Thursday, April 30, 2015

Plumbers for Dummies

Freelancers in the know use, access, and consult tools that allow them to view what searches are being performed; apparently in hopes of capitalizing on the urgent need of 'netizens for information about something other than celebrities, porn, and celebrity porn. The freelancers then fulfill that need, no matter how foolish the question and no matter how tenuous their own connection to the knowledge he or she posts. Sometimes the combination of topic and ignorance is downright hilarious. Take, for instance, Seekyt's iolaharder, who shared a gusher of useless verbal sewage in "Exactly What Really does a Plumber do?" (that's her title; not ours).

If you didn't already know what plumbers do – and who over the age of maybe ten doesn't? – Iola wouldn't be much help. That's because Iola really gets into her freelancing, carefully rewording and reordering information she just ripped off from somewhere else. Take this first paragraph:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pine Trees for Dummies

The saying "he can't see the forest for the trees" might well be the motto of eHow's stable of freelance writers. The worst of them, forced to fit their misinformation into a restrictive format and hardwired word-count range, often do little more than spout disconnected facts more or less at random. In doing so, it's not uncommon for the dumbasses among them to omit basic facts while going into great detail about trivia. For an example, let's look at Nicole Papagiorgio, writing (quite appropriately) on "How to Identify Types of Pine Trees," which Leaf Group has, for unknown reasons, niched  at

We here at the Antisocial Network just happen to have a degreed forester (B. S., University of Arizona) on staff (Nicole has, as do so many Demand Media drones, an Associates Degree in.... ta-da! Journalism), who directed us to a number of dichotomous keys for identification of different species of pines. Here's a key that's fairly general as opposed to the very specific one Nicole found for a biology lab at "University of Berkeley" (we think she meant University of California at Berkeley). In any case, Nicole's version of a dichotomous key (such as it is) is replete with problems. She starts out with

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Untold Wealth for Dummies

When it comes to freelancers spreading misinformation, almost no topic appears to be more fertile than get-rich quick schemes. Thanks to a rather stupid TV "reality" show about panning for gold, bazillions of people became convinced that they could wander into the nearest trickle of water with a bowl from the kitchen and pan up fist-sized gold nuggets with just a few minutes' work. Freelancers like lperry (Lisa Perry) over at were happy to feed gold fever, if only to make a few pennies off someone else's greed. Lisa shared her bit of misinformation in an article she called "Strike It Rich Panning For Gold In Arkansas."

In actuality, Lisa doesn't say jack about the process of panning, where you might pan for gold, or how much you might find. In a burst of honesty that seems quite out of character for freelance writers on Seekyt, Lisa says not once but twice that people panning for gold in Arkansas will find flecks of gold the size of a flea's knee instead of massive lumps. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fake Reviews Revisited

Anyone who read an Amazon book review in the first decade of the 21st century is familiar with the late Harriett Klausner, the site's number 1 reviewer during that time. Harriett, who seemed to have mad speed-reading skillz, pounded out twenty or thirty book reviews per day, although almost all bore a striking resemblance to the jacket blurb. Well, Harriett isn't the only "reviewer" out there faking it: the practice is disturbingly (some might say "disgustingly") widespread. Some of the content is so obvious that even the most brain-dead among us can spot it. Want an example? We're glad to oblige, courtesy of ThePen at, who wrote "Product Review: Canon 4624A002 Is All Weather Binoculars." This particular morsel of freelancer dumbassery is not only fake, it's also spun from somewhere else. Know how we can tell? Just read the first paragraph:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Scotch for Dummies

Several editorial staffers at the Antisocial Network like to raise a dram or two of fine single malt whisky of an evening in salute to the freelancers out there who aren't dumbasses. We won't bore you with details, but we're partial to Lagavulin, Laphroaig, or anything that non-Islay drinkers claim tastes like cigarette ashes smell. That's why we were dismayed to have our whisky sensibilities insulted by Edwin Thomas, "contributor" to eHow in a little ditty he called "How Is Scotch Whiskey Made?"¹ Oh, yes, the dumbasses at eHow DID call it "Scotch whiskey," even though Scotland officially spells it "whisky." But that's just the beginning...

Here's some of the other bits of stupidification Edwin and his eHow content editor unleashed on the internet:
"The malted barley or grain mix is ground into flour and then steeped in hot water in a process called 'mashing.'"
Umm, no: the grains aren't "ground into flour," they're crushed (that's why it's called "mashing"). The purpose of this millling process is to crack the hulls of the barley grains.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Shutters for the Compleat Dummy (HubPages Week)

If there's anything that irks us here at the Antisocial Network, it's someone who shares a "How To" article that, if you followed to the letter, you wouldn't end up with the promised outcome. Like, a recipe in "How to Bake Bread" that ends up as a batch of corn nuts or something similarly disgusting. It's bad enough when dumbasses share incorrect information, misidentify tools, or misdefine technical terms; but not even giving the complete instruction set? that's beyond the pale! That's why we've singled out the one and only Naima Manal for the last day of HubPages week, and why we chose her article "How to Build Window Shutters" – because it doesn't tell you how to build window shutters: it tells you how to build... something else.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Toilets for Dummies (HubPages Week)

Ahhhh, the toilet. The commode, water closet, crapper, porcelain bus -- by whatever name you know him, John is an important member of the modern household, which is why modern houses come with a toilet; and many come with more than just the one. Apparently in HubPages land, however, potties aren't all that common -- and this means that penny-hungry freelancers like the guy who calls himself lucionogue are more than happy to tell you how to install one of the things. Why you might need advice, especially of this quality, shall remain a mystery. Let's see what lucionogue has to share in "How Toilet Installation and Vent Pipe." A hint to any prospective readers: the article makes about as much sense as the title. Here's Luci's checklist for the process...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bicycles for Dummies (HubPages Week)

If you've ever visited a children's museum such as the fabulous example in Indianapolis, you've almost certainly encountered an exhibit depicting the simple machines. Kids study these six basic tools -- the inclined plane, pulley, screw, lever, wedge and wheel -- in elementary school; where it's a common exercise to try to deconstruct complex machines into different combinations of the basic six. Take for instance the bicycle, whose drivetrain consists of toothed wheels (aka gears) in a system of pulleys. On the other hand, don't take the word of the hubbie who calls himself "David Bicycle" in his HubPages article "Everything About The Bicycle Mechanism"...

His pen name notwithstanding, David either knows less about bicycles than he claims or never studied simple machines in elementary school. Why? Because this is what he said:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nuclear Physics for Dummies (HubPages Week)

Spend a few hours surfing the internet and, within the search results on almost any topic, you're bound to run across articles published by incompetents at dead (or dying) content farms. In that vein, we picked a subject at random and -- wonder of wonders -- found an article written by a hubbie over at The topic? nuclear fusion. The freelancer in question? he calls himself hassam, and here's a look at an article he "wrote" (perhaps I should say "reworded from elsewhere") on the topic of "How Does A Nuclear Bomb Work?"

No one at the Antisocial Network claims to be a nuclear physicist, though we also don't pronounce the word "nuke-you-lar," either. Be that as it may, we found it interesting that hassam did such a poor job in his explanation, beginning with:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Science Factoids for Dummies (HubPages Week)

A successful freelancer at a content farm like rewords source material at a furious rate; often dumping out several related "hubs" in a day, all connected by similar titles and topics. The problem with this methodology is, of course, that the freelancer is merely rewording material about which he or she knew little or nothing yesterday and, in the process, is making a helluva mess of specific facts. Here's a prime example, one we found this morning with just a few minute's trolling through the bazillions of hubs. It comes to us courtesy of livingsta, a Hubbie who claims to be a physicist, but probably isn't. Come see some of her bullshit from the article "Planet Earth for Kids - Shape and layers of the Earth."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Check Engine Lights for Dummies (HubPages Week)

If you've ever heard the radio show "The Car Guys," it's a safe bet you've heard one Magliozzi or the other ask the caller, "How long has the check engine light been on?" That strange light on the dashboard is probably responsible for more online research and more calls to free service advice lines than any other automotive-related question, bar none. Well, Kate Daily (a.k.a. "wolfy") over at HubPages decided to help out all those concerned car-owners with a succinct bit of advice she called "How to Get Rid of the Check Engine Light." We'll ignore for the moment that you don't actually want to "get rid of" your CEL, since it performs a valuable function; you merely want to turn it off. Here's Kate's "advice":

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wall Ovens for Dummies (HubPages Week)

That's a cabinet, you dumbass!
This week we're going to single out a nest of dumbasses over at HubPages (or perhaps they came in the Squidoo buyout - we neither know nor care). Leading off this week is Naima Manal, a homeschooling mom and serial dumbass who has also shared her lack of knowledge at eHow (quelle surprise...). Naima's topic today is kitchen appliances, specifically wall ovens -- and we've captured here some of the expertise she shared in the article "Building a Wall Oven into a Wall."

For those of you who aren't familiar with a wall oven, instead of being part of a range (stove), it's a separate appliance -- sometimes a double oven, beloved of many cooks. Naima wants us to know that

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Granite Countertops for Dummies

"Granite," my ass!
You can't blame Mr or Ms homeowner for being unaware that, to the kitchen industry, there are only three kinds of stone: marble, granite and soapstone. You can, however, blame Mr or Ms freelance-writer-hungry-for-more-pennies – in this case, an drone who goes by the name of Anne Madison -- for lousy research into the materials vendors use to make "stone" countertops, the fruits of which she (naturally) shared with the internet in a post titled "Soapstone Vs. Granite Countertops"¹ (while collecting a stipend from the content farmers at Demand Media). Oh, Anne gets some of it right, but then she gets most of it wrong. Let's start here:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Finishing MDF for Dummies

It's a common practice to use lists of three items in expository writing, so common that it might as well be some sort of rule, like "the rule of threes." Oh, wait - that's really what it is! Whatever the case, freelancers have glommed onto this principle like it was the holy grail or something. A case in point, eHow contributor Angela Odum in her tasty little piece "Characteristics of MDF Wood" at

It is a near certainty that this particular "contributor" found it necessary to google "MDF Wood" before tackling her title. Nevertheless, it's crystal clear that Angela spent plenty of time on her "research," since she definitely gets into her topic. After all, how else could Ms Odom have constructed this fine little triplet about what fun it is to work with MDF:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Laminated Floors for Dummies

Congratulate us: we're buying a new headquarters building! and some of the rooms in that house have laminated floors (the brand known as Pergo® seems a favorite of the previous owners). So just what is this stuff? Well, one person we know better than to ask is a member of InfoBarrel who styled him/herself as omba. In a brief burst of activity on the site, omba demonstrated topic expertise by writing not just one but five different(ish) articles about flooring, including the marvelous "Beginners guide to Laminate Flooring."

Here is some of omba's more thought-provoking information...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Drought for Dummies

Perhaps the most common logical fallacy known to man is the assumption that correlation implies causation. This form of oversimplification of complex events is a favorite of demagogues and politicians, right up there with post hoc, ergo propter hoc - "after the fact, therefore because of the fact." Freelance dumbasses like to trot out this sort of simple-minded logic, too. Take the example of Gordon Rupe (writing under the pen name gordon) at when he penned a little note he called "Did Fracking Cause California’s Drought?"

Gordon did some homework and a little math. Then he drew a conclusion based on his math -- or, rather, he pointed his readers at the conclusion he wanted them to draw. Here's how it went down, with our comments

Monday, April 13, 2015

Kitchens for Dummies

Far be it from us to criticize people for poor writing skills in another language - unless, of course, they give bad grammar advice in that language, in which case it's fair game. On the other hand, simply running something through Google translate and posting it on a content farm is also fair game. It's a freelancer trick that doesn't seem to be all that unusual. Take, for instance the claptrap lizkemp (Liz Kemp?) posted at under the title "Discover Some Easy and Great Tips to Elevate Your Kitchen Perfectly."

The content is god-awful, starting with the obvious question, "WTF is 'elevating your kitchen'?" It looks very much as if it's (badly) translated from Russian or some other language that doesn't use articles, though that may not be the worst of its problems. Take a look at just the first paragraph:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fracking for the Complete Dummy

One of the most ironic -- in the real, non-hip sense of the word -- things about good old (more recently being parceled into niche sites under the moniker "Leaf Group") is that content writers are forbidden to cite existing eHow content as sources for their "work." Isn't that a kick? Then again, perhaps the site's managers are aware of just how useless a good portion of the older articles are, especially if they were written by dumbasses like Jorina Fontelera. Take for example Jorina's tasty little article entitled "How Does Horizontal Oil Drilling Work?"¹

Saturday, April 11, 2015

More Useless Dummies Advice

Today's dumbass freelance article comes from the "department of so-called knowledge that no one but a moron would ever think someone would need." It comes to us courtesy of serial dumbass Isabelle Esteves over at WritEdge, who was jonesing for topics one day and decided to provide the world "A guide to buying a spare tire for your car."

It's not unrealistic to assume that somewhere, sometime, a car owner might need to replace a spare tire. It's also not inconceivable that an owner might not know the size of his or her tires or, in a lot of cases, whether the spare's full-sized or compact (a "donut"). Heck, there are probably plenty of ditzes who don't even know where the spare is. Izzy had advice for them all, beginning with:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Renewable Energy for Dummies

In  desperation for more and more cash from their "business," self-declared freelance writers will often publish -- or more likely, simply reword – information about any topic that filters into their pointy little heads. We've already seen one moron pouring her heart out about the proper technique for changing light bulbs, here's another one who decided that renewable energy was a hot topic. Regardless of being ill- or un-informed on the topic, InfoBarrel's jennaflames still decided to share her wisdom in the article she called "Green Power Is Renewable Energy And Environmently Friendly." Your first clue that she's a dumbass comes from the title: she can't even spell "environmentally"...

Here are some choice bits of wisdom from the delightfully dumb Miss Jenna:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Backpacking the Dummy Way

Ever clicked on a link in your search results only to find that the target page had nothing to do with the topic? Yeah, me too - and it really turns my crank. Some of the pages are spun garbage full of SEO terms and some are just glitches in the search. And then there are the dumbass freelancers, like Rosie Young (RosieYoung27, to be exact), who plies her trade -- such as it is -- for DailyTwoCents, where she posts articles with useful-sounding names like "5 Backpacking Essentials." 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Relationships for Illiterate Dummies

Is there anything more annoying than a dumbass pretending to be sharing hard-won experience? You'd think not, but there actually is: a dumbass pretending to share hardwon knowledge simply by rewording someone else's work. And the more ridiculous the wording, the more annoying. Are you with us? Well, maybe an example will help. Let's look at the work of WritEdge contributor putyliz, who held forth on the topic of "Tips to Spark your Marriage Alive." In a writing style that one might most charitably describe as "fractured," young Liz advised her devoted readers (all two of them, we suspect)...

Friday, April 3, 2015

Router Bits for Dummies

If there's one thing that chaps our collective hiney here at the Antisocial Network, it's freelance writers who don't know anything about a topic yet still have the gall to write advice. eHow has always been full of this kind of crapola because the site's greedy members knew all they had to do to collect some cold, hard cash was to reword the information from a forum somewhere. Of course, if you don't know anything about the subject, it's pretty easy to get it wrong... wrong, like Lacy Enderson (her again!) when she wrote about "How to Use Rail and Stile Router Bits."¹

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Writing Tips for Dummies

Dumbass of the Day number 50 (yay, Team Dumbass!) comes to us from the wide, wonderful world of "Do as I say, not as I do." It also comes from a website widely known for its exemplary writing – not – by which we mean, compliments of a member who calls himself ishrabatool. What a tool.  Ishra's topic is "Few Steps of Essay Writing," a title that by all itself is a hint of what you'd see if you ventured to read it. We wouldn't, if we were you - it just might make your eyes bleed. These samples ought to suffice...

Consider ishrabatool's introductory paragraph:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bicycle Chains for Dummies

Back when burst on the scene, the site's contributors were anonymous. Everything they published simply claimed it had been written by "eHow [name of topic] Editor." When the site's SEO gurus decided that google searches prefer content with "real" names, they changed direction. Some of the oldest content on the site, however, still has the "editor" byline; including a choice piece of rubbish called "How to Replace a Bike Chain."¹ This one's exactly the sort of crappy content that made eHow a laughingstock back when the internet first learned about Panda. Here: check it out: