Amazon MP3 ID3 tag mystery solved -- bad file permissions and misinformed rep, not proprietary tags

Yesterday, I blogged about an Amazon service rep who told a customer who was having problems working with Amazon MP3 files that "we are unable to release any information on how we run our ID3 tagging as it's proprietary."

Shortly thereafter, a Boing Boing reader who worked on the Amazon MP3 program said, "we don't use 'proprietary' anything," and vowed to get to the bottom of it

Now the mystery is solved!

It turns out that the user had a file-permissions problem with his Amazon MP3s -- and that there's nothing proprietary on Amazon MP3s after all:

Thanks to some help from an Amazon employee in the Boing Boing comments, we figured the initial customer service rep who told me "it's proprietary" was misinformed. This led me back to poking around on my system, at which point I discovered the mp3 files only had read permissions for my user account, when I made them readable for other users, both mpd and mt-daapd were able to find them.
This is totally awesome -- thanks to all the BB readers (and especially "AmazonMP3") for getting to the bottom of this!


  1. Strictly speaking, although the end result is a normal, “standards-compliant” MP3 file, the process by which Amazon encodes and tags their files might very well be “proprietary”, meaning that the software to do so was privately developed and is exclusively used by Amazon.

  2. Yes, SAE, we must – for this is one of the ways that problems get noticed and subesquently solved.

  3. S – ny pprtnty t xprss slf-rghts ndgntn t th ‘vl crprtns’ rprssng ppl mst b xrcsd t ts fllst, b t ccrt r n. Fct chckng s lss mprtnt thn gnrtng rspnss. Wt, whn dd strt rdng FxFxNwsNws?

  4. Fact-checking? You mean, “Reprinting what a company’s representatives say about its products without asking again if they really, really mean it?”

    As to “self righteous indignation” — did you read the same post I did? Which bit of “So, who knows how this works? Can someone please reverse-engineer the Amazon tagging scheme and add notes to the comments? Let’s get this figured out, folks” is indignant?

  5. This is related to the future where our every movement in the public sphere will be controlled and directed by minimum-wage security guards who can’t even pass the GED: the future where all customer service relations will be conducted by people who have no idea what their company’s own policies are.

    Another example: try finding out what your bank charges for overseas ATM use. You’ll get more different answers than the number of people you talk to, and none of them will be right. Bank VPs don’t even know.

  6. To err is human. No biggie. Did put a nice human face on Amazon’s MP3 service though when they were so kind as to show up, that was nice. I may try their service out now after that.

  7. Joe, I agree — it was really cool of AmazonMP3 to show up and work with Pete to get to the bottom of things.

  8. And so it goes with 99% of user complaints – PEBKAC. :-)

    Actually I’m glad this was brought up as I had already forgotten about AmazonMP3 and as Joe mentioned, it’s nice to see Amazon (or at least one of their employees or contractors) stepping up to sort things out. Gotta go check it out.

  9. @S: gr. t s lttl mbrssng hw Cry s s qck t cry njstc nd sck th cpyfghtrs n flks. ‘m srsly gttng sm cpyfghtng ftg frm rdng ths blg. jst dn’t cr nymr, s mch f t (nt jst bngbng) trns t t b lttl mstks, lk ths mzn mp3 thng.

    Th cl ws n th dd’s wn ml: “Th wrd thng s, lcl clnts lk Rhythmbx nd mrk (s wll s my D3 tg dtr) hv n prblm sng th tgs.” snds lk t fckn’ wrks t m!

    Th prprtry stff th rp ws spkng f ws prbbly rltd t th mthd n whch thy dd th D3 tgs t th fl tslf. Srly thy dn’t hv ppl ctlly ntrng tht dt mnlly fr vry fl thy ffr. Tht mks sns, nd s prbbly prprtry, nd dsn’t mk th spprt-crttr ncssrly nnfrmd r ncrrct.

    Dn’t bt p n th spprt dd; ths gys gt thr fc pnchd vr phn nd ml ll dy nywy, lt’s nt dd t t.

    Nthng gnst Cry, thgh! Th dd s smrt, n dbt bt t; jst cn’t tk ny mr “dsk-pnchngly fnny” psts r ny mr “mlk-spryngly fnny” psts, nd spclly n mr “dfnd yrslvs, ntzns!!!”

  10. Definitely looks interesting but I’m somewhat discouraged that they’re still charging so much for a download. Don’t get me wrong 89 cents (for most that I looked at) and DRM free is completely awesome, but there’s something wrong with the pricing structure when it’s practically the same price to buy a physical copy and rip it myself…

  11. I have respect for Amazon for putting out MP3s. I do NOT have respect for their purchase policy for MP3s. Their page states, in part:

    “What does DRM-free mean? Digital Rights Management or “DRM” commonly refers to software that is designed to control or limit how a file can be played, copied, downloaded, shared, or accessed. DRM-free means that the MP3 files you purchase from do not contain any software that will restrict your use of the file.”

    Note the weasel-wording about DRM software.

    Further down the same page, there’s the following phrasing:

    “Are there any restrictions on how I use the music I purchase? When you make a purchase from the Amazon MP3 Music Downloads store, you are also accepting and bound by the Amazon MP3 Music Downloads Terms of Use. The albums and songs you purchase from AmazonMP3 Music Downloads are free of Digital Rights Management software so that you have the flexibility to play them on any of your media players, PC or burn them to CD.”

    Clicking through to the “AmazonMP3 Downloads Terms of Use” link in the middle of that,
    you get (among a LOT of other lawyerese) the following:

    “2.1 License. Upon your payment of our fees for Digital Content, we grant you a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use the Digital Content for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use, subject to and in accordance with the terms of this Agreement. You may copy, store, transfer and burn the Digital Content only for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use.

    “2.2 Restrictions. You represent, warrant and agree that you will use the Service only for your personal, non-commercial, entertainment use and not for any redistribution of the Digital Content or other use restricted in this Section 2.2. You agree not to infringe the rights of the Digital Content’s copyright owners and to comply with all applicable laws in your use of the Digital Content. Except as set forth in Section 2.1 above, you agree that you will not redistribute, transmit, assign, sell, broadcast, rent, share, lend, modify, adapt, edit, sub-license or otherwise transfer or use the Digital Content. You are not granted any synchronization, public performance, promotional use, commercial sale, resale, reproduction or distribution rights for the Digital Content. You acknowledge that the Digital Content embodies the intellectual property of a third party and is protected by law.”

    Hrm. No remix. No backup. None of the other rights you have with CD’s. Just “for personal entertainment”.

    Now, IANAL. Get proper expensive legal advice before acting on this, I make no claims for it being right – but I do claim that it is wrong.


  12. Actually, “reprinting what a company’s representatives say about its products without asking again whether they really, really mean it” wouldn’t meet any professional fact-checker’s standards. Rarely does a press release–let alone a quotation from a single employee–count as verified without a second pass.

    (I don’t mean to imply anything untoward or unprofessional occurred in these posts. Fact-checking is unglamorous, often tedious work–which is why checkers can get, well, pedantic about what we do.)

  13. Offtopic: what is this fad of not using vowels ? I know it saves space, but, although I can read it, it’s kind of hard (especially it is for people for whom English is not native language) [don’t go Hebrew on me =) ]

  14. HLSamples, I don’t know what magazines you’re writing for, but when I turn in a story for, say, the New York Times or Boston Globe and cite, say, an email from a company representative, that generally passes muster.

  15. It’s a fearsome anti-troll weapon, devised by our charming moderator many years ago and subsequently adopted by countless others.

    Targetted dribblings are not — quite — rendered unreadable. Anyone who really cares what you wrote can still read them: but the rest of us don’t have to.

  16. t hppnd t #2 nd #5 s wll. Bth psts crtczd Bng Bng. Ths s hlrs. Bng Bng hs crtczd ppl nd thrs n th pst fr dtng thr spprt frms nd nw thy d ths? Hypcrts.

  17. @Sae Miller: Your post was stripped of vowels because the Moderator didn’t like it.

    But as to why the moderator didn’t like your #2 post is really a mystery, unless disagreeing with BoingBoing is enough to get ‘disemvoweled’.

  18. Cory, every organization has its own internal standards, of course. And many. many freelance fact-checkers add to these with additional burdens as a matter of reputation-building or the simple joys of nerdy completism. The Time Inc. companies and the book publishers I’ve worked for all require press releases and quotations to be verified. Almost never does the writer even know this takes place. I may ask a writer for contact info for her sources, but usually that’s the extent of her obligation. Unless something’s wrong or the source later tells the writer we’ve spoken, she may have no idea what’s happening to her copy after submission.

  19. ff tpc: gr MSCT. m nt gng t vst ths st nymr bcs f th rsns tht y sttd. Bngbng s n ntrstng st, hwvr, cn nt cntn t spprt st whch wll blck t mssgs slly n th bss tht crtczd n rtcl. hv mny cmmnts n ths st whch r pstv nd nt n th lst bt lk trll, prvng tht m nt t t hrm nyn, bt smply wntd t mprv n th st. nywy, thnks t th BngBng tm t th njybl hrs hv spnt n ths st. Bt cn nt n gd cnscs rmn hr, thnk y nd bd y frwll.

  20. Mscot, you’ve asked about disemvowelling several times, had it explained to you every time (starting clear back in August), and referred to it knowledgeably only a week ago. Given all that, I can’t help thinking your remarks are disingenuous, verging on hypocrisy.

  21. ‘m wth y gn, S. ‘m dn wth Bng Bng bcs f th dsmvwlng. Tht s bynd stpd nd fr st tht s ll bt frdms, cnsrng psts tht mdrtr smply dsn’t gr wth s mr thn lttl hypcrtcl.

    gd by bngrs, ‘v md thr cmmnts nd ‘m lrdy trd f ths st.

  22. This reminds me of a recent episode with my new HD DVD player.

    I finally went HD. I had only watched 1 HD movie on it and I put in the first disc of Heroes HD DVD.

    I got a read error. My thoughts, in approximate order:
    * I should have went Blu-Ray.
    * This technology isn’t well fleshed out.
    * There’s something wrong with this new, fancy-schmancy player.
    * Maybe I need to plug it into the network, since the Heroes DVD has some kind of web features on it, which this player is supposed to support.

    After doing some research on the web, I ejected the DVD, held it to my eyeball, beheld a smudge on the edge, wiped it off on my shirt, put it back in the drive and watched Heroes with no further problems whatsoever.


    Lesson learned:
    Don’t get so caught up in the hype and the politics and the panic of a thing that we jump to the political conspiracy theory right away, forgetting to check for the little, simple, common, basic problems first…

  23. rlly cn’t rspct ny f th ppl wh wrk n ths st f th cnsrshp cntns. ‘v bn cmng hr rlgsly fr svn mnths nw, bt dn’t f cn kp t p n gd cnscnc. Hw cn blv tht y cr bt ppl’s rghts whn y tk thm wy n yr vry wn st?

  24. Teresa #24,
    I actually never saw an explanation for it which is no doubt why I kept harping on it. I honestly thought people were trying to save 5 seconds of their life by disemvoweling their posts. Call me naive I guess. I just thought Boing Boing was above censorship. As for repeatedly commenting on it making me a hypocrite, I think you need to visit
    I’ve been visiting the site for close to 3 years now. I guess that’s all over. Way to stomp on your supporters.
    This post will be disemvowelled in 3… 2… 1…

  25. Dn’t y gys knw, BB s ll bt fr xprssn f ds (tht gr wth th mds).

    ‘ll sv y th trbl t:

    Dn’t y gys knw, BB s ll bt fr xprssn f ds (tht gr wth th mds).

  26. Guy, if you want your dialogue to sound realistic, you have to vary the voices from character to character.

    Mscot, I’m not seeing the point of another explanation. The previous ones didn’t make you honest; why should this one do it?

    Jeremy, Sae, Naikrovek, Mscot: anyone who’s so stupid that they think “freedom of speech” = “the right to say and do whatever I want on someone else’s website” can’t be much of a loss. The same goes for anyone who thinks that “deprecated and disemvowelled, but still readable” = “censored” — or for that matter, thinks that having Boing Boing decline to publish their remarks means they’ve been censored.

    Freedom of speech is, of course, the freedom to say and do what you want on your own website. This website belongs to the boingers, and one of the things they want is for me to keep it civil in spite of jerks like you.

    Anyone who’d believe those disemvowellings were done “just for disagreeing with Boing Boing” can’t be much of a loss either. In fact, anyone who hasn’t noticed yet that people disagree with Boing Boing all the time, yet keep their vowels, is at best not paying attention.

    What happened:

    Previously, Boing Boing posted a completely legitimate story about Amazon’s MP3 downloads having “proprietary” ID3 tags. The original source of this information was one of Amazon’s own service reps. Cory checked. He was well within journalistic standards.

    One of Boing Boing’s readers, “AmazonMP3,” realized there had to be an error somewhere along the line. AmazonMP3 worked on their MP3 program, and knew there was nothing proprietary about it. The problem was run to ground, and turned out to be a permissions bug in the user’s system, plus a misinformed customer service rep at Amazon.

    Let’s rehearse this:

    1. Cory was not at fault for his earlier story. He’d checked his facts. The customer had been unable to play his MP3s, and he had been told by an Amazon service rep that Amazon’s ID3 tagging system is proprietary.

    2. Cory was not mindlessly attacking Amazon, much less attacking it just because it’s a corporation. He’s criticized some of their policies, but he likes Amazon just fine. Besides, he and Jeff Bezos are friends.

    3. Cory was not obliged to run the follow-up story, explain the odd circumstances that created the appearance of a proprietary ID3 system, or praise the original user and especially AmazonMP3 for taking the trouble to get to the bottom of this mystery.

    So what do we get in return?

    We get Sae Miller (2) sneering about how nothing was really wrong (not the point), and “must we cry wolf about everything.” Cory is hardly in the habit of crying wolf; he certainly didn’t do so in this case; and he put as much or more effort into finding out the reasons why there was never a wolf in the first place.

    Next, Narual (5), with a brazen disregard for the truth (but a real fondness for cliches) accused Cory of taking “any opportunity” (hardly; it was a legit story) “to express self-righteous indignation” (there was not a breath of that in either story) “at the ‘evil corporations’ repressing people” (again, this sentiment isn’t present in either story) “must be exercised to the fullest” (a further fraudulent embellishment that gives Narual the opportunity to trot out another one of his beloved cliches).

    Then, with a breathtaking lack of self-consciousness, Narual adds, “Fact checking is less important than generating responses.” Cory did check his facts. Narual barely read the story he was attacking.

    I had no qualms whatsoever about disemvowelling Narual’s comment. I would happily disemvowel it four or five more times, if I thought there were any point to it.

    Naikrovek (11) was less inventive than Narual and less spiteful than Sae Miller, but went on longer than the two of them multiplied. I’m slightly less angry at Naikrovek, for reasons I won’t detail.

    Mscot (14) turned up and disingenuously pretended to be surprised and confused at the sight of disemvowelling.

    HLSamples (15) invoked a standard of “professional fact-checking” I’ve never seen used in all my years in publishing, including the ones I spent as a reference editor.

    (19): Hi, Nix!

    At (20), Mscot appeared again, pretending the disemvowelling was for disagreeing with Boing Boing. See earlier remarks on the credibility of that position.

    (22): Sae Miller achieved a saturation-level sulk, and announced his departure from this vale of tears. Like all demi-trolls, he believes that he’s been mistreated because we can’t cope with the vast swoop and awesomeness of his opinions. It is impossible for him to imagine that his behavior was curbed because he was being a jerk.

    At a point we’ll call 22.5, a nameless poster showed up and posted an unsuccessfully sanctimonious anonymous message that began, “The censoring really makes it a lot harder for me to support BoingBoing and recommend it to my friends.” I figured that anyone who’s genuinely that big on “supporting Boing Boing” would have registered by now, and likely would have found something to comment on before this. The comment remains in the “pending” queue.

    (23): I observed that Mscot was being disingenuous about disemvowelling.

    (24): Naikrovek, sounding remarkably like Sae Miller, announced his departure. He professed himself unable to comprehend how a weblog that is “all about freedoms” could think it’s entitled to exercise those freedoms on its own behalf, on its own website.

    (26): The anonymous poster from (22.5) reappeared as “Jason A,” and posted a restated and somewhat weaker version of the still-pending anonymous comment.

    (27): Mscot turned up one last time, sounding much like Sae Miller, Naikrovek, and Jeremy, and claimed to never have had disemvowelling explained. Mscot is perhaps unaware of how easy it is for me to call up a poster’s complete history. In a pinch, I will point out that the whole thing’s explained in the Wikipedia entry on the subject. A lot of material has gone missing from the entry since appalling Wikipedia troll Will Beback noticed its existence; but Mscot could still have learned everything necessary.

    (28): Korpo materialized to sing the demi-troll national anthem about how all this repression is being done to people for disagreeing with the moderator. Don’t I wish.

    Why did I first come down on top of Sae, Naikrovek, and Narual? Because other people hit the Lookitthat button to tell me this thread was rapidly turning nasty.

    Because that lot were trying to put the boot into Cory for things he didn’t do.

    Because they were doing it in language that had little or nothing to do with the actual events.

    Because they were trying to collect on alleged debts no one owes them, least of all Cory.

    It was mean-spirited and nasty, meant not to illuminate or to defend a principle, but to draw blood. I’m never sure how readily other people recognize bullying and verbal abuse. I’ll call it that and defend the label.

    Finally, they pretended the principle they were defending was freedom of speech. I was disgusted. I am still disgusted. I don’t think they actually give much of a damn about freedom of speech. But if they cared as much as they pretended to, they should have known that the rights they were implicitly demanding Boing Boing give them had nothing whatsoever to do with that ideal.

  27. @Teresa

    Hey, you called me Jason in there once by accident. I’m sorry if I came off a bit huffy, and you’re right, I definitely should have registered months ago. I spent a couple years completely immersed in a message board to the detriment of the rest of my life, so I’m always hesitant to create talkback accounts anywhere for fear of it happening again.

    I think the biggest problem I have is with the disemvowelling itself. I’m not that good with letters and scrambled words (terrible at Text Twist), so doing that renders the comment effectively unreadable to me. To me, the comment is then basically just a notice that says, “Look, we censored this guy/girl,” without letting me see if they actually deserved it. I think a much better system would be if it were simply flagged in an obvious way, but still allowed us to easily read it (maybe like YouTube where it shrinks it down unless you click to reveal it). If I could understand why it was disemvowelled, I’d be a lot more comfortable and much less likely to complain. I think some people have an easier time than others reading without vowels.

    Deleting posts entirely is also a bad way to go, unless they’re just outright blatant spam. In my opinion (I know it doesn’t really matter), anything coherent and in some way relevant to either the post or the other comments should stay. Mark it as trolling, but let us read it if we want. I know you all have every right to decide exactly what comments do and do not appear, but given the nature of the site, it seems more appropriate to allow as much freedom of speech as possible, even if it means a little trolling every now and then. When people mention that posts have gotten deleted, all it does is make me curious and suspicious. I can’t trust you if I don’t know why you’re making these decisions. Transparency is the safest way to go.

    We get upset about this because we love so much of what you do. We hold you to high standards because you set them that high yourselves.

  28. teresa,
    a few points and then i’ll leave it alone
    1. i am one person (as far as I know). i hope you’re just being snarky and aren’t so paranoid as to believe i would make up aliases for something like this. you could always check ip addresses for entries if you really thought someone was creating a lot of aliases.
    2. as i said before, you very well may have explained the disemvoweling in past posts but i honestly didn’t return to the posts and see those explanations. if i had, why would i save my indignation until now? i’m not the type to obfuscate my posts. i’ll just say what i think without trying to cleverly hide contempt. but, all the same, thank you for calling me a liar. you stay classy.
    3. i think #36 touches on the censorship in the right ways. you may not view disemvoweling as censorship but I can’t think of anyone that would take the time to decipher posts on a message board/comment thread. they’d see it and move on. at least, I would, which is why I never understood the disemvoweling until this thread.
    4. i never claimed freedom of speech. i just thought it odd that a group of people so adamant in their beliefs wouldn’t do such things.

    I’m sorry if I ruffled your feathers. My indignation was truly out of surprise, nothing disingenuous about it. As I said, I’ve been a visitor to the site for several years and didn’t expect such a thing. Call me naive but don’t call me a liar.

  29. Ha ha, hilarious thread! Keep on trucking, Teresa; as for posters turning up to whine about how unfair and hypocritical and censorious disemvowelling their Very Important Posts is, and how they’re fed up and leaving and never coming back — don’t let the door hit you on the way out! “I’ll ban myself from the site and they’ll be really really sorry” is a very adult response to moderation. Please don’t change your minds.

  30. MScot @37: Who knows whether you’re a naif or a liar? All anyone can tell is that you’re exhibiting troll-like characteristics, including self-righteousness, ignoring explanations when they’re given, marking as paranoid a moderator who most certainly has experience of sock-puppeteers, and ignoring the issues that caused you to get disemvowelled in the first place.

    If you’re honest, you’ll take the explanation of disemvowelling onboard, read up on moderation issues (including sock-puppets), accept that when you’re rude your comments will get disemvowelled if not deleted, and try not to be rude again. I acknowledge that the last might be the most difficult, but disemvowellment isn’t a permanent condition; you’ll have plenty of opportunity to try and get it right.

  31. Good morning, Jeremy. (Whoops, no, it’s afternoon now. I’ve been working on this for a while.) I apologize for calling you Jason — heat of the moment and all that. I’ll try not to do it again.

    I’m sorry you have so much trouble reading disemvowelled text. I know it’s no help at all to you to tell you that you’re rare. I have yet to come up with a good general solution to this problem — and it is a problem, because part of the idea of disemvowelling is that you should be able to read the text and see why it got disemvowelled.

    In the meantime, if something gets zapped and you really want to know what it said, drop me a note. If I’m not up to my ears in whatever’s going on — that is, if I’ve got a moment to spare — I’ll tell you what the original said.

    (Try this and see if it helps: when you’re puzzling out disemvowelled text, look at more than one word at a time. Whole lines and sentences is best. Context is essential. It’s the only thing that’ll tell you whether wr is war, ware, were, wear, wire, or aware.)

    Your opinion does matter, but I’m going to have to disagree with you about deletion anyway. Sometimes deletion (or disemvowelling) is necessary for non-spam messages.

    I know you haven’t given me the following piece of advice, but I’m going to quote it anyway, because it’s so popular and so wrong:

    “Just do your best to ignore people who are being unpleasant.”

    We can’t do that. I mean literally, we aren’t capable of it. If the unpleasant text is there on the page, we’ll automatically read it when our eyes fall on it, and we’ll get nailed by a little hit of whatever kind of nastiness has been built into it. All we can do after that is pretend to not react to it, which is not the same thing as successfully ignoring it.

    Another standard piece of useless and untrue advice:

    “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”

    Who thought that one up? Of course words can hurt you. If words mean something, they have the power to hurt.

    The online world has a badly depressed baseline notion of what constitutes civil conversation. It’s a leftover from usenet days, when the only thing you could do about trolls, creeps, crazies, and thugs, if you didn’t want to fight them, was to keep your head down and add their names to your killfile. Differences of opinion tended to get sorted out via the verbal equivalent of cricket bats and nunchuks. It was an environment that heavily favored participants who had thick skins and loud voices.

    Even if you’re the sort of person who can deal with that, it’s numbing and exhausting. And if you’re not the sort of person who’s willing or able to deal with that crap, you’re effectively excluded from the conversation.

    It’s not just a matter of personnel, either. Delicate or difficult subjects can’t be discussed. You can’t get into the kind of thoughtful, long-wavelength conversations where one topic builds on another, because they’re bound to be disrupted before they properly take form. Where there’s no hope of good conversation, of responding and being responded to, there’s no incentive to even write good single posts, because the audience that would make the effort worthwhile has picked up and gone elsewhere. And so forth.

    I yield to no one in my commitment to free speech. I am and will always be opposed to attempts to curtail it. That said, there’s more than one way for freedom of speech to be lost.

    Here’s how you can tell that everyday civility is a basic social value, rather than a luxury: when you lose it, you start to lose other things as well. I’ve seen far more free speech get stifled or shut down by loutishness than by governments or other authorities. One of the places where I watched that happen was the original version of Boing Boing’s comment areas. None of the boingers had the time to moderate them, and eventually they went so septic that they had to be shut down. The boingers were mournful and depressed about that for years.

    The flip side of the coin is that just about every large general-interest public discussion venue that’s worth reading has some kind of moderation in force. Some of the strictest sites are where you’ll see online conversation realizing its potential for speech that is not only free, but astonishing. That’s what I’m shooting for. I don’t want to tell people what to say; I want them to say it well, pay attention to each other, and be mindful of the overall good of the conversation.

    Are Mark, Xeni, Cory, David, and Joel committed to personal freedom, and especially freedom of speech? You betcha they are. That’s why I’m here. My day job is to keep this a place where great conversations can happen.

    I’m glad you’re here.

  32. Hi, Teresa. I appreciate you spending the time to reply so thoughtfully. I do understand where you’re coming from and that sacrifices sometimes have to be made to keep things orderly.

    The more I think about it, the more I like the way YouTube deals with trolling. Marking something as spam and hiding it, but still allowing you to click “reveal” if you really want to read it, seems like a very effective solution to me. Offending posts aren’t allowed to obstruct the flow of conversation, but they can still be easily read if one so desires. If you were also able to apply a brief label explaining your decision (“Hateful,” “Irrelevant,” etc.), that would be even better. I would happily live with a system like that. It would even take up less space than the current approach.

    I know you’ve got a tough and largely thankless job here. I do think you do very well overall. BoingBoing comments are much more interesting and informative on average than anywhere else I’ve been and I know that a lot of that is because of your efforts. I still think that there is some room for improvement though, and I hope you consider this idea and any others that may come along in the future.

    I’m glad to be here and thanks for letting me stay. : )

  33. ‘Of course words can hurt you. If words mean something, they have the power to hurt.’

    And TNH comes up with *another* aphorism for our time.

    (I must start collecting a file of these.)

  34. n0t3 th3 l0@d3d w0rds “cr@zy-@ss” @nd “r3v3rs3-3ng1n33r”. d1d @ny0n3 3v3r @sk wh@t th3 0r1g1n@l qL|3ry w@s (m@yb3 “h0w d03s y0L|r mp3 t@gg1ng syst3m w0rk?”) f0r wh1ch “1t’s pr0pr13t@ry” m1ght b3 @ l3g1t1m@t3 r3sp0ns3? @r3 th3r3 @ny p@r@ll3ls w3 c@n dr@w b3tw33n BB’s 1r0n c0ntr0l 0v3r 0th3r p30pl3s’ c0mm3nts h3r3 @nd 1ts st@nc3 0n 1nt3ll3ctL|@l pr0p3rty? d1s3mv0w3l1ng @ny s3mbl@nc3 0f d1ss3nt 1s th3 l@st ch1ld1sh str@w.

    d3l3t3 f33d. th3 g00d l1nks sh0w L|p 3v3rywh3r3 3ls3 @nyw@ys.

  35. Susan Oliver,

    The files were “-rwx——“, so only my user account had read permissions on them. Mpd and mt-daapd run under different accounts, so couldn’t read the files.

    A simple “chmod o+r” on all the files added the necessary permissions, at which point the mpd and mt-daapd scans picked them up.

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