As someone who has never been to a convention I speak (hopefully) on behalf of many when I say the following:
The official involvement of TLG at conventions and shows should be a privilege and not a right. In this announcements that's something that keeps reappearing, the notion that fans expect
something in return for their attendance, be that a retail discount or first-look at an upcoming product. Why should this be the case? What makes these fans more deserving or faux-deserving than all the other fans and builders in the community who are just as dedicated or enthusiastic about the brand? Your presence at a convention shouldn't dictate or guarantee special treatment, nor should it make you a bigger fan or more dedicated enthusiast.
With that in mind, it's both hilarious and disgusting that certain voices in the online community have chosen this stance of right- that Lego has a right to be there, that they have a right to these rewards and so forth. You don't have a right to this. I'm not saying you should or shouldnt think you do, but regardless I think in the last five years particularly there's been a certain arrogant expectancy from fans regarding TLG's involvement with conventions. The outcry following this announcement posted on the four corners of the online community only reinforce this suspicion. I think we should be more appreciative when it happens and not annoyed or upset when it doesn't- something TLG have admittedly been guilty of recently with their show after show, unveils and huge exclusives.
It certainly shouldn't be all or nothing, but in the wake of this, I can understand how this can cause problems of both con and fan elitism. With the finances spent on the cons though I would personally much rather TLG send their resources and attention on all of us as a community rather than the certain attendees and audiences of convention X or Y. Reward every fan. Every builder. Every buyer. Produce a set available to all, have a worldwide store discount or something exclusive, create a new theme etc. Put simply, why should the attendees of a certain convention be rewarded more than all the other fans who can't attend that con (or any) for whatever reason. They are not lesser fans, so why should they be treated as such by omission of 'rewards'?
Recently TLG have a huge push into socia-media be it through their presence on Facebook or from their own initiatives such as Cuusoo or Rebrickable. More so than ever before LEGO has a direct link to the consumers, fans and builders the world over. Press-releases are issued the web over, official shots are uploaded, and building contests like our very own CCC are provided prizes for. Step this up. Make it bigger, and make everyone feel more involved rather than fragmented or isolated. Make us all feel special and thanked for our hardwork and dedication. Daily, TLG is already involved with the biggest LEGO fan convention there is and ever will be, and at a balanced position where everything is fair, at the same time and equal for everyone. All fans are rewarded equally.
This isn't the case when only the attendees to a convention are.
-rushed from my head, but genuinely my honest thoughts about this whole storyline/we don't own them vice versa and maybe the community at large. The LUGNET post is brilliant. We should stay independent from them and they us but at the sametime, I think there should always be that appreciation of one another. Sorry if I got a bit mushty at the end