Instructables

Email newsletter relevancy

Recently the email newsletters are becoming less and less relevant. When I first agreed to start receiving them, they seemed great. I saw great instructables and a lot of good stuff. Now the featured 'ibles are all above my crafting skills and are expensive to boot, requiring 3D printers, expensive materials, and machinery that I don't have.
While they're great instructables, they make me sigh and check the delete button on the email instead of clicking through to the site to view something I could actually do.
I like the featured 'ibles usually, and this might just be me whining because I don't have the resources many on this site do have, but lately I've wanted to unsubscribe from newsletters - which would mean I would only venture to this site when I actually needed to do a diy project. No more neat ideas to be in awe of for their awesomeness - just complicated ones that are beyond me. 
Maybe the newsletters could have more varied 'ibles? More simple ones and less "3D/wood/metal/arduino" ones? A balance would be nice.

randofo2 years ago
The projects in the newsletter are decided by reviewing all of the projects since the last newsletter. I then first pick the ones that have been gaining traction on the site and on the interwebz. This usually fills all 15 slots. When possible, I try to throw in a few exceptional under-appreciated projects.

On account of all of the awesome stuff that gets posted, the newsletter does not often leave a lot of room for flexibility in choosing projects.

We are aware of your concerns, and have been thinking of different ways of surfacing more content in a more personal way for our readers

If you have any suggestions of how you would like to receive content from us (area-specific newsletters, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc...) and what sort of content you would like to receive, please let us know. Nothing is written in stone at this point, and your feedback is definitely welcome as we explore possibilities, look at all data, and figure things out.
It's nice to know you guys are listening to the feedback, and although I can appreciate that it's impossible to make everyone happy, I tend to agree with the OP on this one. Lately, I find myself completely disinterested with the newsletter ibles, whereas there was a time when I found myself looking at several of them.

Have you guys consider pushing newsletter content based on what members want to see? For example, if we had a choice of checkboxes, we could select the kinds of categories that interest us, and therefore omit the ones we have little to no interest in.

Much like the OP, I don't have a large workshop (if you can call my living room a workshop), nor do I have a big budget for projects. I also don't care much for Arduino (and the like) and would rather see content driven based on my areas of interest, if that's something you all would consider doing.
Kaelpe (author)  canucksgirl2 years ago
I second the checks idea. Several other websites I frequent have this as well.
Kiteman Kaelpe2 years ago
+1 on checkboxes

(Although, personally, I'd check them all.)
That may be true for many members, but to clarify my suggestion, I was thinking there should be checkboxes at the subcategory level (and not just the 6 main categories). I wouldn't want to omit any one main category, but there is definitely specific subcategories that I would want to "opt out" from.
Oh, I can see that some members would not want to see projects on some themes. I just like to stick my nose in everywhere...
Kiteman2 years ago
That's a good point, and I agree with Caitlinsdad here - the majority of [regular] posters I would call Makers use easily-obtainable materials and tools. The limiting factors on replicating their projects are your personal motivation and individual skill, not the size of your bank-balance.

Having said that, the top of my win-the-lottery shopping list is full of stuff like laser cutters, 3d printers and a shed big enough to use them in.

Perhaps the newsletter editors can start striking a balance between what the site owners want the membership to be like (designing all our projects on the computer and outsourcing the result to companies like Ponoko) and what we actually are (knocking up our projects from the scraps we have in the shed, using tools from our local DIY store).

"More Maker than Maker" is our motto.
I figured it was just the "cool" factor on those fancy projects, getting them in the newsletter. Although, I am also a little bummed seeing most things in the newsletter needing vast resources. Some of them seem more expensive than just buying an equivalent off the shelf.

I'd think having those big machines in Universities and having companies offering their services online for an accessible price line has created a bit of a "fad" for them, too. Which will either fade or bring the prices down to "easily" accessible for everyone.

I always end up surfing the site anyway though, because the editors can't possibly put ALL the coolest instructables in the newsletter anyway, so it makes no never mind to me.
caitlinsdad2 years ago
I think what we are on the verge of is corporate sponsorship wanting to get their money's worth. I sense there would be pressure to get those membership numbers up and push the hackerspaces and their facilities. It is essential to the vitality of the site but yeah, good solid unique projects with a true hacker-maker grounding will be overshadowed by the glitz and wow of something made on a 3-d printer or laser cutter. I think they have a vision of everyone designing something using their software and outsourcing it to a 3-d printshop to have it manufactured. I jumped into getting an arduino because I was impressed with some LED projects. Now I am finding it is like yachting since the cost of parts and add-ons all add up. I am going back to my recycled cardboard and glue. Pencil and paper is where it's at for real designers and makers.