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Non-instructing instructables Answered

I love Instructables, but I have been running into more and more posts which are simply video or still pictures of projects which give no instructions or few useful instructions. I understand that people like to publish their finished projects, and many like to see them, but are they really appropriate as Instructables when there are no instructions?

Perhaps it would be good to make an area for people who just want to show off their good work, but aren't prepared to do the step by step explanations to help others duplicate their efforts. I do like to see the different things people make and think they should be included, but I admit a bit offrustration when an interesting project turns out not to have any instructions. Since I am seeing quite a few of these, I suggest the possibility of a display area for any submission without the tool list, bill of materials, and step by step instruction available on screen or as a PDF.

Thanks to all!


Instructables used to carry the tag-line "The World's Biggest Show and Tell".

As long as a photo or video Instructable shows something that the author has made or done, then it is fine.

Having said that, I have a default opinion that a "proper" instructable is the kind now known as "step by step".

The key there being "tell" - the picture only ones don't tell me enough.

Which is why they get fewer views and are less likely to be featured.

Personally, their main use shuold be for projects completed before joining the site.

yep, I have lots of in-process photos of projects completed before discovering instructables. But not complete step-by-step images. Photo instructables are good for those old projects.

the ones that get me are the ones that are made as an instructable, but should be a slideshow or a forum post.

IMO a 7 step ible without any actual instructions is 300 times more annoying than a slide show

They may be a candidate for flagging as "incomplete".

Absolutely agree - or an invitation to "watch this space" , for a forthcoming real Instructable.


I wonder if contests specifically for Photo Instructables add to the large number of photo-only projects. I find the idea a little confusing...why couldn't a step-by- step also be judged in a photo contest?

I've had short projects that I have put in photo form in order to enter some of those contests and I have seen other members make two separate Instructables for the same project - one photo and one step-by-step - in order to meet the requirement.

Just been curious about this and it perhaps is related...

Photo contests definitely add to the total, even when they're not running.

I guess they're easier for people to enter if they aren't confident with their writing skills, or if their English is poor?

Have there been Step-by-Step only and/or video only contests? Maybe that would help cut down on the photo-only entries of very complex projects and also give people incentive to work in a different style.

There have been video contests, and contests that require video inclusion, but I don't think any contest has been exclusively step-by-step since slide-shows and videos were created (all Instructables used to be purely step-by-step).

However, in a mixed-entry contest, step-by-steps are more likely to win, simply because projects are much easier to reproduce from a step-by-step, which is, after all, the point of the whole site...

However, it would make nice change to have a strictly step-by-step contest sometime...

Does that mean +1 you agree that things are out of category, or +1 you agree with kelseymh that my suggestion is a bad one? Or did I misinterpret that +1 altogether?

As my comment was there before kelseymh's and is not indented under kelseymh's one, I obviously agreed with your original post.

As I scan through the new 'ibles via a RSS feed reader, I get a mix of 'ibles, non-'ibles (photos/video only) and questions. I'd love to have the option to customize the feed, like: "Only step-by-steps 'ibles of any area, questions related to electronics/micro-controller/mechanics but nothing at all related to KNEX and quilting."

(NB: Nothing against KNEX, but I just don't have any parts and even if, I definitely would not be interested in the umpteenth KNEX-gun. Same for quilting, nice hobby but just not my area of interest.)

Ah, thanks. I'm new to the comment process here. Since your reply was under kelseymh's I wasn't sure.

Anyway, I guess that's two of us. :-)

I get the impression you missed my point. I'm not submitting anything. I'm merely trying to page through the Instructables and finding many of them are not instructables. I think your comment is better aimed at the people inserting their articles in the wrong place, considering there are 'foto-ibles' and video-ibles.' I joined and paid my money to see how to make things, not to just see stuff I can find as easily on YouTube.

I grant that I'm a little OCD about it, but I tend to like it better when the right items are in the right category so as to reduce the disappointment of thinking I found something cool to try, and finding out it was somebody's look-at-me post.

YMMV and to each their own, I guess.

Sorry, I was trying to address both halves of your question. If you want to know what the three categories are, then you can look at the descriptions on the Submit page. That's where the description are stored, so you need to go there to read them, whether you're actually submitting something or not.

In particular, the photo I'bles ARE the place for people to post projects they've made, not instructions on how to make those projects. That's the point, and it is quite clearly explained in the description, if you choose to read it.

If you only want to view step-by-step I'bles, I gave you the direct link that limits you to see just that type.

Why would someone only wishing to read Instructables go to the Submit page? I don't go to the editorial sumbission page when I read the New York Times and don't see why I should have to here. It's totally counter-intuitive. All you're doing is firming up my opinion that the website could use a good spring cleaning, sorting everything into their proper places and creating banner head pages for the Photo-ibles and Video-ibles. No matter what clever tricks exist to sort through things, I'm never going to agree that clicking on an Instructable menu item should bring me anything other than an Instructable.

The site requested feedback and I gave it. We obviously have different opinions about whether a website should always strive to be more useful and intuitive. As I said, YMMV (your mileage may vary) and to each their own. Let's close the thread.

I wasn't suggesting that everyone should go there. I was suggesting that you could go there to discover things.

You write, "I'm never going to agree that clicking on an Instructable menu item should bring me anything other than an Instructable." The site owner (not me!) has defined Instructable as including all three classes. "Step-by-step" is just one of the three classes of instructable. If you disagree with that definition, that is certainly your perogative.

On every browsing page, you'll find tabs that say "all," "photo," "step-by-step," and "video." If you only want to see one class of I'bles, then you can use those tabs (or the direct link I provided) to limit what you see.