Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cuusoo User's Guide: Part 3, Supporting a Project

Welcome to the Unofficial Cuusoo User's Guide.

This is a Part 3 of a short series of articles about Cuusoo for beginners through super users.  It is derived from the presentation I gave at Brick Fiesta earlier this year.

Part 1: What is Cuusoo?
Part 2: Finding Projects
Part 3: Supporting a Project
Part 4: Comments, Reporting, & Feedback
Part 5: Monitoring Activity and the My Page
Part 6: Creating Projects and Verboten Subjects
Part 7: Creating "Successful" Projects



Supporting  a Project 

What does "Support" mean?

Many, possibly most Cuusoo users are very confused on this subject.  When you support a project you are saying "I support this concept".  Many people think it means, "I see a Lego set here and I want you to give it to me".  When/If a project reaches 10k supporters, The Lego Group (TLG) will review the concept and any submitted builds and have their own designers create a set based on the presented concept.

For comparison reference, here are the three current Lego Cuusoo sets and their original concept pictures:




Note the the resulting sets look very different from the original concept.  These product sets are designed by Lego professionals using TLG building standards.

When you look at projects you will see people nit picking about very specific aspects of a design, but in truth this has very little ramification on what the end product will be.

If you like the described concept of a project, and you would like to own a set of the described project, then you should support the project regardless of how good or bad the actual MOC is.

Another Point to add to this is that when you support a project you will be asked how much you are willing to pay for the set...This is again, not how much you would pay for the presented set, but how much you would pay for a set that meets the ideals of the description.  You are dictating to TLG the budget you would give the Lego Designer to make a set of the described parameters.

The Lego Corellian Defender, depicted below would cost between $50 and $100 if mass produced by Lego.  You can however, support the idea and say you want a $20 version.  If enough people say $20 when it gets to the review stage, then Lego will likely target a $20 version, which would be much simpler but still a Corellian Defender.   

How to Support (Directly)

I would be really surprised if anyone reading this article has not supported at least one project, but I figured I would add it for completeness. 

You start the process of supporting a project simply by being logged in to Cuusoo and then clicking on that big green support button.  Like the one depicted to the Right (hint hint).
You will then be asked how much you would pay for it, How many you want, and what are the key aspects about the project that appeal to you.

Note, when you Support a project you can never unsupport it, and you are permanently "bookmarking the project" (more on that later).   If a project changes dramatically however,to the point that many of its supports complain, then Cuusoo may delete the project.


How to Support (Indirectly)

10000 votes is very hard for anyone to get to without help.  If you really like a project then use some of the following methods to help out.

 

Constructively Comment on the Project

This serves three purpose: 
  • Creators really appreciate people talking about their work.  Its a small "pat on the back" added to the support
  • If you give feedback that can help the project, so much the better, nobody is perfect and everyone has something to learn
  • Posting on a project puts the project in the "Right Now" postings.  This will increase the visibility of the project and increase the chances that other Cuusoo users will see it and support it


Spread the word first hand  

If you know other people who would like the project, bring it to their attention. 


Tweet about it

Twitter is a great way to spread the word about anything.  You should always include the link to the project of course, but if you are rather talkative you can shorten the link by using a tinyurl or similar system to save a few characters.  

If you don't have a lot of followers, then direct tweets at people who do and might be interested in retweeting.   For example, the Serenity project finally took off when the cast of Firefly started tweeting about the project.  You don't have to rely totally on celebrities though.  There are many interest groups that have twitter accounts and the right one might retweet your message. 

Make sure to include relevant hashtags, especially if you don't have many followers.  

 

Post it to Forums and Relevant Social Pages

Seek out Forums for groups that would appreciate the project subject matter.  Respectfully post the link to the projects with a quick blurb.


Post/UpVote a link in Reddit

Cuusoo now has its own Subreddit here and you should feel free to post any Cuusoo project to it or upvote the ones already there. 

In my experience the core Lego subreddit is NOT generally the best place posting a Cuusoo project.  People who traffic the Lego subreddit are well aware of Lego Cuusoo projects.  They often seem to resent having Cuusoo projects posted so expect a lot of negative votes if the set is not spectacular.

Ideally though you should post in Subreddits not related to Lego but related instead to the projects subject matter.   For instance, post an aircraft in the aircraft subreddit. 

Tip It 

Many online magazines and blogs accept "tips" about cool stuff to post.  Some use Twitter for this but most use a dedicated email address or a tip/contact page.

Examples:
  Geek Dad / Geek Mom (each contributor is a different person, find the "right one" and send them an email)
  Kotaku ( use the send a tip link at the bottom of the page)
  Geekologie

There are countless other blogs and web magazines out there that love content.  If you really like the Birds project, contact the National Audubon Society.  Be creative. 

 

Guest Review

GlenBricker's Review has a section dedicated to Cuusoo users who want to showcase someone else's work, its the Guest Review.  Instructions are provided at the link but are simple, but you have to do the work and send me your personal review of the project. 

 

Following my own advice

I am going to take a moment here to show you this worthy project.  I want to reiterate that I have no affiliation with the project other than being a very strong supporter and have nothing directly to gain from its success.



The project is to create an accessibility ramp add-on pack.  This would include all the pieces you would need to put an accessibility ramp onto a Lego building.  It would also include the parts to build an electric wheelchair for a minifig.  

Please take the few moments it would take to support this project that will make our great hobby a little more inclusive to some really great kids.  

Thank you.