Why is the 'Plex Dance' even a thing?


#1

A few days on the forums with a support incident (and some browsing) and it seems like the 'Plex Dance' is something that gets posted all the time, by support staff and users alike. It's a complex, low-level, tedious and infuriating process with multiple steps that is non-deterministic (e.g., because some of the processes like 'Clean Bundles' and 'Scan' are background tasks, it's impossible to tell whether they've completed before you carry out the next step - and if they haven't, then the Dance won't work.

In modern software like Plex, why is this even a thing at all? It seems massively user-unfriendly, inefficient, and clunky.

Surely if this sort of media complete refresh is required, why not make it a tool within the app - i.e.., click the ellipsis on a series, season or episode, and choose 'Full Clean' (or something like that) and have Plex completely clear and refresh its internal data and cached GUIDs/hashes automatically, in sequence, to resolve the problem?


Origin of the "Plex Dance"
#2

Yea…

What is Dark Matter?

Another question without an answer - unless ‘Nobody Knows’ works for you.

Plex has given up refreshing the data within a bundle that’s been written. Yea, it seems like an easy thing, but in the history of Plex, Plex’s top men (TOP Men, mind you) haven’t been able to locate that elusive particle and rumor has it those top men are still trying (although I have my doubts).

In the beginning - shortly after there was light in a dark universe - it was discovered that Refresh Metadata didn’t work as advertised. Once that bundle is written and Plex has that bird in it’s teeth, nothing short of shooting the dog will get it to drop the package and write a new one.

Oh, promises were made - made, but not kept - so users had to develop a work-around and The Plex Dance® was invented. The Plex Dance® has been around so long it’s the only Plex Work-Around that enjoys a Registered Trademark.

LIke ‘Dark Matter’ is the name of the ‘work-around’ that has to be ‘imagined’ when there never seems to be enough Gravity, The Plex Dance® is the ‘work-around’ that will absolutely go up-side that dog’s head and make it drop the bundle so a new one can be written.

Plex Veteran Users have used it so often - and it’s the work-around that works so well - it’s been committed to muscle memory and is, without a doubt, the Go-To answer when Non-Veteran users discover that after fiddling with a file name Refresh Metadata doesn’t do anything, and apparently, never will.

This is why it’s really important to get your Media Prepared properly BEFORE it goes in a library - because after that the ONLY way you’re going to fix it is via The Plex Dance®… guaranteed.

Incidentally, after reading through your other thread and having a quick look at your scanner logs, it would benefit you greatly to know that the name of ‘The Big Sleep (1946)’ is ‘The Big Sleep (1946)’, not ‘Big Sleep, The (1946)’. You should also know that FileBot is the #1 Plex Companion Tool for a reason. Link in my signature.


#3

Thanks. Appreciate the feedback. Re: filebot, it shouldn’t be necessary since Sonarr does all my renaming for me. :slight_smile: And good spot on the Big Sleep. Cheers!


#4

OK. Just make sure Sonaar knows how to spell ‘The Big Sleep (1946)’ and from what I hear - it does. You just have to make sure to tell it to spell it correctly.

B)


#5

BTW… for the record (commit this to memory - 'cause it’s gonna play a large part in your Plex Career):

The Plex Dance®:

  1. remove show/movie from library
  2. rescan library files
  3. empty trash
  4. clean bundles
    https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/200392106-Library-Actions <— scan library files, empty trash, clean bundles
  5. bring names and structures into compliance/Move LMA/etc
  6. replace corrected show/movie into library
  7. rescan library files

All Steps. In Order. No Shortcuts.

B)


#6

I second this, and would like to add that I often don’t get expected results until after MULTIPLE “songs” in the dance (i.e., repeats of the process.) On the plus side, it’s another reason I don’t buy a plex pass and am still looking for a viable alternative to Plex. So close to perfect, yet so far …


#7

The “Plex Dance” is quite easy to use but it is only necessary because the Plex programmers are too lazy or too incompetent to write into their code a “delete all metadata” for a given show or set of shows or movie or set of movies, In fact if Plex is told to refresh metadata it “should” not be necessary to “Plex Dance” the media as Plex should delete what ever is deleted by the “Plex Dance” before refreshing the library.

Also it should be totally unnecessary to reread an entire library to fix one show or movie but Plex does not care. It is just too hard for Plex to actually make their program user friendly.

However I expect the “Plex Dance” to remain a “thing” until Plex goes out of business as Plex never believes anything is wrong with anything they do. Plex pushes arrogance to a level never before achieved in the computer industry.


#8

Elijah, much as some of this stuff is a bit annoying/frustrating, I think you’re over-egging the pudding. Firstly, if Plex is so bad that you think they’re going to go out of business, why are you even on the forums? I mean, if the software is so terrible, uninstall it and go and use a different product instead. The fact that you’re still here, posting, shows they have a value proposition that you’re interested in, regardless of the foibles, which means they’re less likely to go out of business.

And secondly, if you think Plex’s arrogance is “never achieved before in the computer industry” I guess you don’t know much about the computer industry. :wink: They’ve got some stupid bugs, and some issues which could be fixed pretty simply with some trivial workarounds, but I could come up with 20 examples far worse in the time I’ve worked in the industry. :smiley:


#9

All this anguish about the Plex Dance would be greatly lessened if there were a Plex Dance button so that with a single click the library scanning, emptying of trash & cleaning of bundles could be performed.


#10

Exactly. The ability to do a “Completely clean all my metadata” for a file, season, show or library would probably alleviate half of the support requests in the forums. I’m not sure why the Plex devs don’t add it - it seems like it would be trivial to implement and save them a whole heap of grief.


#11

@“Mark Otway” said:
Exactly. The ability to do a “Completely clean all my metadata” for a file, season, show or library would probably alleviate half of the support requests in the forums. I’m not sure why the Plex devs don’t add it - it seems like it would be trivial to implement and save them a whole heap of grief.

That’s pretty much what I think about every time I’m doing The Plex Dance - and what users have been thinking while dancing since Plex was born, but users are last on the list of things Plex worries about and since Plex doesn’t actually use Plex, or need to Plex Dance, there’s no real issue that needs solving.

I was once in a debate with an employee over the disaster brought about by this:


That has now grown from the seedling of a bad idea into a Mighty Redwood of user despair over TV Show matching failure (just read the forum if there are any questions about TV Show matching failure brought on by Plex’s inability to fix a problem - without causing another problem - and not being interested in fixing either), when the employee reminded me that ‘Fix Match’ only takes a moment.

Well, The Plex Dance only takes a moment (or three), so apparently if there’s a user invented back-door-hack that makes something broken in Plex work, then Plex is perfectly happy letting users Plex Dance and Fix Match or employ any other work-around for something Plex is either unwilling or unable to do anything about.

If Emby didn’t suck so much - users like Elijah and me would be outta here. The fact is that Plex Media Server is so good users have little choice. It’s unfortunate that Plex also knows this fact. Users aren’t going anywhere, so Plex has no incentive to pander to users on their quest to… well… do whatever it is they’re doing.

Plex has created a great media server. Unfortunately they are unable or unwilling to develop an app for that great media server that deserves a name not akin to SUCK, nor do they seem all that worried about doing anything about it.

… is that pretty much how ‘the industry’ works, in your experience?
… it’s pretty much how Plex works - as veteran users are already painfully aware…

You’re gonna be Plex Dancing if you use Plex - that much is certain. Get used to it.

Perfectly illustrating the attention to quality, or the lack thereof, is this little Gem of design excellence…

Oh, it’s easy enough to find a landscape image of just about anything that’s in your ‘Other Videos Library’ - so it makes a clean presentation…:

Here’s what happens when you drill in:

Uh… really?
… and it’s not like this is something new… this, like The Plex Dance, has been around long enough to start drawing Social Security - and I expect will be with us for some time to come.


#12

If Emby didn’t suck so much - users like Elijah and me would be outta here. The fact is that Plex Media Server is so good users have little choice. It’s unfortunate that Plex also knows this fact. Users aren’t going anywhere, so Plex has no incentive to pander to users on their quest to… well… do whatever it is they’re doing.

This is the key point here. I’ve tried Emby, and its suckiness is only marginal, and most of it cosmetic. Plex is a lot slicker, and does work well, but the gap is closing, and fast. The two biggest problems with Emby are a) the UI looks like a child designed it, and b) there lack of clients (and using Kodi is annoying to set up - whereas Plex Just works). However, both of those will inevitably improve/change over the next 6-12 months.

Many people are already running both; if Emby have a skin redesign, and either Package Kodi or provide their own clients, then at that point Plex will be in real trouble, because their income stream could disappear overnight.


#13

@“Mark Otway” said:
Elijah, much as some of this stuff is a bit annoying/frustrating, I think you’re over-egging the pudding. Firstly, if Plex is so bad that you think they’re going to go out of business, why are you even on the forums? I mean, if the software is so terrible, uninstall it and go and use a different product instead. The fact that you’re still here, posting, shows they have a value proposition that you’re interested in, regardless of the foibles, which means they’re less likely to go out of business.

And secondly, if you think Plex’s arrogance is “never achieved before in the computer industry” I guess you don’t know much about the computer industry. :wink: They’ve got some stupid bugs, and some issues which could be fixed pretty simply with some trivial workarounds, but I could come up with 20 examples far worse in the time I’ve worked in the industry. :smiley:

Reading comprehension is a lost art.
I never said I thought Plex was going out of business soon, What I said was:

However I expect the “Plex Dance” to remain a “thing” until Plex goes out of business as Plex never believes anything is wrong with anything they do. Plex pushes arrogance to a level never before achieved in the computer industry.

Virtually every company eventually goes out of business, it just takes longer with some.
Also the recognition of hyperbole should be better taught in schools.

Hyperbole
Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. In rhetoric, it is also sometimes known as auxesis. In poetry and oratory, it emphasizes, evokes strong feelings, and creates strong impressions. As a figure of speech, it is usually not meant to be taken literally.


#14

I would vehemently object to adding a feature (a destructive one, at that) that compensates for a host of bugs, rather than fixing the bugs. It would just be an excuse to put off fixing the bugs.


#15

All good points. The one thing I would say in opposition to making the Dance a tool within the app is that the Plex Dance is a data-destructive process, and therefore has no place being a ‘feature.’

This is what is lost when you do the Plex Dance (there may be more - this is just what I could think of quickly):

  • Any custom edits you’ve made to an item (tags, ratings, labels, etc.) will be lost
  • Any tracks you’ve added to a Playlist will be removed from the Playlist
  • Play history is lost
  • ‘Date Added’ is changed

#16

Of course, you’d want a ‘chicken box’ warning that tells you what you’re about to do is destructive. But that’s fine - it’s no different to any other destructive process available via the GUI (e.g., “Delete”), as long as the wording is clear.


#17

Well, I disagree that it’s no different. ‘Delete’ is a function that a user might want to use. The ‘Dance’ is a workaround for one or more features that don’t work. If we accept a ‘feature’ that imperfectly compensates for bugs that should be fixed, they may be less motivated to fix the bugs.


#18

I don’t think the need for Plex Dance is a bug. Plex caches the metadata for files on disk and associates them with unique IDs within its DB. Plex dance forces Plex to clear this cached data and regenerate it. The fact that there might be the odd scenario where Plex should automatically refresh/regen this isn’t so much a bug as cautious - there are lots of complexities to this type of caching which means that it’s hard to get right. So the Plex Dance is just the ‘nuclear’ refresh option - i.e., “Completely remove and re-add this particular media as if it was brand new”. I don’t think that means it’s a bug - there’s various scenarios where that’s exactly what you want to be able to do - just via a context menu item rather than File Explorer.


#19

The bug (at least the primary one) is that the Refresh Metadata command doesn’t always do what it is supposed to do. That’s why all those posts I listed exist.

If you edit an embedded tag in a music file, you expect (and the documentation explicitly says) that the Refresh Metadata command is how you make Plex aware of the change. But it doesn’t work. That’s the very definition of a bug.

It’s also worth noting that Emby, a Plex competitor, has no problem performing this function. So it is most certainly doable.


#20

I think PLEX looks at their list of to do items and think, “Dos this make us a better platform for cord cutters?” and if the answer is YES then they might do it. If the issue is just aimed at folks with large media libraries instead of people that want to stream things into PLEX, you get to sit on the ‘when we get time’ bench.

There are lots of things I would love PLEX to do but I really can’t complain because it is free. The PLEX Dance is annoying and froma programming POV, amazingly stupid, but since there is a workaround, PLEX will ignore it and focus on adding new features for cord cutters (where the market is growing and is willing to pay) vs making life easier for those dinosaurs like us with massive media libraries.