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Overtly sexual photographs. Answered

Smart parents monitor their children's internet activities, but they probably never thought they'd need to consider blocking Instructables due to overt sexual content. 

Is a woman groping her chocolate covered breasts really considered kid-friendly by this community? 



Apparently it is. When we have "instructables" now that tell you how to shave your pubic area... This site has gone sooooo far down-hill since they got rid of the rating system.

That one's been there since 2008, when the rating system existed.

And? There's a whole LOT of trash that you have to flip through one at a time in order to find a decent instructable now. Precisely the end result that I predicted a year ago. That there are still garbage instructables that have been there for 4 years doesn't surprise me. Considering that one has less than half of a 10th of a percent "favorites" to "views" (a quality instructable comes in around 1.5%, I've been running the numbers) it's fairly safe to say that if we COULD see the rating system, we would know right off the bat that it was garbage. If we could SORT by the ratings, we would never have to see it AT ALL.

My point is that the rating system didn't work either. My view is Instructables should be curated, to eliminate the garbage which is swamping the site.

That we're in agreement on. But unfortunately, "instructables" such as this end up getting featured:

It's 5 images, and 4 sentences long, and an idea that was stolen from any one of literally dozens of websites. I'm not saying it isn't a "neat" idea, but it certainly isn't original or informative. Someone just saw someone else's "neat" idea, posted it as their own doing approximately 6 minutes worth of work, and got featured for it.

This is the kind of stuff that makes people who DO put forth a significant amount of effort lose interest. I get that the moderators are busy, I mean, I don't know how many mods there are, or what the volume of incoming instructables looks like, or how much time per day they have to work on them, but that's where I think the rating system would help.

As it is, something gets flagged as "popular" just by you clicking on it. There's no way to know if once you clicked on it, you were disappointed because it misrepresented what it contained. I am still firmly convinced that the users are capable of culling the garbage instructables (or at least reducing your odds of seeing them) with a simple thumbs up / thumbs down rating system.

If that stolen idea ends up winning a prize in a contest, it'll only further encourage people (myself included) to spam the site with no-effort, stolen ideas, posted as my own to enter as many contests as I can in the hopes that someone else's good idea and effort will win me a prize.

Just because an idea is simple, that does not lower it's worth regarding featuring, and if you're going to disqualify projects that have already been done elsewhere, you're going to have to cut 90% of the projects from the site, including your own.

(FYI, "popular" is based mainly on the number and frequency of comments, not views.)

The site used to use a +/- rating system, and it simply did not work. Good projects were deliberately down-rated by competing users (especially in contests), rubbish was up-rated by groups of friends to try and force wins. Feuds raged across the site. A graded star-rating system didn't work, since most people didn't use it, and those that did tended to just hit the top rating.

There is no workable way of checking the originality of a project, unless it has been done on this site (unless you expect Instructables to employ staff purely to surf millions of web pages, just in case somebody has been influenced by something they saw elsewhere?).

We've already had this argument, Kiteman, and we're simply going to have to remain in heated disagreement.  The precise end results that I predicted back when the rating systems were removed have manifested.  It's as simple as that.  This site has filled with the no-effort, no information "ibles" that I predicted it would when the rating systems disappeared.  So much so that some of these are now being "featured."

Rating systems work, even if people do get their undies in a twist.  The aggregate rating value of an instructable over time will always be far more accurate than a cluster of 10 year olds can skew it right off the bat.  I've also had numerous (ignored) solutions to every argument you've posted, such as only allowing pro members to vote, only showing scores after a minimum has been met, etc. 

And yes, I would think whoever has the responsibility of "featuring" instructables would take the 35 seconds to google "jug" and "headlamp" to see that it's been done on hundreds of sites, years before, and the author didn't bother to so much as mention which of the dozens of sites he stole the idea from.  Particularly when the "instructable" (and I use that word very loosely) being featured consists of 4 sentences.

I put a significant amount of work in to the few instructables I have done, and I know many, many others on this site do as well.  It's gotten to the point where if an instructable isn't "featured" it's probably not worth looking at because wading through all the trash just isn't worth the time.  Which results in non-featured instructables that we have put a significant amount of effort into, never even being viewed. 

This is exactly what I predicted would happen when the rating systems disappeared, and it is exactly what has come to pass.

We're just going to have to remain out of agreement.

Your position is not going to be accepted by HQ (especially if you keep posting it, like this, where they won't see it), and I stand by the facts that I observe. There are proportionally no more (and no fewer) poor-quality projects on the site now than when I joined, nearly 8 years ago.

The fact remains, it doesn't matter how much effort goes into an instructable, if it doesn't capture the imagination, or it isn't search-friendly, then its view will remain low, even if it is featured.

The impact of Featuring is very low in the long term - my own top-viewed projects get the vast majority of their views via search engines, and the same is true of every other popular project on the site.

Case in point: your own Covert Altoids Dart Gun. Never Featured, but 40k views, purely because your key words are very search friendly. Do a search for the key words, and you get loads of hits, all on sites redirecting to your project.

Short version: if a project gets very few views, it is because very few people want to view it.


FYI, those of us who do the Featuring have other lives and jobs, and this site is very large. In days of old, I took pride in the fact that I read every single project posted, no matter what it was, even if I missed the odd day with holidays or cranky internet connections. I had time to approach authors directly and help them with their work.

Now, with 20 times the size of Community Team, I usually get time to look at most of the thumbnails, and only have time to properly read a small fraction of them, even though I have the site open and to hand almost every moment I am at home.

Googling to check originality does not take 35s, it takes minutes per project, and does not always work because authors use different key words. I personally spend hours every day on the site, working to help authors improve the quality of the projects, as do the other members of the CT. Dubious projects get analysed, suspect authors discussed, and your implication that we are lazy and slacking in our responsibilities is, frankly, insulting.

We could spend 35s on it if you want*, but then I would assume that any barrel-smoker projects published here must have been "stolen" from elsewhere, because there are over 2 million hits for the term on google.


By the way, your use of the term "stole" is very adversarial, and also usually untrue. Even the example you give does not count as "stolen", because the author has recreated the project with their own words, and their own photos.

By your own definition, every one of your projects is stolen, because every one has been done elsewhere, in some form, before you did it. In which case, by the standards you demand of this site, I should have HQ delete every one of your projects, and that your pro status, earned by having those projects Featured, be stripped from you immediately.

Or, I could take the more positive view that you have been influenced by other projects you have seen, and decided to recreate them yourself, in your own way.

Which would you prefer?

Now, I have spent well over 35s on this conversation.  I'm not going to waste any more on it.  If you wish to, then I suggest you contact HQ directly and show them your data (?) to prove your point.

(*nearly ten million for ghee (5 million for "home made ghee"), 8 million for "camp stove", three hundred million for 3d photography, and 2 million for altoid dart gun - do you see where this could lead?)

I was with you up until this dross:

"By your own definition, every one of your projects is stolen, because every one has been done elsewhere, in some form, before you did it. In which case, by the standards you demand of this site, I should have HQ delete every one of your projects, and that your pro status, earned by having those projects Featured, be stripped from you immediately."

That's absurd and you know it.  Every single one of my 'ibles has my own improvements, and my own aggregation of research, experience, and knowledge, with a significant amount of time and effort put into them to present them in a clear, entertaining, and informative manner.  In most cases (the "altoids dart gun", the entire rig around the penny stove, the "no-weld" design of my smoker+improvements) they're outright my own inventions and improvements.  Do you really have to resort to bald-faced lies to attempt to make a point?

There's a good many driving factors that could go towards defining a quality instructable.  Is it original?  Is it thorough?  Is it informative?  Is it entertaining?  Is it high quality? 

Do explain to me what the improvement was?  The effort?  The addition to the concept that he took from elsewhere?  What was the work was that went into the 4 sentence (featured) instructable that was directly copied from any one of a dozen sites, again?  I mean, he did take 5 pictures and write 4 whole sentences.  I suppose that's something...

Seems the only question as of late to determine if an 'ible gets published is, "will it get us clicks and drive ad revenue."  If this is the new charter of Instructables, let's at least be honest with each other about it.  This would also explain the removal of the rating system. 

This is how instructables becomes an "information aggregator" vs. an "information creator" just like every other "maker" site out there has become. 

"I'm not going to waste any more on [this conversation].  If you wish to, then I suggest you contact HQ directly and show them your data (?) to prove your point."

I want to thank the Instructables team and community for allowing me to try something new; for allowing me to step outside my comfort zone and exposing whatever knowledge that I may have or lack thereof. Never have I dreamt of building a project using a micro controller or learning a computer language at my age. How about making a puppet, Steampunking a flash light or fixing a clock radio?
That is how I view Instructables - place to learn and grow. By limiting what is posted and who posts it is a wrong and more importantly a bad move. Putting down kids (or adults) who want to become great builders is setting the wrong example and that is what a rating system will do - put down a future Edison or Von Braun.
Some out there seem to believe that they are entitled to be a little more special than others because of the amount of views, positive comments or followers they may have, while the rest should be booted off the site totally. That is “elitist” talk and that is wrong.
Most of all thank you Kiteman for believing in the entire community of makers who want to build, document and share!

Oh give me a break.  Nobody has even remotely suggested that you shouldn't be permitted to use instructables, or build things from it.  You should learn how to debate.  What you're doing is called a logical fallacy, specifically straw-manning, and appealing to pity. 

You think Edison, Von Braun, Einstein didn't have critics?  If someone's going to bail because they get a down-vote in instructables especially when they put together a garbage, lazy, or pointless instructable, then they were never Edison to begin with.  If anything, maybe it'll push them into whatever hum-drum existence they were bound for as "quitters" that much sooner so they can get on with their lives.  I consider that a bonus.  It's precisely this ceaseless coddling of people that continues to lower the bar.

It is not even remotely "elitist" (you may want to look up that word) to want a rating system so that I can easily find quality instructables without having to filter through the garbage that's thrown out there in 5 minutes, or stolen from some other site because someone wanted to take a stab at a contest prize. 

And it is not elitist to want a feedback system so that you can know if the work you put into an instructable is appreciated, or if it needs work. 

Some of us actually put a significant amount of effort into our instructables, taking weeks and months or even years on the build, and further taking weeks to put it together in an entertaining and informative way.  Others snap five pictures of an idea they stole from another site that literally takes them 10 seconds to replicate, and spend 5 minutes uploading  those pictures, and write 4 sentences.  With no feedback mechanism at all, how much do you think the first author feels that his efforts were appreciated when there's no method to compare the two?  I'm actually surprised that you're even on that side of the argument, considering it appears that you've actually put effort into your instructables.

Hell, if you don't like the rating system, make it something you can disable per user.  It wouldn't be hard to implement.  You don't like ratings on your 'ibles, toggle a switch so you can't see them.  There's always a solution.  I've never once suggested that 'ibles shouldn't "be allowed" in spite of the words put into my mouth by Kiteman.  I continue to stand by the argument that a.) Rating systems are necessary.  and b.) "Featured" instructables should at least require a little effort on the author's part.

I was done with this, but you've gone too far.

Take a step back, read what you have written, and the tone in which you have written it. Consider the bold text under every comment box.

a) HQ's data says rating systems don't work. Unless you have actual data to prove otherwise, this line of argument is useless.

b) The Featuring guidelines are readily available. Try reading them.

I already told you, this is the wrong place to have this adversarial tantrum. If you want to make your point, email your data to HQ, and make sure you adopt a more civilised and less insulting tone than you have here.

Oh please, Kiteman, I have only ever responded in kind. Or is it only "adversarial" when it's a non-moderator talking?

Lazy is not knowing how to filter.

Do tell me then, when I'm browsing new instructables to see what other people have posted, how do I "filter" out things such as this:


Your "comeback" is anything but. My argument from the beginning has been precisely to give us a method to filter.

And another edit:  "Lazy is not knowing...?"  Really?

Lazy....yes you. If I want to view Arduino, I will filter for only Arduino projects. Then I read the title. If I like it, I read it. It is not hard. You sound as if you want a filter to highlight your work. Stop and read what you have posted in this train. You will see that it is all about you.

(Oh, the irony of the newsletter!)

In fact, that's also how we end up with garbage like this that we have to filter through:

I was also concerned when I saw the instructable. I have to say that it was a very erotic picture but the author covered her breasts in a very suggestive manner of course. Although there were no explicit nudity it was very risquè.

Do you know the difference between art and pornography?

A government grant! :-)

I do feel it's important to note that that play has more going on than "pornography" or appeal to the prurient interest, however. :)

Our university has the same play every year. I understand that some of the play has been criticized for the negative portrayal of heterosexual love in favor of lesbianism.

I can't find this... Did find a bra made out of cookies and a body cast made of chocolate...

Also where have my newsletters got to this year?

In general instructables tows a good path on the whole smut argument...

"In general, instructables tows a good path..."?  I might agree with that, but I really have no idea if there actually are clearly defined content parameters here.


There aren't unless they were implemented since I last ran up against the bounds of the family friendly site ethos - it's done by feel and judgment... Really a good way to do things in my eyes.

The main image says covering for quazi decent image. The one further down is a little gropey, however it's not any worse than perfume/lingerie/shampoo adverts. (IMO)

There's one other thing - this took dedication to the cause of chocolate, having been there, that's a hell of a lot of body paint to lick off...

On the decency line you see the store bought stuff in gift aisles a lot so I'd guess that really it cuts above the line of bad taste, with some extremely obvious winks and nudges.

Winks and nudges acknowledged, KJ.  I'm shocked to hear you ran abreast with similar inappropriate content... truly shocked! ;-)

Go back a ways in my published, it's no longer indexed :o I wasn't the only one implicated - we did a collaboration...

I spent a while drawing clothes on things...

Ha, no hint needed, if you miss it, you probably really need to read it :P

No hint? Is that fair, considering I messaged you the link to the Instructable you "couldn't find"?


5 years ago

What happened to the "be nice" policy?

This was't some perv posting smut. It was a well thought out 'able with good content and writing.
It was signed, and the model was credited  by name. The breasts, particularly the nipple and aureoles, were not visible, and she was alone in the frame. Where is the overt sexuality

In my book, there was nothing even remotely wrong with the 'able; but some of the comments violate the be nice policy.


Your opinion is noted. lol... I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong. I'm confident you feel the same way about my opinion. ;-)


5 years ago

It is a tricky line to try to moderate values.. you find that instructable overly sexual, that is your opinion and that is valid for you. Others had issues with the "skinning a rabbit to make a hat" instructable, others may not like the multitude of Knex guns on the site or the "pagan" Holloween costumes or the costumes that promote violent video games or the instructables that may not be perfectly safe, etc, etc. You see where I am going I hope.

Not everyone on this site will ever agree with everything but I think they do a great job. It is a private site you have the choice to view it or not, you have the choice to subscribe to the newsletters or not. Make your opinion known as I am sure it does influence the moderators but based on the fact that that was an award winning instructable that many people voted for I do not think it should be censored.

Thanks for sharing your perspective, vanweb. You've made some valid points. It's ultimately up to the parents to decide what's appropriate for their children.

This thread is merely an open forum for discussion and concerns.