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Feature request: Pay extra to allow nonmembers view the pro version of my instructable? Answered

One feature I would like to see before I upgrade to pro is the ability to allow people who have not signed in to view all steps on one page in my instructables and print out my instructables. If I have to pay extra (as long as its reasonable) that is fine. If you make this the default for all pro users that would be even better, everyone has more incentive to upgrade to pro. Is this a reasonable feature request? Could you see this being implemented sometime in the near future?

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I'm curious to hear thoughts on this. We have an API in the works, which will allow you to display your complete Instructable (in whatever form you like) on your website. This isn't exactly what you've requested, but achieves some of the same result.

The API sounds awesome!

Personally (if I could afford it, that is... :\ ) I would gladly pay a little extra a year for this option.

The idea of an "exportable" API sounds really great! A bit ironic for me, as my very first I'ble was a by-hand conversion from an HTML file into I'bles structure :-) Nevertheless, really cool. What do you think of "aztennenbaum"'s proposal for paid-release? I liked how concrete he was.

OK, stupid question, but can somebody explain "API" using as little technical language as possible?

I looked at the wikipedia definition; it may just be a case of one too many whiskeys, but I just don't grok it.

An API is a public "guarantee" of how a user can access some software package (or Web server, or whatever), now and into the future. It specifies the function names and arguments, for example, and the output format. It doesn't say anything about how the software is implemented (the user doesn't need to know that), and it doesn't necessarily specify _everything_ in the output.

Sort of an anti-redundancy sort of thing?

Not exactly. The API is so that users/programmers who aren't part of the project's internal development group know what they need to do to _use_ the project's software. Let me try an analogy. All cars have a more-or-less common API: the controls are all in the same place, and work the same way. Fueling is done in the same way on all cars (though details like which side the fuel cap is on is left ambiguous in the "API spec" :-). The output displays (speedometer, tach, odometer, etc.) use a common format, though their placement may vary. It doesn't matter whether the engine inside the car is old-school mechanical or computer controlled. It doesn't matter if it's a V6, V8, inline-4, or hybrid gas/electric. It doesn't matter what kind of suspension system is used. Those are all "implementation-specific" issues, and not part of the vehicle API.

(Good grief... did I really write that?)

How would this work - a straight export or (as requested) data-upload? L

There had been some mention of this for the future, but it obviously needs implementation, new database records, etc., as well as discussion with the I'bles community before deploying. It seems to me a very nice option, and a good complement to the "pro account" system. Obviously, it needs buy-in from Eric et al as well as the community.

Okay, here's my proposal: When I upgrade to a pro acount I will have an option to upgrade my instructables to a premium instructable. This entails a $1 publishing fee, and it will continue to be premium instructable for as long as I am a pro member. If I later decide to cancel my pro membership, my instructable will loose its premium status after a certain grace period.

I proposed this about two months ago, and it received quite a negative reaction. I am even loathe to link to the now unpublished forum topic I wrote about it. So, I'm interested to see the reaction when it's published by someone other than me.

I didn't see the topic you're mentioning (as far as I recall), so I;m very probably way off-base here, but I thought it was more about the whole tier thing?

Yes, it was exactly. And the "whole tier thing" was just an overly convoluted version of Aztennenbaum's proposal (no offense meant, Eric!). You, like many of us, misunderstood what was being proposed at first.

After I posted that, you were the only person to private message me and say roughly, "I understand, and can you make this particular Instructable of mine full-access." So apparently, it takes a Ph.D. in physics to understand me. I have received no end of grief from everyone else at the Instructables lab for this.

I thought you were going to do mine?

Hi, Eric. I think the problem was that you presented a lot of detail all at once, which confused people. Aztannenbaum's formulation is very similar to yours, but what he's put out is just the high-level summary. I think that's just easier for people to take in and think about. Also, coming right on the heels of the launch of paid accounts, I think people just overinterpreted what was being suggested (I know I did, initially). Anyway, I don't actually see anything particularly wrong with letting users pay to "publish", in the sense of providing the value added functionality, provided you don't have to start charging to publish at all.

This is actually exactly what I wanted and then some. I think there was some misunderstanding by the community, but the new publishing options were simply a way to make your instructables exactly the way they were before the change to pro. In fact, Eric was offering to personally upgrade any instructable that had been written before the switch to pro for free. I think what might have happened was that people saw the words "three tiers of access" and didn't read the rest of his post.

Thanks very much for posting this link, Eric. :-)

That seems well thought out, and nicely presented. It'll be interesting to see what Eric thinks.

P.S. I wish that some of the more annoying and offensive whiners about paid accounts could see the discussion here, and in particular Eric's active participation. Pretty well takes the fangs out of their misplaced accusations.

Okay...What does API mean?

My original thought was that the instructable would simply treat all users as pro users - perhaps it could also have a little icon to show that it gives all users access to all features. I wrote an instructable a while back and posted it here because this site was most conducive to writing high qualtiy howto's, looked like the best place to host my howto, and looked like each instuctable (and it's author) got a high level of exposure. The community response exceeded all my expectations so I started paying more attention to the instructables community, but I still think there are people who will simply want to use it as a high quality site for hosting their howto's.