Author Topic: An option to always sort entries with an empty tag to the bottom of the lists  (Read 2243 times)

Acoustics

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Hi,

When entries (albums, tracks, artists, groups...) are sorted by a given tag in ascending order, the entries for which the tag is empty are displayed at the top of the lists / views.

This is not a good behavior from a user experience perspective.

Just an example. In the screenshot below the albums are grouped by decade in ascending order, and the group which contains albums without a specified year appears at the top of the list ("Unknown Decade"). Not very nice...




This behavior is of course everywhere in the program. Just another example, in the column browser, the [Unknown] entry appears at the top of the list in ascending order, as soon as the tag is missing for an entry:




I know that for a computer scientist or simply any Windows power user, empty entries are always sorted before anything else in a list in ascending order. But it is not about compliance with computer conventions but improvement of the user experience.

There can be many situations when we want or have to leave some tags empty, for specific purposes. And sometimes we just haven't found the right info to put in the tag for an album, a title, etc. Displaying the empty entries in first position is as if the program constantly shows us the tagging gaps first, and this is not nice. By definition, for a simple end user of the program (and not a "tag administrator") these are just irrelevant, not specified, entries. As a simple user, if I want to sort my albums by a tag in ascending order of course I don't want to see the albums without the tag in first position...

So, when sorting / grouping in views and panels (the user interface), always leave entries with empty tags at the bottom of the lists should be IMO at least an option.

The desired behavior is implemented for example in the tables in AllMusic.com. In this page: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-beatles-mn0000754032/discography/compilations
Sort the table by the Year column. There are many compilations without year indicated in this table, and they remain at the bottom of the list. The other behavior would just be painful.
Last Edit: February 07, 2023, 08:00:28 PM by Acoustics


phred

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Personally, I disagree. I'd rather have them at the top of the list so  they can be seen easily and corrected.
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Acoustics

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Quote
I'd rather have them at the top of the list so they can be seen easily and corrected.

This is the conception that an empty tag is necessarily a "mistake" that should be fixed. But this is not always the case, in fact for a given tag, especially a custom tag, we don't always have something to put in it for all the tracks. But we may want to sort by this tag without having the empty entries displayed in first position...

And, you are arguing from the point of view of the "Musicbee administrator", the "tag manager". From a user standpoint it is (always I think) more useful, ergonomic and neat to leave the empty entries at the bottom when he decides to sort by something.

The request is to add an option, not to replace the current behaviour. So we could choose what we prefer.

phred

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And, you are arguing from the point of view of the "Musicbee administrator", the "tag manager". From a user standpoint it is (always I think) more useful, ergonomic and neat to leave the empty entries at the bottom when he decides to sort by something.
You are incorrect. I am a user of MB first, and a moderator second. I have been using MB since 2009, starting with v0.3. I've only been a moderator for a few years, but that has no bearing whatsoever on my comment.

Not all users use the same workflow. So what works for you might not work for others. For you to say "...from a user standpoint it is more useful..." is incorrect. From -your- standpoint it is more useful.

That being said, I would have no objection to this feature being added as an option, which you did not state in your start post.
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Acoustics

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Quote
For you to say "...from a user standpoint it is more useful..." is incorrect.

It seems I did not myself clear enough with the distinction I've made on this topic on user VS 'MB administrator'. A MB user in my terminology here is someone who doesn't configure / manage Musicbee , its content and the tags at all. Just a simple user, so eg. a friend, my mum... that I let use MB. Or just me, when I want to leave aside the part of my brain that manages MB and the tags.

So yes, I maintain that from the standpoint of a simple MB user who doesn't manage the content / tags it is more logical and useful.
Last Edit: February 05, 2023, 09:44:10 PM by Acoustics

Mayibongwe

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Hi Acoustics,

This is something you can work out yourself with virtual tags.
Idk how many years ago Steven introduced them, but they were surely a game changer - there's almost always a virtual tag solution to most MusicBee problems.

Try out this formula for instance (copy it as it is bcoz there's a zero-width character in there that we cannot see).

Code
$IsNull(<Album>,[Unknown],‚Äč<Album>)
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Acoustics

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Hi Mayibongwe,

Thanks for the idea but I don't think we can achieve that with virtual tags. When sorted in ascending order the entries with the tag empty can indeed be sorted at the bottom of the list by using a virtual tag, but then if we change the sort to descending order the entries will be back to the top of the list.

What is desired here is an option to always keep the entries with empty tag at the bottom of the list, whatever the sort order.

See the example here:

Quote
The desired behavior is implemented for example in the tables in AllMusic.com. In this page: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-beatles-mn0000754032/discography/compilations
Sort the table by the Year column. There are many compilations without year indicated in this table, and they remain at the bottom of the list. The other behavior would just be painful.

PS: I've just changed the topic title to make it more accurate.
Last Edit: February 07, 2023, 08:02:59 PM by Acoustics

hiccup

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+1
Makes sense to me.

I do not agree with the OP's statement "This is not a good behavior from a user experience perspective.".

But leaving such opinions aside, I think having it on top can be useful when you are in the state of mind of finding possible oversights in your library.
But when just enjoying your music and library, there is no need for it to always take the main stage.
So having an option to change that makes some sense to me.
Last Edit: February 07, 2023, 11:21:15 PM by hiccup