This is still the header! Main site

Labels vs. Trees


... and here is a quick summary.

This is post no. 79 for Kev Quirk's #100DaysToOffload challenge. The point is to write many things, not to write good ones. Please adjust quality expectations accordingly :)

The problem

You have a bunch of mp3s. Do you organize it like

Some Artist/2015/Album Title/01 - The First Song.mp3
Some Artist/2015/Album Title/02 - The Second Song.mp3
Some Artist/2017/We Made Another Album/01 - It Also Has Songs.mp3

Some Other Artist/2017/Our First Album/01 - We Exist.mp3

... or...

2017/Some Artist/We Made Another Album/01 - It Also Has Songs.mp3
2017/Some Other Artist/Our First Album/01 - We Exist.mp3

2015/Some Artist/Album Title/01 - The First Song.mp3
2015/Some Artist/Album Title/02 - The Second Song.mp3

... maybe

Some Artist/Album Title (2015)/01 - The First Song.mp3
Some Artist/Album Title (2015)/02 - The Second Song.mp3
Some Artist/We Made Another Album (2017)/01 - It Also Has Songs.mp3
Some Other Artist/Our First Album (2017)/01 - We Exist.mp3

This is the point where the idea emerges: tree-like hierarchies are stupid; why aren't we just giving them labels?


They... kind of work for email.

Somehow, they keep not working for many other things. File systems are still a thing, with their trees.


Can't we just make a label for every artist, every album, every year, and... just filter things?

But then... let me guess: not many people organize their collections like this:

We Made Another Album/2017/Some Artist/01 - It Also Has Songs.mp3

Album Title/2015/Some Artist/01 - The First Song.mp3
Album Title/2015/Some Artist/02 - The Second Song.mp3

Our First Album/2017/Some Other Artist/01 - We Exist.mp3

... or even

01/Album Title (2015) by Some Artist - The First Song.mp3
01/We Made Another Album (2017) by Some Artist - It Also Has Songs.mp3
01/Our First Album (2017) by Some Other Artist - We Exist.mp3

02/Album Title (2015) by Some Artist - The Second Song.mp3

because it would be fairly useless for the vast majority of purposes I'm aware of.

Yet, these would map to the same kinds of labels!

What's actually going on here? Why one of them and not the other? Is there some hidden structure to tree levels?

(... and this is your regular reminder that this is #100DaysToOffload, this article has been written because I had to write an article right now, and thus, it's allowed to end before answering any of its questions. Hopefully, there will be a followup though!)

... comments welcome, either in email or on the (eventual) Mastodon post on Fosstodon.