Thursday, March 31, 2016

Change that Shower Head, Dummy!

Luxury Shower Head
We've made it over the hump for Plumbing Week, thank heavens, so our research staff doesn't have to dig deep into the hidden corners of the internet looking for stupidity related to fixtures and pipe. Of course, it's not all that hard to find: other than carpentry, plumbing may well be one of the most frequently abused topics for self-appointed freelance "experts." Experts like Sharon Vile (blueheron on HubPages,com), who likes to write about what she calls "Ladies' Craft Projects" - including a few on plumbing, such as "How to Install a New Showerhead: Another Ladies' Craft Project." At least she can punctuate...

This isn't Sharon's first trip to this particular well, not by a long shot, and one thing we've noticed with her is her preference for pipe dope over Teflon® tape for sealing threads. Says Vile,

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shut off Your Water, Dummy!

Open Ball Valve
Our researchers here at the Antisocial Network have an ongoing disagreement about which internet freelancers are the most greedy. Is it the freelancers who, even though they know nothing about a subject, proceed to write detailed posts filled with errors? Or is it the freelancers who, given half a chance, would happily write an article about "How to Pee on a Tree" or "How to Change a Light Bulb" (we've actually seen that second one). Today we'll read from category two, insults to the reader's intelligence: we give you Seekyt.com's Visions, seen holding forth on "How To Shut Off A Main Water Supply Valve."

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Got a Leaky Toilet? Fix it, Dummy!

Given how much it could cost for the local plumber to grace your home with his or her presence, it's small wonder that wannabe do-it-yourselfers scour the internet looking for solutions when they have problems with their pipes. Heaven help 'em, however, if when they have a leaky toilet, their internet search leads them to the rubbish that populated good old eHow.com. No, for Demand Media one piece of crap about how to repair a toilet isn't enough -- they have lots, like this inept article published by serial plumbing dumbass Steven Symes, entitled "Troubleshooting a Leaking Toilet."¹

Symes begins by explaining that

Monday, March 28, 2016

Fix that Leaky Toilet Yourself, Dummy!

Parts Diagram of a Toilet
Almost anyone who owns a house -- people like Bill Gates, Kaley Cuoco, or the Koch brothers probably excepted -- will occasionally tackle a DIY repair on that home. The prices that professionals charge are a major factor in choosing to perform those repairs: have you had a plumber out to your house lately? Sheesh! So it's no wonder that freelancers often show up on the internet wanting to share their "expertise" as DIY plumbers. Here at the Antisocial Network, this week is all about them. Today's simpleton is one Peter Brown, who inflicted "Home Plumbing Repair Tips - Do It Yourself" on the readership of HubPages. Pete's problem? He's not nearly as good at this as he thinks he is...

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Change that Kitchen Sink, Dummy!

Kitchen Sink
This is what a sink looks like, Andrew
Freelancers: you've got to love 'em... well, actually you don't. If these self-appointed "jacks of some trades, masters of none" of the world-wide web restricted themselves to writing about topics for which they have expertise or experience, most of them would have had to quit after about three posts. That never stops the worst of them, though -- they'll throw everything but the kitchen sink into their portfolios... in fact, some of them have thrown the kitchen sink into their portfolios. Yep, we're talkin' Andrew Hsu (AndrewtheMandrew) of InfoBarrel, here caught trying to tell his readers "How to Change a Kitchen Sink."

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Prisms the Dummy Way

Volume of a Prism
Although we're on record as saying that introducing a post by quoting the dictionary definition of a critical term is... well, poor construction; we must assume that a legitimate freelancer faced with an unfamiliar term in the course of a job will look it up or ask an expert for the meaning. Apparently that's what eHow.com's one and only Jonae Fredericks did when faced with the new-to-her term "prism." Yep, the word apparently never came up in cosmetology school, but Jonae still courageously tackled the question "How to Calculate the Volume of a Prism¹" for the mother site. Oh, the humanity...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Adjustable Wrenches, Dummy Style

Assortment of wrenches
A bunch of wrenches for Jaron's benefit
In the days when a freelancer could just about barf on the screen and still pick up a few bucks for publishing the results, there were two sorts of sites: places like Helium and eHow had lists of "assignments," while other sites let writers publish any damned thing they wanted to. The second model led to some extreme "publishing" by people who, frankly, didn't know jack about what they were saying. A search of their online profiles could often find as many as twenty, thirty, even fifty posts a day at one site, and some were spinning the same content at multiple sites. Small wonder Google Panda-ed those sites into the ash can of history. For today, let's look at the output of one of those floggers, Jaron (WriterGuy) at InfoBarrel.com, whose ignorance is out there for all to see in "Best Cheap Adjustable Wrenches."

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Heat Your House, Dummy!

oil furnace
What boiler, Candace?
Excluding, of course, the content-spinners of the internet like the ones that infest Seekyt.com, the average penny-grubber will attempt to make published content look semi-legitimate by "researching" the question at hand. Doing so should mean looking at authoritative content and consulting "experts" on a topic. Some, though, are so incompetent that they can't even figure out who the authorities are. Take, for instance, eHow.com's Candace Horgan, whose professors as she collected that BA in English apparently didn't teach her how to research consumer queries like "Is It More Expensive to Heat With Gas or Oil?" Her ignorance, however, didn't slow Candace down at all...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Take Some Acid, Dummy!

Mix Muriatic Acid
As Antisocial Network staffers comb the internet for examples of dumbass freelancing -- and in the interest of full disclosure, it does not require a fine-toothed comb to find this crap -- we often come across the intersection of simple stupidity and common greed. That's why so many people who in reality don't know the difference between a jig saw and a circular saw write instructions for framing roofs or reviews of high-end power tools. Sometimes their sins are worse, however, than mere misinformation: sometimes the content they post is downright dangerous. That's the case with today's example, Jonae Fredericks of eHow, who -- using her extensive background in "paraeducation" and cosmetology -- attempted to tell readers "How to Use Muriatic Acid."

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Take a Dump, Dummy!

Group photo of Seekyt.com staff?
After Google slapped 'em upside the head with the digital can of whupass known as the Panda Update, many of the lamest content farms -- Lunch, Helium, AssociatedContent, etc. -- quietly faded into the good night known as the Internet Archive (the staff of the Antisocial Network are dedicated fans of their Wayback Machine, in case you didn't know). A few escaped the carnage (eHow) and one or two still function today (Suite, InfoBarrel) at a greatly reduced level of activity. Seekyt's one of the latter, but something odd seems to be going on at that site: apparently, they're rewriting the site's more... worthless content, apparently in an attempt to get back on the board. We ran across some truly shitty content there last year, but recently found an updated (though still worthless) version. Originally titled "How to get free motions? Some advice for staying fit and healthy" by Rakhi143, Seekyt's crack staff have rewritten the article and added new title: "How to Have Regular Bowel Movements and Relax."

Monday, March 21, 2016

Poisonous Plants, the Dummy Version

Poinsettias aren't poison
One of our staff distinctly remembers a decades-old cartoon showing a pair of dogs deep in conversation (face-to-face instead of nose-to-butt). The cartoon's punchline? "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog." Well, we're here to tell you that on the internet, nobody seems to know that you're a liar, misinformed, or simply bullshitting on topics about which you know nothing. Take Isabelle Esteves of Writedge.com (and numerous other sites), a freelancer who writes glowing travel reviews of places she's never seen, and gives readers useless advice about a wide array of topics. Today, we find Izzy at it again, spreading misinformation and old wive's tales in her "Guide to Poisonous Plants."

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Build this Bookcase, Dummy!

Laminated Bookcase - Ikea
We're not certain here at the Antisocial Network, but there may actually be a website out there that features content that's more useless than the rubbish that turns up on eHow.com -- yes, folks, it pretty much has to be Seekyt. Even though the website is trying to clean up its act by deleting some of the worst posts (we wonder what algorithm they use...) and by hiding the names and profiles of the contributors, well be honest: it's distressingly easy to find crap posts out there (we've already found two on the site about having a quality bowel movement, one of which is reworded from the other).  Today, we'll take a look at a someone the site used to call jayn, now known as "general contributor," who attempted to explain how to "Build Your Own Shelves With Laminate Shelving Boards." S/he failed -- epicly.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Calculate Polygon Area, Dummy!

Irregular Polygon Area
If you happen to know a ten- or eleven-year-old, you can probably get the kid to help you calculate the area of a polygon, as long as that polygon's a square, triangle or rectangle. Once the child hits middle-school math, you can probably get an answer for parallelograms, trapezoids, circles, and maybe even an ellipse (but don't ask about ovals...). Of course, the problems become increasingly complex as you add sides to your polygon and tossing in an "irregularity factor" can boggle the imagination of even a college math student. Speaking of which, one apparently asked eHow.com "How to Calculate the Square Foot of an Irregular Polygon" -- and that person got an answer from contributor Peter Flom. The problem with Flom's answer? It was wrong.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Cut that Rock, Dummy!

Rock Saw
The research staff at the Antisocial Network is continually amazed by the depth and breadth of the wisdom imparted to the citizens of the internet by eHow.com's fantastic stable of contributors! (end sarcasm)... In fact, they go back and forth between the stupidity of some of the questions and the equal and often greater stupidity of the answers some of these dumbasses manage to generate. A case in point: what moronic netizen is going to google the phrase "How to Cut Rocks with a Rock Saw"? and more to the point, what blithering idiot would ever follow the instructions posted to the mother lode of internet stupidification by Cleveland Van Cecil? Well, the tie goes to the "writer" in this case...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Age that Wood, Dummy!

Aged Wood
If you've ever built a project or done any sort of woodworking with salvaged wood (especially some really cool old barn wood), you may have wondered how to make fresh cuts look as old as the surfaces that have been exposed to the elements for years or decades. The fresh cuts are lighter and lack the "character" of something that's been rained on, walked on, or otherwise had a tough life. Well, if you wondered, you probably didn't want the kind of worthless advice offer up by eHow.com's Neal Litherland. Apparently getting a degree in criminal justice doesn't prepare the recipient to explain, "How to Make Fresh Cut Wood Look Old."

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Building a Deck the Dummy Way

Every once in a while the Antisocial Network's crack research team runs across freelance how-to instructions published by someone who actually admits not having performed the task they're describing. Usually, it's someone describing what her husband or boyfriend did while she watched. Heck, she might have actually helped, but ten-year-olds "help" on jobs like those, too. Anyway, the person who actually did the work may have been relatively competent, but when it comes to passing along the information, the contributor... well, to say the contributor is feeding readers bullshit is kind. So let's be kind to Rhonda Lytle of Hubpages.com, as she tries to explain "How to Build Your Own Elevated Deck on Uneven Ground - DIY - Small Budget, Minimal Cuts" from the viewpoint of the tool-illiterate. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Install a Ceiling Light, Dummies

light fixture wires
Match these wires to your fixture, Doc!
There are some do-it-yourself tasks that anyone can accomplish... or so that's apparently the business model of the people who started Demand Media Studios (now known as Leaf Group). Why else would they let out-of-work journalism and English literature graduates hold forth on everything from rebuilding a flathead V-8 to converting a garage? It makes no difference whether the "contributor" understands the topic, as long as he or she can reword instructions from somewhere else on the internet. Of course, letting complete amateurs give instructions to wannabe DIYers can be problematic, just as it was the day Dr. Eugenia Orr decided to write "How to Install Ceiling Lighting Fixtures."

Monday, March 14, 2016

Bike Tuneups for Dummies

Bicycle front wheel bearing
If you live north of the Mason-Dixon line, the spring cycling season is just around the corner. Come to think of it, if you live south of the line, you probably won't hit the road until the daytime high temperature is over 80°, so it's around the corner there, too... Whatever the case, half-assed freelancers are here to explain to you just what you need for your spring bicycle tuneup, at least in theory. If, however, you ride anything more complicated (and/or expensive) than a $130 Huffy with coaster brakes, you might want to look somewhere other than good ol' Seekyt.com, where donnyw1967 (real name William Wallace?) shared his "expertise" in "Bicycle Spring Check-up." 

Donny's expertise. unfortunately, seems fairly limited, given that he expended more page space on repacking the wheel bearings than anything other maintenance step. Of course, that advice is a little off, since Donny tells his audience that

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Threaded Things for Dummies

National Pipe Thread
Want to catch phony experts at their game? It's really not that hard -- all you need to do is ask them a question that has no real answer and watch as they spin furiously trying to impress you with the weight of their "knowledge." Say, ask someone what is the difference between the Celsius and Centigrade temperature scales, sit back and enjoy. Well, we caught one of those phonies a while back and today's her day: it's eHow.com contributor Andrea Stein (she's already won the DotD award; not once but twice). We ran across Andrea attempting to tell people "What is the Difference Between Pipe Thread and Conduit Thread" at the mother site, and boy, did she thrash around for a while.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Laundry for Dummies

Among stock characters on television sitcoms, especially the second- and third-rate varieties, is the idiot character. This is the guy (Cliff on "Cheers") or girl (Mandy on "Last Man Standing") who's just plain out of it. We figure that there are people like that in real life, and not a few of them have tried to cash in on the reams of money you earn freelancing at content farms. Here at the Antisocial Network we run across such people every day -- trust us, there are a lot of them out there... take, for instance, Khalidah Tunkara, who laid it all out there trying to tell readers at eHow.com "How to Hook Up a Washer and Dryer in an Apartment."

Khalidah starts out with a bit of a problem when she tells her readers that...

Friday, March 11, 2016

Contour Maps for Dummies

Contour Map
As we at the Antisocial Network have pointed out many times, having earned a degree in journalism does not make you an authority on anything except perhaps earning degrees in journalism. Oh, sure, there are some freelance journalists who've managed to immerse themselves in a wide range of topics to write fascinating non-fiction -- the names Peter Heller and Mary Roach come to mind -- but the "journalists" who freelance at many internet sites are more... fiction writers. Take Susan Berg, for instance: her MA in journalism wasn't worth much the day she pretended to answer the eHow.com-generated question "What Are Contour Maps?"¹

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Slope for Dummies

definition of slope
Give a freelancer an inch, and chances are pretty good that he or she will turn it into a paintbrush. Did that make sense? No, and neither do many of the internet posts submitted by all of those penny-grabbing freelancers back in the days of content farms. In case you haven't noticed (our staff at the Antisocial Network have), the quality of freelance information on the internet has improved quite a bit since hungry journalism and English majors can no longer make a decent living faking knowledge. Back then, however, the money flowed freely and so did the bullshit: bullshit like that written by eHow.com's Dan Richter, a "communications" major trying to tell people "How to Calculate Horizontal Distance" (now at sciencing.com).

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Processors for Dummies

We're pretty sure that opening an argument by quoting the dictionary definition of a critical term is a dead giveaway that you're trying to massage facts into supporting your argument. If nothing else, it betrays a lack of originality... On a similar vein, our staff at the Antisocial Network have noticed that a dead giveaways that an honoree is babbling on about a topic for which he or she lacks the slightest bit of background is the overuse of "authoritative references." Once, maybe... but when the post contains three different references in four paragraphs? it's a safe bet that the content is rather... questionable -- questionable like eHow.com's Lexa W. Lee when she struggled to answer "What Is a Host Processor?"¹

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Grain for Dummies

corn harvest
Television sitcoms like to make fun of rural people, probably because most comedy writers are city boys and girls whose raging inferiority complexes mean they desperately need someone to mock, which may be why there are so many sitcom references to cow-tipping. Of course, those who grew up on farms have knowledge that city and suburban kids lack, which is why it makes no sense for someone who's never touched a tractor or thinks a "combine" is some kind of business organization to teach people about agriculture. That, however, is precisely what eHow's Marie Mulrooney tried to do the day she penned "How to Convert Bushels of Corn to Tons."

Monday, March 7, 2016

Diatomaceous Earth for Dummies

Ever notice that when our favorite freelancers are -- we'll be charitable -- "transcribing" information from one source to another, they still expose themselves as ignorant? Here at the Antisocial Network, we see that all the time: there are omissions of critical information, misinterpretations of technical terminology, even failures to understand the question they're supposedly answering in the first place. Sometimes, the freelancer in question is so far out of his or her depth that all those deficiencies are present -- like the time eHow.com contributor Alicia Prince tried to explain "Differences Between Fuller's Earth and Diatomaceous Earth" at Sciencing.com... and just plain failed. Maybe that MA in film had something to do with it?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Bump-outs for Dummies

Bumpout Details
Look up the word "chutzpah" in a dictionary some time, and you'll definitely run across the phrase "shameless audacity." According to the folks in our research department, it's quite likely that no one among our select group of dumbasses (more than 200 of them as of this writing, and more to come) has more chutzpah than a guy named Mark Fitzpatrick (already the winner of the Dumbass of the Day three times, including for this whopper). As proof, we submit his post to the wondrous world of eHow.com, instructions (and we use that word v-e-e-e-ry loosely) for "How to Bump out a Kitchen Wall." Trust us: you do not want to hire this gentleman to perform a kitchen bump-out on your house: apparently, his studies for that political science degree didn't include construction and remodeling classes...

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Washer Hookups for Dummies

washer hookup box
There are some fairly accomplished do-it-yourself types on the research team here at the Antisocial Network, people equipped to tackle a variety of home repair projects. By "equipped" we mean possessing both the tools and the knowledge to get a task done. As such, our staffers occasionally find themselves online searching for help with an unfamiliar procedure. Let's take a f'rinstance: someone wants to install rough-in plumbing for washing machine connections: how far from the floor should they be? Well, an on-line search turns up plenty of advice, some of which can be found in forums populated by professional plumbers. The same search also turns up repeat offender Ruth de Jauregui, who told readers about "The Height of Washer and Dryer Hook-Ups" for Demand Media's SFGate Home Guides. Ruth's problem? She got it wrong...

Friday, March 4, 2016

Greenhouses for the Compleat Idiot

Home made greenhouse
Whether you're a house plant fan, a gardening guru, or someone who grows his own pot; chances are that at one time or another you've looked into buying a small greenhouse to build in your backyard. Once you recovered from the sticker shock, you probably googled the possibility of building one on your own. We know that for a fact -- one of our researchers did just that. Luckily for him, he skipped over the freelance bullshit out there and looked for books and plans written by professionals. That's why he never accidentally encountered the article at WriteEdge.com written by someone calling herself Raradra (she's really Michelle Harlow, part owner of the site) -- an article cleverly titled "How to Build Your Own Greenhouse." Sadly, the title was the only clever bit of this post...

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Quartz for Dummies

The researchers of the Antisocial Network find themselves bewildered much of the time by the inane scribblings of the self-appointed freelancers they encounter on the internet. Other than greed, which we realize is a powerful motivator, what on earth would make these people think it's acceptable to offer oneself as an "expert" on a topic simply because they know how to type words into a search engine? No one knows, but it's a safe bet that eHow.com's Denise Brandenberg (a "marketing professional" with a BA in English) knew nothing more than the original questioner when she attempted to provide a few "Facts About Quartz Rocks" one fateful day. Why someone who actually knew something didn't address this question remains a mystery...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Specific Gravity for Dummies

The research staff here at the Antisocial Network have noticed an interesting phenomenon (yes, that's the singular form of "phenomena") while scouring the internet for stupid freelancers. OK, in all honesty, it doesn't take much work -- they work a couple of minutes a day and play Candy Crush or Words with Friends the rest of the time. Whatever. Anyway, that phenomenon we mentioned is that when people start bullshitting about unfamiliar topics, they apparently get so involved in keeping their stories straight that they forget about basic, knowledge -- penny wise and pound foolish, as Grandma might say. Take, for instance, regular "contributor" Larry Parr, who forgot a lot of basics while trying to explain to his eHow.com audience "How to Lower the Specific Gravity of a Saltwater Tank."

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

More Reviews for Dummies

It's funny, but we seem to have been at this point before, or at least in the same neighborhood. Although we know that there are thousands of faked product reviews out there, it's not always easy to track them down. One site that was infamous for so-called "drive-by reviews" -- product reviews written by people who never actually used the product -- was Epinions.com. While most of the site's reviews were legitimate, the desperate need to make extra money in the high payout categories (just about anything with a cord) drove some members to "stre-e-e-tch" the facts a bit; members like Dionne25 who explained how much someone else liked a product in the review she titled "It's My Fiance's Favorite and Most Efficient Tool."