Eurobricks event UK

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I had a great LEGO-related day yesterday. In the afternoon I was invited to visit Duncan Titmarsh, the UK's only LEGO Certified Professional at his workshop in Surrey to find out more about LCPs and the work that he does. I'll be writing an article about that in a few days time.

Then, myself and DrDaveWatford went along to the evening session of the Eurobricks Event 2011 at a hotel near LEGOLAND Windsor. I'm not a big Eurobricks user myself but I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet some of the members and admins over there, who had come from all over Europe, to strengthen the ties between our two communities.

After a swift beverage in the bar, at 7pm we headed off to a fancy conference room for a presentation by root admin bonaparte that included the history of Eurobricks, how they deal with underage users, how their classic Pirates forum's 'parts wish-list' produced a couple of years ago appears to have influenced LEGO (e.g. we now have LEGO globes in PotC), the reviewers' academy, and what plans they have for the future of the site. copMike, who represents the site as LEGO Ambassador then did a presentation on the role of Ambassadors.

What impressed me most was how the the current admins have managed to turn the site around from being the scurge of the online community a few years ago and the source of virtually every new product leak to being highly respected by its users, peers and, more importantly, by the LEGO company.

During the evening I had an opportunity to chat to one of the tutors in the reviewers' academy, Rufus, about how we can improve the links to thier reviews from here and we came up with a plan that will make it possible for academy members to maintain the links themselves. I'll also be making some other changes, such as showing who the reviews were written by.

So, I'm really glad I went and was able to put some faces to names, and to learn from their experiences of running a massive online forum. You can consider the ties between Brickset and Eurobricks well and truly strengthened.

Finally, during his presentation bonaparte asked those present what they liked most about Eurobricks and what they didn't. I thought it would be interesting to ask you the same question here. If you're a EB member what do you like best about it? What needs improving? If you're not a member, why not? I'm sure he'd be interested to know.

31 comments on this article

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By in Denmark,

As a moderator of one of the subforums at EB, I'm glad to hear that you and DrDaveWatford enjoyed yourself, and that relationship between our sites have been strengthened. It's super news! To bad I wasn't able to make it to the event - it would have been great to meet you guys in person :-)

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By in Ireland,

I frequently check Eurobricks but have yet to get around to actually registering with the site and becoming an active member. I like the site, I often see interesting competitions posted and I keep meaning to enter them and get involved, but then I keep procrastinating! I also like the pictorial reviews they have on new sets, and the MOCs that people create are often staggeringly-amazing! The one thing that puts me off is that I find it difficult to navigate the forums themselves, with countless pages for the popular topics, but I suppose that's understandable. I will register with the site now, no more procrastination! :)

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By in Switzerland,

Firstly I'd like to compliment all of you here at brickset and at EB - both sites are an invaluable source of information for us AFOL's. The ties being created between the two can only lead to an even more comprehensive 'tool' being available to all LEGO fans for gathering insights through reviews and data on old & new sets alike, which I sincerely applaud and appreciate. Thanks!

Secondly, what do I like/dislike about EB:

I really enjoy being able to follow discussions and see MOC's from all themes, in this sense EB is awesome. As a LSW collector, I tend to browse through all the subforums and keep myself updated with what's going on in the LEGO world outside of SW, which is actually just a small piece of the whole pie.
The amount and level of thoughts/insights/and just general discussion being presented from people all over the world is just phenomenal.

My dislike is basically the number of obvious underage members posting (for me) irrelevant topics/remarks that need to be sifted through - although I think the moderators on the whole do a very good job of eventually filtering out the worst cases. This is especially true of the star wars forum, where sometimes it seems as if the fun in 'playing' with LEGO takes second place over being (apparently) knowlegdable in the SW story. A real shame.

Lastly, I must admit that I am not at all a very active member, so my point of view might not merit very much.

Cheers!

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By in United States,

Thanks for posting this Huw! It sounds like it was a great time, I wish I could have been there.
I think it's great that Brickset and EB can work together to improve everyone's online LEGO experience.

@legowomen1980p
We only remove pictures that are marked as confidential by LEGO, because LEGO specifically requests that confidential pictures are not posted.

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By in United Kingdom,

@legowomen1980p, I didn't ask for feedback on Brickset, but thank you anyway :-)

You will find, however, that all responsible LEGO webmasters remove confidential images and links to them. Not just Brickset, but EB, B-B, FBTB and so on. It's in everyone's interest that they are not published.

If you want to seek them out in the darker, uncontrolled, corners of the Internet, then good luck to you. Just don't post the links here. It has nothing to do with being a dictatorshop or being on LEGO's payroll (which I'm not) but just about maintaining a good relationship with LEGO and not 'biting the hand that feeds you'. Feel free not to visit Brickset and go elsewhere if you don't like it.

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By in United States,

I'm not a Eurobricks member because I haven't really checked it out.

@legowomen1980p, Did you really say the words "this site is run like a dictatorship"?! If you don't like Brickset, don't keep your account active. There are TONS of examples of freedom of speech here, because the only thing moderated [at first] is the reviews. I would rant but I just got up half an hour ago.

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By in United Kingdom,

Hey Huw and Dave! It was great to meet you yesterday evening. Glad you enjoyed it.

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By in United Kingdom,

I like EB, and look at it everyday. There are loads of great reviews, MOC's, MOD's and such other things about LEGO. Why have I not joined? Well, I'm under age for starters, but given the chance I would join.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Legowomen1980 - Brickset is impeccably run. How could an information and news resource even be a dictatorship? Your comment is illogical, and quite frankly bizarre. I too, will look at unofficial pictures, as i'm sure MOD's do too. But to expect those moderators to post something that is against their organisations constitution. And, to get angry with them is really not the attitude I would expect from someone who is fortunate to live in a relatively free country. You are , of course, welcome to your opinion, but it seems ill-informed. The only one dictating what others do and how they should do it is...... ?

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By in Canada,

Like: the early access to upcoming sets and the Reviewers Academy has improved the reviews significantly. Their technical implementation of the BBCode-style forum is really well done and easy to use.

Needs improvement: the site is indeed run like a dictatorship of underage Pollyannas. Placing people on "secret probation"; admins being allowed to use their powers in discussions in which they are involved; obviously underage "members" being allowed to contribute and heaven help you if you call them out or request adult behavior on an adult site; admins and their friends are permitted to mock, deride and criticize but come down hard on anyone who disagrees or dares point out errors. In fact, I would not be surprised to find myself banned for daring to post this comment because even though it is a different site they will claim their rules apply to anything I ever do.

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By in Australia,

I only joined within the past month - admittedly my only reason was to adhere to the age guidelines, being that I only hit 18 in May. I'd been aware of it for some time and occasionally lurked, though. At this time, my opinion of it isn't really fully formed out of unfamiliarity, but I'm quite pleased with it so far. Maybe my opinion of it will change or form properly as time passes, but for now I choose to be as optimistic as reasonably possible.

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By in United States,

What's the big deal? I like things being leaked early. It gives me a chance to start saving up for them

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By in United States,

I like EB because of all the MOC's. I don't really dislike anything about any LEGO forums...but if I had to pick something about EB...I'd say it's all the icons and titles under a users name in a post. Too kiddish for my taste but then again it's a toy forum so... :)

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By in United States,

The community on EB is the big thing for me. There are a bunch of awesome people over there who really care about the hobby. It's easier to get to know them in a forum such as EB as well where the users can converse about Lego in a variety of topics. There are also great tutorials and reviews.
Another plus is the community games over there like the mafias that are a lot of fun.
The mods and admins are also quick to weed out members that would do things like call people dictators and otherwise act immature so the community strengthens over time rather than divides by trolling and flame wars.

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By in Australia,

Have to say, that while I respect companies' rights and needs to keep products secret until they are ready to release, that early leaks rarely harm them as much as they think.

In fact, I think a lot of leaks actually build anticipation for the product. Movie companies know this very well, which is why trailers often start appearing as much as a YEAR before the movie is out.

One of the most serious product leaks in recent history was the iPhone 4, which was leaked by Gizmodo after an employee left a test model in a bar months before it should have been disclosed.

Apple was apoplectic, sued Gizmodo and as many people as they could, and claimed "immeasurable harm" in the court issued search warrants. (I suppose with Samsung ready to copy the look as soon as they could, they've had a point.)

But the real result was unprecedented interest, and the iPhone 4 has gone on to become the bestselling phone in the history of the universe or something.

Okay, seeing a detailed sneak peek at LEGO 4184 The Black Pearl might not be quite an iPhone 4 event, but TLG might be surprised at the extra sales it generates...

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By in United States,

@Ravenhook: You make valid points, which I agree with.

I'm one who believes that companies release early information and/or photos to create a buzz. If not the company, then the company realizes that there is a potential of release of material when sending out early catalogs to vendors. Those companies know full well that leaks will occur, but yet they try to play the so-called victim.

I'm willing to bet within the LEGO marketing department is a special group of folks specifically devoted to creating leaks and buzz. The LEGO company knows what they are doing......using the network to create free press and most important, sell the product.

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By in New Zealand,

Ok, I had read of the site and just had a look for myself and thought I would join because it looks great, however now Im having second thoughts due to reading what "Tedward" just wrote. So I guess advertising works quite well on me :) I really do like Brickset and check it at least three times a day, and I only heard about Brickset by accident through an Auction site here in NZ called TradeMe.

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By in United States,

@war44lock: I wouldn't place too much faith in the word of one naysayer. No forum is perfect but what he describes is not accurate. If you act mature and follow the very clear guidelines, you'll have no trouble from the mods or admins. I've been frequenting the site for over a year now and I've never seen the power abuses that tedward describes.

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By in United Kingdom,

The sales of Queen Annes Revenge will surely have been affected by the leaks of the upcoming Black Pearl. Stealing confidential company information is obviously immoral, but viewing it isn't?

On Eurobricks - I just don't like the layout of the front page. Brickset a d B-B are more user friendly in my eyes. Okay, so another site may have news first, but if it's important it'll be on my favorite sites before too long.

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By in Netherlands,

Great to hear the cooperation between EB and Brickset is constantly improving. It would be great if you could work out an even better system to link to EB's reviews, give credit to the reviewer, and perhaps even highlight Academy reviews. Thanks for taking the initiative Huw and DrDave.

As to people expressing doubts about EB: signup, read the Site Guidelines ;) , take the time to introduce yourself in the 'Hello, my name is...' forum, and you'll find it's a very friendly and relaxed community.

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By in France,

I only came to brickset in the first place while looking for information on all the old sets I had as a child back in the early eighties (I don't believe any of the modern stuff really beats that era, but thats besides the point) - and I discovered a wonderful site - which I check for news more than once a day. But honestly I'm not interested in discussing LEGO online, so never joined EB, though I do like their pictorial reviews.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Rick. or anyone from EB, what if you are underage by a number of years, and want to join? Now I know the answer will be along the lines of "Wait till your 18". But what if you act and speak like an AFOL or an older TFOL (like me and other people)? Just like to know thats all.

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By in Netherlands,

It's pretty clearly stated in the Site Guidelines. I don't really have anything to add to that.

"Age: Eurobricks is a site intended for an adult audience, which for the purpose of these guidelines are people of around the age of 18 or greater. We reserve the right to ban anyone who does not meet that requirement. Posting that you are not an adult is a quick way to be banned. If you choose to ignore these guidelines and sign up anyway, it is not our responsibility if you are offended by what you read or see. Similarly, if you are an adult who is offended by what is often labeled as adult content, you should probably avoid this site."

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By in United Kingdom,

It was great to meet Huw on Friday (and DrDave - I didn't realise that was you)! I do hope we can forge closer links between Brickset and Eurobricks. Brickset is the first place I go when I want set information or quality 'official' pictures, and IMO is a vital resource for collectors and reviewers. I have been linking my EB reviews to Brickset for a long time, and it's great that the reverse is now possible.

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By in United Kingdom,

I check Eurobricks everyday and find it very useful, particularly for reviews and the Embassy section. But I've never registered at the moment I can't see myself doing so. Firstly, it feels slightly unwieldy and that leads a lot of the topic threads to have a swathe of superfluous comments. I know I've been guilty of not doing so on here and FBTB, but I always try to comment if I feel I have something to add that hasn't already been said. Secondly, I think I slightly prefer (my perception, I'm probably wrong!) the smaller communities here and FBTB. That said, I have absolutely no problem with how it's run. My lack of registration is due to the unavoidable side effects of its popularity.

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By in United Kingdom,

Cheers, Rufus and Peppermint - it was great putting faces to the names after all this time. Curse my aged brain - it only clicked after I got home that you were the same Rufus who has written so many excellent Star Wars reviews on EB, so a belated "thanks" for those....!

I'm already looking forward to next year's event in Billund !

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By in Denmark,

Yeah make sure you guys come to Billund next year.
I missed this year's event and that's not an option for next year.

And erhm.. I don't work for TLG - I am a teacher...
Nor do I consider myself a dictator.

"Together we shall rule the Universe as Father and Son!"

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By in Canada,

@war44lock: You know what. Even with the negatives I would suggest you register and check it out if you are interested. I am still (I think) a registered user and if it was all bad I would obviously not choose to go back daily and participate in discussions.

@CorneliusMurdock: I imagine 90+% of users on EB never have a problem with admins and I am glad you have never had an issue. I have always acted "mature" and I try to follow the guidelines but I do not recall reading a guideline that says I cannot criticize inaccuracies, request improvements or hold an opinion.

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By in United States,

I'm a member on Eurobricks, and the thing I like most about it is that it seems like it is the most active LEGO forum on the Internet (or at least the most active I've found to date). The pictorial reviews over there are great, always blending great photos with a sense of humor. The MOCs are almost always of high quality, so you don't have to wade through dozens of garbage MOCs to get to a quality MOC.

I can only think of one thing that bothers me, and that's their policy on handling bannings privately. The thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't allow the rest of the users to know what behavior is considered ban-worthy. Sometimes it is obvious, like the people who reveal they are under age... or the people who post 100 worthless posts in a week just to get their post counts up... or my personal favorite, the guy who got banned for one of those reasons and created a new account - but signed his message under his banned username. Those are obvious, but some cases aren't as obvious and I think they are missing out on an educational opportunity. In my opinion, if someone deserves the punishment of banishment, what's a bit of public humiliation on top of it.

For those who've posted that the moderators over there are unfair, I can't say that I've seen it. I've had posts I've made removed here (I assume because they weren't 100% on topic), but I've never had a post censored over there. I think the moderators over there are fair, but because the reasons for the actions they take aren't generally made public, I think that sometimes the perception can be that they are unfair. So again, if there is one thing they could do to improve Eurobricks it would be making their moderation/banishment decisions more transparent.

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By in United States,

@tedward: I still think your previous "dictatorship" statement is wholly inaccurate. I've interacted with several mods/admins and have always found them courteous and helpful (Well, maybe not as adversaries in Mafia games... but I kid.).
It probably depends, though, on how you criticize, request, and hold opinions. If you used the same kind of derogatory language that you used earlier, I can see how it might not have ended well for you. But I hardly think that would be the fault of the people at EB. The "golden rule" should extend to online life as well as real life. You can really tell that a lot of people forget this if you visit forums that are not as well maintained as EB.

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By in Singapore,

Huw and DrDaveWatford, it is great to know that the both of you had so much fun and enjoyment at the EB 2011 event. I wish I could be there myself to attend the event too, so I could actually piece the actual face against the respective sigfigs and getting myself involved in those discussions. Same goes for the EB Staffers and the rest. I am really looking forward to strengthen our working relations further.

WhiteFang

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