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Overly Featured Authors Answered

I'm happy to see the ladies on the front page and their work is fantastic, but I'm on the site every day and it seems that 75% of the time I am seeing giannyl (published in March) and 25% of the time jessyratfink (published in May).  I haven't see the April dude on the front page once.  Did you have a "Sexy Bunny vs. Guy Who Dresses Very French" focus group? How exactly it this rotation determined and why does it rotate back to one person?  Is it based on views? Regardless, perhaps it could be changed up a bit to allow other authors some front page time?

And just a quick aside on the 50s era wording "much more than a pretty face"...Will you please continue to reference how authors look in future features?  I would love to see "For a handsome dude, this guy sure knows a lot of math!" or  "This moderately attractive author has created some gorgeous pieces" or even "At least his soldering iron is hot."


The short answer is that the new homepage was finished before the May Featured Author guide was posted. The development team stuck in the author with the most views as a placeholder, as they figured this would look the best on the homepage. In terms of selecting an author, it is done algorithmically and I don't think any preference is given to any particular author.

Phil B

7 years ago

I responded to AngryRedhead to agree with her about overly featured authors. Now it is time for me to eat crow. In the last six and one-half weeks I have had five Instructables featured on the main page. No one is more surprised than I am. I did sweat blood over most of them. Some of them took a week or more to produce and edit and then edit again and again and again. It is nice to be featured on the front page, but even better is knowing there is more probability that someone who really needs and can benefit from my Instructable will see it. I figure it is not about me. (My theory is that people do not pay that much attention to who did any given Instructable, but they look at what they think will be the value of the content.) For me, it is about someone benefiting from something I published at Instructables, whether I know about that person benefiting or not.

This isn't the kind of featuring that's being complained about, however. It's the "featured author" thing, not authors with featured instructables.

I like to think of them as "fully featured", though I do think more time should be spent looking for the hidden gems. Perhaps an algorithm that looks for spelling/misspelling ratios categorized by total word count? Maybe something that checks photo count and quality?

It's all done by "a giant computer" and statistics. Kiteman has answered this for you.

I'd like to know (from a psychological point of view) what exactly the problem is that motivated you to create the topic?


I know of one woman on this site who's complained about people ignoring her projects and discussing how hot she is.  On one of my Instructables, a lot of people made comments about my model, and I would have avoided using a model for that reason except modeling the choker added good photographic context.  It's still depressing though because putting together that tutorial was a lot of work, and the design is sound and attractive.  I think the point the OP was getting at is that there's a little too much comment on attractive women.  There's no comment on unattractive women or men in general which makes it sexist.

And then lately I've noticed a lot of post-feminist language being used by staff members which is incredibly disappointing to me.  It goes beyond the featured author stuff.

The OP is surprisingly honest, and I think it's worthwhile to consider that there might be some serious resentment (and potential retaliation) held against authors who are placed on the front page too long.  It's a fiddly thing to give praise because it can easily be too little (for the recipient) or too much (for the audience).  I would say 1-2 weeks is a good amount of time to feature an author.

Dear Red,

I agree with a lot of what you write. I have long felt pretend playthings that have no real purpose or benefit and that high school kids think are "cool" get too much acclaim at Instructables, while something that took effort and ingenuity, solves a real-life problem, and can save someone buckets of money may get only a yawn here and there. I have watched giannyl's Instructables submissions but seldom open them. She is trading on her looks, but she does also get around with a scissors and a thread very proficiently. About the time I mutter to myself about someone being featured again for something that does not really amount to much, one of my Instructables is featured and I decide to keep quiet. Your model for the choker Instructable is very pretty. I thought perhaps it was you. I was disappointed to learn it was not. Oh, well.

That's another gripe of mine, but I think it's a result of people not really knowing much about one subject or another when it comes to DIY.  Something can look SUPER FANTASTIC, but in reality, it's a piece of junk or will fall apart instantly or fails in the design or is overly complicated and could be simplified heavily or all of the above.  Something can look quite mundane, but in reality, it's simple, efficient, and clever.  I tend to lean towards efficiency more than the "cool factor" although not religiously.  If I lean towards the "cool", I keep it cheap and quick cos I can't be bothered to maintain stuff that's going to gather dust, become neglected, and eventually get ruined, and that's the reality of most "cool" things which is quite a shame and also wasteful.  At the same time, I do want to be cool.  I think my stuff is cool, but it requires too many words to explain why it IS, in fact, cool.  I've seen some incredibly smart, well-designed sewing projects get almost no views, and I've seen sewing abominations get loads of views.  I can only think it's because sewing is undervalued and "cool" automatically wins.  To do well with views with a sewing project, it HAS to be cool or else no one cares.  This isn't true of just Instructables though.  Most views come from links on various websites, so if you want a lot of views, you need a link on a major website with a large viewing audience.

Why are you disappointed to learn the model wasn't me?

Why are you disappointed to learn the model wasn't me?

When someone uses a profile image that is not an actual photograph of himself or herself, I am always curious about that person's actual facial features. A face sometimes gives a clue to who the person is, although not always. It is more about the person's substance than about his or her attractiveness. I am curious to know if your photo looks "angry." And, in the past you have commented on at least one of my Instructables.

My wife is a very good seamstress. I do not understand a lot about sewing, other than what I have absorbed by osmosis from her over the years. She is about to go for a 5-day couture sewing workshop based on Coco Chanel. I know there are classy ways to do things and tacky ways.

Dare I say I no longer enter the contests at Instructables? I generally agree that the very top winners deserve to win. The remaining winners were sometimes deserving, but too often excellent entries deserving of a prize received no notice while trite and goofy things took high honors.

I have decided simply to let the number of views, the number of viewer ratings, the comments, and the number of referrals to other web sites serve as sufficient feedback on how I am doing.  

>I think the point the OP was getting at is that there's a little too much comment on attractive women. There's no comment on unattractive women or men in general which makes it sexist.

>And then lately I've noticed a lot of post-feminist language being used by staff members which is incredibly disappointing to me.

I could not agree any more.

When Jessy posted one ible (I forget what it was called, but it was a hat based on a book that was being turned into a movie and it had Max in it...), she got ridiculous amounts of harassment - and people who *really* should have known better had the gall to blame her for it, as she should know better because "she was a woman posting pictures of herself on the internet." Sexism *is* a problem on this site.

Sexism is a problem all around, in both directions, but it is much more evident and often "this" way however.

Jeez, AngryRedhead is not a misnomer…I’m totally, totally kidding : )

And absolutely. The projects should stand for themselves and should be featured based on their merit.

A sexy catwomen outfit is awesome and takes a lot of work to do well. But featuring the creator so disproportionately can detract from that. It can give the impression that she would be featured even if her work were of a lesser quality, that dudes shouldn’t look forward to being featured anytime soon and/or that projects of a certain type are more highly favored. Notice I am saying ‘impression’ and not actually accusing anyone of anything.

Even if this is a bug, or feature selection is based purely on views (or generated by giant computers and statistics…which sounds very complicated) it is the responsibility of the owners of the process to see how that output reflects upon the site and the potential impact on its contributors.

And I'm sorry that the irrelevant comments of some have had a negative impact on your process. I'm completely sure that the vast majority of people are into the projects, but it sucks that sometimes a small, but vocal, minority can overshadow that.

I haven't really seen their stuff hitting the front page outside the Featured Author section, and that section is to highlight a particularly prolific/notable author which is fair enough.  I can see why the authors who've been featured got that recognition, but a featured author for a month probably won't be doing the author or the site any favors.  And it'd be nice to see a bit more neutral language.  Is that roughly what you would like changed?

I don't mind a feature for a month, but then feature that person for a month. And then when that month is over, feature a different person.

Jessy Ellenberger is featured for May, so I'd expect to see her all May. Instead it has flipped between her and giannyl - who's bio was posted in March. Could totally be a bug, but that plus the "pretty face" language could look like bias.

The other thing I was thinking about your post is that I bet some of those guys genuinely thought they were being polite and would be horrified to know that their comments had a negative effect.

>It's all done by "a giant computer" and statistics.

This is a factually inaccurate statement.

>I'd like to know (from a psychological point of view) what exactly the problem is that motivated you to create the topic?

Seeing an issue and wanting to address it? I don't understand your question. As annahowardshaw says - it implies OP has some ulterior motive other than their stated one.

>It's all done by "a giant computer" and statistics.

This is a factually inaccurate statemen

That could depend on one's point of view though....giant may mean in memory size (compared to the "toys" I grew up with, with that GIANT 5 k of memory space and the fast 200 baud modems,  they are probebly giant to someone :-) 

>That could depend on one's point of view though

No, it really couldn't. People pick the featured authors, not machines of any kind.

Sorry, I thought you were questioning the "giant computer" portion of the statement.....my bad *blush*

It is true that they are "picked" by people, but the displaying of them is psuedorandomized by the computer I would assume ?

according to Randofo, it is algorithmically determined.

Interesting. I went to the front page to look at the new bouncy-flouncy animations that are "algorithmically determined" and it appears that it's now Algorithmically Determining that it should swap out actual links for blank white squares. Methinks something may be wrong with The Algorithm.

I figured that was just my browser being buggy. I was sort of hoping that wasn't how it actually looked to the world. >_<

Okay, sorry, I took your comment as dismissive. The computer/stats line had a "don't you worry your pretty little head" vibe to me, so the psych question didn't feel genuine. But since have roughly a billion comments out there, a small sample seems to indicate real curiosity.

So I think the answer would be a well (if not over) developed sense of fairness and the urge to communicate that to others (i.e. complain). I also like when things are true and logical.

A couple Instructables examples would be 1. I recently dropped Kiteman a message about the multiple occurrences of projects on the Homepage 2. I am thinking about creating multiple new memberships in order to get enough patches to distribute them to everyone who has been in the newsletter this year. I've complained repeatedly about the ones I'm missing, but it bugs me just as much that there is one contest winner from months ago who got first prize for their first and only Instructable, but they never got the patch. I think that could be discouraging (but they did win and maybe they don't care at all).

So, if patch distribution is an issue for me, something that looks sexist will certainly get a reaction.

Sorry again for thinking you were being a jerk!

If you have a list of the names, I will donate patches to the cause. Also try bugging staff for more patches - don't buy more accounts!

I have a bunch of codes that I figured I'd use...

Now i am excited to have help! I think all it would take is a spreadsheet and a new forum topic. I will put together the spreadsheet this weekend (kinda started it already), start a new topic and go from there. I'll definitely keep you posted!

Awesome! Think it will be fun : )

Although I tend to work (some what) indipendently, I do like to patch those that I "feel" have potential AND tend to encourage those that seem to get less encouragement from the "mainstream". It goes mostly unnoticed (which is what I want) except for those that actualy get the patches. I don't think I have any influence over the mindset of others (especially young-ins) so I don't try to persuade much....and help when I can, where I can.

Fairness, yes that makes sense thanks.
I don't look at the front page, so I don't find myself asking why, and "it's an automated put-together etc...

Like LiRa says: if you PM staff* nicely, they may give you patches (for the purposes you've given there - which are good)


*(I suggest randofo)

Is there something I’m thinking that you aren’t telling me?

I think he means there might be something you aren't telling us.

ie Was the posting of this topic stimulated by a specific comment or posting, by general observations, or something else?

I believe what is in question is the Featured Author section on the right middle of the new home page. I think during this "trial period" of the redesign, maybe a component is to see if they need to "spice" up the images displayed. That is a basic element to capture one's attention but circumstantially seems to be a bit sexist with the only featured authors shown. At least a link to all featured authors might have been fair. (Do I feel slighted? I'm the pasty looking guy with glasses...)

I cannot speak for madam but I don't think there is anything wrong in pointing out something that has the appearance of exploitation. Somehow the DIY cred has been dropped a few notches by selling out if that is the case here.

In regards to my choice of phrasing, it is not a secret that Giannyl is effectively capitalizing upon her looks. Not to make any mention of it would have been silly.

That said, I think it is ironic that you would dismiss her as a "sexy bunny" and then take issue when I lightheartedly use a common saying to counter people labeling her a "sexy bunny."

("Giannina Lezcano (a.k.a Giannyl) is much more than a pretty face. She has some serious DIY skills.")

If some beefcake guy wants to dance around in short-shorts and make hundreds of compelling well-produced videos teaching us how to build particle accelerators, I would be glad to use your suggestion.

An Alternative Perspective:
Putting clothes on a dress form or hanging them up doesn't photograph nearly as well as clothes on a model because the model gives context, shape, and movement. Maybe she happens to make a good model for the clothes she creates, and it's easier to use yourself as a model than to haul somebody else in.  Perhaps most of the clothes she makes are for herself and not somebody else.  So "capitalizing on good looks" might be secondary or circumstantial to other goals in creating an Instructable.

I actually wasn't dismissing her at all...she literally has a "Sexy Bunny" outfit posted. And it is really well done. And I have nothing against bunnies, sexy or otherwise.

Yes, she is capitalizing upon her good looks, however, Instructables is featuring her for her work. I think making mention of anyone's looks in this context is unnecessary. It is simply outside the scope of the projects (even a sexy project - which itself, may be appropriately described as such). And I sincerely doubt that anyone would write you about how fatally flawed your piece was for so foolishly overlooking face prettiness.

Even if you find my opinion too ironic to take seriously, I hope you felt differently about the posts from women who did not enjoy comments about anything other than their work.

In terms of the selection process, have people seen other authors featured? Completely serious question. I am honestly just curious since I have only seen one of the two every day since the new page went up (sometimes several times a day, at all different hours). That is what prompted me to post in the first place.

If you mean on the "Living" row, that is one of the least-used categories, so the chances of any particular project showing up are higher than usual, and when you're as prolific and consistently good as either giannyl or Jessy, then your projects are even more likely to turn up on the front page.

This is not what OP meant. They meant the "featured authors" interviews.

(I forgot to say, I agree with your comments regarding patronising/sexist wording.)