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What qualifies as an Instructable? Answered


I would like to know what qualifies as an Instructable? What is the definition of an Instructable? I has assumed that an Instructable had to be instructive and not just a picture of something already completed.

Regardless of people voicing opposition in the comments that it is not an Instructable, the following post has remained:

In response to an email I sent Eric J. Wilhelm replied saying "We have been specifically encouraging authors to share items they have made but did not document the full step-by-step process in our Photo Instructables." I have not seen that. Could you please link where you encourage that? Where you say pictures showing only a completed object qualify as an Instructable?

Must an Instructable be intructive or not? If not, then I will be posting a only just pictures of completed objects as Instuctables to be sure special treatment is not being given.




7 years ago

I actually had this question a while back too, when I first posted my photo instructable for my WALL-E Autpilot back in March.

What my understanding of photo instructables is, and more frequent posters like Kiteman or Caitlinsdad might need to correct me on this, is that they are ultimately a way of encouraging new individuals to the site who have already built something, and have not taken "In Progress" photos as a result.  They are a quick and efficient way of saying "This is what I made, hope you like it" instead of "This is what I made, Here's HOW to make it".

What Kiteman said about Photo Instructables not usually winning contests is technically correct, very rarely does Instructables award Photo Only 'Ibles on the site, not counting Photo Centered Contests like the I Made It Contest.  Additionally, it is not uncommon for photo centered instructables not to be Featured either, as even if you have a good picture of your project, its not nearly evocative without a good description to back it up.

So in answer to your question, YES, Photo Instructables like Video Instructables are technically Instructables, in the sense that any project that someone did themselves and posts on our site is considered one.  However, they are considered extremely basic and  ultimately Step By Steps are more impressive, usually.

Phil B

7 years ago

This is off-topic, but if you go to: https://www.instructables.com/id/Leading-New-YorK-Lasik-and-Cataract-Eye-Surgery/ you will find it is not an Instructable, but blatant advertising. It needs to be removed. Sorry, but I do not know where else to post this.

When you see spam like that, please flag it.

Thank you, Kiteman. I am not certain of the purpose for the flag button. I had assumed it was like a bookmark so the member can find something again.

No, it's flag up for the attention of the admins.

Thanks. I formerly sent an e-mail to info@instructables.com; but that no longer works, as I understand it. I will use the flag in the future.

If you have an urgent issue, use the "service@" address.

They should bring back the slideshow category or whatever the equivalent facebooking term is appropriate. At least the expectation there is that it would be just a photo to appreciate the completed work and a bonus to get a description and maybe some detail but not to be viewed as an "instructable". There is some stuff being put up though that does debase the value of what an instructable should express and knocks the overall quality of instructables down.


If you hit the "submit" button at the top-right of the page, you will see that there are three kinds of Instructable; photo, step-by-step and video.

All three are acceptable, but photo-only instructables are less likely to win ordinary contests than "proper" step-by-step Instructables, unless it is a specific photo contest.

Photo contests are particularly suitable for new members who have made things, and taken pictures of the finished project, but not of the process.

I've been using the photo category for less complicated projects...mostly recipes that I figure people don't need too many directions to complete, but I do include pics of the process. If there are only two or three steps, the photo format can make more sense (no need for a page on 'mix ingredients' as well as 'Cool before serving').

In terms of contest entries, is there a differentiation purely between the categories 'Photo' and 'Step by Step'? Or is a photo instructable that contains info/directions on par with a step by step one? Just checking if I should reformat anything : )

Also, I have seen staff people encouraging members to add steps, but it would be cool to maybe emphasize that at the format selection stage. A new member may happen to see a few photo ones first and submit their own pics without realizing how much people would prefer to see the whole process.

Yes, the "add steps" thing is an issue - it seems that new members click the first "Get Started" button they see, without actually reading the description.

For simple projects, you're probably right, especially if it's something that could be read and then done without having to check the screen. If it needs printing out to follow away from the computer, then you're probably best off writing a step-by-step to make it easier to print.

I will be posting a only just pictures of completed objects as Instuctables to be sure special treatment is not being given.

Go for it.  No one's going to care, but you probably won't get as many views as a step-by-step Instructable.

"special treatment" I do not understand.

The photo-set is not entirely inappropriate within the context of technoplastique's portfolio.
I prefer to see things that are actually instructive, but uninstructive material can be ignored.


I agree with you, its seems crazy to call something without instructions an "instructable", even if you qualify it witht the word "photo"


What exactly do you mean by "special treatment?" Do you think people who post here get remuneration?