A Better Way To Search

Google used to provide two search buttons.

  1. A simple closed search based on your keywords
  2. A much broader search Google called “feeling lucky” based on your preferences and links they had made to their enormous universal community.

It seems to me that roon search is probably doing a version of 2) a lot of the time when there are many (depending on genre, especially classical) who want control over that. Maybe they want 1) most of the time or maybe they want 2) most of the time. Or maybe they just want to choose.

What I notice personally is that when I am alone and I own the “remote” I actually prefer 2), its the joy of roon to me. But when I am in a social situation and I am handing the remote around then a much more objective 1) makes much more sense.

So the feature request is to be able to choose between 1) and 2) in some way.

The catch is ‘in some way’, eh? How do you give Roon the keys it needs for extra precision without the interface looking like something you order auto parts from? I suspect it will come in the same version of Roon with Folder Browsing.
Anyway, I am grateful for the progress that has been made, and generally learning how to give Roon the additional cues it needs for potentially ambiguous situations. It would be a lot better if there was a way to do a Vulcan Mind Probe, but that looked pretty exhausting

There will be no version of roon with folder browsing. We all know that. But that doesn’t mean a “one size” roon seach/presentation is suiting everyone. Otherwise there would not be these persistent complaints.

I am not going to defend a folder view. All I am trying to say is that roon is not so innovative that rejecting a conventional “folder” view has solved a requirement for different ways of commencing or displaying a search. Sometimes you just want to “find” stuff, sometimes you want to “discover” stuff.
On some level, roon has turned every search into discovery and that doesn’t necessarily make sense on every screen for everyone and every genre.

As far as I can see this convergence has something to do with the way roon is interpreting the problem of searching when the paradigm has moved from navigating a curated local library of hundreds/thousands of discs to navigating a cloud service of millions/billions of discs. I get that. But that doesn’t mean that a one size search/presentation fits all will work. I think that roon needs to find different search and library organization principles to fit a cloud era in the same way as old school DNLA players came up with search and organisation principles (Including folder view) that made sense historically.

For many of us, depending on which genre is your primary interest, the current halfway house between finding/discovery that roon implements on every screen just doesn’t work.

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I totally get it. Simply don’t know what that solution looks like.
We shouldn’t be complacent.

I don’t know what the solution is either. But I think it is completely ok that on pages like this we refine the requirement.

Hierarchical ontologies have been around for a long time. What we need is the ability to add multiple per-track hierarchical genre tags. Those who wish a folder view could then misuse it to produce that.

The paper on the AcousticBrainz Genre Dataset is interesting in this regard. It describes a system which is multi-source (multiple genre taxonomies drawn from different sources), multi-level (genres have sub-genres and so on), and multi-label (a track can have more than one genre tag). This seems to be exactly what Roon needs to develop.

I do not have the IT academic training even to begin to understand what your IT educated or IT practitioner definitions means. I have no doubt they are technically correct and well meaning. It is just a very complex problem and the best that 100k users can do is clarify the requirement.

At the very least, I did not ask for a folder view. All I ask for is a better alternative in the cloud-era that makes sense to a simple-minded non-IT literate consumer. In my opinion roon mixes two search paradigms (search/discovery) but rejects one display paradigm (folders) and it is confusing.

The concept of hierarchical organization is probably most evident in biology, but it’s everywhere around us (and probably deserves more study by philosophers). Roon already uses a multi-label hierarchical genre system for album tagging, for instance. But it’s not multi-source; that is, we can’t make up our own.

Oh my, oh my…

Why all these complicated speculations on what the difficulty might be?

Roon search already orders the results per category. A simple solution would be to add radio buttons to the search field, or rather: replace the floating search field by a window with the search field and some radio buttons to filter the results so that only the desired category (artist, album, track, etc.) is shown in the result pane. Should be easy enough to do.

Order the results in a logical way in the results pane: closest match first (e.g. not Pink Floyd before Pink) and we’ve got a working solution that doesn’t require going back to the drawing board.

Simple, elegant.

It’s doesn’t help when the filtering of things only works on library items. Currently the things that would be useful to filter by are limited to items added already into your library and not the wider generic search across Tidal and Qobuz. So if you want to see all artists on Rough Trade it may come up with Rough Trade in the label section but it will only show you those that are on rough trade and already in your library.

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