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  1. Simon

    Rebrickable Themes

    Greetings, Folks, after the successful completion of the Minifig Parts Category reorganization, we now want to focus our attention on another big problem, namely the size and complexity of our theme-tree. This problem is most obvious if you try to search for a specific theme: the drop-down selection list for themes is very long (673 themes); the full theme name varies from 4 to 85 characters, with an average of 23 characters, and almost a third of the full theme names don't fit within the box width and is split over two lines; and even though the selection can be made smaller by typing a few first characters, selecting a theme mostly takes some effort. Furthermore, in any set search results page, the full theme name that is displayed below the set name and parts count is almost always abbreviated and can only be seen in full by hovering over the link. Finally, the theme structure is essentially based upon the following definition of a theme: "A LEGO Theme is a way to classify LEGO sets on the main subject they cover." (from Brickpedia). Initially, this definition worked perfectly: when the minifigure-scale System line was introduced in 1978, there were the three major themes; Town, Castle and Space, each having several sub themes, with distinct factions of minifigures. This led to themes like: Space > Classic Space Space > Futuron Space > M:Tron which still make a lot of sense, but also to themes like: Town > Classic Town > Airport Town > Classic Town > Fire Town > Classic Town > Harbor which soon afterwards became a major problem, because when the Technic line started in 1984, it also had air planes, fire trucks and ships, and so, the Technic theme was sub-divided: Technic > Model > Airport Technic > Model > Fire Technic > Model > Harbor Creator, which launched in 2001, had similar models, which could either be very simple and basic, or more complicated. Hence we added Basic Models and Models: Creator > Basic Model > Airport Creator > Basic Model > Fire Creator > Basic Model > Harbor Creator > Model > Airport Creator > Model > Fire Creator > Model > Harbor And once this system was established, all kinds of themes were expanded similarly (we want to be consistent): 4 Juniors > Jack Stone > Fire 4 Juniors > Town > Fire DUPLO > Town > Fire Fabuland > Fire Legoland > Fire System > Vehicle > Fire Town > City > Fire Town > Town Jr. > Fire Town > World City > Fire Resulting in 13 Fire related sub-themes, some of which only contain one or two sets. Now consider the b-model of the modern Technic set 42084, the "Airport Fire Truck". Is that Airport of Fire? We can't have both. What about set 60172 "Mountain Arrest"? The main model is a helicopter (Airport?), then there's a buggy (Traffic?), a small shed (Building?), and even a bear (Farm?). But if an arrest is made, it must be Police, right? Finally, any child or young adult who gets interested in LEGO will have seen, or even own, one or more City sets. LEGO City is one of the most well-known LEGO themes available. And yet, there is no City right before Classic in our themes list, where one would expect it to be. That's because City is considered to be a sub-theme of Town, a theme that basically ended 22 years ago. While historically correct, functionally this is wrong. City, as a current theme, deserves to be a main theme on it own. In our opinion, our current way of organizing has two major problems. First, it tries to create a completely consistent naming system, while LEGO is not consistent: LEGO changes theme names based on market developments. We believe our system should be functional in the first place, even when that functionality seems inconsistent. Secondly, the very definition upon which our system is based is wrong. A theme is NOT characterized by its subject, it is characterized by a logo on the cover of the box, or a logo on the page in the catalog. Simply put, a theme is anything for which LEGO creates a new logo or a new box design. Things like Airport, Fire and Harbor should be tags, which would allow us to group all Airport related models together, irrespectively of the theme in which LEGO released a set. Current LEGO themes for which new sets are still released should be main themes in our theme list; discontinued themes might be grouped for simplicity. And it might be nice to have an annotated theme list, so that each entry can have its own description or definition. We are going to simplify our theme tree, but we're doing it very slowly, and step by step. This is not something we can do in a few weeks or even a few month. Last week, we have started with the Creator theme, and we're still working on it. The Creator theme is currently organized like this: Creator Basic Model Airport Building Cargo Castle Construction Creature Fire Food & Drink Harbor Race Robot Traffic Train Basic Set Mecha Model Airport Building Cargo Creature Fire Harbor Recreation Riding Cycle Traffic Supplemental The new structure looks like this: Creator All Creator sets except: Creator 3-in-1 Creator sets with the 3-in-1 logo (one main and two b-models) Creator Expert Large Creator sets with the Expert logo Early Creator Creator sets from 2001 to 2006 We are slowly moving sets out of those sub-themes into the new themes, making sure that things like Airport and Fire are kept as tags. A first question: LEGO considers Modular Buildings to be part of the Creator Expert line; we have Modular Buildings as a separate theme. Is that more functional, or not? Take care, Simon PS. A complete overview of main and sub-themes can be found in the Tips & Trick Help page, as well as a first attempt to create annotated tags.