's not too hard to navigate and most of the time people are just fine. Certainly, mentioning and linking to Additional Stuff I'm Working On in the context or comments of your own post of a song to Music is totally kosher.

Every once in a while, someone will sign up specifically to post on Music and use it as pretty much a promotional platform for their song/band/etc, and that's a problem the same way that e.g. "Hey check out this awesome new webcomic [that I may or may not be disclosing I'm the author of]!" as a post to the front page of the blue is a problem. Generally, I just nuke that sort of post and drop the new user a line to clarify what's up, and generally they're cool with it and just misunderstood the community a little when they signed up. But, really, that's a twice-a-year sort of situation, and generally only an issue with brand new users who think this is another Myspace or whatever.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:31 AM on June 22, 2009


cortex: obviously there is some contention here and that's worth digging into

I've dug myself in too deeply already!

But wait, The World Famous, I think you make the perfect argument for why deleting stuff isn't cool. So maybe digging was a good idea after all.

This was beautiful.
posted by Chuckles at 11:31 AM on June 22, 2009


There's a few I could go ahead and delete and it would free up bandwith/space for MeFi.

Heh. Let me be clear that we don't see bandwidth/HD footprint as a compelling reason to delete stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:32 AM on June 22, 2009


I put my comments in blink to conserve energy.
posted by klangklangston at 11:44 AM on June 22, 2009


And the yeast metaphors?
posted by Jofus at 11:59 AM on June 22, 2009


To get a rise.
posted by klangklangston at 12:13 PM on June 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't think they'll give us a delete button for the yeast metaphors.
posted by micayetoca at 12:15 PM on June 22, 2009


I like the removal button idea, and I really don't think it'll result in half the archives disappearing. I haven't posted anything I've wanted to remove on MeFi Music, but I have posted a couple of songs elsewhere on the web that years later, I really, really wanted to never be heard again. Seeing that button would make me feel that my future self has less to worry about. (Well, not that I've touched an instrument lately, but if I'm just saying.)

But if flapjax's idea gets shot down, at the least, I think everyone would feel better if some form of what cortex said here is put up front on the "post a song" page:

To be clear: I fully support the notion of authorial autonomy on content when the rubber meets the road. We have never, ever not honored a request to remove a song from the site and I can't imagine us ever doing so. That the poster retains the rights to their music is not under question.
posted by ignignokt at 12:16 PM on June 22, 2009


You know who else wanted to rewrite history?
posted by Cranberry at 12:38 PM on June 22, 2009


You know who else wanted to rewrite history?

Me, to back before you wrote that comment.

MOSTLY KIDDING

but I wish there were still coffee in this cup
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:43 PM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am extra-especially opposed to "I think this sucks now, so I am taking it down."
posted by dirtdirt at 12:52 PM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


mods - please delete that last one. The "extra-especially thing is too twee.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:53 PM on June 22, 2009


Posting a recording of a song is different from any of the other types of site contributions because song recordings are actually sold and thus have more intrinsic value.

Written works can be sold, too. It is not inconceivable that a particularly good post or comment might be sold to a magazine. Admittedly, this is much much less likely than a MeMu contribution being sold. However, it's worth considering: if a post or comment was sold to a publication, by its author, and the publication required that any previous online posting be removed, would the mods honor a request to remove the post or comment? Should they? And does the fact that a MeMu contribution is more likely to be sold make the answer different for those, or (if the answers are that any of the preceding would be deleted) make it desirable to have a different (easier) mechanism for doing so?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:56 PM on June 22, 2009


Yeah? Well, I'm opposed to you, dirtdirt, being a jerkass. You suck now.

Seriously, if the artist really has authorial autonomy over their work, there's no need to justify anything they do with that work.
posted by ignignokt at 1:07 PM on June 22, 2009


I claim authorial autonomy over all my contributions to group weblogs.

But I don't quite know what that means.
posted by mediareport at 1:14 PM on June 22, 2009


For whatever it's worth, I would post better music if there were an easier delete option.

Easier than clicking the contact button at the bottom of every page at the site and typing "Hey, can you delete that song?"

Really?
posted by mediareport at 1:19 PM on June 22, 2009


Why not have a three-step delete button?

Step 1: Push the [Delete this track] button
Step 2: Fill in the [Tell us why] field, showing are intending to delete the track for a good reason.
Step 3: A mod reviews the request and A) deletes the track or B) contacts the user and discusses the reason.


I'm not a MeFiMu user, so I couldn't really talk to general usage of that sub-site, but it seems some variety of usage could happen, if pb didn't hate the thought of implementing "levels" for MeFiMu. My ideas:

1) Work in progress - a user can upload various renditions of the track, as things change or for comparison. One thread, multiple songs. Unlimited lifespan.
2) Standard MeFiMu sub - single song, unlimited lifespan.
3) Time-out sample track - single song, one month lifespan, with countdown to deletion date.

Maybe this stretches the intent of MeFiMu, maybe not. Just my ideas, thrown out to get them out of my head.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:24 PM on June 22, 2009


I don't think Music should be a music-in-progress playground ... but for final works that everyone can playlist, favorite, download, and enjoy for quite some time.

Exactly. When I upload, my songs are ready to stand the test of time.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:34 PM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Just chiming in to say that I don't love this either, it seems inconsistent with the community we've built here and the rest of the moderation policies. Given that any special requests are graciously honored, I don't see how a delete button for (any) content makes Metafilter a better place.
posted by desuetude at 1:37 PM on June 22, 2009


heh I pushed a button and deleted jessamyn's coffee.
posted by Cranberry at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2009


this is why no one can have nice things.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:41 PM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a really dicey issue, and I'm actually kind of sad that it's the sort of thing that we're having to discuss. To me, MeFiMuFiMuTa has always felt like a place where members of the site who love music get together to share and love each others' music. Everyone uses things differently, but I feel like if you look at Music in terms of esteem, brand, or copyright, you're doing it wrong.

That said, things happen, and you should be able to remove things later if something (particularly record-deal related) happens, but always remember, that once you give the bits out, you can't take them back 100%.
posted by potch at 2:08 PM on June 22, 2009


As someone who's uploaded a few things I might have taken down later after further consideration, I can see the desire for this. However, if we look at the site as a historic record of a community, then I think I'm more in favor of leaving stuff where it is, warts and all. Given that you can get stuff removed anyway if you really need to, it doesn't seem to be a huge inconvenience.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:16 PM on June 22, 2009


this is why no one can have nice things.

Can I at least keep my current stock of nice things?
posted by The World Famous at 2:25 PM on June 22, 2009


Exactly. When I upload, my songs are ready to stand the test of time.

Actually, Meatbomb, I was waiting to see how the main idea would be received before introducing the other important element to this new system: ALL site members (and possibly even non-members as well) would have the special option of deleting YOUR contributions to MeFi Music. This is, in fact, the main feature I had in mind from the outset.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:44 PM on June 22, 2009


There are plenty of places on the Internet to post your music for any number of reasons. However, if you're posting it to MeMusic, you should be doing so primarily to share your music with the MetaFilter community. If something completely unexpected comes up and you feel your songs have to be pulled, a simple email to the mods will take care of it.

My fear is that adding a more convenient deletion option will tacitly encourage people to share things casually without concern for the longevity of the submission, and the combination of increased submissions (which will make any individual contribution more likely to be overlooked) plus increased deletions (which will increase the number of orphaned threads) will be on the whole negative for the community.
posted by davejay at 2:54 PM on June 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


re-reading my comment above, that may be the most succinctly I've ever communicated a point in my life. is it bad form to favorite myself?
posted by davejay at 2:57 PM on June 22, 2009


Exactly. When I upload, my songs are ready to stand the test of time.

Actually, Meatbomb, I was waiting to see how the main idea would be received before introducing the other important element to this new system: ALL site members (and possibly even non-members as well) would have the special option of deleting YOUR contributions to MeFi Music. This is, in fact, the main feature I had in mind from the outset.


Yeah, um, sorry to tell you this Meatbomb, but there was a song of yours failed the test of time. While humorous in its day, Pokemon cards and beanie babies are not the stuff of epic nordic legends. Thor may have chuckled when he first heard it, but even Loki isn't sure about it anymore. Maybe if you updated the reference to keyboard cats and 80s hair, it could get a second wind. Well, it's worth a shot.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:26 PM on June 22, 2009


it's not bad form for me to favorite you, so no sweat.
posted by potch at 3:27 PM on June 22, 2009


Repents. Call Kobos. has truckload of coffee delivered to jessamyn.
posted by Cranberry at 3:28 PM on June 22, 2009


davejay writes: ...if you're posting it to MeMusic, you should be doing so primarily to share your music with the MetaFilter community.

This statement would appear to be framing my proposal as some sort of anti-community or selfish stance. But I (and virtually everyone else who posts to MeFiMu) is certainly aware that that's the primary reason for posting their music here. I just don't see why that should necessarily mean that the generous sharing of creative output must be permanent for all time.

And since there have been a number of comments expressing some variation of "emailing a mod is easy and good enough, just give your reason" I'd like to state clearly and for the record that that shouldn't be necessary, IMO. Fortunately, it would appear from his comment that mathowie agrees with the idea ("removal on demand"), and here's hoping it can be implemented soon!

davejay writes: increased submissions (which will make any individual contribution more likely to be overlooked...)

I disagree with that very strongly. You're saying increased submissions is a negative? The idea being that people will be less likely notice individual contributions if the site stays as it is? That's a kind of shut-the-doors/let's keep this little club to ourselves way of thinking, no? I say, the more the merrier. MetaFilter Music will grow and attract more visitors/listeners overall when there is more music on offer.

mathowie writes: If we did a delete option, we'd require that songs stay up for at least a month...

I agree wholeheartedly.

mathowie writes: As I envision such a delete feature, I think it would be rarely used...

Despite cortex's "swiss cheese" metaphor upthread, I agree. I seriously doubt that we'd see a lot of deletions.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:33 PM on June 22, 2009


And since there have been a number of comments expressing some variation of "emailing a mod is easy and good enough, just give your reason" I'd like to state clearly and for the record that that shouldn't be necessary, IMO.

I'd like to state clearly and for the record that it should be necessary.

Fortunately, it would appear from his comment that mathowie agrees with the idea ("removal on demand"), and here's hoping it can be implemented soon!

And fortunately jessamyn and cortex have reservations on the issue and I hope they have a big ol' intracabal discussion about it first.
posted by grouse at 3:37 PM on June 22, 2009


I hardly think your stance is anti-community, or that it was being framed as such (though I speak for myself only). I think there are just many different mindsets going on here. To be honest, before this thread, I never even considered deletion as something I'd be inclined to do with a MeFiMu song. I'm certainly not opposed to another's right to do so, but I think it's not keeping with the MeFi spirit to do it willy-nilly, and would be hesitant to make it too easy.
posted by potch at 3:39 PM on June 22, 2009


To me, MeFiMuFiMuTa has always felt like a place where members of the site who love music get together to share and love each others' music. Everyone uses things differently, but I feel like if you look at Music in terms of esteem, brand, or copyright, you're doing it wrong. (potch)

These are exactly my feelings on the issue.

And I know I'm mostly a lurker on MefiMusic, but I do listen quite a bit, and I aspire to post more myself soon.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:54 PM on June 22, 2009


Exactly. When I upload, my songs are ready to stand the test of time.

Only time will tell if they stand the test of time.

(I may need a new MeFi account now that I have used this one to invoke Van Hagar.)
posted by The World Famous at 3:59 PM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hardly think your stance is anti-community, or that it was being framed as such...

I admit that I might've reacted over-sensitively to that particular comment, but still... I do think that the comment was framed as such. It rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like I was being preached to, and as someone who's contributed 50-plus songs to MeFi Music, I'm quite aware (no reminder necessary, thank you) of my primary motivation for doing so: to share my music with the MetaFilter community.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:23 PM on June 22, 2009


...jessamyn and cortex have reservations on the issue and I hope they have a big ol' intracabal discussion about it first.

Here's hoping they do, and that they inform us of their progress in said discussions!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:26 PM on June 22, 2009


If this gets added, it's no big issue, (though I would be sad if any of my favorite songs disappeared). I'm not here to argue against this feature so much as I'm wondering, sincerely, why one would like to have the easy ability to remove one's songs, and why they'd feel inclined to do so (apart from legal nastiness).
posted by potch at 4:32 PM on June 22, 2009


On preview, I see that you've already enumerated a number of reasons in the post itself, flapjax. I guess I don't understand why it would be necessary to remove something if you had a new version you like better, or why you'd want to share something temporarily.

(I do understand, though, that you don't have to explain. The magic circle-c is all the reason you need. I respect that.)
posted by potch at 4:35 PM on June 22, 2009


Flapjax@, I'm a bit surprised you took my comment so personally -- I certainly wasn't accusing you of being anti-community, and frankly your entire response has a bit of "why do you hate AmericaMetaMusic" in it.

You ran something "up the flagpole", and I didn't salute it, and I've told you why in my opinion, in a straightforward way. That you choose to interpret it the way you have is something I'll do my best not to lose sleep over, and meanwhile each member can take their own shot at interpreting my opinion for themselves (or they can just ignore me, obviously.)

However, I feel one thing requires a direct response:

Fortunately, it would appear from his comment that mathowie agrees with the idea ("removal on demand"), and here's hoping it can be implemented soon!

I'm trying really hard, but I simply can't read this as anything but "Fortunately, Mathowie agrees with me, so I can ignore the dissenting opinions in this thread." I respectfully suggest that this isn't the most community-oriented response I've seen in a MeTa discussion.
posted by davejay at 4:37 PM on June 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


is it bad form to favorite myself?

yes!

(I do understand, though, that you don't have to explain. The magic circle-c is all the reason you need. I respect that.)

Thank you, potch.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:40 PM on June 22, 2009


I don't think it was an attack on your motivation. It sounds like you feel that people aren't posting their best stuff because they don't want it to be shared indefinitely, so we should make it easy to share temporarily. That's fine, but the flip-side is simply don't post your best stuff here. Post the stuff that you do want to share indefinitely. That's what the site is geared toward, and people would rather have the stuff that you're okay keeping here forever than something that might be great, but you only want to keep here for a month. You can post that stuff somewhere else if you need that level of control over it.
posted by team lowkey at 4:42 PM on June 22, 2009


I respectfully suggest that this isn't the most community-oriented response I've seen in a MeTa discussion.

Point taken. You're right. That

I'm trying really hard, but I simply can't read this as anything but "Fortunately, Mathowie agrees with me, so I can ignore the dissenting opinions in this thread."

You should try harder, then. Because I've addressed several dissenting opinions in this thread. I haven't ignored them.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:45 PM on June 22, 2009


I don't mean to disregard the issue, but really how many delete requests do the mods deal with? If the request system works now can it not continue that way?

Honestly though, I'm not a fan of an auto-delete function. The thing I love about MeMu is that you get to hear how people play. I mean as in sandbox playing. I love to hear development, the places people start from and end up, because I didn't have musical peers when I was a teenager. As an adult it's much harder to hear how people literally play with making music. Unlike other music sharing sites this community gives me the confidence to play too, own the fact that it's not brilliant, but try stuff out nontheless, and aim to get better. It'd be a shame to lose that historical reference in a fit of delete-happy angst...
posted by freya_lamb at 4:46 PM on June 22, 2009


I do think that the comment was framed as such.

It wasn't.

... as someone who's contributed 50-plus songs to MeFi Music, I'm quite aware (no reminder necessary, thank you)...

I think I see the confusion; I was using "you" to refer to Anyperson McSubmitter, not "you, Flapjax-at-midnite" specifically. So let's try this again, and perhaps everyone will feel better. In addition, I'm going to add a line to make my intention more explicit (that's what I get for going for brevity.)

---

There are plenty of places on the Internet that a person can post their music for any number of reasons. However, if a person is posting it to MeMusic, they should be doing so primarily to share their music with the MetaFilter community. If something completely unexpected comes up and a person feels their songs have to be pulled, a simple email to the mods will take care of it.

My fear is that adding a more convenient deletion option will tacitly encourage people to share things casually without concern for the longevity of the submission, and the combination of increased sub-par1 submissions (which will make any individual contribution more likely to be overlooked) plus increased deletions (which will increase the number of orphaned threads) will be on the whole negative for the community.

1sub-par, because in this context each additional submission would be something that would not have been submitted, except that a quick and painless method of deleting it had been provided.

---
posted by davejay at 4:53 PM on June 22, 2009


Frankly, I'm not sure the hostility is necessary, guys (who am I kidding, it's MetaTalk).

A lot of what sets MetaFilter apart from other communities is that we leave some decisions and actions in the hands of the mods, even if they're obvious. Of course, the mods won't ever say no to a deletion request, because the artist owns the song, so why not automate it? Honestly, I can't think of a single reason we couldn't or shouldn't automate it. So long as the artists remember that there is a blue disk in every post that means you can't take it back retroactively and forever, and that this ain't iTunes.
posted by potch at 4:53 PM on June 22, 2009


Ignore the stray "That" in my comment above. Dunno where that came from. That that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:53 PM on June 22, 2009


is it bad form to favorite myself?

yes!


Fortunately, it would appear from the fact that I can do it, that mathowie agrees with the idea ("favoriting your own comment"), and here's hoping others start doing it soon!
posted by davejay at 4:56 PM on June 22, 2009


In fact, please reread that comment with the word "Apologies" in place of "That".

(and on preview, davejay, now you're getting a little sarcastic, ain'tcha? Still, the "Apologies" stands, for my less-than-community-oriented comment in question. Think you might tone down the snipey-ness now? Or would you rather continue in the vein of substituting actual sincere communication for scoring snippy points?)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:01 PM on June 22, 2009


Think you might tone down the snipey-ness now? Or would you rather continue in the vein of substituting actual sincere communication for scoring snippy points?

+5 snippy points.
posted by dirtdirt at 5:06 PM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


No take backs.
posted by terrapin at 5:08 PM on June 22, 2009


well, I've shared my thoughts. I'll check back later to see if the bickering is done, and the conversation is back.
posted by potch at 5:10 PM on June 22, 2009


but davejay, I'm compelled to point out that you've misquoted me. I didn't bold the "yes!"
Can we kiss and make up now?

posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:11 PM on June 22, 2009


As much as I enjoy any discussion about growth and evolution of any part of MeFi, I think that the "delete button" idea is a big endeavor to work around what all ready exists: talking to a mod.

Regarding the mods, I don't think they really care why we want something deleted. "Please delete x." would suffice, I'm sure.

Now why does this bother me personally? I feel like all of the songs posted there are like little gifts to each other and the community. There are so many songs and threads at Music that have guided me and inspired me that I can't count them. Now they might not represent one's best work and therefore might be considered for deletion by the owner/writer/artist.

THAT is the difference between having a button and having to Memail a mod. If it isn't so important as to send a Memail, then why do it?

I don't mean any offense to anyone and sorry for reiterating what has been well stated already, but I feel strongly about this and have to weigh in with my opinion.
posted by snsranch at 5:11 PM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


(and on preview, davejay, now you're getting a little sarcastic, ain'tcha? Still, the "Apologies" stands, for my less-than-community-oriented comment in question. Think you might tone down the snipey-ness now? Or would you rather continue in the vein of substituting actual sincere communication for scoring snippy points?)

Do you think you could quit with the snipey defensive threadmodding here? Or would you rather continue to dilute any goodwill some of us may have had for having a thoughtful discussion on this topic?

Bleah. I'm with potch. Ping me when we're back to discussing sharing music via MeMu.
posted by desuetude at 6:04 PM on June 22, 2009


If it isn't so important as to send a Memail, then why do it?
This.
posted by xorry at 6:06 PM on June 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


I know! Let's have a bunch of people who participate in one of the most awesome things on the web (Metafilter Music) get in a big snippy argument over who is being more snippy about the extremely awesome thing that we all share in common! And then, when the not-very-important issue of whether song deletions should be super-ultra easy via a button or merely very-very easy via simple moderator request is finally settled, we can sulk home and keep making incredible music to share and keep proving that, while the music industry might be dying, music itself forges on in incredible and unexpected ways!
posted by The World Famous at 6:28 PM on June 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


I don't like the idea of embedding. Ain't nothing wrong with being self-contained.

Think about it: Random internet people will be all like, "Hey, cheap music streaming host," and things could get a little bit crazy-awful real quick. Like, maybe, rampant Muxtapery. Have fun moderating that.

Just give the auslander riffraff a link to a song's MeMu thread, and let MeFi collect the ad revenue from the pageviews.

(At the very least, users should have the option to allow/disallow embedding of their own stuff.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:32 PM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Think about it: Random internet people will be all like, "Hey, cheap music streaming host," and things could get a little bit crazy-awful real quick.

You may well have a very good point there, Sys Rq.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:50 PM on June 22, 2009


I think all that is needed is a well placed line when you post a song about messaging a mod to have your song removed, if you decide you want that. I am against an embedded button, for fear of a dynamic shift in the Music culture.


I fear change.
posted by Corduroy at 9:36 PM on June 22, 2009


Think about it: Random internet people will be all like, "Hey, cheap music streaming host," and things could get a little bit crazy-awful real quick.

Are we talking about people using Music as a source of free music, or people using Music as a cheap hosting platform? Because the former is a kettle of fish that exists with or without embedding, while the latter is something we'd basically deal with on a ban-and-refund basis if we had a problem with truly unclueful folks blundering in and horking up all over the place. See the last paragraph of this comment.

Not to say it's not worth thinking about, but part of how I look at this stuff is in terms of what problems get handled where and why, and the people-not-knowing-what-Music-is-for thing I'm interpreting above is more of a mod issue than anything (and we have the same sort of weird occasional problem with other parts of the site too).

Agreed that embedding being a poster option is a good idea, regardless. No reason a poster should be obliged to make their song embeddable if they are not so inclined—social contract with metafilter itself is one thing, with the entire rest of the internet in general is another, by all means.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:28 PM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


if you look at Music in terms of esteem, brand, or copyright, you're doing it wrong.

I totally agree and I think that most contributors are doing it right. I don't think a delete button would change that. I would predict the use of the delete button would trend similar to email requests to delete. I would predict edge cases to be infrequent as well.

I'm on the fence about this. One thing that hasn't been suggested is that a delete button may be incentive for a member with a bit more of the social anxiety or lack of confidence to post the best song ever posted knowing they won't have to email a stranger to take it down for whatever reason.

On the other hand, I am a sucker for tunes that are rough around the edges.
posted by dagosto at 6:31 AM on June 23, 2009


I hate when I'm that one guy who doesn't know when to shut up and is still yammering on about something the next day, but this has been munching away at me on and off since last night, so here goes...

"Should there be a button when it is easy enough to email a mod" is not the real question, that's just procedural administrivia. The real question is "should the things posted to MeMu be thought of as temporary".

The answer for me is clearly no. If your stuff is too precious to post for long it is too precious to post at all. That IS true of the other sites - I am sure that there are people who have expertise in whatever field who are unable to post to the best of their ability because it might infringe on some part of their professional life. There are also many people who freely share that which they professionally do on MetaFilter, and that is terrific. The bottom line though, for me, is that all over MeFi we interact with each other based on the presumption of there being a concrete record. I said up above and I meant that, yeah, sure, shit happens, and sometimes things need to get removed for a variety of reasons, but the culture is such that we don't go into things thinking they aren't going to be there in a day, or a week or a month.

AGAIN, if someone gets a record deal or whatever, I have no problem with things going away. But that's a happy exception, not the norm.

Also, I highly doubt that expiring content would increase traffic. I think what will increase traffic is a continued sense of community and camaraderie, and those are things that will, if anything, be compromised by the implicit knowledge that anything could go away at any time.

Finally, I know I am not as active on MeMu as a lot of other people, but I really dig it and my heel-dragging on this issue comes only from the perspective of some random guy wanting it to continue to succeed. Flapjax, your visible advocacy and work on MeMu is inspiring and, frankly, pretty fucking awesome, and it is clear that all you want is for it to succeed, too.

Ok, one last thing: I very much like the idea of posting works in progress. Being able to have that progression visible (audible?) would be really cool, and could be really instructive. Over on Threadless there is a forum devoted to this idea - you post a design, people critique it, you repost it, they re-critique it, and so forth, and the software tracks the whole thing so that at any time someone can come along and look at the whole thing (one of a zillion examples of this here). I think that would be super spiffy here.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:36 AM on June 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


A work in progress type of feature would be very neat-- to be able to have a single song post with the creator able to add new versions (with the previous version files also linked from the same post.)
posted by andrewraff at 8:33 AM on June 23, 2009


I would think that, in order for a work-in-progress feature to work well and for people to actually revisit tracks that might have follow-ups, there would need to be a tag for it and something in the Music sidebar listing recent work-in-progress follow-ups or something like that.

I like the works-in-progress idea as well as embedding.
posted by The World Famous at 10:13 AM on June 23, 2009


I love the idea of embedding if the artist (to my mind, anyone who uploads a song on Mufi counts as an artist, btw) agrees to it.

I also, and you'll probably call me crazy, wouldn't mind some option to donate some $$ right next to that embedding option, because there's one song in particular that I just know my blog readers would enjoy when school starts up again, and I'd definitely be up to donating to the artist in question if I embedded his song one day at the end of summer. I know some of you are saying, "But hey, the song's free," but it's more about thanking someone for letting me, you know, enjoy the fruits of his labor like that. That's just a very cool thing to do.
posted by misha at 10:57 AM on June 23, 2009


The "Work In Progress" feature would be really, really cool. We currently have an "evolution", but I think the lack of a proper format doesn't really help it to grow. There are also many songs of which there are two versions posted, only that they are not tagged as evolution. I personally would love to see this feature implemented.

I don't have any particular leaning on the embedding option. I don't think it would lead to a massive sign-up just to use music as a free streaming host, because there are a lot (A LOT) of places for that where people don't have to go through the 5 dollar barrier (which, I think, really helps the quality of Metafilter).

As for the donate button misha mentioned. I understand the good intention, and I realize it would be a nice gratification for the amazing stuff that gets posted, but I actually think that it would really change the spirit of the site and that it would give rise to many conflicts that we currently do not have ("why XX poster gets so many donations and I never get any"). It takes a couple extra clicks, but most of the users who accept/seek donations usually post their own site on their profile. I realize misha mentioned it with the best of intentions, but I think it would be better if we keep that offsite.

Oh, and one more thing: the "work in progress" feature would really be an awesome thing to have.
posted by micayetoca at 6:12 AM on June 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I would be much more inclined to post stuff if I knew I could un-post it. Music that you've created is a weird thing -- it exposes a part of you that some time in the future you may not want out there anymore. I think the option to remove gives users that small safety net, should they change their minds. I would wager, though, that the most likely case is that people keep what they've posted up.

Once a song is removed, you should keep the posting and comments. It may make others feel left out (especially if they see "This song is really great!" and no song), but they could always check the posting history of the OP to see what else they've got.
posted by spiderskull at 1:01 PM on June 24, 2009


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