How we make sure contests are awesome
I'd like to take a minute to talk about our thoughts on contests, fun, and fairness.
First I'd like to say that we strive to make contests both as much fun and as fair as we can for everyone who enters. Entering a contest can be a major investment of your time and energy, and we respect that. If you worked hard to make an Instructable for a contest, we want you to know that everything was fair, and make the contest as much fun for you as possible.
One of the key parts of this is in how we choose finalists and winners. What is best is always subjective to some degree, so we spread that decision across as many people as we can. First, finalists are chosen by a combination of user votes and staff/judges' picks. Then the winners are chosen by a knowledgeable panel of judges we've assembled specially for each contest.
On occasion, we need to change the contest a bit to make it more fun and/or fair. Sometimes the contest requirements are a little more restrictive than we thought, so we need to push to broaden the theme or push the deadline back, or both. Sometimes the rules aren't clear, so we clarify them. Sometimes we find people trying to unfairly game the system in a way that makes the contest less fun and/or fair for the other entrants, so we tweak the rules to close the loophole. Sometimes we decide to award extra prizes, or add to the prize packs at the last minute if more prizes become available.
That's why we include this point in the standard rules for contests:
6. Instructables reserves the right to modify, cancel, postpone or end the contest at any time as necessary, at its sole discretion, or to disqualify any participant or winner, at its sole discretion, deemed to have cheated, destroyed, obstructed, or otherwise acted illegally or in bad faith in relation to this contest.
In short, we want to keep things flexible so we can run the best contests possible. It's hard to predict 100% what will happen in a contest, so even our best efforts will need continual tweaking. We do our best with each contest, and incorporate all the feedback you give us.