Updates to the Project Guidelines and House Rules

Today we have posted an update to the LEGO CUUSOO Project Guidelines and House Rules. This document outlines how LEGO CUUSOO works and communicates what we expect in terms of project content, basic quality, and what kind of behavior we welcome on the site. All new submissions to LEGO CUUSOO are reviewed to ensure they follow these Guidelines, and we moderate user behavior based on the House Rules.

In the last couple months, we’ve posted more specifically about our brand standards and what content we allow. Today we have integrated those standards into the Project Guidelines and House Rules, and have added two new sections to the page; Acceptable Project Content and Basic Project Quality Standards. The original Guidelines content (rights, royalties, plagiarism, etc.) hasn’t changed, and you can find it under the first section, “How This Works.”

Acceptable Project Content
The Acceptable Project Content section incorporates the framework from the Brand Standards blog post several weeks ago. This section is a guide to help you understand what types of projects we will accept. It’s a framework for our decision-making. Our team will apply the standard, but we won’t explain each decision in detail.

The section adds also a couple more rules about project types. For instance, projects should be product concepts (LEGO CUUSOO isn’t a gallery), drawings and photos are OK (as long as you position the project as a LEGO product), and we don’t accept ideas that propose new MMORPG games–projects of that nature are outside of the scope of LEGO CUUSOO.

Basic Project Quality Standards
The Basic Project Quality Standards section outlines a few things you should pay attention to when creating your project:

  • Make sure your photos are clear and well lit (not dark, blurry, or pixilated)
  • Any altered images should be clear and easy to read; we don’t allow jagged edges, poor cropping or compositing, hard to read text, or scaling distortions
  • Titles and descriptions should be clearly understood (really, who likes to read TONS OF CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!! anyway?)
  • Finally, we’ve seen people submit projects where the image doesn’t match the discription at all, and won’t accept those

You can read the full changes on the LEGO CUUSOO Project Guidelines and House Rules page. For those interested, we’ve also done a refresh on the email messages you receive when we accept, reject, or delete a project, so the reasons become much more clear.

Cleaning Up Existing Projects
Some projects posted before we implemented our pre-approval process on March 29 might not follow the Acceptable Project Content framework. We are reviewing and removing these projects in descending order by number of supporters, but with over 3,000 published projects this will take some time. If you find a project that you don’t think fits our standards, you can tell us by using the “Report This Project” link on the right-hand column of the project page. We will then receive your report and make a decision.

Pre-Approval is Good, but not Perfect
We’ve been pre-approving new project submissions now since the end of March. This allows us to filter content we deem inappropriate for the LEGO brand, with one caveat; some things are not obvious on the surface and the filter won’t be perfect. There are especially so many IP-related projects that though we try, we can’t give every IP a thorough review. Projects that are obviously over the line will be caught, but expect that we’ll make mistakes from time to time and let something through we’ll remove later.

How do I know what’s OK?
We’ve provided the Guidelines and House Rules as a framework to communicate our standards. We know it can’t cover every possible situation, so we offer this simple advice; remember that are many LEGO product ideas that both appeal to older fans and do not present an issue for our younger fans. When creating your projects, our advice is to stick to what’s safe. While not every model or IP makes for an appropriate LEGO product, you can still share your creation with the world on sites like Flickr and ReBrick.

LEGO CUUSOO is a learning process for us. Opening ourselves to your product suggestions has tremendous opportunity. In fact, allowing people to publicly suggest new products and build audiences that want them in the open is brand new territory not just for us, but quite cutting edge as a practice overall. Doing this also opens us to risk of criticism for our decisions. That’s great, because it means people care about what we’re doing. So, we’ll stay focused on the good that has happened with LEGO CUUSOO so far, and the great things to come as we grow.

As always, best wishes with your LEGO CUUSOO projects!

Brand Standards: What makes an appropriate LEGO product?

Ever since we announced that the Winchester, and now the Firefly Serenity playset did not pass the LEGO Review, there has been some speculation about how we will handle various LEGO CUUSOO projects that skirt the line of the LEGO brand standards.

The LEGO Company sells construction toys for builders of all ages. Over the last ten-plus years, LEGO products for teens and adults have proven very popular, including LEGO Mindstorms, the UCS series, and the LEGO Direct Exclusives to name a few. Adult builders create incredible models that reflect their passions and interests. As the LEGO Company creates products for an older audience, we takes great care to ensure that everything we produce is appropriate for children and the parents who trust us.

LEGO CUUSOO has opened the floor for you to submit product concepts to us that we can consider for production. As of March 29, all new projects are first held in a queue and approved by a moderator before being posted to the site. We’re able to catch a lot more things this way, but some things are not obvious on the surface and we can’t give every project a thorough review. Projects that are obviously over the line will be caught, but some will inevitably pass through.

Our team is very aware that some potentially inappropriate projects remain active on the site; most of those projects were posted before we began approving new projects. We’re in the process of examining questionable projects and removing the inappropriate ones. This will take some time. Look forward to updates in the coming weeks that refine the Guidelines and House Rules as we work to communicate more clearly what is acceptable and not. Understand that we will not produce products that are related to these topics:

  • Politics and political symbols
  • Religious references including symbols, buildings, or people
  • Sex, drugs, or smoking
  • Alcohol in any present day situation
  • Swearing
  • Death, killing, blood, terrorism, or torture
  • First-person shooter video games
  • Warfare or war vehicles in any situation post-WWII to present
  • Racism, bullying, or cruelty to real life animals

The determination of how a project fits these above standards will be at our discretion. There’s always a chance that something will be approved, then removed from the site after being reviewed in greater depth, or not approved during the LEGO Review stage for projects that achieve 10,000 supporters.

Conversely, there are plenty of LEGO product ideas that appeal to older fans and do not skirt these lines. Our advice is to stick to what’s safe. Remember, some things are more appropriate for you to build with your own bricks and share online yourself. There are many great ideas out there, but not all make appropriate official LEGO products.

As always, best wishes with your LEGO CUUSOO projects!