Some suggestions for Brickset

drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,257
edited April 2011 in Brickset.com
OK, so here's a wish list for Brickset....

All of these suggestions are I believe aligned with the site ethos, namely to be a hub for collectors.

1. An extra field when we browse our own collection where we can capture the condition of our sets - sealed/boxed/loose at a minimum. Better still would be a further field to capture complete/incomplete for the unsealed sets, but this is less critical I think. A complication is for those with multiple copies of particular sets, some of which are sealed, some of which are loose etc. - it'd make the browsing list quite long and unwieldy. Perhaps therefore there could be an option to switch off displaying condition etc. for those that aren't interested.

2. When we view the collections of other members, it'd be nice if the list would cross reference with our own collections so that those sets that we also own are highlighted. Nice to compare who has what.

3. When we view other peoples' collections, it'd be useful to see how many multiples they have, and the condition of the sets per suggestion 1 above. Two reasons for this - one is curiosity. The other is to increase the potential for trading on the forums. How it would work is when you register you select whether you're interested in trading or not. Then, if I'm looking at the collection of another member who's interested in trading and see they have multiples of a set I want, I could contact them via the forums and ask if they'd be interested in trading or selling. I realise this could be quite intrusive and potentially controversial, but the option to opt in or out of this partially addresses the concerns, and I thought I'd suggest it to gauge the reaction....

Thoughts ?

Dr. D.
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Comments

  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    I guess not everyone who shares their collection wants to be targeted by other users, so there would need to be an 'want to trade?' opt-in/opt-out option.
    Huw has an 'advanced collection manager' enhancement planned; maybe these could be added as requirements for that ...
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    I agree with suggestions 2 & 3, they would be worthy features. As for 1), I'm with @bluemoose, why not go the whole hog and implement the Advanced Collection Manager we have previously talked about (this included your suggestions and a whole heap more). I submitted a list of ideas on this to @Huw a while back, I'll see if I can dig it out. This is the feature that I want most on Brickset.
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    ...found it!

    I think it would be really good to be able to record:

    > how much you paid for a set

    > the date you acquired the set

    > where you got the set from

    > a checkbox to say whether the set is MISB, if this is NOT checked then the following checkboxes become enabled:

    >a checkbox to say whether you have the set (sounds stupid on first reading, but it is possible you may just own the intstructions or box for a set and not the set itself

    > a checkbox to say whether you own the box

    > a checkbox to say whether you own the instructions

    > for each of the above (set, box, instructions) it would be great to be able to record the condition (possibly via a dropdown and some pre-selected options e.g. Mint, Very Good, Good, Average, Poor etc).

    I guess the issue with all of the above is that you may own multiple of the same sets, in which case you would probably want to record the above information for each set. Hmm...not sure how the UI would work for that to be honest, if I have any bright ideas I'll email you again
  • vynsanevynsane Member Posts: 179
    I guess the issue with all of the above is that you may own multiple of the same sets, in which case you would probably want to record the above information for each set. Hmm...not sure how the UI would work for that to be honest, if I have any bright ideas I'll email you again
    The solution for that would be to have a 'Quantity' field first, and then replicate the form by the quantity. It would be pretty easy for Huw to do using an ASP.NET repeater linked to the quantity field.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,440
    Thank you @atkinsar: you are the most vocal requester of the fabled 'advanced collection manager', and have been since it was first mooted :-)

    This is as far as it has got: http://www.brickset.com/mysets/acm/ :)

    Actually I have done quite a lot behind the scenes in the database: One issue, you may recall, was resolving the problem of their being one record for a particular set you own, with a qty field, but the ACM requiring one record per set you own so you can record condition, price etc. for each copy. I've solved all that through adding code to the stored procedures and now just really need to come up with the front end for it.

    One design goal is to make the use of the ACM optional: if you opt in you see extra links etc, but if you just want to use the 'I own xxx' functionalty as it is now you can continue to without the UI being cluttered up. That's why I'm not going to restructure the databases, but have got the tables required for the two systems working in harmony, e.g. increase quantity of 'I own' adds record to ACM table etc.

    How would you want it to manifest itself? As an extra link, or pop-up or something, on the search results page? Or some Excel-like datasheet view of all your sets? I suspect the answer is 'both'...

    I suspect it's a large chunk of work that I won't get round to doing until next winter, but we can discuss and clarify requirements in the meantime.

    ---

    At the moment I am fiddling with adding bits of CSS3 to the site, now that IE9 and FF4 supports it, to tart it up a bit and remove the reliance on images for the rounded corners etc, thus speeding it up and reducing bandwidth. Expect to see some changes in the next week or so.

  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,734
    That sounds good. Can you implement I want (number) like you can with I own, instead of just saying I want?
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    @Huw, I'm obsessed with stats and the like, the ACM would make my year (sad as that may seem!).

    Just think of all the possibilities of what you could do with the data...

    > How much did you pay for your collection
    > A list of your sets grouped/ordered by date acquired
    > How many MISB sets do I own (what percenatage are MISB etc)
    > A breakdown of where I've acquired my sets from

    Of course, all of this new data will be fully exportable (right @Huw??).

    Once I've got my collection valuation website up and running, I'll have the utopia of knowing how much I paid for my collection vs. current market value.

    ...I'll have to stop now, I'm getting far too excited...
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,257
    edited April 2011
    ....and THEN all you need to do is gain access to and integrate the Bricklink parts inventory for each set and the sky really will be the limit.

    And now I'd also better stop. Or @Huw will hit me........ Hard.
  • vynsanevynsane Member Posts: 179
    edited April 2011
    This is as far as it has got: http://www.brickset.com/mysets/acm/ :)
    WOW! Feature packed! :P
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,440
    edited April 2011
    ....and THEN all you need to do is gain access to and integrate the Bricklink parts inventory for each set and the sky really will be the limit.
    Well you know the story there DrD, if only the obstacle at BrickLink could be overcome I could launch it tomorrow...
  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,734
    edited April 2011
    ....and THEN all you need to do is gain access to and integrate the Bricklink parts inventory for each set and the sky really will be the limit.
    Well you know the story there DrD, if only the obstacle at BrickLink could be overcome I could launch it tomorrow...
    What obstacle is that then? I did see an argument discussion going on in the Bricklink forum with Huw and Brickset involved a while ago, but I can't remember what it was about.
  • Cam_n_StuCam_n_Stu UKMember Posts: 368
    I was concerned the UI might become unwieldy with these 'enhancements', but looking at http://www.brickset.com/mysets/acm/ I see I needn't worry!
  • georgebjonesgeorgebjones Member Posts: 224
    @Huw - I love that interface for the ACM! It is so clean! I too figured it would take up 4-5 screens, but it all fits right there. I don't even have to scroll. You are truly a coding genius. You even made it so I can't reverse engineer your work, truly brilliant. ;)
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Hmm... for some reason the ACM doesn't really come up for me. But yeah, I think it is a great idea. As for the opting in or out, I suggest putting it as an option on the site preferences. You'd go to site preferences to turn it on.

    There was also the suggestion of allowing contacting people for trades if they have multiples. I think a field called something like "Will Trade" that is along the lines of the "I Own" or "I Want" fields would be useful if you're going in that direction. Not everyone wants to trade and not everyone wants to trade if they have multiples. Better to let people signal this themselves instead of assuming that would want to.
  • vynsanevynsane Member Posts: 179
    edited April 2011
    Hmm... for some reason the ACM doesn't really come up for me.
    It's a blank page. We're all joking.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Oh right.... I feel silly!
  • vynsanevynsane Member Posts: 179
    Hey, the joke's gotta be on somebody, otherwise it's not a joke, right? ;)
  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Chicago Burbs USA (and sometimes Ireland)Member Posts: 1,004
    edited April 2011
    Huw,
    Maybe I am missing this option in the forum, but I would like to find the discussions I have been involved with so that I can quickly return to see the continuing discussion? I know I can track the discussions I have started. Am I just missing something?
    Thx
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    ^ You can click on the star next to the thread to mark it as a favorite. You'll get emails with comments on that thread.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    Love the ACM idea. I currently have a huge XLS file with all my collection in, but I can imagine the possibilities of everyones collections being here, especially if there was a trading platform and you could use it to manage your trading directly - oh, what a great dream!

    If it helps, the columns I have in mine are:
    Lego No, Theme, Description , Age (i.e the age kids that can use it), Full/ part, Open/ sealed, Box present?, Source (where bought), # of pieces, Weight (useful for postage), Item cost , P+P , Total cost, market Resale value, GOAL: keep/ open & sell later / leave sealed , RRP.

    I also have a bunch of columns which tell me whether I could make a profit at the going rate, taking into account what I paid for it, and the costs of selling through ebay or amazon (including all the hidden fees etc). Usually this pretty clearly shows me what a huge cut amazon/ebay take, which really destroys your margins.

    Please make classified ads and wanted sections for the forum!
  • RabbitWizzardRabbitWizzard Member Posts: 26
    The price and buydate would really be nice, the things one could do with that data...please make it available for everyone ;)
  • GalactusGalactus NLMember Posts: 255
    There was also the suggestion of allowing contacting people for trades if they have multiples. I think a field called something like "Will Trade" that is along the lines of the "I Own" or "I Want" fields would be useful if you're going in that direction. Not everyone wants to trade and not everyone wants to trade if they have multiples. Better to let people signal this themselves instead of assuming that would want to.
    Indeed, the option "Will Trade" for each individual set could prevent a lot of asking around between members.
  • legolijntjelegolijntje Member Posts: 12
    I don't now it it's said already, but it would be cool if you can see haw many pieces an other user has. So not only his sets, but also his total amount of pieces.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    edited April 2011
    @Huw: this should be an easy one if you choose to implement it. What do you think about having the top search field open a new web browser as opposed to replacing the existing frame? As we keep discussing and mentioning sets, I've often looked up a set and inadvertently navigated away from the discussion. This change could apply to only bricksetforum as it's not as bothersome on the brickset site.
  • TownTown Member Posts: 68
    As long as there's a way to turn off a lot of the features of the acm I'm ok with it. <<< My comment really makes you want to work on it, right? ;)
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,440
    edited April 2011
    ^^ I'm not sure I know how to redirect a to a new window. Maybe there's a way, I'll investigate...

    ^ The ACM will opt-in, if you don't opt in Brickset will look the same as it is now. That's the plan, anyway, because I know people (myself included) appreciate the simplicity.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    edited April 2011
    @Huw: this should be an easy one if you choose to implement it. What do you think about having the top search field open a new web browser as opposed to replacing the existing frame? As we keep discussing and mentioning sets, I've often looked up a set and inadvertently navigated away from the discussion. This change could apply to only bricksetforum as it's not as bothersome on the brickset site.
    That's why as a general rule I don't just click links but right-click and select "Open in New Window" instead. ;-)
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    ^ Yep, same here... but this one is not a link, it's the search field at the top right of the page
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    edited April 2011
    *nod*

    I always open a separate window by right-clicking on Browse. That way the new window opens to Brickset and I search from there. That is, unless I specifically went to Brickset to run a search in which case I'm not interested in having two windows in the first place. :-)
  • Cam_n_StuCam_n_Stu UKMember Posts: 368
    @Huw, I applaud your commitment to keeping the main Brickset interface 'simple' and making ACM an opt-in addition. It is the simplicity that draws in new users.
  • Coder_XCoder_X Member Posts: 29
    What I would like is, when in the theme browser to see the set price immediately instead of every time having to navigate to the set itself...

    Also what Drdavewatford said in his first post to highlight the sets I own when looking at someone else's collection.

    Maybe a minifig browser inside someone else's collection to see wich minifigs he/she has.

    And a willing to sell/trade checkbox...
  • GalactusGalactus NLMember Posts: 255
    ^ I don't think it's wise to add the set price there. Everyone wants something else to be visible right away and that's very bad for simplicity.
  • mkoeselmkoesel USAMember Posts: 97
    edited April 2011
    ^ I don't think it's wise to add the set price there. Everyone wants something else to be visible right away and that's very bad for simplicity.
    True. A better solution would be to just allow customization of which columns to include in the list view. Then everyone can see exactly what they want.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    Get rid of the Bricklists. 99% of them are completely worthless, being poorly researched and mostly subjective garbage which isn't really of any value to the community. Occassionally there's one or two that are decent attempts at being something resembling informative but even then they're too often plagued by poor research that renders them inaccurate.
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Member Posts: 4,401
    I don't wade into the bricklists too often, but what exactly do people do with them other than list their favorite sets?
  • LuciusMalfoy7LuciusMalfoy7 Member Posts: 107
    I would love to see a minifig BrickList - though, I do agree with others above - most of them are completely worthless.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,440
    edited April 2011
    I think the key to increasing the quality of Brickset's user-generated content is having the community police and moderate it. I can't do everything, after all :-)

    So, would anyone like to help weed out the rubbish bricklists and remove all the subjectve ones? I can make you a BrickList moderator if so. Let me know.

    In theory if enough people mark them as 'unhelpful' they'll disappear anyway but for whatever reason people can't be bothered.

    The original idea was for them to list sets that aren't otherwise grouped so, 'sets available in the Daily Mirror promotion' is a good list, as is 'Technic cranes' but 'sets needed for a Hoth battle' isn't really.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,257
    edited April 2011
    Thing is, I'm sure that people using Brickset have very different ideas on what constitutes a 'good' Bricklist. I personally can't see the appeal of a Bricklist entitled "Esso promotional sets" or "Hoth sets" or "Sets with cars in" etc. - if I want this info I'll just use the search function - but I do enjoy some of the humorous ones which are sometimes clever and well written, e.g. the list of sets which resemble household objects. I seem to recall that in the past it was possible to get a list of the most highly ranked Bricklists and my recollection is that some of the most highly rated lists are some of the subjective and/or humorous ones, so clearly they hit the spot for some.

    In the absence of clear guidance on what constitutes a 'good' Bricklist, people have filled the void with all sorts of stuff, and IMHO some of the best stuff is precisely what is under threat here......
  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,734
    edited April 2011
    I think the key to increasing the quality of Brickset's user-generated content is having the community police and moderate it. I can't do everything, after all :-)

    So, would anyone like to help weed out the rubbish bricklists and remove all the subjectve ones? I can make you a BrickList moderator if so. Let me know.

    In theory if enough people mark them as 'unhelpful' they'll disappear anyway but for whatever reason people can't be bothered.

    The original idea was for them to list sets that aren't otherwise grouped so, 'sets available in the Daily Mirror promotion' is a good list, as is 'Technic cranes' but 'sets needed for a Hoth battle' isn't really.
    I'll do that. I'll also do news comments and reviews if you want.

    Matthew
  • brickmattbrickmatt USAMember Posts: 91
    edited April 2011
    Perhaps Bricklist moderators could be given a list of requirements to base decisions on, to avoid subjective decisions. Also, Huw, I just sent you a message volunteering to be a Bricklist moderator as well.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,257
    edited April 2011
    In theory if enough people mark them as 'unhelpful' they'll disappear anyway but for whatever reason people can't be bothered.
    Maybe it's because they like them !
    The original idea was for them to list sets that aren't otherwise grouped so, 'sets available in the Daily Mirror promotion' is a good list, as is 'Technic cranes' but 'sets needed for a Hoth battle' isn't really.
    I don't see the difference between these; in some ways the example you give of a 'bad' Bricklist seems potentially the most helpful to me, which highlights the subjectiveness of the whole thing ! On this basis, any kind of rigid moderation will probably appear entirely arbitrary to everybody except for the moderator, and hence my view that it probably wouldn't be very helpful.

  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    The problem with the "sets needed for a Hoth battle" is that they're often missing sets anyway. That tends to be the problem even with the lists like "Technic cranes". All too often these lists consist of the most recent sets or are lazily comprised of sets that came up on a search of the word "crane". No real research was done to ensure that the lists contain all Technic cranes even if they contain names which do not include common keywords. For example, Cherry Picker (8292) could possibly be considered a crane but wouldn't come up in a keyword search for "crane".

    For every bricklist that is properly researched, there are dozens which are not. I suppose since I'm the one complaining I should volunteer and "be happy" to go through and weed out the subjective ones as well as the inaccurate ones. I suppose I would be though I'll probably feel like I have when reading badly-written historical papers. I just end up wanting to grab the author by the shoulders and shake them shouting, "How the hell did you get out of the third grade?" Problem is, some of these Bricklists were probably put together by kids who haven't yet reached the third grade or by others who probably had a couple tries at it. :-X
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    edited April 2011
    I'll do that. I'll also do news comments and reviews if you want.
    http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/28/faq-can-i-be-a-mod/ ;-)
  • MatthewMatthew Cheshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 3,734
    edited April 2011
    So, would anyone like to help weed out the rubbish bricklists and remove all the subjectve ones? I can make you a BrickList moderator if so. Let me know.
    I'll do that. I'll also do news comments and reviews if you want.
    http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/28/faq-can-i-be-a-mod/ ;-)
    I wasn't asking to be one, Huw was asking for volunteers :-)
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    edited April 2011
    Both can still be true ... it's called a 'honey trap' ... ;-)
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,440
    We're ok for news and reviews but not brick lists so I'll grant Matthew and brick matt moderating rights for bricklists. (excuse the autocorrects of my iPad)
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,440
    Thinking about this a bit more and seeing that quite a few of the lists I'd think are useless have fairly high user ratings, does it actually matter if half of them are not useful to you or me personally? We have to remember the site is used by a wide age group and unfortunately it's not possible (and probably not desirable: today's KFOLs are tomorrow's AFOLs) to prevent that.

    I have always tried to make the user-generated content 'optional' in as much as you can ignore it if you're not interested and I think that's true of the BLs.

    @prof1515, what do you think of Amazon's Listmania! feature? That's where I got the idea. Not many of them are particularly useful but occasionally when viewing an item you're about to buy (particularly music) it's sometimes interesting to see what others have listed with it; they could be of interest too.
  • brickmattbrickmatt USAMember Posts: 91
    ^Thinking about the fact that a useless list for me may be perfectly useful for someone else, I'll probably be fairly conservative in deleting lists - I will be deleting mainly the ones that are of no use to anybody, such as one that I just deleted - it had only set in it, and the only content it had was "It's an awesome set," or something similar.
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    edited April 2011
    Thinking about this a bit more and seeing that quite a few of the lists I'd think are useless have fairly high user ratings, does it actually matter if half of them are not useful to you or me personally? We have to remember the site is used by a wide age group and unfortunately it's not possible (and probably not desirable: today's KFOLs are tomorrow's AFOLs) to prevent that.
    I look at the user-generated content the same as I would the forums. Anything useful gets drowned in a sea of worthlessness. I've never been fond of user ratings (or reviews) if there's no content to go with them. "Is this useful?" means nothing if the person answering hasn't put any logical thought into their response. Nowadays, kids show off their creations online, be it building or making lists. Back when I was a kid, that rubbish was relegated to my mom's refrigerator door where it belonged, not in the public's domain. :-)
    I have always tried to make the user-generated content 'optional' in as much as you can ignore it if you're not interested and I think that's true of the BLs.
    The problem is that there's potential for actual value in the Bricklists but the 1% which aren't complete and utter crap are drowned out by the crud. That negates any value it could have. Why put something on the website that doesn't have value for users other than the person who created it? Like I said above, that's what their mother's refrigerator is for.
    @prof1515, what do you think of Amazon's Listmania! feature? That's where I got the idea. Not many of them are particularly useful but occasionally when viewing an item you're about to buy (particularly music) it's sometimes interesting to see what others have listed with it; they could be of interest too.
    I can't claim to have actually looked at that feature with much attention because, as you said, not many of them are really useful. If I do search for criticism, I prefer to rely on the same people with established credentials or history. That way, I have a frame of reference from which to draw, ie. they liked A and B but not C so what does that mean if they don't like D (probably that it's closer to C than A or B).

    If you were to put in a feature that said, "X people who bought this set also bought these sets", that would be different because it would show the relationship between people and their purchases. While I would still ignore this data, it would at least be more specific in what it's indicating. The Bricklists as they are now area mish-mash of lists with many of those purporting to be more than "my favorites" actually failing to provide accurate and useful data.

    Post edited by @Matthew -11/04/11 17.57 GMT - Reason for Edit: Formatting (added quotes and removed blank lines)
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,257
    The problem is that there's potential for actual value in the Bricklists but the 1% which aren't complete and utter crap are drowned out by the crud. That negates any value it could have. Why put something on the website that doesn't have value for users other than the person who created it? Like I said above, that's what their mother's refrigerator is for.
    The problem is your definition of value. For me, the value of 'good' Bricklists lies as much in the entertainment they provide as in any construct of usefulness you can come up with. And what's to say that your definition of value is more valid than mine or anyone elses ?

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