Jun 23, 2006

Behind-the-Scenes: MDP forum

I have recently asked LEGO for their approval of including a screenshot of the MDP forum area on The NXT STEP with some commentary. Please understand that the MDP were under NDA's (ah, the joys of acronyms) and I have wanted to make certain I am not volunteering any information that would violate the NDA or put LEGO in an awkward position.

My attempt here is to simply show you the interface for how the team worked together. What you are seeing is a simple forum screen - on the right side were a handful of categories that we posted comments, questions, etc. and helped us to keep topics organized.

Info & Updates - new software release notices and in-house competitions were announced here among other things.
Encounter of the NXT Kind: Initially, this is where MDP members introduced themselves and their interests. In the end, it was a great little unofficial meetingplace for all the members as well as a catch-all for random and miscellaneous messages that didn't fit into other categories.
Building Robots - We talked about what we wanted to build, what we were buildling, and other stuff related to using the new sensors, motors, and Technic pieces. No particulars.

Community Activities - Similar to Encounter of the NXT Kind - discussions on how we intend to use the product in clubs, events, etc.

As you can see, there are other categories that are blurred out - sorry. Some of the categories are still off limits, so please do me two favors - (1) Thank LEGO for letting me post this much and (2) Please do not ask about the blurs - period.

As for the rest of the screen, you can see tabs along the top : Address Book (contact info for other members - very helpful), Calendar, All Messages, All Polls, All Files, Chat, and All Notices. Some of these were used... others never or very little.

The ability existed to create new groups (categories), but very few were made since we had adequate places to post messages.

The other blurred areas simply showed what categories you had chosen to participate in as well as messages posted since your last login. Invitations to polls could be accepted or declined as well.

A closer look will reveal that the browser is not in English - all MDP members were required to submit comments in the Danish language. Small price to pay. (Just kidding...)

Thanks to LEGO for allowing me to share this little bit of information with all of you.

Jim

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do you worry anymore if LEGO will alllow you this and that, tell us everything! You've got your NXT set and nobody can take it from you (except a theif :-)) Is there a special contract between Lego and the MDP that restricts sharing information?

Brian Davis said...

Yes. as members of the MDP, we all signed legal contracts saying that there were certain things we would *not* talk about (not disclose). This is a legal point.

As an ethical point, LEGO has asked us not to talk about some things - first, we agreed to this, and I think it's ethical to stand by what you said.

Or, if that doesn't satisfy some folks, consider this: if eveyone signed an NDA and then ignored it when they thought they could get away with it, do you think LEGO would ever try that again? Nope. It is in both parties best interests (the members invited into the MDP, and LEGO) to honor the NDA agreements... even if there *wasn't* a legal reason to do so (which there is).

So, from the legal, ethical, or practical aspect, it makes very good sense to honor the NDAs

--
Brian Davis

Jim Kelly said...

And I'd like to add that I ran by my idea and post to get LEGO's blessing...

I wanted to share just a little about our experience without violating the NDA.

You ask "Is there a special contract between LEGo and the MDP" - I thought I was fairly clear in the original post, but just to be MORE clear, please click and read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-disclosure_agreement

Sorry to be short with you, but I really don't like your post... this has been one of the best experiences I've ever had with a beta-type program, and LEGO has been great in the way they've treated the MDP members.

Anonymous said...

I am really sorry, I didn't want to offend anyone's ehics,and thank you to all of the information provided and this really grat blog (most uptated, best quality information).

Jim Kelly said...

Apology accepted.

I've got some great partners working with me on this blog... we do our best.

Jim

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