Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hinges for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMXCIII

door hinges butt style
Every once in a while one of our staffers runs across a freelance post that, on the surface, seems to contain useful information but – once you've actually read the thing – is the usual freelancer-generated bull. That's what you'kl find today, in a post by one Kevin McDermott entitled "How to Hinge a Door." The house grammar curmudgeon wants to make certain you know that "hinge" as a transitive verb is not his doing, by the way. He'd be inclined to use the term of art, "hang" a door.

McDermott begins, as eHowians (HomeSteady is one of the many niches constructed by Leaf Group for old eHow posts) must, with an introduction, in which he informs his readers that
"Setting the hinges into a new door and hanging it in a doorway isn't the easiest home project you could pick, but it's not as hard as you might think. Mostly it's a matter of knowing where everything is supposed to go, and how to attach it. Make sure to buy reversible door hinges, which simplifies the project because you don't have to figure out whether you need right-handed or left-handed hinges."
Well, at least the EIU J-school grad agreed with our curmudgeon that "hinge" isn't a verb (though perhaps that was the other J-school grad in the content editor chair). We were amused to think that "handed" hinges are common enough that one needs to be careful to "buy reversible door hinges." None of our DIYers, who've installed many a door, has ever even seen non-reversible hinges: they're either spring-loaded or fancy asymmetric varieties. But, moving on... Kevin then informs his readers to...
"Place one of your hinges on the edge of the door about six inches from the top... The top of the hinge pin should be pointed at the top of the door."
A) the standard is 8 to 10 inches, B) measure to the top, middle, or bottom of the hinge? and C) since the hinges are reversible, what difference does it make? Kevin has more "interesting" instructions to follow, including,
"Drill pilot holes through each of the screw holes in the plate and into the wood of the door. Then sink hinge screws into each of the holes."
While there are such things as hinge screws, shouldn't you use the screws that came with the hinges you bought??? And... once you've installed all three hinges on the door, Kevin tells you to

"Hold the door in place in the doorway, in the open position, and set the hinge plates where they will go on the door jamb (the flat vertical span of wood that faces the inside of the doorway)."
First, that's not what a door jamb is and second, McDermott makes a mistake here by not telling his readers to adjust the clearance so the door will swing. That's a pretty serious mistake, Kevin... another is that, although McDermott obliquely mentions that the open end of the pin should face upward, he never bothers to mention that, when closed, the leaves of a properly installed hinge lie flat against each other. Oops – we'll bet our Dumbass of the Day didn't know that would be important.     


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Garage Door Springs for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMXCII

garage door extension spring and cable
Move the "cable," Laura???
If you were to ask each of our researchers what trait of self-appointed freelancers drives them craziest, the answer would be pretty much the same across the board. That answer is, "Thinking that having a degree renders them smarter than the average DIY handyman." No kidding: we see this one all the time, especially among eHow's stable of J-school, English, and fine arts graduates. Take, for instance, Laura Hageman, who attempted help some poor bastard figure out "How to Adjust Garage Door Tension" at

Monday, October 16, 2017

Welfare Checks for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMXCI

police welfare check
Are you familiar with the term "dog-whistle"? It's sometimes known as a code word, something that most people will find innocuous while the intended audience "knows exactly what you're talking about." Donald Trump is often accused – correctly, we suspect – of using dog-whistles in his rally speeches. One such politically loaded phrase, dating from the Reagan era, is "welfare check"; and eHowian William McFadden (aka Artesia Peluso?) jumped right on that dog's back in the article "What Is a Welfare Check?"

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Footer Depth for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMXC

footing depth vs frost line
We've noticed over the years that a lot of freelancers answering questions at content farms tend to be  literal in their interpretation of the question, particularly when the subject of the question is foreign to them. Take, for instance, eHowian Elle Di Jensen (L. D. Jensen) whose unsuccessful attempt to address the topic of "How to Find the Depth of House Footers" has been migrated to, for some unknown reason.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Camper Screens for Dummies, Again - The Freelance Files CMLXXXIX

We're always amused to find that two different people have seized on almost identical questions in the eHow canon and come up with the exact same (wrong) answer. We have no idea which of these two attempted to answer the question first, but one of them sure looks a lot like the other, at least when it comes to the bogus information. To Charlie Rainer Gaston's version of "How to Replace a Window Screen on a Camper Shell" at, we now add the version posted by Tyson Simmons to a brand new Leaf Group niche site, Sadly, we can't tell whether one plagiarized the other or both are equally dumbass...

Friday, October 13, 2017

Buoyancy for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMLXXXVIII

Freelancers: you gotta love 'em... well, no, you don't. We don't, except perhaps in view of just how amusing some of their bull-bleep turns out to be once you get past the flowery bits generated by the J-school and English Lit grads. Once in a while, however, we run across some who claims to have a BS in science instead of a BA in liberal arts, and we regard their failure to deliver on technical questions with something approaching horror. That's what happened when one of our staffers ran across John Brennan fumbling the question, "Does a Balloon with Helium Rise Higher than One With Oxygen?" which he posted to SeattlePI's education section.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Installing a Derailleur for Dummies - The Freelance Files CMLXXXVII

shimano altus rear derailleur
If you ride a bike – not one of the "fixies" favored by manbun-toting hipsters, though – you've probably noticed the contraption by the back wheel called a derailleur. For what it's worth, there's also a contraption near the pedals, also called a derailleur. Whether it's been trashed in a wreck or you're just upgrading the components, you might want to take on installing a new drivetrain – meaning a new derailleur. Heaven help you, however, if you think eHow's Tammie Painter managed to compile useful "Shimano Altus Derailleur Installation Instructions" in her crapalicious post (moved to by Leaf Group).