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Instructables: Quality Standards Answered

I was thinking..... as I do.
Quite a few of instructables, on.... instructables, havn't meet the quality standards of a good instructable, let alone get featured.
Why do people bother make instructables 2 steps long? Wouldn't they like to be in the newsletter and get nice feedback? If you put all you effort in to an instructable you will get repaid with nice comments (normally).

I wouldn't like to see instructables as a website with few featured instructables lots of quick put to gether nonsense. I would like to see quality, and a archive of fun things to do and make for all the family.

A while back a published an instructable called 'professional water rocket guide'. I spend along time on it and was pleased with my self when it got featured, and it was in the newsletter. This it was gives me motivation to do good instructables.

What do you think about poor informative an qualitive instructables?

Thanks

Discussions

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Doctor Whatlemonie

Reply 8 years ago

 Strongly agree.  I am starting to agree with your idea more and more.

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lemonieDoctor What

Reply 8 years ago

If this hadn't reached the public-stage the author wouldn't have received such a harsh response. Say to someone, "no, this isn't it" without a free-for-all on the public view and it's different.

L

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Kiteman

8 years ago

In some ways, I agree.

It would be great if every project was newsletter-worthy or featurable.

On the other hand, not everybody gets it right first time.  These days, most of my projects get featured, but only because I have learned to post projects that people will be interested in, or in a style that will appeal to people.

My first project didn't even have pictures!

Bad projects get few views, and a critical response.  Members either learn to produce better projects, or stop posting them.

A good example is K'NEX - many projects used to be blurred shots of a couple of pieces in the middle of a huge expanse of carpet, with the instruction "bild to of these".  But the K'NEXers have grown up, learned how to take better pictures, give better instructions, and create more than just guns.

If we isolate projects before they see the light of day, criticise them in secret, then I do not think the site would benefit.  How many prominent members would be here today if their first postings had been thrown out?  Probably not me.

Instead, give the community the chance to constructively criticise.  Offer advice, give hints.  There's a lot more of that going on than is at first obvious, thanks to the PM system.  I know of projects that have been completely re-written by certain members because a project's creator was a good, imaginative maker, but not so good at writing.

What I'm building up to is, rather than pre-moderate projects as Lemonie suggests, why not add an extra "flag" button; critique.

If a project is not quite "up to scratch" for some reason, but could be with some work, members can hit the button.

When "enough" members hit the button, the project is automatically unpublished until it is tidied up.

However, every member who hits that button gets his or her user name passed on to the author, as volunteers to help bring it up to scratch.

Anyhoo, that's my two penn'th of blue sky on the subject.


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lemonieKiteman

Reply 8 years ago

I can agree with your position, but it is to some extent idealistic. You are being kind in assuming that sub-standard content is the product of persons that need a bit of guidance. Quite a lot of content is from children who understand how to publish something, but don't get what the site is about.
Your critique idea is nice, it's the "pending" area I am thinking of.

L

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Lithium Rainlemonie

Reply 8 years ago

>>Quite a lot of content is from children who understand how to publish something, but don't get what the site is about.

Quite so - this was very true in my case.

Which is why they are, as you put it:

>>the product of persons that need a bit of guidance.

That is, guidance to get what the site is about, and how to better document, and in some cases execute or even come up with, a project.

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lemonieLithium Rain

Reply 8 years ago

"Guidance" is being stretched a bit too far is you're looking at saying "this is completely wrong", rather than "this could be improved". There are persons around here that have posted a series of total-junk, and no doubt there'll be more to come.

L

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Lithium Rainlemonie

Reply 8 years ago

Firstly, "this is completely wrong" would still be guidance.

Secondly, I don't think it is proper to say "this is completely wrong". I think just about *any* project could be improved. Granted not every instructable can be improved to the point of being newsletter-worthy - some are old and tired, or just very simple/juvenile, etc - but with good pictures, good writing, and the like, *any* instructable can be improved to a level of quality that is worthy of being published.

The fact that some users have posted "a series of total-junk" is rather irrelevant - it actually supports my point, which is that people often start off with lower quality instructables and work their way up.

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lemonieLithium Rain

Reply 8 years ago

Yes, but some people throw tantrums if you ask them to stop and listen to guidance. There you're looking at an education, much like you wouldn't say that your received guidance on mathematics whilst going to school.

L

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Lithium Rainlemonie

Reply 8 years ago

Guidance, education - whatever. The point is this: if you consistently and kindly attempt to gently assist people improve their work when it really needs it, some of them will respond and become valuable, even widely-read, contributors. Of course you won't have a 100 % sucess rate. Of course some people will never improve. But how many crappy ibles are you willing to comment on to find another Kiteman? Surely it''s worth the effort to try and help brand new posters who haven't quite got the hang of things yet.

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lemonieLithium Rain

Reply 8 years ago

I quite agree with you, and I have spent quite a bit of time doing this.
But some people sign up because they've found another free place to create a page an mash out comments to others like them. They fill-in the Instructable space so that their page isn't empty. I make distinctions, esp. if I'm thinking "how old are they?" (Kiteman joined as an adult, I don't want to be tutoring 8 year olds...)

L

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Lithium Rainlemonie

Reply 8 years ago

I think that kind of thinking is rather ageist - there are very young people on this site whom I know of who are *excellent* writers, and grown people on this site who are...not so much. The average 8 year old doesn't write especially well, but it's stereotyping to assume bad quality = youth. Kiteman joined as an adult and made ibles that, while the writing was good, were sadly lacking in the image department (sorry Kiteman). Some people join as *whatever* age and do the same, or lack in the writing department but shine in others (like pictures).

If you don't want to "tutor 8 year olds", don't - but don't preclude others from helping them by kicking them out or not letting them post. And sometimes what it takes is time more than guidance - just the freedom to experiment, to try, and to fail ultimately helps people improve.

And it may take time to improve - *lots* of time - but I can tell you what I would have posted at 8 (or did when I first got online) was *so very subpar* compared to what I post now. I've (hopefully) improved a lot. I guess what I'm saying is there's no reason to kick out the kiddies - block their posts w/ greasemonkey if they drive you buggy, but don't dump them until they're all big boys and girls. I didn't exactly join to mash out comments, but I certainly didn't have oodles of cool projects to contribute when I signed up. I transitioned from coming up with stuff to publish just to publish to publishing because I wanted to show something cool I had made.

TL;DR: The point others have made is a valid one - bad posts get punished by a lack of hits and popularity. Obviously you need to filter it to a degree to keep out all the spam and the hate propaganda and whatnot that comes with being on the Internets, but I see no reason to become the Quality Police. The whole issue really sorts itself in a way.

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lemonieLithium Rain

Reply 8 years ago

I don't object to younger people pretending to be older, if they can get away with it - like you say (*excellent* writers). It's the people who claim to be 99 but obviously missed the decimal point...
The main problem with bad content is that it attracts more of the same. The stuff that you can find on internal/external searches and "Related" gives mixed messages as to what the site's about. Find several zombie survival guides and a person might think that's the sort of thing Instructables is about. (Note those are just the ones still searchable)
oscar's question was about general quality, I'd like not to see the non-instructable content. I don't really care how bad something is so long as it's an attempt at something actually made or done.

L

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Lithium Rainlemonie

Reply 8 years ago

Young people posting high-quality content *isn't* pretending to be older! As long as they do not explicitly state they are older than they are, it's your assumption of their age that's off. ;)

If you want to block everything but ibles that's easily enough done.

>>I don't really care how bad something is so long as it's an attempt at something actually made or done.

Well, then, seeing as how you can ignore or block non-instructables and you don't care about the quality of actual instructables, I admit to being completely bamboozled as to what, precisely, your complaint is...?


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lemonieLithium Rain

Reply 8 years ago

I'd like not to see the non-instructable content.
That is the not-make, not-useful, shouldn't be there stuff, not being on public view.

L

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Lithium Rainlemonie

Reply 8 years ago

I see. I fully agree with you there - I think it's a matter of light pre-publication filtering and community support (or the lack thereof) will communicate the rest.

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lemonieLithium Rain

Reply 8 years ago

To go back to the original question, I refer to the words of our CEO, on the "about" page, after the "submit" button, in the "how to" - I want to see content that tries to match that, not content that isn't even aware of it.
Most traffic is external, and if you hit upon something in your interest (as we both probably did originally) - you can think of doing the same your self (as I did). To host non-I'ble content (searchable) gives mixed-messages and attracts more of the same. And I'll suggest it puts off some people who are serious, and could contribute, but don't get Eric's full vision because it's diluted with content that isn't it?

L

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Lithium Rainlemonie

Reply 8 years ago

Youtube is full of crap, but that doesn't stop me from going.

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oscarthompsonlemonie

Reply 8 years ago

Im a high school stundent,  ,(I have finally revaled my age), which I think it is an appropraite age to be on this site, if i am using it correctly. Infact any age mature enought shoulf use it correctly.

Are you trying to say that you 'don't want to give guidance to a 8 year old' because the may not listen, or throw tantrums? I will quite agree with you there, but what age woulf you signifify 'mature' enough to give guidence/help to? Would you give guidence to me? (which you think you have).

Oscar

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lemonieoscarthompson

Reply 8 years ago

It's general "age" / appearence- You are posting serious stuff, and you can write. The occasionals that act like kids are whom I mean.

L

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Doctor Whatlemonie

Reply 8 years ago

I understand what you mean (I am never really in the mood to see how a ten year old drew a stick figure in paint), but they are easily ignored.  When people look for an instructable, they search for it, and 11 year old's results are weeded out beforehand. 

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Doctor WhatDoctor What

Reply 8 years ago

Unless they are, of course, looking for how to draw a stick figure in paint.

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Lithium RainKiteman

Reply 8 years ago

My first Instructable was about as crummy as they come - but I learned. :D

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Doctor WhatLithium Rain

Reply 8 years ago

I was in the same boat.

Mine was filled with flaws, and was pretty useless.....

It's a learning experience.  All of the constructive feedback helped me improve my further projects.

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crapflingerKiteman

Reply 8 years ago

i like the "not up to scratch" button idea....that would give the people who have a legitimate desire to make their stuff better the opportunity to do so...but would also "kill" the ibles that aren't ever going to be fixed to begin with.

there's also a lot of "this should be in the forum" (IMO) ibles floating around, and a lot of the video ones are pretty useless (will it fry comes to mind....those are just there to boost their Youtube consumption in my opinion...why aren't those forum topics?)...maybe another button that would suggest that the ible be moved to the forums instead of out in the main ibles area?

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oscarthompsonKiteman

Reply 8 years ago

Constructive crititsism may be the way. ..

I think new ideas like the flag button; critique, would improve the site alot.. I policy may need to be set as incorrect use could happen.
I would think that constructive criticism should not be taken in the wrong way as such. But the same for the publisher of the comment, as he should not address every issue in the design, so that the author can learn from his mistakes.

Back to the subject. I would think that it would be bit, well quite harsh to first timers having there Instructables deleted. This would discourage the author to publish more or qualitive instructables

Oscar



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Kitemanoscarthompson

Reply 8 years ago

Regarding incorrect use, that's part of the reason I suggested that the users' names be passed on to the author - not only does it give them a list of names to ask for help, but it also ensures that abusers are not anonymous.

For your last paragraph: agreed.

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oscarthompson

8 years ago

I think we may need to check, how long the user has been on Instructables and how many Instructables he publish to give the correct feedback...

As you said (Lithuim Rain), 'some users have posted a series of junk', which could be improved, but. People tend to stay away from 'junk' Instructables because they have poor content etc. Which intern means no constructive feedback from a member which has 'got to grips' with the system. The critique button could be used for this.

But then as we move to the second variable, age, I do not see a way of determining there age, which could mean a big factor as such: Feedback may need to be in a different manor for different ages. Although if the writing isn't atleast well grammerd, it may not be even worth giving feedback, and let them carry one in there own way.

Oscar

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Doctor What

8 years ago

People who don't make their Instructables "up to snuff", get their own punishment in the form of page views, ratings, and comments.  If they aren't good, and people care about them, they hit the edit button, and make changes based on feedback.

Not all projects will make it in the newsletter, or get featured, even though they are a well-written, well-documented article.  Newsletter recommendations and features are for the supreme Instructables, ones that are creative, do something different, and will attract potential users to the site.

Don't think that the projects that aren't included are "bad".  Think of the included Instructables as "friggin awesome".

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lemonie

8 years ago

What I've said previously is that all new Instructables should drop into a "pending" area. A group of maybe 100 users can just wave them through, or decline to do so with a comment. I'd rather stop poor content from being published in the first instance than complain about it afterwards.

L