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Permission to Kill (a Feature)?

permalink   Thu, Nov 6, 2008 @ 5:20 AM
I think having the “Collaboration” feature on this site has been a distraction.

It doesn’t make the case for the Commons weaker per se, but it doesn’t highlight the potential as well as the rest of the site does just by doing what it does.

How do you collaborate on ccM? Er, post your pellas baby (or drum samples or brass parts) and wait for the unexpected to happen.

It’s not like the Commons Sample Pool model hasn’t panned out lol.

the proposed replacement:

I love what essesq has done with the ‘collab’ feature. She made it into a semi-private sandbox where she could preview works and get comments from a close knit group of people she wanted to share with before going public with the music. That makes sense as a feature on the site and I should be able to morph the current ‘collab’ feature into the ‘sandbox’ feature easily enough.

OK, your turn.
permalink   Thu, Nov 6, 2008 @ 10:15 AM
My sister calls the collaboration feature “the kiss of death”. ; )

Personally my success rate for collaborations has been around 10%. Which is discouraging.

I agree, it needs to morph into something else.
permalink   Thu, Nov 6, 2008 @ 11:33 AM
Ehhhhhhh (pause, long pause)… I thought I had a good idea, however (next long pause)..I have had a change of heart. Sorry VS. One feature of the collab thingy in the software is that it e-mails whenever anyone posts to the discussion. This means potentially a lot of e-mails that may or may not directly interest the recipient in particular. Yes we all would like to live in a la la land where we were the center of all attention (or our little creative incubators were) but actually people do have other stuff going on and rather than being useful this feature is a pain in the butt (no offense). I already knocked one of my collaborators off the list to spare him the e-mails.

I started that collab so that I could have the convenience of uploading stuff to my trusted team of advisors all at once rather than e-mailing them one by one. The thing about the team is that each one is there for a different reason so their advise ideally comes from different angles. Where they might repeat it is a waste of their time to read what they would have said. Also the advice actually requires more intricate communication that occurs in a forum thread. So the conversation leaves the message board and goes e-mail anyway.

Lastly I am not doing a heck of a lot musically so the thing is just languishing anyway.

I have a theory that most of what goes on here in terms of cross pollination takes place in micro-communities that mixters develop amongst each other. The broader community is a sort of agora where we congregate, but the down and dirty takes place out of sight of the public (as it should be, imho ;-) ). Maybe that was part of my thought process in my use of the collab feature, but in my case it didn’t quite work. I still think that people really do need to communicate one on one. I’d be happy to discuss this further once my feelings of shame and guilt subside (laughs).
permalink   fourstones Thu, Nov 6, 2008 @ 12:50 PM
oh, you mentioned the email thing and I guess I misunderstood - I could easily make that an option for the collab/sandbox thing so you don’t get spammed on every message.

Regarding collab models I don’t think I agree with you - I don’t think people are off in little enclaves actually doing a lot of work together. Of course it happens a little, but it’s not the general rule for how things get done. What I see is that people are essentially using the music to communicate and interact, with a little reviewing going on to encourage and chide.

Therefore, it doesn’t even surprise me that the ‘sandbox’ model didn’t take off for you. Good. I think it just re-enforces my observations about what works on the site.
permalink   essesq Thu, Nov 6, 2008 @ 3:06 PM
I guess what I meant was that people collaborated in small groups. I think your point about communicating via music is a really good one. One bit of music playing off another one or moving one in a different direction is really where it all happens. Although it is called collaboration the artistic effort is really that of steps of individual process each working the whole forward. The model is different than when band members get together in the same space and time, isn’t it? But nobody does that anymore, do they ;-)?

If any verbal vestiges remain in the feature as it is redesigned, I would suggest that it would be nice to be able to reply to an individual comment rather than just getting into the column so to speak.

Whatever I said or may say yet in the future, I am very pleased that my little permutation of your feature was in some way inspirational. Thanks for letting me know.
permalink   Thu, Nov 6, 2008 @ 3:31 PM
yeah I think you’re right. The collaboration thing never quite took off for me either.

The sandbox idea may have some merit in the sense of maybe having the ability to have “draft” uploads which are not part of the generally visible lists, but could be accessed by people who are given the link, or in a special section.

But I’m not even totally enthusiastic about that concept.

So if you decide to kill the feature even without a morph, I wouldn’t be upset.

I’m saying this as someone who has done quite a bit of online collaborating - albeit mostly one-on-one. In the one-on-one case one really doesn’t need a centralized mechanism. One just agrees with one’s collaborator on the mechanism of the day. Also, I often need to send files much more than 10MB in size (multiple tracks of WAV or FLAC).

In the couple of 3way (or more) collaborations I have tried, they had a rough time really getting somewhere, because someone was always too busy (sometimes it was me).

The sweetness of remixing is “sequential” collaboration without having to back-check, ask for permission, etc. You do your thing when it works for you without holding anyone else up or having to please someone else’s musical taste.
permalink   teru Thu, Nov 6, 2008 @ 6:18 PM
Continuing on the derail here. Sorry. And I hope this makes sense.

One thing I’d like to see for both collaboration and otherwise is for stems to complete songs to be organized together. Many times the pell is separated. It gets confusing for both the downloader and uploader.

I think an option for uploading a complete song might be a good idea. A “complete song” would be all separated stems including samples and pells. Once uploaded the pell would show up in the pells section the samples would show up in the samples section.

Then add an option to attribute multiple people for collaborations. : )
permalink   essesq Thu, Nov 6, 2008 @ 7:46 PM
Teru - I think what you speak of is what is known as a “remix pack.” It would contain all the stems that make up the complete song including the a capella.

I think those have been done here in the past but it is not the general practice. Certainly novice remixers find such things easier to work with because they can find a whole bunch of bits and pieces that match up to work with.

I wonder about the feasibility of uploading the files as individual mp3’s rather than zip archives. I’m only wondering Victor, so stop jumping up and down and yelling, I can hear you :-). It’s just that sometimes with these zip archives I may just want one track or another and not the entire archive and then I have to delete all the downloaded stuff I don’t want. “Big deal,” says Victor, “you’ve got one PC, I’ve got this whole bleepin’ website.” I get your point Victor, but what about it?

Just another thought into the fray.
permalink   essesq Thu, Nov 6, 2008 @ 7:50 PM
P.S. I’m clearly out-classed in this discussion, lacking the designation of “ADMIN”, so feel free to disregard me entirely guys :-)
permalink   fourstones Fri, Nov 7, 2008 @ 4:55 AM
I think the “create new forum thread from reply branch” feature just got bumped up in priority ;)
permalink   spinmeister Fri, Nov 7, 2008 @ 9:58 AM
and this time it was not my fault ;-)
permalink   essesq Fri, Nov 7, 2008 @ 7:07 PM
That’s a very cool idea, VS. I just sat here thinking that I could just cut and paste the discussion over in a new thread but that would mean selecting all the separate bits of text and losing the demarcation and i.d. aspects of the avatars. Definitely a neat feature if it can be made to work.

I’ve never seen a forum board where that can be done. You might be able to market that concept :-).
permalink   fourstones Sat, Nov 8, 2008 @ 3:27 AM
forking a topic thread is a relatively common feature (for admins) in most forum software packages. I’ve just been lazy about doing any feature not directly related to making the music better on the site. but I think it’s officially risen to the level of itch to be scratched.
permalink   Fri, Nov 7, 2008 @ 8:48 PM
Hey Victor,
since teru has outed my thought on the collab feature I’d figure I’d weigh in with some thoughts.

As primarily a writer, it’d be nice if there could be some feature where we could float offer up lyrics and have them attributed to us. I had it happen a couple times…where folks take my lyrics and completely re-sing-mix it. But since I only offered up words and no actual acoustic “stems” they never were attributed to us in an official way.

Just a thought.
permalink   essesq Fri, Nov 7, 2008 @ 9:07 PM
I’ll second you narva. I was fortunate to be treated fairly and received attribution when my spoken words were sung. Words are as much the creative province of their originator as any bit of music and NO ONE (do I make myself clear) has the right to just sing them with abandon and claim them for their own.

If three beats on a drum are worthy of attribution so are several verses plus chorus and bridge of a lyric. I don’t care if it is three words that were borrowed and repeated.

I think I made my point. I am grateful for those who have used my words and the respect with which those words were afforded, with a couple of exceptions ;-) - you know who you are ;-).
permalink   fourstones Sat, Nov 8, 2008 @ 3:19 AM
For now:

1. Put your lyrics in .txt file with copyright/license and attribute information
2. Put the text file into a ZIP archive
3. Upload under the ‘samples’ section
4. Notify the people that used those lyrics to click on ‘Edit Sources’ for their derived track, search for your zip and attribute.

We’ll figure out a real solution later.

permalink   narva9 Sat, Nov 8, 2008 @ 7:37 AM
Will do. Thanks :-)
Kaer Trouz
permalink   Sat, Nov 8, 2008 @ 9:45 AM
Personally I have seen both sides of the coin regarding collaboration features- they either work well and quickly, or languish just taking up bandwidth.
The most successful kinds imo, have been pairs. It seems when the dynamic switches when more than 2 people are working together and can become very difficult/tedious.
There’s also the sort of cliquey aspect to collaborations, especially unpublished ones (I always feel left out due to unresolved childhood issues) that I think doesn’t mirror the sharing aspects of the site.
I wouldn’t object to pulling the switch on this one. I think people will still work together.
MC Jack in the Box
permalink   Wed, Nov 12, 2008 @ 11:51 PM
so we had set up this big xmas music collaboration area and now it appears to be gone. the stuff i uploaded is still hidden but obviously, i can’t see anyone elses stuff anymore.

oh well. any suggestions?
permalink   fourstones Thu, Nov 13, 2008 @ 12:24 AM
sorry forgot to mention - if you were in the middle of one it should still be there /collab
permalink   ditto ditto Thu, Nov 13, 2008 @ 12:40 AM
Oh, cool…I’ve just asked the same question..Thanks…
permalink   MC Jack in the Box Thu, Nov 13, 2008 @ 10:49 AM
cool! thanks victor! no worries…..
ditto ditto
permalink   Thu, Nov 13, 2008 @ 12:39 AM
I’m very surprised by this suddden decision to close this page. Maybe that it’s not become what you were wating for, but when i see the number of collaborators who have opened a project, i can’t say that it’s a real failure. The decision to work at 2, or 10, in an opened, or closed collaboration is, finally, our own decision, but it stays for me an easy way to work and to communicate in a small group.
I suppose that you are actually thinking about a possible development, but how do we do, now, with our works in progress..? I still have the link to access to my project, but my friend can’t do it anymore..!!!
permalink   fourstones Thu, Nov 13, 2008 @ 1:13 AM
Are we cool here?
permalink   ditto ditto Thu, Nov 13, 2008 @ 1:29 AM
You are…Thanks…
permalink   Sun, Dec 14, 2008 @ 4:27 PM
I have mixed feelings about this being dropped.

There are other sites which start from the collaborative angle and do it really well. So there’s a good argument for dropping the feature with that in mind, particularly if it allows the developers to focus on ccM’s strengths.

I don’t think its current incarnation will be missed by the majority, but then it does seem a little odd to cut off those who had found use in it. Is it such a resource hog that it couldn’t be continued as-is until the traffic dropped to zero? I’ve noticed previously how sites tend to add information alerts to the areas concerned when major plumbing is underway or imminent - often adding a link to the support forum for the chance for comment/feedback/appeal.

I wonder if the collaboration feature just ends up raising more questions than answers?

For instance, do we all believe that community-building tools are necessary to create longer term bonds between contributors? Or are we all content with ccM’s do what, when, and with whom you like kind of vibe?
permalink   spinmeister Sun, Dec 14, 2008 @ 5:38 PM
lol - “zero” is a rather difficult standard to meet for dropping things. Heck, even the temperature can’t really get to absolute zero. :-)

But you probably meant “close to zero”, which is probably where it was anyway.

Also let’s not forget, that ccM is entirely a collaboration site. It’s just “sequential collaboration”. And by the very nature of how it works it’s also 100% inclusive. i.e. you don’t have to be invited to a little subset group, but all of ccM is your playground. So for example, the holiday collab idea really just needs a forum thread, maybe a few emails between individuals and then people can do whatever they want all over ccM. By intelligent use of tagging one can easily indicate some sort of grouping idea like for example State Shirt is doing.

So as far as I’m concerned in this particular case less is arguably more.
permalink   fourstones Mon, Dec 15, 2008 @ 5:28 PM
hey, tacet, great post, I’m sure you’re right I could have handled turning the feature off in a manner a lot slicker/friendlier. The abuse of the feature was overwhelming any of the potential benefits as well as the number of people using it legit.

Meanwhile, it didn’t help, that as spin points out better than I could, the feature as a whole really was “off message”.

permalink   tacet Fri, Dec 26, 2008 @ 12:52 PM
“probably zero” then ;)

It just seemed to me like a lot of stuff got blitzed, though I understand these decisions aren’t taken lightly I’d just have preferred a more gentle wind-down.

I understand there are other ways to go about small group collaboration, and as I said before there are other sites geared up for it.

The way ccM is setup currently is fast-and-loose, when you post something publicly anything or nothing can happen to it. :D
permalink   Sun, Dec 21, 2008 @ 7:56 PM
I love to collaborate with people, do so frequently, and always have a good time. I found myself collaborating with mixters long before there was a collaboration section, and will collaborate with mixters long after there is no longer such a section.

I see the entire board as one endless collaboration. Given that view, I’m not sure that the collaboration formal function makes that much difference. I don’t have a strong opinion on this.

I agree that essesq’s use makes sense. Maybe each mixter could have the power to create a “work space”, which could be used as essesq uses it, or for a “collaboration feature” or just as a holding pen for things available for private viewing. So I like the “sandbox” or “work space” idea, because it can also be a “collaboration” feature.

For the record, anyone who ever wants to collaborate with me usually can do so through the intricate device of sending me mixter mail. I’m perpetually longing for readers and for instrumental collaborators, although I think that working with me on the latter is fun but tricky because no matter how good my collaborator’s work can be, it tends to end up getting stuck with a lot of drones.

Happy New Year to all!