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Instructables in Inventors Digest - Five Questions with Eric Wilhelm Answered

Here's my five-question interview with Inventors Digest that appeared in the June 2009 issue:

Five Questions With ... Eric Wilhelm

Eric Wilhelm founded Instructables.com, "the world's biggest show and tell" Web site where users crowdsource do-it-yourself or DIY projects, from lawnmower race cars to skateboard sails. The site began in 2005 as a way for Wilhelm to document his mechanical engineering work and grad school kite-surfing projects. He's co-founded Squid Labs, an innovation and design partnership, and a number of Squid Labs spin-off companies including Potenco, producing a human-powered generator for cell phones and laptops; Makani, an energy company seeking to harness high-altitude wind; and OptiOpia, developing low-cost portable vision-testing and lens-fabricating devices. Talked innovation with him in this installment of Five Questions With ...

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No, no, no! Obviously this is the coolest project, but only six people know that :-)

Figuring it out was pretty easy :-)

I'm not saying anything until my teleportation device is published ;-)

EW: We review every project and don’t let junk through.

Possibly not the most accurate description as the users on the site flag junk (and maybe give it the bum's rush) or it gets pushed it into a corner. I can't quite place "don't let junk through" as it sounds like material is subject to some kind of official moderation?


I can't quite place "don't let junk through" as it sounds like material is subject to some kind of official moderation?

Without giving it away... Before things are public, it is reviewed. Ever publish an instructable and notice it doesn't go public immediately? If this has never happened to you - you've got quite a "wholesome" vocabulary :p

But that said - if you saw some of the gunk that attempts to get published.... You'd see what Eric is talking about :p

How did that spam get published? And all the stuff that does get flagged and then unpublished? I think what you're saying is that there's a basic glance (system or manual) to take out stuff that the site really doesn't want anyone to see, but a job-half done with no images can be dealt with later? L

Also, sometimes we leave spam Instructables on the site, but unpublished, so the author doesn't keep trying to get something through.

Ah, that's a reasonable explanation. But we noticed that as experienced tinned-meat merchants, they kept creating new accounts. I take it from this pattern of action that they expect material to be removed, so don't even bother to return and check.
I would have a concern that if they did check back they might have the idea of posting links back, thereby using non-dodgy instructables.com URLs?


I was being liberal with my use of "we." One often needs simple answers about things that are nuanced.

I agree, but treb's comment makes it clearer (thanks both) L

Very cool