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Important Changes to Contests - May 1st Answered

Hello everyone!

As most of you have probably noticed, we haven’t changed much with our contests over the last several years. But this year we’re changing that, thanks to all of you and your important feedback! In 2018, we are going to be trying new things when it comes to contests. We believe these changes will lead to a larger variety of winners and even more incredible instructables!

With that said, we’d like to announce two major contest updates starting on May 1st.

#1 - Every instructable can only be entered into ONE single contest.

At first, this may seem like bad news, but we promise it’s actually good: the new rule will allow more authors to win prizes! We’re reducing the number of prizes ONE instructable can win, but this will allow for more winners overall.

While we’re sure some of you will be disappointed, this is a great way to level the playing field and simplify the process for both authors and judges. The old contest system allowed an author to enter three contests with one instructable, which greatly increased the number of entries per contest.

Along with increasing the number of entries per contest, the old system tended to pit new authors against much more experienced authors who understand that they can up their chances of becoming a finalist by working multiple contest themes into an instructable.

We hope this new contest rule will encourage our authors to commit fully and enthusiastically to one contest theme and create more focused projects, instead of stressing about making something to qualify for three separate contests!.

#2 - We are creating more Prize Packs.

Currently, if you win a contest at any prize level you will get an Instructables prize pack, some stickers, and whatever other random swag we have lying about in our prize room. As it turns out, this has created a situation in which our best authors end up filling their homes with piles of instructables T-shirts.

We recognize that winning T-shirts over and over again is boring.To make Prize Packs Great Again over the next few months, we are going to roll out new Prize Packs on a permanent and limited edition basis. When you win a contest, you will be able to select the standard T-shirt prize pack, but you will also have new choices coming soon.

Make sure to keep an eye out soon for new Instructables swag we know you’ll love!

Discussions

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Matlek

7 months ago

N°1 sounds quite fair. But on the other hand, some contests are open to almost any entry regarding their themes (just like the "colors of the rainbow" or "trash to treasure"). To me, these contests were some kind of "bonus" contests, to add some challenge to an existing project: I have a project, but if I see the "colors of the rainbow contests", I'll try to make my project more colorful. Or with upcycled objects to fit the "trash to treasure contests". But I think it is a good idea anyway, let's see how it turns :)

N°2 is also a great improvement. I remember there were some mugs before. Are they going to be part of the new packs? Or the notebooks from the "I made it madness"? I hope to be part of the finalists soon to find out!

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randofoMatlek

Reply 7 months ago

We are thinking about mugs, but likely different ones than we had before. We are still working on the finer points of this. Is there anything you would like to see?

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Matlekrandofo

Reply 7 months ago

Tote bags? Or Instructables socks, that would be very fun! And some pencils, it is always useful.

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stevemoseleyrandofo

Reply 7 months ago

How about something like small multi-tools with the Instructable robot on them. Maybe another useful little gadget.

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makendostevemoseley

Reply 7 months ago

Agreed. Any small tool, especially of the type that is easily lost/worn out/broken but regularly used e.g. builder's pencils, tape measures (metric for outside of US), bits for drill/drivers, rulers, notebooks, pins/needles, levels, utility knives would be handy

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stevemoseleymakendo

Reply 7 months ago

Yep. I like the idea of tape measures (I think you can get some with metric on one side and imperial on the other), maybe a 6-inch metal ruler, screwdriver with bits, utility knife.

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mole125stevemoseley

Reply 7 months ago

All tape measures in the UK typically have both imperial and metric printed on them, so shouldn't be hard to source. Its a good idea, something relatively cheap to purchase but even small 1m tape measures are useful and have a habit of disappearing.

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Yonatan24stevemoseley

Reply 7 months ago

There's a multitool as a prize for the rainbow contest.

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dpeachMatlek

Reply 7 months ago

Arduino's with the robot screen printed onto them.

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winneremerald12

2 months ago

About the Furniture Contest, would showing how to work with a piece of furniture instead of making a piece of furniture be an eligible entry?

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winneremerald12randofo

Reply 2 months ago

Say I wanted to show how to improve your bookcase, which is a piece of furniture. Would that work?

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winneremerald12

3 months ago

For the Tiny Homes Contest, would a house diorama count?

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ossum

3 months ago

With the new single-entry-per-instructable does it still matter how recently the instructable was published? For example, I have one I want to publish, but won't be doing it now until the perfect contest arrives, because I wouldn't want it eligibility to expire.

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randofoossum

Reply 3 months ago

The project has to be published during the entry period for the contest.

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ruudcreates

3 months ago

I recently won the BBQ showdown but wasn't able to choose between standard T-shirt pack or something else. When can we expect this change to happen? (Not that I didn't need another T-shirt, could use a new one.)

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randoforuudcreates

Reply 3 months ago

This effort got a little derailed. We're sorry about that.

We should have mugs available in the near future. Other options are still bit farther out.

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winneremerald12

6 months ago

Can we enter two different Instructables into the same contest?

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zimittrandofo

Reply 4 months ago

But only 1 can win. Correct?

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randofoArtuino

Reply 5 months ago

Thanks for pointing this out. That should not be allowed. I will investigate.

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mtairymd

7 months ago

I'm guilty of #1. I usually don't even pay attention to the contest until I'm ready to hit the publish button. At that point, I look down at the contest and usually click on anything that might be remotely related to my project. Funny, with that randomness, I've only been rejected from a few entries :). The change is a nice improvement and should clean up the contests.

As for #2....Thank you!

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MillennialDIYermtairymd

Reply 7 months ago

"I've only been rejected from a few entries" - Yeah, I've seen the same in general. For the sake of trying not to offend anyone, they accept just about any project for any contest. I wasn't too fond of that. It takes all the merit out of being accepted.

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38renMillennialDIYer

Reply 6 months ago

I have noticed that too, now that you mention it...

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BrittLiv

7 months ago

I just got the new goody bag of things with my prize and I absolutely love it. Especially the design of the notebook and the card. Huge compliment! The card is a nice touch.

After seeing it I think a slightly thicker (maybe hard cover) notebook would be a great runner up prize.

And obviously a huge thank you for the MacBook!

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aljaba18

7 months ago

If I have an instructable project registered in a contest before May 1st, can I register this project after May 1st in a second contest if this second contest started before May 1st?

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AMbros Custom

7 months ago

I am also very happy to see the improvements by the Instructable Team.

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M.C. Langer

7 months ago

Super!!!! I'm looking forward to see the new changes! Thanks Randy!

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taifur

7 months ago

I am very happy to know that.

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ThirdEarthDesign

7 months ago

I'm pretty happy with these changes. #1 I think it's completely reasonable to prevent a single I'ble from completely sweeping up a whole bunch of contests (as has often been the case in the past).

I think this is fairer and less frustrating. While being entered in
three contests theoretically gives you up to three chances of
winning, it will be good not to see the same I'bles in multiple
contests.

#2 Also a good way to go, nice one :-)

I'm curious to see if the Halloween contest will be divided into multiple categories again this year (like it used to be), or if it will be like last year where everything was in one single contest. I'm hoping it's not the latter!!

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randofoThirdEarthDesign

Reply 7 months ago

Im not 100% sure, but I think it might be one large contest again. We typically plan the Halloween contest over the summer, and will take a much close look at it then.

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ruudcreates

7 months ago

Great improvements I think.

I understand people comments below about #1, but I'm finding it sometimes unfair when seeing a single Instructable winning several grand prices. Of course, when you win in one contest, your I'ble will do good in another one as well if it becomes a finalist. Especially since once you're a finalist many of the things which are taken into account are similar, like quality of writing and photos, provided information and extra files etc.

And about #2, yeah, I'm always in the need of limited edition Instructables items.

But since we're talking about contest improvements, maybe a simple suggestion. Once the contest is closed for entries, it would be nice if the final date for entering is changed to final date for voting. And after that the date the winners are announced.

And I never can remember how to change final time to enter to my time (GMT+1). I'm not even sure I think it is a good idea, but the last 24 hours the date can be accompanied by this many hours left for entering.

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Yonatan24ruudcreates

Reply 7 months ago

Try Googling "__am/pm San Francisco in my time" I think during the last two days of the contest it should be displayed in hours left, not days.

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ruudcreatesYonatan24

Reply 7 months ago

Calculations or searching is not the problem, It's just that I'm to lazy to do it. :) And its just more convenient to see hours left I guess.

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Artuino

7 months ago

Thanks for sharing!..Both updates seems fair to me.

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BrittLiv

7 months ago

#1: I actually always though it was a fun challenge to try to build something that fits into three contest, but I can totally understand the change.

#2: Thank you!!

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gravityisweakBrittLiv

Reply 7 months ago

I completely agree with you there. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to think up a project that would meet 3 different criteria while still being new, interesting, and original. Maybe we'll get to see a special contest that speaks to that type of challenge in the future though. One can hope!

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OrigamiAirEnforcer

7 months ago

A good step I suppose, though it's hardly all that is needed. Limiting entries to one contest might cut back on the trend of a few projects grabbing up scads of prizes, but there are other things that still need addressing too. Chief among these issues is electoral reform.

Tying the votes to a relative calculation (such as votes/viewership) is a fair measure to allow smaller, less popular projects a decent chance at the ballot box. This would mean that a popular project would be judged based on how many of its viewers it impressed, not simply snowing other less popular projects under with its superior supply of viewers. Making things about a percentage rather than outright numbers would make things far more competitive.

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annieoakleyOrigamiAirEnforcer

Reply 7 months ago

I've been watching contests evolve since the beginning of the site, and I think they're done about as fairly as can be. These tweaks are a further improvement, though. A couple thoughts in response to your comment:

Votes have no ultimate bearing on the selection of finalists (a careful reading of the contest rules reveals this). As has been explained numerous times, staff use votes to identify the first half of potential finalists for consideration but will still rule things out for a variety of reasons.

"Outright numbers," despite your implication, have never been used to select finalists. The criteria outlined in the official rules spells out the considerations used to select finalists, and I've seen plenty of entries selected as finalists that have relatively low views.

From what I've seen, I'd say the criteria really just boil down to two main aspects: quality documentation + interest factor (and sometimes one will outweigh the other).

Instructables that hit those two aspects solidly in relation to the theme almost always end up as finalists. Unsurprisingly, these Instructables often have higher views and engagement, but it's the quality documentation + interest factor that made them finalists, NOT the views.

In other words, just like votes . . . views ultimately don't really matter.

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OrigamiAirEnforcerannieoakley

Reply 7 months ago

The only statements I have ever heard out of staff regarding contests are roughly "half of winners are determined by the votes, half by staff judgment." It's fair to surmise that the absolute count of votes is indeed important. Altering things to a percentage based system would only sharpen the process and encourage participation.

Admittedly though, the best system would be one that eliminates the subjectivity of voters altogether. Let performance and objective statistics be the judge--make the project's object be what matters.

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seamsterOrigamiAirEnforcer

Reply 7 months ago

annieoakley is spot-on actually. Absolute vote counts don't guarantee anything, as all potential finalists are weighed against the stated criteria and judged among staff before finalist final lists are finalized and community judging round starts. Votes are for fun and offer of glimpse at how the community feels about a project, and can help determine finalists but do not guarantee it.

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OrigamiAirEnforcerseamster

Reply 7 months ago

If votes are meant in that fashion, then there ought to be a downvote option (a la Reddit). As it stands, disapproval is unseen as there is no way to show it at the ballot box. Therefore, overall approval cannot be gauged.

------

What I hope to see in the future are contests with very regimented goals and assessment standards. Those would garner interest I am sure.

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Yonatan24OrigamiAirEnforcer

Reply 7 months ago

But why would a downvote button need to be added? For the trolls, which we don't have many of? What would make you downvote an Instructable? It would just decrease the chance of slightly more controversial I'bles of winning. And if only 50% of finalists are decided by votes then a good Instructable should win anyway.