A bit late to the discussion but just wanted to chime in to say that I am enjoying reading this and other discussions around 3DW, model quality, search quality, etc over these past few days and to chime in with some thoughts…
Regarding the question of whether to purge or not to purge?:
This particular subject is something we’ve discussed, many times, internally. As @eneroth3 pointed out, we are able to detect, and then ask users whether they want to purge unused stuff from models before uploading to 3DW from the client. We don’t ask the same question when uploading via the web. We looked into it. Wasn’t feasible. So, do we go through and force-ably purge? No. In my opinion that crosses the line of the license end users grant to us when uploading models to 3DW and I have no particular interest in trying to move that line.
Regarding the question of how “bad” it is that models on 3DW have unused stuff?:
I look at this question differently. Most folks who think it’s “bad,” are frustrated by the misalignment of expectations. They think they’re downloading some simple wall hook, and BOOM! the file size explodes. WTF!? So, what have we done to help with that. We have stats on 3DW that tell you about file size, polygon count, and material count. We’ve recently added the nested component count, and made it possible to look at the nested components and materials contained in a model. And we have a 3D viewer on 3DW that lets you preview the model before you download it. We also have an advanced search page that allows you to define a host of criteria for filtering out models you might not want to bother with. We think it’s a good start but I would be the first to agree with anyone who argued that we still have work to do and again, I’m enjoying reading through the ideas that you all have on the subject.
The other issue, in my view, is that it’s still just too dang hard to clean up messy components once you have them in your model. One of the best ideas I’ve seen come across these forums was an option import flow that would give users the ability to put imported components through the car wash on their way into a project file. A similar dialog that says “Hey, it looks like that thing you’re trying to import has unused stuff, would you like to purge it before you import it?” – or a wizard that allows you to modify the layering of the entities of a component during the import process (most notably, to shove everything onto Layer 0, or some other layer), etc. I am an avid proponent of these sorts of ideas. There are also, clearly gaps (many of which have been addressed by members of our super amazing developer community have addressed) to more efficiently clean up after components have been imported.
I’ll also say that I think my.sketchup offers a whole host of possibilities for giving component authors options for “cleaning up” models they’ve previously uploaded to 3DW, and for giving 3DW users the ability to modify 3DW content in the browser before downloading into a project file. We’ve only just begun to brainstorm ideas around those flows and already there are some very obvious and very exciting possibilities that we’ve tossed around.
I could keep going for a few more pages, but I’ll end by reiterating that I am in favor of the idea that we might some day introduce a formal set of objective, qualitative criteria against which we would evaluate models and designate them as having passed some sort of certification. The dream state would be for those efforts to result in the creation of tool sets that could be made available for giving users the ability to put their models through an automated validation and correction pipeline for addressing common qualitative issues, such as those outlined in the What makes a quality 3D Warehouse model checklist which was made available from this blog post on the subject a couple years back. Reading through the checklist, some of the items are more objective than others, and therefor more appropriate for an automated pipeline, but anyhow.
Thanks again for taking the time to weigh in on these subjects! Looking forward to continuing the discussion and even more so to developing some stuff to address the things that are causing frustration, problems, etc.