Topic: Several Remarks Regarding the Website in General
First of all, I should say many positive things about this site because there are plenty. Alas, good news are frequently pushed aside by the bad news and in the like manner it often happens with praise deserved. Therefore let me simply say: Congratulations for this site!
And no, it's not that there are any bad news, really. Rather, while using the Ath. website I encountered some minor difficulties or problems which I wasn't able to solve or overcome. I guess other users will have made similar experiences and thus it might be about time to mention some of them. Moreover, I would like to make some suggestions as to future components and/or rules of the site. I hope this will be of benefit for all of us (or at least serve as a basis for discussion).
(a) When marking a person as sculptor, I wasn't able to upload any artwork. In fact, clicking upon "Art" does not, on my computer, produce any result, and thus there is no way to upload anything (i.e., nothing like "add more" or similar appears as it does in the case of painters).
(b) When adding or editing a museum, this cannot be done if the devilish automatic device based on Google Maps cannot locate the address. Obviously, in some cases there is no clear or fixed address. There are some definitely erroneous or incomplete entries in the museum list that, however, cannot be changed because of the said problem.
(c) Some names in the alphabetical listing of names definitely do NOT appear in the place they should appear. I even checked, in a few cases, whether someone has misspelled a name in the rubric "Name used for listing", which sometimes was the case and sometimes not, so there seems to be a problem here after all. The main problem arising out of this fact is that while searching a person's name (e.g. because you want to add a new person and would like to check whether (s)he's already there) you can't rely on the alphabetical order. This, consequently, means that you might miss a person already listed and add it a second time. So there should be done something here.
These are some of the problems I encountered. It may well be that I didn't get it right or missed something important, anyhow. If so, please let me know or correct me. But maybe others noticed the same and so there is something not working properly after all.
(a) It should be established once and for all whether paintings should be named and quoted by their original titles if known (i.e. in whatever language these are) and followed by an English translation, if feasible, in brackets. Or, on the contrary, whether all paintings should be named and quoted by English titles (and followed by the original title in brackets, where applicable). I don't mind the one or the other, but maybe it would be good to establish kind of a general rule here.
(b) Likewise, there is as far as I could see no general rule how to list "de", "di", "van" or "von" in the alphabetical listing of names. In general use, French and Germans disregard "de" and "von" for alphabetical listing (thus "von Stuck" would appear under "Stuck" and consequently under "S"), while the Dutch and Italians consider "Van" and "De/Di" part of the name (and consequently written with Capitals, in difference to the French "de" and the German "von"). So, "Van Gogh" appears correctly under "V". It would be useful to have a general rule in this case as well, not necessarily, but possibly, according to what I suggested.
(c) As far as I can see, there is no way of searching the site for places (towns, regions, countries) connecting to artworks. Obviously, many artworks are connected to places (Venice, Cairo, Yorkshire, whatever) and it would be nice to have a search function for a particular place connected to artworks. I thought this might be done not using tags but rather by inserting a further line in the "adding an artwork" form, something like "Place (town, region, country) connected to this artwork". Then you would be free to put "Spain, "Andalusia" or "Seville", for example, as you need. Filling out this line would be the work of those adding an artwork and could proceed along the same lines as indicating the owner.
(d) I couldn't find a way to enlist artworks whose maker is unknown like, in the case of paintings, "Italian school 17th century" or "Dutch painter in the manner of So-and-So" ... So what to do about anonymous artworks of this kind? Should there be an "anonymous" section in the listing of names where you could introduce "Dutch painter" or "Italian school, 17th century"? Maybe somebody already came up with a solution but I haven't found it on the website.
(e) Lastly, tags. Quite obviously, we need many more tags! The more tags the better, actually, for research purposes. Now, I sympathize with the policy of the moderators not to leave tags to the users or contributors. In fact this would lead to chaos as it does on many other webpages, because there would be no unity or any comprehensible system behind this wild tagging. So, let the editors provide for the tags, based on suggestions of the users. Said this, it seems to me that we need some kind of forum to propose certain tags (complete with trees of sub-tags) or to discuss which tags we would like to have. I think this is pretty important because only by tags, proberly used and placed, you can research a database of almost 70.000 entries. So please help here! Or come up with suggestions!
Thanks so much. In all modesty, these were the few things I had on my mind. I thought it worthwhile to put them under the eyes of you all. Please let me know what you think!