New LEGO CUUSOO Knowledge Base

We’re excited to announce the first version of our Knowledge Base. There you can find answers to common questions about how LEGO CUUSOO works and about creating your projects. With this, we are moving our support from Get Satisfaction (the Feedback tab on the right hand side) to UserVoice, and will be retiring our Get Satisfaction account. We appreciate all of the suggestions and recommendations you’ve given us there, and we’ll refer to them when working on our future roadmap and improvements.

Our goal is to address some of your most common questions about the LEGO CUUSOO process, the site, and the community. There are some questions we won’t answer, though, especially specifics about how decisions are made in the LEGO Review beyond what we have explained on the blog to date.

Special thanks goes to community members GlenBricker, lizardman, mopeydecker, and TheNerd, who who helped us pick the most important questions to include from the beginning, and also volunteered their time editing and proofing the articles!

What you see today is the first version, and we’ll be improving the articles over time and adding more as we see fit. Enjoy!

She stole my idea! A story about original ideas and how they relate to LEGO® CUUSOO

A few weeks ago, I attended an all-day workshop at the LEGOLAND Hotel conference center in Billund, Denmark. The restaurant at the LEGOLAND Hotel serves brick-shaped fries; for lunch I couldn’t resist putting a few on my plate. Being a good Instagrammer, I snapped a photo to show the world what I was eating.

After lunch I checked Facebook, and saw that my colleague Signe Lønholdt (from ReBrick) had already posted a photo of the same fries. She copied me! I was a bit bummed … she took my idea and posted it first, stealing the thunder I thought was mine.

But Signe’s photo was just a plain old iPhone shot. So I tightened my skinny jeans and fluffed my scarf as I scrolled through Instagram filters, observing for example how Lomo-fi brought out the rich colors of my artsy catsup splotch while Walden faded it out. I chose Hefe, wrote a witty comment, and uploaded it.

Almost immediately, an AFOL responded to my Facebook photo; “so that’s the second time today someone has posted those fries on my feed.” Aargh, I had been outed as a copycat. But Signe copied me, I thought, and mine was better!

My thunder was stolen and my faux-hipster ego deflated. I was a copycat.

Fries-signeFries-tim

But who had the original idea? Did I steal it from Signe? Did she steal it from me? Or were we both inspired to post a picture of the fries because of the trend of sharing food photos online? The brick fries are a rather unique food, but neither Signe nor I invented the brick fries. We both independently came to the same idea of sharing a photo of them; the “idea” to share a photo was both of ours.

It’s easy to understand a person who is upset because someone else uploaded an idea they had; they had the spark of inspiration and another person took it! Is that really what happened? No, someone independently had a similar thought and executed it too. I’ve even heard a few people say, “I thought of Facebook before it took off,” like they thought Mark Zuckerberg owed them something. What about Friendster or MySpace? Don’t they deserve Facebook’s success, because they did it first?

Paul Lee, a regular on LEGO CUUSOO, once sent me this Doghouse Diaries web comic to illustrate the principle.

On the site we see two kinds of ideas; original ideas (that you truly thought up yourself) and generic ideas (like a new fire truck, your favorite sports team, or even a new LEGO element that compliments an existing one, like a roof corner).

“Generic” ideas themselves are only a small fraction of the value of a project.

For LEGO CUUSOO, we see the value of a project as the Idea + Execution + Audience. It’s not enough to have a good model, or be the first with the concept. Your project should be produced in such a way that it attracts an audience that in turn shows us the demand for a potential product. Just like Facebook built a more successful social network than Friendster and attracted more users.

This means you can’t “squat” the thought for us to release a new IP or a new generic idea by putting up a photo and a description — even if the model is original. Someone else has every right to submit their own version and attract supporters. However, if you submit something truly your own, and someone else tries to piggyback or copy it, you can use the report button on the project and we’ll remove the project if it comes too close to your work.

I hope this story helps illustrate what we consider original, and what the value of a LEGO CUUSOO project is. But what happened with the brick fries? As of this blog post, I out-executed Signe. My pic got 27 likes and 13 comments, where hers got 19 likes and 8 comments. ;-) So Signe, thanks for stealing my idea. It inspired me to write this post.

 

Link your Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook accounts

The comments on LEGO CUUSOO are a great place to discuss projects. But sometimes you want to have longer discussions with your friends on LEGO CUUSOO, whether you’re collaborating on the project, want to talk about your LEGO hobby, or even strike up a friendship. The House Rules are clear that the comments are not for off-topic conversation, but to date there hasn’t been another option to communicate.

People have asked us to create a private messaging system or add forums to LEGO CUUSOO. We’re not planning to do either, because our focus is on improving the process of finding, supporting, and creating projects. Our team is putting all of our efforts into helping enable more and better projects reach the goal of 10,000 supporters so they are reviewed in the quarterly LEGO Review and have the opportunity to become products.

Instead, to help you connect, you may link your Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr accounts and display them on your profile. This way, other users may contact you and connect directly. This is an opt-in feature and you can remove the links at any time.

Adding Your Profile Links
To add these links, log in to LEGO CUUSOO and visit your My Page. Click the Account Settings link on the right sidebar, then select the “Profile” tab. You should see fields that allow you to input the URL of your Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, like in the photo below. They will show up as small icons underneath your profile photo and username on your profile page.

Profile Links are Subject to the House Rules (Edit)
When you link your profile, your username and publicly visible profile should follow the House Rules. Use common sense, keep it clean, and remember that the LEGO Group’s primary audience is children and families.

Profile-social-media-linksProfile-social-media-chicklet-view