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"reviews" feature doesn't seem to work reliably.

tomalphintomalphin Member Posts: 250
I've noted a lot of quirks with the review writing system. Some feel like bad design choices, others just feel like bugs.

For one, my profile page says I've written 7 posts, but if I click it, only three are shown here:

For another, I find it frustrating that *I* cannot see my pending reviews which are in progress. This doesn't give me confident that my review was actually stored to the database at all.

Likewise, I find it weird that the site doesn't make it easy to see my ratings as part of my collection. Sites like or let you see a gallery of your "collection" and sort based on ratings, etc.. (be it a collection of Board games, or beers you've tasted)

Lastly, I don't understand why there is such a high bar to write a review. Perhaps the site would get much more review data if it makes it easy for everyone to rate all their sets quickly, and record a quick private comment about the set. Some users would still be willing to take the next step and write a formal public review, which includes the other dimensions of rating such as value, building experience, etc... Naturally, more weight could be applied to these more thoughtful public reviews if you want.

I *want* to make an effort to review ever decent-sized set which I build, but the barrier for entry and the demoralizing delay in seeing my review is a big disincentive. Likewise, you have an opportunity to go one step further and integrate the reviewing experience with social media services like Facebook.


P.S. I respect the hell out of the awesome work on the new site, so please feel free to let me know that this feedback will be considered more seriously after the new site goes live.


  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,120
    edited January 2014
    Thanks for the feedback, Tom.

    > For one, my profile page says I've written 7 posts, but if I click it, only three are shown here

    That could be because the profile page is counting unmoderated reviews which don't appear when you click on the link. Obviously there should be consistency so I'll get that fixed. There can also be a delay because the number in the profile is calculated overnight to avoid performing aggregate queries on the database in real time. At the moment, now I've just moderated them, it says 7 but shows 8 because you wrote one today.

    > For another, I find it frustrating that *I* cannot see my pending reviews which are in progress.

    That's always been the case and to be honest it's never been pointed out as a problem, but now you mention it, it would make sense for you to be able to see them.

    Normally it's not an issue because on the old site review moderators are shown how many reviews need doing on the home page, but I haven't added that feature to the new one yet hence there might be a delay in them being done.

    I've made you a trusted reviewer so your reviews will appear right away now, you won't see the delay again.

    Rating sets rather than reviewing them has been requested in the past, but has always fallen into the 'too difficult' pile. But, I'll add it to the list of things to add once the new site goes live.

    As for integrating with Facebook, that's not something I've thought about to be honest. How do you see that working?

  • tomalphintomalphin Member Posts: 250
    awesome, thanks for the thoughtful reply.

    As for social media integration, I'm not entirely sure, but I think a simple early integration to the site would involve the following...

    1) it looks like the new site already has sharing buttons for facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc. I do think they are too discrete to be discoverable. Research in social media has shown that sharing increases if you literally ask folks to share it, so maybe you could add the text "Think this is cool, share it with friends:" or similar.

    2) If you write a review, you could offer "share this" as a very prominent option on the confirmation page. It's okay to be more pushy in that moment since the user has completed the task of writing the review.

    3) looking further forward, you could allow people to connect their BS account to facebook in order to see their friends who also collect Lego inside the site. Then, you could see when your friends have acquired a set, commented in a forum, etc right from inside Brickset. This is more forward-looking, so it needs more thought.

  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Member Posts: 1,560
    edited January 2014
    Devils advocate here (and please don't take this personally Tom!)

    I loathe so-called 'social media' (the irony of typing that on a website is not lost on me). All this Facebook / Twitter / the-latest-thing-to-let-people-shout-"Look at me!", is just unnecessary, and I for one would be glad to never see any of those bl**dy logos ever again.

    Just my $0.02, and I realise I'm probably in a minority, but I've got it off my chest now.
  • tomalphintomalphin Member Posts: 250
    @Boo: I actually agree with you for the most part. That said, Social media is here to stay, and a site like BrickSet can capitalize on that energy by helping folks share interesting content, and driving new visitors (and possible future enthusiastic members) to the site.

    Another interesting idea is to make it easier to make a wishlist inside the site, and share that wishlist with your friends. If they buy you a gift via referral links, Huw gets money to pay for his servers, etc...
  • graphitegraphite Member Posts: 3,275
    edited January 2014
    ^ That last idea I really like. I'd love a way to share a specific "Want" list with my family for christmas/birthdays without having to do it through amazon where some of the stuff I want might not be available through a retailer and I don't want them buying it accidentally from an expensive 3rd party. But having them buy through S@H and support Brickset at the same time through referral linking would be great.

    Especially if there was an option with the Want list to have items automatically removed from a list if I've marked it as "I Own" in the database.
  • OldfanOldfan Member Posts: 707

    One of the features I enjoyed on the old Lugnet site, was the ability to rate the sets without reviewing them, and the ability to add a small comment that everyone could see (again, without "officially" reviewing the set). That way, I can rate the set and make my small comment (and therefore adding to the community's opinion of the set) without trying to match the excellent reviews already in place (and get "voted out" because the "review" is too short, etc.).

    I don't know if you'd ever implement those kinds of features on this site, but I do miss having them around on your otherwise excellent site...

    Related question: if I make a note about a set, is that public knowledge (i.e. could be the "mini-comment"), or just for my personal use? Thanks much!
  • tomalphintomalphin Member Posts: 250
    edited January 2014
    @graphite - cool, glad that idea resonated with you.

    @oldfan - Yeah, that's what i was alluding to; I should be able to quickly rate all my sets off-the-cuff, but that probably shouldn't impact the "public" viewable rating for the set too much. As for "mini reviews" or "notes to self", either is fine (public vs. private) but I think the site needs to make it clear if the note is public or private.

    @huw - Take a good look at if you get a chance. It is an ugly site, but the social and reviewing capabilities are super flexible while easy to use. (It's even uglier than your old site! :-) Unlike you, their admins are jerks to users who give constructive feedback.)
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,120
    edited January 2014
    Great ideas, thanks. Let's revisit them when the new site has bedded in a bit and I can start adding new features.

    I do like the want-list sharing idea, although it might need some thought given such a list for sharing with others might be different to your main list, which, if like mine, contains old polys, Star Wars and other stuff that 'normal' people would not be able to get hold of :-)

    The set notes, BTW, are private.
  • graphitegraphite Member Posts: 3,275
    ^ Your reason listed is exactly why you'd want the "want list" to be separate from the "I want" checked boxes. You'd be able to put in only things that you'd really be interested in someone else getting you versus a end all wish list that might be unobtainable.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,120
    Right o...
  • tomalphintomalphin Member Posts: 250
    I'm not actually sure we need separate "want list" from the current "I want" checkbox.

    I imagine this as a new option in my profile called "share my want list". Once clicked, we show a page explaining that your want list is currently private, and turning this on will make it publically available on your public profile. then, it would show you the URL to share with friends and family, and offer the option to email the link to someone, or share the link with social media sites like facebook.

    The issue of mainstream vs. obscure items could be tackled another way, for example by filtering the items shown on your public list to only show items which aren't EOL yet, or by showing all of the items but having two groups one for current items and one for EOL'd items.

    I only bring this up as I worry about adding too many features, which eventually crowd and overwhelm the user experience. If there is a simple way to add a new capability without adding new concepts, that may be the way to go.

    (Along those lines, does the site have a notion of EOL'd vs. current sets? This is a highly valuable datapoint in searching or filtering views in the site, and would be useful in this context as well. It wouldn't be too hard to roll out, just mark all existing items in the database as EOL'd and then manually mark the items which are readily available accordingly.)
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Member Posts: 4,270
    Sharing an 'I want' list is a good idea, but I'd want it to be separate to my 'sets wanted' list - I have old sets on there that I wouldn't want friends or family trying to find for me.
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Member Posts: 1,560
    Looking back at the suggestion of want lists going to sites via referral links, thus generating some cash for Huw and Brickset, it would be nice to have an optional way of chipping in on the running costs, because I for one really appreciate not being bombarded with ads on the site.

    So Huw, would you consider either :

    A) some Brickset merchandise (I know you did polo shirts but I'd love either an enamel pin badge, or a Bricket logo'd brick, or,

    B) putting a paypal link on the site so users could chuck you a few pounds / dollars / whatever, if they were feeling either flush, or grateful for the excellent resource you provide?
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,120
    A) I'm working with Matthew on this at the moment. Once the new site is up I'll spend some time getting it sorted

    B) There's really no need at the moment, just continue clicking on those Amazon, eBay and links. If I fall on hard times I'll let everyone know!
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