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Link Crediting artists for specific songs on releases / 2015-06-30 13:47

A recent decision has been made to streamline the manner in which track-specific contributions are added to album lineups. Some of the userbase has adopted a procedure wherein the track titles are spelled out in full:

Bruce Dickinson - Vocals (on "The Trooper," "Flight of Icarus," "Aces High")

It goes without saying that this becomes very messy and difficult to navigate as more artists/credits get added, let alone the erratic nature in which the syntax is interpreted. In order to retain readability and consistency, please add/modify the relevant credits based on their position in the track order. So the aforementioned example would become:

Bruce Dickinson - Vocals (tracks 1, 3, 5)

For credits involving tracks that are not present in the regular (parent) entry of the album like bonus material, additional credits can be added on album child entries under "additional lineup;" follow the above-mentioned protocol for these as well.

Thank you for your comprehension.

-Diamhea

&

-Azmodes

Link On the use of the formats "Other" and "CD" / 2015-04-12 10:18

We have seen contributors use the "Other" format category for discography entries as the equivalent of "I don't know, but I have to select something". However, that's NOT what that option is for. It is intended for comparably rare and "exotic" formats not covered by the usual categories, like for example 8-track cartridges or USB sticks. As such, releases categorised as "Other" should always include additional information in the version description field (and optionally the additional notes for yet further details), specifying what exactly this "other" is. Example. Again, it is not to be used for when the format is simply unknown to the user. If the format is not known or not reasonably certain, the entry shouldn't be added. The format is -along with the title, release year and complete tracklist- a minimum requirement for a discography entry. If one of those things is missing, use the additional info field on band pages. Example.

On a related note, I have observed an alarming number of cases where people select "CD" for entirely digital releases. While plain old laziness or error is obviously not to be ruled out, I assume that this is at least partly based on the practise of referring to any sort of release as a "(demo/full-length/etc.-)CD" in casual speech. While that is hardly a surprising phenomenon in natural language use, for the purposes of this site, when we say "CD", we mean an actual compact disc. Be specific and literal. Otherwise the whole release categorisation becomes a misleading mess.

-Azmodes

Link April Fools / 2015-04-02 00:07

Looks like the announcement below scared a few people. :) Don't worry, as many others have surmised, it was just an April Fools prank. Rest assured, you will never have to pay to view the site, and we will never sell off site privileges.

Thanks for some amusing reactions, everyone.

-HellBlazer

Link Announcing upcoming premium membership services! / 2015-04-01 02:04

As many of you know, late last year Metal Archives hit the 100,000 bands milestone. Back in 2002, when the site was founded, I doubt anyone thought we would ever reach this mark. Unfortunately, these achievements come at a price - a very literal one. As the site grows bigger, requiring more and more server space, and traffic increases, requiring more and more bandwidth, the associated costs have increased as well. Back in 2002 it was no big deal to run the site for free - but now, 13 years later, the costs run hundreds a month, even after factoring in the revenue from referals and the donations of a generous few. The owners and staff aren't interested in profits, or we wouldn't have gotten this far, but when it comes to taking money out of our own pockets there's a limit. This means that unfortunately, it's just not feasible to run the site for free anymore - at least, not without making some changes.

However, as we have always tried to be open with you, our fellow metalheads, we will try to be as frank with you as possible during this transition period. The question is, how can the site best support itself? Short of selling the site entirely - and some very lucrative offers have been made - the most obvious answer is through selling adspace. There's really no way around it. Going forward, we will be introducing some unobtrusive banner ads, which won't obstruct anything important but will bring some much-needed revenue to offset costs. Don't worry, no popups!

Still, we know a lot of people hate ads, and Metal Archives has always tried to be ad-free, so in the spirit of that we will also be introducing a few compromises that we hope will keep people happy. These will come in the form of a subscription service. Before we get into the details, we would like to stress that all the basic features of Metal Archives will and always will be available for free - no paywall, now or ever! What these subscriptions will do, however, is provide an easy way for members to help support a site that provides services we all use, while also providing some conveniences they might appreciate.

Firstly, to conserve bandwidth, all non-subscribers will be limited to 15 band page views per day. This should be plenty for most people to get the information they need, while cutting down on pointless (and costly) aimless browsing. All subscription tiers meanwhile will allow for unlimited* browsing, and provide the option to hide the upcoming banner ads. All reports, reviews, and bands submitted by subscribers will be highlighted in their respective queues. Finally, all subscribers will have access to a members-only forum!

Now, on to the tiers! All prices given in USD.

Silver tier: Metal Soldier - $1.99/month
This is the basic package that provides the member services described above. A forum badge is also included, allowing you to show off your contribution!

Gold tier: Metal General - $6.66/month
This tier comes with all the basic perks, along with giving subcribers the ability to edit site info as if they had Veteran status. In addition, their reviews will be accepted automatically. As before, a special forum badge is also included, to display to the masses your love for metal!

Platinum tier: Metal Dictator - $66.60/month
This tier is reserved only for hardcore metalheads only! Along with everything the previous tiers get, this tier also gives honorary moderator status. This means you get an email address using this domain (yournamehere@metal-archives.com), as well as having access to the moderation queues just like a real moderator! Finally, you'll have access to the moderator-only staff forum, giving you a chance to weigh in on all Metal Archives decisions. Does one of your favorite bands deserve to be on the Archives? This is your chance to get them in!

Bands and labels
We are also working out the details of a sponsorship system that will allow full access to edit your own data, as well as priority placement in search results, among other things. Starting at only $16.66/month!

Keep in mind that all of this is pending review and may be subject to change before it goes live. None of this is set in stone, and we're also interested in getting your feedback directly! Come discuss with us using this thread.

-HellBlazer

Link Country tags and version descriptions / 2015-03-19 16:17

We've noticed some misunderstandings with when to include a country in the "version description" field on album pages. While we're working on fleshing out the guidelines on this issue, please keep the following in mind:

Country tags should not be added to the description field unless separating two otherwise identical versions. Please do not add a country tag to every version of an album to match the label that released it. We are not Discogs. Adding a label to the album precludes the need to add the label's location in the description field. For example, it is redundant and silly to add "Mexico" to every Scarecrow Records release. Unless it's useful to distinguish identical versions of an album, it's best to leave out the country tag.

The only exception to the rule are Japanese pressings, which are consistently and markedly different enough to warrant always including that tag. When you do put down a country tag, just use the country/region name (ex. Canada, Japan, Europe, Germany). DO NOT write "Japanese" or "Japanese version." That's redundant.

Thanks again for your understanding! \m/

-Derigin

Link Single-sided releases / 2015-02-07 06:54

We now have the option to mark releases with material on only one side of the medium (mostly applying to vinyl or cassette) with a specific checkbox situated near the release tracklist ("No B side"). Note the orange info box on the bottom of the edit page as well. Please make use of this feature and transfer version descriptions such as "single-sided" or "one-sided" accordingly (don't forget to also delete the description afterwards). If you can't, file a report asking other users to update it for you.

Be aware that this is NOT the same as a release having the music repeat on both sides. There is a separate checkbox for this and obviously the two are mutually exclusive options.

-Azmodes

Link "Edits" creating album version duplicates / 2015-02-03 17:36

Moderator Diamhea asked me to convey the following to our userbase:

We are having a rampant issue with unintended duplicate album versions, coming universally from users who are under Veteran and looking for a way to edit parent entries. Since the implementation of the other versions feature, users who would otherwise be forced to flag a report to execute changes concerning existing album data are now somehow finding their way to the add a version (+) icon, thinking erroneously that this is the correct way to make their intended edits. Please realize that if you have under 1000 points, you cannot modify existing data fields and must use the report system to get these changes made. "Modifying" the album via the other versions feature just adds unnecessary/unwanted album duplicates and is not a valid way to circumvent the system, done consciously or otherwise.

Thank you for your comprehension.

-Azmodes

Link Artist credits / 2015-01-12 21:03

We keep coming across instances of painters, writers, etc. (usually long-dead and from the public domain) being credited for albums they did not in any direct way participate in, often with extensive artist pages. Examples include English painter/poet William Blake or German painter Caspar David Friedrich, both artists from the 18th/19th centuries whose work has since been used by a number of metal bands for their releases, usually cover art, but sometimes also lyrical passages or entire poems.

Please be aware that we don't allow the usual artist entries for these individuals, a short mention about the used work and author in the album's additional notes is enough. Any such artist pages that we come across are going to be deleted. If you are aware of any, please either flag them via the report function or post in this forum thread, which was created for this very issue.

The rule of thumb here is that any author/artist whose work has not been created specifically for the album in question should not be credited in the lineup. Said section is intended for people who had an active part in the creation of the release, not those whose past work has simply been appropriated for a new context.

An exception is made for copyrighted material from more recent/contemporary artists the use of which has been legally paid for, ex. H. R. Giger. These are usually acceptable, though there are always some grey areas. Above everything else, if you are unsure, please ask in the thread I mentioned earlier before creating any new entries. Thank you.

-Azmodes

Link 100,000 bands... / 2014-11-13 16:11

A new milestone has been reached today.

If you asked me, 12 years ago when we launched M-A, if we'd ever reach 10,000 bands on M-A, let alone ten times that number, I would probably have scoffed.

Yet here we are. And it's all thanks to you, our contributors. Thank you everyone for your hard work. Without you, this site would have never grown into the #1 resource for metal fans worldwide.

We rock!

-Morrigan

Link Server maintenance / 2014-11-12 11:54

Please note that the site will go down tonight around 1 am EST / 6 am UTC for some planned maintenance on the server that will hopefully let the site run smoother. We will be back as soon as possible.

EDIT: All done. Report any issues to me.

-HellBlazer

Link Redundancies / 2014-09-03 15:08

Three things.

1. Please stop adding "jewel case" to the version description field. That's automatically assumed for CDs. This kind of redundancy is only one step removed from things like "circular disc" or "composed of baryonic matter". Okay, maybe a tad further from that second one, but you get the idea. The same goes for "black vinyl".

2. If a release/version doesn't have a catalog number, leave the field empty. Do not add things like "n/a" or "none". Yes, we've seen this around and it is absolutely not needed. If the field is left blank, "N/A" is displayed anyway.

3. Coming back to version descriptions, for country- or region-specific versions, use the noun form of the country/region; ex. Germany, Europe or Japan. Not German, European or Japanese. Also do not add "edition" or "version", that's redundant as well. Just the proper noun, please.

Thanks.

Further clarification and updated guidelines for the use of the chronically misused and cluttered version description field -as well as versions in general- coming soon(-ish).

-Azmodes

Link Versions update / 2014-06-18 02:04

It is now possible to select a vinyl size for releases on that format. If the size is not a standard one, just leave the size field blank and make a note of it in the "additional notes" field.

Note that the format field has been moved so that it always appears near the track listing and that you can select a different format for each disc or component.

Also, for those adding/updating double-sided formats, please note that the "side B" row can be clicked and dragged to indicate which songs are on the B side. Please don't leave all the songs on the A side for such formats. :)

As usual, report any problems in this thread.

-HellBlazer

Link Album versions / 2014-05-30 21:43

Big news today!

The site now has a system to keep track of the various versions of an album that may exist (different formats, re-issues, special editions, etc.). You can go to any album page, and click the + button under the album title to adda new version for this album. The form will be initially filled out with the parent release's info, and you can modify whatever is different in that particular version, including bonus tracks. All versions will be listed on the "other versions" tab on the album page.

There are a few new fields on the album form to support this feature. The most important is the format field, with which you can now specify if the release has been put out as a CD, vinyl, cassette, etc. Each format will have its own version in the database. The version description field can be used to specify a short description for a version if applicable, such as "digipak", "collector's edition", and the like. The band associated with the album can also now be modified, for cases in which an album is re-released under another band name. For two-sided formats, you can now specify which songs are on which side, and there's also an RPM field for vinyls. Finally, fields for identifiers (barcode numbers, etc.) and recording info (data that was previously put in the additional notes) have been added so that they can be searched for through the advanced search.

This also impacts a few other sections of the site. Reviewers are now able to select the specific version that they're reviewing, if they wish to do so (there's a button to edit the version in your existing reviews without re-submitting to the queue). Versions can be specified on your collection page as well. Label pages will also display every version that a label has released.

The rules section concerning albums has been expanded and restructured in light of this new feature. Please take the time to read it if you're going to contribute.

In some cases, an album that was previously a standalone entry will need to be transformed into a child version of another album. For instance, albums that were re-released under another band's name (The Mob's demo became Queensr├┐che's self-titled EP for example), or DVD releases that should now be versions of a previous VHS release. In such cases, you can create the new version entry, and report the old one stating that it should be removed because it has been re-created as a version.

If you have any questions regarding all this, or if you find any bugs or strange behaviors, don't hesitate to post about it in this thread.

Here are a couple examples for Cathedral's The Carnival Bizarre and Totem's self-titled EP (re-released as Jex Thoth).

-HellBlazer

Link Maintenance / 2014-03-28 15:37

The site will be going down tonight for some maintenance at around 11 pm EDT (3 am UTC). We will be upgrading the database server software to a new version. Hopefully this won't take too long, or break anything, but it's hard to say with these things.

EDIT: Alright, all done, and things seem to be in order. Let me know if you see anything that looks broken. It seems like it might be a little slow, I'll see if I can adjust some settings tomorrow.

-HellBlazer

Link A quick announcement regarding album lineups / 2014-02-04 10:53

For all its awesomeness and virtues, ever since v2 went live about three years ago there has been a constant issue with inaccurate or plain nonsensical album (recording) lineups. Although this issue stems directly from the very possibility and ease of adding such data, it is not a technical concern. It lies with the userbase.

Even though it should be rather obvious that only correct and verified data should be added to the Archives, and even though there is an even more obvious reminder about this visible when editing album lineups, many people abuse this option for quickly acquiring points through considerable numbers of useless updates. This practise is hardly news, but it has found a new and very annoying instrument with album lineups.

Now, obviously the aforementioned infestation of blatant point-whores is a very important concern. However, the main reason I'm writing this is because there are some people who do have good intentions, but misunderstand what exactly is meant by officially sourced album lineups. There have been many instances of users believing it is permissible to make certain educated guesses based on a band's main lineup and the year ranges and then transmute these into a "probable" constellation of artists for (a) specific release(s). THIS IS NOT THE CASE. For starters, even with short-lived bands with no past members and only one release there can be numerous permutations, such as one member not performing on the album or others playing slightly different roles.

So yeah, there it is. Repeated failure to observe this very simple rule and/or especially unapologetic point-whoring can get your account banned, whatever your intentions. If you have added questionable guesswork lineups in the past, it would be in the site's best interest (and yours, naturally) to flag these instances for review with the report function.

So let me reiterate, very clearly: Only use trustworthy, ideally official and explicit sources for adding album lineups. That includes album booklets, discography sections on the band's website, Bandcamp pages, reviews including additional info about the release, etc... DO NOT make guesses, even "educated" ones. If you cannot be sure about a lineup, leave it blank. Having no information is preferable to having incorrect information. We do not want guesswork data to be presented as fact on the site (and inaccuracies disguised as truth to spread from here), and this is exactly what ignoring the above leads to. Let's all try to keep this wonderful site accurate and professional, as opposed to a cesspool of lazy misinformation, shall we?

Thank you for your comprehension and contributions.

-Azmodes

Link Bloodstock Festival stream / 2013-08-09 05:53

Hey, we're gonna try something new. As many of you may know, this weekend is the Bloodstock Festival in the UK. I learned today that the fest will actually offer a live stream of the shows on the main stage, and it's possible for third-party websites to embed the video. This seems like it could be of interest to a lot of MA visitors so... here you go. Also, here is the Bloodstock forum thread for those who want to comment.

EDIT: The fest is over so I removed the video stream.

-HellBlazer

Link 90,000 bands / 2013-03-31 16:06

We have now reached an incredible 90,000 bands listed in the database! Needless to say, a gargantuan thank you from the owners and the staff goes out to all contributors who made this possible.

The magic six digits aren't too far away now, onwards to 100,000!

-Azmodes

Link Still server issues / 2013-02-11 01:10

Once again apologies for the sad state of the site today. We are aware that it's very slow or even unresponsive, and our host is looking into the problem. Nothing has been perfect since the server crash earlier this month, and believe me we are as sick of this situation as you are. We will try to get everything back to normal as soon as possible.

-HellBlazer

Link Maintenance, 1 AM EST / 2013-02-04 20:47

As mentioned in the post below, there are still performance issues to take care of, as the site performance hasn't been the most optimal since the crash recovery. So we'll have a short server maintenance update tonight, at around 1 AM EST. The update should not take long, and should revert the server configuration to what it was (or closer to it, at least) before the crash, so it will hopefully help with the sporadic downtimes and slowness we've been experiencing lately.

Once again sorry for the troubles, and thank you for your understanding.

-Morrigan

Link Stable again / 2013-02-01 18:12

To the best of our knowledge, the bugs or glitches left over from the backup restoration (search engine, label pages, etc.) have been fixed and the site is now fully functional.

There may be some minor performance issues from time to time, as many of our server tweaks haven't been configured yet, but they should hopefully not be too noticeable and will be fixed in the next few days.

We once again apologize for the inconvenience.

-Morrigan

Link Filesystem failures and other things / 2013-01-31 23:41

So a partition on our server was corrupted earlier today. Our host worked hard at rebuilding the system and getting the site back online, and we had a backup from this morning, but unfortunately some data entered in the few hours after the last backup may have been lost.

As of right now, some parts of the site are still broken: the search isn't working (except the Google search), label pages are not loading, among other things. We are doing our best right at this instant to fix all these problems, so we ask for your patience.

We know the site stability hasn't been the best lately, and we apologize for that: this is the biggest issue we've had in a while, but hardware failures are random and beyond our control (in other words: "shit happens"). Hopefully this is the last of our problems for a while.

We will post more updates as soon as we have them. Thank you for your patience and comprehension.

EDIT: the search is back, at least. Still working on other issues.

-Morrigan

Link Maintenance time / 2013-01-18 00:27

Just a heads up that the site will be going down soon for a short time while some maintenance is going on the server. It should be back quickly.

EDIT: Everything is fine now.

-HellBlazer

Link Happy New Year! We have a present for you. / 2013-01-01 16:26

### IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR ALL BAND SUBMITTERS ###

As of this new year of 2013, we have now changed our policy concerning the band approval process.

Before today, bands were required to have a physical album before being eligible. Since digital distribution is becoming more and more widespread, we have decided to now accept bands who release their music entirely through digital medium.

However, this does not mean we accept any bands with a few songs on Myspace or Youtube. Only bands with serious digital albums will be accepted. I urge all band contributors to revisit the rules and guidelines page for the details of what kind of digital albums are considered acceptable.

We apologize for the inconvenience caused to the contributors who may have recently deleted their drafts of bands which, despite having no physical album, may have had a valid digital album. If you had a very detailed draft and deleted it recently, it might be possible to restore it. Please post in this forum thread about such a matter.

Note that after much time spent rejecting a number of non-metal bands, we have also put in writing some additional examples of what kind of music we do not consider acceptable for this site (j-rock, djent, post-hardcore, etc.). This is not a change of policy, but just a matter of clarification for those confused users out there who may think these styles as metal.

To all our contributors and visitors: thank you again for all the great work, and we hope 2013 will be another great year for the Encyclopaedia as it continues to grow and prove itself to be the greatest online resource for heavy metal.

-Morrigan

Link New features / 2012-11-30 12:37

A few new features have been deployed today:

  • Labels by country: this was requested a good while ago, and I finally got around to it.
  • I've also slightly revamped the left menu alongside with this new link to make it look tidier.
  • There is now an autocomplete helper when adding external links.
  • A Years active field to document a band's various periods of activity: years of formation, disbanding, reunions, name changes, and so on.
For contributors, please see the help page for more information on how to correctly enter this data (with examples for various cases). Note that we are also keeping the old "year of formation" field, as this field is used for advanced search purposes, and is also not necessarily the same year as the first year in the band's history (for bands that changed names, for instance).

Enjoy!

-Morrigan

Link Scheduled maintenance / 2012-11-22 21:20

The site will be down for a short time starting around midnight EST (5 am UTC) while the server team replaces a hard drive. Sorry about the inconvenience; it's a simple procedure and shouldn't take too long.

EDIT: The drive has been replaced and the site is back. There's a small problem with the forum that will be fixed soon.

EDIT 2: The forum is back. Everything seems fine now, but let me know if you see any errors.

-HellBlazer

Link Search update / 2012-10-13 17:18

I'm upgrading our search engine so you might get some errors or odd behaviors when using the search in the next few minutes.

EDIT: Well that was quite painless. Everything should be fine now, let me know if you see anything unusual concerning the search.

-HellBlazer

Link Happy April Fools / 2012-04-02 00:09

No, the FBI did not seize our domain. No, no one was indicted with racketeering, money laundering and other nefarious activities. This was all, of course, an April Fools prank. Nothing illegal or criminal has ever been going on here, obviously.

I admit, the prank was a lot more successful than I expected, based on various reactions I have seen all over the Internet. I had written the date in the browser's title and allowed the clicking of the image to make it disappear and lead to the site normally, yet apparently many people failed to notice any of that... Sorry if we caused any heart attacks ;) but this goes to show that people tend to be very reactionary instead of stopping for a second and using a bit of critical thinking.

Sorry again for that wee bit of trolling. But hey, that's what April the 1st is for! Until next year. \m/

-Morrigan

Link More new features! / 2012-03-26 01:02

New setting

As stated in the previous post, we're continuously adding new features and settings, and the latest one is the "Complete lineup" tab on the band and album pages. The default behaviour is unchanged, and shows the "Current lineup" (or "Band members" for albums) tab. But you can now check the complete member list on one single tab, and if you prefer it that way, you can go into your settings and select the lineup sub-tab you prefer to load by default.

You can also completely disable tabs for lineups, and always show the full artist listing, by ticking the appropriate checkbox(es). Choosing this setting will override the tab choice above it, obviously. For those who would never bother to filter the lists using the tabs, this may be useful.

New feature

This was requested a while ago, so here it is: logged users can now use the internal bookmark system to add bands, labels and artists to a list of private bookmarks. Click the star icon on the respective pages to add the item to your bookmarks. You can access and manage your bookmarks under My bookmarks in the top-left menu. For now, the list doesn't do anything beyond that, but we might use it as a starting point for a "watch list" or a notification system. We'll see.

Oh, and just in case the star icon does not work, please hit Ctrl + R to hard-refresh your browser cache.

Enjoy!

-Morrigan

Link Some new user settings / 2012-03-02 23:47

We added some new preferences/settings under "my profile" (settings tab). To summarize:

  • Default discography tab: Some people find long-ass discographies to be an eyesore, so we've added a way to change the default tab being shown. The default setting is still the complete tab, so you don't need to change it if you like things the way they are.

  • Hide my profile information: name, age, email, etc. For example, some people wanted the possibility of displaying their email address, but only to logged users. This setting will allow them to do that. The rest of their info (submitted bands, reviews, etc.) will always remain public for obvious reasons.

  • Private collection: requested by a few people; if you want to use the site to build your collection but don't want unsolicited trade requests, you can use that.

Obviously, those options are only available to logged users. And we will add more settings eventually.

-Morrigan

Link Rules updated / 2012-02-26 22:56

We've added a new section in the rules about the use of multiple accounts.

Fair warning to those who ever intended to register multiple accounts to rig the "similar artists" recommendation system; if we catch you doing that, we're banning you instantly (and, of course, wiping your voting record in one click, making your efforts useless). This behaviour was never allowed in the first place, obviously, but now there's the bonus of no longer having ignorance as an excuse, as it is written down rather plainly. If you have been doing that and haven't been caught (yet -- you will be, trust me ;) ), I suggest you quietly remove your duplicate votes before someone notices.

Multiple accounts, or sock puppets as they are called, are often used for other purposes, from sending misleading reports to skewing review scores. Sock puppets are always caught in the end, and it's a lot less effort for us to undo their damage, so just don't do it.

-Morrigan

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