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Instructables that advocate illegal activity Answered

I have seen a few 'ibles that blatantly promote illegal activity. The few I saw recently involved blatant theft.

For instance, one showed how to bypass a lock to steal electricity. It's been up for some time (I flagged it) but things like this really shouldn't be allowed.

I'm not a prude, and don't care about people doing drugs, or having sex, or doing whatever they want to their bodies, but I don't think 'ibles that show people how to, and suggest that it's a good idea to steal are a good thing for this site.

I like this site, but I think this is bad for everyone.


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6 years ago

I just read "FREE-Hidden-Electricity!" about how to steal electricity from the phone company. Plug in, use electricity, let the phone company pay to regenerate it. The phone companies install large battery banks to keep the DC voltage on the line, and diesel generators to back that up. It's not free. And...you can't draw that much power off the line. Ignore the legal issues. See that it is immoral in most places of the world that don't reward theft. I don't see why it's bad to show nudity or sex, but it's OK to teach and encourage theft. The former is not bad in itself. The latter is.

I'm not seeing how stealing electricity from phone lines has some intrinsic value either. To pull useful amounts of electricity (where you get a return greater than your cost of materials and labor) you'd have to attack the mains lines supplying AC power. But...I'm pretty sure that Instructables would take issue with that.


Reply 6 years ago

If you feel a project should not be on the site, hit the Flag button ("inappropriate" is the catch-all option), and the Editors will check it out.


7 years ago

As in all projects on this site, the onus is on the reader to use sound judgment when selecting a project to recreate.

Policing content is a slippery slope: is a lockpicking tutorial advocating illegal activity? What about a project that tells you how to get back into your car if you've lost your keys? What about a project that simply describes the construction of the common locks found on electrical panels and vending machines?

Without specific projects listed, the general heuristic used by HQ for choosing whether a borderline project should make it onto the site is:

1- Is the project explicitly lethal or sexual?

2- Is there some intrinsic value to the tutorial beyond the transgressive content? (ie Can you learn about how to upcycle, sew, or build with inner tubes from the inner tube gimp mask project?)

Number 2 is generally why a project with lethal elements (like a survival shotgun) makes it onto the site. It's why we allow body-casting tutorials even though there are almost certainly some nipples involved.

Every DIY project carries some element of risk. We trust our readers to make good choices.