Why?: Contest, Finalists, OAE, and... WHAT?

EDIT: This has turned out to be a really long post. Please see the top comment if you don't want to read everything, or if you aren't a scanner (seriously...). I did my best to stop my longforumtopicisitis disease...

I don't really know how to write this "topic". I know I'm not the only one that's a bit upset about it. I'll do my best to keep it short, but if you might get pretty confused if you don't read (almost) everything.
I would really like to hear your 100% HONEST opinion. I am looking for criticism. Don't worry if your response sounds harsh.
Thank you.

Instructables member OAE has posted several forum topics about contest winners in the past months. I understand the fact that he is annoyed some Instructables that win in contests aren't original, aren't documented very well, and lack pictures. It does bug me a bit when these types of Instructables win, but I guess that there's normally a reason for that, since most contests don't lack entries...
He also mentioned the fact that he was pretty annoyed about the fact that he doesn't win. I DO NOT want to insult him in any way, but even though his Instructables are fairly well documented, I wouldn't expect for one of his Instructables to be a finalist. Brooklyntonia wrote that "A paper airplane on a cutting mat doesn't scream click and vote.", and I agree.

However, I seem to have the same (I think) problem with my Instructables, and I think that it has  just gotten a bit too much. I've won in 3 contest with 86 I'bles (think of that as 50, if you know what I mean...), which is why I feel a bit weird for "complaining".

It's not that I publish Instructables just for winning in contests. Far from that. SOOOOOOOO MANY times in the past year, I have posted an Instructable that I was absolutely positive that would win in a contest, but it wasn't even a runner up! I have SO MANY! It would take me an hour to post half of them, but here are some:
Articulating 70W Spectrum-Balanced LED Panel for the Lamps & Lighting Contest
How to Make a Wooden 6" Bench-Vise for the Wood Contest
The Flat-Pack Bandsaw for the Flat-Pack Contest (less than the others, though...)
How to Build a Wooden Drill-Press Vise for the Hand-tools Only Contest
9 Unusual Tool Storage Methods for Your Workshop for the Living without Closets Contest
Make Your Own Plywood Mallet! for the Plywood Contest
World's Most Over-Engineered 14-in-1 Soldering Station! for the Leftovers Contest

Please correct me if I'm wrong: These Instructable are featured, well documented, meet the contests requirements, contain well lit high quality photos, are original (90%, of course...). I "politely encourage" people to vote only in an Instructable that I think will win...
I would understand not winning at all once or twice, but not even being a runner up even once? WHAT am I doing SO HORRIBLY WRONG?

What discourages me even more is that even though I want to build something that I really need, I will wait for months until a contest opens, start making, spend a ton of time on the Instructable, and then I realise that I waited for so long, and my I'ble hasn't even won! Benne, however, even though we both publish somehow similar content, has mastered this somehow!

If I make something, I have to type up the Instructable immediately, because my short term memory is pretty bad. I wrote about this a bit here. If I calm the excitement down, I might be able not to publish it right away, but that will just discourage me, since I will feel that I haven't accomplished anything (aka positive feedback, etc...). Then after waiting several months, I will publish the I'ble and still not win?

Imagine your boss, at work, saying "Okay (your name), you've spent 10 hours working, but I'm going to pay you only next year. Oh, nevermind, we're having budget cuts. I'm not going to pay you at all" Wait, WHAT? WHY?
I'm making this sound as if it's a bet, which is okay since you don't get "paid" from Instructables, but never getting anything at all is annoying. Also, publishing Instructables is not extremely addicting (A REAL one... ;) 
I think I am following the contest guidelines, but not winning again, and again... Why? Is there something that I don't know?

Thank you for reading!

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Yonatan24 (author) 11 months ago

*World's longest forum topic!*

For short, what I'm looking for is why specifically my (or maybe yours too?) Instructables don't "scream click and vote", when I think that other Instructables that won aren't documented as well, and aren't that much of a great idea...

Thank you!

Brooklyntonia11 months ago

Trying to analyze why specific ibles win contests in order to make the perfect ible and win every time is pretty futile. Sometimes they make finalist because they related well to voters, sometimes it's because staff or sponsors put them in the finals. Whether it's clever ideas, great pictures, or documentation, there's always a reason. Just put out the best product you can and always strive to make the next one better. With hundreds of entries and only around 20 prizes in each contest, even good ibles won't be awarded prizes. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge you got beat. Keep making.

I agree with Brooklyntonia. I've often thought I might have a winner only to see that I wasn't selected. In the end, I've looked at the selected finalist and realized that they actually did have better ideas/projects. Also, I've judged quite a few contest and that task is quite time consuming. With that, I don't envy the team having to down-select finalist from 200+ ibles.

Yonatan24 (author)  mtairymd11 months ago

I'm a finalist in the LED Contest! :)

This Instructable, and several others like this were a finalists, but they were removed. I mean, that isn't a bad Instructable, but if that is real, it's just a homemade variable resistor...

Even though I'm not sure exactly how it works, I'm sure it's really time consuming, I'd be happy to judge a contest, but I'm pretty sure I can't judge a contest that I've entered in, and if I didn't enter, chances are that I'm not interested in those types of Instructables (food, crafts, etc...).

Yeah, that's always been my thought too, any contest I'd have enough interest and knowledge to judge, I'd probably want to enter, and judges aren't eligible to win, of course, so...

Yonatan24 (author)  christa6279 months ago

Unless you didn't have the time to enter...

Or many times, in my case, the theme of a contest inspires a project, but I'm not done with the project/Instructable by the time the contest closes.

Yonatan24 (author)  Brooklyntonia11 months ago

I don't (think) have a problem with acknowledging the fact that I got beat.

Almost a year ago, I won as a Runner Up in the Shelving Contest. This was my first win, and I was (almost!) the happiest person on earth... Back then, I did wonder why I was "only" a runner up, but now I know exactly why. My Instructable won mostly because of the idea itself, and not because of the actual Instructable. That's the best way that I can explain it...

The thing that's a bit more discouraging is the fact that so many times, I didn't win at all! Contest after contest, (almost, I'll have to add) Nothing!

In my opinion, I see many Instructables that won (as a runner up, or anything else), while their Instructable is very poor, and mine, again, in my opinion, is way better.

As I've mentioned, I've won in three contests. Since those wins, I've made my Instructables WAY better, but now I have no wins. That's what I don't understand...

You should only compare your project to the top half of the finalists, because chances are high those "poor" instructables were finalists due to votes. Staff can put good entries with less votes in, but they can't remove less good ibles if they have the necessary votes. A loss just means you weren't in the top of the votes or in the top of the small number of overlooked ibles staff get to throw into the ring.

Yonatan24 (author)  Brooklyntonia11 months ago

Ahhh... I see!

I've seen the Instructables of only a couple finalists, but all of them look to me like they deserve a win!

Yonatan24 (author)  Brooklyntonia11 months ago

And... I'm now a finalist!

I checked back on the LED contest a few hours ago, and I have to admit that I saw several weird finalists... I guess they changed several, because if I remember correctly, there are a couple more I'bles that weren't there before...

Mistakes? I'm on mobile...

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