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Is there still a need for the forum?

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  • dmcc0dmcc0 Nae far fae AberdeenMember Posts: 765
    edited October 4
    ^ I did think 80 was very low given the amount of posts I've read over the last month.  I'd say there are probably more than 80 different people have posted comments in that time, never mind just logged in.  

    Edit:  If you click on Activity at the top of the page it actually shows new members joining the forum; there were over 60 in Sept..
    PJ76ukLego_Starcatwranglerkiki180703
  • FireheartFireheart Suffolk, UKMember Posts: 516
    ^ I didn’t know that existed.. best part of looking at the Activity was seeing @mattytreks changed his profile picture 4 times.. :)
    SumoLegoandhekiki180703vwong19
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 12,166
    CCC said:
    ...and have a thread for each article so that those discussions are here...
    Yes, yes... we can lure them in.  And they will be trapped.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,016
    OK, I'll say it - I don't believe that only 80 people logged on, or should I say "were logged in", during the past month.....

    Apparently right now there are just ...


    I think the who's online is not working correctly.

    andheKungFuKennycatwranglerkiki180703LittleLori
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,797
    That activity tab is quite an eyeopener (not only to the amount of people joining never to be heard of again, but also to the messages that people are writing as comments instead of sending as PMs).

    Just discovered this thread, I tend to have a few highlighted so get in-forum notifications for those and then scan the leaks and marketplace for anything else of interest.

    Shocked at the running cost and the supposed login numbers. I enjoy the community here, and like the fact that it's 'smaller' and more collecting focused. I wouldn't use the facebook group, think I was briefly a member of it when it first appeared.

    I appreciate the time (and money) that goes into keeping the forum and brickset community going so hope a more viable/cheaper solution can be found.
  • Addicted2OxygenAddicted2Oxygen Somewhere behind all the boxes of LegoMember Posts: 327
    @CCC you can set an option to hide if you are online, so that indicator is not reliable. 

    I have also only just seen this thread. I don’t think I have anything new to add.
    I love visiting the forums and seeing what everyone is up to. I sometimes even post!
    I don’t know where I would go without these forums. Eurobricks just seems like an impenetrable dumpster fire. I won’t touch Facebook or it’s related things. Here is the only place where it seems like you are with friends having a fun chat. 

    As to a solution my opinion echos others:
    • A cheaper host would make the most sense if possible. If history can’t be preserved then an archive somewhere for people to download for nostalgia would be good
    • Joining must be free and easy or people will not bother
    • Paid tier options would be good with some benefit (e.g. icons, emotes, etc, membership to the brickset lug)
    • A patreon style thing on the main page. As CCC said getting a $1 from a smaller percentage of a large pool is better
    Anyway, I have loved my time here, and hope it continues for many years to come
    snowhitieKungFuKennycatwranglerlowlead
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,016
    @CCC you can set an option to hide if you are online, so that indicator is not reliable.
    I see, and it turns out I am hidden. Is that a new feature, and turned on by default? I used to see loads of people logged in, now very few.
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,296
    I, and I assume many others, never log out of the Forum, and therefore presumably don't need to log back in. 
    Wish I knew how you do that.  I have the 'keep me logged in' box ticked, and no matter what machine I'm on (work laptop, home laptop, iPad), I get logged out about twice a week.

    Very annoying!
  • snowhitiesnowhitie BelgiumMember Posts: 2,878
    I, and I assume many others, never log out of the Forum, and therefore presumably don't need to log back in. 
    Wish I knew how you do that.  I have the 'keep me logged in' box ticked, and no matter what machine I'm on (work laptop, home laptop, iPad), I get logged out about twice a week.

    Very annoying!
    That's strange, I have to maybe log on once every couple of months and I also change between different machines. I'm on firefox with ghostery and adblockers. Do you maybe clear your cookies a lot? 

    Great to read about all the love for the forum. I'm still shocked at the immense cost of the forum, but also surprised at the only 80 people loged on in a month. Hope we can find a workable, fun solution that also makes business sense. Willing to help by copy pasting interesting or fun threads if a memory dump like discribed above doesn't work.
    KungFuKennyevantyler
  • masterX244masterX244 GermanyMember Posts: 482
    edited October 5
    with a few weeks advance time a full dump is doable (there are tools for doing wayback-machine-like archives of full sites available, i snagged a different site before shutdown that way once, too)
    Also not appearing on the who's online even though the hide status is unticked
    KungFuKennyLego_Star
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,425
    ^ Same with me. Even though I'm logged in my avatar doesn't show up at all. This happens a lot. 
    Lego_Star
  • DoktorLDoktorL Member Posts: 84
    I would certainly miss this forum, I check the news here nearly every day and really appreciate that it is free of charge.
    Lego_StarKungFuKennyMr_Cross
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,814
    edited October 6
    I wonder if the relevant thing re: people being able to stay logged in is how recent your last visit was. When I come here daily, I seem to stay logged in. If I don't come back for a while (I suspect it's something like "a week or more", but I haven't experimented), I'll generally find myself logged out. It's not my browser settings; for everything but my bank's website and Paypal my preference is to stay logged in permanently. 

    I think the key point here, whatever form monetisation takes (and I think there might need to be a short-term and a long-term solution), is @CCC's about it being more plausible to get a small sum from each of a horde of people than to rely on getting £40 each from a smaller number of people.

    We all mean well but in practice, cars break down, work hours get cut, and life happens, and suddenly that big lump sum feels a bit less justifiable. How many threads do we have where someone's agonising about the wisdom of buying a £40 set, whereas the psychological ease of spending small sums regularly is the reason CMFs are such a runaway success...

    Bottom line, as a number of people have mentioned, any fundraiser needs to be linked from the main page, with updates as we get closer to the goal. If that also encourages people to return to the forum who haven't been here for a while, that's obviously a huge bonus.
    Mr_CrossAddicted2OxygenBooTheMightyHamsterAstrobrickskiki180703
  • BOBJACK_JACKBOBBOBJACK_JACKBOB ScotlandMember Posts: 522
    edited October 7
    A raffle is always fun but would it provide the best value? Numerous people have said they are willing to donate and at least two people mentioned donating £/$1000 worth of stuff - would that generate at least the same monetary value in ticket sales? 62 people have 'liked' Huw's post on page two. If they all spent £10 on raffle tickets that would be £620.
    I wonder if more money would be raised by the members simply selling the items in the marketplace and donating the money?
    I would baulk at paying £40 a year for membership (and I can't see many new members joining at that) but I, and I'm sure a lot of others here, have loads of spare items that I wouldn't miss and would be willing to sell on for the benefit of the forum.
  • BOBJACK_JACKBOBBOBJACK_JACKBOB ScotlandMember Posts: 522
    Huw said:
    looking at the September usage and comparing it to last September, page views have halved and only 80 users have logged in,

    This paints a pretty bleak picture of the forum. Does this not count people who are always logged in?
    By my count there were 73 individual members who commented in the 'General Star Wars Discussion' thread in Sep. Another 6 individuals in the 'Disney' thread and a further 13 in the 'LEGO replacement parts' thread. This doesn't include myself, Nexander, LegoStar and others that I know were also logged in during Sep. I also didn't count a moderator (I think it was CaptainRex) in the star wars thread.
    Just taking these three threads into account shows over 80 members commenting, therefor presumably logged-in, in Sep.
    I am always logged in so maybe I wasn't counted as part of the 80 as I didn't log-in in Sep?

    Lego_StarAstrobricks
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 12,166
    BOBJACK_JACKBOB said:
    I am always logged in so maybe I wasn't counted as part of the 80 as I didn't log-in in Sep?
    And there are plenty of lurkers as well.  (I was one for a few months before I started posting.)
    catwranglerBOBJACK_JACKBOB
  • GeordiePaulGeordiePaul Glastonbury, CT, USAMember Posts: 584
    Not sure if I count as ‘one of the 80’ but I visit the site daily as part of my rotation of maybe eight websites. I’m a creature of habit and I stay permanently logged in. I only stumbled across this page today and had no idea the site was struggling. I’d definitely miss it if it disappeared.
    SumoLegoAddicted2OxygenBOBJACK_JACKBOBMCNwakeboardsnowhitieBumblepantsKungFuKennykiki180703
  • khopewosinkhopewosin Member Posts: 91
    Don't close the forum! I'm here almost every day. 
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 911
    ^^ Where's the unlike button?
    AstrobricksMaffyD
  • samiam391samiam391 A Log Cabin in KY, United StatesMember Posts: 4,271
    SumoLego said:
    BOBJACK_JACKBOB said:
    I am always logged in so maybe I wasn't counted as part of the 80 as I didn't log-in in Sep?
    And there are plenty of lurkers as well.  (I was one for a few months before I started posting.)
    Ah yes, I remember that time; the golden age of Brickset.
    KungFuKennyBaby_YodaSumoLegokiki180703davetheoxygenmangmonkey76
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,481
    Is my memory shot, or did articles on the main site previously ask people to post discussions in the forum at the end of each article? I noticed that the link to the forum was absent on several articles I read on the main site this morning.
    SumoLegoKungFuKenny
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 12,166
    samiam391 said:
    Ah yes, I remember that time; the golden age of Brickset.
    Or the @Pitfall69 Plague Epoch.

    But I'm not judging... or being defensive.
    KungFuKennyMuftak1Switchfoot55kiki180703gmonkey76
  • GeordiePaulGeordiePaul Glastonbury, CT, USAMember Posts: 584
    @datsunrobbie I noticed the same thing and panicked thinking the forum had been extinguished. Then I went to my browser history and found that the link was still alive. Phew!
  • masterX244masterX244 GermanyMember Posts: 482
    edited October 13
    Pulling a full readonly copy now just in case. (Only grabbing public mode with the crawler, doing the restricted parts manually to ensure they don't sneak out)
  • drlmiles1drlmiles1 UKMember Posts: 179
    I would really miss this forum - like many others I don't do Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. I think the login statistics are wrong, as I stay logged in most of the time. Would page views be a better way of assessing traffic here, or number of new posts?
  • drlmiles1drlmiles1 UKMember Posts: 179
    Have you considered crowdfunding with something like Patreon? 
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 346
    I don't post much, but I'm here almost every day checking things out.  I don't even visit the main site all that much.  I'm willing and able to pitch in if a method is decided upon.  

    Additionally, we all could do some recruiting of AFOLs to join and increase our numbers.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,486
    edited October 14
    Why is that @daewoo and others don't visit the main site, and thus, presumably, don't click on the affiliate links?

    If more people did we might not be having this conversation...

    Would it help if links to LEGO.com and Amazon were prominently placed a the bottom of every page of the forum?
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,814
    I went to read the affiliate marketing info and discovered that Brickset gets a percentage from anything I buy after clicking a link on the main site to get to Amazon - not just Lego. Since I buy other items (ebooks, mostly) far more often than Lego, this is useful information, as I can hopefully get into the habit of clicking on Brickset first and using the links here to get there...
    datsunrobbieLittleLoriM1J0E
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,313
    Huw said:
    Would it help if links to LEGO.com and Amazon were prominently placed a the bottom of every page of the forum?
    Maybe we should consider posting the Amazon Bargain Watch alerts which appear on the Brickset front page in country-specific forum threads so that those who don't visit the main site get to see them here?
    BumblepantsKungFuKennycatwranglerMr_Crosssid3windriso3200davetheoxygenmanDougTemplargmonkey76
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 5,938
    edited October 15
    Huw said:
    Would it help if links to LEGO.com and Amazon were prominently placed a the bottom of every page of the forum?
    Maybe we should consider posting the Amazon Bargain Watch alerts which appear on the Brickset front page in country-specific forum threads so that those who don't visit the main site get to see them here?
    I would like this. It's hard to remember to go back to the main site sometimes when you see a good deal mentioned here, especially if it is likely to disappear quickly. I always try to remember to but eliminating a step would certainly help.
    KungFuKennycatwranglerMr_CrossAstrobricks
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,482
    Can the affiliate links be placed in a column in the space on the left? Mind you, then they might not be seen on mobile devices.

    Sure place them at the top/bottom of every page. It might help remind people!
    Mr_Cross
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,016
    edited October 15
    I'd prefer them to go at the side if they need to go somewhere, I have a lot of wasted space either side of the browser window. Underneath would be fine for reading in portrait on a mobile device, but not for a desktop.

    Although a thread where a robot posts the best amazon deals with the correct links would be fine too.

    Mr_CrossSwitchfoot55
  • redarmyredarmy AberdeenMember Posts: 716
    I'm only here for the forum and like-minded idiots...
    lowleadDoktorL
  • CommanderRaabCommanderRaab Edinburgh, ScotlandMember Posts: 614
    I visit this site almost everyday, and multiple times per day at that. It is my primary source of information and interacting with other AFOLs. It's a good community, unlike something like Facebook which is just full of trolls and asshats. I would be very saddened if the forums were to go away.

    Huw I know you are very literate in IT etc. but £3000 seems an awful lot of money for hosting of a forum. Is there anything particular that accounts for that cost? Perhaps some of with the knowhow can help look for a more cost effective solution? If we all chip in with time and knowledge surely we can sort this out.
    BumblepantsMr_CrossBOBJACK_JACKBOB
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 346
    Huw said:
    Why is that @daewoo and others don't visit the main site, and thus, presumably, don't click on the affiliate links?

    If more people did we might not be having this conversation...

    Would it help if links to LEGO.com and Amazon were prominently placed a the bottom of every page of the forum?
    I don't read set reviews and keeping track of my collection is more of a novelty than anything else.  I honestly don't see value in investing my time there.  I come to the forums to read about the cool things others are building and to see other views of all things Lego.  Even if I visited the main site, I don't like Amazon and if I'm going to buy from Lego, I go to the brick and mortar store.  If revenue is generated just from pass-throughs and not purchases, then I'll be happy to click some links, but I would rather donate to the site than buy from Amazon or Lego Shop at Home.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 12,166
    Is it cost-effective and time-efficient to set up a Patreon or something similar (I have an aversion to GoFundMe) for those that are happy to chip in a few bucks to help offset the costs to operate the Forum?

    Obviously, that's creating more work for @Huw to keep on top of that, as well.

    Anyway, I'd buy a subscription.  (In addition to some other fundraising.)
    KungFuKennydavetheoxygenman
  • masterX244masterX244 GermanyMember Posts: 482
    Backup snapshot done. Optimizing the ruleset to catch less external useless stuff without losing catching of embeds before next run
    KungFuKenny
  • lowleadlowlead USAMember Posts: 39
    redarmy said:
    I'm only here for the forum and like-minded idiots...
    LOL!!  Same.

    SumoLego said:
    Is it cost-effective and time-efficient to set up a Patreon or something similar (I have an aversion to GoFundMe) for those that are happy to chip in a few bucks to help offset the costs to operate the Forum?

    Obviously, that's creating more work for @Huw to keep on top of that, as well.

    Anyway, I'd buy a subscription.  (In addition to some other fundraising.)
    Same.
  • Mr_HobblesMr_Hobbles San FranciscoMember Posts: 279
    Only 80 users in the whole of October?! That's very sad - it always seemed to be way more to me.

    I also question why this place takes more than the main site to run? Is there a reason that an open source solution (ie. phpBB) can't be run on the main server machine?

    Given that apparently only 80 users a month sign in I don't imagine it would steal away too many compute resources, sitting running there 24/7.

    In any event, I would miss this place very much. It's actually the main place I go to discuss Lego. I avoid Facebook and I hate how everything seems to be migrating to Facebook Groups. I would definitely have to find an alternative.

    If a cheaper-to-run solution isn't possible for some reason, I'd chip in a bit per month to help.
    ShibGothamConstructionCo
  • masterX244masterX244 GermanyMember Posts: 482
    edited October 16
    Switching over now would "zap" all existing content. And same in regards to fakebook. also avoiding it here (including blocking it entirely from my devices)
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,237
    Shib said:


    I dislike the use of Facebook groups and pages, I use Facebook as a means of keeping in touch with people but worry about how much people rely on it for stuff like this now - if Facebook decide they want to start charging for hosting fan pages you wind up back in the exact same position. 
    Just wanted to refresh this point in light of Facebook being fined for publishing inflated viewer figures on their videos to win some of the big content creators over from youtube/their own sites to then start charging those content creators to make sure people see their content.

    While Facebook is convenient for the average user their business model is entirely built around constantly tweaking things to see who they can wring more money out of. 
  • FireheartFireheart Suffolk, UKMember Posts: 516
    edited October 16
    To be honest I don’t click on the affiliate links, not that I don’t want to, it’s either forgetting, or the LEGO site not always working for me as my registered VIP account, and having to start a new web page and login for it to work.
     @huw I’ve mentioned before (and been told cannot do it)  that I think there must be better solutions for LEGO and VIP members to registering their home AFOL site, then anything you buy from LEGO goes against your VIP, and the home AFOL site gets a small percentage. (Same small amount that an affiliate link would). Then you would not have to worry about clicking on links, and more about all your members are signed up to Brickset as their home AFOL site.

    It would also be a good way of registering LEGO AFOL websites, and controlling any leaks posted on them, I.e. if leaks continue to be allowed, then you will loose your website LEGO home AFOL registered status. Not that Brickset allows this, but it’s a way of controlling others. 
    Mr_CrossM1J0E
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