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Tab idea - similar sets

fox171171fox171171 Member Posts: 45
edited April 2011 in
Here's an idea for a new tab. One for similar sets. (See attached image.)

It could show all versions of a model, i.e. updated versions, re-releases of the same set but under a different number, super pack 3-in-1, Ultimate Collector Series, midi, mini, micro, and the model appearing as a component of larger set, etc.

For example in the attached mock up image, I used the AT-ST. It shows the AT-ST in various sets. Regular, mini, UCS, and also "The Battle of Endor", which is a larger set that includes an AT-ST.

Currently you can find a lot of this info via a search, but searching "AT-ST" won't find "The Battle of Endor", just as searching "Imperial Shuttle" won't find "Imperial Inspection", yet these are clearly relevant results.

It could take awhile to populate the database, but you could have assistance via a link to submit similar sets for review to be added to the tab. That way users could help, and moderators/administrators could have the final say. Doesn't necessarily have to be laid out the way I did it in the mock up, just an idea.

I think it would be a nice way to quickly see all related sets. What do you think?

Have a great day!


  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,044
    edited April 2011
    Excellent idea. That's sort of what the brick lists are for but as you will have noticed they don't often do so.

    It would be easy enough to implement but as you say gathering the data is the difficult bit. Let me give it some thought...

  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,732
    Agree with @Huw - great idea !
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    I see one problem with this. So there are 6 sets with the AT-ST somehow in them. Set 7127-1: Imperial AT-ST brings up 4486-1: AT-ST & Snowspeeder because it includes an AT-ST. Cool. I assume 4486 would bring up 7127 and the other 5 sets that contain AT-ST as well, since 4486 features an AT-ST. However, it would also bring up all the sets that include Snowspeeders, right, because that would be consistent? Would the Snowspeeder sets be all mixed up with the AT-ST models in the list? Oh, and since 4486 features Hoth, then it would include all the Hoth sets as well? Now let's take the 8038-1: The Battle of Endor. Similar sets would include sets with AT-ST, sets with Speederbikes, sets with Ewoks. How about sets with Rebel soldiers? Or maybe sets with a base station of some sort?

    We saw the difference of opinion in sorting Collectible Minifigures into categories. Imagine the complication of sorting all sets into categories.

    I don't mean to sound negative, because I actually like the idea of a "Similar" tab. I just think that having to choose a singular aspect to associate sets together is limiting. I like how Brick Lists are open ended and allow any aspect to be sorted. Like @Huw said, this is what Brick Lists were designed for, but sort of failed in accomplishing. So perhaps there is a way to merge these two ideas? What a about a "Similar" tab that contains a selective list of editorially controlled Bricklists with titles like "Hoth Sets" and "Sets with AT-ST" People could suggest Brick Lists for the Similar tab. After a mod approves the list, it is added and locked down so only Mods can modify it. If people have sets to add, then they can recommend them to be added to the list and a Mod can approve additions. You maintain quality, open endedness, and can maintain lists of similarities of various aspects.
  • fox171171fox171171 Member Posts: 45
    The way I envisioned it, it would only be similar to the set that you are on the page for. Therefore, on the page with the AT-ST, it would not add snowspeeders simply because one of the "similar sets" had it. In the case of the mini AT-ST set that came with a snowspeeder, then presumably it would have both AT-ST and snowspeeder sets.

    I did specify that "moderators/administrators could have the final say", to keep things under control, and not allow it to get out of hand. That being said, there may be some situations that are hard to decide how far to go with it.

    Although there are some similarities with Bricklists, I feel it's not really the same, as they are not all for what I see the "similar" tab being. Bricklists can be for almost any connections (all sets in a year, all sets for a "battle scene", and so on), so while there could be some overlap, I see Bricklists as filling a different role.

    I think a little common sense on the part of the admins would be able to do a good job of deciding what should and shouldn't be on there. Some rules could help with that.

    For example, on the page for 8092 Luke's Landspeeder, I would include all other landspeeders as "similar", including the 66368 super pack 3-in-1 that includes 8092 as one of 3 models in the pack. But on the page for the super pack, I would elect to only display the 3 subsets, and not every landspeeder and everything from the other two. That could be one rule to keep things under control.

    I think it is a great idea, but it is something that will require a bit of thought and a few rules to avoid anarchy.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    I don't think the idea scales well in that form.

    How are you measuring similarity? You still have the problem of choosing which aspect is to be used for gauging similarity. If I have a single brick and I ask for similar ones, you could give me bricks that have the same color or you could give me bricks that have the same shape. Both are valid aspects to determine similarity. For sets it translates to if I show you a mini build snow speeder, am I looking for other sets with snow speeders or other mini builds? Both are valid. And there might be more! Which is why a simple list won't work. A better thing would be a list of lists. Click the similar tab and you see "Snow Speeders" and "Mini Builds." Or whatever other aspect of similarity is appropriate for that set.

    Also, how do you envision adding this additional data, i.e. similar sets, to the database? Who goes around and decides 1) how to compare sets 2) which sets make the cut? I think you can leverage the Brick Lists framework to get people to submit ideas for how sets are similar. Thus the code base is partly there and a mod only needs to review suggestions instead of single handily making all sorts of editorial decisions and research.

  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,044
    One thing bluemoose and I have been toying with is tagging sets, so a set could be tagged AT-ST, Endor, Ewok, whatever, and then searches made for sets with the same tag.

    Taking it one step further, we could come up with some form of XML description for a set and use that for all sorts of things.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    ^ That would be awesome.
  • fox171171fox171171 Member Posts: 45
    Obviously the scope could be made to be wide or narrow, or somewhere in between. I suppose how far it goes would be up to Huw. The line has to be drawn somewhere, for sure. Also, I collect and pay attention to "Star Wars" almost (but not quite) exclusively, so a set of rules that I feel would work well for that, might need to be a bit different for another theme, and I might not be aware of that.

    There are already themes, and subthemes (such as "Mini Building Set"). This does not need to repeat that. The UCS Star Destroyer is not similar to the UCS X-Wing just because they are both UCS. That is a subtheme, not a similarity.

    My proposal is similar models. Not similar bricks, size, cost, number of bricks, themes, locations, UCS, minifigures or whatever. I think that simplifies it a lot, but I know there would still be grey areas. (Or bley areas, haha!)

    As for adding the data, that would presumably also be up to Huw.
    A - Huw and or moderators do all the manual labor.
    B - Users make submissions somehow, then Huw/moderators make the decision
    C - A and B
    D - Other?
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Didn't realize Mini Building Set was a subtheme, but yes it is. Obviously, I would agree it would be unnecessary to duplicate subthemes in the similar tab. However, themes and subthemes are classification of sets based on thematic similarity. What makes one model similar to another one for you? I think 6940-1: Alien Moon Stalker is similar to 4489-1: AT-AT. They are both four legged scifi walking machines, both are gray, both have a what looks like a head in the front and a hump in the middle, both move clumsily about, etc. Do you want to seen 6940 on your similar page for 4489?

    This is why tagging is such a great idea. Filter and tag based on the similarities you are interested in, not the similarities someone else thinks you would be interested in.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,044
    OK, well one thing at a time. I'll finish the ACM and then see what I can do...
  • fox171171fox171171 Member Posts: 45
    Perhaps it would be clearer if I said "VARIATIONS" tab instead of "SIMILAR" tab?
    "Similar Models" could be interpreted as you suggest. Perhaps "Model variations" more accurately describes what I have outlined previously.

    Do you want to seen 6940 on your similar page for 4489?

    No. Would anyone else? I doubt it. No more than someone looking at the 10221-1: Super Star Destroyer would consider 10210-1: Imperial Flagship as similar. Both are ships, flagships, and pointy at the front (bow).

    BTW Cool minifig blueprint.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    "No. Would anyone else? I doubt it. No more than someone looking at the 10221-1: Super Star Destroyer would consider 10210-1: Imperial Flagship as similar."

    I would like to see all the science fiction walkers across all themes, so yes. And yes, I do think the Super Star Destroyer and the Imperial Flagship are very similar. I think your specific interest in Star Wars may be influencing your opinion. I've kept my examples limited to Star Wars because of your familiarity with the theme, but think about how you would apply your concept of variations outside of the Star Wars theme.

    And thanks! The minifig blueprint is from the patent application for the minifig. :)
  • fox171171fox171171 Member Posts: 45
    I don't doubt that focusing on SW affects my view. (Before my dark ages started, I was Classic Space all the way. Star Wars brought me out of my dark age.)

    Someone who has a broader experience with different themes could perhaps see things in a much different light than myself.

    Tags may work well, but they have to be kept under control as well. Can't have some sets tagged "AT-ST" and others "ATST" and so on. And if they are going to be so much more broad, it could involve a lot more work. And if there are insane numbers of tags, it could degrade its usefulness.

    Maybe they could co-exist, or maybe one is better than the other.

    We shall see.

  • bluemoosebluemoose Member Posts: 1,716
    edited April 2011
    To me, the tagging idea was about providing intrinsic information about a set.
    The 'similar to'/'variant of' idea is a good one, but is about recording relationships between sets. I see the two as complementary.
    Adopting an XML-based/-like approach would support both, in an integrated way ... and also enable more besides. It's primary aim would be to provide a common way of thinking about information related to LEGO sets, and to support sharing information between LEGO resource websites.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    ^ So you're thinking about is creating a standard LEGO XML Schema available for use across different website, right? That is cool. XML provides a useful mechanism for organizing data.

    I was thinking more along the lines of how can the database be populated with information about the sets that is not specific or uniform enough (like price or the set number) but is a readily identifiable feature of the set (like contains a snow speeder). I really like the idea of crowdsourcing and here is an idea I had:

    Allow each person to create their own set of tags to tag sets. So, for each set page there would be a place where a person can apply their custom tags to a set. When that person visits the set page, they see the tags they applied to the set. Furthermore, there would be another page where one could see all the tags one has created, click on them, and get an aggregation of sets with the tags. Note at this point the tags are specific to each person. One person does not see another person's tags. Yet even in this form the tagging feature is useful and I can image lots of people would start tagging sets. Once users get in the habit of adding information to sets via tags and the sets become tagged by multiple people on an individual basis, the next step is to algorithmically examine tags applied to each set. If a set is tagged many times with the same tag by different people, there is a good chance that the description in the tag is accurate. This tag would then be added to a list of public tags for that set. Now anyone looking at the set would see the tag. Furthermore, if the same tag appears on different sets, you can now use this to group similar sets.
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