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ANSWERS gone again. Again. Answered

I see you've changed the page layout again... and lost the Answers tab in the process of doing so.

(Apparently deliberate. Given that there was no competition for screen real-estate, this may or may not indicate an opinion about the perceived value -- and/or legal risk? -- of the Answers section, at least in its present form.)



There is now a Q&A tab.

I need to decide whether I want to bother getting involved again.

From what we've noticed on our end, a vast majority of people find the answers page from one of two places. The first is by using the Submit button at the top of the page, and clicking Ask a Question. The second is from the individual category pages and clicking the answers tab. We have found that it's very rare to get any traffic to the answers area from the home page.

With this in mind, we opted to take the link off the home page, and leave it in the Submit, and Categories pages and see how things go and see if that changes the traffic at all.

Sorry it didn't get mentioned in the announcement, I think it was just overlooked.

Hmm. Traffic to answers has fallen. Tab has been removed. Someone's tools ain't working right, if you initial analysis says the main page tab wasn't bringing traffic.

Logic fail.

Since the home-page link drove the least traffic to the Answers section, the drop in traffic is due to the loss of the page-top tab.

I said.
Traffic to answers has fallen. Tab has been removed.

You said.

the drop in traffic is due to the loss of the page-top tab.

Where's the logic flaw ?

Because you assumed the traffic came from the main page tab.

(Or did that mean the page-top tab?)

Clicking SUBMIT gives me nothing to do with asking questions??

It's there, but it's different than on every other page and not very noticeable. Look down at the left sidebar under "Other ways to share."

Doesn't jump out at you though? I concede it is there.

Well, you haven't just removed it from the home page. The tab was removed from the masthead, which appears on every page on the site.

I can sort of see the logic that the masthead tab was redundant with the corresponding "section" tab in the I'bles browsing pages (what you call the "individual category pages).

However, there are no such "section" tabs in the Forums, so this means anyone who reads the forums has no direct link to Answers, which they used to have.

This thread should be titled "Answers gone again: again" We have had all these arguments before about the status of answers.


I don't ask many questions, but I've provided answers to quite a few. How do I just review the questions asked by others? There is no direct link to the answers section.

This is the point of this topic (read the text). The direct link was removed during last night's update, and the rest of us are discussing that.

There's an easy workaround for you, as an existing user. Go to your you/ page, and under Settings -> customize, change one of the pulldowns to "Answers." After saving, in the upper right corner of any page, look for Shortcuts and select the Answers item.

Thank you for the work around, but I didn't need the attitude. I know that was the purpose of this thread, That is why I posted it here. I don't think we should have to have a work around. There was an easy perfectly intuitive method of getting to the answers section. Now we have to jump through hoops to get to one of the most popular sections of the site. I think is was short sighted at best to make that change.

I agree completely, as I've written as a top-level comment. The fact that they removed it (and left no direct method for forum readers) is absurd.

It's true that there is an Answers tab (which gets you there directly) on every page of Instructables (the category and channel browsing pages), but there now isn't one on the home page or on forums :-(

How are you measuring "very rare"? That's my normal route, as someone who answers more than I ask. Were I you, I'd worry that you'd be discouraging your volunteers.

(And I still don't grok why you thought dropping the home-page link was a good thing. At worst it's harmless, unless you're planning to use the screen space for something else.)

Yes, it looks like its been killed off, or at least its in its death throes.

It's on the "to do" list, behind some other largish codemonkey projects.

What is ? Killing it off or reinstating it. If its the latter, is that a tacit admission that it was as dumb an idea to remove it this time as it was the last ?


Reinstating it in a "better" form. Part of the job is defining "better".

I'll happily pass on any ideas.

I hope they put a decent public beta out before doing something new though. New != better.

Votable answers ?

"Crowdsourcing" valid answers, with an ability to knock out wildly wrong answers, on the basis of the number of previous BA's posted - in other words, the more you help, and the more accepted your answers, the weighting of your views of other answers should go up.

Couldn't they undo whatever they did to remove the tab and leave it as it was until the new and improved version is finished?

I would have thought so, and several people have asked for the same thing.

Fixing it so that even Best answers can be directly commented on, particularly by the OP and the person who posted the BA.

....and fix the ranking system so that it shows total BA not the crazy percentage idea, which is based on the ratio of your BA to total postings....so the more you help, even if you don't get BA, the worse your ranking becomes...

Rachel said she hadn't realised the ramifications of the BA ranking thing when I challenged her about it 12 months ago, she did say she would look into it then....

Since it's been about 2 weeks and the answers tab has not been replaced, I guess that this is a permanent change?

So I'm assuming.

RIP, Answers. It was a cute feature, and fun to play with. But I can see why the new owners might consider it a high-risk zone and want to phase it out.

Which is why I've been absent from Answers, and why I've mostly stopped even tracking this discussion. I have more productive things to do than argue with them.

(Besides, I actively dislike the conspiracy-theory-flavored "stop overpaying for electricity" ad. I wouldn't mind never seeing it again.)


Remarkably, traffic to answers actually went up with the change in navigation. Tuesday was Answers' greatest traffic day this year. I suppose it was everyone here going and looking for it?

The number of questions asked and answered is obviously more important, and I'm watching that. It will take more time to know if there are meaningful changes.

Screen shot 2011-08-18 at 4.20.16 PM.png

Frankly, that makes me question your measurements. Though, to be _completely_ honest, it looks more like sampling noise than anything else, given the baseline you've shown us.

/rant on

Okay, here's the killer.

When Instructables first lost the Answers tab (when was that? I can't remember that long ago...), I followed the suggested route and found the page I wanted (Answers->Recent) and put it in MY BROWSER'S BOOKMARKS. That way, I would go directly there even if 'Ibles decided to get rid of the direct link again (which, surprise, surprise, they did). I go directly to the most viewed page (by me) without any need for the Home page. I hardly even use the Home page. Does that mean you should remove the link for all the new members? Current stats don't tell the big story as to why certain things don't get the hits you think they should. How about looking at your past and learning from the previous complaints, especially when they are about the same thing.

When you change things that people are used to and can navigate comfortably (at least after learning the way), you had better be prepared to hear the backlash. How would you like it if car manufacturers changed the pedal arrangement and put the accelerator on the left and the brake on the right (at least in the US), the telephone maunfacturers changed the arrangement if the keypad so that 0 was on top, or the computer manufacturers changed the keyboard back to alphabetical order? What would you do if they changed the number for 911? I know I am still p***ed off at Microsoft for the radical changes they made in their software (where in the he** did they move SaveAs to???? - the ribbon s*cks) which is why I still have older versions I use... but I digress.

Back to the Answers tab... now when I go out of town or use a public computer, I cannot go directly to the Answers section without signing in or jumping through a bunch of hoops to get there. Oh, and by the way, you can only submit a question from the submit tab. I didn't see any link to look at the Answers themselves.

Someone over there needs to remember the #1 rule of design - KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid. By removing the tab, you have just made it harder for the newbies to find that section (easily). Navigation is supposed to be simple and intuitive. What is simple and intuitive about what you did? NOTHING.

/rant off

That's enough for now,


Like other answerers I see this as wrong - It discourages questioners as well as those of use who willingly and for free take the time to answer those questions.

I was an early adopter to the How stuff works question and answer forum and an active force to take the format up when How stuff works dropped the question and answers (who knows why?) We set up at How what why 
because we saw the need for somewhere that people could ask and get a sensible experienced answer.

Instructables is a prime target for the DIY question and answer based on experience and expertise  - WE (the answerers) cost nothing so how much harm is this doing - How much has been Saved? Gained? or lost by removing the obvious link.

If they are going to improve things then moderate the questions to exclude the silly, inappropriate or none questions.

BUT as HSW showed if you loosed either the flow of questions OR answers you loose a valuable part of the site.

Well.... here we are (again).

I think people know me as generally positive - but this has me beat.
I sent an email to "service" and got told to come to this thread... why?

I try to give back at least as much as I take, and I do this through "Answers" -
and I think I do a pretty good job of it, too.

But this is a step too far: I want to use my time in helping like-minded people, not in trying to find "Hunt the Answers thimble in the 'ibles Haystack".

'Ible bosses can do as they please with their website, after all, they seem to be Autodesk puppets - and in truth - I'd probably be the same - chasing the money wherever it is - but I come here for the community spirit - and shifting/hiding stuff in this way isn't what I come here for.

Last time Answers moved I didn't bother with this website for about 6 months - I've a feeling I might be away a little longer this time round - but then again, I haven't given any money to the 'ibles purse so maybe I'm not the kind of member they want here. My time and experience is worthless, proved by the fact that these changes are made without community knowledge or consent.

A prime reason for not parting with cash besides not having any is once I do, how is this website going to change yet again to a format that needs me to spend yet more time figuring out what and where things are.

Would it hurt to spare the space for the "Answers" on the menu bar? Prob not, and so I think there must be an ulterior motive.

I would apologise for this post, but - truly - this messing around has really annoyed me.

On the verge of that myself. Still tuning in mostly because I want to see whether anything productive happens on this topic, but losing hope and losing interest.

You can access it by customizing your shortcuts tab.

That doesn't exactly encourage folk to pop over and answer the questions, though, does it?


Yes, I have that shortcut set up, but:

1) How are users expected to discover this feature so they can ask questions?
2) How are users expected to discover this feature so they can answer questions?

Burying Answers seems likely to kill it. If Instructables (and the new Robot Overlord) actually wants to do that, fine, though a more orderly shutdown would have been appreciated. If that isn't the intent, you may want to reconsider.

(Didn't we go through this same loop a few months ago, during the last redesign of the page header? Learning curve, anyone?)

The answer is, or will be, buy something from AutoDesk eventually......


Look, guys. It's only 9 easy payments of $99.99. This is a bargain. The DIY & Maker community should LOVE this. You all are totally ungrateful, greedy, lazy, demanding parasites. We give, and give, and give to you guys, and this is the thanks we get.

We don't love you anymore.

Oi, if you're a student you can get a free Educational edition. Stamps a big Autodesk logo on all your plots, but hey, everything else has a brand name printed on it anyway.

Do you mean to suggest the answer will be for I'bles to run on something from AutoDesk, or for users to buy something?

If the latter, I'bles will lose some of its volunteer authors.

Never invoke what thou canst not banish...