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I've been looking into ways to elevate this site as a proper LEGO community in addition to being the best site for finding answers to LEGO questions. After all, we can't be a great Q&A site without having a high-quality, knowledgeable community.

One thought that I have is to work towards getting this site recognized as an official online LEGO User Group (LUG). In addition to official recognition by TLG, this would provide our community with a LEGO Ambassador who would connect us to the LEGO Ambassador Network and Community Engagement team.

Personally, I think it would be great to eventually get to a point where we have more questions that have actually been answered by folks who are directly connected to TLG. I'm not thinking of the customer support type questions, but rather broader questions that would be more engaging to the community such as:

These are already popular questions, and have great answers, but it would be great to occasionally get direct authoritative answers to questions like these. Seeing more authoritative answers would both be fun for our community and add to the legitimacy of the site as a whole. Getting more connected officially with TLG could be a way to make that happen.

What do we think about attempting to be recognized as an official LUG? I'm willing to start the application process and to serve as the ambassador initially, but I didn't want to move in that direction without the support of our community. I was involved early on with Remake, but was not selected as one of the final fan designers, so I do already have a small amount of experience working with the Community Engagement team.

Edit:

I'm going to move forward with this. The application materials are mostly facts and stats, so they aren't worth posting here, but here's the email I'm planning to send on to the CE team if anyone has feedback or would like to make adjustments:

Please find attached our application for LEGO® Answers (http://bricks.stackexchange.com) to become a recognized online LUG.

We've been running since 2011, and have seen steady growth in users and page views over the last 5 years. As the top fan-driven LEGO Q&A site (that we're aware of), we'd love to get more connected with TLG in order to increase our own user engagement and potentially get more authoritative answers to questions. We do our best to answer questions as a community, but it would be neat to have someone inside LEGO officially provide insight on questions on occasion.

We would also value more interaction with the LEGO Ambassador Network. Our site has a laser-like focus on Q&A, and broadening our network of LEGO enthusiasts would certainly help us to generate both more interesting questions and higher quality answers.

We'd also be supportive of any collaborative initiatives that would improve engagement and help our community know that it is valued by TLG. For example, we could hold an annual contest where the community votes on the best answer of the year, and the user who provided it could get a prize of some kind. It would of course be great if the CE team would be willing to provide the prizes for events like this. :)

Our community provides unique benefit to LEGO users. The folks answering questions are primarily AFOLs who have been involved with this hobby for some time, but the bulk of our readers (90%) find us through search engine queries and are often parents or children seeking help with common challenges. I expect that our readers are less experienced with LEGO than those from many of the other sites such as Eurobricks, Brickset, or New Elementary. This provides us, and hopefully the CE team if we pursue this type of partnership, with a unique opportunity for engaging another segment of the LEGO community.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions about our community or this application.

Thanks for your consideration,

Jon (and the LEGO® Answers community)

Update (January 23):

Application materials have been sent, and we are waiting for a decision. Applications will be reviewed at the end of January, so we'll hopefully hear back in early February.

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    It sounds like there is support for giving this a shot. I'll work on filling out the application. It does ask for a secondary contact (name, email, telephone). Would one of the other mods be willing to serve as a secondary contact and pass this information along to me? Alternatively, this could also be a regular user, but the application includes some site usage information only accessible to moderators that another user wouldn't be able to verify. – jncraton Jan 16 '17 at 17:27
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    Sorry, just seen this comment, happy to second it :) – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 19 '17 at 21:33
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    Terrific! Thanks! I've updated my question to include the email that I'm planning to send on to the CE team if anyone would like to see it and/or make changes. – jncraton Jan 19 '17 at 22:20
  • I'm only allowed one upvote ;) We might want to flag this up with the SE community team too for good measure. They were in contact with TLG originally over our name. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 19 '17 at 22:24
  • I've drop the team a quick line – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 19 '17 at 22:40
  • @jncraton Excellent email. I am definitely hopeful and excited about this endeavor. – chicks Jan 19 '17 at 22:57
  • @Zhaph-BenDuguid Thanks for mentioning this to the SE team. That was a good idea. – jncraton Jan 20 '17 at 0:06
  • I have all the application materials compiled and ready to send off. I'm going to sit on them for a couple of days in case there is more feedback on this from our community and then send them out once offices are open in Billund on Monday. – jncraton Jan 20 '17 at 16:11
  • I've sent out the application materials. I'll post an update here when I hear back. – jncraton Jan 23 '17 at 3:24
  • They'll be reviewing application materials at the end of January, so we have at least until early February until we get a decision on this. – jncraton Jan 23 '17 at 12:30
  • @jncraton I would have missed the last update if I hadn't seen your last Meta post. You should consider posting that last edit as an answer to this question to give it some more attention! – Ambo100 Feb 2 '17 at 20:27
  • Good call. I've added it as an answer. – jncraton Feb 2 '17 at 22:03
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fabulous plan!

This is an excellent idea. New users are often confused about our association with The LEGO Group. Having official answers would provide a lot of insight into a variety of questions.

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    I'm not sure we'd get official answers to some of the potentially commercially sensitive questions (I.e. whether themes or sets are returning/planned) - other companies I've had dealings with have had to be careful about what they are seen to "officially" announce about upcoming features as these can be seen as driving investment plans. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 19 '17 at 22:43
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    I'm sure there will be limits, but the more of these questions someone inside of TLG is exposed to the higher chances they'll throw bones to the community. – chicks Jan 19 '17 at 22:54
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We are now Recognized LEGO Fan Media (RLFM)!

I am happy to announce that we’ve reviewed and approved your application.

Please read through the attached documents carefully and make sure you are familiarized with them as much as possible.

Also do not hesitate to either e-mail me with questions and/or put them forth in the LEGO Ambassador Network.

-- snip list of forms --

Best regards

Kim Ellekjær Thomsen

Community Manager

Operations & Community Engagament, LCE

  • Great news (sorry I missed this). Is there any approved/recommended wording within all the docs that we can add to the tour page? – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Feb 17 '17 at 12:45
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    I see that the tour has been updated to reflected that we are now a RLFM organization. That's look good to me. The primary thing that TLG seems concerned about, in addition to the branding guidance we're already aware of, is early product leaks, but that doesn't tend to be as much of an issue for us. It didn't seem to fit in the tour, but I've added a note that leaked content shouldn't be discussed: bricks.stackexchange.com/posts/2120/revisions – jncraton Feb 17 '17 at 17:41
  • Yep, I grabbed some similar wording to another couple of sites that were also awarded it this month :) – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Feb 17 '17 at 17:42
  • Sounds good. Thanks! – jncraton Feb 17 '17 at 17:45
  • The IP guidelines I was given also make it clear that the name "LEGO" should not be used in the name of a site. I'm aware that this has been a discussion between SE and TLG in the past, and I'm currently waiting to hear back from TLG on where we stand. The LCE team wasn't happy with our current name, but it wasn't clear if they were aware that this had already been discussed with the legal team. – jncraton Feb 17 '17 at 17:46
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Here are some of the Recognized LUG requirements I was told by LEGO Employees at BrickFair VA 2016, which may pose an issue:

  • Must have a website, not social media, with contact ability.
  • Must host 3 public events a year.

I'm not sure how this site ranks as "website" vs "social media" in the eyes of LEGO (yes, I know we don't consider SE is social media).

AFAIK, this SE site does not presently host any public events (I believe public events are in-person things like BrickFair, but I don't know for sure).

  • Thanks for the insight from speaking with LEGO employees. My understanding from the application is that online LUGs are exempt from the public event requirement. – jncraton Jan 23 '17 at 2:55
  • We are a website, and there are indeed contact options available - whilst I've currently agreed to be the secondary contact, I'm more than happy to allow a member of the SE Community team to take that role if preferred. I too saw the events requirement, I guess we'll see which way it pans out. – Zhaph - Ben Duguid Jan 23 '17 at 10:21
  • It sounds like the "Online LUG" designation is no longer in use. I ended up actually applying to become "Recognized LEGO Fan Media". I believe this is essentially just a rename to avoid confusion since groups like us have very little in common with a local LUG. – jncraton Jan 23 '17 at 12:36

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