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My problem with CUUSOO


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#51 lightningtiger

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 10:55 PM

Has anyone considered the possible real purpose of Cuusoo......FRESH IDEAS ! :wink:
Even if an idea gets only a few votes, it first must pass Lego's casting eye over it before posting it on Cuusoo and don't think for one minute if they see something new they won't start doing the math for it. :wink:
Many of us EB'ers who have Cussoo projects going have brick-built them which in a way make them a little more practical to make than digitally creation projects on Cuusoo where parts in new colours would have to be created, etc.,.
When you post a design you must tick the box signing the rights of the design over to Lego then only when it hits 10000 plus it ticks all the boxes at Lego HQ does it become real and the original designer scores that 1% of sales in cash.
Since you sign those rights over, Lego can look at it as much as they like and say borrow ideas....take inspiration...etc.,. :wink:

#52 purpleparadox

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 11:47 PM

View Postlightningtiger, on 23 September 2012 - 10:55 PM, said:

Since you sign those rights over, Lego can look at it as much as they like and say borrow ideas....take inspiration...etc.,. :wink:
Agreed! And if the rumours are to be believed, it seems like that's what TLG is doing with the Space Marines project and their new 2013 Space theme. :sweet:

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#53 BrickG

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 11:54 PM

My problem with Cuusoo is they take so long to give us news!  Come on what "won"!?

#54 Faefrost

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:10 AM

View Postpurpleparadox, on 23 September 2012 - 11:47 PM, said:

Agreed! And if the rumours are to be believed, it seems like that's what TLG is doing with the Space Marines project and their new 2013 Space theme. :sweet:

That's a dangerous road to go dowgn, and one I assume TLG is going to great lengths to try and avoid. The whole structure of CuuSoo is to attempt to avoid any accusations of "they stole my idea". This comment about the Space Marines project illustrates just how bad even attempting his can be. Purpleparadox, most likely unintentionally, implied that Lego saw the Space Marines project and responded to it with the new Galaxy Squad line. The problem is people on the Internet tend to believe this sort of thing, regardless of truth or evidence, and respond with Internet outrage. In the case of the Space Marine project, the CuuSoo project was inspired by the Series 7 Galaxy Patrol minifig. Mainly the figs unique chest piece. Lego created that piece for a purpose beyond that single minifig, and it is obvious it was planned for their next Space theme.  Just as the new space helmets were used in Alien Conquest. So now they face a claim of copying something from CuuSoo that they have probably had in development for 1 to 2 years. That more than anything else may be what eventually drives them to abandon CuuSoo.
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#55 purpleparadox

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:28 AM

...dang, I never thought of it like that.  :cry_sad: Maybe I should edit my post...

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#56 ShaydDeGrai

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 06:26 PM

There are a number of things about CuuSoo that I think could be done better (and I've posted my opinions on such both here and on their feedback site) but one pet peeve I have really isn't something that I expect TLG to fix.  Of late my biggest issue isn't with the site, but with the people who go there and (very vocally) just don't get it.

The thing I think most people miss is the simple fact that it's TLG's job to decide what is or is not feasible and that making such decisions is the very purpose of the REVIEW stage.  Too many CuuSoo users see themselves as gatekeepers, self-appointed keepers of the faith, determined to shoot down projects they deem unworthy (or at best, unlikely) I think the biggest reason why licensed projects occasionally shoot past all others is because those ideas appeal to a mass audience that ISN'T fixating on what TLG will or won't ultimately produce, they just click a button move on.  My Little Pony racked up thousands of votes in a matter of hours (mostly by people who came to CuuSoo just to cast that one vote) despite that the entire toy line is closely guarded Hasbro Intellectual Property.

While I'm sure there are a lot of disappointed My Little Pony fans out there, it is an example of how the system is _supposed_ to work.  The crowd said "We want this!" TLG heard them, looked into the reality of the situation and came back and said "Sorry".  In the case of Minecraft, they said "Here."   In neither case, was it a question of this model versus that, or a crowd of AFOLs arguing amongst itself on legal issues, or similarity to existing kits, or scale, or price, or theme propriety.  MLP and MC fans didn't get bogged down by that they just, by and large, cheered on the idea.

CuuSoo is about concepts and ideas.  There has never been nor likely will ever be a _model_ that passes review and gets produced verbatim.  The models that people post are just advertising for their ideas and when you support an idea at CuuSoo you are supporting a concept, not an implementation.  If you voted for MB's UCS Sandcrawler expecting his exact model to be available on S@H for $100, I'm afraid I have bad news for you; While that model and that price range might certainly qualify as a "wish" (and if it comes to pass, put me down for 10, it would be awesome) I don't see it ever happening.  

Does the fact that the things we wish rarely happen mean that we _shouldn't_ support CuuSoo projects?  Of course not.  Just because a given model (illustrating an idea) might be impractical to market (too small an audience, too big, too expensive, etc.) doesn't mean that the idea itself should summarily be rejected.  

More to the point, does the fact that I might see a reason why a project might not pass review mean that _I_ should take it upon myself to dissuade people from even advancing this model to the review stage where such factors can be considered by professional with a vested financial interest?  Absolutely not.  As someone who has run brainstorming sessions tackling real problems, it really irks me when I'm browsing projects over at CuuSoo and find projects where some self appointed pundit has not just decided not to support a project, but taken the time to explain why TLG would never produce X and go on to call anyone who supports the project in spite of the wisdom he's just shared, an idiot.  The rational might be entirely correct, but shooting down an idea, based on the specifics of a model while things are still in a formative stage is really more about one person's ego than effective use of crowd-sourcing.  

When you support a project, you are given the opportunity to leave private messages to TLG about what you do (or don't) like about the project.  I've always assumed (hey, I could be wrong) that these comments would be taken into account (along with price and quantity info) at the review stage.  When I supported the Sandcrawler project, I explicitly commented on the scale, lighting and power functions features as key features that would make me buy that one even though I already have the official one and I gave them a realistic ceiling of what I'd be willing to pay.   This is the sort of data that belongs in the REVIEW stage because it tells TLG "These are the features of the concept that we need to incorporate in our own version of the model, and we need to be able to market this product for less than X"

I'll admit I've been a bit stingy in my support over there (mostly due to the cluttered activity feed (a problem they've recently addressed) dissuading me from be associated with too many projects) but I've also supported projects that I _knew_  I'd never see pass review; Star Trek, Doctor Who, Serenity from Firefly, The Winchester, etc.  I knew that other companies owned the IPs or that the material was inappropriate for kids etc. but I supported them anyway.  I didn't post comments telling people not to vote for the UCS Sandcrawler because it would be too expensive or not to support a modular courthouse because LEGO was coming out with a Town Hall so it would be redundant.  I supported 'unlikely' projects because I wanted TLG to take notice of these quality projects and I wanted to tell TLG _why_ I felt these were quality projects, to help push the debate forward.  Maybe none of the projects I propose or support will ever see the light of a store shelf; but then again, maybe TLG will learn something from the data collected at CuuSoo and find ideas that it can fold into other kits and themes that will make their products even more appealing to people like me.

I can imagine plenty of scenarios where something good can come out of quietly supporting an unlikely project.  I so no benefit whatsoever of using the comments sections as a platform to publicly justify one's own decision not to support something and/or to insult the effort, wisdom or intelligence of others.


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#57 Erik Leppen

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 11:08 AM

View PostAndyC, on 23 September 2012 - 10:18 PM, said:

The problem with us, as a community, pushing big and "impractical" suggestions is that they quite probably will reach 10,000 votes. And then they will either be entirely dismissed or scaled back to something people didn't really want. If that happens too often, people will start to see Cuusoo as a failure, never really delivering anything they're voting for. And then people will simply lose interest.
If people want a 8,000 part set, they have to enter 800 USD in the price field. No one can realistically expect an 8,000 part model be put into production if one enters anything less than that. :wink:

By the way, great post ShaydDeGrai :thumbup: It's very similar to my thoughts.

#58 ShaydDeGrai

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 03:50 PM

View PostErik Leppen, on 25 September 2012 - 11:08 AM, said:

  
By the way, great post ShaydDeGrai :thumbup: It's very similar to my thoughts.

Thanks, I hope it wasn't too much of a rambling rant. :sweet:


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#59 AndyC

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:49 PM

To be quite clear, I'm not suggesting that you, as an individual, shouldn't vote on things you'd like and certainly not that anyone should go on Cuusoo and try to suggest what others should vote on (which seems a crazy thing to do to me). Rather I'm suggesting that if you're going to try and get a whole community, such as Eurobricks, behind an idea then it's better to apply a degree of collective wisdom to pre-filter the ideas to a degree. There would be very little point, for example, in Eurobricks making a big deal of the MLP project and trying to drum up support when we all knew it simply couldn't happen. It makes more sense to rally the community behind some of the great, smaller but still worthwhile projects, than to simply highlight the more grandiose or edgy projects.
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#60 LEGO Historian

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:19 AM

I agree... grandiose is not going to work well with Cuusoo.

I build a MOC about 10 years ago... and just today submitted it to Cuusoo.  Not expecting it to make the finals or anything, but I thought I would put my toes into the water.

About 4 years ago I showed the model to a lead LEGO designer who bought one of my LEGO Collectors Guides on CD (now as a download)... and he said that it could never be produced by TLG because it mixed Belville parts in with regular LEGO parts.  Well it appears a lot has changed in 4 years... since that Belville fancy arch is now available in LEGO sets.

But I decided to enter the MOC anyway, since it was for the Modular's line... which have always been very expensive and parts intensive.  I kept my model streamlined (no frills or Minifigs), so in case it did make it (which I highly doubt)... it would be available at a really decent price, and some collectors would want to buy multiple sets to build larger versions of it.

My Cuusoo contribution (still in the evaluation phase for 72 hours)..... "Victorian Gazebo for Modular Sets" is a Queen Anne style Victorian gazebo with spindles and Victorian "Gingerbread" parts...

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Not looking for votes here... just wanted to show it.  I figured everyone's Modular's cookie cutter exact copies anyway... so if a set like this was produced... then each buyer could tailor his/her "village green" gazebo with their own Minifigs, greenery, lamp posts and fencing.... to make them unique.   Plus at only 113 parts... 78 of which are a virtual "system" of 45 degree sloped bricks in blue for the slate roof, some folks might want to buy multiple copies to make a pavilion rather than a mere gazebo or bandshell.

But even that would be presumptuous of me, since an inexpensive addition to the Modular series has about a snowball's chance in hell of getting votes....  :wink:

Edited by LEGO Historian, 26 February 2013 - 09:31 AM.

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#61 polywen

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:46 AM

View PostShaydDeGrai, on 24 September 2012 - 06:26 PM, said:

I can imagine plenty of scenarios where something good can come out of quietly supporting an unlikely project.  I so no benefit whatsoever of using the comments sections as a platform to publicly justify one's own decision not to support something and/or to insult the effort, wisdom or intelligence of others.

I agree with this in general.  Positivity is much more useful or productive.  However, there are scenarios for which constructive criticism is warranted.  For example, it is against the guidelines to show the LEGO logo on the project, lest it give the impression the project is an official project.  If someone, unaware of that restriction posts a good project, but slaps a LEGO logo on it, I could see it being beneficial to point out to the creator of the project that they might want to edit out the logo or risk having their project deleted.  As is also the case of plagiarism, or any number of proposed projects that violate the guidelines.  I think many project creators fail to take the time to read guidelines and TOS's.  Also, there are certain projects that will not likely get made, such as ideas containing new element molds.  Similarly, I think it is justified to warn unwary project creators that this is probably a no go.

#62 dvsntt

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 02:17 PM

@polywen. I can tell you first-hand of that happening to me. I had created box art for my Twist-And-Whirl ride, and was notified in my comments that Lego would not allow that, and to remove it before they removed the project. I removed it, but contacted the support team on Cuusoo to verify the remainder of the image was acceptable. They asked that I remove the red box (placeholder for the Lego logo) and said that otherwise it is fine.

Without the warning from a user, I likley would have never known of this restriction until my project was pulled. It's always beneficial to warn someone.
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#63 ShaydDeGrai

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:24 PM

View Postpolywen, on 26 February 2013 - 09:46 AM, said:

(snip)  Positivity is much more useful or productive.  However, there are scenarios for which constructive criticism is warranted.  ...

This is certainly true and I don't think anyone, in theory, is arguing against such feedback.  Indeed, I've seen several projects get improved/refined as a result of such comments and the end result was a stronger proposal.  As for plagiarism, I wouldn't waste my time  commenting on the project at all; I'd go straight to the moderators to make sure that the powers-that-be are made aware of the situation and take the project (and possibly the user) down.

For legitimate proposals, however, the tricky part is figuring out where to draw the lines between constructive critic, nay sayer, self-appointed moderator and lord-god-king of all things LEGO.

Personally, I don't consider pointing out the "rules" to someone to be a criticism.  They are what they are and if we want to play in the CuuSoo arena, abiding by them is the price of doing business.  Some people may have missed the fine print here or there so doing something like telling an author not to mock-up the logo or they risk getting pulled for purely bureaucratic reasons is a 'helpful' thing to do (provided it's done nicely).

Likewise asking for clearer photos, a different angle, pointing out that an image has been cropped badly by the system, or that this feature should be more prominent,  etc. are all, in my mind positive feedback.  Such comments tell the author that someone cares enough about his/her project that the poster wants the proposal to succeed  and is offering (often cosmetic and clerical) suggestions that will help others to find the idea appealing.

Where things start to cross the line is when the comment isn't there to support/improve the project, but to either lower the author's expectations or to give others who might be on the fence about supporting something a reason not to.

For example:  New part proposals.  The facts are nobody gets excited about a new plate for the top of a macaroni brick ( well, some of us do, but not "My Little Pony" sort of excited) and if you add up ALL the support for ALL the parts proposals ever posted on CuuSoo you still don't even come close to getting 10,000 votes.  People who post parts proposals know this (or figure it out on their own very quickly) and yet others still feel compelled to post comments along the lines of 'you may as well delete this, CuuSoo will never make a new mold'  While this may well prove true, how are such comments helpful?  The project author already knows this and there's nothing he/she can do about it.  The only impact such comments have is to dissuade potential supporters and to become a self fulfilling prophesy.

Now new parts take this to the extreme, but I've lost count of the number of comments I've read that fall into the "hey people, don't vote for this and here's why" category.  Usually the poster is someone with some knowledge of upcoming sets or licensing details that speak to the chances of the proposal getting past the REVIEW stage.  Again, often the rational for the post is based in facts, but the post itself contributes nothing positive to the conversation at hand and can negatively impact the success of the project overall.

If you don't want to vote for a project, that's fine it's your choice.  But when it comes to offering public comment on a project I think the litmus test we each need to ask ourselves is "Is what I'm about to say going to A) improve this project's chances of getting to the review stage, or B) encourage this designer to share more ideas here?"  If you can't answer yes to at least one of those two criteria, chances are pretty good that your comment would be saying more about _you_ than the project.  Yes, there are sloppy projects on CuuSoo (a lot of them actually).  Yes, there are projects that are unrealistic, impractical, mired in IP legal issues, etc., etc., etc.  but it's not OUR job to sort that out.  In a crowd-sourcing/brainstorming activity like CuuSoo, we are supposed to be playing the role of enablers, not gate keepers.  TLG has paid professionals to reject ideas (even good ideas - I'm going to miss that Modular Western Town) both before proposals get publicly posted and after a select few make it to 10,000 votes.

If we, as informed AFOLs, devote our time, energy and creativity to playing gate keeper instead of proposing, supporting, complementing and offering positive suggestions on CuuSoo I think we effectively forfeit our right to complain when Purdue Pete or My Little Pony or [insert pop franchise of your choice here] flies through the support stage while quality (but perhaps not perfect) MOCs from people we know (at least on-line) languish in obscurity.  We are too quick play the critic, to ready to share knowledge that the masses consider trivia, and too quick to take offense when our sage pontifications are ignored - and then we wonder why project A only managed to get 300 votes in a year while project B (that we that we just know will get rejected) got 3000 in a day.

It reminds me of something my grandmother told me: "If you can't say something nice, then shut your damned mouth and get back to work!"  (Gram always was a little feisty...)


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#64 Jargo

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 02:36 AM

The whole cuusoo project is a fruitless exercise. Lego would have better results browsing flickr and brickshelf etc then contacting individuals if they see something they think would sell. Franly everything they've picked to produce so far has been dull as ditch water and if that's the level of product they're willing to put out Brickshelf and flickr are full of it. Seems to me that a lot of people use cuusoo like those sites anyway. Plus the whole cuusoo process takes so long by the time a product is available most people will have lost interest in it if they really were interested in the first place and not just voting on a friends project to curry favour. Frankly I don't see cuusoo lasting further than the beta stage.

#65 Hey Joe

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:40 AM

Re: fresh ideas, that reminds me of a book I read about 'Saturday Night Live' years ago. NBC was always very careful that the writers not see fan-based script ideas so as to avoid charges of plagarism.

I'm sure Lego is smart enough to have such an arrangement themselves.

Joe

Edited by bjtpro, 27 February 2013 - 11:32 AM.

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#66 Aanchir

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 05:45 PM

View PostJargo, on 27 February 2013 - 02:36 AM, said:

The whole cuusoo project is a fruitless exercise. Lego would have better results browsing flickr and brickshelf etc then contacting individuals if they see something they think would sell. Franly everything they've picked to produce so far has been dull as ditch water and if that's the level of product they're willing to put out Brickshelf and flickr are full of it. Seems to me that a lot of people use cuusoo like those sites anyway. Plus the whole cuusoo process takes so long by the time a product is available most people will have lost interest in it if they really were interested in the first place and not just voting on a friends project to curry favour. Frankly I don't see cuusoo lasting further than the beta stage.
I, for one, disagree. I think the Cuusoo products so far have been quite innovative, and from what I've heard the Minecraft set has been fairly successful (at least successful enough to necessitate additional production runs).

Also, allowing LEGO fans input into what will be produced as a set is the entire point of Cuusoo. If TLG were just interested in generating ideas, they can do that just fine without fan input of any kind. They can even take inspiration from MOCs they see-- directly copying a MOC without the original builder's permission would be a no-no, as would copying a very specific MOC concept, but designers do keep close tabs on what's trending in the AFOL community, just as MOCists tend to draw inspiration for subject matter from other MOCists. Mark Stafford has designed two Vic Viper models in sets and acknowledged that he was inspired by the MOCing community.

The point of Cuusoo is largely to act as a filter for the various ideas in the community, selecting a handful of ideas that a lot of people agree would make good sets and then passing them to TLG to review whether these ideas they might never have thought of really have what it takes to go into production. Think about it: Would LEGO designers have thought of LEGO Minecraft being very successful on their own? Perhaps not. Some would consider the very concept redundant, others would consider an online game like Minecraft too niche an interest to appeal to a lot of people, and still others might not be able to visualize any kind of Minecraft set that would properly blend LEGO-style building with the Minecraft experience.

Cuusoo, then, is a two-step process: the first step can be considered a "jury of peers", in a sense, while the second step is the review stage that all sets have to go through-- a step that these sorts of ideas might never reach if it weren't for this platform. TLG doesn't have time to wade through all the brilliant MOCs posted online and review all the considerations that decide whether they'd be viable sets. Especially because all that time spent on any one potential set would go to waste if it turned out the creator and TLG couldn't come to an agreement on permission or royalties.

Whether LEGO Cuusoo can prove profitable in the long term is not something I can predict, but I laugh at the notion that TLG could achieve the same ends more effectively just by cherry-picking ideas from the community arbitrarily and going through the exact same review stage to see if they're viable and compatible with brand standards. Cutting out the support stage would simply mean doing more market research that could become out of date just as quickly, and having to filter through even more fan ideas without any kind of measurable community input on issues like pricing and reasons for liking a model.

Edited by Aanchir, 27 February 2013 - 05:46 PM.


#67 Faefrost

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 06:16 PM

And to add a bit of Devil's advocate to the mix. The public commentary, both positive and negative, is critical to the process. Some say the fans should not self appoint themselves as gatekeepers. I'm sorry but these are crowd sourced projects and ideas. The comments are not there simply to stroke little Billy's ego. They are to provide commentary on the project. Both positive and negative. So long as it is done in a polite, constructive and reasonably topical manner it's all fair and necessary.
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#68 ShaydDeGrai

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:04 AM

View PostFaefrost, on 27 February 2013 - 06:16 PM, said:

And to add a bit of Devil's advocate to the mix. The public commentary, both positive and negative, is critical to the process. Some say the fans should not self appoint themselves as gatekeepers....
(Snip)
...So long as it is done in a polite, constructive and reasonably topical manner it's all fair and necessary.

That's really the point, "gatekeeper" comments are none of the above.  Constructive criticism is not an ego-stroke, it's on-topic and aimed at improving the project.  "Gatekeeper comments" are, by definition, aimed not at improving a project but killing it off (or in the case of CuuSoo undermining the support for it and the moral of the creator).

No one is saying that every comment should be "hey great job!" (in fact if that's the sort of feedback you're after, post to MOCPages or Flicker).  Yes, it's nice to get those comments, but they don't really give you much guidance on how to make the project better.  

Crowd sourcing is a form of brainstorming, and the first rule of brainstorming (like improve comedy) is keep it positive and roll with it.  The second rule (and I'm paraphrasing a text I used to teach software engineering from), anyone who breaks rule #1 undermines the entire process; the session will be more productive without any input from them at all.  

The gatekeeper isn't the voice of reason in the crowd (though he often seems himself that way), it's the guy who thinks he's smarter than everyone else in the room and assumes he can do no wrong - he's the guy who intimidates others into silence, insults others out of envy, and seeks empowerment at the expense of others.  Often the gatekeeper is the person who is so convinced of his or her own infallibility that s/he doesn't even realize how little s/he understands the brainstorming process while at the same time is (intentionally or not) actively derailing it.

There is certainly a time and a place for a strong, critical assessment; a time when cold facts and cruel realities outweigh neat ideas and wishful thinking.  That time, however, comes in the REVIEW stage, just as in brainstorming; until then ideas should have the luxury of existing in a bubble until they have matured enough to stand or fall on their own.  At the end of the process, you look at what has evolved in the incubator of positive feedback and constructive criticisms to see if some concept, which may have started as a hare-brained idea or even a joke, has become something worth vesting real time and money in.  If people waste time playing gatekeeper ( discouraging others from supporting, commenting on, or even simply acknowledging the potential of projects), ideas never evolve, they just wither and die.

And for those who don't follow CuuSoo projects here are a couple examples I've cut and pasted to file from time to time (at CuuSoo and various blogs that write about CuuSoo) of what I consider to be Gate Keeper comments:

"People, don't waste your vote on this [a proposal for a Witch King with Fellbeast] Lego is coming out with LOTR sets this summer and they're sure to be better than this one [the proposed model]"

"What a waste of time! There's no way Lego could sell that for under $35. It's too big, nobody wants a CuuSoo set with more that 400 pieces and anyone who votes for this is an idiot.  It'll never happen."

"I built one that was much cooler than this.  If you're thinking about supporting this, check out mine instead."

"Cathedrals are churches, Lego doesn't do religious stuff.  They should delete this project before it draws of votes from something that might actually get made."

"Are you people all crazy or just stupid?  Hasbro invented that IP and they'll never give Lego the time of day."  [The IP in question was MyLittlePony]

As you can see, I'm not talking about the person who says "I think the tree needs to be a little bulkier," "The facade needs more detail," "Nice idea, but the colors on the model are too bland," or "Have you considered adding a projection booth at the back of the theatre?"  The "fans" I refer to as "gate keepers" are the ones who aren't trying to improve a given project, they are the ones trying to hi-jack the process itself.  And yes - quite often the nay-sayers are right - but brainstorming isn't about being right (or even viable), it's about fostering ideas, not filtering them (the voting system does that automatically) And staying positive doesn't mean forming a mutual admiration society to pay empty complements and overlook obvious flaws, it means checking your ego at the door, respecting the ideas of others and making a commitment, not to point out the flaws in an idea and wash your hands of it, but to identify and share potential remedies for those weaknesses.


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#69 Aanchir

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:45 PM

View PostShaydDeGrai, on 28 February 2013 - 04:04 AM, said:



That's really the point, "gatekeeper" comments are none of the above.  Constructive criticism is not an ego-stroke, it's on-topic and aimed at improving the project.  "Gatekeeper comments" are, by definition, aimed not at improving a project but killing it off (or in the case of CuuSoo undermining the support for it and the moral of the creator).

No one is saying that every comment should be "hey great job!" (in fact if that's the sort of feedback you're after, post to MOCPages or Flicker).  Yes, it's nice to get those comments, but they don't really give you much guidance on how to make the project better.  

Crowd sourcing is a form of brainstorming, and the first rule of brainstorming (like improve comedy) is keep it positive and roll with it.  The second rule (and I'm paraphrasing a text I used to teach software engineering from), anyone who breaks rule #1 undermines the entire process; the session will be more productive without any input from them at all.  

The gatekeeper isn't the voice of reason in the crowd (though he often seems himself that way), it's the guy who thinks he's smarter than everyone else in the room and assumes he can do no wrong - he's the guy who intimidates others into silence, insults others out of envy, and seeks empowerment at the expense of others.  Often the gatekeeper is the person who is so convinced of his or her own infallibility that s/he doesn't even realize how little s/he understands the brainstorming process while at the same time is (intentionally or not) actively derailing it.

There is certainly a time and a place for a strong, critical assessment; a time when cold facts and cruel realities outweigh neat ideas and wishful thinking.  That time, however, comes in the REVIEW stage, just as in brainstorming; until then ideas should have the luxury of existing in a bubble until they have matured enough to stand or fall on their own.  At the end of the process, you look at what has evolved in the incubator of positive feedback and constructive criticisms to see if some concept, which may have started as a hare-brained idea or even a joke, has become something worth vesting real time and money in.  If people waste time playing gatekeeper ( discouraging others from supporting, commenting on, or even simply acknowledging the potential of projects), ideas never evolve, they just wither and die.

And for those who don't follow CuuSoo projects here are a couple examples I've cut and pasted to file from time to time (at CuuSoo and various blogs that write about CuuSoo) of what I consider to be Gate Keeper comments:

"People, don't waste your vote on this [a proposal for a Witch King with Fellbeast] Lego is coming out with LOTR sets this summer and they're sure to be better than this one [the proposed model]"

"What a waste of time! There's no way Lego could sell that for under $35. It's too big, nobody wants a CuuSoo set with more that 400 pieces and anyone who votes for this is an idiot.  It'll never happen."

"I built one that was much cooler than this.  If you're thinking about supporting this, check out mine instead."

"Cathedrals are churches, Lego doesn't do religious stuff.  They should delete this project before it draws of votes from something that might actually get made."

"Are you people all crazy or just stupid?  Hasbro invented that IP and they'll never give Lego the time of day."  [The IP in question was MyLittlePony]

As you can see, I'm not talking about the person who says "I think the tree needs to be a little bulkier," "The facade needs more detail," "Nice idea, but the colors on the model are too bland," or "Have you considered adding a projection booth at the back of the theatre?"  The "fans" I refer to as "gate keepers" are the ones who aren't trying to improve a given project, they are the ones trying to hi-jack the process itself.  And yes - quite often the nay-sayers are right - but brainstorming isn't about being right (or even viable), it's about fostering ideas, not filtering them (the voting system does that automatically) And staying positive doesn't mean forming a mutual admiration society to pay empty complements and overlook obvious flaws, it means checking your ego at the door, respecting the ideas of others and making a commitment, not to point out the flaws in an idea and wash your hands of it, but to identify and share potential remedies for those weaknesses.
Well said. Another thing I often feel is that there's some benefit towards fostering (i.e. supporting and improving) projects even if they don't stand much chance of being produced, because I see Cuusoo's beta phase as an experiment. We're more or less involved in "debugging" the LEGO Cuusoo platform, and as such it is entirely within our interest to push the boundaries a little. As long as a project isn't expressly against LEGO Cuusoo's rules, then even if it gets rejected it will serve as valuable precedent and possibly even a foundation for new rules and guidelines.

An example of a project I supported that didn't have much chance of success is the LEGO Star Wars Ultrabuilds project. LEGO has a license for producing LEGO Star Wars building sets, but not articulated figures. Hero Factory style buildable figures cut awfully close to that latter category-- but I still think it was a worthwhile cause to push the LEGO Group to give a straight yes or no regarding whether it would violate licensing agreements with Hasbro. It turns out that it did, and now we know something about the breadth of TLG's Star Wars license that we previously couldn't know for sure.

Other projects that have been rejected also serve as valuable precedent. The Legend of Zelda project, for instance, gave us the insight that Cuusoo couldn't support a variety of new molds. And this is something for creators of licensed projects to keep in mind for the future. I have seen at least one Legend of Zelda project that did not require any new molds-- a Heroica-style dungeon crawler based on classic Legend of Zelda dungeons.

#70 dvsntt

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 01:52 PM

What seems common among many of the projects that gain wide popularity, at least enough to make it to the approval process, is that they have a theme or design that crosses interests. Of course there is the Lego community, but many of the projects bring in visitors from other areas like those who have a large interest in video games (Portal, Zelda, Minecraft, etc...) or have ties to some other familiar and ubiquitous brand (Land Rover, Starbucks, McDonalds). I find little interest is had in non-licensed Lego designs; but of course there are exceptions like the bird models and the air ship, both of which I have supported.
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#71 BrickG

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 10:38 PM

My only current problem with Cuusoo is that they absolutely refuse to do any new molds meaning Zelda has no chance.

(And Heroica sucks so don't bother)

Edited by BrickG, 28 February 2013 - 10:38 PM.


#72 AndyC

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:13 PM

View PostBrickG, on 28 February 2013 - 10:38 PM, said:

My only current problem with Cuusoo is that they absolutely refuse to do any new molds meaning Zelda has no chance.

Let's say developing a new mold costs minimum $100,000 (a reasonably conservative estimate) and an expected Cuusoo production run is 10,000 sets (based on voting requirements). Therefore the cost per set of a new piece (assuming the cost can't be amortized across future Lego sets because it's specialized, as the LoZ ones usually are) is roughly $1000. Can you really imagine people spending that much on a single set?
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#73 Faefrost

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 11:50 PM

View PostAndyC, on 28 February 2013 - 11:13 PM, said:



Let's say developing a new mold costs minimum $100,000 (a reasonably conservative estimate) and an expected Cuusoo production run is 10,000 sets (based on voting requirements). Therefore the cost per set of a new piece (assuming the cost can't be amortized across future Lego sets because it's specialized, as the LoZ ones usually are) is roughly $1000. Can you really imagine people spending that much on a single set?

I think your math might be a little off, but as I have said a number of times, that's the basic problem. At an extremely conservative estimate of $100,000 for a new mold (it's probably closer to $200,000 for a cheap one.) it would be an extra $10 per set, just for that piece. (More likely $20). For a set of maybe 200-300 pieces. Plus licensing fees. When TLG's business review team looks at a project, the key calculation will be cost vs value and how much people will be willing to pay. When the sets price per piece starts creeping towards 18 or 2o cents the set will simply fail the business case. The risks and costs will exceed the potential returns. This will be almost universal in any CuuSoo project that requires a new set specific mold.

There is a reason why we see more new molds in big licensed themes that are tied to current media or movies. They see enough of a sales boost (at reduced back end marketing costs) in order to more broadly amortize the costs of the new parts over a wider pool of sets made and sold.

As a counterpoint, look carefully at the "exclusive" sets. The D2C sets. Notice that even the huge expensive ones will very rarely, if ever, use unique molds or new parts. The costs for new parts can typically only be amortized via the sales numbers produced by the retail shelf sets.
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#74 AndyC

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:04 AM

View PostFaefrost, on 28 February 2013 - 11:50 PM, said:

I think your math might be a little off,
Way off. That's what happens when you originally write 1000 votes, realise the mistake and scale again (badly). It's been a long day....
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#75 Faefrost

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 01:34 AM

I had originally posted this  in the Zelda CuuSoo thread, in. Massive wall of text post. But it's probably worth repeating here as a few lines. This was just a thumbnail back of a napkin type calculation, that probably is not to far off from the actual business case calculations that they do. And reflects the problem with new molds.

If {cost of new tooling or special production step} / {anticipated 6 to 12 month production run of the set or part} is > or = to 10% of the calculated cost of the set, then it will fail the business case and will not be made.

Isn't business math fun?
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