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A question of priorities... - Jude Parrill - 2011-07-29

As a user of the LDRAW system over the past 2-3 years, I've seen the official library grow substantially with the various updates. And while I'm always happy to see new parts and new updates, the happiness invariably turns to frustration when I see what hasn't been released, and what was released instead.

Take the last 2-3 updates, for example. The part developers seem to have developed an unhealthy obsession with Fabuland figures. Now, I don't have a problem with releasing older parts, but when it seems these are being prioritized over newer, useful, and more common parts, I begin to wonder. I mean those figures were used in what, 2-3 sets back in 1979? What about newer parts like 50955, 50956, 60956, and 51000 (to name a few) that have been sitting in "unofficial" limbo for who knows how long? Doesn't it seem like these parts should have a higher priority than older parts? I understand there are many different kinds of LDRAW users and we all likely have different tastes and different ideas of what parts are more important than others. However, I do have to wonder, are there really that many users out there demanding old, obscure parts over newer, more common ones?

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm the person that should be deciding these things, but I do think it's important that the discussion be had. I don't fully understand all the intricacies of the organization here, but I would assume something like this would/should fall to the steering commitee. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't they the ones that set the tone and guide other developers? If they said, "We should focus on these parts" and then focused on the parts themselves, it seems likely other part developers would follow suit. Perhaps I'm off on this, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

You may be asking, "Who is this upstart punk, who's never so much as developed a 1x1 brick, nor involved himself in any way in the part-making process, to come in here questioning our decisions and processes?" And you're right, I'm nothing more than an end-user. I'm just a guy who likes building with LEGO using your software and data files. If that's not enough, then I'm sorry to have wasted your time...


Re: A question of priorities... - Robin Chang - 2011-07-29

Actually, I agree with your sentiment. Having used LDraw for a number of years now and authored some missing tiled parts for personal use, I often wonder why official versions of said parts, as well as various hairpieces, etc are still in limbo, while Bionicle and Fabuland stuff keeps appearing in my updates.

Non-LDraw FOLs tend to be savvy with the oddball parts, since they can easily position them in real life. As for the CAD peeps like us, where angles require an awful lot of nudging and helpers, I personally feel that regular LEGO system parts should be prioritized.

That said, I know that Philo has done some neat work on using Mindstorms NXT to 3D laser scan difficult LEGO parts, as well as some basic post processing (excluding primitives). One of these days I should chip in and contribute some scanned parts too.


Re: A question of priorities... - Philippe Hurbain - 2011-07-29

I think you're basically right with your gripes... Here are a few "excuses" that may explain:
- We are a few Fabuland fans on PT, combined with my laser scanner... you get the idea. This fad should come soon to an end since I only have 3 more heads to scan Wink
- A library with old parts is one of the strong point of LDraw over LDD
- Very recent parts are done and released, such as the 92438 8x16 plate or the 91176 support 2 x 2 x 13
- Some reminder here may be helpful too, sometimes parts just get forgotten!
- and for the many parts in the limbo.... more reviewers on PT would really be helpful (and to a lesser extend more authors). We are not all interested in the same topics, so more people mean not only more throughput, but also a broader range of interests, parts available, etc...


Re: A question of priorities... - Orion Pobursky - 2011-07-29

A couple of point that haven't been brought up
- Parts are not controlled by the SteerCo. In fact, there is no centralized part authority when it comes to what parts get created.
- Most parts are chosen due to a need or interest of a part author. For example, I got started 10 years ago because I needed a part for the UCS TIE Interceptor.
- if you want/need a part the best way to get it is ask here or make it yourself.


Re: A question of priorities... - Tim Gould - 2011-07-29

While I don't have much time for making parts I'm always happy to give requests a go if a) I'd like them, b) they're fairly easy for me to make and c) people ask politely.

For me the real issue is in overzealous (in my opinion) conditions for certification of official parts. But I'm fairly sure I'm in a minority for that view.

Tim


Re: A question of priorities... - Tore Eriksson - 2011-07-29

Tim Gould Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> For me the real issue is in overzealous (in my
> opinion) conditions for certification of official
> parts. But I'm fairly sure I'm in a minority for
> that view.
>
> Tim

We may be in minority, but you are not alone. IMO, primary focus should be on wether a part is correctly aligned, correct size and shape. Secondary, the part should have a name that the majority accepts and makes it easy to look up. But a reviewer's personal taste on maximum number of blank lines or what remarks should be allowed and how they are formatted is never an acceptable cause to hold a part in the Tracker.

As long as the primary requirements are met (and not compromized!), a part can always be updated for better use of primitives or improved detail works. And the users have their official parts much quicker.

I too have my personal taste. I don't want to see the most basic parts, like 3001-3010, sub-parted in their non-patterned versions. Personally, I think there's too much sub-parting in general. But if I even care to bring attention to this in the Tracker, I just make a Novote review on the part in question and ask if the sub-paring really is needed for this part. If then it goes official with all sub-parts and if it annoys me enough, I can easily inline it in my personal Parts directory.

The same should go for those reviewers who put parts on hold for too many blank lines or whatever personal-taste-oriented reason.


Re: A question of priorities... - Larry Pieniazek - 2011-07-30

Parts are not "controlled" by SteerCo but the SteerCo has a bully pulpit.


Re: A question of priorities... - Jim DeVona - 2011-07-30

Tore_Eriksson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tim Gould Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > For me the real issue is in overzealous (in my
> > opinion) conditions for certification of
> official
> > parts. But I'm fairly sure I'm in a minority
> for
> > that view.
> >
> > Tim
>
> We may be in minority, but you are not alone. IMO,
> primary focus should be on wether a part is
> correctly aligned, correct size and shape.
> Secondary, the part should have a name that the
> majority accepts and makes it easy to look up. But
> a reviewer's personal taste on maximum number of
> blank lines or what remarks should be allowed and
> how they are formatted is never an acceptable
> cause to hold a part in the Tracker.
>
> As long as the primary requirements are met (and
> not compromized!), a part can always be updated
> for better use of primitives or improved detail
> works. And the users have their official parts
> much quicker.

I agree with you two as well. Furthermore, I think Tore's comments outline a specific path to streamlining the certification process. In my observation, the most often cited reason users are told to avoid unofficial parts is the possibility that the origin or orientation could change. Therefore, suitable origin, orientation, and correct dimensions seem like logical primary criteria for certification. The internal implementation of the part (which primitives are used where, etc.) seems like a matter of optimization that need not obstruct distribution of the part.

That said, I recognize that once a part is officially certified the incentive to continue working on it may decline.

Jim


Re: A question of priorities... - Willy Tschager - 2011-08-05

Tore_Eriksson Wrote:
> We may be in minority, but you are not alone. IMO,
> primary focus should be on wether a part is
> correctly aligned, correct size and shape.
> Secondary, the part should have a name that the
> majority accepts and makes it easy to look up. But
> a reviewer's personal taste on maximum number of
> blank lines or what remarks should be allowed and
> how they are formatted is never an acceptable
> cause to hold a part in the Tracker.
>
> As long as the primary requirements are met (and
> not compromized!), a part can always be updated
> for better use of primitives or improved detail
> works. And the users have their official parts
> much quicker.

This discussion is as old as the library itself. The LSC has worked out specs to work around. Please read:

http://news.lugnet.com/announce/?n=3442

w.


suggestion: let's create a parts wishlist which allows users to vote - Steffen - 2011-08-06

All work on the PT is volunteer work in everybody's spare time.
All progress on the PT is purely driven by love to certain parts.
So all attempts to stop people from working on certain parts
and instead assign them something else must be avoided under all circumstances.
I myself would be immediately leaving the PT in that case.

However, what we could establish could be some "parts wishlist",
where users can vote on how badly they miss a certain part.
We could think of 1 vote per user per part, but that would not allow a user
to sort his own priorities. So maybe an approach where a user has e.g. 10 votes free,
and he can spread them over 1 to 10 parts as he/she likes
(e.g.: 5 votes for the most badly wanted part, and spreading the 5 remaining ones over 5 other parts).

Sorting that list then by votes can give people looking for parts where to work on
a hint which ones would be desired the most.

Always keep in mind that that list will only be a suggestion! And nobody must ever
be forced to use it! This is an important thing to never forget.
The freedom of parts authors on which parts they want to work
is the heart resource of the whole PT and must not be spoiled.