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How to solve the versions problem?

johnny [staff]
Posts: 1005
Hey guys.. let's discuss how to solve the version problem..

In the ideal world we would only like to have 1 version of a tab for each song.
Let's hear some ideas how we could achieve that.

Here's a more formal description of the problems:
  1. For each song that has multiple tabs select only 1 single tab to be a primary tab and considerably hide or delete other versions.
  2. Properly handle what happens when a new tab is submitted that already has a primary tab selected.

So my suggested solution for 1 would be to construct a smart classifier that selects primary tabs based on the following criteria:
- the rating
- the date of submission (more recent submissions would be prioritized)
- the author of the tab (more active tabbers should get precedence)

So each song would get a maintainer (which would most often be the author of the primary tab).

How should we handle new submission of the same song (problem 2)? These should in my opinion be added as corrections to the primary tab which need to be approved by the author. If the author is unavailable a community vote could settle if a correction is needed or not.

What do you guys think? I'm really interested in some ideas so we can solve this beast of a problem. Basically what would happen in the end is that a tab would not only have a single author but truly be a collaborative effort where all collaborations would be given credit. We could also keep a track of changes kind of like wikipedia does so all contributions would be visible.
Posts: 25
Personally I don't think it's a bad thing for there to be more than one version of a song - sometimes the oher versions are in a different key or somewhere else on the fretboard for ease of playing etc. The problem comes when there are 20 versions that are all pretty much the same. A solution for that could be to remove any that are under 3 stars (although maybe completely unrated tabs should be left and given a chance to be rated), because the community obviously doesn't think they're very good, and for the tabs to appear on the page in order of their ratings.

I also don't think a primary tab should be chosen based on how new the submission is or who writes it - new doesn't mean better and a brand new user might write a better tab than one of our regular authors.

As for new versions of existing songs, I think that when you want to submit a new version of the same song, you should be shown the current top rated version of it, or in some way be made aware that the current version exists. Maybe you should have to submit a reason you want to submit your version (eg. It's in a new key, it's for a different number of strings, the current one isn't that good, it's written differently for ease of playing).

I don't think all new versions should be mashed together to make the ‘best’ tab - the formatting alone would be a nightmare (and personally, I'm not around enough to monitor new updates to my tabs).

TL;DR I think you should display the tabs in order of rank, delete bad tabs and make it obvious to submitters that they are putting up a tab that already exists. One tab to rule them all is not the answer.
Posts: 1103
I'm OK with having multiple versions. If I'm really working to learn a song I'll actually go through all of them to see and hear the differences to find what fits my playing style or comfort best.

I think if you add the tab author next to the list of tabs, or next to the rating, I could avoid a lot of wasted time by going directly to the tabber I know and trust.
Posts: 530
I'm with blue on Problem 2: to submit a tab where one already exists you should need to put in a reason for the additional tab. That reason would display as a Comment on the tab, and adding it to the original would also be helpful. That way there is a documented reason for the additional tab (and possibly a pointer to it from the other tab).

Short of doing a full audit of the site, I still like my method for chipping away at the duplicates:
1. Add an attribute to the tab where users can vote the tab as “redundant” or “unnecessary”. Functionally similar to Like. A comment should also be added explaining why they feel it is redundant/unnecessary.
1a. The comment will send a message to the submitter, so they would have a chance to respond in another comment.
2. When the count hits 5 (or 2, or 4, or whatever value seems to work - it can be tweaked), the tab shows up on a list to be checked for redundancy/non-necessity.
3. Site ‘SuperUsers’ can see the list and perform the check on the tab. If they determine it can be deleted they do so. This has a subjective element to it, so the SuperUsers should be trusted members of the community who have the reputation for being good at tabbing. There would be to timeline for this to have to happen, just as they are able to do it. Ratings can be used in their judgement, but does have a subjective element to it.
3a. If the submitter is still active on the site, an email can be sent saying that the tab is being removed and the reasoning - the string of comments, plus any notes from the SuperUser. Again, doing this is based on the judgement of the SuperUser.
3b. The SuperUser should also be able to reset the redundant/unnecessary count, as they may find the tab is not redundant/unnecessary. This would get it back off the list.
4. SuperUsers could also proactively check tabs to see if they are redundant/unnecessary. Seeing “(Ver 7)” on the New Tabs list could trigger action, or they can let it go and let the community work out the relative values of the different versions.

There can be good reasons for multiple versions of tabs. Speaking of/for myself, not everyone is at the skill level to play all of the tabs available here, so a different/simplified version of a song would have value to them.

Johnny - this site is already awesome as it is. As far as I'm concerned cleaning up extra versions of tabs falls into the “nit-picking” category (and yes, I've brought it up…. Thank you for all the work you have put into it.
LoudLon [moderator]
Posts: 1930
I'm with blue on Problem 2: to submit a tab where one already exists you should need to put in a reason for the additional tab.

Obviously there are many reasons why someone would submit a new tab for an already-existing one (live version, alternately tuned version, ease-of-play/economy of movement version, etc) but the biggest reason is because they felt the previous tab(s) was wrong. At least, that's why I submit new versions of already-existing songs.

But multiple versions isn't the only issue. There are also misspelled band names and song titles, inaccurate song titles, etc. For instance the correct title is “Carry On Wayward Son,” not “Carry On MY Wayward Son.” The correct band name is “The Police,” not “Police,” “The Cult” not “Cult,” “R.E.M.” not “Rem” or “rem”. “Guns N' Roses,” not “Gun ‘n Roses” or “GnR.” Not to mention song titles that have comments in them like “100% accurate” or “the real way.”

This isn’t going to be an easy fix. Regardless of what system we come up with, it's going to take time and effort to clean the database up. As 2nick3 mentioned, a full audit. The only simpler thing I can think of would be something Johnny proposed himself a while back – posting bundles of tabs at a time on the forum and letting users vote for which versions to keep and which to toss. This would also give us an opportunity to correct song title/band name issues.
LoudLon [moderator]
Posts: 1930
Oh, also, there's the notion that in order to cut the work this is going to take down, maybe we just go ahead and remove anything rated 3-stars or less (except for unrated tabs). It might upset the tabber, but if it's for the betterment of the site, y'know? And it'd take a huge chunk of work out of the equation.
Posts: 1499
We could just delete all the tabs and start over.
LoudLon [moderator]
Posts: 1930
That would work, too. Just give me a day to copy all my tabs so I can re-submit them after.
Posts: 25
Have to agree with LoudLon that band/song names is a way bigger issue than number of versions! It's more of a pain to deal with, and I think IamMark has the quickest solution of just showing the tab's author next to the tab (although this is really only useful to the active community of the site who are aware of the other members).

But if the next update to the site has to focus on versions, then I think when a tab goes lower than 3 stars it could be removed (I feel like 3 is middle ground? Not great but passable? Plus I remember seeing a user whose entire collection of tabs were 3 stars - they weren't bad tabs and the ones I looked at deserved more, but I think they were self-rated out of modesty back when it was still possible to do so).

One more thing I wanted to mention was that while I mostly trust the starring system here, I think that sometimes people rate songs based on how much they want to see the tab rather than the tab's merits. I've filled out more than one request that's been automatically 5 starred without a realistic amount of time passing for the person to have tried the whole thing out. Not sure if there's really a solution to this, but maybe it's something worth bringing up if the forum is encouraged to rate currently unrated tabs (which I think is generally a good idea).
Posts: 3139
Personally I like the variety, I dont try to learn a song note for note, that level of pedanticism is positively anal, we are creative humans not robots
LoudLon [moderator]
Posts: 1930
...note for note, that level of pedanticism is positively anal...

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