Some Tips About Tips


Gather, boys and girls, while we take a moment to talk about submitting projects via the Hackaday Tips Line. Come across something really cool that you think deserves a mention on our page? Let us know about it! Did you yourself make something really cool? Tell us about that, too! It doesn’t matter if it’s a project that’s been sitting on some dark corner of the Internet for a few years. If we haven’t seen it yet, we want to.

Don’t think your project is good enough for Hackaday? You’re probably too self-critical. We’re after hacks: it’s the idea that counts. Not polished? No problem. The only thing that needs to be complete is your description of the hack.

Stick with us after the jump; we’ve got plenty of tips about tips to help you out.

So you wanna get on the front page?

The best project submissions answer these question:

  • What the heck is it?
  • What got you into this?
  • What’d you use?
  • Where’d you get that stuff?
  • How does it work?
  • What didn’t work? (Anything blow up?!)
  • What would you do differently?

We don’t expect submissions to be a how-to guide with step-by-step instructions—though those can and usually are great—but this is your chance to show off: why not dump out some photos, videos, and links! The toughest projects for us to feature are emailed essays with a few attached photos. If you need a place to host your write-up, get busy documenting it on Hackaday Projects

Titling your emails:

Avoid vaguely titled emails and instead be clear about what you’re submitting.

Bad Title: “I did this to my brother’s car…” Did you barf in it? C’mon, give us something attention-grabbing.

Good Title: “Raspi Nav Unit for Car.” It’s clear, concise, and makes life easier for everyone.

If the tip concerns a specific Hackaday Column, put that at the front of the title. Retrotechtacular, Fail of the Week, 3D Printering, Droning OnHacking and Philosophy, and Adventures in Hackerspacing are all recurring columns that are on the lookout for your content submissions. Help us keep them thriving by sending us tips that specifically fit those topics! Titles such as “Retrotechtacular Tip: 50’s Video on Bicycle Making” makes sorting a breeze!

Tell us how to identify you if you have a preference:

We want to credit your project and your work appropriately, which—if it’s something you have a preference about—is easier if you give us a heads up in the email. If you’d rather we use your handle, let us know you prefer to be called [snipehuntr] and not Jim-Bob. If the associated pronouns aren’t obvious, let us know those too. It is also helpful when you tell us: “this isn’t my project, but I thought it belonged on Hackaday.”

If your project wasn’t chosen:

Let’s face it, some projects don’t make it to the main page. Sometimes we pass on things because it’s poorly presented, and sometimes it slips through the cracks. Sometimes it’s…a press release. Ugh. Don’t send us those.

If you’ve submitted in the past and didn’t get featured, we don’t want to discourage you from submitting again. See if you can spruce it up with some of the above advice then hit us up again. There’s no harm in resubmitting every once in awhile.

So. Now there’s no excuse. Click that tips link and blow it up!

15 thoughts on “Some Tips About Tips

  1. i love the tipline and how fast and useful your replies are, but have you ever thought about having more than one, a dedicated email for hack tips, and then other stuff? like, sometimes i have ideas about articles, like you should ddo a guest rant about ham radio(that was just the first guest rant i remembered) and i don’t want to clog up your tip line with little suggestions like that, and if some of our stuff was presifted into a “less important pile” a “glitches” pile and a “hacks” pile… that’d make it easier on you guys wouldn’t it? my 2 cents. speaking of… this comment could be sent into the less important/ideas pile. keep up the good work!

    1. You have no idea how cluttered the tip line is… with stupid press releases, “dear manager, we would like to buy 10000 compressor units” emails, so many chinese companies selling LEDs, and general insanity that violates the second law of thermodynamics.

      If we can keep up with that, we can handle your ideas about articles we should do. Send them in.

      As an aside, I haven’t gotten many of the really crazy, “how to purify chemtrails” emails and other obvious displays of abnormal psychopathy recently. I collect those. Keep sending those in too.

      1. That would have been a great April Fools joke to write a column based on an obvious spam email. Something like “Nnakeme sent us an email today about how the King of Nigeria needs to send us $2 million dollars for tax purposes. Naturally, we thought this was spam until the corresponding message from Liu Bei came in telling us about a new LED supplier and realized what the hack was…”

        I would totally make another “guest appearance” to write that one ;).

      2. Oh I got those too. I wrote a polite email telling them that I was out of business.. you know – the unbearable feeling when you get reminded of your glorious business that went down the drain… (the intention worked ;)

    1. +1 this is good info. I’ve wanted to send some of my projects in before but didn’t feel my presentation was up to par… not ready for the hoards of the internet rummaging through my blog. This will help me be more confident when I’m ready

  2. Any chance the not-posted submissions could get a form letter reply? Something like “Thanks for submitting this project, we recognize that you’re not spam, but it looks like this project isn’t ready for front-page status. If you still think it’s worthy, try following this list of suggestions and resubmit?”

    Tips line for me has been a black hole, I submit things, but nobody ever says anything and I don’t even know if they are read.

    1. “Thanks for submitting this comment, we recognize that you’re not spam, but it looks like this comment isn’t ready for front-page status. If you still think it’s worthy, try following this list of suggestions and resubmit”


      1. There’s like a dozen people working for HaD. They’d need vastly more than what they have to write critical responses to every article submission they receive.
        If you want feedback make a forum* account. There’s even a projects section. Some times getting noticed is related to whether your projects overlap with the interests of the writers. Reading forum posts can help you to see what other people are doing and what sorts of projects or write-ups get noticed. Even if your project doesn’t overlap a well documented write-up goes a long way.


  3. one thing that I’m wondering about : does the project per se need a website presence of sorts ? I’m not blogging, just tinkering…
    i.e. does the email and a bunch of photo’s suffice on it’s own ?

    1. I’ve seen plenty of instructables and scientific journals blogged about. A work blog helps but a PDF or few youtube vids are sufficient. There’ve even been barely documented posts. Either having a truly unique or very well documented project are the trends that I’ve noticed.

    2. If you don’t blog much but feel like tinkering then the projects site ( is a good place to just dump your current thinking. A fair number of people are just dumping their current thoughts into it and some of it is quite enlightening. This way you don’t need to setup a blog and commit to anything long term but you can at least get some of your photos and thoughts out there in a slightly more organized manner.

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