89Views15Replies

Author Options:

Site improvement suggestion (we need meta-categories too, btw) Answered

I have a feature request/suggestion for instructables.com.

My suggestion would be to provide a menu bar option (where "Explore", "Groups", "Forums", and "Contribute" are currently) for a user of the site to suggest and request a type of instructable, and provide information about what they'd like to see.

I feel that this will provide a number of benefits, and virtually no drawbacks. I will attempt to list a sampling of both if I can... I'm going to begin a couple of terminology conventions to make my idea easier to write out. From here on out, I'm going to refer to REQUESTORS as people that have an idea for an instructable that they either would like someone to pick up and do from beginning to end, or possibly a little assistance on an instructable that they've began and have a stumbling block that they need help with. I'm going to refer to WRITERS as people who write up an instructable, simple as that.

-- This will allow people one central location to ask this terrific community for help with an idea that they've got in mind.
-- It would serve in a way similar to the "want it" option on ebay does... Only to create a marketplace of ideas. Currently on Instructables, there seems to be, at least in a small way, a reputation system where the quality and quantity of your instructables may be a source of pride and mutual respect for the users. Some WRITER may be looking for ideas to write up, whether from beginning to end, or help solve someone else's stumbling block. They go out to the requests page (or even do a search for it) and see if anything strikes his or her interest.
-- If you think about it, a lot of the biggest and best user contributed sites are successful based on the workflow organization, and how efficient they are (wikipedia comes to mind). This idea would further increase the efficiency of instructables.com, allowing for larger rates of growth. I'm not going to place value judgments on growth for growth's sake, but that's for the people that provide this great site to consider and decide for themselves.
-- It would help clean out the forum a bit.
-- I guess it could also help tip the balance in the "marketplace of ideas" that I mentioned before. Right now in instructables, it's not always easy to tell what a user has to bring to the table in a discussion unless they've got a few instructables out there to judge. If you have a request system, you could look at what kinds of things they ask, and get to know them a little better that way.
--in my opinion, one of the biggest neat benefits would be the additional opportunity for isolated users to connect with others who are interested in the same types of things as they may be (or you, or me). This would enhance the learning environment, the sense of community, and benefit everyone.

Negatives:
--additional complexity
--frivolous requests (like that never happens now, right?)
--time and expense for implementation
--site aesthetics, maybe?

I'm certain that my idea could use some tinkering, but that's kinda the spirit of this site, isn't it? I already have some ideas about this along the fringes, but I'd rather wait and see if this gets any kind of response.

Comments

The forums are retiring in 2021 and are now closed for new topics and comments.
0
HBF
HBF

13 years ago

I think that this needs a new forum software, like pun bb or IPB. I can set all up, but if the owners buy a license, I can set IPB up

0
Subvert
Subvert

Reply 13 years ago

Maybe, I wouldn't know anything about it, especially about the relative merits of different options. I like the way it's set up overall, but I can see areas at the fringes where some changes could be nice. For example, this nested structure is a bit unwieldy. It's a bit of a challenge to be certain of who is replying to what, which is a subtopic of what other conversation. It gets worse the longer and more busy a conversation gets.

0
zachninme
zachninme

Reply 13 years ago

Really? I think that the comment system is very wieldy, as opposed to the traditional method. I also think that its great to encourage "spin-off" conversation. This is an unconventional forum for an unconventional purpose.

0
xACIDITYx
xACIDITYx

Reply 12 years ago

I agree. I like the forums better than phpbb or whatever.

0
Subvert
Subvert

Reply 13 years ago

Yeah, I'm not passing judgement too quick as I integrate myself here, and I really do embrace the unconventionality of the whole site really. I wouldn't necessarily call nested conversations as non-traditional though. I guess I'm thinking more in terms of visibility issues. I could accidentally be replying a to the wrong layer than I've intended, or more likely, I could mistake someone's reply as being within a different layer than it really is. I don't know if I'm clear in my explanation, but hopefully you can get my meaning.

0
NachoMahma
NachoMahma

Reply 13 years ago

. I'm with ya on this one. Trying to follow sub-threads can be frustrating. . I've only been here three months and I've seen a lot of changes. From what I can tell, at least one person at HQ is watching for posts such as your's and the powers-that-be will probably at least consider your suggestions. . I think this place is having some growing pains, but they seem to be adapting. I think part of the "problem" is due to the sheer volume of K'nex-oriented material. Evidently a lot of K'nex sites don't allow guns, &c, and that group of ppl have gravitated here. Not that the K'nex Krew is bad or anything (although I have zero interest in K'nex), just causing a lot of traffic for what was a small site not long ago. . BTW, excellent job of explaining what you thought was wrong, how you thought it should be, and perceived pluses/minuses. A bit wordy, but who am I to talk. ;) At least it was constructive.

0
Subvert
Subvert

Reply 13 years ago

Oh yeah, and it didn't help that I'd spent 13 years adapting to a professional environment. Business-speak sneaks in now and then.

0
Subvert
Subvert

Reply 13 years ago

Hey, I really appreciate your comments! And I agree, I can be wordy. But also if you look around, I've gotten myself into trouble for being too succinct and blunt. I put a huge value on human communication, and it is just rife with challenges away from one-on-one face-to-face situations. We're not quite yet evolved for the monitor and keyboard, but maybe it'll happen sooner than later.

0
HBF
HBF

Reply 13 years ago

Get the administrators buy a license, I'll set up any of the IPB forums

0
xACIDITYx
xACIDITYx

Reply 12 years ago

Nah. I love the forums how they are now. I hate the bb software.

0
Kiteman
Kiteman

13 years ago

All you're really suggesting is a whole new forum for people to discuss ideas for Instructables they'd like to see.

We already have one place for that: Burning Questions. If you want to gather less urgent requests together, why not start a new group? Restrict membership to those willing to take requests, but allow anybody to post threads and comments.

If members of the group are "known" for certain kind of make (say, shudder, K'nex), then others could PM them directly with requests or questions (this happens to me already, which is fine.

0
Subvert
Subvert

Reply 13 years ago

Well maybe. It's not important enough to me to push it if the creators and users of this community don't want it. I'm sure that if I coast around this community a bit more and think about using the tools provided in a different way, I could find my own solution. I just had a suggestion for the owners/creators of this site and thought they might find it useful. I just don't see any reason to be hidebound in what IS, I like to think about what COULD BE.

0
Kiteman
Kiteman

Reply 13 years ago

And all I was doing was making a counter suggestion.

0
Subvert
Subvert

Reply 13 years ago

Oh, I know. I didn't mean to sound negative towards you personally. I was lazy and didn't follow your link, but that forum is dead, because they made an official instructable out of it. And ironically enough, the top reply when I just looked at it today was someone asking how to add a question to the list. It's great and all trying to work within limitations, but sometimes the best answer is a new answer.

0
Kiteman
Kiteman

Reply 13 years ago

True.