An open letter to the support and those running this website Answered
For a few years now good people using this website tried to make suggestions, make requests or just attempted to provide helpful feedback and bug reports.
Severe bugs are usually dealt with promptly and I like this very much.
For everything else though at least I start to develop a feeling that tells me your end either does not listen or does not care.
Users are what keeps this section and website alive.
Users provide the content that allows you to place ads to make a bit of revenue.
Users fill your servers with their ideas.
Users are those you should help to have it easy and enjoy being an active part of the community.
I won't repeat the things users stated or requested thausands of times already.
But I do state that at least got enough excuses and promises over the past few years to think I am being taken for a ride.
You state the users are highly valued - valued as what exactly?
You suck in user's creations like a vacuum cleaner and promote it all through endless numbers of sponsored contests.
You create volume and website hits only.
Quality was reduced to forcing restrictions and often totally useless standards on the user.
There are articles explaining what a successful Ible needs and how to write one so it fits into the greater picture here.
But where is the information how to embed pictures with the text?
Oh right, that would be too nice for someone doing it or reading it, so we just plaster a block of images in a meaningless location on top of the text...
I was a forum admin for a few years and if there is one thing I learned from it than : Don't mess with the users by "improving" things....
Sadly Instructables never got that experience and we saw a lot of "improvements" that really absolutely no one using the website wanted or needed.
The storm from that again showed how badly the user is neglected here as even reverting back to something close to what worked before took many months.
The request to have some sticky postings informing the user about progress and what features might come soon was rejected again and again.
Although I realised the offical suggestion to rework my last Ible so it can be published was a mistake:
It highlighted the expectations you have when it comes to how you want users to create their Ibles.
Creativity is not just the project in question but also how the creator wants to present it here!!
I call it censorship if a person is forced to comply with standards that no one needs nor wants.
We get excuses, we get promises but we simply never get anything that actually helps the user to be more creative and have it easy to create posts and Ibles.
How long was it until we at least got a half working sorting option in the community section? About a year or so?
You want more and better Ibles, a functioning community section again, even more revenue?
Well, then give the user what they want or at least what they need to be creative again.
Talk to the boss and tell him or her that we need more coders or preferably a new platform for all that actually works and is not just patchwork.
Take a look at forums, blogs or other community websites that offer postings and content.
See what is possible and what users create, how they create it.
Search through the endless numbers of complaints here to find what you missed again, again and again.
Instructables won't lose the ongoing supply of new Ibles thanks to contests but as said, volume and quantity is not quality of content ;)
A user who is left struggling year after year will give up one day.
Users who realise that it is not worth it won't come back after their first and only posting in the community section.
And well, someone who created a really outstanding Ible for a contest and does not even make it to the final rounds might never bother again.
Why is there no "open system" for contests?
Anyone deciding what Ibles make it through should be open about it, post it and allow users to suggest entries he or she might have missed.
Even more so for the winner selections.
How many votes? What exactly made it a winner? Was it promoted by featuring it or listing it elsewhere?
I don't know about you guys but even in a schools science contest the winners will be announced with some meaningful words why they actually won....
Sadly, right now, I only see taking, restrictions and ignorance for the user here.
The few posts from the support are highly appreciated but only a drop of water onto a red hotplate.
Just for imagination:
I took tons of pictures detailing my project right from the start.
I took a lot of notes while creating it.
I am ready to create a great Ible with it all so everyone can build or create it, I want to world to know about it.
Then I click on the button to make my Ible and am greeted right away with an image uploader....
Dumb enough I upload all my pics in one go.
I start writing, I want to include a picture with the text so the user knows exactly why for example that screw needs to be done exactly like the picture shows.
I can't drag the image down from that studip bar.
Instead I am forced to create a new step for each picture that has a pecial meaning or purpose.
Making a list of parts?
Well, lets do it manually and by wasting precious time because there is not usable listing option anywhere to allow the creation with bullets or similar.
Oh well, several hours later than expected it is time to take a preview of my creation.
The images are clustered up and in no way usable to floow the text, so I start again, add more steps, drag it out even more.
In the end I have about 50 steps for something that was fine in MS Word on a few pages.....
To finnish I just need to somehow figure out how to get my cover images to fit into this tiny box.
Cropping, resizing, again and again only to realise I might have as well used the thumb image IrfanView created in my folder...
Then I do the final check.
I try to make sense of the unplanned order of things and that no images makes enough sense because I need to click back and forth between steps all the time to undestand it.
Then I take another look at my MS Word printout and the Ibles lands in my draft folder.
When a suitable contest comes along I might try to check if the editing options have improved enough to post it.
Well, I now have more drafts than published Ibles...
Now imagine I would not be the only one....