Thursday, May 10, 2012

Making New Things....

Been watching LEGO CUUSOO since the beginning, and I am fascinated by what has happened so far. For those who are unfamiliar with the site, it's a wish site, for lack of a better term. People submit wish sets or parts or themes to be considered for production by the LEGO Group. If 10,000 people support the idea, it wins a review round for production.

10,000 is a big number. And for a while, it looked that the number was beyond the reach of many projects. But that changed in the past month or so, with 5 projects hitting the threshold:

Shaun of the Dead
EVE Online Ships
Back to the Future
The Legend of Zelda
Firefly Serenity Set

Two have already been reviewed: Firefly Serenity and Shaun of the Dead. Both were declined production for not being appropriate for the target audience of children 6 - 11.

I am not going to go on a soapbox about why these were not selected. The LEGO Group has final say on any given project, and they can do as they choose. And honestly, what they have to do is dance a fine line. I feel a little bad for them because they have upset 10,000 people with each decline at the very least.

What I AM going to go on a soapbox on is: WHERE ARE THE AFOL projects????

I mean, really....the AFOL community likes to talk about how big and important they are, but look at the list above - how many were mobilized by the AFOL community? The LEGO Minecraft set was mobilized to 10,000 in 48 hours after Mojang posted the model on their blog and twitter and who knows what... Shaun of the Dead got tweeted by Simon Pegg, and numbers shot through the roof! Where are the AFOL projects?

The closest project that I have seen is the Modular Western Town, which is almost up there, but has been online since October. It has been posted constantly on Eurobricks and I think mentioned on Brothers Brick, but it's been going slow.

How can the community rally behind a set and push it to review? If there is an established community behind it, like a movie or game, it's not that hard. However, that would appear to mean that only licensed properties will have a chance with this environment, which is less than a positive thing.

Why? Because the creativity that AFOLs have is being passed over for the new Star Wars set or the set based on (fill in the blank). The worse thing is that we, the AFOLs, are letting that happen.

We can make excuses about how hard it is to navigate the CUUSOO page and find the things we want to support, and we can make excuses about other factors. But when it comes down to the core issue, the AFOL community appears not organized enough to push its own set or sets to review.

And I know better. We need to push a project, and as fast as any other - for one VERY important reason: We need to show the LEGO Group that we have the influence we claim we have.

LEGO CUUSOO was designed to show how strong our community is...and right now, we don't look strong at all.

Okay, I am off my soapbox.

Next blog post will be on another crowdsource site - Kickstarter!


James Trobaugh said...

I have to think the biggest reason for there not being a large AFOL community push on many of these projects is the actual lack of a cohesive community. The AFOL community has become so splintered that it’s really impossible to get everyone behind a single project. Back in the days of LUGNET getting the masses to rally behind such an idea wouldn’t require more than a few simple post. But now as the number of AFOLs grows so does the number of LEGO fan sites. As a long time community member I have become very lost in what is going on in the rest of the world in regards to MOCs, conventions and projects that others are working on now days.

As the amount of fans and information grows I find myself more and more disconnected from what is going on in the AFOL community. I’m sure I’m not the only one, so I can see how many cool AFOL projects on CUUSOO can go unnoticed….and that’s a shame.

Lar said...

Very thoughtful post. So which project should the community be pushing for? Modular Western town? Are any other AFOL projects as close as that one?

And what ways to push? I have a feeling that maybe there aren't 10,000 AFOLs on line and paying attention.

Joe Meno said...

@James: I agree to a point. The community has splintered, and there are many more sites. I get that.

What I don't understand is that we should numerically be a large body of people. And while there isn't a LUGNET type of overall site, there are points of contact online that have a large number of followers, such as the Brothers Brick. With these contacts though, our impact doesn't look anywhere as strong as Simon Pegg's twitter, to name an example.

We should be able to mobilize, and having more sites online should actually creates a larger base to build on. There's 1.9 million likes on LEGO on facebook - how can we tap into them? And why aren't we?

@Lar: Thanks! I couldn't tell you what project to push for, and honestly, it shouldn't be my place. What should happen is a project come up that catches the imagination of the AFOLs enough to support it and promote it.

Online pushing is an aspect of this, but so is offline. Get a station set up at a convention and promote a project onsite - if there are 500 attendees and 5000 public, it should be hard to get 2000 people interested.

What concerns me is that the community may have become complacent or apathetic to these efforts on the part of the LEGO Group - and that will hurt us in the long run. We need to push our projects. I know that there are 10,000 AFOLs online (when HKLUG has a e-mail list that is in the tens of thousands, you gotta wonder), but they have to be motivated enough to support.

The challenge is as you note, how.

Lar said...

Well, I did share your post on my FB wall and urged my 650 followers to go support modular western town. It was at 9772 when I posted... as of now it's at 9791... how many of those 19 are due to me? Who knows.

But you are right. We SHOULD have the oomph to do this for multiple models and much more quickly. JT is right, fragmentation hurts. But you're right too, if we are complacent, we will lose out and be back where we were before. Which we didn't like.

Dave said...

There was a recent Cuusoo project submitted by Technic AFOL Mahj for his "Ghost In the Shell (Tachikoma)" -- . Alas (after 5,443 Supporters), the Lego Cuusoo Team rejected it ( ). They are making up the Cuusoo rules, incrementally, as they go along ( ). How can the AFOL community get excited about a program, when the Cuusoo Team can't even FINISH making the rules? We're better off ordering the necessary parts from Bricklink instead of waiting 2+ years for TLG to MAYBE make a popular Cuusoo set.