Is it realistic or thought neccesary to develop a plugin/feature for this site, to automatically add a small info-box about a thingiverse link? An example of this is Apple's 3D touch technology. In theory, the plugin could recogize thingiverse links in questions and answers, replace the link with an image and the author/name of the project.

I'm also volunteering myself to help with this if there's interest. (Experience with Thingiverse API)


2 Answers 2


Typically, it's a better idea to wait before you try to get this kind of thing integrated.

Enthusiasm is great in a private beta, but for the early stages, direct that enthusiasm towards the Q&A. That's what'll get this site on its feet and into a successful public beta.

When the site's more stable and running nicely, then if there's a need (or want) for a plugin like this then the discussion about it can be had.

(On a tangent - if such a plugin is going to happen, it may well be down to SE's developers to get it done, which might make getting assistance from the people on this site difficult.)

  • $\begingroup$ Actually I'm going to say from experience, start plugging now. Getting site specific features out of stack exchange is difficult, so start the process early on. $\endgroup$ Jan 13, 2016 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms it's even more difficult when the site's so pliable that nobody can tell whether it's a good idea or not, trust me. $\endgroup$
    – ArtOfCode
    Jan 13, 2016 at 7:49

Technological issues

Stack Exchange works hard for its communities, but there is a limit. If thingiverse changes its API (which it can, and does, do at any time without notice) then anything we build on it has to be modified, and users will be very whiny until it's fixed.

If we choose to integrate model viewing or any sort of API integration with an outside service, we will have to make sure the service provides some sort of legacy guarantee minimal API that won't change, and then we will only be able to use that.

Political issues

I would be very uncomfortable endorsing a closed source, commercial service on this site. There are many communities within the world of 3D printing that are very unhappy with makerbot, thingiverse, and their parent company, and encouraging users to use this service may result in pushing away some very valuable experts within the reprap world.

Looking to the future

If we integrate any sort of model library or model viewer, I strongly suggest we choose an open source project the community can heartily endorse. We may link to outside models, but the core API should be servable by stack exchange without license or much maintenance so 1) we don't have to deal with API changes messing us up, 2) we don't rely on outside services that may change their terms of use or API, 3) we don't have to form complicated contract bound relationships with 3rd parties just to get the guarantees we'd need to convince Stack Exchange to invest in a new feature, and 4) we don't become too politically involved such that we disenfranchise users who may have very strong feelings about this subject.

Wait and see

This is the early beta. Let's find out what people link to in questions before dedicating resources to improving the links/plug-ins/oneboxes. It may be that thingiverse objects are linked to frequently, and that it would add value to the site to improve that experience, but it's also just as likely that thingiverse turns out to be infrequently linked and the effort spent now would essentially have been wasted. Let's wait until we have tens of thousands of questions so we can properly evaluate what the community actually uses and needs.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you elaborate on what you mean about Political issues? I don't feel that having a plug in is necessary "endorsing" or recommending a site. $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2016 at 4:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You can find numerous articles about the Thingiverse controversy online. As far as whether including a plugin to a specific commercial entity's resource database is endorsing or not, I simply disagree, but don't see the value into going into it here. Even if you disagree with the political angle, and feel we should shove thingiverse down people's throats on this site, the other problems would still remain. $\endgroup$
    – Adam Davis
    Jan 14, 2016 at 14:39

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