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Some Featured Instructables are not worthy of Featuring Answered

Instructables is great. I frequently view Featured entries.
However, I have reviewed the criteria in a number of staff posts regarding what gets a members Instructable featured, I think the idea is good but the implementation is flawed.
Some of the featured Instructables might meet those criteria but the Instructable itself may not be worthy, one recently had to be removed by staff for plagiarism after it was featured! The breech of Instructables Guidlines was clearly indicated in comments prior to the featuring.
Instructables, please remember that just because an Instructable gets lots of views or comments, these may be for all the wrong reasons and each Featured Instructable and its comments should be reviewed before featuring.
Thanks, and I really do think Instructables makes the world a better place :-)


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Kiteman (author)2015-06-12

Typically, featuring happens before the views roll in, and a front-page feature will actually be the driver of those views.

It is also likely that the project you mention (a link would have been nice) was featured before the comment was made - the featuring process takes a while to show up on the public version of the site. Plus, the people who feature projects are only human, and have not read the entire internet, or even the entire site (even I, who have been here for years, and spend far more time here than I should, am not familiar with every one of the 150,000+ projects posted so far!), so mistakes can happen.

However, if you think that a project is not worthy of featuring, or is plagiarised, then please make a (polite) comment along those lines on the project, and flag your own comment as inappropriate - admins will read your comment, and take such action as is necessary (which may be "none").

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mad_mat (author)Kiteman2015-06-14

Hi Kiteman, Thanks for your response.

Typically, featuring happens before the views roll in, and a front-page feature will actually be the driver of those views.
Of course, that's why they get featured, I don't disagree.

It is also likely that the project you mention (a link would have been nice)
The Instructable was pulled while, I am unable to link to it.

was featured before the comment was made
I noted that I don't think this was the case, but I cant confirm.

Plus, the people who feature projects are only human,
Which makes my point nicely for me. Instructables have the opportunity to review the Instructable before Featuring.

and have not read the entire internet, or even the entire site (even I, who have been here for years, and spend far more time here than I should, am not familiar with every one of the 150,000+ projects posted so far!),
Relevance? If you are part of the featuring process then your experience should lend itself nicely to identifying inappropriate Instructables.

so mistakes can happen.
Of course, but it sounds like you're making excuses. I think there needs to be a process in place to capture the mistake of featuring an Instructable that is not appropriate.

My post here is not because one instructable that was almost good enough just slipped through, we're talking about a conscious effort on Instructables behalf to positively identify an Instructable and promote it as 'Better than average' when clearly it was not, and required Removal until fixed. The featuring process needs to at least try and ensure Instructables are 'Better than average' before featuring.

please make a (polite) comment along those lines on the project, and flag your own comment as inappropriate - admins will read your comment,

I sure will! Thanks for the tip :-)

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Kiteman (author)mad_mat2015-06-15

What you're describing sounds like the community in action to me - something went wrong, it got corrected.

"If you are part of the featuring process then your experience should lend itself nicely to identifying inappropriate Instructables."

That is an unrealistic expectation - yes, judgements can be made on the quality of what is presented, but the internet has been around for longer than most people using the site (including the staff), and before that there were hundreds of years of "how to" books and magazines being published across the world - you cannot, ever, expect one small team of human beings to be able to spot every plagiarised project.

I am not "making excuses" here, I am stating facts.

"I think there needs to be a process in place to capture the mistake of featuring an Instructable that is not appropriate."

There is, and you just described it in action.

Most of the people capable of featuring projects are volunteers, working on the site in their own time. So, yes, without any hint of an excuse, things sometimes go wrong. That is why we have the comments sections, that is why we have the flagging process, that is why you can email the site - the community polices itself.

It is a truism, though, that the best way to set standards is to demonstrate them in action, by being an active member of the site, posting Instructables of a style and quality that you would like to see from other authors.

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mad_mat (author)Kiteman2015-06-15

Hi Kiteman,

The Featured content that prompted me to post here was 'Choosing the right Arduino Board', one part of my original post was this:

"The breech of Instructables Guidlines was clearly indicated in comments prior to the featuring." [and subsequent removal until edited]

Are you able to review the Instructable and its comments prior to removal? The only document I can find is the Google cached version which does not have original comments:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cac...

If the identification of plagiarism was really only made after featuring then I accept your points and will work on posting Instructables of the standard I believe in :-)

If the plagiarism was identified before the Instructable was featured then my point is valid and it is far from unrealistic to expect a staff member to read the Instructables and its comments prior to featuring.

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Kiteman (author)mad_mat2015-06-16

That version of the page has no way of showing when the project was featured, or by whom, but there are no comments on it about plagiarism, so I think it is safe to assume that the accusation was made after the Feature.

Now, perhaps you would like to explain how, just by reading the project, somebody could recognise that it was not original?

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mad_mat (author)Kiteman2015-06-16

Why? My original post stated that I thought the plagiarism notifications were made before it was featured. Why would you assume no comments about plagiarism were made before featuring based on that page? Its simply a snap-shot of the page made by a search engine robots doing it's thing. There is no indication either way, I simply gave you the link for clarity of the particular Instructable I was referring to.

But, since you wanted to put such a fine point on it, I just searched the first paragraph (exact phrase) in google and got plenty of results showing the same exact phrase, mostly from DIYhacking. One page even included the same header image, and it took approx 15 seconds.
Now I'm not saying that just because the same phrase get results in google that its definitely plagiarism, but I do say its grounds for more than a 15 second search before it gets featured.

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Kiteman (author)mad_mat2015-06-16

"Why would you assume no comments about plagiarism were made before
featuring based on that page? Its simply a snap-shot of the page made by
a search engine robots doing it's thing."

Quite simply, because it is a snapshot - the page saved in a single moment of time. In that moment, the page had already been featured, but no comments had been made about plagiarism.

A mistake was made, yes, but it was corrected so quickly that the project was gone before you managed to complain about it.

It has already been pointed out to you that the staff have a much larger commitment than just monitoring the project feed, and you have not actually answered my question, but I have a counter-question:

Why are you so obsessed with the "failings" of a community to which you have yet to contribute?

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mad_mat (author)Kiteman2015-06-17

The question was answered, I googled the text and found the original source in 15 seconds.

Obsessed and failings are words you used which do not accurately describe my state of mind or opinion.

However, it is clear there is little desire nor any intent to ensure an instructable is appropriate of featuring before featuring, therefore there it is pointless to continue this discussion.

I appreciate the efforts on your behalf to make Instructables what they are, and I respectfully acknowledge your experience and contributions to the site over a long time. Kudos Mate.

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Kiteman (author)mad_mat2015-06-17

Back-of-an-envelope calculations show that your "just 15 seconds" actually works out to over 13 years of full-time work.

I would suggest your efforts would be better directed to producing some content for the site you gave been consuming for free for the last six years...

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Brooklyntonia (author)mad_mat2015-06-16

The staff members that feature ibles have a lot more on their plate than just featuring. It's unreasonable to expect them to google every ible they want to feature. You're trying to prove there's a problem with the system with this one possible misstep. If you had tons of examples of plagiarized features, then maybe you'd have more grounds for alarm.

On another point, you haven't created any instructables. Until you understand what goes into creating one, perhaps you shouldn't complain about the recognition given to those that have taken the time to create content for you.

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mad_mat (author)Brooklyntonia2015-06-17

Hi Brooklyntonia, I now understand it is unreasonable to expect an Instructables staff member to ensure an Instructable is appropriate before featuring. I dont agree with it, but I understand its the case.

I'm not trying to prove anything, the problem exists and this example is just that, an example of what's happened a number of times. Nor have I ever complained about the recognition given to those who deserve it, I'm not sure where you got that from.

Thankyou and all for your efforts in creating the Instructables that I have enjoyed.

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Downunder35m (author)Kiteman2015-06-12

Some Instructables get featured although there is neither anything special about them, nor used the author some creativity for it.
Everyone can take a STL file from Thingiverse, designed by someone else and present it with a few pics and words as an Instructable - and it gets featured.
I mean, where is the limit here?
Using the work of someone else, just add a few images and text and it is alright to be judges as the authors creation?

And those Instructables sometimes get featured almost instantly...
Sometimes I do thing only the images count together with a catching header text to get featured.
Surely the checking for actual content, usability, copyright and so on is only a minor factor for the featuring.
I would assume someone able to set the "Featured" tag on an Instructable is able and willing to check it first....

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Kiteman (author)Downunder35m2015-06-14

It is only really possible to check the provenance of a file from another site if the author has chosen to use the same username across the internet.

Digging up the "truth" of, for instance, a file from Thingiverse takes time and effort - there is no easy way to contact authors on Thingiverse, and PMs here only work if the recipient chooses to answer.

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makendo (author)2015-06-19

The criteria
seem to be pretty loosely applied, for sure. The site is most interested in
traffic so is looking primarily for projects that are eye-candy and/or covering
a click-bait topic; the quality of documentation is in fact well down the list.
Basically: is the project cool? Will it interest/inspire people? The most
impressive projects in fact often have relatively little documentation given
their complexity, and that is OK – they’re generally done by someone with a
skill level well beyond that of the average maker, and to fully explain what
they did would doubtless require all sorts of remedial instruction before
getting into the nitty-gritty. Note that featuring has a motivational aspect,
too – new authors (especially prolific or promising ones) often get a project
featured even if it’s a bit marginal.

I do find
the lack of a plagiarism flag annoying; Kiteman’s instructions doubtless have
the desired effect but it’s hardly an intuitive response (flag your own comment
inappropriate??). Every time someone encounters a blatantly plagiarized project
that’s been featured (e.g. https://www.instructables.com/id/Duct-Tape-Bow-Tie-2/;
eventually unfeatured thanks to antoniraj) the credibility
of the site gets dented, and that bothers me as an author because I think it
discourages quality makers from participating here.

Keep
providing feedback – this wouldn’t be much of a site if there were only authors
here!

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mad_mat (author)2015-06-14

I'm glad this thread has prompted some discussion and there's a few directions which the topic is heading, so short of changing the thread title to "Some Featured Instructables should be removed or edited" .. thats what I was trying to say and that's what I'd like to try and address :-)

I am not trying to stipulate criteria for acceptance as an Instructable, we all have our own personal idea of what makes a favourite instructable or what irks us but that is a topic for a different thread.

However, I would like to iterate that inappropriate (for Instructables site) Instructables get Featured and that there should be a review process so that this does not happen.

Thanks for the discussion!

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killerjackalope (author)mad_mat2015-06-16

Any examples of featured projects inappropriate for Instructables?

Propriety is like anything else in a community, people choose their interests and what they're comfortable with.

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TheFrankTurk (author)2015-06-12

I just posted a similar question called "Terrible Instructables," and my suggestion for the site admins is that there has to be some kind of standard. Let me suggest this one as a place to start a conversation: if a post does not have a bill of materials, it is probably not a good instructable -- certainly not worthy of featuring. That doesn't mean it needs a bullet-point list of exact QTYs, but if the writer hasn't taken the time to present a working materials list for the reader, the post is frankly useless. Featuring a post like that seems counter-productive to the culture which Instructables has worked hard over the years to cultivate.

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Kiteman (author)TheFrankTurk2015-06-14

Are you suggesting a standard that all postings must match before being allowed in the public view?

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TheFrankTurk (author)Kiteman2015-06-14

Upon further review, maybe what we need is better "categorization" tools. Right now we pick a major category and a minor category for our instructables. What if the author could also indicate "skill rating" (1-5) and "scope rating" (ranking from "finished photos only" to "complete technical manual")? Or maybe implement a user's rating system like on Amazon reviews asking the simple question, "was this instructable helpful?"

At the end of the day, I guess I'm actually very needy when it come to this site :-) and I love it, and its disappointing when a fascinating finished product doesn't have enough detail to replicate the work. Thanks for your attention.

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There used to be a rating system and different types of instructables, but they were discontinued a few years back. "Photo instructables" allowed the author to just post an image and basic description of the project.

Any kind of skill or scope rating would be highly subjective, like the rating system that was also discontinued a few years back, and therefore not too useful. You can't make people rate objectionably or with any regularity. This same issue comes up with contest voting. There's always been complaining that people vote for "pretty" or "cool" instructables even though they may not be thorough or fit well in the contest category, but you can't control the voter's or rater's perspective.

Plus, haven't you ever seen something that was far too skilled or specialized for you, but inspired you to create something else? Even some "bad" instructables have inspired me over the years. Half the fun of the site is inspiration and problem solving. Even an instructable with specific detailed instructions will most likely involve using tools or materials you don't have access to and force you figure out an alternative. Adding a bunch of extra categories with ratings or skill levels would narrow the field of instructables you see, and you would therefore have less opportunity to be inspired.

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All of that may be true - I think it misses the point that Instructables is not Pinterest. If someone wants to use it that way, I guess that's great for them -- but they are called "instructables" and not "admirables," yes?

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Kiteman (author)TheFrankTurk2015-06-15

There are very, very few projects that are just photographs. Those that are posted, if interested members post positive comments asking for step-by-step details of the construction, then authors can be guided towards writing "proper" instructables in the future.

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Kiteman (author)TheFrankTurk2015-06-15

An option to filter by skill level sounds like a good idea (although "skill level" is often a matter of personal opinion), but rankings have been tried in the past, and have been invariably abused by people trying to push other foilk's work lower down the ranks than their own.

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TheFrankTurk (author)Kiteman2015-06-14

You know, it sounds harsh and labor-intensive when you put it that way. :-)

However, what I'm suggesting is really a sort of go/no-go gauge. If it's not spam, and it's not merely a tossed-off vanity post, then let 'er rip. I think that's especially true of posts that get Featured - given that someone actually has to take a positive action to push something into a "feature."

However, I can see your point with your comment.

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Some Instructables certainly look good with nice pics, lists of materials and videos showing the how-to.
But let's face it, for homemade 3D printer I certainly would prefer a list with the right materials to follow the build.
Same for measurements and detailed images of certain parts when mounted.
But for a nice wooden clothes hanger I certainly don't need to know how to grow the right tree for the wood, cut boards out of it, dry them and when done how to use a paint brush for the varnish.
All I need is the template and some basic dimensions.
There are a lot of good Instructables out there that would not fit into a "good" category by your standards as they would be incomplete - still there work great.

Lists of parts are good for new builds, but when creating something from scrap or used parts it can be a different story.
Most people here use US services for their parts needs, here in AU most of those lists would not really help as first you need a shop that has them.
And even you do find a shop the list stated at around 20$ can go up to over 50$.
For an electronics Ible I would not always go into all details as I would expect, based on the complexity of the project, that only user with enough basic knowledge would try it anyway.
You could say a simple way of preventing the noob from going nuts because it does not work.

As I mentioned earlier some Instructables got featured just for good looks but obviously by someone who neither read the full Ible nor has the background knowledge for the judgement.
Sounds good, looks nice, let's feature it...
There is only two type of Instructables I really don't like, no matter if featured or not:
Those purely based on the work of other people.
Those showing highly illegal (in most countries) and possibly life threatening stuff.

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Here's a perfect example:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-1000w-equiv-LED-flashlight/

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annieoakley (author)TheFrankTurk2015-06-13

? . . . that one wasn't featured.

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