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:
- Why did Technic bricks have holes in the studs?
- When did Lego decide that it was okay to put a stud into a technic hole?
- Why aren't LEGO bricks cubic?
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.
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.