Stolen Projects

What is one to do if they start a collaboration and someone else steals it out from under them and publishes it as their own Instructable? The Colaboration system is too flawed and I will never consider working on projects publicly again. They should be hidden from view of all but members of the collaboration itself. I had a project titled USB UPS and opened it for collaboration. A user (neelandan) saw it, copied the idea, threw together amateurish circuits and published the parts to it as his own. I had planned on publishing a very professional step-by-step for a usable project. Now the idea is moot since it's already been published.

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zachninme11 years ago
Wait, IT VIOLATES THE CC! Since he took the work, and did not give credit, the instructable violates the creative commons on the collaboration.
ewilhelm11 years ago
Hello,

There are four parts to this, each of which I will address separately.

1) LasVegas, I will be sad to see you go, but it is your choice and your content. If you want your account removed, send me a note and I’ll do it immediately. No hard feelings.

2) Your reasoning behind being upset at neelandan strikes me as silly and amateurish. As per our “be nice” policy, this is meant as not well thought out and not professional rather than as a pure negative – let me explain. Having developed a few companies and patented technologies, I have come to consider initial ideas to have little value. The real value in something comes from the hard work that goes into making it great. Examples of this abound; it is often referred to as great execution versus poor execution.

Neelandan saw your idea, paid you the highest compliment by wanting to do it himself, and posted his version. If you thought his version was poorly done, wouldn’t the right thing be to post your own very professional step-by-step? Don’t you think the community would appreciate a version of the idea documented with the greatest of care and dedication? I sure think they would – in fact, I’m betting the future of Instructables directly on the community appreciating the best instructions written by the most passionate people, not simply the first version of those instructions.

If someone posted a better Traditional Polynesian Ice Canoe or a clearer description of How to drill a hole I would applaud and encourage them. Heck, if someone posted a better version of how to drill a hole, I’d even change the links of my other Instructables to point to their better version so that I always provide the best reference.

The concept described in an Instructable never becomes moot simply because it has been previously published. That is one of my favorite things about this site and about how-to in general: There are multiple, equally valid, right ways to get to the same thing. The thing that separates these equally valid and right ways is their execution. Look at the staying power of the MintyBoost! compared with the myriad of other USB chargers.

So, you feel you’ve been scooped by neelandan, but I beg to differ. It’s execution, not timing that matters.

Also, I do not wish to single you out on this matter, and I apologize for essentially having done just that. I have seen a number of comments on recently posted Instructables roughtly saying “don’t post this, it’s already been done.” Those comments are out of line and represent a trend I am addressing here.

3) From the comments in this forum, I gather there has been some nasty comments between crash2108 and LasVegas. We have a “be nice” policy described here. I’d like to say it’s a strict be nice policy, but I’m not everywhere all the time. If someone posts nasty, non-constructive comments, please bring it to my attention and flag it. I will remove comments and ban habitual offenders as appropriate.

4) The content LasVegas attempted to post as an Instructable that I suggested be posted as a forum topic instead appears here in one of his comments. I prevented it from being published as an Instructable because it was not a finished project and so, not an Instructable. My decision was based purely on the community’s desire to only see finished projects in the Instructables area and had nothing to do with the specifics of the content he wished to publish.

Now, it’s time to all play nice and build cool stuff!
However, at first, he published WORD FOR WORD what the collaboration was, and there is some real demerit in that...
dan11 years ago
i'll put in my 2 cents too. - it seems to me the problem is what you are using instructables for in the first place. different people have different goals. are you here to learn something? are you here to get famous? - it seems that LasVegas' main reason for publishing on the site is to get name recognition for his/her original ideas. - probably there are other users with a similar goals, but i think that many posters and the vast majority of readers are a lot more interested in learning how to make the project than in the mere concept of what it is. - i myself took a look at one of neelandon's projects, i could care less about making a USB UPS. the part that i found fascinating about the project was the how it was built - the low-budget construction methods. does LasVegas see any merit to those? - if LasVegas has a better or different way to make the same thing, that to me is just as interesting. the specific construction methods are where the value is for the readers, because each reader has different skills, tools and materials available to them. - as eric pointed out: ideas are cheap, execution is where it is at. and: readers are just as interested in a better way to an age-old idea than they are in a new idea. practicality vs. novelty. - i do think it is the responsibility of anyone who posts to credit others if that is appropriate. eg: "i got the idea/plans/work for this from ".
LasVegas (author)  dan11 years ago
If I'd been out for personal fame, I wouldn't have considered Collaborations in the first place. Collaborations, by their very nature, require sharing credit for a project. Had the system been used properly, neelandon would have joined the collaboration and contributed his ideas and unique construction techniques to the collaboration. This would have resulted in a single Instructable with both of our work showing two (or more had more collaborators joined) ways of accomplishing the project. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that Collaborations are being used this way. I will not be leaving, but will not be using the Collaboration system until it's improved. I'm reposting those Instructables that didn't contain insults toward my wife or myself. I will continue to post comments on those that post great Instructables. I may also post more Instructables in the future. I just won't make them Collaborations. They will appear when I've completed them on my own.
ewilhelm LasVegas11 years ago
If you point out the negative, non-constructive comments to me, I'll be happy to remove them.
LasVegas (author)  ewilhelm11 years ago
Anything from crash2108. While they may not appear terribly offensive on their own, when taken in context with his extremely insulting private messages they are.
dan LasVegas11 years ago
i agree with your first paragraph in the general case. i haven't looked at half the projects in question here so i'm not going to try to judge this specific case. the instructables team just introduced 'collaborations' so i'm not sure any particular mode of use is well established yet.
dan dan11 years ago
also, i look forward to see your projects!
neelandan11 years ago
Allow me to clarify: I had seen LasVegas' USB UPS and that started me thinking. I already had a USB hub, half finished, and was thinking of the power supply part of it. I had the parts for Li-ion charger and a buck-boost converter, and modified LV's schematic to use my parts and then came back and looked for the collaboration to post to it. It was gone. It had only been renamed, but my searches did not find it, so I posted the diagram as a fresh collaboration with the same title ( I did not remember the original author, to ask him permission). As per LV's request I have deleted that collaboration. I must give him full credit for thinking of the idea of a USB UPS. Once that idea is formed, it is easy to implement, which I have done using integrated circuits from Microchip and Texas Instruments. Of course, I have done so in separate instructables, but the credit for thinking up the original idea still belongs to LasVegas.
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