The 'Helicarrier effect'

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I've spoken before about the 'Brickset effect' which occurs when we link to other sites or promote offers which then see a spike in traffic or sell out as a result. Yesterday Brickset experienced something similar, the 'Helicarrier effect', at about 2:30pm GMT. The graph to the right, from Google Analytics real-time reporting, shows the number of users on the site and the number...

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Database issues this morning

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Between 04:40 and 08:40 GMT this morning a high number of database queries were timing out. Among those affected were those that write to the set collection table. It's possible therefore that if you updated your collection (i.e. ticked 'own' or 'want' checkboxes) between these times, that the database was not updated when you did so. If you were using the site during these times...

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Tags update

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You may recall that back in November I added the ability to add tags to sets to make them easier to find, and easier to view lists of related sets. You can read the original announcement. Within days thousands of tags had been added many of which were superfluous or unwanted so I removed the ability for everyone to add them and appointed a team of moderators to sift through them and sort them out....

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Welcome 100,000th member!

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At 06:26 GMT this morning a major milestone in Brickset's history was reached when zigbull in Canada joined the site and became the 100,000th member. It was only 8 months ago that the 80,000th member joined and 12 months since the 70,000th joined. At this rate of growth we may hit 150,000 by this time next year. Does this make Brickset the largest online community? No, but by my reckoning it's...

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New inventories, parts and instructions

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Shop.LEGO.com is still a bit of a shambles but it looks as if the LEGO customer service team is on the ball, at least. Today, inventories for 163 sets have been added, which include 970 new parts. I think the team at New Elementary will have a field day looking through them. Unfortunately LEGO has ceased categorising parts in their inventories and all are now lumped under a single category, 'Bricks,...

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This year's top news articles

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As this year comes to a close, let's take a moment to look back at the big news stories of the year. The easiest way to find out what they are is by listing those with the highest number of views and comments: Most viewed articles: Rumoured list of Collectable Minifigure Series 12 (20 May, 172941 views) More Exo-Suit goodness... (05 Jul, 68564 views) 75060 UCS Slave I pictures...

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Traffic and user review of the year

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Just before Christmas I like to look back at traffic statistics for the year and compare them with previous years. The figures from Google Analytics are as follows: 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 Page views 85,658,634 78,595,421 58,871,313 49,404,168 40,447,000 25,434,000 Visits 20,761,051 19,810,668 15,656,887 11,408,177 7,926,000 4,556,000 Visitors 6,624,114 6,187,944 4,980,424 3,895,394 2,719,000 1,766,000 All...

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Bricksetforum.com unavailable

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There's currently some sort of DNS problem with bricksetforum.com and as a result the forum is not reachable via that domain. I suspect it's transient but if it's not sorted in the morning I'll start making phone calls. In the meantime you can access it via http://brickset.vanillaforums.com/. Later... it seems that 1000steine.com that hosts our images is also unavailable. Is there...

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Tags update

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There's not much news about at the moment so it's lucky I have tags to keep writing about :) There are now over 850 tags which have been applied some 7500 times. The moderators will continue to weed out unwanted ones and merge duplicates and also lock some sets so that no more tags can be added once it's felt that everything sensible that can be tagged about the set has been. I've...

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Tags adding reinstated

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Since I made changes to the way tags are retrieved yesterday, database performance has improved so I have reinstated the 'add tags' link. I've also changed the colour of them slightly: press ctrl-F5 to get the latest stylesheet if they look the same as before. Myself, CapnRex101, Matthew and others will be moderating them and removing inappropriate ones. To make our job easier, once...

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Tags update

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Thank you all for adding tags to sets. There are now nearly 700 tags which have been applied some 7000 times. Most are good but a few are pretty much superfluous or duplicates so we'll be weeding them out in the next few days. Unfortunately, they have had a detrimental impact on the performance of the main database stored procedure that retrieves set lists and some queries are taking over 10...

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Tags: a new way to search the database

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Today, I have introduced a feature to the site that is long overdue: set tags. Tags can now be assigned to sets which will make them easier to find, and easier to view lists of related sets. In essence, this is an extension of the current 'tags' in the database for theme, sub theme and year, the difference being that sets can have an unlimited number of tags and they are assigned by you:...

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LDraw viewer now in place

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Last week I mentioned that Legolijntje was working on indexing and uploading LDraw versions of official sets to the Brickset database. In the comments to that article, nicola80, author of a plug-in for displaying LDraw models in your browser, offered to assist getting it working here at Brickset to enable those of you that don't have LDraw installed to view them. Work on it is almost complete...

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New site features

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Earlier this week you may have noticed the appearance of a new tab at the bottom of set detail pages: LDraw. Where it's present, you'll find links to LDraw .dat or .mpd files for the set. Here's a good example. Legolijntje, who has been curating lists of LDraw versions of official models at Eurobricks, is populating the database and uploading the files to make them easier to find and...

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New feature: alternate builds

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As you probably know, Rebrickable is a site that shows you what models you can build -- both official and MOCs -- from parts in your collection. You can also hook up to it from here and keep your set collection in sync between the two sites. Anyway, Nathan at Rebrickable has recently provided a feature that exposes MOCs that can be built using parts from just one set and he and I thought it would...

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Change to set filtering

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One of the most commented on aspects of the new design in the recent survey concerned filtering, in particular the need to clear a filter before you could select another. In my response to the comments I described it as follows: "you're browsing 2014 sets. You change the theme to Agents. Then, if you want to look at 2014 Chima sets you need to clear the Agents filter before you can select...

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Changes to news articles

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I've made a few tweaks to news article publication in response to the survey: The weekly round-up is now in its own category so if you don't want to see them you can remove the category from your news preferences page. It's now possible to remove all the news categories from that page, including the 'Brickset' category, so if you don't want to read anything I write,...

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Response to survey comments, continued...

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In part one, I responded to comments about the news, reviews and the forum. Now I will turn my attention to site's design, the database and functionality. Design I love the new design / I preferred the old one -- bring it back! The vast majority of comments about the design praised the new one although there were still a few people that said they preferred the old. It's not clear...

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Response to survey comments

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Our recent user survey generated over 1000 comments so it's been a bit of a challenge going through them and working out how best to respond. In the end I drew a mind-map which I hope has captured the points raised. In this article I'll list the main points and reply to each of them. The comments can be broadly divided into 6 categories: news, reviews, the forum, site functionality,...

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