Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A new place for AFOLs

As a regular visitor to, and an extensive user of, the Brickset website, I wanted to give folks a heads-up about a new discussion forum that Huw the owner of Brickset has set up and opened for business over the past few days.

My immedate reaction on hearing the news that a Brickset forum was on the way was to ask why we need yet another LEGO discussion forum. There are, after all, a myriad of well-established LEGO discussion sites already in existence. There are however a couple of aspects of the Brickset forum which suggest that it may cater for a somewhat neglected subset of the LEGO user community that other sites haven't necessarily served particularly well to this point.

Firstly, the forum aims to remain true to the ethos of the Brickset site, namely to be a resource for collectors, and many of the discussions on the forum thus far seem to be very much consistent with this. As a collector myself, I'm quite excited about this focus as I really don't feel well served by other discussion forums (fora ?) in this regard. As well as providing access to the collective expertise of a community of keen fellow collectors, it also opens up some exciting possibilities for the trading of LEGO items with like-minded individuals which would be very welcome indeed.

Secondly, the site has a "16 and over" age policy which, as I understand it, is in part driven by safety considerations (i.e. the protection of 'minors' as they say in the U.S.) but also in part by a desire to try and raise the quality of discussion beyond the level of "What set should I buy with my $20 ?" and the like. As you can imagine, this over 16's policy has predictably triggered a storm of protest amongst some younger users of Brickset (click here for a flavour of the reaction). Many of those excluded by the policy have reasonably argued that age is only one factor in the ability to behave in a mature fashion and contribute meaningfully to discussions, and that the cut-off of 16 is entirely arbitrary. Tellingly, however, the majority who have commented on the age cut-off in a discussion thread on the forum (click here to view) appear supportive of it. More than one contributor has pointed out that there are many forums which cater for fans of LEGO across the age spectrum, other forums which ostensibly cater just for older fans but which are nevertheless clearly overrun with younger contributors, but next to none which just cater for adults alone. It's clearly a divisive issue, and I can understand the arguments on both sides, but I certainly agree that there are few places where AFOLs can discuss LEGO with each other in the absence of younger fans.

So if collecting's your thing and you're over 16, why not check it out ? You can find the forum at http://www.bricksetforum.com/ (click to visit).


  1. I've been really enjoying the new forum. Can never have too many placed to talk about LEGO! Is there a forum topic yet for LEGO addiction? The first step is admitting we have a problem!

  2. Yep - I've been enjoying it too. It certainly has a very different feel to the other forums I've visited - the depth of knowledge and experience displayed by many of the contributors has made for some excellent in-depth discussions which are definitely a cut above what I'm used to seeing on LEGO discussion forums. Let's just hope the quality of discussion remains at the current high level, in which case I'll be very happy indeed....