For a while now, many of you have asked for certain social features, such as commenting. I could have just slapped commenting on haphazardly to each project overview and just called it a day. However, with little thought about how comments affects community and social interaction, it’s easy to end up with comments like Youtube comments, or worse, Yahoo Answers.
Social software is tough. We’ve been at it for a long time, from usenet, to forums, to slashdot, to reddit / hacker news, quora, and quibb. Small decisions in how social interaction works in software have long-standing consequences in how a community develops. And instead of making mistakes others have done before, I figured there was merit to thinking things through and learning from the past.
After thinking it through and looking at what people are already doing in online forums, it was clear we needed a space to foster a community around each physible project. Because after uploading a project, and having others download it, there was really nothing else to do on Cubehero.
There were three main activities we want to support.
- Ask questions they had about a project. Where to source parts? How do these things fit together?
- Submit links to help inform the community. Look what I did! Did you guys hear about this?
- Submit patches to help improve the project. Look at the changes I made. What do you guys think? Accept or reject?
However, current off-the-shelf forum software is rather terrible. But even if that weren’t the case, the ability to submit visual patches is why we’re putting this feature in. It’s important to be able to say, “Look at the improvements I’ve made. What do you guys think?”
This is so important, because I believe the democratization of 3D printing coupled with the awesome distribution of the internet allows us to share and work together on objects and products we never dreamed possible before. I believe being able to not only fork derivatives of a project, but being able to contribute back will be a amplifier for our efforts to create beautiful things.
It’s an aspect of the site with a large surface area. So we roll it out in stages, starting with with discussion and feedback mechanism for Cubehero. The first rollout will just be a single place to talk and give feedback about Cubehero, in the Meta Section.
Instead of using email to send feedback, you can now comment on in the Meta Section. This forces us to eat our own dog food so we feel the same pain you do, you’ll be able to publicly see what other users ask and say, report bugs and give feature requests. Soon, we’ll roll it out to other physible projects.
So enjoy, let us know what you think, and what can be improved!