Trying to re-group your music albums in chronological order while they are stored in folders separated by the artists' names right now?
Creating the shortcuts may seem easy, straightforward and harmless enough at first:
- A single music file within a folder for Artist A;
- A single shortcut within a folder for Artist B;
- A single shortcut within a folder for Artist C.
But, will any of them, or any combination of them, really be able to represent:
- A song performed together by A, B, and C?
Based on the relationships of the folders and their contents, only another shortcut in another folder named "A, B, and C" can link the 3 names as one item.
Some systems (like Google Drive) try to ease problems like this by listing all the shortcuts for the same file together somewhere on the screen. Nonetheless, not all shortcuts are always related to each other with respect to their own purposes. For example, there could be another un-related folder for "All female artists" among the individual names "A", "B", and "C", in which case, "A" would most likely be separated, by "All female artists", from "B", and "C" in the list, making the list itself messy or even confusing.
Besides, there will still be questions like:
- How many songs were performed together by A, B, and C?
So, in most cases, users are left all on their own, when going in-and-out of the folders, carefully scanning all the files one by one in the entire collection, then going back to the "A, B, and C" folder, manually creating a shortcut one by one in the folder each and every time something is finally found.
More importantly, as it turns out, a proper logical representation of the simple expression "Songs performed together by A, B, and C" actually needs to include all of the following 6 folders:
- A, B, and C
- A, C, and B
- B, A, and C
- B, C, and A
- C, A, and B
- C, B, and A
(with each folder containing exactly the same set of files and/or shortcuts, or, with one folder containing the actual data and the other 5 being shortcut-equivalents), which, of course, probably nobody has ever seen in practice.
(Logically speaking, "A photo of G, F, E, D, C, B, and A" and "A photo of B and C inside a folder for A" are both "A photo of A, B, and C", too. Any idea how those can get handled in any of the existing systems?)
This may look theoretical, but reveals a fundamental flaw in all folder-based file management systems - a not-that-rare situation that can never be handled well by the existing systems. The fact that the folders may feel "perfect" to some users at some times, but "challenging" or even useless to others at other times, implies severe problems.
In summary, the above shows a few reasons (among many many others) why shortcuts, while being seemingly intuitive and convenient, can hardly be used in any meaningful scenario other than a set-it-and-forget-it one. It is not that users don't have "Songs performed together by A, B, and C" to manage, it is that they are not really "manageable", yet, using the existing file managers.
The bottom line is, physical duplicates (in any format) of the files may never be handled well using physical folders.