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Potentially Lethal 'ibles Answered

There are a lot of people recently  enquiring about "tazer" like projects, some with lethally inappropriate ideas which may well  lead to the death of either the builder or their target. Is the "inappropriate" flag an appropriate response  ? I don't really think we should be encouraging the creation of lethal weapon 'ibles, but hey, that's just my English sensibilities. What do fellow members from the country with the right to bear arms think ? 





8 years ago

I'm English too.  I have none of this English sensibilities that you speak of.

I have an instructable about using mushrooms to make a plaster.  You can only use a particular type of mushroom in the UK growing on particular trees with relative surety that you won't die.  I've been told in other parts of the world it could be fatal.

I've added appropriate warnings.  It's interesting and has nothing to do with weapons but potentially lethal.  Where do you draw the line?

Perhaps some kind of age restriction filtering would work, but I doubt it.  It would change the ethos of the site.

One of the comments on lifehacker that featured the instructable echo'd "this is dangerous take it down"

Underneath someone put "be very careful when going on the internets!!!!1 i'm not going to give reason! just be careful!

and avoid the guy in the red shirt over there"

which made me laugh.

Also from Make "Void your warranty, violate a user agreement, fry a circuit, blow a fuse, poke an eye out. Make: The risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things... Welcome to Make: Online! "

Make has the right idea.

....I'll go along with that and add....
....but don't blame me if it goes wrong.


I'm hoping one of my lawyer friends helps me out when things envitably go wrong :(

I don't get it.  Are you, Steveastrouk, asking me, and the other Pros, for permission to press the "inappropriate" button?

That is to say the problem of determining what is appropriate or inappropriate post or question is necessarily subjective, so that's why the Instructables architects put that button in front of you.  So that you get a say in how things are run around here.

Well, actually that's not really true.  What happens when you push the "inappropriate" button is that a message gets forwarded to the secret star chamber that actually runs this place.  Then they'll decide what to do about it, not you.

I think that's how things work around here.  Honestly I'm not sure. 

BTW, my opinion, on flagging inappropriateness, is that I have not yet seen a question or post so dangerous that I thought it should be flagged

Spammers are another story.  I've flagged a couple of them, with extreme prejudice.

BTW, my opinion, on flagging inappropriateness, is that I have not yet seen a question or post so dangerous that I thought it should be flagged

Oh yea ??? ;-)

"I want to make a hand cannon, using piezo ignited blackpowder in a copper or aluminium pipe"

I'll see you, and raise you 20.


Alright.  I'll admit, that one has potential,  in the potentially lethal  sense, which is what this topic is all about.

After some soul-searching, and also some search-engine searching, I came across this:

It's been years since I looked at it, but I think it's the the Instructables Terms of Service.  Section 8a says something about agreeing NOT to upload content that is  "in Instructables’ opinion to be unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar..." etc. 

I think, technically what this means, is that it's up to the secret Instructables star-chamber to decide what is "harmful" and what isn't.

At the same time, the spirit of the thing says that Instructables doesn't want harmful material posted to its pages, and by signing up to use Instructables, we all kinda agreed to this principle, among others.

Thus using the "inappropriate" flag is appropriate for a post that appears to be "harmful", or in Steveastrouk's words, "lethally inappropriate ideas which may well  lead to the death of either the builder or their target".

I mean I think that's how to look at in the context of the rules.  Unfortunately, this place does have rules, sorta.

This sub-topic is the reason that the flagging system needs an option to add reasons - Inappropriate because... ...it doesn't warn people that the product explodes easily ...it is lifted from [this other website] etc.

Strangely, I had been thinking there already was one, but no, (I just checked), it is simply multiple choice, specifically this:
  • Not nice
  • Inappropriate
  • Spam
This idea, for a input field for a reason for the post being inappropriate, is a good one. 

I've flagged a few. I do wish we could categorize them to sort out the useful ones from the repeats, off topcs and "Hey thanks" notes.

 I am of the opinion that this is the exact function of a community such as this. If you personally think that an Ible should be flagged... flag it. If not... don't. If enough people think that an Ible is too dangerous it will come down. If not then it won't. That's the self-policing nature of this type of forum. There doesn't need to be a rule that the admins follow. Put the information out there and let us all collectively decide if it's suitable for the masses.

If an Instructable describes the making of a weapon that is specifically for use on living creatures, then I think it should be flaggable. But things like Plasmana's Instructables should be aloud to stay, even if they're extremely dangerous, they're not intended for dangerous use.

In addition, the 2nd amendment in full includes "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State". This should not be separated from "the right to bear arms". Well-regulated kids with camera-flash TASERS? Just in case the King / Queen of England tries to take back the colonies....


Militia: The whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service.

So yes the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right.

You're missing out on the "well-regulated" part.  If, as in Switzerland, that whole body were properly trained and maintained readiness, then (as in Switzerland), you would be correct.  As it is, drunken frat boys and drug dealers do not constitute a well-regulated militia.

I would say the body of law that exists covers the Well regulated part. As for the drunken frat boys and drug dealers, now you're simply being inflammatory.

Inflammatory, yes, but in the direction of drawing an extreme example.  If you really, truly believe in your logic, then everyone, however incompetent or criminally motivated, has the same inalienable right to own lethal weaponry and to come after you with it if they so choose.  If you make exceptions, then your logic is not absolute, but open to negotiation.  And where, then, does that negotiation stop?

...presumably you have an absolute right of self-defence under those circumstances ? 

I hope so!  And in some parts of the U.S., that's enshrined in law (generally the same places with minimal restrictions on weapon ownership).  Those are, logically, two sides of the same coin.  My serious concern is whether that coin, in toto, is appropriate or not.

> ... whether that coin, in toto, is appropriate or not.
.  Are you asking if it's worthwhile to trade one's right to protect their freedom and life for a little bit of (false) security?

I'm asking whether it makes sense to allow people to own devices designed to kill, with no requirement that they have any training or understanding of that device operates, how to maintain it, or how to store and use it safely.  This comes right back to my use of the term "well-regulated." 

If we can require users of motor vehicles to carry identifying licenses which show that they have been properly trained in how to operate those devices safely, then why is it such anathema to require the same of weapon owners?

> why is it such anathema to require the same of weapon owners?
.  Because, usually, cars are not directly used to defend one's life/property/country.
.  I think it's time to stop hijacking this thread. ;)

Because, usually, cars are not directly used to defend one's life/property/country.

Which is kind of Kelseymh's point really.   One should be required to know HOW to safely operate a device that is used to kill another (keeping them from killing themselves or those that are not intended to be killed), even more so then one to simply get a person from one place to another (I rode a bicycle for years without a license ;-) 

I am all for freedom, but I am just as much for education.  Freedom requires a lot of responsibility and one can not be reckless and responsible at the same time.  :-)   

dismounts from the soap box......

One last thing, in effect this is Jayefuu's point too.  It is better to have the information available at a responsible site, with all the proper warnings and information on safe use, then to get it directly from, say: Soldiers of Fortune magazine :-)

I had a friend who made the cover of S.O.F.!!!

:-) I bought plans from them once and nearly blew my face off.....thankfully the rifle did NOT blow up, but it jammed a number of times and had to be destroyed.   I don't recommend any of that to anyone wanting to "stay safe".

Sad about the rifle.....  But yeah, I don't usually take SOF seriously (actually haven't read it in 10 years), but I used to enjoy their news and "world sitrep" sections.  It was a good source for "alternative-news". back befroe the internet.

After I mentioned my friend (a Nay Seal) that made the cover, I remembered another conection.  I think one of my friends had a cousin that made the cover many years ago.  Check out "Carlos Hathcock" in wikipedia.  He was the inspiration for a couple of scenes in "Saving Private Ryan" and "Enemy at the Gates", also inspiration for an episode of mythbusters.

Yes, rifles, even the little Ruger .22 ga  (semi-auto) wasn't cheap.  I was a bit paranoid as an youngin though :-)  and the "modification" was actually for a different type of rifle....I just thought it would work with the one I had also....and it would have, if I could have been a little better metal smith and had been able to form a better "guide".   Otherwise, it fired 9 of the 10 rounds with one squeeze of the trigger, and jammed on the 10th each time. But again, that was over 30 years ago...I've had a lot of time to mellow since then.

I personally have/had no connection with SOF magazine, just bought the one copy and answered the one ad.   It was a bit extremist even for myself and my fears at the time, and much more so now.

You go from gun ownership to "come after you with it if they so choose", frankly you are trolling and I'll not rise to the bait.

But I will add, EVERYONE is born with the same rights, whether their actions abrogate those rights is a matter for the law.

This is one of the reasons George Carlin felt that no one has any rights.  Rights are for all, or else they are only privileges. 

When they kick at your front door
How you going to come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun?

When the law break in
How you going to go?
Shot down on the pavement
Or waiting on death row?


.  In this case, well-regulated means working properly and/or accurate, eg, a well-regulated clock. It does NOT mean regulated by a government agency.
.  If you will look at why the Founding Fathers included the Second Amendment, you will see that they were just as afraid of the Government they had created as they were of The King.

Yes, and I mean exactly the same thing.  Organized, trained, structured.  People who know what they are doing and why.  I.e., not drunked frat boys and drug dealers.

.  I can't vouch for how accurate this guy is, but he backs me up. :)

I have no problem with the Swiss model, and in a way do prefer it.  There are state laws whick deal appropriately with the drunken frat boys and drug dealers. 

But the question to me, (and I've looked at it both ways), is:  Is the "well regulated militia" dependant on the people's right to keep and bear arms, OR is it the other way around?  Plainly spoken, "Do non-militia members have the right to keep and bear arms?" 

To that question, I look at the history leading up to the 2nd Amendment. 

1st- Consider the Patriots and Minutemen.  They would definitely fall into the militia category.  And Jefferson seemed to think it the DUTY (notice I did not say right) of freemen to bear arms.  A well regulated (State or Community) militia is a great thing, and is acknowledged as neccesary to assure a free state.

2nd- On the flipside, The RIGHT to bear arms had been debated and rearranged for years in England (and other nations).  The RIGHT to bear arms was only recognized (at various times) for property owners, freemen, Protestants, etc.  In this "new" nation, where all men's equality was supposed to be the standard, (and believe me I understand that this was not always the case!), the RIGHT of all men to keep and bear arms was symbolic of the inherent value and rights of ALL, whether rich or poor, educated or illiterate, Catholic or Protestant.

Let me say, that despite Jeffersons view, I don't neccesarily view bearing arms to be the DUTY of all freemen.  A man theat CHOOSES not to bear arms, (in my opinion) is exercising his freedom to run his estate and have a hand in determining his destiny.   But for freemen who CHOOSE to be armed, this right is irrevocable.  So to me, the person who is not "allowed" to keep and bear arms is a second class citizen.  If his 2nd ammendment rights are revoked, all others can (and likely will) be.

I'm jumping in late on this and may be restating others comments but my personal belief is that people should be responsible for themselves. It isn't our function to protect them from themselves. If they haven't figured out something is a really bad idea a well written ible shouldn't be punished because they make the bad choice to follow it. My folks taught me two valuable questions to ask myself before I did something:

1) Will this result in death or injury to my self and/or others?
2) Will this result in me going to prison (and keep in mind I'm way too cute to go to prison) ?

If the answer to either question is "yes" or some variation of "I don't know" then you shouldn't proceed. If you do then you have to accept the consquences.

But if your conscience tells you something is inappropriate flag away and let the staff be the judge.

And just a personal beef about the Darwin Awards, they include "winners" who have children. If they've had kids then their genes haven't been removed from the population which is what Darwinian selection is all about.

The Darwin awards SAYS, and I quote from page http://www.darwinawards.com/rules/rules.children.html


What if a Darwin Award nominee has reproduced?

Is a nominee automatically disqualified if he has offspring? Since genetic and environmental factors both play a role in determining our choices and behaviors, we will need to discuss each as a source of potential Darwin Award candidates, then attempt to answer the question posed above.

A concrete example will help illuminate the discussion. Imagine the sole reason a man wins a Darwin Award is because he has the hypothetical Explosive Stupidity gene, a gene that causes him to ignore the potential downside of playing with bombs. The man who possesses this imaginary gene tends to minimize potential dangers by rationalizing that he is "good with explosives" and will not be harmed. No matter how many hours of film footage he sees showing flying body parts, and no matter how many friends he knows who were injured in explosions, he will never be convinced that he is anything but "good with explosives" and beyond harm's reach. So one day he blows himself up playing Russian roulette with a land mine, like the three fellows you'll read about in "Fatal Footsie" (page 186), and his son is left to bury the ashes.

The Explosive Stupidity son inherited half of his father's genes and half of his mother's. The son can be thankful that he has only a fifty percent chance of possessing Dad's fatal Explosive Stupidity gene. Since children have a good chance of not carrying a particular parental gene, the presence of offspring will not disqualify the Explosive Stupidity man from winning a Darwin Award.

Genetic contributions, however, are only part of the story. Our environment also plays a role in risk-taking behavior. This dichotomy is known as the "nature vs. nurture" controversy, and professors regularly air competing opinions on the subject. Let's see how environmental factors might figure into a Darwin Award.

If a child's father has the Explosive Stupidity gene, he will learn from his father that it is okay to play with explosives. Even if the child lacks the Explosive Stupidity gene himself, he will be more likely to win a Darwin because he's conditioned to feel omnipotent around explosives. As long as the father is around to encourage risky behavior, the son's social environment makes it more likely that he will take the same dangerous risks.

But suppose Dad tosses a cigarette into a bucket of TNT like the detectives in military intelligence: "Intelligence Blunders" and blows himself up. In that case it is highly unlikely that any child will follow in his footsteps. The environmental contribution is negated by the act that wins the Darwin Award. Again we are led to the conclusion that men who have reproduced are eligible to win a Darwin Award.

And finally, the child who inherits an unlucky gene will have his own shot at notoriety one day. So the rules do not disqualify nonimees who have already reproduced.

Danger hit this guy in the face - Orangeboard

I just burnt off my fringe doing this instructable. :P
It wasn't firing so I took off the cap, stood a bit back (i didnt want to get burnt(the irony)) looked down the barrel and sparked it to see if the sparker was working.
Burnt hair smells terrible

My face hurts


Some people are just wired SToopid. Briefly.
Is there an 'ible Darwin Award ? 

> Is there an 'ible Darwin Award ?
.  I haven't seen one, but if someone can come up with an appropriate graphic, I have many patches to hand out to Darwin Award Nominees. There are several deserving Iblers.

Care to make a list ? ;-)
Happy New year by the way.


.  The more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to believe that most deserving recipients would consider a DAN an honor.
.  But I'm still willing to donate a dozen or two patches if someone can whip up a nice graphic.
.  I'm sure we could get plenty of suggestions via a new topic. Lemonie posted a good one to this topic earlier today (3:33 AM).
.  Happy Nude Year to you, too.

.  LOL  I like that. I'm not much of a "cute kitteh" fan, but that pic/caption really fits well. Can you scale it down to patch size (48x48, I think)? The last two lines may become illegible (or disappear) at a smaller size.
.  Maybe put DARWIN AWARD NOMINEE (two lines?) at bottom of pic?
.  Actually, if we are really going to do this, we probably need a different name - so as not to be confused with the real DA. We need something with a "cute" acronym/logo that would fit well on a patch. I don't have a problem with using another Ibler's username to form the acronym.