Hackaday’s official Kickstarter policy

we don’t have one… yet.

We’re getting inundated with campaigns on crowdfunding sites like kickstarter and indiegogo. Sometimes they’re really cool projects, sometimes they’re not. Unfortunately, they are all basically appeals for coverage on hackaday so they can get money. That immediately puts a negative taste in our mouths. Then again, if a hacker legitimately makes something really awesome, why wouldn’t we want to help spread the word?

We don’t want to stop a really cool project from being shared with you just because it is on kickstarter, but we also don’t want to serve as a crowdfunding advertising platform. It ends up being complicated, especially if the idea is really cool, but the details are sparse.

So, what do you think? Share your thoughts on how hackaday should handle crowdfunding in projects.

p.s. This started as a rant about how sick of the constant pleas for kickstarter coverage we’re getting. We’re trying to stay positive and constructive here, please do the same in the comments.


217 thoughts on “Hackaday’s official Kickstarter policy

  1. Sorry, I mean scored above rather than ranked. So prototype existing = 10 points, documentation = 5 points, open sourced = 15 points and so on. Only submissions scoring over X points get to the editors.

  2. I’ll throw in my two cents, since everyone else has.

    First, you’ve been doing a great job so far. Keep it up. Continue to feature interesting and cool projects that can serve as inspiration for individuals to duplicate, modify, think about, improve upon, or simply admire and say, “Wow!”.

    Many of my favorite articles from HaD aren’t particularly practical. I’d go so far as to say that a healthy dose of impracticality, while not a requirement (and certainly not sufficient), is something that enhances a HaD submission. If someone builds a Z-80 clone out of discrete transistors, and then boots up CP/M on it, gets a TCP/IP stack working, and has it serve up a small web page, that labor of love will get my attention and profound admiration. I wouldn’t invest a cent in its commercial future, though.

    In order to attract funding, a project ought to be practical. In order to be featured on HaD, it ought to be interesting. Those two attributes, while not mutually exclusive, at least appear to be independent, and I suspect may even have some degree of negative correlation.

    Keep concentrating on the interesting stuff, wherever it comes from, and whether it’s practical or not.

  3. It was thanks to HAD that I found out about the Teensy 3.0 kickstarter, which delivered what was promised and as a first “real” microcontroller experience it was incredible!

    However I’ve seen other dubious projects on kickstarter that I’ve decided not to fund. Maybe HAD could just post once a week about new projects in needs of funding, to limit the number of posts.

  4. If you define limitations you could adjust who gets posted. What comes to mind: Post only fully funded projects that are hack worthy. Must have working prototype. Builds on previous post, etc. Or just don’t post and charge them for advertising space.

  5. Hackaday exists in my life to learn how to build stuff. It is as far and away from kickstarter consumerism as it can get. I can’t even think of a valid kickstarter idea that I want to see on a blog about making stuff yourself.

  6. Just adding a vote here (albeit a biased one, as I’ve been one of the people sending in a “this project is cool” note), but I don’t think an entirely-no-Kickstarter policy is ideal.

    IMO, the general rule should be “if it’s a new product that’s useful for hacking, in the top few cool products of the week, and reasonably available, it’s worth featuring.” Same ideas apply to TI’s $4.99 Stellaris Launchpad as a Kickstarter product — and I think the Launchpad was worth featuring here. The Form 1 seems to me like it would have fit well (as sort of a “news” item as much as a “new product” item), because it’s a notable advance in the state of the available art in 3-D printing. I agree that being swamped with products — especially Kickstarted ones that are months out in availability — would be bad.

    (And, frankly, I’d rather have the Hackaday editors happy and not burned-out, and if a “no Kickstarter” policy is required for that, that’s fine with me!)

    One thing I think would be really useful — though perhaps a bit more investigative journalism than Hackaday usually does — is an article on what’s happened with the last few dozen hack-useful Kickstarter projects and how good a job they’ve actually done at fulfilling their promises. This “Kickstarter projects end in tears” claim: is it generally true, or is it a result of a few high-profile projects that spectacularly failed? Real research — by which I don’t mean comment threads! — would be useful.

  7. 1: For a kickstarter project to get its own post, it must be OSHW

    2: Do one weekly post about interesting Kickstarter projects and put all the projects not deserving #1 in that post

    3: The projects must be interesting and relevant in that they are hacks or enable hacking in some way

    4: If the project has its own site or page link to that, not its kickstarter page

  8. Better to err on the conservative side. Don’t let money corrupt the good thing you have going here. If history is any guide, anyway…..

    That having been said, I completely support the concept of crowdfunding, or whatever you want to call it. If you can cut out the casino capitalist leaches from the banks and Wall Street, then you’ve won half the battle…

  9. Whatever the final policy ends up, i think it should be written to include things like the oculus rift. Here is why:

    1) existing commercial solutions have failed or fail to obtain acceptable performance.

    2) given the current technology this product should be feasible.

    3) they have an existing working prototype

    Meeting all 3 of these conditions implies that solution is creative, clever, and/or obvious after the fact.

  10. Lets get this out of the way. i didnt read any of the comments so if this is cover is way to go OP, if it is then here is goes.

    BAN Posting links to kick starter, there are plenty of place to post a project outside of kick starter. IF it is a cool project and the have a link to kick starter on their project page, who cares. I want the project, not the add.

  11. My opinion, start a side site for kickstarter projects. Accept submissions and publish to the side site. Then any ones that are deemed good enough, repost to the main site. Honesty I love your taste and would check both sites religiously knowing that whatever ends up on either would be worth my time.

  12. As Joe would say “Keep on Keeping on”, don’t change a thing for the money grubbers. If a project truly has lasting value it must stand the test of time, not rapid distribution.

  13. The solution is simple: the only kickstarter projects to be put on hackaday are the ones notised by hackaday crew, and projects sent in by other people are to be ignored. Thus the kickstarter spam would (maybe,.. but probably not) end.

  14. A hack to me is taking a pre-existing product and making it do something it couldn’t or wouldn’t before or improving it by modifying it. This isn;t “make-a-day” but it would seem as though it was. Building something from scratch is not “hacking”. making a new product is not “hacking” This site already breaks the spirit of it’s title. so whats it matter?

    1. I can’t disagree more with what you say. Making something from scratch is a form of hacking, because in the process of creation you use what others have done before you, and circumvent some limits creatively in the process.

      But what is *really* important for a hack, is to stay close to the hacking ethics. And that is sharing how the hack has been done, all source codes, schematics etc.. And also the process to reproduce it.

      Please, reread the Jargon file, and especially the definition of hacker:

      ” 7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations. ”

      And by the way, the true meaning of hacker is :

      ” someone who makes furniture with an axe ”

      Doesn’t it sound like making, creation, does it ? ;-)

  15. Guys, it’s simple. Let anyone post their Kickstarter projects on Hackaday. Create a new section called “Kickstarter Projects”, put everything in there.

    Let the users moderate and the cream will rise to the top, it can then be promoted to the front page or given more emphasis.

    You get lots of views daily, time to step up the game a bit.

  16. Projects tend to loose fun when they become a profession from a hobby, i love the open hardware or software concept of most of the projects in KS, i trust HaD’s discretion over publishing KS projects, ones that have the cool factor do make it to HaD

  17. I don’t usually comment on HAD but I thought I would add my 2 cents.

    I feel that like any other web posted hack it is the responsibility of hack a day editors to filter the content to it’s readers. Sure they are asking for money for their project buy HAD isn’t. The reason I, like many others, visit this site so regularly is to be inspired and motivated by the creativity of others.

    So plus one vote for treating it like any other hack a day submission. If you deem it worthy, then I am sure readers will enjoy it and be inspired by it. Hack a day is my daily feed, you guys rock!

  18. it’s easy.

    just don’t like to kick start projects.

    Link to blogs/project sites.

    those people with decent KS projects, that are relevant to the hacking community, (as in people who will want one either to know how it works, remake or adapt -and therefore need technical details that will not be on KS)

    (start again) those people with KS projets that are relevant to the hacking community will likely have their own place outside of Kick start, (this could be a blog etc).

    link to the blog, or the project site.
    let the project site link me to the kick start project.

    set up a rule to just delete anything that contains the word kick-start.

    for those people that found out about KS projects from Hackaday, surely you’d have found the hack equally as interesting, and clicked onto the projects site/blog and when you found the “investment opportunity” still invested?

    Basically the answer is simple.
    feature cool project, feature cool hacks, don’t be a broker for investment opportunities.

  19. projects tend to loose fun when they become a profession from a hobby, i trust HaD on filtering KS projects, a project does need a mention when it measures up to HaD’s coolness factor. Another category, page or link is not necessary

  20. HAD is often times pretty picky about what they post when it comes to kickstarter. They didn’t cover BoardX at all and it was pretty worthy imo. It was open source AND funded, so it’s not like they post everything that comes their way.

  21. Every project should HAVE TO HAVE a NON crowd funded based project site that Hackaday can then link to for the story.

    If a project only has crowd funded site then it’s obvious they are just $$$ trolls and NO Hackaday coverage then.


  22. why complicate?
    things are so simple.
    is it cool? does it add anything? post it!

    if it’s on kickstarter or somewhere else? who cares?!

    if you get requests for coverage for stupid things just don’t do it. what is the problem really?

  23. Of course you should post about Kickstarter project when it is is important to the hacking community. Especially when you realize the big potential it may have.

    Would you post about Heatit? Well, probably not really.

    But about Parallella? You really would not post about it?

    Or post after it is funded so your readers will realize what they missed by not regularly visiting the Kickstarter page?

    Use your common sense I would say.

    What else would make sense?

    Perhaps when you see something that is interesting but you lack clear understanding for what it might be useful or it lacks documentation are seems like a vaporware – ask questions from poster (do journalism). Perhaps there are some real gems hidden.

    When they provide more information and it will make sense after that it would be a win-win-win situation for all of use.

    By forcing

  24. I’m going to add my 2¢ worth here:

    1.) HaD is a wonderful resource; a lot of the world’s very good technical talent hard at work and >giving< their expertise to the world. Not to mention the website staff making it all happen. I've read it daily for years and have used several of the articles in my own projects. This should never go away – you guys are too valuable.

    2.) A handful of marketers have gotten hold of the "maker"/"hacker"/"builder" meme, and it's become fashionable, trading grubby jeans for designer eyeglasses. This isn't always bad – bringing more people into the fold will result in a some that are really committed and contribute something of worth — some of it verging on art, but then…

    3.) The Bubble. The monetization of the “builder movement” is just as rife with fraud and incompetence as any of the economic bubbles we’ve seen. A few will go commercial, most of the projects will fizzle out, likely a few are just there as outright BS in order to take people’s money. It happens over and over again through history and particularly with new technologies. The good part is that even if a legitimate project fails, then the founders may move on and eventually become successful, though that doesn’t help the few bucks that everyone’s thrown into the pot. It’s not a bad thing by itself, but isn’t something that HaD should be a shill for.

    What to do? Establish an editorial policy and stick with it. (what, you guys are journalists?! When did that happen??):

    Report on real, useful technical projects that have demonstrated some sort of wrinkle or useful feature – with full disclosure both of the technology and of their funding situation. If they’re seeking funding, then the reader will know in advance and demand better proof of concept and a “how to” that they could use themselves. If they’re peddling BS, then the lack of credible technical disclosure will out them right away.

    Do not link to monetization websites; demand a video/description of the build and how the technology/build is done. Remember that kickstarter operations are often quite secretive about how they’re fabricating something (if they are at all rather than just contracting it from China). If they’re willing to do that, then your readers will help them with the project in comments, and if they won’t you don’t need them.

    With a policy such as this you get the best of all worlds; the readership participates in learning about and using new technology and startups that are genuine and receptive to improvements get to “crowdsource” some of their beta testing.

    As with most editorships, you learn as you go as well…that policy you might have thought was great last year will probably change as it goes, but keep it open and you’ll always have a huge number of readers.

  25. i’d love to see cool things that are available for funding on any platform.
    why not promote those great projects and have everyone benefit from the spread of word?

    i don’t think acting as an aggregator is a bad thing at all.

    what projects you pick is up to you.
    it’s your site after all.

  26. I think that there is nothing wrong about posting about something post worthy.

    But you could apply the hollywood contacting principle here – you do not call us, we call you.

    This means that instead of relaying on your tipping, you do actual research and monitor the Kickstarter for interesting hacks by yourself.

    Then you ignore the tips that point to the Kickstarter.

  27. I vote to not post any kickstarter submissions at all.

    Every time I see a kickstarter posted on a site like this I really question the integrety of the site admins here. “So is this site is about ‘hacking’ or getting kickbacks from sales of some stupid device?” How do we know this isn’t happening, other than your unverifiable promises?

    I understand you guys are as greedy as the rest of us, but there are other ways rather than promoting kickstarter.

  28. Why not a seperate area with strictly crowdfunded projects. That way readers viewing it know that the products can be donated to. Keep the crowdfunded stuff out of the daily stream with the exception of a very small blurb about it and a picture of a boot next to it. Yeah I am aware the above is probably mind vomit, but I have spent way too much time in front of the computer today. My mind has shut off.

  29. This seems like an easy enough problem to fix. Simple solution:

    Sell KickStarter posts.

    If someone wants to submit a KickStarter project and have the KickStarter link posted, charge a $100 deposit for the consideration of the project. If it’s cool enough to make it on HaD, keep the money and post the story. If not, money gets returned.

    It would limit those submitting KickStarter projects purely for publicity to people who are actually serious about the project, and it will help fund HaD. Win-win.

    People who don’t want to fork over the $100 deposit will still be able to submit their KickStarter projects, but without a link to the KickStarter page.

  30. I’ve been visiting Hackaday on a daily basis for more years than I can remember. From the point of view of a fan, Hackaday is great because it brings really great hacks to light, and more often than not there is ample information about how these hacks were done. From my experience, Hackaday has rarely promoted funding for projects.

    If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

    If people come to Hackaday with requests for Kickstarter promotions, I think they should be ignored. If it is a great project it should be posted, but leave the Kickstarter advertisements to the source.

    To alleviate any extra time you are spending on this issue, perhaps you should just outright state that you will always ignore requests for Kickstarter promotions.

    That is the 2 cents of a huge fan and daily visitor.

  31. Simple…

    Is crowdfund paying Hackaday? Are they linking to you?

    If the project is cool in one reader´s opinion, he will investigate enough to get to the crowdfund thing/info on the project´s owner´s site.

    That is what I would do unless my first couple questions are yes, then it is business.

    On another hand, the curators behind hackaday have full freedom to state their followers toward crowdfunding something they find cool and in need.

    Sounding redundant?


    just don´t over doo.

  32. I think, this really simple if there’s something allready built and the hacker is just trying to improve/finish/make available to public then it is fine. (I wouldn’t mind if the stuff I useally see in Hack a Day might have a kickstarter link)
    However if it just a cool idea then thanks, but no thanks.

  33. Filter all Hackaday appeals into a seperate section of the site. Ones that get enough “votes”, via a button below each one, will actually get to be on the main page coverage, else they stay in a small subsection of the site for those that really care about crowdfunding.

  34. In my opinion, if the project submitted by some one is well documented in a blog/website with source code(if any)/required stuff(OPEN ___), and if it is a cool HACK or interesting stuff, then post it on hackaday..

    This is my opinion…;-)

  35. For what it’s worth: I had a Kickstarter project listed here (the BORA board). It did help us out a little in terms of funding. But – our project also had an open source / creative commons aspect to it, and almost all of that is already existing and was linked to from the Kickstarter page (although it takes a little clicking to find it).

    KS projects seem to run the range from totally BS vapour-ware to basically complete products that need some additional support to get launched. I don’t think outright stopping KS projects would be beneficial, but any such KS project should benefit the HAD community. For example guys who are making a new Arduino-compatible boards using a different processor & are porting Arudino to that processor are probably valuable. Projects just remaking a new aspect ratio probably less valuable…

  36. Kickstarter is for funding projects. Hackaday is about hacks. Hacks are not projects. Hacks are awesome things people do that are often singular instances. Like MacGuyver, but every day.

  37. Hackaday readers use the site to get inspiration for their own projects, learn about new tools and libraries they can use, and simply browse the cool hacks.

    If that project happens to be on Kickstarter, so be it.
    If the reader wants inspiration, he’ll rip it off instead of buying his own.
    If the reader thinks it can help them hack, congrats for helping him.
    If the reader just wants to see cool stuff, Kickstarter is built for cool stuff.

    Hackaday doesn’t promote anything. You just broadcast its existence, and usually snarkily tear holes in the weak spots.

    As always, I hate policy in all forms. Most Kickstarter projects just aren’t cool enough to end up on Hackaday.

  38. Just continue to use your editorial process. If the project itself is noteworthy, cover it. If you think hackaday readers would find the project useful or WANT to support it, cover it. You don’t have to plug every kickstarter that’s hack related, just the ones you think would really contribute to the hackersphere, or otherwise are ambitious.

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