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Contest FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Here at Instructables we run a ton of contests! We also get asked a ton of questions about those contests. Below is a list of the contest questions we get asked most frequently and also some questions that I feel could use a little more explaining. (Let’s be honest - reading the official rules is not fun.)

Please ask addition questions in this forum topic - I'm sure there are some I have not covered!




General Contest Questions


 
****UPDATE****
We are currently experiencing shipping delays.  This is a problem we are trying to fix with our shipping department, but currently, please allow 3 months for contest prizes to arrive.  We apologize for this delay and are hopeful that this prize turnaround time will be temporary.  Thank you for understanding.  If you have any further questions, please contact service@instructables.com.



How do you choose which contests to run?

We do this in a few different ways.

Editorial/in-house - I plan these based on past contest themes, what’s trending in search,  which categories/channels need a little love, new site features or if there’s a certain type of content we want. Contest ideas also come from staff meetings and through the official contest idea forum topic.

Sponsored - Sponsored contests occur when a sponsor or prize provider wants to run a contest with us and they’re a good fit for the community. Often Instructables staff makes the call on the contest theme, but sometimes we compromise with the sponsor if they have a theme they really love!  

Sold/Branded - These contests come in through the Autodesk sales team and are normally focused on really large brands like Home Depot, Radioshack, Tekton Tools, etc. We have less control over these themes but still do our best to make sure they’re a good fit for you guys.


How can I sponsor a contest?

Send us an email at contests @ instructables.com to get more info, but there are some major requirements you need to hit:
  • be a registered business of some sort
  • be able to offer up enough value in prizes (this varies with theme/contest length)
  • be a good fit for our community (both your company and the prizes you’re giving!)
  • the contest theme should also be a good fit.
As of right now all sponsored contests are being sold through the Autodesk sales team.

I have an idea for a contest! How do I tell you guys?

Please post here and let us know! We can’t run all of them, but we love seeing the ideas you guys come up with.


How do I win a contest?

Post something awesome! Check out this collection of tutorials that will tell you how to write a great instructable.


Why do Instructables employees enter the contests?

We enter contests to set the bar and give an example of the type of entries we want in the contests. We're not able to win them, though!

It's important to note that several employees were authors on the site before they worked here, though, so you might see some wins in our achievements! :)


Entering Contests


Can I enter if my country is not listed in the official rules?

Yes! You can definitely enter.

However, you must have a mailing address in an eligible country to win. If you have a friend in the US or another eligible country that can receive your prize, go ahead and enter!

You can read more about our progress to add more countries to the eligible shipping locations here. It's not been going very well for a while, but I hope to share some good news with you guys in late 2014!


I live in -----, why can't I enter?!

Chances are your country has incredibly strict laws regarding gambling, sweepstakes and contests. We try our best to play by the rules, and if we can't meet the minimum requirements to run a contest in your country, we don't run them there!

That's the easy answer. The hard answer is that it's very complicated and involves lots of risk and scary legal language.


Why isn't my entry showing up in the contest? I entered three minutes ago!

Real humans look at each entry! This means it take take a while sometimes. We work standard office hours, 9-5ish PST. We tend to moderate first thing in the morning, Monday-Friday.

If you enter at the end of the work day or over the weekend, you’ll have to wait until the next business day to be accepted.


Why can I only enter 3 contests with one Instructable?

It’s all the spirit of fairness. Even if your instructable would be eligible for allllllll the contests that are open, we want you to pick the three that are most relevant and enter it there. This spreads the entries out a bit more.

It’s fairly rare that one instructable wins three grand prizes (I think it’s only happened once!) but we want to make sure that one instructable doesn’t sweep the winners in several contests.


Why was I rejected from the contest?

The number one reason for this is not fitting the contest theme - we try our best to explain the sorts of entries we’re looking for on the main page of each contest, so double check your eligibility there.

We also sometimes make mistakes or encounter bugs during the approval/denial process. (Checking the wrong box, clicking the wrong button, breaking the back end of the site) It’s rare, but it happens! We’re human and can’t help it, but we do our best to right those mistakes as soon as we know they happened!


Why can’t I enter an instructable I published before the start date into the contest?

We want to see NEW and exciting content built just for the contest. If we allowed old instructables in, we’d just see the same things over and over again. Plus, the number entries in the contests would make it very hard to choose finalists and winners.

Keep in mind that simply republishing an old project will not make it eligible - we check for that. ;)

Our Halloween contests are the only exception to this rule. For example, the 2013 Halloween Contest ended on 11/11/2013, so the 2014 Halloween Contest will accept entries from 11/12/2013 through the end date of the contest. :)


Can I edit my Instructable after it's entered in a contest?

Short answer: YES!

Long answer:
You can make any modifications you want to an Instructable that's already entered! We get so many entries that there's absolutely no way we'd be able to police it even if we wanted to - but it's never something we want to discourage.

Improvement is always a good thing as far as I'm concerned. :)

However, I must caution you: it's best to get those changes done before voting closes. The voting period matters the most because that's the time that we start looking into picking finalists.

Another slightly related caveat: don't publish a mostly empty instructable and try to fill it after the contest ends. We're starting to see this happen more often, always with a promise that updates are coming. You can never tell when we'll be reviewing it as a possible finalist, so chances are you'll get overlooked going about it that way. We are currently looking at 50-300 entries per contest, so anything incomplete doesn't stand a chance these days!



Finalist & Winner Selection



I make video tutorials, can I win an Instructable contests?

Short answer: YES

Long answer:
Most of our contest winners/finalists have documented in the step-by-step format. The more detail you can add, the better!  Having a full step by step along side your video(s) gives you the best shot at winning, check out some examples of video winners here.  We look for instructables that are pretty easily replicated via the information that is provided.


When are the finalists selected?

Finalists are selected starting the Tuesday after the contest closes. The finalist selection process normally ends Thursday-next Tuesday morning, depending on how tricky the contest is and how many people give input.


How are finalists selected?

Finalist selection is a mixture of sponsor choices, votes and staff choices. We look for all kinds of things when it comes to picking finalists, including:
  • good photos! Pretty photos put you five steps ahead of all the other entries already, honestly. We're going to want to click through and look at it as soon as we see it if it's pretty!
  • good explanation of both WHAT the project is and HOW you made it. Sometimes it can be really hard to figure out what we're looking at. (Personally, if I have to spend several minutes staring at photos and reading to understand it, I'm not very excited about it anymore.) Try to convey the project through both photos and video if it's needed. For example - if it's a rocket, upload a video of it in action!
  • a good story! I read more projects than you could ever imagine every month. I love it when an author takes time to explain why they made the project, or documents the errors they made along the way. That makes an instructable so much more enjoyable to read. :)
  • citing your sources/inspirations - look, we realize there's hardly an original idea on the internets anymore, so we can't fault you for that. But it's only fair to give credit where credit is due. We like that. Plus, it sometimes makes for an awesome story.
  • creativity! Look, I cannot even begin to tell you how many paracord bracelets, Altoid tin survival kits and Iron Man arc reactors I have looked at. My eyes glaze at the thought. Don't just go for the common and easy, take that project and put a new spin on it!!

We always suggest authors read their own work with an objective eye. Does it make sense if you aren’t familiar with the subject already? Did you provide enough description? Are the photos understandable?


How many finalists are there?

To find this out easily, go to the official rules and use Command+F (Mac) or crtl+F (Windows) to search “finalists” to see the number. There are normally 15-36 finalists in a contest.


Why wasn't my project chosen as a winner/finalist?

This can happen for all kinds of reasons, honestly. See the "How are finalists selected?" question above for a more in depth explanation of what we're looking for.

The most important thing I want to stress is that we are going through TONS of entries for every contest, so it's important to set yourself apart. Choose a clear and concise title, tell us a story, share great photos, explain the project well. If there are projects similar to yours in the contest already, make sure your project exceeds theirs in awesomeness.  

Also remember that competition is fierce in the contests, there are always a LOT of amazing entries.  When it comes down to selecting winners sometimes it's the little things because when you're comparing awesome to awesome the little things are all you can look at.  So be detailed orientated when writing your instructable.



Judging


Who judges the contests?

This is typically a mix of Instructables staff, employees of the sponsor (if there is one!), and authors on the site (your peers!). Each contest is normally assigned 10-50 judges.

Lately we’ve had an average of 15-20 judges complete the process. I always try to add as many judges as possible, because more judges means the judging is more fair and helps to reduce bias.


How can I help judge a contest?

If you’re interested in helping us judge, check out this forum topic! I’m also about to start doing weekly calls for judges in the Contest Forums, found here.

To judge, you must have published at least one Instructable.

I send out PMs to judges each Friday, and you might also receive one from audreyobscura.


How do I judge a contest/access the judging ballot?

We’ve written up an Instructable over it! You can find it here: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Judge-a-Contest/

Once I’ve added you to the list of judges, you’ll be able to access the ballot.


Prizes


How do you pick prizes? Can I suggest prizes?

I've got a pretty small budget prize here, so it's a mix of trying to be frugal but still give you guys something fancy. I try to order most of our prizes from Amazon.com because they have reliable shipping and tons of options.

Right now I've been going back and forth between tools/materials and fancy electronics. I love to give out tablets, cameras and supplies for more projects, because that gives you guys something to make more awesome stuff with!

If you'd like to suggest an awesome prize, do it here!


I don't like these prizes, can I trade?

Short answer: nope!

Long answer: we choose prizes well ahead of time and order prizes at the start of the contest (for 95% of what we run) and we don’t make substitutions. We typically have anywhere from 100-250 winners a month (and increasing all the time!), so it’s not feasible to give choices and sub things out. Only three of us on staff work with ordering the prizes and shipping them out, so that would be lots of work!

However, we have allowed winners to switch prizes with another winner on occasion (both parties must agree and let us know before we ship them!) and we’re fine with you selling your prize somewhere else.


How do I get my prize if I win?

When contest winners are announced, we’ll send you a message with a form to fill out. Make sure to fill this out completely and remember that we require a phone number and that we can’t ship to P.O. boxes.

Winners are responsible for any trade tax or tariffs incurred for shipping to your location. We cannot reduce the value of the prize so you pay less tax (nice try, though, you sneaky hobbit!!).


When will my prize ship?

We try to ship prizes as soon as possible! 75% of our contests have prizes that are easily shipped right away and you should receive notification of shipment within a week or so.

Sometimes we do have to order items AFTER the contest ends or wait for a sponsor to ship the items. If we think there will be a delay, we’ll let the winners know. We’ve been trying very hard to make sure we’re reaching out and updating winners about prize statuses.

Also: VERY IMPORTANT - the sooner all winners give us their contact info, the sooner we can make big orders of custom sizes. Sometimes there’s a huge delay just because we’ve got one straggler. Be a good winner and let us give you prizes, dangit!!

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kash_black8 days ago

At one point there was a way too see future contests, can I still do that now?

you can see a list of future upcoming contests here...

http://www.instructables.com/community/List-of-Upcoming-Contests/

It's a thread in the contest forum. You would have had to overlook it to get to this thread.

http://www.instructables.com/community/List-of-Upc...

chwbcc2 months ago

If a contest requires the instructable to use certain things, how do instructables that don't fulfill the requirements still get approved for the contest?

I believe this pulls views and potential votes from contestants that followed the rules.

jessyratfink (author)  chwbcc2 months ago

If there are specific entries you're concerned about, please email service @ instructables.com and let us know. Sometimes we make mistakes and it's only fair to fix them!

Is it common for the entry requirements to change half way through a contest? I honestly don't find that very fair. The grand prize winner of the graphic design contest didn't feature Creative Market in their post. It doesn't seem exactly right to me considering others entered beforehand and made the effort.

I've sent an email. I think what ever your process is for approving contest entries isn't working. There are several more entries that don't use the Creative Markets assets in their Instructables. If you need an unbiased set of eyes to look over the entries, I would be happy to pull my entry from the contest and offer to help.

I emailed them as well, and they said they decided to open the contest to all graphic design entries, but that the contest description hadn't been updated yet.

It's my guess that he's referring to the graphic design contest. There are several entries that do not use creative market products.

That is the contest I am referring to. Some of the entries are really good but they look like users are submitting old content without looking at the contest requirements.

propchap3 months ago

I was wondering if you can start doing age groups for the contests cause every time I enter a contest I'm up against professionals.

Hey don't be discouraged young fellow. Just make whatever makes you feel happy.

Keep working on ideas and ask for help in the community here.

I get just as frustrated as you do cuz I don't have access to one of those TechShop or Pier 9 work places like a lot of members here. I only have limited tools available. I would literally camp out at those places if they had them here! (picture Homer Simpson drooling)

When you come up with an idea - brainstorm/talk about it with other people. This helps alot cuz it helps you see it from another persons perspective. There is always a better, faster, cheaper, cooler way to make/do things! Then, you can make some changes to your idea for the better.

Keep working at it and don't be afraid to think outside the box!

True! Sometimes not having access to the fanciest tools leads you to use your brains to figure out what end up being brilliant ways of solving problems.

So true indeed Gravity.

Like CNC woodworking for example. Is it really working if a machine is making it for you? Dont get me wrong, I like them and cant wait to get my mitts on one - but doing something by hand and getting to the finished product from using our brains is indeed the most satisfying :~)

Kiteman propchap3 months ago

Very few members are actually professional makers, they've just practiced a lot.

Don't let your age be an excuse to fail (you'll never see somebody say they deserve to win or lose because they are old!):

Emilyvanleemput is 16, she is a member of the Community Team, has run stalls at Maker Faires, and wins contests all over the place.

Qtechknow is 14, he runs his own Making business, has had a successful Kickstarter and met President Obama.

I always try and go by the creativity of the project before the skills, and creativity is part of who you are, not a product of your age.

I don't think it's fair to accuse propchap of using his age as an excuse to fail. Everyone gets discouraged at times and everyone has different levels of skill, not to mention available resources. And all the creativity in the world doesn't do you a bit of good without the necessary means to put it to use.

To hold up other youths who are successful as an example and say "this girl can do it, so you should stop making excuses and be like her" is a little insulting in my opinion. I grew up hearing those kind of comments and it doesn't make you feel very good to constantly be told that you are just a failure and its all your fault.

I have looked back at past contest winners and they may not all be technically "professionals" but they might as well be. Their projects are always far beyond what the average home crafter on a budget could make. I'm about ready to throw in the towel myself at this point.

Maybe your past experiences have coloured your views, but what I was actually saying was not "you are a failure", what I was saying was "go, succeed".

I'm no pro, but I've won loads of contests, all with cheap and even second-hand hand tools.

You're absolutely right. My experiences have coloured my views, though perhaps not in the way you think.

I didn't express my point very well and I apologize for being critcal. I do understand that you thought you were being encouraging, that you want to help. My concern is that everyone is different and such comparisons can be hurtful to someone who faces challenges that make life more difficult for them. And that challenge could be anything from disability to poverty to just not being told that they can succeed by those around them. It should never be assumed that if someone is not successful that it is simply because they are not trying hard enough. For all you know they might already be trying three times as hard as those successful people.

As for the issue of what it takes to win contests, it would probably be wise to just leave it alone, so that's what I will do.

I feel the same way, about going up against the professionals, though in my case most of them are probably younger than me. It does seem a little unfair at times.

You should keep entering the contests anyway. It's good experience and you can learn new things and keep improving your skills.

Don't be discouraged. Your day will come. :)

great answer. I'm new to the site, but I work with children. sometimes kids have terrific ideas that surpass the 'pros'. I learn from children every day. And then, there are children who have 'gone pro' simply (?) because they had the mind design and courage to put forth their idea to others (peers, adults, pros, the public etc.) and they actually liked it. in some ways, 'age' groups might stifle the breadth of participation that could come forth. When I was younger, many people told me I had great ideas, but they'd give the prize/ high school play role etc. to someone in a 'category' (e.g. senior about to graduate), telling me there would be 'more chances' later, or my boss at work needed to have it be his (her) idea to 'fly' with the corporation, as I got older. I kind of like having the authorship/designer identity not be known in a contest. Amateurs have upstaged the professionals in many fields of endeavor (and life in general). I don't want to be told that I have a 'good idea for a girl' or 'great project, if we had more people who needed prosthetics'.... This website and contest process seems to be reasonable and fair (as a new visitor and future participant reviewing the contest rules). I'd like to see people who are 58, 68, 88, 98 and 108 submit their ideas [ I just happened to start with my age and go up, in case there are people reading who make unconscious ageism decisions].

I am 60 years old (in a few months). I joined instructables on 01 September 2012, posted 76 instructables as on date and working on few more. You can visit my page whenever you find time

Any tips or suggestions on how to get Instructables featured? Post your suggestions and ideas at: http://www.instructables.com/answers/How-to-Get-In...

this is the facq (frequently asked contest questions) so you should probably post it on a different part of the forum

Typically featured 'ibles win.

sysrion sysrion2 months ago

Thank you.

bitsandbots2 months ago

Thank you for posting this FAQ, it's very helpful and inspiring :-)

kymyst2 months ago

I don't quite understand how the rule that only new instructables are eligible for contests works. If an instructable can be entered in up to 3 contests, how is it considered "new" for the second and third entries ? Do the three contests have to be running simultaneously ?

Kiteman kymyst2 months ago

An instructable is considered "new" if it is published on or after the start-date of the contest.

If three contests began, one in May, one in June, and one in July, and I published a project in August, I could enter all three (as long as they were still running, of course).

ScarabCoder2 months ago

This might be the wrong place to ask, but how come the Coded Creations contest hasn't ended yet? It was supposed to end on the 25th, and it's the 27th now (winners announced on the 26th).

Sorry, I'm just dying to know if I won anything or not :)

Sponsored contests take longer because the sponsor gets some input on finalists/winners. They've been known to take around 2 weeks, though not always. You just have to be patient. Yes, it's a bummer, but who can complain with all the cool prizes they provide!

I think propchap has a good point. It could be fun to have a youth contest for people aged 13-18, just to give them a chance to really shine. But it might be difficult to ensure that all the people entering really are in that age group.

Ebener2 months ago

You should do a contest involving cardboard.

BuilderBro13 months ago

I entered a Instructable on the mind for design contest but when i got back on the contest my Instructable was not on and it said I didn't have a eligible Instructable

to enter.

Your most recently published Instructable was published on April 26th. The Mind for Design Contest states that April 27th was the official 'Start Date' of the contest, meaning that your Instructable needed to be publish on, or after this date.

A glitch that I've noticed exists is that users are presented with the option to add their past Instructables to current contests through the right hand column on their Instructables by selecting the 'Contest' button. The best way to see if an Instructable is actually eligible based on its publish date is by entering it through the contest page itself.

I published it on April 28th.

I even un-published and re-published.

did you receive an email from instructables that your contest entry has been received...?

Yes but then i got an email that said contest entry rejected.

you have already entered your instructable in three running contests, Hot Glue, grafting 101 and Backyard contests. You can enter one instructable in maximum of three contests only. Make a new instructable and enter it in Mind for design contest

Yeah I know I entered them after I tried Mind for design.

The instructable says it was published on April 26th. Once an ible is published, un-publishing and re-publishing does not change the date. If the date is wrong, contact service@instructables.com.

It doesn't look, to me, like your firefly jar ible is eligible for the Mind for Design contest regardless of the publish date. That contest is all about digital creation and I don't see any digital tools listed at the beginning of your ible. Since you can only enter three contests with one ible, it seems to me that you should just stick with the three contests you're entered in already.

I know I entered those three after it wouldn't let me enter the Mind For Design.

You guys are super.

ajmal hassan3 months ago

what would be the instructables prize pack

The prize packs include Instructables stickers, patch, and usually a tshirt. Some of the current contests have a different item other than the tshirt.

CityGirl704 months ago

Hi, I won the Judges first prize in the wall makeover contest. I was wondering when I would receive the items, or when they are being shipped? Thank You

The Wall Overhaul prizes just finished shipping, so depending on where you are located, it should be arriving shortly!

My winnings came today FedEx. Yippee!!!

instructables.jpg

Awesome! I look forward to receiving the items, so excited :)

fendyr4 months ago

Hi! I had just emailed service@instructables.com, but I
haven't gotten a response yet so I thought I'd post here too..

I'm from Indonesia, can I participate to audio contest?

Frankly,
I'm confuse for I must be a registered member of the Sponsor Site in
order to publish a project to the Sponsor Site. So, what Sponsor Site is
it??? And where is its Link???

Please help me for some information regarding to enter the Audio Contest.

Thanks.

The sponsor site means us, Instructables. Since you need to be an Instructables member in order to post an Instructable, you are already a member :) Hope that makes sense!

antoniraj fendyr4 months ago

Please go through Updates on international entries in instructables contest at this link

http://www.instructables.com/community/Update-on-International-Entries-in-Instructables-C/

allie.fauer4 months ago

Hi! I had emailed service@instructables.com last Friday about this, but I haven't gotten a response yet so I thought I'd post here too....

I won a prize in the Enchanted Objects contest and was just wondering when the prize was going to be shipped.

Hi Allie! Please check your email for a response. Sorry for the delay!

Thanks, I will take a look!

Not_Tasha5 months ago

When will the prizes for the Tailgating, Superfoods, and Sweet Tooth contests ship? I haven't heard anything. Thanks!

They should be getting shipped next week. I apologize for the delay, our shipping department has been getting backed up lately, which is a problem we are working on!

The Juliart5 months ago

I was wondering have you shipped prizes for lets party and paper craft contest.

Thank you!

Those prizes are getting shipped this week and next week. I apologize for the delay, our shipping department has been getting backed up lately, which is a problem we are working on!

kdinis5 months ago

I am 11 and I want to enter a contest and I just was saying i'm 13 on my profile is that ok?

What I mean is you should not lie about your age.

+1

:)

No you should not do that ever :(

You can use this site, and enter contests under 13, IF you have parental consent, and if your parents monitor your account. Both my boys joined the site under the age of 13, and both of them were required to give me their passwords until they turned 13.

If you enter a contest under the age of 16, and if you win, you will be sent a form that must be completed by the adults responsible for your well-being to give permission for your details to be taken by the site in order to mail the prize.

hi i think i entered a contest, the faqs say i can still cleanup my intractable.

i try to change some of the photos but can't upload on the page nor in the app.

is there any chance that you can reject my submission ? i just want to change some photos, not rewrite it :)

thanks

No, there is no way to reject changes. I change my ibles after publishing/entering contests all the time. This sounds like something you should post in the bugs forum.

yeah it works since around 20 min :)

seems the ipad app is a bit buggy from time to time :)

thanks anyways
Not_Tasha5 months ago

Hi! I entered an Instructable into the Date Night contest yesterday around 6pm EST. I haven't gotten a confirmation either way on whether or not it was accepted, but it was in before the deadline.

ashu98255 months ago

i creat robo war project so please give me any idea.....

kama796 months ago

Hello because people Puerto Rico can not participate in the contest?

You should ask Kiteman about this! He doesn't work for Instructables but he has a lot of experience with international contest participation :)

charleswenzel5 months ago

Why is the value of the first prizes in the current Science contest only $1 and third prize is $200? Assuming that's a mistake and the value is really high can one decline the prize to avoid the income tax? Who's a little optimistic? : )

Whoops, yes, that is a typo! Should be fixed now!

If you enter a contest and end up winning, you can decline the prize, but that's kind of unfair to other people who enter the contest and really want the prize.

Thanks. In retrospect, your point about the prize makes sense.

lakshay garg5 months ago

In the energy challenge won't people just use a translator(google translator) to convert their 'ible in Spanish to win the judge's prize? As there would be less spanish 'ibles.

Some of us speak a little Spanish and this contest was specifically run in partnership with a lot of Mexican organizations and want to encourage our Spanish speaking authors to participate :)

I have a question that has been floating around in my brain for awhile now.

If early entries are chosen as finalists based on votes, and late entries are chosen based on staff reviews, then what happens to the entries in the middle of the pack? What if someone enters a really good Instructable earlier in the contest but just doesn't get as many votes because they don't use social media to promote it? Not everyone has 5000 Facebook friends, or Twitter followers, or a blog, or a YouTube channel....

So, what is the best way to enter the contests if you are relying solely on the merits of your Instructable? If you can't promote it through social media then should you always wait until the very end and hope that it gets picked by the staff?

You're correct votes get in a good portion of the finalists, and then there are almost always some finalists that are chosen based on staff reviews. This does change depending on contests, it says how finalists are chosen in the official rules for every contest.

However, staff doesn't care about when an instructable was published or how little promoting they did. When the staff leave reviews we typically do it to WAY more instructables then could ever be finalists. The reviewed instructables are both early instructables that didn't get votes, middle of the pack, and late entries. The staff doesn't tend to look at when something is published we just look at the instructable. We do look at votes sometimes just to see what the community liked, it can help us get our finalists numbers down to feasible amounts. But for the most part we just look at the instructables.
Getting in early can help and votes can help. Votes alone do determine at least half of the finalists. But staff spends time reviewing content from all time periods of the contest..

Thank you for your reply. And I'm not questioning the integrity of the Instructables staff. I have been treated very fairly here and I have no complaints.

It was just that some of the previous comments I read here mentioned promoting your entry on social media. And I happen to notice one Instructable that had something like 90,000 views in just a few days. So it made me wonder how much influence social media has and how much of a chance someone who doesn't have those connections has at winning a contest.

For a real life example, I won grand prize in last years woodworking contest. It was a pretty complicated instructable to write and edit and get all the pictures done. Because of that I got it entered on the last day. I didn't do any promoting, I actually dislike Facebook and rarely even look at it even though I have an account. Since it wasn't up in the contest for very long its unlikely it had many votes. It still doesn't have as many views as a lot of my others instructables and views tend to drop off drastically after a contest closes, but apparently the staff review got it into the finalists and it won, grand prize no less. It is possible.

So, while getting something to be viewed a lot helps it to get some attention in the end its the quality of the instructable that counts.

Thanks Vyger (love your user name btw)

I ended up having to abandon all of the entries I was working on when I got sick before Christmas. It takes all the energy I have just to get through the day right now. I managed to get a couple done, one good, one not so good, over the last few days.

I went through some of the past contests and looked at the winners, and I know the quality is what matters most. That's one of the best things about this site. It feels good to be recognized for doing something well. If it was just a popularity contest, I wouldn't even bother. I guess that was what I was really concerned about, that this might, like everything else in life, turn out to be more about who you know than what you know. (not that I'm cynical or anything)

Social media can help, but if you're an awesome instructable with only a few votes the staff will find you and promote you when we're picking finalists.

Thanks again.

It's really all about having fun anyway. The contests are just a bonus. A really awesome bonus. =)

I am also of the opinion that all suspected denominators don't mean anything. I wrote an instructable, that was good enough to be featured and was even used by instructables to advertise the contest on Twitter, and I was not a finalist. There were however almost 1000 entries into that contest and some of the finalists I agreed were more to the point than what I submitted.

So my advice is this, Build for the fun of building. If what you build gets featured cool, If it is shared on twitter even better. But there may be something out there that has more of it to win a contest. Look for feedback on how to improve, get inspired, and keep making stuff.

Somethings I make have a high intended audience, some like how to replace the display on one particular laptop model will only apply to those who have that particular laptop, If one person likes and appreciates what I come up with then I view it a success. If no one likes it tell me why and how it can be improved.

Then again when I enter a contest I tend to pass over the low hanging fruit for the truly epic. I really want to see how i stack up in the whole maker/tinker sphere.

Thanks for the advice. =)

I do just make things for the fun of it. That's the only way I can do it because if it's not fun, I won't be motivated to do it. Though dangling some shiny prizes in front of me is also a good way to get me motivated. I don't even really care that much what the prize is, just as long as there is a prize.

I also don't have much to work with right now and can't afford to buy stuff just to make something for a contest. So I'm just doing whatever I can, whether it's good enough to win or not.

I was thrilled that I just got some views and even a few favourites on my first Instructables. I really didn't think anyone would even notice them. The reason I signed up was because I wanted to leave a comment for someone. The thought of publishing anything myself didn't even enter my mind at the time. I'm not really a "maker", more of a thinker. I may have an idea what to make, but have no idea how to make it. And doing things step by step and thinking all those steps through before I start is not my style. So it's been a challenge and a learning experience. (Also, putting my ideas "out there" for everyone to see is quite terrifying.)

I personally believe in entering as soon as possible so that Instructables members have the greatest opportunity to see it and vote. I don't have stats on this because I don't work for Instructables, but my assumption is that most of the votes come from active members. Social media can get you a lot of views, but the visitors you get aren't always likely to know about voting and are not always willing to sign in/up in order to vote. I have a very meager online footprint. You don't need a huge social media following to win. A good ible will get the attention it deserves even without promotion.

That being said, a following on Instructables is invaluable. Quality ibles gain you followers. Your ibles will be fed directly into your followers "You Page" for them to see anytime they log on.The more followers you have, the more active members will see your work, and those active members know to vote.

Thanks Brooklyntonia. I try to avoid social media as much as possible. It just gives me a headache. And I like to at least preserve the illusion of anonymity online.

I have to get into the habit of voting more often. I have a tendency to forget, or think I have already done it when I haven't. I try to look at as many of the entires as possible and comment when I can, but it takes a lot of time.

Raitis7 months ago

Just noticed the striked out section about sponsored contests. Can someone comment on how will/can that affect the authors if at all?

jessyratfink (author)  Raitis7 months ago

You guys shouldn't see much of a change, honestly - the only difference will be a bit less variety in prizes since we'll have less companies we're working with. (And that's really only for the food and living categories - those types of contests had lots of sponsored prizes before!) We're still running sold contests, which are a bit like sponsored contests on steroids. And the normal in house contests have more of a budget these days, so contests should go on just like they have been. :)

Thanks for clarifying! When I first read it any contest featuring prizes from the brand organizing contest with you seemed like sponsored.

By the way, what's the deal with featuring more 'ibles in the app and less in webpage, how does that work now?

jessyratfink (author)  Raitis7 months ago

We've gone back to two levels of featuring - some ibles go straight to the homepage, while some are featured just in their respective category. This allows us to feature more stuff overall since not everything has to run through the home page. It's kinda a work in progress right now - we're still figuring out guidelines for what goes where. :)

Oh, I think I remember it that way from a while ago when I wasn't on here all that often. (:

It's probably for the good - you put the really appealing stuff on the homepage and users end up with a bit more challenge to get there which makes us all up our game. Those who were only featured in categories can't complain either. New visitors to site probably end up seeing better content as well.

Due to old usage habits I'm not sure how often I'll click the categories to check for cool stuff though as there was barely a need for that earlier. (:

JyaR7 months ago

I had some grammer errors in my instructables. If I correct them do I have to re-publish it?

Nope just save it. You can publish in the editor as well but you will just bring to a screen where it will allow you change your main image. Either way will save your changes and they will then be seen by the public.

And thanks for that improvement. It used to be that every change you made required the instrucatable to be republished. Then, because the people following you got e mail notifications everytime you published something they would get a flood of notices whenever you did some fine tuning and spelling corrections. A lot of times I skipped doing those because of that. Hmmm, maybe I should go back and do that one of these days. I know some people get irritated by spelling mistakes.

Thank You

tammy schultz7 months ago

I'm a first timer. I entered "old wooden ladder bed" I think it got published, but I never saw the part were I can check a box to enter a contest. I would very much like to enter the wood contest. Can someone help?

Go to your project, and look down the right-hand side.

Under "Author Options", there should be a button for adding the project to contests - click it, and go from there.

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