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Contest Comments Page Answered

I miss them!  They were always fun to read, comment and reply to.

Does anyone else feel the same way?

Mods: Why were these Comment pages discontinued in the first place?  Is there any chance this feature might be re-instituted? 

Sign me: Hoping! ;-)


I was just thinking the same thing . . . I think they went away around the time the "Sort by Votes" option and the running count of votes were removed. I believe there was some concern about hurt feelings and acrimony and that sort of thing, but I never really saw a problem in the comments section.

Entrants were beginning to spam the comments section pretty badly, but I don't think that was it. I think the tipping point may have been the Krylon contest, because that got its entire comments section pulled after one finalist completely spat the dummy after not winning, and a bunch of others weighed in on the judges, the system, life in general. These sorts of meltdowns are quite entertaining for the rest of us - this rant was particularly memorable - but I guess I can see the sponsors being less than impressed with all the whining. 

I'm a little *ahem* surprised at the link you shared... especially considering the source. Then again, we all have our bad days. I've had a few comment *removed* for a violation of the pesky be-nice policy, so I'm in no position to throw stones. ;-)

I missed the Krylon debacle.

It's unfortunate that so few can spoil it for so many.

Allow me to join this distinguished panel of ranters...didn't have time to work up one of those vids and don't really delve into politics, but,,,

I completely understand from the corporate viewpoint that contests are used to drum up more ibles for more views for more "business" and shall be exploited to the fullest extent of the law. I do not begrudge them in accomplishing that task by any means necessary(extending deadlines, extending judging and posting results, broadest interpretation of entry criteria, other acts of God or non-God, etc.). Knowing that, I've come to expect that some choices of winners in the contests will appear to be random. With the experience of having been entered in so many contests, and winning a few, I only know that you should put up your best effort, have fun, and you win a few and lose a few. Not the end of the world. There is always another contest around the corner.

I have a phrase that sums up one of those I could have been a sore loser thing. "I was LeGummied." One of the early Halloween contests the grand prize winner was a candy molded in the shape of a Lego block. It had an incredible viewcount but I was thinking it's a candy and didn't really reflect any Halloween theme besides it could be given out as candy. Now, my hot dog fingers were ghoulish and Halloweenish. Anyway, from that day on I vowed to create some Halloweenish food ible that could not be LeGummied. But as the American Idol runner-up, it adorns the Halloween food guide and is my most viewed work.

Getting back to this topic, I guess the open topic attached to the contest usually were filled with tweets of enthusiasm, as long as they weren't derailed by the young knex crowd with immature comments or banter. But the Comic Contest debacle is still out there for you to peruse. It reflects how ibles chooses to do their tech support. Put up a site update announcement on programming changes which you cannot comment on, post a bug report that gets buried in the forums where it will not be acknowledged or lost. I do not know why they do things that way but I guess that's their right, or wrong.

So yeah, I kinda miss those topics too.

Apparently this is too long for one comment; breaking it up into chunks...

Great post.

I don't claim to fully understand the, ahem, interesting goings-on which, well, go on. I would, however, posit that some of it is due to a lack of understanding, a failure to fully think through things, or perhaps simple cognitive dissonance. I'm not even talking about specific policies (though those are all-too-often questionable), but of a general philosophy. For Instructables' philosophy is not terribly coherent. Nor is it internally consistent. An internal chaos must lead to a confused, contradictory, counter-productive, and strange actions sooner or later.

It was not always so. Because here you have a site whose operators have publicly and explicitly stated that they see (or, since The Transition That Shall Not Be Named, saw) the site as a subversive actor directly encouraging and fostering the undermining of modern industrialization. The larger DIY movement of which the site is (was) a part includes a direct rejection of several interconnected and overlapping ideas and institutions. Many Americans hold these sacred, and they are firmly entrenched in American culture, economics, and even (the further right you go) morality: mass production/manufacturing, the military-industrial complex, and even, to a degree, capitalism itself. (Yeah, I know what you're saying right about now. Bear with me a moment. Also, I speak of Americans and American values because the site was created in the US by Americans, so it is the relevant context despite the international nature of Instructables as a website.) A staff member at one time made the claim, absurd at first glance, that recycling milk jugs into desk organizers could be a political act.

They actually had a really good point. Capitalism, so dear to the heart of every red-blooded, gun totin', Real American, has by this point in time become extremely closely tied to consumerism - and not just consumerism, but consumerism on an epic scale. Buy, buy, buy, scream the admen, the celebrities, the paid and unpaid testimonials. And buy we do, in ever more prodigous quantities. The corporations have expended breathtaking amounts of money to move things to where they are today, to nurture the throw-away culture. In this culture, you throw away your products when they break because you can just buy a new one, and it is cheaper and/or easier than fixing or reusing them.

But even if one considered none of that, Instructables would still have been, to whatever degree, subversive – to prevailing ideas about consumption, production, the practicality of reuse on a significant scale, and even (as I suspect Kiteman would attest) about what is really important in life. By teaching and encouraging people to produce their own goods and services at home and rely on themselves for as many of these as possible, Instructables literally encouraged a withdrawl from the marketplace (albeit to a relatively small, already-converted audience). Willful non-support of the consumer culture being almost as un-American as dirty pinko commies, the site has roots which one can describe, with little exaggeration, as radical.

... what is really important in Life ...


The skills, the attitude, the attitude, the philosophy...

Yes, the slightly subversive, law-ignoring anti-Capitalist site has been bought by a Corporation with a history of unsavoury tactics and policies, but my incurable low-level optimism helps me look to a future that is as open as the past.

AutoDesk has some unsavoury licences, but it also has a suit of useful* free software, and a policy of giving software to schools for free.

One may be subversive and anti-Capitalist, whilst being part of a capitalist system. It just depends on how you define capitalised-Capitalism vs lower-case-capitalism.

AutoDesk can be both successful and subversive as long as it modifies its licensing structure to be more "friendly".

Instructables will remain Instructables, as long as it allows and welcomes Makers without penalising those who do not use AutoDesk, and continues to welcome and feature projects by members who follow traditional Maker techniques as well as modern techniques.

[And I know that at least one member of the Community Team that does that ;-) ]

*Caveat: I haven't used any of it yet, having no access to laser-cutters or CNC machines yet.

(I can't say I think much of the whole free-as-in-beer software. Free as in freedom is MUCH more important; as it is it smells suspiciously like getting customers dependent on a product until they will be compelled to pay through the nose for it.)

+1 Its nothing to do with training the designers of the future, but making sure that Adesk is at the forefront of their minds. That said, all the other CAD firms do similar things - Solidworks etc etc all have free as in beer offers. A bit like dope peddlers.

Wait until you get the sticker shock for a full seat of Inventor for a reality check !


So when you not only move away from all of that history and all of those ideas, but switch sides to an S&P 500 company that wants to get rid of the first sale doctrine...some symptoms of shock are to be expected. Much like physical shock, the symptoms were delayed for a time. To a large degree, reasonableness, transparency, and responsiveness are simply the latest casualties in the war between Instructables' fairly genuine ideological roots and their starkly corporate present. In a sense, it is not entirely their fault. The real-world constraints placed upon any idealistic aspirations must necessarily dampen them. I don't deny that.

But it is one thing to acknowledge that we may not live to see the fruition of our reform efforts, to moderate rhetoric, or to attempt lasting change through more subtle and less radical means. It is another entirely to completely switch gears like this – to go (if you will excuse a mixed metaphor) from the scrappy underdog against global consumerism to being a tiny little cog in the unfathomably enormous machine against which you once spoke out. I cannot say I am surprised, only disappointed.

The other side of the coin is that while Instructables has changed, the users have not. That is, the users who were present before the switch (possibly the demographics may change over time with the appeal of the site presumably changing along with the company) still have the same ideas – about the culture of waste and consumption, about global political, social, and economic systems which only care about profit, money, and power. About what being a Maker really is, and should be.

So, having changed the whole plan without warning, Robot & Co. find themselves at a loss as to why those darned users are so pesky lately. Why they are so whiny, so ungrateful, so entitled sounding. So uncooperative. Really, it's as plain as day. Of course Instructables is starting to have trouble with its users not going with the program. How could it possibly not?

{Of course, my psychic powers here are telling me that someone is going to respond, "But Lithium Rain, the very fact that you are able to post here and be critical of Robot is PROOF that you are WRONG about all of this!"

Well, no. First of all, that addresses a claim I never made - namely, that Instructables has taken to pursuing a policy of drastic censorship and _complete_ control over all the content of every last one of all users' individual posts. I didn't say it was there. Yet.

So to say that "they must be good, after all they haven't removed your criticism!" is not a terribly compelling argument against what I am actually talking about. It's certainly nice that they don't exercise their legal right to remove any comment they wish, sure. But as a user of any site, I don't consider "doesn't delete my comments if they disagree with them" as SUPER DOOPER virtuous, any more than I expect a cookie for choosing not to exercise my legal right to sue the pants off of everyone in this thread. Can I do that legally? Sure can. Would that make me a jerk? Sure would.}

I think the contests are more chaotic the lower the stakes - doubtless there is judicious spreading of the wealth going on, which makes sense - but we've all encountered some real head-scratchers. On the other hand, running into a 300000 view monster is just bad luck; your finger food was quite disgusting enough to win any other year.

Gee, thanks. :)

It's all a dance or a game we play. I think it is part of the maker DNA to be on the fringe and somehow push the limits of contest rules.

Ah, sponsors. I hadn't thought of them.

I must have missed out on that rant, I didn't realize Creativeman got so upset over it. I've been upset about not winning in contests before (it's hard not to be when you sink so much time and effort into an instructable), but never quite at that level. I'm glad he didn't really stick to it and leave the site, Cman is one of the best.

lol... the 2011 Cupcake Challenge also proved that certain people will go to any length to sabotage other contest entries.

I miss them too! They were fun to read while you were waiting for contest results :)

Evidently, that only makes 2 of us, RollerScrapper.

btw... Big CONGRATS on your Cookie Challenge Win! ;-D