LEGO CUUSOO has seen quite a bit of early success since opening up to a public beta just three short months ago. Hundreds of new projects have been started, with many of them being very high quality, creative, and intriguing. Witnessing the enthusiasm for the Minecraft project from Mojang and the Minecraft community, we’ve learned what can happen when you throw the gates open wide and encourage people to freely post whatever they like on a site that’s still very decidedly has “beta” level features.
We really appreciate all of the enthusiasm you have put into projects and comments. However, with the fun projects, comments, and collaborative efforts but we’ve also seen some undesirable behaviour. We believe very little of the undesirable behaviour came with truly malicious intent. To encourage the behaviour we want, we have to be sharper at setting standards, setting examples, and shaping the constraints of the site.
We are now rolling out a series of changes to LEGO CUUSOO, the Terms of Service, and the Guidelines as the first step of a longer-term effort to foster the vibrant and creative community we are looking to build here. The changes you will see are a part of a short-term effort to fill in some of the gaps we’ve uncovered on the site since it opened. The gaps have allowed for frequent plagiarism, negative comments and comment spam. We are also actively working on improvements to the website, design, user experience, and crowdsourcing model that will benefit you in the future, though these major changes will take a bit longer before they are ready.
Today: Removing Users Under 13 Years Old
Though the site rules and Terms of Service clearly state all users must be 13 and older, we discovered a technical glitch on the sign-up forms that did not prevent children under 13 from signing up. The form has been fixed and we are removing these users’ accounts and deleting their personal data to comply with the US Child Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).
We apologize for the error that allowed for this in the first place and the resulting disappointment that this will cause to the users affected. LEGO.com and the LEGO ID system has complied with COPPA for years, however LEGO CUUSOO is a site designed for adults and purposefully developed outside of the LEGO ID system.
If you are under 13, you are welcome to browse the LEGO CUUSOO site, but cannot create a personal account to vote, comment, or create projects. If you are looking for fun LEGO activities on the Internet, LEGO.com is specifically designed as a fun environment for kids of all ages. Please ask your parents to help you create an account there.
Raising the Project age to 18
From next week Thursday (January 12), you will need to be at least 18 years old to create a Project on LEGO CUUSOO. As we considered the various changes needed to the Terms of Service (TOS), we have determined that users must be at least 18 to enter into a legal agreement with the LEGO Group that allows us to produce their idea as a LEGO product should it reach the 10,000 supporter threshold.
If you are under 18, your projects will remain online and visible until Midnight, January 12 GMT. You have between now and then to save any images and text you’ve uploaded to LEGO CUUSOO. After that date, your projects will be unpublished, and you will not be able to re-publish them until you are 18 (according to the birthdate you have provided us). Once you turn 18, you’ll be able to re-publish your projects—and we hope you choose to do so!
If you are under 18, you’re still welcome to have an account on LEGO CUUSOO and you may keep supporting others’ projects and are welcome to comment on them.
Updating Guidelines and Adding House Rules
We will release the new Guidelines that provide clearer guidance for creating your Projects. Also, we’ll add the new House Rules that were originally posted to the CUUSOO blog to the website, so we can continue to encourage positive behavior on LEGO CUUSOO.
Improving Project Publishing and Reporting
When users publish new projects, they will be asked to check a series of boxes that confirm they have read and agree to certain provisions within the Guidelines. It is our hope that this quick additional step will cut down on the number of projects that violate the guidelines going forward. We’re also improving the reporting mechanisms for projects; You will now be able to specify the type of inappropriate content when reporting Projects, so we can better handle issues as they arise.
Updating the TOS
We are improving the Terms of Service and basing them on an updated LEGO template. In conjunction with the new TOS, we have collaborated with the ReBrick team and are implementing their provisions and web form for submitting a formal take-down request, similar to what YouTube does for copyrighted videos.
Improving Moderation Capabilities
We have discovered opportunities to improve how we moderate on LEGO CUUSOO, to help our users receive a better experience, and improve our moderation response times. Most of these positive changes should be transparent to you, and you will start to see more consistent and timely moderation on LEGO CUUSOO as we add to our capacity.
In the Weeks and Months to Come
In the medium and long term, we are looking for ways we can encourage users’ wishes for various LEGO ideas they see posted online to be made into LEGO products. We’re also looking into better ways to facilitate collaboration between users so that good builders can team up with good promoters to shape and grow the fan base of individual ideas.
We’re also actively working on a redesign of the LEGO CUUSOO site, based on what we have learned from the current user interface and the way people use the site. While we wish that we could take what we know now and implement it overnight for all of you, design and development takes time, so we’re thankful for your patience.
Finally, we understand that some of these changes will make certain people happy and other people upset. It’s our goal to learn, continuously improve, and make the decisions we believe are right to build a vibrant, creative community that yields many excellent user-created LEGO product ideas. Thank you for your continued interest in participating with us in this great experiment for product co-creation, and we’re looking forward to your input and your ideas!
Tim, Ken, Troels, Paal and the LEGO CUUSOO Team