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Instructable censored for being dangerous Answered

I would just like to comment about the fact that my Instructable on how to light yourself on fire (or how not to light yourself on fire) was censored. I understand that it is something that is very stupid and dangerous, but there are many things on Inructables that are dangerous and stupid (blowing fire, home made tasers, etc.) A lot of these things are also illegal. I just wanted to know exactly why mine was the one that pushed everyone over the edge, especially since it's so obviously a stupid thing to do. When I did it I was on fire for maybe 10 seconds, and the only reason I burnt some of my hair was because I was even more stupid and put the alcohol the whole way up my arm. What I really wanted was some comments on how maybe doing something like this could be made more safe, because there really isn't anything on the internet showing you how to light a part of yourself on fire. If you are into low budget film making it might be something people look into (I did) and if you can't find something you might do something even as stupid as I did. Anyways just wanted to defend myself a little bit. Alex


Hi Alex, Without getting into too much of the behind the scenes stuff, Instructables will always have some responsibility for the content either from a "doing what's right" perspective or from a "someone can sue us regardless of what the law says and bleed us to death with legal fees trying to defend ourselves" perspective. Looking at it that way, you can start to understand that logic has no place in what people actually fear and what they should fear, and hence what they are going to perceive as dangerous. I though that your Instructable was on the edge but still acceptable; however, the flood of comments convinced me the site wasn’t ready for it. We’re working on a better set of flags, so a project could be marked as dangerous, but remain published. People wanting to see it would then have to consent that they were old enough and that they recognized that the information may be incorrect or potentially harmful. The new flags will be ready sometime in the next month or so, and I would think republishing your project then would make more sense. I apologize that you had to be singled out in this case. This whole site is a work in progress and there are tons of tricky issues regarding censorship, freedom of information, and our litigation-happy society.

Yeah no problem, I just wanted people to know I meant no harm with it and wasn't just making a stupid post. I do however like the idea of the "dangerous" portion of the website.

Well isn't the "How to Smoke" instructable just as dangerous?

Legality is in the eye of the country holder ;) or something like that. But that being said (I never saw the instructable) -- no need to defend yourself ;) If a post is taken down, don't take it personally ;) The staff doesn't have a vendetta against anyone - except maybe for open sourcism (but many of us share that :P).

Let's see some of the reasons: 1. As you just said, it was stupid. 2. Although there are other dangerous instructables posted, the creators (aka posters) took the time to write up steps to make the instructable as safe as possible and wrote up the appropriate warning labels for anything that might happen. Many of these posters have many years of experience of doing the things they have posted, while others may still be novices, even they took the appropriate actions beforehand to enable themselves to experiment safely. 3. Yes, some of the instructables listed may be illegal, but this site is for informational purposes. If someone was to chose to do one of those instructables, "Instructables" itself would be in no way responsible especially since the posters usually warn that their instructable is illegal to do. 4. Not everything that may be illegal in your state is illegal in others. Like radar detectors they are not illegal in RI but in CT, they are. In MA you can have stun guns, but in RI you can't. Just some of the examples... 5. Although it may be "obviously" stupid, you also posted at the end of your intro that "you can be stupid like me" (or something of that nature), therefore implying that it would still be alright to do it. Just wanted to clear that up a little...

I guess I understand why it was deleted, I just wanted to defend myself, as well as point out the reason I posted it in the first place. I just wanted some feedback so maybe someone else could post a better instructable on how to do something similar. As you said above, it was for information purposes, and if mistakes aren't documented (as in what NOT to do) than people may continue to make them. And I agree I shouldn't have put things like "You can be stupid like me". Thanks for responding, Alex

Another thing I forgot to say was that if you really wanted to just get feedback or comments, then you probably should have just posted it in the forums. No Problem, Matt

Haha I didn't know there was forums until today. But will do in the future.