This Code of Conduct describes how members of the MusicBrainz community should interact and further details how auto-editors should act; using their privileges in a responsible way. The purpose is not so much to define a standard which everybody must follow, but to explicitly describe all the (previously) unwritten rules that make up good behavior in the MusicBrainz community.
- Be polite. Remember that there's a real person on the receiving end of any communication. Treat people as you'd wish to be treated yourself.
- Remember that everyone was new at some point and a polite nudge in the right direction is sometimes all that it takes to set them on the right path.
- Don't get into flame wars, and try to remain as neutral as possible. Do not attack someone personally because you don't agree with them.
- MusicBrainz is a global community. Be mindful and respectful of different languages, habits and cultures.
- Share knowledge freely. New members should not be embarrassed for ignorance.
- Respectfully suggest other options. Not everyone wants to reconfigure their directories, change their OS or switch players and formats.
- Try not to pick fights by nit-picking other editors closed edits. Asking for a source or reason (if not provided by the editor in an edit note) is OK; otherwise you can always submit your own edit to fix small errors or omissions. This is more productive.
- Provide explanations when entering edits.
- Include links that validate your edits.
- Listen to the advice of existing community members. Ask for clarification if you're still unsure.
- Refer to the Style Guidelines and wiki for clarification.
- Ask questions in the forums or in Communication/IRC if you're unsure.
- Edits should be based on objective data and not personal preferences.
- Never vote based on your personal attitude towards the editor. Vote only based on the facts and what you think is right or wrong.
- Never vote against edits where information is optional (not required during the submission process). Instead Abstain and enter an edit note requesting more information.
- If you are voting against an edit, always explain why via in an edit note. Nothing is more frustrating than entering a bunch of edits only to receive silent no votes.
- If you disagree with another editor's point of view on an edit, try to keep the debate to that one edit, rather than spreading the debate across many edits. If you disagree with a series of edits, pick one to focus the comments in and refer comments from the other edits back to that one edit.
- Creating additional accounts solely for the purpose of voting is an abuse of the system and completely unacceptable.
If a conflict between members of the MusicBrainz community should arise, the members should attempt to resolve the conflict among themselves first. If the members fail to resolve the conflict, the issue can be brought to the BDFL (Benevolent Dictator for Life) of MusicBrainz. The decision of the BDFL is final and may not be appealed; for this reason the community is strongly urged to resolve conflicts among themselves and not bring them to the BDFL.
- Set an example for others.
- Don't abuse auto-editor privileges, including applying controversial changes without a vote or making edits another person is already making (although this does happen accidentally sometimes).
- Remember that new users have the potential to contribute greatly to the project or even become auto-editors themselves one day if given the correct guidance, whereas they may never come back if they're insulted.
- Act responsibly. Although it wasn't the original intention, auto-editor's rights are seen as a symbol of status, and childish behavior reflects badly on the MusicBrainz community as a whole.
Dealing with open edits
How should auto-editors deal with open edits, that they think are correct?
If an edit is correct, it is within the auto-editor's discretion as to whether they choose to approve the edit immediately. In practice amongst the auto-editor community, this is generally confined to addition of URLs and obviously correct relationships, in order to reduce the open edit queue, and prioritize voter time towards complex edits requiring more attention, such as release addition, removals and merges.
If an edit is in any form an improvement (even if it's still not correct), an auto-editor may decide to approve the edit immediately and then edit the value again to correct it.
Making disputed edits
Auto-editors must never use their privileges to decide disputed edits in their favor.
Always check an item's history before making a change that could be disputed. If you made an auto-edit and then realise that it is disputed, you should:
- Excuse yourself in an edit note.
- Revert your edit.
- Temporarily disable your auto-editor privileges and enter the edit again as one to be voted upon.
Of course the "approve" option is not to be used for disputable edits but only for trivial or obvious ones or those which can be improved by a re-edit.
Bot authors should follow the dedicated code of conduct.