Why do we expand abbreviations?

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Why do we expand abbreviations?

Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
Hi! I'm considering dropping the "Abbreviations should generally be expanded" guideline, or at least un-generalising it. 


"Abbreviations can be ambiguous, and by that we mean that one single abbreviation can mean several different words when expanded. This issue becomes very important when dealing with multi‐lingual words; for example, the word “Volume” and “Volumen” are both abbreviated to “Vol.” and there is no way to tell which expansion is correct without doing further research. As we intend to support other languages in future, we should make entries as unambiguous as possible for easy manipulation at a later date."

That... makes very little sense. We already support other languages in beta, but we're not planning to translate release titles automatically or anything (was that ever a plan?). 

So I was wondering - is there any actual reason we're even doing this, except that "because we've been doing it a long time"? Discuss :)

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Re: Why do we expand abbreviations?

swisschris
The rationale makes sense IMO. Expanding "Vol." to "Volumen" for a swedish release makes sense and is better than having to assume whether it should read "Volume" or "Volumen". Asking back: what's the gain of the change of this guideline. I am wondering - is there any actual reason we're even changing this, except that "because we've been doing it a long time" and there should be some change once in a while, just for the heck of it ;-)

Chris/chabreyflint

On Tue, Jan 13, 2015 at 11:48 PM, Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi! I'm considering dropping the "Abbreviations should generally be expanded" guideline, or at least un-generalising it. 


"Abbreviations can be ambiguous, and by that we mean that one single abbreviation can mean several different words when expanded. This issue becomes very important when dealing with multi‐lingual words; for example, the word “Volume” and “Volumen” are both abbreviated to “Vol.” and there is no way to tell which expansion is correct without doing further research. As we intend to support other languages in future, we should make entries as unambiguous as possible for easy manipulation at a later date."

That... makes very little sense. We already support other languages in beta, but we're not planning to translate release titles automatically or anything (was that ever a plan?). 

So I was wondering - is there any actual reason we're even doing this, except that "because we've been doing it a long time"? Discuss :)

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Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren

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Re: Why do we expand abbreviations?

Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
On Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 1:01 AM, SwissChris <[hidden email]> wrote:
The rationale makes sense IMO. Expanding "Vol." to "Volumen" for a swedish release makes sense and is better than having to assume whether it should read "Volume" or "Volumen".

But either there's nothing to assume, because it's obvious from the language of the title, or it's not obvious, in which case you're basically arbitrarily picking one over the other. How is that better than just keeping what's in there?
 
Asking back: what's the gain of the change of this guideline. I am wondering - is there any actual reason we're even changing this, except that "because we've been doing it a long time" and there should be some change once in a while, just for the heck of it ;-)

http://forums.musicbrainz.org/viewtopic.php?id=5249 says it feels just dumb in German, FWIW, and it's not the first time at all I've seen asked "why is this a guideline". In general, it just doesn't seem to be something users do unless specifically told to (newbies enter Vol. as on cover pretty much every time), and it doesn't seem to provide any real benefit (unless, say, "feat").  

https://musicbrainz.org/doc/Style/Titles/Series_numbers suggests we want to keep series standardised, which is less necessary now we have actual series to link stuff to but is still reasonable - but why is Edition, Volume, Volumen, Tome, Book, Series, etc. ok as a standard, but not "Vol.", if that's what all the volumes in a series have on their cover? :)

I'm concentrating on "Vol." because that's the one that appears most often, although most of the same questions apply to "rmx" and other similar abbreviations.

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Re: Why do we expand abbreviations?

Alexander VanValin
On 01/13/2015 03:17 PM, Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren wrote:
On Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 1:01 AM, SwissChris <[hidden email]> wrote:
The rationale makes sense IMO. Expanding "Vol." to "Volumen" for a swedish release makes sense and is better than having to assume whether it should read "Volume" or "Volumen".

But either there's nothing to assume, because it's obvious from the language of the title, or it's not obvious, in which case you're basically arbitrarily picking one over the other. How is that better than just keeping what's in there?
 

+1

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Re: Why do we expand abbreviations?

practik
In reply to this post by Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
+1 to the proposal.
SwissChris wrote
The rationale makes sense IMO. Expanding "Vol." to "Volumen" for a swedish
release makes sense and is better than having to assume whether it should
read "Volume" or "Volumen".
If there's no guideline telling us to expand abbreviations, then there's no reason to assume anything -- we can just leave it as "Vol." and move on.
Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren wrote
http://forums.musicbrainz.org/viewtopic.php?id=5249 says it feels just dumb
in German, FWIW, and it's not the first time at all I've seen asked "why is
this a guideline".
Also note that the way we ended up solving the specific problem described in that forum post was by defining the title of the release as half German and half English -- see https://musicbrainz.org/edit/29601769.  It was a good solution given the constraints of the guideline, but really it's just pointless mental contortion.
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Re: Why do we expand abbreviations?

MeinDummy
In reply to this post by Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
I'm in favor of keeping some degree of standardization here though I don't really care if "volume" is expanded or abbreviated.

There are many series where volume numbering is not done consistently, e.g. with all variations of vol(ume) x in various capitalizations with or without dot, space or leading 0, with arabic or roman numbers, added or dropped subtitles, ...
These variations may be there between different volumes of a series. Bad style but not necessarily something that MB has to "fix".
But they may also be there between different sources of information about the same release (e.g. between website, cover art and ID3 tags of an MP3 VA compilation) or even between different pieces of cover art of the same release. In these cases, the variations become our problem and this guideline reduces ambiguity.

Example: http://www.discogs.com/release/2918247
Front cover and CD label show "Pop & Wave" and "Volume 2", the spine says "Pop & Wave", "Vol.2" and "More Hits From The Fantastic 80s". Separation of title, volume number and subtitle is done by placement (front, CD) or using different fonts and colours (spine).
Even though this overall style is quite consistent for the entire series I'm sure the individual releases would end up with all kinds of different title styles if there was no guideline. We might even get duplicates just because an editor couldn't find the release under the title that he was expecting it to have.

As a side note here are some examples for inconsistent naming and volume numbering within series:
https://musicbrainz.org/series/5d4c21f7-9193-4798-9257-b6f9e4f90cac
https://musicbrainz.org/series/fbe1844c-7cf4-4c6f-9f62-e194fd50c7df
https://musicbrainz.org/series/0ce2bc89-5719-4d8d-b2d5-1ca337babe9d
Not sure how these would look like if we didn't have the volume numbering guideline...
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Re: Why do we expand abbreviations?

Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
On Fri, Jan 16, 2015 at 10:35 AM, MeinDummy <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm in favor of keeping some degree of standardization here though I don't
really care if "volume" is expanded or abbreviated.

There are many series where volume numbering is not done consistently, e.g.
with all variations of vol(ume) x in various capitalizations with or without
dot, space or leading 0, with arabic or roman numbers, added or dropped
subtitles, ...
These variations may be there between different volumes of a series. Bad
style but not necessarily something that MB has to "fix".
But they may also be there between different sources of information about
the same release (e.g. between website, cover art and ID3 tags of an MP3 VA
compilation) or even between different pieces of cover art of the same
release. In these cases, the variations become our problem and this
guideline reduces ambiguity.

Hi! Yup, I agree that it's reasonable to have some degree of standardising in a series. But something like "If a series isn't fully consistent for their volume numbering, use the most common style for all of the entries" would be enough for that I feel (in some cases that could change with time, but that's not really that connected to the "vol." thing - it could change as much if they use "tome" or "book" or "edition" or even a full typed "volume", and editors can then decide whether to change old entries or continue with the old style). Subtitles are different, and I don't feel we need to do anything about those - they should just be added if they're there, not added if they're not, is my feeling :)
 
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Re: Why do we expand abbreviations?

Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
I made a voting thingy (maybe eventually we'll get a proper in-site way to do these, but oh well): https://wiki.musicbrainz.org/User:Reosarevok/Abbreviations_vote

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Re: Why do we expand abbreviations?

Nicolás Tamargo de Eguren
Since several people mentioned ETI might be different, I made https://wiki.musicbrainz.org/User:Reosarevok/Abbreviations_vote_2 - so please give your extra opinion on extra track information so I can take an extra informed decision!

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