Thanks for the feedback. I personally featured your project because I was looking through new projects (as I sometimes do) and found that it was very well done. That was not an automated script (for simplicity’s sake, the message is a form letter) and is not something that we do for all new authors. Clearly, we need to do a better job of conveying this.
While there is always room for improvement, we continually strive to provide the best and the largest online DIY community. Let me know if you have any more feedback or any questions.
Thanks for sharing!
Instructables Community Manager
thanks for popping by – and for the comment. I think you’re right. If you have real people doing community management work, then don’t be shy. It means so much more to me as a contributor if a person, rather than an algorithm, has valued my work. Form letters are fine, though maybe you should have space on your form for the person’s name (as opposed to ‘Eric’), too. I’m looking forward to seeing how Instructables grows.
Greetings from MAKE, Andrew! We just came across your blog post, and I want to thank you for the feedback. I wish we would have seen it earlier. Great job on providing a comprehensive side by side comparison. You make a lot of really great and helpful points and suggestions.
We launched Make: Projects in July of 2010. We have scores of projects from the pages of nearly 30 volumes of MAKE magazine, and previous to our wiki launch they existed only in the relatively static formats of paper and our digital edition. We wanted to free them to live online for folks to use, and a wiki is perfect to allow community members to update, improve, and build upon the projects. The thought was to build the site by populating it with our projects and invite our community to share what they know how to make.
Since the launch, we’ve made efforts to promote it though our sites, in the magazine, and at Maker Faires, but I agree that there’s so much more we can do. Believe it or not, we’re a fairly small team, and while we’re proud of how far the site has come in this short time, we fully agree that there is much room for improvement. Community feedback is incredibly valuable to us, to learn exactly how your user experience was, and how the site can become more useful to you. In a nutshell, please know we hear you and thank you.
One a side note, one interesting thing I noticed looking at stats 6 months later is that you now have over 9K views on your project, which I guess is one perk of being one of only 27 photography projects we currently have on the site 🙂 I hope we see more of your builds on Make: Projects!
thanks for your comments. I appreciate you stopping by to respond.
I think Make:Projects is a huge opportunity for Maker Media.
As you say, it makes perfect sense to extend the lifetime of project content you already have by sharing it online. And a platform like Make:Projects has huge potential to ‘socialise’ that content. To let people share their own stories of making the projects featured, fill in gaps, suggest improvements, and help others through difficult steps. As we move towards a digital publishing future, where projects are no longer confined to static magazines, something like this could be an interesting way to explore the possibilities of a more dynamic, conversational magazine. One where projects are constantly being improved by readers, who have the opportunity to be part of the magazine in a highly engaging way.
I’d like to see a future (digital) Make magazine that combines the curated projects you already feature, with a layer on top of advice, personal experiences, builds and alternate versions contributed by the community. I don’t know whether you could actually use Make:Projects to power such a magazine, but I’m sure you can learn a lot about the dynamics of community-created content; how you can build a sustainable, commercial business model within an amateur culture; the impact of UX and community management practices, an so on. All deeply interesting problems!
Building audience is not easy of course. I wonder whether you could use the existing printed magazine to create more opportunities to engage. For example, posting a project as a challenge for a specific time period (say, a holiday weekend), asking people to contribute back to the wiki as they work through the project, and then featuring community content in the next issue of Make.
I’m looking forward to seeing where you take it next.
All the best,