Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Quartz for Your Favorite Dummy - The Freelance Files MCXVI

quartz vein
Dig that out with a hand shovel, Becky!
Perhaps because a lot of our staffers are “earthy” people, we seem to find quite a few shoddy freelance articles that are supposed to transfer knowledge about rocks and minerals. Given that quartz is probably closer to ubiquitous than any other rock-forming mineral, we’d like to think that whoever posted about it would get some of it right. We were wrong, though: take a look at the mess Rebecca Miller made out of “How to Find Quartz Stones” for

Our staff geologist wants us to make it quite clear up front that there isn’t really such a thing as a “quartz rock,” since quartz is a mineral. Sadly, Miller (a “life enrichment specialist”) didn’t point this out – but perhaps that’s because she was too busy misinforming people about quartz. Take, for instance, this…
“Quartz is located on the earth’s crust and forms in cracks of sandstone, granite and other types of rock.”
Ummm, yeah… “on” the crust… Becky had some other doofus things to say, such as when she told her readers that to find quartz, they’d have to
“Use the locality map at to find the closest or best area for you to go begin your quest (see References; scroll down to the bottom of the page where it says Localities for Quartz). Click on the area in which you are interested; this will lead you to a list of mines or known deposits.”
We checked out the Mindat page and noticed something Miller seemed to have missed: the locations map bears the notation, “Showing 214 significant localities out of 77,238 recorded on” Yup, Rebecca, unless you’re in Hawaii or Iceland right now, it’s a pretty safe bet that there’s quartz within a couple of feet of you. Idiot.

Becky also says that to find quartz, you need to,
“Look for mines or fields that are tilled just for the purpose of rock hunting and allow you to search for quartz stones for a fee,”
Apparently a reference to so-called Herkimer diamonds, which are actually quartz crystals If you’re not at a commercial site, she says,
“Sometimes the presence of orangish or reddish soil is an indicator that quartz may be in the area….”
…a comment that, to be honest, made absolutely no sense to our geologist. Is she thinking of gossan? Of grus? Does she think lateritic soils are indicators of high quartz content? Inquiring minds want to know…

Miller also suggests that to hunt for quartz you need a “rock rack,” whatever that is, and thinks you can manage to perform hard-rock mining with a “hand shovel.” Yeah, Becky, right… did it ever occur to you while making up this crap that you would someday be awarded the Dumbass of the Day for this?     


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Big Holes for Dummies - The Freelance Files MCXV

shop-built hole jig
Several of our staffers here a the Antisocial Network are competent DIYers, the kind of person you'd probably love to have for a friendly, helpful neighbor (as long as you returned their tools!). Their competence with a wide variety of projects makes them pretty good at spotting bullshit pumped out by freelancers who would very likely be hopeless as DIYers, freelancers like eHowian Lauren Vork, We might ask Lauren a music question ('cause of her degree), but when it comes to "How to Cut a 6-Inch Hole"? Her post is pretty damning...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Corner Sink Cabinets, the Dummy Version - The Freelance Files MCXIV

corner sink cabinet
The break-room kitchen at Antisocial Network World HQ just doesn't cut it, so the staffers have been passing around their suggestions for a remodel. Since the room has no windows – it's just a break room, after all – several of the plans call for placing the sink in the corner of the room. The idea reminded one researcher of a post he'd flagged a few weeks before, so she passed it on the the nomination team. That's how "How to Make a Corner Kitchen Sink Cabinet" by Judi Light Hopson came to be today's featured DotD.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Do-It-Yourself Emeralds for Dummies - The Freelance Files MCXIII

lab-grown synthetic emeralds
One of our interns claims to have seen every episode of "Big Bang Theory" several times, and will happily regale you with tales of Sheldon Cooper's childhood science experiments – the time he built his own CAT scanner, for instance, or his attempt to build a personal Takomak nuclear reactor. Apparently, a modern-day Sheldon once wanted to know "How to Make Synthetic Emeralds," and the folks at eHow were only too happy to "answer": for some giggles, check out what English teacher Audrey Farley told the OQ at

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Guitar Strings for Dummies - The Freelance Files MCXII

closeup of nylon strings
Lori used a picture of nylon strings...
For several years, our staffers had ignored the website as a repository for internet dumbassery. Why? perhaps because they, like many, were fooled by the name. It could also be that the level of semi-plagiarism – skillful rewording of authoritative text – at the site was much higher than in the DMS¹ family of websites. That, and there seem to be far fewer candidate freelancers at WG meaning, perhaps, a bit more rigorous screening of their "qualifications." Nonetheless, there are plenty of posts that meat all our criteria for DotD; we just have to look a little harder. Look, we did, and we caught not-so-wise geek Lori Kilchermann bullshitting us with "How Do I Choose the Best Acoustic Guitar Strings?" Oops...

Friday, February 16, 2018

DIY Home Plumbing for Dummies - The Freelance Files MCXII

house plan with plumbing
Sometimes our researchers are lazy – or maybe it's just Friday afternoon and they're busy checking the standing of their fantasy football team before the weekend. Whatever the case, one of the easiest ways to find freelance dumbassery seems to be to look not for the topic but for the writer. That's what happened today: after noticing just how clueless eHowian Marissa Wilson was about finishing plywood and putting up crown molding on cabinets, one of our staffers just tracked her around the 'net for a few minutes. Sure enough, Marissa proved golden, with the post "How to Install Plumbing in a House."

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Homebuilding for Dummies - The Freelance Files MCXI

construction site
One of the greatest weaknesses of "ask me a question, I'll give you an answer" content farms such as eHow – ignoring for now the incompetence of so many of their freelance "contributors" – is the open-ended nature of questions asked by some of the... less aware... information-seekers. That lets people who know as little about the topic as the OQ pretend to answer the question without bothering to provide information. Take, for instance, George N. Root III pretending to address "Activities to Build a House" for Leaf Group's