Shopping at LEGO or Amazon?
Please use our links: LEGO.com Amazon
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Holy terminology confusion, Batman!

chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
It's a real pain in the neck, especially with regard to colors, but parts as well, to have to constantly have to manually translate between the TLG terminology and that used on Bricklink. Why can't we have both? Either all the time everywhere, or, as in weather-tracking websites that allow one to switch between celsius and Fahrenheit, as an account setting or a switch that can be thrown.

As for colors, a translation table, combining the features at http://www.basebrick.com/colors.php and at http://www.peeron.com/inv/colors would be a really good thing, and very easy to implement.

Comments

  • leemcgleemcg Member Posts: 607
    This will usually be the point where @aanchir will pop up with amazing knowledge of LEGO colours to tell you that BrickLink colours often aren't right, and there is therefore no 1 to 1 mapping.

    However, what seems interesting is that increasingly it's clear that LEGO themselves use the BrickLink colour names. Designers have talked about Dark Green and Dark Tan on new set videos and the new product catalogue has a little box empasising the rare dark tan elements.

  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    edited September 2013
    It is also a fact that a color can be misidentified in the inventory for a given set. This would imply that the right way to handle the problem would be to show the colors as supplied by the conflicting inventories, rather than attempting to employ a central color-mapping table as an automatic translator, since you can't know which one is actually more correct.

    Here is an example:

    Compare the colors for part 50602 at Basebrick with those here.

    Warm gold or copper?
    Warm gold or flat dark gold?

    Whom are we to believe, without the set in hand? So you need both sets of information.
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    edited September 2013
    Or maybe, a central table could be used as a way to flag specific color identifications in certain inventories as being suspect, and worthy of review, with a warning shown. The two examples cited above would get flagged, since neither copper nor flat dark gold (Bricklink) correspond to warm gold (TLG): the automatic translation would be to pearl gold (Bricklink), which differs from both.
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    leemcg said:

    However, what seems interesting is that increasingly it's clear that LEGO themselves use the BrickLink colour names. Designers have talked about Dark Green and Dark Tan on new set videos and the new product catalogue has a little box empasising the rare dark tan elements.

    Maybe they're facing the reality that people don't tend to use their terminology in normal speech (massive understatement). Who would call the 4070 anything but a "headlight brick," or, more rarely, an "Erling brick"?
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    The nomenclature issue extends even to pieces themselves. How we each define a part/element/design/brick varies.

    I use both BL and TLG colour names on my blog but it's an utter pain and stilts the flow. TLG are sensible to just use BL names in the videos!

    It's not just the BL names that Designers use - they use the BL and Brickset part & set databases too, apparently they're better/more usable than anything TLG have.

    I actually think nicknames for parts are best, as they almost always apply to only one piece. And it's fun to have a 'secret' language.
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    edited September 2013

    The nomenclature issue extends even to pieces themselves. How we each define a part/element/design/brick varies.

    Yes. My initial post, starting this thread, alluded to this. Indeed, even set names differ, though I think that is of far less concern than the part and color terminology mess.

    I use both BL and TLG colour names on my blog but it's an utter pain and stilts the flow.

    And I'm glad that you do. But here, since this is a database-backed website, those things would be generated, displayed and used differently.

    BTW: The title for this thread was stolen from you. But you knew that.
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344

    I actually think nicknames for parts are best, as they almost always apply to only one piece. And it's fun to have a 'secret' language.

    Except that damned rhyming slang that nobody outside the UK understands (or wants to understand). Rories, my ***.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,452
    I suspect this will be something that'll be addressed in the fullness of time...
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,936

    Maybe they're facing the reality that people don't tend to use their terminology in normal speech (massive understatement). Who would call the 4070 anything but a "headlight brick," or, more rarely, an "Erling brick"?

    ...Oh. I call 'em washing-machine-bricks. :P
    chromedigi
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    edited September 2013
    I'd guess that Huw probably isn't itching to mess with something so fundamental to the design of the site, but one way to cope with variant nicknames, as well as the TLG/Bricklink naming fiasco would be to set up the Entity-Name relations as one-to-many. It's doable when you're starting from scratch, but can be a royal PITA to retrofit after the fact. Imagine not needing a glossary to figure out what on earth a "rory" was, because a parts search on "rory" could resolve to a 2x4, once the alias had been added. *Sigh*
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    edited September 2013
    Heck, as long as we're blue sky dreaming, one could carry refactoring even farther and go for a many-many relation, allowing categorical nicknames like "BURP" (or other descriptive parts categories) to be searchable and to kick out a dataset of specific parts. Not holding my breath, however...
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    edited September 2013
    ^ Here's one place where peeking at another collection manager, such as Discogs, comes in handy: they have handled an analogous problem with artist aliases, for example. Maybe not in the best imaginable way, but it's always instructive to see what other people do.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,808
    edited September 2013
    One issue with using both Bricklink and TLG color names (and probably part names as well) is that they don't have a direct 1:1 relationship. As an example, Bricklink tends to treat 189 Reddish Gold, 176 Red Flip/Flop, 133 Copper, and 300 Copper, Drum Lacquered as one color: Bricklink's "Copper". The distinction between these colors is fairly obvious in real life.

    On the flip side, Bricklink lists many parts in 131 Silver as either "Flat Silver" or "Pearl Light Gray". In this case, they MAY look different in real life, but this is often due to factors such as material. In 2003 BIONICLE sets, for instance, silver parts made of harder ABS or Polycarbonate plastics tended to look lighter in color than softer plastics. Sheet 2 of this spreadsheet is the best conversion chart I have come up with to date. And even it doesn't get into the nuances of each color's timeline ("Flat Silver" parts released before 2010 are generally 131 Silver; those released after 2010 are generally 315 Silver Metallic, and those released in 2010 might be either depending on when they were produced).

    With parts, there are similar issues. There are two different Bricklink part numbers for 1x1 plates with vertical clips, and just two part numbers the LEGO Group uses. And it's not as simple as "two Bricklink items are one variety, two are the other". TLG's 4085 can be Bricklink's 4085a, 4085b, or 4085c, while TLG's 60897 can be either Bricklink's 4085b or 4085d. The reason 4085b can be either variety is that when TLG first switched to a new part number for that piece, the new mold resembled what had been an older design for 4085.

    What gets a new part number in TLG's system sometimes can be confusing or arbitrary. TLG may have separate part numbers for otherwise-identical parts just because one is transparent polycarbonate and one is opaque ABS, but may use the same part number for two functionally different parts like the old and new small flames. Knowing which is which in a particular set often involves actually owning the set, and parts may vary between otherwise-identical copies of the same set or even within one copy of a set (my Portal of Atlantis consistently used 60897, but some were Bricklink's 4085b and some were 4085d).

    Compared to part numbers, colors are almost a breeze. At least there are fewer colors to keep track of, particularly within any given year.
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    It's a mess all right. All the more reason to try to address the problem, even with an incomplete solution. The fact that it is a complex problem is proof that it is crying out for a computer-aided solution of some sort, not that we should throw up our hands and admit defeat. This is a good place to brainstorm ideas, no?
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    A question for anyone reading this thread: When you want to see the inventory for a set that you do not own, for example, when you pick up a box in the store and want to look it up on your phone, is Brickset the place you go to look? I don't. I use Basebrick, because most of the time they have the inventory I need, and it is actually complete, including the extra pieces. I think that indicates that there is a problem to address here.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,808
    edited September 2013
    I typically look at the inventory of a set before seeking out a set, not at random when seeing a set in the store. When I do that, I look at either the building instructions (which are easy to access via Brickset and almost always reliable), at a set review with high-quality photos, or at Bricklink (which is usually reliable if you're familiar with the many common errors they have with labeling and categorization). I do look at the Brickset inventories very often, especially if the set isn't inventoried on Bricklink yet, but at the same time, if the inventory is incomplete and the parts I'm looking for specifically are among those omitted, Bricklink's the place to go.

    In general, the building instructions tend to be the most reliable means of looking up a set's inventory. But this is best done at home, since you can also cross-reference with other sites like LEGO Customer Service to ensure you know what parts are what colors. If I were doing the decision-making at LEGO Customer Service, I'd have the Element IDs in the instruction booklet inventories be hyperlinked to the specific replacement parts pages so that you could see the full details on each piece, including its exact color and Design ID.

    I've never heard of Basebrick before this, but the site says "Powered by Bricklink", and if Bricklink is providing their database info, I might as well continue using the site whose interface I'm more familiar with.
  • chromedigichromedigi Member Posts: 344
    Basebrick is another collection manager, like Brickset. It draws its inventory data from Bricklink. I use both to manage my collection, because (at present) each has some advantages over the other. (For example, Basebrick supports loose parts, while Brickset has advanced queries. Also, sets appear at Brickset in a more timely fashion than they do at Basebrick, though the inventories are more complete in general at the latter, once they do appear.) For quick lookups, Basebrick is far more streamlined than using Bricklink directly; and if you use it as a collection manager, you see your personal data as well, when you do lookups.

    Obviously everybody has different habits. I shop for bargains, and treat most sets as parts packs, more than I value them as models per se. When I see a favorable price/part opportunity while standing in some store, I want to know what's in the box, viewing it purely as a parts pack. I then look it up, and if the parts aren't sufficiently interesting, I pass on it. When doing this, the Bricklink database (as viewed through Basebrick, where I maintain a copy of my collection) is my go-to data source. When it's not there, I'll resort to Brickset.

    It's a pain trying to keep multiple collection managers in synch. I use Brickset, Basebrick and Rebrickable; I have long since abandoned Peeron, due to the lack of benefit there.

    Anyway, a great deal of my motivation behind the suggestions I have posted in this forum come from wanting to have one collection manager ("to rule them all"), that combines the benefits of both Brickset and Basebrick as they presently exist, and goes them one better in the bargain.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Shopping at LEGO.com or Amazon?

Please use our links: LEGO.com Amazon

Recent discussions Categories Privacy Policy

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Brickset.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, the Amazon.com.ca, Inc. Associates Program and the Amazon EU Associates Programme, which are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.