Tell Us What You Think!

Instructables has just joined Autodesk, a cool company that makes some of the ultimate DIY tools: they’re the world leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software.

Now that we’re a part of Autodesk, we’ll be able to do some neat new things for and with Instructables. What do YOU think we should do? Please suggest how we should co-opt the resources of a multi-national corporation to make Instructables even more awesome.  

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jebaok3 months ago


n.benz4 months ago

I don't want to be spoon-fed instructables pre-selected from narrow
topic areas. I want to see a broad and random selection of things I'd never think
to find on my own. How do I avoid the "feed"? Could you at least
create a random feed?

Switch from "Feed" to "Top Picks" near the top left of the page. This will show the same handpicked quality ibles from all categories that are on the homepage.

I positively think that you need to get someone working on the response-time of your interactive programming applications.

I find yours to be the very slowest website I have ever visited and I have visited thousands.

I just LOVE your content. You have some of the most imaginative items ever conceived.

But your webmaster needs to take a master's degree in making a website respond quickly.

Even when I try to login, it takes MINUTES to get a response.

What is WRONG?

I hate to be critical, but I waste hours sometimes trying to get to where I want to go on your webpages.

For example: When I look at an entry I try to scroll down the page. It takes forever. Then when I try to click on "SHOW ALL STEPS" sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.

Perhaps you have so many "POPUPS" running that they hog all the processor time.

Please correct the problem. I love your site, but abhor the way it works.

David Michael Myers




I have never experienced what you're describing in 5 years of active participation on the site. Perhaps it is your web connection or some other issue external to the site itself.

rush_elixir5 months ago

maybe you can include foreign countries to be eligible for the contest prizes not just limited to US, Canada or European countries only...As there are also more people with lots of creativity and ideas for invention is put out because of the contest eligibility rules...the more creative ideas the more useful things can be invented...and creativity and business will thrive...:)

darman123 years ago
An app that allows you to view and create Instructables. One for iOS and Android so there isn't a feud between those who prefer one or the other ;) I am using my iPad to create an Instructable and it is glitching out because this site is intended for desktop use.
vishalapr5 years ago
Oh yeah one more last suggestion about contest prizes, because nowadays there are only about 5-8 prizes usually in contests but they are really expensive and awesome, I agree that they are expensive and cool etc, but instead of having such expensive prizes for only a few winners maybe there could be cheaper prizes but for more people like 10-20 prizes! That would be great!

And how about finalist prizes? Because that would be a really cool idea as well!
Finalist prizes or maybe at least finalist patches?!

Oh and one last suggestion, maybe printable diplomas/certificates for finalists and winners, so that we can print out the certificate on card and then keep it as an achievement rememberence but not in the internet but in phisical appearence!
I would love to have a certificate that says Winner of the ......................... challenge! It would be an awesome way to mark an achievement! And the cool thing is that anyone with a printer can print it once it has been sent to them by email ( sent to the winners) To make them more original, maybe a signature on the certificate by Eric!

Sorry if I am being wrong or against anything :(
ewilhelm (author)  vishalapr5 years ago
I love your idea about the certificates! I'm doing that.
So how far has the certificates idea gone?
Awesome, so who get certificates? Winners? Finalists? or Participant certificates?
Thanks for takeing forward the idea!
iceng ewilhelm5 years ago
Glad you can :-)
I wish to chime in and say I totally agree! More prizes encourages participation. Fewer more expensive prizes makes me give up in advance because I know I can't compete against the more serious makers out there.

The printable certificates is a great idea too.
Yeah I would really love printable certificates coz I always like certificates that state that I have an achievement! And usually when there are 4-5 prizes I just quit even before thinking about any ideas because I just know that I will not win ...
I've been using Autodesk's free student software trials for three years now without a hitch (AutoCAD, Inventor). These have helped me greatly with projects and presentations in college and Inventor is my favorite 3D design software because of this. However, these free services aren't available to most adult users and would be too costly for hobby budgets. Seeing as the Instructables community is primarily open source, I don't see how Autodesk would increase sales by dominating the site's ad space. 

As far as I can tell, the site doesn't have any issues that require Autodesk software to fix. I really hope there aren't any changes to the website. What does Autodesk have to contribute(besides money)? Maybe a Flash 3D viewing window for .ipt or .dwg files but that's all I can come up with. 

What will happen if someone published a new hack or piece of software that would divert sales away from Autodesk? Before, advertisers had no say in what could be published, but now Austodesk has the potential to personally ban any user they deem unsatisfactory. 

Do not change the editor.
Do not take away free features.
Do not integrate the Autodesk Design Community.
Do not increase ad space.
Do not add new membership requirements.

Do increase the staff's project budget.
Do add more sponsored contests.
Do continue to support open source, free information, and educational hacking.

Bottom line: If Autodesk gets any control over the community, it will be detrimental to the spirit of Instructables and open source. In the event that instructables.com becomes a restrictive environment, we'll simply stop contributing. 
I agree, when I was younger, I played on a site that was great until disney took over, now it is horrible and it is disney ad infested(not that I play on it anymore), I hope that that doesn't happen here, I really want instructables to stay this way, and hopefully they do stuff on your DO list.
Ahh, Neopets.
It was actually club penguin, but disney bought neonates too?(even though I have never played it before)
Club Penguin was only a game on the surface - in actuality it was a huge marketing survey information gathering machine to find out the preferences of kids for material items they could "buy" to put in their igloos. I saw that right away and tried to buy stock but it was private, then of course Disney figured out what a gold mine of data it was....
Wait a second; Disney is now buying neonates? The Mouse must like tender, newborn meat....
Poor Stanislovas. :'(
I dunno, it was just a shot in the dark. :D
I like your do list. Particularly increasing my project budget ;-)

I also mostly agree with your "do not" list.

However, the editor does need some improving and this has been far too long in coming. Particularly, the uploader needs some fixing (it drives me crazy). I think we might see some changes to the uploader soon-ish.
dombeef randofo5 years ago
Yeah, I agree with the uploader, on my mac in safari it works once in a while and then it doesn't work at all, I have to do it the old way, manually getting each picture at once, but I just use flickr to upload them now, at least the editor has the ability to do that!
Your "do not" list is pretty clear, and matches mine nicely. (Though I'd like to fix the editor a bit!)

Suggestions for more good things TO DO? That list is currently a bit shorter! :)
I can see the benefit of an embedded 3D viewing window (as mentioned earlier by whatsisface). It would be much more useful than screenshots of models and assemblies. If this is possible, I would see use in simple features such as pan, zoom, exploded views, and individual part manipulation in assemblies. Allow the author to set the default view of the part. An easily accessible download link would also be helpful. 

Important: If a feature like this is implemented,  it should support OpenScad and Google Sketchup files as well. We don't want financial restraint to limit progress. 

Perhaps Autodesk could offer full programs to the standard "Instructables Prize Pack" or to featured instructables.

I like seeing the occasional group project from the staff. Maybe you could afford more of those?

I'm sure many of us on the East Coast would appreciate a paid trip to Instructables HQ and San Francisco. Possibly during Makerfaire S.F.? It would be an amazing contest prize.

By the way, I appreciate the staff asking the opinions of the members on high priority matters such as this. That's the personal presence that I like about Instructables.
Good suggestions - I'll see what we can do on the prize ideas.

Which group projects have been your favorite? I can tell you that 3 people were on the roof today shooting each other in the face with a variety of absolutely disgusting goop; that collaboration should be lots of fun, and will be posted soon.
Okay it looks like everyone else wants a new editor. Just don't take away any features.

I liked Shotgun a Beer With Just Your Thumb instructable. Not because it's beer-related but because it showed a bunch of the staff trying out noahw's instructions. There are more that I can't think of at the moment. Anyway, I like to see collaboration. 

Oh yeah more prize ideas for you(demanding, aren't I?):
DSLR's with macro lenses-so good authors can take the best pictures
SDHC/SDXC cards-these get used up fast, even with good data management
Have anybody here ever used eDrawings? It allows you to embed 3D models into a webpage, but it's for SolidWorks models. I would love to see something similar to it.
I'd just like to say

DO change the editor, if it's a free improvement
caitlinsdad5 years ago
Will this still be allowed? Oh right, whatever you do when we're negotiating the price, don't mention some of the members we got around here..

Congratulations. I wish the site well. It has been good to me.

With that said,

Will those outside free-thinking activities of your staff allow them to keep their day job? Will we see mass production of the clap-off bra?

I don't believe I have seen the library of Knex objects to use in 123D design software. Do we have to worry about any plans drawn up for weapons of mass destruction - trebuchets/waterballoon cannons/giant slingshots be considered as acts of terrorism?

Will corparate policy apply or be pressured by DMCA rights? You might have to scrub the database for old ibles in violation thereof. Any plans drawn up to scale of an existing commercially produced product may be in violation of trade secrets or be party to attempts to reverse engineer some other protected work. I think the BBC is pretty vigilant in going after those people who try to duplicate a TARDIS.

Will the site be manned 24/7 to get support of bugs/problems over the weekend?

Will the site be more vigilant in deSPAMMING comments, topics, ibles guilty of SPAMMING?

Can the upper management of Autodesk take a joke? Does he like sand in his office or his walls rasterbated on?....wait...there is someone at my door....

The word "Awesome" is not part of corporate lexicon, you may have to come up with something else.

Pixlr is not PIXAR. I believe the 3D Maya software is the stuff used in some movies CGI.

I thought ibles was in bed with Radio Shack or Craftsman, didn't see this coming.

Kombucha and tofu chips is not the same as a bourbon and cigars. DIY lawn croquet vs golf clubs.

Will contest prizes and sponsorship be more stringent? Will you need to provide a tax id number to claim a prize?

What happens to PRO membership, will the rates go up after the accountants look at the books?

And a general observation:
Many creative people are not engineers - in a sense they are not into hard numbers or defined lines. Speaking for myself, sure, I could use a PC to work out plans and measurements, the tools are there, but I would not want to be constrained by software. CAD isn't really applicable to recipies and I guess not really tailored to fashion, is there a fabric pattern making option? I can sketch and work out things better in my mind or with pencil and paper better than trying to figure out which hot key brings up the menu to rotate the image 45 degrees counterclockwise. I am not out to save the world by mass producing what I design. There are some though that would. I would find it humourous if I can genereate an IKEA-like manual for all of my stuff. I do not think the many jewelry designs would be converted to plans for others to send off to duplicate by 3D printer and I guess you would make waves in the Etsy sector. Btw, how does the spreadshirt model fit into this, is the ibles store still open?

From what sample objects I have seen on that 123D designer software to generate objects for production, it seems still a primitive approach to 3D layering of cardboard. It is a waste of cardboard and glue when put together. 3D should be a combination of Pepakura with an engineered substructure. Skin a strutural frame. My Giant Fn Key Stool/Chair would be massive in weight and cost to produce if it were just layered cardboard through.

As for the community of "open source", is Autodesk trying to throw out 123D as open source? It is a moneymaker to port the designs to their preferred manufacturer but I guess they have to figure out where they want to go with it.

Anyway, Good luck to the joint venture.
We're replacing Randy's ban hammer with a new white one labeled Autodesk, just like in the video. Kiteman beware! Bwahahah.

Ahem.  Right.

Our content policies won't change - awesome, entertaining things are always welcome. Please see a recent in-house project here as an example.  (We're pretty sure SHIFT! is OK.)  Also, we've always done the legal (in addition to morally right) thing wrt copyright law, so there's honestly nothing more to add there.  Being a part of Autodesk doesn't change the core of our business, how we interact with people, or change your legal standing as an author/contributor in any way.

Re: cartooning, check out SketchBook, and keep your eyes peeled for new stuff.  They've got a lot in the pipeline; I'll keep you posted.

Did you realize the clap-off bra has been on both the Today Show and the Tonight Show?  It's totally legit. ;) Also, we've been suggesting a K'NEX CAD modeling overlay.  That would be awesome.
Sketchbook seems to be only for the ipad and the full PC version is around $500. I think I will have to stick with Crayola for a while.
kelseymh canida4 years ago
The High Priestess wrote, "Also, we've been suggesting a K'NEX CAD modeling overlay. That would be awesome."

All humor aside, that would be awesome. The same way that LEGO's modeling software allows their user base to design and then build stunningly awesome projects, a K'Nex modelling layer could do the same.

When you give an enthusiastic, focussed kid proper tools, there is no limit to what they can do, or where they might end up.
yeah, look at me...
If nothing else, it would improve the images in step-by-steps - in focus, and full-screen.

Here's another thought, I was browsing the topics looking to throw out a few ideas or answering the bat-signal ( I don't visit the Answers section mostly because of the random questions put up there), what is the liability of the person now providing an answer and does he/she provide the answer on behalf of the corporation and should act as an ambassador of goodwill thereof? I have had no qualms about giving out ideas freely, but does this now create a class of professional answerers that should be compensated for their expertise? In-house programs could be geared toward incentives to answer more questions or post ibles but that could turn ugly real fast with recommendations for the product of choice.
And that begs the question, users are now contributing to a corporate databank. Will they be expecting compensation of some sort? It was always the spirit to share openly for the DIY cause but now it seems a bit tainted with, hey - we are contributing to the bottom line of the Instructables department of Autodesk. I do not mind bolstering our economy but I think many will have reservations of contributing to for-profit causes of which they do not benefit directly.
There is a nice writeup on MAKE magazine's blog about the situation.   I guess this is a real test of faith for long-term fans and iblers.

btw, which Autdesk product is the one for cartooning?

Hmmm, is that a Flip camera I see there?
ask Indy Mogul or Threadbanger to see what happens....wait...

When they came for Kiteman, I said nothing.
When they came for Lithium Rain, I said nothing.
When they came for Fn NachoMahma, I said nothing.
When they came for the physicists, there was no one left to say anything.

P.S. Godwin has left the building!
and that was nothing.
Oh my God, you sir are a genius, pointing out the obvious in a format that everyone can see, even what the visuals imply is dead on! Sir, you are getting my first Fn patch, wear it with honor!
Thanks, but I would prefer a robo-hoodie.
So would I, but nobody likes me.
Ha ha haha. Even if there's no truth in the videos, they're still very funny. Excellent.
>standing ovation< :D
Excuse me, I was going to make a witty reply to this, but I hear a knocking at the door...

You, Sir, are my sole consolation. XD
lding4 years ago
You need to screen your advertisers more carefully. I receive the instructables email newsletter. The most recent one "Tar and Feather Gun, Steampunk Mechanized Plasma Bulb, Handmade Mini SLR Camera" has an ad halfway down that isn't marked as an ad.

More over when you go they make claims about building a solar panel for a ridiculously cheap price. Too good to be true.

So when you do a search you find out they are a scam.

I think it is a problem to let them advertise like this. It seems like they are just another legitimate instructable. I think you have a duty to your audience not to represent scammers like officially endorsed instructables.

Please send out a secondary email naming the scam to everyone who received the first email.
canida lding4 years ago
Thanks for the heads-up - that's certainly not OK. We'll do our best to make sure nothing like that slips by us next time.
toddbg5 years ago
Have to say I am a bit worried about this development.
I'm really not sure about a corporation owning what was/is made of people basically breaking all the rules and making things.

What does Autodesk get out of this purchase?

an additional thing I would love to see happen, kill the 20 million Knex "projects"
randofo toddbg5 years ago
Many of the knex projects are done quite well and just because they are not of interest to you, I don't feel that you should be so quick to discount them. They have as much right to be on this site as anybody else. Give the kids a break. They are just having fun like everyone else.
Xellers randofo4 years ago
I wholeheartedly agree with your comment about preserving the k'nex instructables, but I think that there does need to be some sort of bare minimum quality filter. I've talked to people, and one of the most-cited reasons for not joining or for quitting the instructables community is its steadily decreasing quality.

Take this: http://www.instructables.com/id/Save-the-planet/ for example. It's not a set of instructions, it's not helpful, and it's not even coherent! Nonetheless, it's a published instructable that shows up in search results and reflects negatively on the entire community.
foobear randofo4 years ago
Number one thing I wish for is a filter, so that I could say: show me all the recent instructables, but please exclude certain categories of things I'm not interested in, knex or recipes, etc. I don't want to see any part of the user base excluded, but just allow each user to customize what comes out of the firehose a bit.

toddbg foobear4 years ago
Actually this is an excellent idea and something along the lines of what I was thinking but did not articulate well.

I agree with not excluding the community as long as we have a way of filtering out so that we can limit what we see/have to search through.
taodih5 years ago
Oh god so much hate and pessimism (o_O")

I watched the video and what you could do with the feature of taking some pics , making them into a 3D model and with the option to print it in any shape/material.
give instructable pro members the option to have a discounted price for ordering such things , Pro membership isint that expensive and making an 'ible with it will encourage(if you must say "force") people into ordering via the above mentioned option.
Either way there are more then enough 'ibles to make your own 3D printer if you must. it is not forcing it in that way , but just making a 3D printer just because you want to try to make something with a 3D object.. is just a bit overboard imo.

aside all that , one of my problems have been finding my materials!
I would love to see a resource link to online webshops for materials to make 'ibles. especially for electronics... this gives the option to make more money to sell those "recommended sites" links.
A true DIY'er will always find a way to get it cheaper but in return this will allow more people to get into DIY faster and actually enjoy making stuff without having to search half of the time after stuff (wich has been for me a big downer on some projects).

Now armed with ways to make money without making instructables into corporate site we can focus on making more interesting contests! 
the "so many entries will make the prizes go higher" makes it sure to go for quantity vs quality. I already have seen so many remakes on sortalike 'ibles , OK i do not say they are bad but... I've been seeing myself skim through pages of 'ible to find that specific 'ible back. it is good that there are so many but still.. 

and talking about that , what about a random prize (based on 'ible category) for the best made ible. I do not mean best idea but best instructable. this means a well written ible (I do not mean correctly spelled because not all of us can speak english, i'm belgian just to say) paragraphs , bold text , underline and so forth. also a well documented ible. basicly any ible that makes it able to make it ( and needs some degree of difficulty IE NOT stuff like "how to peel a banana!!!") so that you go so the ible without going "huh wait what?"
Or provide an assortment of prizes for the monthly winner to pick from.
boost in quality ahoy!

now for the website related.
for contests it would be nice to see some flash based "rankings" for selection, at the start you have a list of all entries (and while you hover over the entry pictures you would get a comprehensive infobox about the ible , also very important is the need of making entries randomised in the flash, for the human mind we will end up going mostly for the first and/or last entry we see , not because we want to but because we compare and we will always compare it to the first thing we seen. period.

I'll stop (for now) because i run out of ideas XD
taodih taodih5 years ago
oh my , I have sidetracked alot.

In the third paragraph I meant we could go for some more diverse/ larger assortment of prizes , not everyone wants sugru though it is a really nice thing to have x.x.

in the fourth paragraph (above boost in quality ahoy! I meant and instead of or..)

also pardon me for my english. It seems i am in dire need of sleep...
You should hire this guy immediately and make an instructable from his blog! His name is Richard Handl and he was building a nuclear reactor in his kitchen until he was arrested by the Swedish police after he called to get an operators permit.

This is an article about it from NPR

An this is an English translation of his blog describing the project.

This could at least be a promotional opportunity for Instructables even if it is just a cautionary tale.
spatialguru5 years ago
One suggestion comes to mind. You could get familiarised with a bunch of the interesting *online* design tools in the labs.autodesk.com (and elsewhere). Then make it possible for the instructables communities to use these tools (and save direct to instructables) to improve the quality of their design instructions, that'd be very useful and could provide an incentive for designers since it gives them back a nice model/drawing,etc.

Holler if you'd like more specific ideas, there are some good ones out there that can help lower the barrier to use of design tools.

(congrats btw!)
In the spirit of "be nice", I'll just point out that the user who mentioned specific AutoDesk online products by name (and a suggestion that would possibly require either downloading AutoDesk software or visiting an AutoDesk online resource when you want to view an Instructable) has been a member all of < 1 day and let people draw their own conclusions on what ideas AutoDesk may already have for Instructables.
The time of membership may or may not be correlated to the time of observation on the site. All of the information here is fully available to everyone, with or without a membership.

One could just as easily measure "participation" by the number of comments made, and question the authenticity of someone with less than a dozen comment and no contributed content at all. I'll leave it to you to judge the legitimacy of that approach.

The references provided by "spatialguru" are directly relevant to the specific request from the creator of Instructables, to "Please suggest how we should co-opt the resources of a multi-national corporation to make Instructables even more awesome."
I deleted my content when I heard the news. I have first-hand experience in how AutoDesk understands ownership, and I had no intention of allowing something I created for the purpose of sharing with a community to be bought up and become the product of a multi-national corporation whose history has shown them to have little to no respect for openness and ownership rights.

...I actually had a big long explanation of why I question the input of someone who joins on the day of the announcement, but the Internet explains it sufficiently:

spatialguru.com > About Page > Tyler Mitchell > Executive Director for the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo) > Autodesk is the OSGeo Sustaining Sponsor

I will freely admit my bias.  AutoDesk threatened my small company with legal action for simply trying to sell a piece of software that I legitimately purchased (google their history regarding the first-sale doctrine), and when I finally relented because I could not afford to fight their lawyers, I tried to *donate*, free of charge, the software to a local community college, which they also would not allow.  All I want is to make sure that those who might be sock puppets also have their biases made public.  I respect Mr. Spatialguru (even more after reading his bio).  However, full disclosure would be nice.

Finally, I will point out that my original comment that sparked the discussion wasn't even negative.  I was simply suggesting that if you want to know what direction AutoDesk may be leaning towards regarding their influence of Instructables, the comments of someone who joined on the day of the announcement may be enlightening.
I didn't make it clear in my reply, so let me do so now. After looking up his username, I do *not* believe spatialguru is a sock puppet. I believe he is a professional who uses AutoDesk products regularly and, as he stated, is familiar with how they could be used at Instructables, which is exactly what was asked for by the original question. However, understanding the merits of the software, and understanding how our community works, are not the same thing. The ideas presented by spatialguru, while they are not without merit, are exactly the ideas that AutoDesk is likely to think are good ones if they are not familiar with the community

For example, please explain to me what good a 3d model is for cooking, gardening, cycling, shaving, altoids survival tins, tying a monkey fist, rock climbing, making paper snowflakes, curing dry skin, making a realistic zombie bite, etc.  If you are not familiar with the community, it's easy to assume it's all about Arduino and LEDs.  Changing the editor so it uses some kind of special CAD software is going to do nothing but add a learning curve and irritate people who only want to share how they open a padlock with a paperclip.
> "For example, please explain to me what good a 3d model is for cooking, gardening, cycling, shaving, altoids survival tins, tying a monkey fist, rock climbing, making paper snowflakes, curing dry skin, making a realistic zombie bite, etc. If you are not familiar with the community, it's easy to assume it's all about Arduino and LEDs."

Amen brother. My fear is that Autodesk will try to make Instructables more "elite" and alienate many of us....
This is not how I see it going at all! I feel like the majority of the instructables community will not be affected by this in the slightest. In fact, I doubt many of them will even realize there's been a change at all. :)

If nothing else, only users that would like additional help drawing mock-ups and explaining how what they built works will get free tools to do so. This is what I would like to see happen, and this is what I've heard being talked about both by people in the ibles office and the Autodesk offices. It's not like you'll be forced to do a 3D rendering of your lasagna. ;)

I really do think that this is not something that's going to hinder or exclude users, but open up new opportunities for teaching and further explanation within instructables.
Well that would be nice... Let's hope so.

I have been through two acquisitions in other scenarios... and I confess to being old and jaded. It always starts off with the highest and best intentions and loads of reassuring promises that everything will stay just the way it was. But then before too long, business priorities get shuffled around and if there's not enough profit margin seen quarter to quarter, executive decisions step in and change things rather swiftly. That is the way of the Wall Street Jungle.

Realistically speaking. I think we will enjoy a window of time where it seems like things are just fine and nothing has changed. Probably we have 6 months to a year before the changes start to really be noticeable. If they make the changes slow enough, we will be like happy little frogs in a pot and hardly notice, adapting to the rough edges until we convince ourselves it doesn't matter that this changed or that changed. But the pressures of an economy are fierce and corporations are never sentimental.

Feel free to disregard the comments of a crotchety old-timer like me.


*Feel free to disregard the comments of a crotchety old-timer like me.* You comment sees to sum up thoughts of a lot of people commenting on here…
I'm not sure what to make of that... but okay.

Initially I was pretty disconcerted by this news. But after sleeping on it a few days, I sense it will be for the best.

Instructables has been an amazing inspiration for me personally. Taking me from the feeling that only devoted experts and factories can make things to a gradually increasing realization that I can get better at making and inventing things by just trying things out for the heck of it. Instructables has been a wonderful forum for this and I've sort of made it a full time hobby.

If things drastically change I may have to start standing on my own two wobbly little maker legs, but it's probably time to do that anyway.

I have my own laundry list of changes I would like to see, it's hard to mention some of them without appearing "not nice" to some portions of the user base.

For now, this frog is content to sit in the pot and wait to see what Autodesk does. If I'm lucky, they'll make changes in alignment with my own inner laundry list. If not, I am reexamining my personal reasons for not just creating a blog or just going solo with this new pursuit.

Something tells me it's all for the best though and believe it or not "it'll all be okay" one way or another.
Thank you again! All of this is helpful for me to judge the situation for myself. I hadn't heard about the first-sale doctrine issue until this discussion (Lithium Rain pointed me to the Vernor case. The fact that you were a direct target of the same attack makes your position both more understandable, and quite reasonable.

I think we're going to have to wait and see how this all shakes out. Idealistic optimism is great for the first day or two....
Comparing the number of comments made is not exactly a strong argument since spatialguru has...no comments at all.

SA has:

* some comments

* some favorites

* an avatar

* a join date of about 5 years ago

The other user has none of these things; Slightly Askew certainly has much more participation as compared to spatialguru. Some participation > no participation. Although it's entirely possible that spatialguru is a longtime lurker and has been unfairly maligned, Slightly Askew raises a fair point.
Ten comments made over a span of five years, vs. one comment made in one day. Neither statistic is relevant for evaluating the relevance of comments made here to the subject of the posting.

Ad hominem is never a fair point.
It is when discussing whether someone is a sockpuppet or not.
"Please suggest how we should co-opt the resources of a multi-national corporation to make Instructables even more awesome. "... this sincere invitation encouraged some of us to (finally) register and.. err.. give suggestions. If others didn't already care about this site, who would have bothered to join and share?

Ironically, the original poster didn't ask for more reasons to be paranoid. There will be enough of that without an invitation :) I understand the concerns, so won't belittle the posters who share them though.

I worked with a lot of great Autodesk staff when they open sourced some of their web mapping and data access projects, it was actually an encouraging experience for me.

Canida: there are a few specific "sharing" projects on labs.autodesk.com - (free to use and share) that allow designers to share their work. Might be worth seeing how it could be integrated into your workflows.
Thanks for the follow-up! I'll store these ideas under my tinfoil hat.

And glad to hear the feedback about working with Autodesk - this is day1 for us, so it's nice to know you had a positive experience.
Quick - Fetch the smelling salts, I think I'm going to faint from shock and surprise...
Good suggestions, keep it coming! More specific ideas, please.
GeekyAdam5 years ago
My response is a respectful "Boo!"
I fell in love with instructables.com for its great user-driven tutorials where we help each other out and share ideas and experiences creating on the cheap and [mostly] free. There's literally been times I've been stuck fixing something at home and didn't have the money to get it properly fixed, and went to instructables to learn to fix it myself.
With AutoDesk's purchase of instructables, I now I expect to see a bunch of "How to use AutoDesk software to create [something that you would normally create without paying for software]" tutorials.
I'm probably jumping the gun on this one, so I'll just have to wait and see.
Well we'll just have to wait to find out the outcome . Although I think if embeded 3D models are implemented then we will see a lot of How to make a (insert any thing here) 'ibles where the author has never actually made whatever but is just showing with 3d models and *very* basic instructions, more like a plan than step-by-step instructions. Well there's my prediction but we'll just have to wait…
Does this mean better staffing might happen? I'd love to see a mobile site as well!
i am worried about the ever changing TOS that these buying corporation sneak in. That fine print stating your ibles is now theirs.
One of the reasons why YouTube has a lot of competitors as a video activist we only used them when their mass numbers was necessary.
maybe get a google + group set up in case of any shennagians, censorship and changes.
My suggestions:

-Alienate the Instructables community by trying to sell them overpriced software at every turn.

-Lavishly advertise new Instructables, then take people to a page which says, "You must be a paying member to access this content. Only $9.95 a month, sign up NOW!"

-Censor anything not related to products you sell.

-Don't listen to the online community which made Instructables such a success.

-Shoot yourself in the foot by charging a small "upload fee" for adding new content that's more than 5 sentences long and/or includes more than 0 pictures.

-Lastly---wait, we're talking about ways to kill Instructables, right?
I am skeptical too. I think it would be a solid bet that any instructables created with a competing product like Sketchup will never get featured or win contests.
I don't know about that. Rather, I'd say that Instructables made with AutoCAD or any variation thereof would be given more weight.

Still, it's a wait and see sorta thing right now.

I'm hoping against hope that this will benefit the community, but I still want to understand WHY they bought the site, instead of supporting it from the sidelines...methinks they have something up their sleeve....
I have heard rumors that they want it to become sort of an Autodesk branded Thingiverse ...
That's not entirely terrible, but, if true, it does mean they'll expect us to use their software.

And I smell various user fees creeping in....

In addition, part of the reason that I love Instructables is the sheer variety of topics. Cooking mixed with net-guns (my favorite 'ible yet), mixed with wood-craft. It's a sheer smorgasbord of random ideas and inspiration. Hopefully they won't attempt to narrow it down to only things you can do in CAD....

I can only hope that they see our diversity and respect it.
iceng5 years ago
I have never enjoyed anything as much as my recent Answers addiction.
The fun people, the learning, the daily response, the comradery of egos.

It is my fervent hope it can continue without slowing down,
drowned by fearful lawyer reviews for preventing possible Lawsuits.
Now that it is held by a company with pockets.
foobear iceng5 years ago
I do wish the Answers section had the same 'Be Nice' policy as the instructables comments did
Deslivres5 years ago
Hey guys, congrats on joining the Autodesk team - here's to a great future !

As for suggestions, like KentsOkay mentioned, better forums would be nice along with more local versions of the website, à la Etsy with its French, German, Nederlands and British websites.

Instructables is already leveraging the power of the makers community worldwide, but it could become even more unique and valuable to its users by having "local" bases in some countries other than the US !
There are other sites that follow the Instructables model of step-by-step photo tutorials, for example:

InventeAqui.com.br for Portuguese speakers
Expli.de for German speakers
CommentHow.com for speakers of any of the world's almost 7000 languages.

Comment/How is a site I've started, though just recently, and there are not many users. All articles are published under Creative Commons licenses, so users can copy and modify, even translate and localize, any article on the site. The content is currently mostly republished CC-BY and CC-BY-SA articles in order to showcase the site (and because nobody wants to start using an empty website), but I hope eventually it could become a place for artists, tinkers, and makers from language communities around the world to develop cool projects that can be shared and modified from place to place and community to community. The interface is currently in English, French, and Spanish, but more interface languages will hopefully emerge through community involvement.
Great ideas!
cyberrod5 years ago
Nothing good can come of this. Autodesk didn't do this for anyone's sake, except Autodesk. I fear this is the end of Instructables as we know it. I was at the Detroit Maker Faire. Autodesk was promoting a for-profit hackerspace they are going to be opening. I can't imagine how expensive a membership would be. Probably, if you can afford a membership, you can afford to pay someone else to make it for you.
I should qualify my previous comment:

Like a lot of the people here, I'm incredibly pessimistic about this acquisition. We've seen and heard all of this before and I have yet to see an instance of it ending well for the community.

That being said, I'm trying my best to remain open-minded about this. HOWEVER, you need to recognize that the burden of proof is on YOU, Autodesk. YOU need to prove to us that you're not here to decimate the community and are, in fact, going to improve it. That's "improve" it, not from a corporate standpoint, but "improve" it for us, the community.

It is up to you, Autodesk. Make this work or prepare for a very serious backlash from a surprisingly mobile community.

I really hope you prove me wrong. I honestly hope that only good things come of this.

"And now we play the waiting game...."--H. S.
vishalapr5 years ago
Host more awesome contests is one thing that would be really awesome!

Maybe a sort of "Like" button like on facebook, so who ever like the instructable they thumbs up and who ever doesn't then sort of thumbs down, I know its quite similar to rating but...it would be cool!

Maybe a project of the day in each cateogary? Like one ible is the project of the day in technology, and one in food, and one in workshop, and one in living, and one in Outside and one in play!

Thats all the suggestions I could come up with...!
PKM5 years ago
The "wide-eyed with anticipation of the awesomeness" view:
- Integrate some sort of Sketchup-esque simple 3d modelling tool into the editor.  Rather than try to describe the structure of a complex 3D object or mechanism in words, you make a model which can potentially be rotated and viewed from all angles in the Instructable. 
- Something similar for circuit schematic design would be a lot better than photos of drawings on notepaper or MSPaint scribblings. 
- Suitable tools for exporting to recognised 3D printer or PCB formats would rule :)

The "tin foil hat" view:
- Make sure the Instructables team retain editorial control over everything on the site (advert choice, user generated content moderation, etc.).  Make doubly sure that all IP remains in control of creators- I'm sure this won't be an issue, but I can imagine a concern about some small print sneaking into the TOS which says "Autodesk retains full rights to all content created using the Autodesk (TM) Instructables Editor".

See SlightlyAskew's comment about what might happen to projects favouring Autodesk's competitors or doing warranty-breaking things to their products.  Corporate editorialising would do bad things to the open spirit of the site and its community.

tl;dr- more web tools and "don't be evil"
neilh5 years ago
Congratulations to the instructables team. I hope things work out well.

I wonder if Autodesk is trying to be more "social" in that they want a community to foster more creativity. Obviously that would mean they need a more hobby friendly price point for some of their tools, but it would be interesting to see some tie-ins with more open projects (e.g. output to a MakerBot directly from autocad). But I am just thinking out loud.

Best regards to the instructables management team and good luck!
buchd5 years ago
I have to admit that I am a little worried. I'm no "hacker" but every time I've seen an independent, creative DIY group get bought up by a company hoping to capitalize on that creativity, they end up stifling it. Several comments have brought up conflict of interest between selling a product and a community based firmly in open-source ideology, and I think they are very valid.

Don't make the mistake of not listening to your users because you are the professionals who "know better", either. This is a good way to alienate the people who are supposed to be the fuel of the whole shebang.

I have no personal grumps with Autodesk, I used CAD in my engineering classes and 3dsmax in my 3d design class, but I am very skeptical of a large business' ability to completely understand the grass-roots type crowd. I really hope you prove me wrong because I love this site. (My favorites are the halloween projects--MUCH better than the stuff you can find at the overpriced one-month-only stores.)
Before planning lots of big new things, will there more resources to review/enter/judge/moderate contests according to the dates given? I would imagine that a couple people in different time zones would make a big difference.
cssimeur5 years ago
I don't know about Autodesk myself, and so I am reserving judgement. I think wait and see is the most rational outlook to have at the moment.

I would like to see one concern addressed--how will this move affect the hack it aspect of this community?

I think some of the posts make a valid point that there is a possibility it could be detrimental to the spirit of Instructables, but I also know MAKE, a subsidiary/branch of O'Reilly media, taken as a whole seems to be fine with hacks and mods of paid for products or to basically said products (MakerFaire, and a quick search reveals jailbreak instructions for iPhone in the projects area). I could see it go either way, and I hope Autodesk allows Instructables to continue in its present spirit.