What's The Frequency, Kenneth?

March 6, 2010 10:04 AM

In my encroaching senility I might be repeating myself here, but I've been thinking (oh please God no, I hear you sigh....). Anyone else think it would be useful to start a modest library of technical notes - under the above rather apt title - that could gradually build into a resource for MeFiMoos to dip into? Could simply be a bunch of links to good advice on a topic, so needn't be onerous. If we agree the headings/topic areas (EQ, Mastering, etc), we could simply drop a link or a note etc into the box (as it were) when we find something useful. Clearly, to be effective this would require a new sub-section in MeFiMu. If space is a problem, personally I think this would be more useful than the "Most Favourited Since The Last Ice Age" charts. :-)
posted by MajorDundee (13 comments total)

You know, this is what I had in mind back in the day when we were rooting for this Talk section of music. When it was actually opened it went in another direction by itself, but I think you found the right approach: opening Theme Subcategories (EQ, Mastering, etc).

One thing I think would be cool though, is that aside from linking to useful stuff we find, we develop some sort of method to "interview" each other. Say, for instance, that under the Mastering category I could ask you directly how you manage to make all your songs sound at the same volume, or some other question specifically aimed at something you (or any other MefiMoo) does particularly well. That way we are not only developing a "knowledge base", but we are actually taking advantage of the skills we have here.

And personally, I wouldn't mind seeing most of the charts go from the front page.
posted by micayetoca at 10:58 AM on March 6, 2010

That sounds spot-on to me mica. I know I haven't been a member of MeFiMu for very long, but it seems to me that the site's gone a bit flat lately. So maybe a spot of Spring cleaning would inject a bit of vigour into things. Sharing info and skills would be great - that way we all improve, and more people might get involved because the site's seen as something more than just a peer group commenting on each other's material. I mean - at MeFiMu you can actually learn how to make good records or write better songs....
posted by MajorDundee at 12:43 PM on March 6, 2010

I think it'd be great to see people swapping notes on stuff, yeah. I don't think I'm all that keen on trying to start with a new official structure as far as what the site provides (not saying that's precisely what's being proposed, just trying to be explicit about my take on it), but if folks wanted to start one or another of a Let's Talk About {EQ|Compression|Mixing|Miking} thread periodically for folks to throw their respective two cents at in an informal discussion/workshop sort of way, that'd probably be pretty neat.

The clearest followup/complement to that in my mind would be for someone(s) to take the output of that sort of thing and organize it a little on the wiki, maybe just set up a new section for Music Wonkery there and try to curate the results of such discussions into a simple reference or something.

That'd be a great start, and whether it goes somewhere more formal than that on *.metafilter.com itself in the long run would I guess depend on how all that went. But I really like the idea of jawing about this stuff as a group, yeah.

And personally, I wouldn't mind seeing most of the charts go from the front page.

Separate discussion, definitely, but one worth (re-)having. I think it's more a lack of a specific slam-dunk sense of what to do with the space otherwise that's the biggest roadblock; barring some other use, the charts aren't really doing any harm per se, so we've just left 'em in place.
posted by cortex at 3:45 PM on March 6, 2010

Actually - a moderately amended structure is precisely what's being proposed....! I don't think the thread idea would work. It would be "hot" for a day or two and then vanish - which entirely defeats the object. Forgive me, but the wiki idea sounds a little like a cop-out. I'm cool with the Metacontrollers not being up for changing the status quo, although it does tend to beg questions about who or what the MeFiMu sub-site is actually for. I'm probably taking it too seriously. And if I think the site is getting a little stale that's clearly my problem, not anyone else's. Hey ho.
posted by MajorDundee at 4:00 PM on March 6, 2010

Well, the thing is, from our perspective we're not going to take the time and energy to design and engineer a new section/structure on the site unless we already really believe in it. I know "let's have some threads and work on the wiki" is less exciting as a path to go down, but it's a really low-cost (in a variety of senses), low-friction way to start looking at what kind of energy and buy-in there really is for the idea.

Again, I like the idea, but short of just rearranging the site on a whim (which we're loath to do), it needs to start smaller. We've had the same discussion about other "we should add this to metafilter" ideas in general, over in metatalk, and that's the usual path it takes: charging folks with first establishing a need and a critical mass of interest/support for an idea before we start rebuilding part of the site to accommodate what could turn out to be kind of a dud.

Music itself took several years and two distinct tries to get launched, and I'd say this was probably the creativity-related subsite that had by the best chance of success on mefi. And I think it's proven itself to be a success at a baseline level and I'm deeply grateful to Matt for giving it another go a few years back, but folks here will rightly complain that even at that this place is almost a ghost town compared to the major subsites of mefi.

So that's where I'm coming from here in a mod capacity rather than a Music nerd capacity: let's make generating the content the engineering effort would support the horse, and the engineering effort itself to make a permanent home for that the cart. I think it could in fact be a really nice addition to Music, a sort of subject-specific FAQ as it were, but reasonably speaking it's vaporware until we actually have content.
posted by cortex at 4:17 PM on March 6, 2010

Ahhh, the penny drops... You are, of course, quite right cortex. We need in other words to make a "business case" for any changes. And you have helpfully suggested how that is tackled. So....to work. Anyone else want to assist in building the case?
posted by MajorDundee at 2:33 AM on March 7, 2010

I totally get what you are saying, cortex, and it makes perfect sense. However, there might be a simpler approach to this that doesn't require a lot of coding:

How about if we make the posts as regular Music Talk posts, only that (with tags or otherwise) they get assigned to the different categories, and those categories are offered in a list in the front page, instead of one of the charts.

So, what we would see in the front page of music would be this. Directly underneath the recent posts to Music Talk, we can see the different categories (which can be agreed by asking the users).

How is this any different to what we have? Well, I believe that just having the browsability will encourage more people to participate, to post thematic questions or resources. I think, quoting the Major, it "would inject a bit of vigour into things".

Does that look more doable or is it the same in practical terms?
posted by micayetoca at 9:17 AM on March 7, 2010

Looks great to me mica - although I'd call it "Music Tech" or something similar. Seems to me that this could be done for a month or two and if it falls on its arse it can be quietly dropped - no harm done. I mean, it's not a major redesign - its really just a modest development of the "talk" bit.

I get cortex's point entirely though - the guys in charge don't want to fuck around with the site on a whim. And that's fair enough. Maybe if we got the thumbs up from regulars apropos your mock-up that would perhaps go some way to persuading you cortex? I guess, mica, we could do another post on this featuring your mock up and simply call for "yes" or "no" votes (and abstentions I guess) within a period of, say, two weeks?
posted by MajorDundee at 9:59 AM on March 7, 2010

I like the idea of essentially trying it as vanilla Talk threads and trying to use tagging as an organizational tool for it, yeah. As a low-friction way to approach it at the beginning it'd be a way to put us all in Let's Talk About X mode, and then if it makes sense (i.e. if we're all feeling like this is actually yielding some pretty useful content) I could totally see looking at making that content more visible on the front page of Music, whether through automatic tag- or category-based sorting or by just literally manually featuring content in some mod-updatable sidebar widget, yeah.

I'm totally down with vigor, and I like the notion of that mockup. Violence on a dead horse: I'd like there to be a little bit of content, and an established feeling that it's something we can keep making content for as a group, before any such thing actually got introduced to the wide world. But I like the idea.

My suggestion to get started here is pretty rudimentary: a couple folks who feel like it go ahead and pick a topic they either (a) feel comfortable talking about a little in a "how I use x, what I use x for, things I've learned about x" capacity or (b) feel like asking a "help me understand x" sort of question, and we can all merrily attempt drop knowledge and such.

It seems like there are at least a few threads in Talk that have been this sort of thing (and I'm sure there's a few in the AskMe archives as well), so part of my concern about content is helped right there just with someone doing a little digging around to identify existing mefi-built discussions about stuff. It'd be great to incorporate that into any sort of index of resources we decided to try and build.
posted by cortex at 10:39 AM on March 7, 2010

Perfect, so, if I gather a few of those Talk and AskMe threads, what would be the next step?
posted by micayetoca at 5:20 AM on March 8, 2010

Having read the previous comments and original idea, I LOVE this. Now I'm left standing next to micayetoca, wondering how to go about accomplishing anything. Backtagging?

I can see why this looks like a daunting task, but I'm sure nothing like it exists, so it might be worth doing. The wealth of music making info here is absolutely incredible, but currently it's only available after some serious searching.

Also, it really WOULD be nice to have something like this take up some real estate on the Music front page.
posted by snsranch at 4:22 PM on March 8, 2010

I too like the idea of just tagging Talk threads in some kind of consistent way. If someone starts a thread about EQ or something, and are not aware of this new convention, we could ask them to add the special tag ("musictech" or whatever it will be). And maybe we could get some members to start musictech threads on areas of their expertise -- with a meaty run-through of how they record guitars, for example, and then others can chime in with their tips on that topic.

In fact, I could see half the threads as question threads ("What the hell is compression?") where someone DOESN'T know something and is asking the community -- and the other half are threads started by someone who DOES know something ("Tips for writing good lyrics") where the poster presents a 'thesis' and then others add their input and/or ask the original poster questions, etc.
posted by edlundart at 9:08 PM on March 9, 2010

Looks to me like this is a runner - we just need to agree the "convention". Probably needs some kind of announcement so everyone is aware of what this is about/for and how to do it. We could run into difficulties re the tagging is it's not kept dead simple. I guess one stab at a simple convention/structure would perhaps be as follows:

"MusicTech - Recording - Electric Guitars" where the last section could be anything connected with recording e.g. "- treating room acoustics" or " - bass guitar" or " - compression" etc etc

The second tag string would be "MusicTech - Writing - Melody" with the same flexibility on the final section e.g. "lyrics" or "dynamics" etc

And then "MusicTech - Performing - Recording vocals" - again last bit could be "- live vocals" or "- coping with nerves" etc etc.

So this simply has three main categories - writing, recording, performing - with the variety/flexibility contained in the last part of the the tag. The bits I've highlighted in bold are "musts" if this is to work. This is just an off-the-cuff thought - I'm not an IT savvy person so there may well be reasons why this is crap.
posted by MajorDundee at 3:20 AM on March 10, 2010

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