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Is there still a need for the forum?

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  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,531
    CCC said:
    If you are checking the viability of the forum for amazon commission, I notice that the links in the new amazon posts in the forum are all using the bargainwatch rather than bricksetforum tags. Shouldn't these change so that purchases vi links on the forum are correctly tagged.
    Once the system is up and working properly I assume Huw will replace the tags with something forum-specific so that traffic and purchases originating from the forum can be identified.
  • sid3windrsid3windr BelgiumMember Posts: 1,452
    Now whenever I see the word concur I think of Leonardo DiCaprio...

    Hey Doug! Honk-honk! Do you concur?

    catwranglerDougTemplar
  • KerreKerre In a bar, under the sea.Member Posts: 411
    CCC said:
    If you are checking the viability of the forum for amazon commission, I notice that the links in the new amazon posts in the forum are all using the bargainwatch rather than bricksetforum tags. Shouldn't these change so that purchases vi links on the forum are correctly tagged.
    Once the system is up and working properly I assume Huw will replace the tags with something forum-specific so that traffic and purchases originating from the forum can be identified.
    I noticed the following links now appear on the top of each forum page for me:



    The long URL for Amazon that link led to did contain tag=bricksetforum and dropped me in a separate Lego store-within-store on Amazon.de. Which is great, we can support the forum separately from the main site!

    I do have a question and a suggestion @Huw @drdavewatford:

    If you go out of the Amazon Lego store-within-store and buy something off Amazon, is that purchase still count as a bricksetforum referral? Guessing it does but I'd like that confirmed.

    Using the links is a quick and efficient one-click process, great! The Amazon link however makes an assumption about what Amazon country site you're likely to use. The assumption is based on the user's location - Amazon.de in my case.
    That's not always where the deal is or where you want to buy from. As a Belgian, I also regularly buy from both .fr and .co.uk; sometimes I buy from .it .es and .com as well. Would it be possible to create a small sub-page linking to these sites directly  so we can support the forum with our purchases on non-default Amazon sites too?
  • snowhitiesnowhitie BelgiumMember Posts: 3,001
    Kerre said:
    The Amazon link however makes an assumption about what Amazon country site you're likely to use. T Would it be possible to create a small sub-page linking to these sites directly  so we can support the forum with our purchases on non-default Amazon sites too?
    Second this, it's good to have the small link on the top and but maybe there could be a sticky thread (maybe even under the 'forum operation') where people could find all the links if they want.
  • sid3windrsid3windr BelgiumMember Posts: 1,452
    Would it get too overcrowded if one would just put all the supported Amazon sites in that box, but with a flag instead of text (to keep it concise) ?
    stlux
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,853
    Kerre said:
    CCC said:
    If you are checking the viability of the forum for amazon commission, I notice that the links in the new amazon posts in the forum are all using the bargainwatch rather than bricksetforum tags. Shouldn't these change so that purchases vi links on the forum are correctly tagged.
    Once the system is up and working properly I assume Huw will replace the tags with something forum-specific so that traffic and purchases originating from the forum can be identified.
    I noticed the following links now appear on the top of each forum page for me:



    I don't see that at the top on my desktop. I see a similar thing at the bottom, but nothing at the top. Running Vivaldi browser (Chromium) on Windows 10.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,103
    Kerre said:
    CCC said:
    If you are checking the viability of the forum for amazon commission, I notice that the links in the new amazon posts in the forum are all using the bargainwatch rather than bricksetforum tags. Shouldn't these change so that purchases vi links on the forum are correctly tagged.
    Once the system is up and working properly I assume Huw will replace the tags with something forum-specific so that traffic and purchases originating from the forum can be identified.
    I noticed the following links now appear on the top of each forum page for me:



    The long URL for Amazon that link led to did contain tag=bricksetforum and dropped me in a separate Lego store-within-store on Amazon.de. Which is great, we can support the forum separately from the main site!


    I still don't see the top banner, just the bottom links.

    And it wasn't those links from the landing page from those links that I was questioning, it was the ones from the new automatic posts, these ones:

    They all follow a link with the main site tag rather than a forum tag, so any orders placed through them or after clicking on them will be credited to the main site and not to the forum. Of course, it is not a big deal as the commission will end up in the same place, but if the forum contribution will be monitored then it is important to get this right.

  • sid3windrsid3windr BelgiumMember Posts: 1,452
    ^ Yup, I believe Dr Dave knew what you meant and answered accordingly :-)
    drdavewatfordKerre
  • FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 25
    As a brand new forum member, I recommend keeping the forum but moving it to a cheaper and more modern hosting platform. This Vanilla software is rudimentary and may even deter new users from joining; it almost deterred me. phpBB is more modern, clean, and usable. Surely there are cheap phpBB hosting solutions considering how widespread it is. Compare the Brickset forum to the Eurobricks forum. That site looks and functions how forums should. Ask them how much it costs to use their platform and consider moving there. Then the challenge is moving the content to a new system. Take the money saved on hosting and pay someone to migrate the content Or in a desperate move, consider if the old content is even needed and could be removed.
  • FireFox31FireFox31 NH, USAMember Posts: 25
    dougts said:
    Years and years ago i used to constantly suggest that the main site and the forum need to be more tightly coupled.  Of course the forums are dying off -  nothing is being done to drive new members here, and the existence of the duplicative but far inferior comments sections of articles kills a lot of what would be a driver of forum members and discussion.
    This statement is true.  I've been reading the Brickset blog comments for years, but always too late so posting is closed.  Using the forum as a comments section would solve that problem and help drive traffic to the forums.

    The forums allow persistent discussion about arbitrary topics, which is what a community needs to grow and thrive.  Comments only allow two days of discussion about the current article, which the community uses as best it can.

    All this being said, do not jeopardize the Brickset blog community in order to keep the forum community alive.  Instead, find a way to merge the two, allowing the blog community to expand into the forum.  There must be a technical solution to allow this.

    Consider how much more engagement you'd have if the blog community had the entire forum to expand in to.  With more modern forum software, this could happen.

    snowhitie
  • piratemania7piratemania7 New EnglandMember Posts: 2,129
    edited October 2019
    .
    SumoLegoDoktorLdavetheoxygenman
  • Baby_YodaBaby_Yoda The world's backsideMember Posts: 1,295
    edited October 2019
    Of course you're all going to agree that Brickset Forums are better than Eurobricks when this very discussion is taking place on Brickset. It's like a bunch of Melbourne football supporters talking about which team is the best. I agree with the points raised, of course, but it's not like anyone's going to have a different opinion. Those who do prefer Eurobricks aren't going to be here to make any comments. It doesn't matter if Brickset is widely regarded as utter crap (which is certainly isn't), nobody here's going to think so.
    If you want to improve something, it's worth hearing multiple perspectives. @FireFox31 Could you please elaborate on what aspects of Eurobricks you find superior to Brickset?
    FireheartbenbacardiMr_Crossblakusdkdavetheoxygenmankiki180703
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,103
    Baby_Yoda said:
    Of course you're all going to agree that Brickset Forums are better than Eurobricks when this very discussion is taking place on Brickset. It's like a bunch of Melbourne football supporters talking about which team is the best. I agree with the points raised, of course, but it's not like anyone's going to have a different opinion. Those who do prefer Eurobricks aren't going to be here to make any comments.
    There are quite a few people that use both. I prefer Eurobricks for MOCs (which for a long time were not allowed here) and discussions about building techniques. However, there is way less of an overall community feel there, which is what I prefer about Brickset, along with more useful information on sales. Then there are lots of areas (discussions about sets and so on) where neither comes out better. One thing about EB is that it is so much bigger and splitting the forums into sections can mean you don't look at or discuss MOCs or sets outside of your own favourite board / theme, and it is probably this that makes it feel less of a close knit community. Within each section, maybe, but not between sections. Plus at EB there are people that are there just to cause trouble which is probably why EB mods feel the need to ban people quite frequently.
    bandit778MCNwakeboardSumoLego
  • sid3windrsid3windr BelgiumMember Posts: 1,452
    Eurobricks is just a whole number of separate forums that happen to be merged on a single domain name, indeed.

    Also, Vanilla has quite some issues (like constantly changing things behind your back, why is the spacing so large between my paragraphs? and why doesn't ctrl-left work like it should? why doesn't like turn into unlike after you've already liked a post?), I do feel its looks are quite fresh and compact, with no superfluous features.

    I used to run phpBB in 2001. I don't want to run phpBB in 2019.
    SumoLegoLego_StarKerre
  • bandit778bandit778 Docking Bay 94. Member Posts: 2,156
    I use both BS & EB as well (for virtually the same reasons as above) as following the discussions on other peoples MOC's I'm building can be really helpful when putting some of the behemoths together but I've always preferred the atmosphere of Brickset because of the more open conversations.

    To be fair, I tend to read a lot more than I post on either website but the way Brickset forum operates is a lot more inviting for people to add their own opinions to a conversation, which probably explains the 23 posts on Eurobricks against the 1900+ on Brickset (whether you wanted them or not).
    stluxsid3windrSumoLegoKungFuKennysnowhitiekiki180703
  • pxchrispxchris Oregon, USAMember Posts: 953
    I visit Eurobricks semi-regularly as well, but as with @CCC it's primarily only for the MOCs that I go there. For community, it is 100% Brickset!
    sid3windrKungFuKennyMorkMan
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,247
    CCC said:
    Plus at EB there are people that are there just to cause trouble which is probably why EB mods feel the need to ban people quite frequently.
    Hmmm.  Nobody causing trouble here.  Not a bit.  Move along, move along...
    KungFuKennyBaby_YodaFireheartkhmellymeldavetheoxygenmangmonkey76SprinkleOtterkiki180703SAMAEL64
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,854
    I take the point that of course people posting here are likely to favour this forum, but on the other hand, those people's tastes are the most relevant to the question of what Brickset should be - Huw might change things to try and welcome AFOLs who prefer Eurobricks-style forums (and don't get me wrong, I would love to see more people come here!), yet lose some of the existing community in the process.

    It's hard to figure out what people who don't use the forums might hypothetically want - meaning that perhaps sometime it'd be worthwhile to do a poll on the main page to see why people do (and don't) click through to the forums. It may be that the reasons are too diffuse to suggest a single method of encouraging forum participation. But then again, what if even 30 or 40% of the main site visitors come up with the same reason? Of course, that reason might be something like, "I don't need to go to the forum since I can already discuss it on the main page!" 

    Is it possible to auto-generate a forum thread for each new article on the main page, and have a link lead people through to it? That might scoop up people who've missed the two-day deadline (I didn't even know about that!) to post on news items. 

    stluxMr_CrossLittleLorisid3windrMaffyD
  • AstrobricksAstrobricks Minnesota, USMember Posts: 3,457
    I frequent other forums based on phpBB and I find this one much easier to use on mobile. 
  • lowleadlowlead USAMember Posts: 55
    edited October 2019
    ...Is it possible to auto-generate a forum thread for each new article on the main page, and have a link lead people through to it? That might scoop up people who've missed the two-day deadline (I didn't even know about that!) to post on news items. 

    ^^ I was wondering the same thing.  It seems like the comments section of each Home Page article soaks up a lot of the discussion energy, limiting potential weeks of back and forth to 48 hours.
    I mean, I could debate ad nauseam about the price of a Star Destroyer these days! =oD
    SumoLegosid3windrdatsunrobbie
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,247
    lowlead said:
    I mean, I could debate ad nauseam about the price of a Star Destroyer these days! =oD
    It's too expensive, the Disney/SW tax is too high; no exclusive minifigures, too many exclusive minifigures; it's a boring box of grey pieces...
    560Heliportlowleadgmonkey76datsunrobbieSprinkleOtterkiki180703
  • lowleadlowlead USAMember Posts: 55
    edited October 2019
    It's priced fairly!
    There's no place for figs anyway!!
    LEGO is sending me to the poor house!
    IT'S A BEAUTIFUL BIG GREY WEDGE
    IT'S A BIG UGLY GREY BLOB
    I've been waiting years for this!
    HOW *DARE* YOU LEGO???

  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,853
    Legoland Malaysia have it (and all other Star Wars sets) at 50% off until 3 Nov. It's not a set I want though, so I didn't bother buying it.
    KungFuKenny
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,939
    edited October 2019
    Hello all - I just logged in today for the first time in ages because of the Secret Santa, and it was a bit of a shock to see this as the big news headline. I suppose I would call myself an 'old-timer' - I joined in 2011 after lurking since the forum started and contributing pretty frequently to the front page discussions in the pre-forum days. I would be very sad to see the forum go (though fortunately the discussion above seems to give me confidence it'll be around for a little longer at least!) though I suppose I can't really say much as clearly I'm as much a symptom of any decline in usage if that's anything to go by.

    Though one observation I would have is that, by and large, since perusing some recent threads since logging in this evening, there are very few handles that I don't recognise as forum regulars from when I used to frequent (about 18 months ago, ignoring a brief return for the 2018 SS). That is interesting to me, as my observation over previous years when I was following more closely had been that Brickset had a core handful who were always there, and then a healthy number of rotating heavy contributors who would be around for a year or two and then disappear. I was pretty surprised to see how similar the cast was after this time. That's pretty anecdotal, but I wonder maybe if the forum has just crystallised a bit, and there's less churn of new members (perhaps due to the ease of use of Facebook groups etc for new/casual enthusiastic members as mentioned above).

    (And I second what someone else said above about the ctrl-left behaviour in the text editor. I'd completely forgotten about that and it's bloomin annoying...)
    sid3windrsnowhitie
  • red237red237 Member Posts: 297
    edited October 2019
    Just seeing this on last year’s SS thread. I would be sad to see this forum go!  I read it a lot, though I don’t often comment unless there is a killer deal I am sharing.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,727
    I know it's early days yet but affiliate revenue from purchases made through the links below are, so far, negligible, which is disappointing...
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 6,551
    Huw said:
    I know it's early days yet but affiliate revenue from purchases made through the links below are, so far, negligible, which is disappointing...
    Is there a way to get them to show up on mobile? I'm traveling for a long while without my laptop and can't order from the forum links.
  • dmcc0dmcc0 Nae far fae AberdeenMember Posts: 778
    @Huw Any reason in particular you don't use other affiliate programs such as Argos or Smyths etc?  (Assuming they have affiliate programs of course).
  • FireheartFireheart Suffolk, UKMember Posts: 611
    edited October 2019
    ^^^ We haven’t started our Amazon Christmas shopping yet.. January might be a good point to see how the links have done.. 

    in all seriousness though, @Huw
    say an average 3% of the purchase cost comes Brickset way, that’s still £130,000 worth of purchases for the affiliate links to support the forum basic running.. per annum.. which equates to £1,625 purchases per user, per annum, assuming the 80 logged in users is correct ;)

    my personal opinion is that some sort of link from the main page articles discussions needs to be setup in the forum, so it brings the new user base across. 
    is there a way the articles discussions can be mirrored on the main site and in the forum, I.e. there is a section in the forum for main site articles discussions, and you can comment on it in either with it showing up on both. I.e. if I made a comment on the article in the forum it would say (Fireheart via Forum). And in real-time..

    That way you don’t need to push the advertising of the forum, as it’s easy to see that this exists.. increasing the user base.. and fingers crossed affiliate purchases.. 
    KungFuKenny
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,583
    lowlead said:
    ...Is it possible to auto-generate a forum thread for each new article on the main page, and have a link lead people through to it? That might scoop up people who've missed the two-day deadline (I didn't even know about that!) to post on news items. 

    ^^ I was wondering the same thing.  It seems like the comments section of each Home Page article soaks up a lot of the discussion energy, limiting potential weeks of back and forth to 48 hours.
    I mean, I could debate ad nauseam about the price of a Star Destroyer these days! =oD
    At the bottom of every one of the Home Page article there used to be a message encouraging discussion over here at the forum, but that disappeared about a month ago. No idea if that has affected traffic here in the forum.
  • masterX244masterX244 GermanyMember Posts: 524
    Huw said:
    I know it's early days yet but affiliate revenue from purchases made through the links below are, so far, negligible, which is disappointing...


    Like posted earlier. Those affiliate links don't help when you avoid amazon for personal reasons like at my end
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,103
    Fireheart said:

    my personal opinion is that some sort of link from the main page articles discussions needs to be setup in the forum, so it brings the new user base across. 
    is there a way the articles discussions can be mirrored on the main site and in the forum, I.e. there is a section in the forum for main site articles discussions, and you can comment on it in either with it showing up on both. I.e. if I made a comment on the article in the forum it would say (Fireheart via Forum). And in real-time..

    I guess the question here is whether that is a good idea. Huw could try to get brickset members to move to the forum, but what does it achieve? There would be more threads, posts, page reads, etc so presumably higher forum costs. The people that moved across transfer their amazon purchases commission from the main page to the forum, but that doesn't actually increase the total revenue. Instead it just re-badges it as forum commission. So it might end up costing more for the same amount of commission, just in different pots.

    I placed an amazon order a few days ago but it was via one of the marketplace links so would have been credited to the main site, not the forum.

  • FireheartFireheart Suffolk, UKMember Posts: 611
    ^ using my maths from my previous post I don’t see how affiliate links with limited users, can support the costs pa of the forum then?

    is the forum a loss leader for the overall Brickset package? Or is the forum a dead duck in Brickset cost cutting? 
  • DougTemplarDougTemplar Edinburgh, ScotlandMember Posts: 597
    I've not bought anything from Amazon this week - Argos had better deals! But once the Amazon purchases start again I'll use the links.

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,103
    Fireheart said:
    ^ using my maths from my previous post I don’t see how affiliate links with limited users, can support the costs pa of the forum then?

    is the forum a loss leader for the overall Brickset package? Or is the forum a dead duck in Brickset cost cutting? 
    I don't believe the 80 users, but also how many people read the pages without logging in? Should they not count in the number of people using the site too? Maybe put the whole forum into a hidden state unless you are logged in, that way nobody could read it unless they log in and are counted. Of course, it is counter productive if people want to know what is there before they sign up. Although a lot of facebook groups do something similar.
  • OldfanOldfan Chicagoland, IL, USAMember Posts: 651
    CCC said:
    Fireheart said:
    ^ using my maths from my previous post I don’t see how affiliate links with limited users, can support the costs pa of the forum then?

    is the forum a loss leader for the overall Brickset package? Or is the forum a dead duck in Brickset cost cutting? 
    I don't believe the 80 users, but also how many people read the pages without logging in? Should they not count in the number of people using the site too? Maybe put the whole forum into a hidden state unless you are logged in, that way nobody could read it unless they log in and are counted. Of course, it is counter productive if people want to know what is there before they sign up. Although a lot of facebook groups do something similar.

    Given that all the popup adverts are very pervasive and interfere with your browsing when you try to view the forum (or main site) without logging in, I'd be surprised if this number is very large...
  • red237red237 Member Posts: 297
    edited November 2019
    Well, a couple days late but have we tried posting about the secret santa? Maybe we could hold off for a week and see if anyone else would join, post on the news feed, and migrate to the forum and see how great it is? @stlux @snowhitie
  • Russell844Russell844 California, USAMember Posts: 1,962
    I just made my first purchase using the above link from lego.com. I hope it worked.
    HuwandheSumoLegoeMJeeNLkiki180703
  • BOBJACK_JACKBOBBOBJACK_JACKBOB ScotlandMember Posts: 551
    @iwybs welcome! Thanks for joining up. I was the same, (I'm sure a lot of others were too) I read the posts for at least a year before I actually joined. I'm glad I did. Like anything, the more you put into it, the more you get out. Looking forward to seeing your post count rise!
    Mr_Cross
  • red237red237 Member Posts: 297
    I never knew this either!  😳
  • SMCSMC UKMember Posts: 1,915
    edited November 2019
    Not sure how I missed this for the last couple of months, just shows only using "Participated Discussions" isn't a great idea.

    Think most things have been said but the one comment that people should read again is this:
    Baby_Yoda said:
    Of course you're all going to agree that Brickset Forums are better than Eurobricks when this very discussion is taking place on Brickset. It's like a bunch of Melbourne football supporters talking about which team is the best. I agree with the points raised, of course, but it's not like anyone's going to have a different opinion. Those who do prefer Eurobricks aren't going to be here to make any comments. It doesn't matter if Brickset is widely regarded as utter crap (which is certainly isn't), nobody here's going to think so.
    If you want to improve something, it's worth hearing multiple perspectives. @FireFox31 Could you please elaborate on what aspects of Eurobricks you find superior to Brickset?
    I tried to rise this a few times over the years with great success if I remember rightly. Maybe @Huw should ask on the main site why people don't use the forum.

    The forum has always been the ugly duckling of the brickset family and thats the way most members here like it. But it never got to grow up to see what it turn into. The main site got updates, new features and so on because thats what brings in the money. If you make the forum better and more people use it the costs go up so where is the incentive.

    At the end of the day I think it comes down to how much profit is the forum eating up, if 90% get rid if 0.9% I think your doing more than OK and can cover the cost.
    Baby_YodaBOBJACK_JACKBOB
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