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Categorization or not?

Currently, one of the main issues in, at least I believe, in creating a successful and unique music section here will be in whether or not to go with set categories (for musical genres) or not.

I personally believe that preformulated categorization will not be as effective as could be possible otherwise.

I do have some rather complex ideas which I believe could solve the problem of categories much more effectively, from the point of view of sorting this information for the reader, but it would require the help of some developers since I do not have the time to do this myself currently.

What I have in mind are the following ideas:

(1) Allowing either some sort of morphic "vectors" of categories, which are defined by some sort of consensus of the community and through the use of a manual rating or correlating type system.  Categories then, wouldn't be so much preformulated or even explicit.  "Categories" would be based upon probabilities according to ratings and relation.  The exact system of how this would work would need to be hashed out a little more..

(2) Creating some sort of more rigid index of music categories where the categories are formulated by forum members and can be renamed, added, deleted based again upon community consensus.

The downsides to these would be in the complexity of implementation, the assumption that users would actually help to make these ratings or influence these connections (or to manage categories in the case of the second option), and the fact that this approach would create a higher load on the server (viewing "sections" of threads would effectively require the server to filter certain threads from others).

The last part there could at least partially be compensated by a stepped selection of probabilities in relation (not allowing too many filters, allowing some to be cached) and in pushing some of the processing to the clientside via javascript, where more threads would be sent in display than would actually be displayed in the browser.  This basically would be a small tradeoff between bandwidth and server load.

In either case, threads themselves would be have these sorts of "values" attached, which would allow them to be sorted according to the musical preferences of the reader.

This approach would require a bit of complexity and the help of both programmers familiar with the types of algorithms necessary for this functionality, as well people who are familiar with PHP, and hopefully even invisionboard.

The alternative, which is much simpler, is to just use predefined general categories.  Overall this will be easier and much more traditional, but I do not think it will be as effective or have as much potential for interesting discussion for people who happen to listen to non-traditional music.

On the other hand though, the sort of system I propose here would actually allow both a more fine grained and relevant sorting of threads according to individual interests, and a more high level "traditional categories" type sorting.  A simple preference option could be toggled which would default to displaying "popular" categories (using the same information gathered above) or allowing a more personalized display.

Maybe all of this is too complex though.  Maybe we simply don't have the traffic to make this sort of thing worthwhile.  Any thoughts on this, or alternative ideas?

Categorization or not?

Reply #1
My suggestion is:
Leave it "as it is", for a little while. You know, at least a couple of weeks (maybe) to see how discussion turns out. Then reevaluate the issue.
I'm sure some pre-conceptions we all have about this forum will change once it actually "gets going".

But if categorization starts to "win", I would suggest (again) the need to have a "portal" page on that forum, so everybody can catch a glimpse of what is being discussed on other forums. This is the only way the Music Forum will be of any use for somebody trying to expand his/hers musical horizons.
I'm the one in the picture, sitting on a giant cabbage in Mexico, circa 1978.
Reseñas de Rock en Español: www.estadogeneral.com

Categorization or not?

Reply #2
No for catagories. Topic titles should suffice in most cases.

eg: Guitar Virtuoso, Techno, Death Metal, etc.

Or something to that effect.

Should let it pan out for a while to see where it goes first.

Categorization or not?

Reply #3
uff, this is a VERY ambitious idea - it's that new and radical, that i do have difficulty trying to imagine how this would look like. I may join in later into this discussion, when i do have a more clear picture of your idea.

Alternative ideas? posted mine here: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....ndpost&p=146746

- Lyx

EDIT: thats quite funny, dibrom... in some way, our both proposals of how to deal with it are similiar to our other discussion about rating vs. listening patterns in the fb2k forum. Again, i'm sticking to some kind of "middle-way" while your proposal is more dynamical and abstract.
I am arrogant and I can afford it because I deliver.

Categorization or not?

Reply #4
@Dibrom: The idea of a rating system for defining categorization within the music forum is an intriguing idea, and although there may not be enough traffic in the beginning to justify such an effort, this may be justified soon enough.

But right now I'd second the opinions of AtaqueEG and MachineHead about keeping just the main forum for the time being (and letting topic titles define the discussions).

I think until a more complex system would be worth the effort (and also based on the time available to admins/developers), that you could simply watch the need for categories arise based on a prevalence of certain topics, and handle the creation of new "sub-fora" manually at first (unless I greatly underestimate the amount of work involved in doing this manually).

My $0.02...

Categorization or not?

Reply #5
this tread was sectretly opend while I typed my hands of in the other thread...   
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....howtopic=14501&
on top of that, Dibroms idea of 'general' categories (which he didn't say so, but is interpreted by me) is not that far fetched IMHO.
while I'm against categorisation like 'hip-hop, r 'n b, classic rock, etc' (its' just to narrow, + see my post in the thread pointed by the link above), a 'general' categorisation could be not to bad, though I second the thought of leave the forum shape itself for a short while and see how it goes, where the problems lie.
general categorisation could be something like: hard 'n heavy, easy, rock, crosover, stuff like that. maybe even that is too narrow.
I'm tired gonna take part here tomorow again...
Nothing but a Heartache - Since I found my Baby ;)

Categorization or not?

Reply #6
I just had (while browsing through the Off-Topic Section), some ideas how a non-genre based structure could look like:

Code: [Select]
| Music Discussion
|
|-- Music Forum Related Discussion
|-- Music News
|-- General Music Discussion
|   |-- Reviews
|-- Making Music
|-- Music on the Net


"Music on the Net" would discuss issues like the RIAA, webzines, legal downloading resources etc.
"Making Music" would be the Musician's section and discuss the wide range of problems of making music: playing, recording, mixing/mastering, distributing.
"Reviews" could include rather formal and somewhat comprehensive reviews of shows, albums etc.

dev0
"To understand me, you'll have to swallow a world." Or maybe your words.

Categorization or not?

Reply #7
Quote
I just had (while browsing through the Off-Topic Section), some ideas how a non-genre based structure could look like:

Code: [Select]
| Music Discussion
|
|-- Music Forum Related Discussion
|-- Music News
|-- General Music Discussion
|   |--  Reviews
|-- Making Music
|-- Music on the Net


"Music on the Net" would discuss issues like the RIAA, webzines, legal downloading resources etc.
"Making Music" would be the Musician's section and discuss the wide range of problems of making music: playing, recording, mixing/mastering, distributing.
"Reviews" could include reviews of shows, albums etc.

dev0

that looks good!!!!
Nothing but a Heartache - Since I found my Baby ;)

Categorization or not?

Reply #8
Maybe a tagging system for each thread.  Everytime someone posts a thread they need to tag it with something descriptive, but not pre determined. 

[Suggestions] Categorization or not?
[Rock] Fleetwood Mac rulez!!!11

Maybe this is a good idea for the entire board?

[Test] rjamorim's favorite test
[Results] rjamorim's favorite test's results


Categorization or not?

Reply #9
bah, i'm gonna stop double-discussing same topic on two threads and just stick to this one here, since the topic matches best


i do like dev's idea. In the meantime i proposed a similiar structure on the other thread. I've mixed dev's and my ideas - this is how it would look like (note to dev: this shouldn't mean that i want to speak in your name - sorry if it sounds like that):


music news
general - general discussions about specific bands and genres
recommendations - "i'm looking for something like xyz - any suggestions?"
reviews - user submitted reviews of albums
music-philosophy - discussions about history of music, methods of songwriting, etc.
making music - discussions about composing music yourself (tech and non-tech)
music-distribution - discussions about ways of distributing music, including hints to "free artists"(artists who don't "sell" their music but give it away for everyone to enjoy)
evangelism - for those who can't wait to tell others how great their fav-band is(this forum may be unnecessary if the staff managed to kill such postings in the other subforums - but this may become more difficult than simply providing a seperate forum for such posts)

- Lyx
I am arrogant and I can afford it because I deliver.

Categorization or not?

Reply #10
I think that what dev0 and lyx suggested will be quite adequate. I don't believe that there will be that many posts that a set of fora like that would not be enough. Also the categorization seems very intuitive and would make it easy to find what you are looking for.

Animaniac's suggestion might be a good idea for the "evangelism" forum proposed though.

Categorization or not?

Reply #11
Hmm... Dibrom, your proposal for the forum structure is pretty radical. If I even understood it all, that is! But I'll add a little feedback, on the off chance that it might provide some sort of working material from which your mind/effort could feed:

  Take a look at the categorization scheme of the All Music Guide. As a simple example of what they've done, ask yourself how you would categorize a group like The Soft Machine? Some record shops simply stick them amongst the jazz, while others (if they carry the group at all) lump them in with Pop/Rock. But the All Music Guide includes them as stylistically representative of all of the following sub-categories: Canterbury Scene, British Psychedelia, Jazz-Rock, Experimental, Psychedelic, Prog-Rock/Art Rock

  ... and each of the stylistic-explanation pages includes links to other relevant styles. Might be overkill for what you're proposing, but I find it useful when researching any group with which I'm otherwise unfamiliar.

    - M.

Categorization or not?

Reply #12
Categorization or not? Yes, I'd say now.
I used to be against the idea, but dev0 and Lyx made suggestions that would be perfectely adequete IMO.
I'd like to add that I'm still strongly against using a  categorization based on genres. That would only give more hard work to moderators. And maybe just "divide" the community...

Categorization or not?

Reply #13
Dibrom, after sleeping a night over your idea, i made up my opinion about your proposal. As we discussed already in our listening patterns vs. rating discussion, i'm really eager to see your method in action, but i don't think that a forum is the best platform for it. At least not at ha.org, where a good share of the discussions won't be just about bands and preferences, but also about music itself(ways of distribution, making music, philosophy, etc.).

Dividing the subforums by how music is discussed there, seems more intuitive to me, and i suppose also for many others. Although it may be an interesting idea to try your idea in the general music subforum, when there is more traffic.

Oh, btw - i do think that the mix of dev0's and my ideas result in too many subforums.... i think at least the recommendations-forum could be taken out, since discussions about recommendations could just happen in the general forum instead.

Also, i'm not sure how the news subforum would look like - what kind of news would one find there? Posting every release of a single album etc, seems pointless to me, and also maybe fits better into the reviews-subforum. News about music distribution would fit good into the distribution-subforum - hardware news... well also for this there's already a forum - maybe i'm blind, but what kind of news would the music-news subforum be there for?

- Lyx
I am arrogant and I can afford it because I deliver.

Categorization or not?

Reply #14
Just as a note, I do agree with the idea of having sections in the music forum other than genre related sections per se.  I've looked at the proposals here and will probably be implementing them sometime this week after I've taken care of a few other things I'm working on atm.

However, the problem of viewing genre specific threads within these subsections even, remains a problem.  I think an ideal situation would be a combination of one where there are seperate "ideal" categories, along with a method to view genre specific or related threads within those categories at the same time.

Actually coming to an implementation of the sort of dynamical or non-representationalist systm that I presented is still an issue though.  At the moment I'm not convinced there will be enough volume in this forum to really justify its creation even, but I guess time will tell.

Categorization or not?

Reply #15
I think the music section definitely needs cd reviews. Along with that, there should be a division between commercial albums (RIAA) and other albums and records that aren't on RIAA lineup.

Categorization or not?

Reply #16
Quote
"Categories" would be based upon probabilities according to ratings and relation.


    I think this could easily result in twenty-odd Pink Floyd categories 
Either Lyx or dev0's schemes seem like good starting points to me given the relatively arbitrary nature of musical genres to begin with, but I could easily understand if people preferred genre-specific categorization.

Categorization or not?

Reply #17
After reading over this entire thread, there is only one solution: Wait and see. Wait and see what categories are needed, then adapt to that. Really, otherwise, all that's going to happen is more underpopulated forums are going to be created. Grow with the Music forum, don't over-engineer and stifle it before it starts.

Dibrom, you have great ideas; hell, you all have good ideas. But it's too much far too early.

I can't really see the Music forum being an incredibly active component of a web forum primarily focused on psychoacoustic audio compression. Perhaps the intent is to grow the Music section into sort of a separate entity, but right now it doesn't seem to be happening.

I'm not sure what the intent was for the music forum discussion group, but its purpose is apparently transient. I can't see a use for it after the music forum's grown into its own, really.

Categorization or not?

Reply #18
Quote
I just had (while browsing through the Off-Topic Section), some ideas how a non-genre based structure could look like:

Code: [Select]
| Music Discussion
|
|-- Music Forum Related Discussion
|-- Music News
|-- General Music Discussion
|   |-- Reviews
|-- Making Music
|-- Music on the Net

That looks pretty good to me. I'm no fan of genre-based categorisation; one could add hundreds of categories since there are so many genres/styles, which simply doesn't make sense for a board like this (after all, the music section is kind of an "off topic chat" place anyway, and not the type of resource the rest of the forum is). Also, I find styles categorisations like this just plain silly - there is no artist that is sufficiently described by any single one of those styles, and many of those don't give any idea whatsoever about the music they're supposed to describe (I mean, what the hell is "Math Rock", and what is one supposed to associate with "New Zealand Rock"?).

As for dev0's proposal, I'd take out the "music news" (could just as well go into "general music discussion") and "music forum related discussion" (could go into the main site related discussion forum), to further simplify the structure. Also, I'd rename "music on the net" to something more general, since RIAA issues (lawsuits, etc.) don't necessarily have to have anything to do with the internet as such.

I've been trying to come up with a way to draw a more distinct line between music discussion as such, and technical music discussion (recording/mastering quality of XX's latest CD, etc.), but haven't found anything that makes sense so far. Oh well, might as well keep it together.

Thanks to Dibrom for adding the music forums in the first place.

Categorization or not?

Reply #19
I really like what Lyx and dev0 have suggested. Personally I find "recommendations" versus "reviews" a little confusing, though. I'm sure there will be some people posting positive reviews in the recommendations section. Call it "Expand My Musical Horizon" or something.

Dibrom, I think your idea is very interesting and could probably be expanded to other areas, but right now I personally think it is overkill and a waste of time if it is to be used only in the music section. Who knows if it is at all possible to create a reliable system like that.

Categorization or not?

Reply #20
updated mix of dev0's and my ideas. Recommendations-subforum removed(redirected to "general"). News-subforum removed. dev0's "music on the net" renamed to "music-distribution".

general - general discussions about specific bands and genres, recommendations
music-philosophy - discussions about history of music, methods of songwriting, etc.
reviews - user submitted reviews of albums
making music - discussions about composing music yourself (tech and non-tech)
music-distribution - discussions about ways of distributing music, including hints to "free artists"(artists who don't "sell" their music but give it away for everyone to enjoy)
evangelism - for those who can't wait to tell others how great their fav-band is(this forum may be unnecessary if the staff manages to kill such postings in the other subforums - but this may become more difficult than simply providing a seperate forum for such posts)

- Lyx
I am arrogant and I can afford it because I deliver.

 
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