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Shopbot contest criteria unclear Answered

Having read the criteria for the shopbot competition, it has made me wonder some things?

The competition will be judged on the following...

Clarity of instructions.

Personally I think this will exclude many worthy entries that would otherwise rate highly.

Originality......What if the idea is not original, and yet, there are no known  instructions to make the idea. Surely if the entrant goes to the effort to create instructions for such an idea, and there are no known instructions anywhere else, then this is what the spirit of instructables is all about. Instructing, not neccesarily inventing.

Usefulness...... Is a game less useful than an an automatic clothes ironer ?  By what standards is "usefulness" guaged

Simplicity....... Building  a CNC machine is far more complicated than making a decorative frame around a mirror. Based on "Simplicity" does this mean the CNC machine will rate poorly? Is the competition aiming for the lowest common denominator with simplicity. Would I be wasting my time writing an instructable for something that is complicated?

Clarity of instruction....... I guess I cant question this one.

I would love to enter the comp and put in a huge ammount of effort with pictures videos etc, but based on the criteria, I feel that my "complicated", "non original (Yet no known public plans)" Not very "useful" toy, would recieve equal treatment.

Anyones thoughts?

Regards Benny


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9 years ago

Just my take on what the criteria is interpreted as:

Originality is not necessarily a new invention or idea. It is more of something done or used in a unique way. It's that "why didn't I think of that" kinda thing of seeing something fresh, cool, awesome... Is it common materials used in a new way or stretched to new limits in its application. Did you do something out of the ordinary that usually people don't do?

Usefulness. If the person creating the instructable made it, there would have been some intended purpose, maybe just to suit themselves. I guess this is where the contest judges may look at mass appeal or practicality. The item that was made may be a niche product but may inspire others to figure out new uses for it. Does it satisfy a societal need or just for entertainment purposes?

Simplicity. You may need an atomic particle collider to demonstrate some type of quantum physics in action but what if you could do it with simple household items? Can the build be replicated, even if there are some expensive parts, inaccessible raw materials or processes, yet the main steps of the build are understandable. Did you learn something, "Wow, that's how they did that!"

All in all, I would say the criteria are guidelines for the judges to follow, subject to their personal interpretation and emotional reaction to the instructable. The outcome of the results may not be fair or random to you but hey, its not the end of the world and there will be other contests down the road.

You should still put up your instructable for the personal satisfaction for having created it. Contests are a great motivator for getting started but don't let any aspect of it discourage you from doing so. Good luck.