When is spam not spam?

This morning when I opened Instructables to the Workshop page I found that out of the 30 'ibles displayed in "Recent" no less than FIFTEEN of them were from Popular Mechanics; now popular mechanics is a really good magazine in fact I used to buy it regularly but no matter how good it may be it isn't a person it's a business & everyone of the "'ibles" contains links to it's web site.
While all the articles which have been taken from the pages of the magazine & published as 'ibles are well written & informative they are also a blatant advert for both the site & the magazine & as such in my eyes at least are spam, I know that there have been a few 'ibles published by Pop Mech in the past but I really feel that fifteen or more all at once is extracting the urine just a bit when it comes to copping for a bit of free advertising.
Any constructive comments folks?

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canida4 years ago
Sorry for sending so many out at once - we'll meter out future PM Instructables so as to avoid flooding the feed. There are lots of great projects in their offline archives, and we are helping them share these projects via Instructables.

A well-written, informative project is useful regardless of the source. Most Instructables are posted by individuals, but there are plenty posted by companies, by individuals starting (or hoping to start) a business, and every point in between. Linking, in a tasteful and useful fashion, is a good thing. In this case, it's two links to tell you where the projects came from - just useful, practical stuff.

Overall, we want to encourage everyone to post Instructables, pros included, because that means more great projects to inspire our community.
Nostalgic Guy (author)  canida4 years ago
Thanks for the reply, I would agree that they have a great deal of really good information on their site & doubtless much more that isn't.

However plenty of things published by companies are flagged as spam by members like me & removed as well.
The membership agreement for the site states that advertising is not permitted:-

Terms of Use,
13. Rules of Conduct. While using the Site you will comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. In addition, Autodesk expects users of the Site to respect the rights and dignity of others. Your use of the Site is conditioned on your compliance with the rules of conduct set forth in this section; any failure to comply may also result in termination of your access to the Site pursuant to Section 18 below. You agree that you will not:
Bullet point five:-
"Any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, “junk mail,” “spam,” “chain letter,” “pyramid scheme” or investment opportunity, or any other form of solicitation."

Every 'ible has a flag button for spam, so apparently "we want to encourage everyone to post Instructables" isn't entirely accurate.

When I see fifteen 'ibles all published at once with no indication that they are part of some sort of deal between Instructables & Pop Mech it all looks a bit dodgy.

Surely when such a deal is struck & lots of new 'ibles with links to a company web page suddenly hit our screens it would make sense to include a line or two at the start saying so.
I see it as implemented in "the spirit of the law" from the viewpoint of big business Ibles is now part of the corporate collective and will act as such. I don't think they have it down on how to deal with people who still have the original ibles vision, at least what we think it is. It's all numbers and gauging response by analyzing web stats. Yeah, it would be nice to maybe have an icon or badge associating the ible with an approved or vetted company so we don't regard it as spam. There are some video ibles that annoy me as infomercials for molecular cooking which are just relayed on as an instructable.
The whole slew of techshop stuff was kinda in your face until I realized the big A had an investment in it. I see more and more contests that are trying to promote a certain product or software but I'll just remain "You can buy the website, but you can't buy the community."
This is almost exactly the same wording for people concerned about OMG TOO MANY K'NEX GUNS IN MY FEED! Maybe zachninme can write you a greasemonkey script? :)

More seriously, just because it's posted by someone with an affiliation or interest you don't share, that doesn't make it spam or an official action from some corporate collective. Example: I'm into molecular gastronomy and like those videos, though I'd prefer them in Instructables format as it's much easier to use. (We have no business relationship with them.) TS sees Instructables posts as a form of inspiration/grass-roots advertising, sure, but saying where you got the tool is essentially the same thing as identifying where you sourced a part - and potentially quite useful if the store/shop is near you. Sponsored contests are part of a grand scheme to redistribute the resources of Fortune 500 companies to Instructables authors. YMMV.
yokozuna canida4 years ago
There have also been a large rise in the number of instructables that push people to their site to buy something. For example, here is an instructable that I found extremely cool, but there are no actual instructions on how to repeat the process yourself. Even if they did a basic version, then had more complex designs on their own site, I would be okay with that. This on the other hand, I felt was a waste of my time: https://www.instructables.com/id/Lamborghini-Aventador-A-E2-Ultimate-Papercraft-Sup/
That author puts a massive amount of work into his projects, and has, in the past, had to put up with a lot of flack from people moaning that he did not provide his plans for others to follow. Given that those projects took hundreds of hours to design and build, I think it's fair for him to ask for a few dollars to recoup some of the costs, don't you?
Sure, I think it's fair, as I said the project is really cool. But that doesn't change that he's marketing his product on ibles, where there is an expectation of learning how to repeat someone else's project. There is a marketplace section in the forums, and that's what it is for.
I think the only concern is if we boast that there are 100,000 instructables, what percentage of that is SPAM or SPAM-like enough to devalue the user impression of what an instructable is. Maybe zachinme should be writing the test scripts for all the new features that are rolled out.
I think the Techshop projects earn the authors free tool lessons at Techshop, which they have to take to be allowed to use the cool tools.
If you'd seen these one at a time would it still have looked like spam to you? As I said, we shouldn't have let them all go live at once. The previous projects went up one or two at a time, and that's how any future projects will go as well.

We definitely want everyone, novice to pro, to post well-written, informative Instructables. Spam is not an Instructable, and we work hard to make sure you don't see any spam. The fact you're flagging PM projects as potential spam means we're doing an excellent job of that. :) For that matter, go ahead and continue flagging things that you think might be spam - our community management team is here to monitor edge cases, and will review anything that gets flagged. Better to be safe than sorry.
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