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Where did the term AFOL originate?

BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,455
Hi,

I'm composing a blog post based around the term 'AFOL' and my dislike of it, and I'm wondering where it originated. Does anyone know if it was a LEGO term to describe a demographic, or whether the community themselves came up with it?

Thanks!
snowhitieAndor

Comments

  • DedgeckoDedgecko Seattle, WAMember Posts: 800
    I'm not a kid any more, I'm an adult fan of lego. Seems like it's a community term, or it's TLG's demographic assignment that covers ages 19+.
    Why complain about the designation? Rather than voice your disdain for the term, come up with something better and make an attempt to make it stick.

    Good luck.
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,455
    edited December 2014
    It's just a personal thing, and I'm sure many people are absolutely fine with the term. It was certainly around long before I came out of my dark ages, so I'm not expecting the industry / community to change it just for me.

    Just wondered if anyone knew where /when the term started.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    Originally posted on the 'Pronounciation' thread:

    And a tidbit about the origin of "AFOL", it was coined in June 1995 in a USENET discussion group at rec.lego.toys by a Jeff Thompson. But no hint at how it was intended to be pronounced.
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,455
    @BrickDancer‌
    Thanks! Less than 20 years. Surprising - I thought it would have been older than that.
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    edited December 2014
    Looks like Jeff was the first to use the "adult fan of lego" phrase online, but it was just as a bunch of words rather than as a 'thing'. This was on 13th June 1995.

    At the end of much longer post he said:
    "Good luck in your LEGO hobby! And don't give it up as you get older - it's fun being an adult fan of LEGO because at least you can decide for yourself how much money to spend on LEGO. However, it can be challenging to convince your husband or wife to agree."

    The next day Matthew J. Verdier posted :
    "Anyone else notice that this is an acronym of sorts. AFOL (sounds like "A FOOL")"
    This looks to be the first use of the 'AFOL' abbreviation online.

    You can see it here:
    https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!searchin/rec.toys.lego/"adult$20fan$20of$20lego"/rec.toys.lego/BMEGUTUovRw/oLS7M1CrnS4J
    snowhitieLegoboyShibAdeelZubairLegoKip
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,455
    Thanks @bluemoose‌ !
    Andor
  • snowhitiesnowhitie BelgiumMember Posts: 3,060
    Interesting question and answer - thanks!
    AndorLegoKip
  • chuxtoyboxchuxtoybox Member Posts: 711
    So it's supposed to be pronounced AY FUL? I always thought it was AY EF OH EL (I'm an A F O L) but I have never actually spoken to anyone about the hobby, only learned it from reading this site.
  • blarghiflarghblarghiflargh Member Posts: 99
    In my head I always pronounced it as 'offal.'
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,220
    edited January 2015
    a fol. Rhyming with 'a doll'. Lower case 'a' intended.
  • OldfanOldfan Chicagoland, IL, USAMember Posts: 687
    I always spell it out: "Aye Eff Oh El". My wife, if she knew the term, would probably use the pronunciation "AW-FUL", given her non-fan status...
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,481
    @BooTheMightyHamster‌ have you written this blog post yet? If so have can you post a link? I'd love to give it a read, I have a similar dislike of the term MOC, although I accept it is ingrained in the hobby now so use it out of convenience.
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,455
    I have.
    I was expecting it to be some long, rambling diatribe. Turned out to be a bit shorter in the end!
    LegoKip
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,979

    I have.
    I was expecting it to be some long, rambling diatribe. Turned out to be a bit shorter in the end!

    Good read. Personally, I don't mind labels. I like being able to say not just "I like this thing" but "I AM this thing". Rather than putting myself in a box, I feel like adopting a label helps me add new facets to the way I define myself.

    However, I do have some of my own issues with the term AFOL, which are almost the opposite of yours. Instead of the term suggesting to me like being an ADULT fan is something strange or bizarre, I feel like the term sets up an unnecessary boundary from other LEGO fans. Kind of like how the Man Upstairs said in The LEGO Movie that "the way I'm using it makes it an adult thing". Sometimes when I see the term AFOL being used, I feel like it throws an unnecessary barrier between "adult" LEGO play and "childhood" LEGO play, as if one is a legitimate hobby and the other is just kids' stuff.

    Not all of my LEGO communities online are AFOL communities. On sites like BZPower and deviantART, I regularly interact with BIONICLE and Ninjago fans who are considerably younger than 18. And sometimes I feel like I have more in common with these younger fans than with many of my fellow adult fans. I'm the kind of person who immerses myself in the stories of LEGO themes, and who buys sets as characters or playsets rather than just as display pieces or parts packs. And as such, I don't think it makes sense to try and divorce that experience from the way kids or teens enjoy LEGO sets.
    Andorcatwrangler
  • AndorAndor United StatesMember Posts: 252
    That is particularly amazing @Aanchir‌ I feel the same way about LEGO themes. The development of the Ninjago characters is rather interesting.
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