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About the Brickset forum and the trial (beta) period

HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
edited May 2011 in Forum Operation
Thank you for participating in the pilot of these forums. As I've said elsewhere, the forum software we're using here is completely different to that which you'll be used to at EB, FBTB etc. It's called Vanilla Forums and you can find out more at We're using the supplier's hosted solution and the code doesn't actually run on the Brickset servers at all: it's just made to look like it does.

Here's some of the cool things you can do here:

- Easily see which discussions have new messages in them as soon as you enter
- Keep track of your own activity (click on your name above) and what others are doing (click on Activity above)
- Never lose your work: the system automatically saves drafts while you type
- Attach images and other documents to your posts
- Edit your messages for 5 minutes after posting
- Have private conversations with other members (click on Inbox above)
- Sign in with your Twitter or Facebook account
- Set up email notifications (click on your name above, then 'My preferences')

Some of the the things you can't do here:

- You can't append huge, distracting signature blocks to your messages
- You can't insert emoticons into your messages
- You can't tell who's a newbie and who's a veteran: all members have equal 'ranking'.

The purpose of the beta is to:

- Determine if this forum software is suitable for the job, once its used by loads of people
- Find out if hosting it away from the Brickset servers works seamlessly.
- Ascertain whether having a Brickset forum adds value to the main site
- Find out whether having to log in separately to the forum is a problem, or thought to be
- Gather your feedback on it and its usefulness before deciding whether to go live with it.

The beta period will last for as long as needed for us to decide to go ahead.

So, please use this category, 'The Forum', to let us know what you like an what you don't.

(edited 2/Apr/11 by Huw following annoucement at Brickset)


  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    edited March 2011
    Just to back up what Huw has said, this trial period is all about exercising the forums, helping us work out what works, & (more importantly) what doesn't. So please make full use of the system & let us know what you think.

    A couple of small caveats - this is best thought of as a 'beta test', so we can't guarantee that the forums won't crash, and that posted comments won't be lost; also, we may need to 'flush' the system as part of the configuration & development activities. So, basically, if you post anything here that is important to you, make sure you have an off-line copy as we can't guarantee it will be preserved through to the end of the test phase.

    Assuming everything goes smoothly, we will be 'cleaning up' the forums before the public launch, so feel free to post anything (within the rules) - if you want to post some 'test' posts (to explore the formatting options, for example), that's absolutely fine ... but we will probably delete them before the official launch, so, once again, keep off-line backups of anything that's important to you.

    Have fun!
  • av8r1973av8r1973 Member Posts: 1
    I look forward to using the forums - you are right, Huw, the look/feel is different than others. Not bad, just different. I think this will be a great addition to the site and am glad to be a part of the beta period.
  • ffffff Member Posts: 8
    hi there,
    it is kind of strange a forum about brickset, but do not misunderstand me please, it is just i am not used to it :-) . I try to have looks to fbtb, brothers-bricks, brickset, eurobricks & hispalug, since i found them my trustable source of information; hispalug in Spanish scene, Eurobricks, as a global one, brickset for the quick & new things plus the best clasification of my legos, and the rest for some mocs or more curious things.
    But whos knows, this could be the birth of something very interesting :-)
  • LegoboyLegoboy Member Posts: 8,827
    A really good idea to finally do this. I like the Brickset website and find it really easy to navigate about. Occasionaly I'll brave Eurobricks, but only if I'm exceptionally bored and have a lot of time on my hands - I find their forums near damn impossible to find anything...even if I search. And when one article has 1000+ pages....well, enough said! . Here's to you guys managing a concept that works as well as Brickset.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    edited March 2011
    @flump, most forums of the style EB use are damn near impossible to do anything with, especially read what's actually been written. That's one reason I decided to try this forum system which is a bit more up-to-date and without all the clutter you usually find. Hopefully you and everyone else will get along fine in it.
  • Cam_n_StuCam_n_Stu Member Posts: 368
    Great idea adding a forum. I often find myself thinking it would nice to ask about 'X' but
    other than off topic posting on a news item (frown) there was no way to do it on Brickset.

    I am a fan of Brickset for its clean lines and accessible approach so it is refreshing and reassuring to see a similar approach being taken with the forum - well done!

    I'm not a fan of most of the other Lego related sites for the reasons others have outlines above and I've recently asked a question on the Flickr Lego group but the answers ranged from useless to considered with a detour via downright hostile. Hopefully this forum will have a nicer feel to it and better contributors, which judging by most of the posts on news items it should do with ease!

    My one note of caution is that I think Single Sign-On for and the Forum is a must. Also the sign-up process (i.e. not using credentials from another site like facebook) was not smooth for me in that I had to close the Firefox window I used to request the account and use a new window to successfully log in).
  • Cam_n_StuCam_n_Stu Member Posts: 368
    edited March 2011
    I see it is in the FAQ, but you might want to put this in the rules: "Do not advertise private auctions or sales on eBay or any other retail site."

    ...hang on, I've just notice the "Marketplace" category...aren't these two mutually exclusive?
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    edited March 2011
    ^ Yes, we probably need to revise that. Adding 'marketplace' was a last minute decision.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    I really like the idea of a forum. I think it will add a lot of value to the existing site. I also agree with others that other forums can be difficult to navigate. This is what I like about Brickset so much: a simple, clean, appealing, and effective interface.

    I don't like the idea of third-party hosting of the forums, but I can understand the advantages of doing so and that it may be a good decision. However, I do think the integration needs to be very tight. I don't like the dual sign on. I think a single sign is much better. Also, I've noticed that when navigating links through the forum I lose the Brickset customization of the forums. That is, I start off with the regular Brickset menu at the top and blue background around the main content and then end up without the main menu and with just a plain white background all around.

    One other thing I noticed is that you made it clear the site was only for 16+, but the terms of service states 13+.
  • vynsanevynsane Member Posts: 179
    So far I like what I see of the VanillaForum system.

    As for forum categories, I could see the addition of 'MOCing' under 'General'.
  • BrickapolisBrickapolis Member Posts: 11
    I like what I'm seeing so far on the forum. The lack of long signature blocks is refreshing, along with the lack of "seniority rankings". Hopefully this new communication outlet will develop in a positive direction.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    The more observant among you may have noticed that the site is not served in an IFRAME at any more. I've changed the page template to mimic Brickset as much as possible, which should make it work a bit quicker and also prevent the problem with the email links and other links 'breaking out' of the old site.

    I haven't tested it all but if you notice anything queer let me know.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    I've just updated the header to reflect how the main site's header will look once the forum is launched. If it looks a bit queer press -F5 to refresh your stylesheet.
  • Cam_n_StuCam_n_Stu Member Posts: 368
    Huw, I am not sure if it is related to the iFrame (I doubt it somehow) but I haven't been able to login again until today. The reason was unclear and I tried reseting my browser and clearing all the related cookies without success. Just tried again today and it worked first time.
  • Cam_n_StuCam_n_Stu Member Posts: 368
    In case it is relevant I also noticed I was logged out of when I logged into the Forums successfully today. Whereas when it was failing previously I was already logged into (This is using FF 3.6.15 on a Mac OSX 10.6.6)
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    I've just updated the header to reflect how the main site's header will look once the forum is launched. If it looks a bit queer press -F5 to refresh your stylesheet.
    Looks great. In fact, it looks like you have some room leftover to breakout some additional tabs

  • ambo100ambo100 Member Posts: 4
    edited March 2011
    I'd like to see forum and brickset accounts integrated into one. Obviously, you'd need the downloaded version of the forum software...
  • OrthobotrexOrthobotrex Member Posts: 165
    I like the forum's set-up...especially the lack of ranking! That does a lot for equality.
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Administrator, Moderator Posts: 5,234
    Getting rid of the ranking was the only way we could get people to read @drdavewatford 's posts. :o). J/K
  • vynsanevynsane Member Posts: 179
    I've just updated the header to reflect how the main site's header will look once the forum is launched. If it looks a bit queer press -F5 to refresh your stylesheet.
    I really think you could remove the 'Home' button - at this point it's common web behavior for the logo to be a link to the homepage - it's nearly universally understood. If you think it necessary to indicate that it's the homepage link, you could make a 'hover state' graphic that would show that - take a look at any page that's not the homepage on to see what I mean.
  • jatonazjatonaz Member Posts: 7
    format uses great so far, much better than big ones like EB! But I also second (or third or fourth...) the single account sign on, although being a third party website I don't know if that would be possible
  • DjfoobooDjfooboo Member Posts: 5
    I love love love vanilla forums. Most forums are so cluttered with people trying to be special butterflies with obnoxious signatures and such.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    ^ Glad to hear it: that is the one thing I really like about it, no clutter! Oh, that and the fact it's build on modern web standards and not all table based.
  • MartinMartin Member Posts: 375
    This is looking lovely. I've been a big fan of Vanilla for a long time - every since I read about it on one of my other favourite blogs a couple of years ago now. Anyone who releases new versions of their app and proudly announces it has even fewer features than before clearly undertsands how to keep things simple.

    Nice work Huw. I'm looking forward to being part of this community.
  • Nikola_BathoryNikola_Bathory Member Posts: 5
    Hello! It's great to finally see a Brickset forum... But I must say that the platform you chose to use is wierd, it's very basic. I prefer IPB. If you hate long user sugnatures, you can easily disable them from the admin panel...
    First time I hear of "vanillaforums" website. So far I must say it's very basic indeed, like 90's stuff.
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,258
    @Nikola_Barthory, I'm surprised you say it's like 90's stuff, I think it's exactly the opposite i.e. very web 2.0 and up to date. I'll admit it takes a little bit of getting used to after seeing so many traditional style forums, but give it a little time and then see what you think...
  • BrickmanBrickman Member Posts: 42
    I love the new forum. The simplicity and color scheme reminds me of facebook lol. I will be visiting brickset even more often now.
  • thesinisterpenguinthesinisterpenguin Member Posts: 96
    I love it too, very refreshing and simple. It just fits together really well (haha) and I enjoy the lack of signatures, post counts, etc etc. Great work!
  • legosareawsomelegosareawsome Member Posts: 3
    could they put a search box to find discussions.
  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    ^ there's a search box on the right hand side, under the list of 'categories'
  • SherblockSherblock Member Posts: 1
    I love the new forum. The simplicity and color scheme reminds me of facebook lol. I will be visiting brickset even more often now.
    I personally like regular, phb3 forums. This one is way over simplified, the others are perfect.

  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Administrator, Moderator Posts: 5,234
    It's definitely different which is something I think we were going for.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    Well, opinion seems be divided: some love this forum for its simplicity and cleanness while others long for the familiarity of phpBB type forums. I definitely fall into the former category.
  • GalactusGalactus Member Posts: 260
    It certainly takes some getting used to for me, but I like it so far!
  • legosareawsomelegosareawsome Member Posts: 3
    edited April 2011
    ^ there's a search box on the right hand side, under the list of 'categories'
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    ^ I have tried moving it but not very successfully, and it doesn't look right above the 'start new discussion' button, which it partly why it's tucked away where it is.

    Maybe I'll have another go...
  • stagusstagus Member Posts: 256
    Keep it simple and clean gets my vote!! I am enjoying some of the discussions already.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Clean and simple gets my vote too!
  • TalasAntaresTalasAntares Member Posts: 124
    Thank you for creating this forum and opening it up to us, for me it is a fun place and I am having lots of fun with it. I'm more used to the phpBB-based systems so this one is a bit different...but the simplicity is refreshing.
    Things I personally would like to see would be a one-line text-only signature, I'm not advocating distracting gifs and jpegs....just a simple siggy with your name. That's just because I am lazy when it comes to signing my posts lol.
    The other major forum I tried to use (LugNet) was terribly confusing for me to figure out for some reason, while there was lots of information it was tough to find it. This Brickset forum is much, much better IMHO.
    Other than that I have no suggestions at this time other than to keep the forum around!
  • knuclear200xknuclear200x Member Posts: 45
    Thank you for creating this forum and opening it up to us, for me it is a fun place and I am having lots of fun with it. I'm more used to the phpBB-based systems so this one is a bit different...but the simplicity is refreshing.
    Things I personally would like to see would be a one-line text-only signature, I'm not advocating distracting gifs and jpegs....just a simple siggy with your name. That's just because I am lazy when it comes to signing my posts lol.
    I don't see any need to sign your posts since your name is up there anyway...but I do find a signature would be just useful for maybe links to flickr or mocpages accounts, pretty much lego-related.
  • GalactusGalactus Member Posts: 260
    ^ If it were up to me I'd let everyone put such information in their profile and don't use signatures. I don't really like this extra (off-topic) and repeating information between the posts.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    I'm with you there @Galactus. There's no need to sign messages at all for the reasons you state.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Administrator Posts: 6,754
    ^ Seconded. If the facility is there then I'll generally use it, but I wouldn't miss it.
  • mkoeselmkoesel Member Posts: 97
    I like the simplicity of this forum software.

    But as far as the presentation of discussions themselves (i.e. not the topic/forum lists) you know what is even simpler and better in my opinion? The UI for the comments section in Brickset news stories. To me, you really nailed that, Huw. Now, if only you could bring that look, feel, and utter usability into the forum, it'd be perfect IMHO. Granted that lacks quoting/reply-to functionality, but I think even with that added it will look much cleaner than the discussion presentation we have now.

    One thing I do miss from UBB (which, notably is accounted for in the new story comment system) is information about where the user is location geographically.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    ^ Thanks * 2 :-)
  • Steve_J_OMSteve_J_OM Member Posts: 995
    As someone who spends a lot of time on a particular vBulletin board, i'm loving the simplicity of these Vanilla forums. Apologies if this has been answered elsewhere, but is there a timeframe on when the decision will be made with regards to coming out of the beta testing?

    One thing I'd love to see going forward is the use of dedicated subforums for different themes.

    Good job so far :)
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    'End of April' is what we originally planned, and so far things are going well and moderating is not too arduous so it's looking good for the then, I'd say.
  • GalactusGalactus Member Posts: 260
    Is it me, or is the quote option omited?
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    edited April 2011
    Yeah, it seems that module has disappeared. Also, where it had been used the quote boxes are gone too.
  • HuwHuw Administrator Posts: 7,087
    It seems that the forum s/w was upgraded last week and the quote option has indeed gone AWOL. We moderators are debating whether we actually need it, given there was some over-use of it evident.
This discussion has been closed.

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