Thursday, June 30, 2016

What's this About Glaciers, Dummy?

Valley Glacier
In browsing through the profile of today's DotD candidate, the Antisocial Network researcher noted that she once wrote an article about identifying scabies mites. He figured that was pretty much apropos, given that the writer had infested the internet with -- by her own admission -- "thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek." While we certainly hope that the content of those thousands of articles is not all as... let's say "substandard" as that of "How Does a Glacier Form?"¹ we suspect that much (if not all) of it is -- and that Alicia Bodine could prove to be a rich vein of dumbassery to mine in the future.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Let's Use some Crown Molding, Dummy!

crown molding bullnose
In case you hadn't noticed, the research staff here at the Antisocial Network occasionally (or in some cases, "often") revisit the work of past DotD winners to see just what other idiotic things they've managed to get published to the internet (always for money, of course; never out of the goodness of their little hearts). We'll admit that sometimes they get a little lazy, and today might be one of those days. You see, we just gave out an award to eHow.com's Lacy Enderson a couple of days ago, and now she's back (for the ninth time)! But Lacy's dumbassery is just to juicy to ignore... and at least this time she's not telling people to build roof trusses with undersized lumber. No, this time, she's holding forth on "How to Install Crown Molding on Rounded Corners" over at Hunker.com, and she's doing her usual bang-up job (end sarcasm).

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tell Us about Landforms, Dummy!

Landforms, Rose, landforms!
Somewhere about the sixth or seventh grade you probably had a science class that taught you all you (think) you'll ever need to know about geography. Never mind that in one semester or one year, for maybe three or four hours a week, you talked about physical geography, cultural geography, and probably touched on just about every other kind of geography there is. Very likely one of your tests involved memorizing state capitals... If you're like Synonym.com's Rose Guastella, that's probably about where your geography study ended - which is why the liberal arts major had no business pretending to answer the question, "What Are the Five Landform Regions that Make Up the United States?" It's also probably why she did such a lousy job...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Calculate that Grade, Dummy!

Hill slope and gradient calculation
The worst of the vast crop of self-appointed "freelancer writers" who populated the internet in those heady pre-Panda days seem to have developed a nearly foolproof system: they would pick some topic and milk it for all it was worth. It obviously made no difference to them (or to their favorite websites) whether they knew anything about the topic in question, all that was important was that they could make some money -- and eHow.com helped both ways. Occasional contributor to the mother lode of internet misinformation Mark Kennan (who sometimes calls himself Michael Keenan) did just that: he found multiple titles about maps, and grabbed them all. First, he did a piss-poor job of explaining map scales, then he took his lack of expertise with "How to Calculate the Grade of a Slope."

As so often happened in the Demand Media world, Mark got hung up with fitting his answer into a predetermined format (introduction plus 3 to 5 steps) and meeting a minimum word count, As a result, he had to pad his answer beyond the simple formula "gradient = 100 * (rise / run)"; and there's where he got himself into trouble.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Build that Roof Truss, Dummy!

parts of a roof truss
While some freelancers know their metaphorical hind ends from metaphorical holes in the ground, we've learned that others are perfectly happy to keep spreading disinformation. Over at the mother lode of misinformation, eHow,com, it's common for freelancers to rework their content if they can find a similar "title"; double- triple- or even quadruple-dipping -- and spreading the bull even deeper! We've seen many who will rewrite the article "troubleshooting a _____ dishwasher," filling in the blank with almost any brand name you can conceive. One of the more heinous DIY crimes committed by an eHow reworker is that of Lacy Enderson, serial dumbass (seven awards to date), who not only pretended knowledge of roof trusses once before, but returns to Hunker.com with the same misinformation in "How to Make Roof Trusses"!

Lacy gets one thing right: the first sentence in her introduction...

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Move Your Laundry Room, Dummy

Laundry in Basement
Our researchers aren't fools (unlike so many of the freelancers they expose as... well, fools): they keep a file of potential candidates so they can loaf through the day every once in a while instead of googling the heck out of the internet. After all, they want to get in some seat time or an hour or two at the gym, too. For today, we're featuring a house favorite off that list, the one and only Naima Manal (before this entry, already a 14-time Dumbass). Naima's proven incompetent across a wide variety of fields, especially appliances. Today, Ms. Manal holds forth on remodeling, as she explains "How to Move Your Laundry Room to the Basement"¹... sort of.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Our Dummy Today is a Flasher!

Flashing around a corner
It's the official opinion of the staff here at the Antisocial Network that internet freelancers shouldn't pretend to have the knowledge and experience to write "how-to" articles when they know jack about the topic. That, of course, never stops some of the drones who contribute eHow.com articles -- their typical technique is to google it, copy it, reword it, and paste it. Sometimes that ignorance gets them into trouble, like the time that longtime contributor (and previous winner of the DotD) Laurie Reeves  (aka Laurie Brenner) tried to explain "How to Install Metal Flashing Around Corners."¹ We looked, though, and found that Ms. Laurie was in deep doodoo from the very first sentence in her (DMS-required) introduction...

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Round them there Decimals, Dummies!

Rounding Rules
It amazes us here at the Antisocial Network just how quickly some people forget the basics when they no longer use them. Now that everyone has a smart phone with a calculator, for instance, no one can remember how to calculate 15% (or 20%) of a restaurant bill for the tip. This loss of knowledge is the basis for the syndicated quiz show "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" Face it: the kids just studied world geography while it's been 20 years since you needed to know the capital of Spain (Madrid, in case you wondered). Well, nothing has changed for the freelance dumbasses at eHow.com, bullshitters like William D. Gardlock (wannabe foodie and business major) who apparently forgot "How to Round Decimals," now found at Sciencing.com.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Crank that Engine, Dummy!

Cranking an Engine
Our researchers here at the Antisocial Network have different methods for identifying our DotD candidates, but most of them will agree that catching someone using a technical -- or even semi-technical -- term incorrectly is a pretty good sign that the freelancer in question is winging it. Would you trust plumbing instructions from someone who thinks a toilet flange is the rubber flapper? Of course not... Well, you probably don't want to trust automotive information from Andrea Stein of eHow.com, given not only her six previous appearances here (two in automotive) but also her obvious mistakes in "What Voltage Is the Battery In a Car?"; now living at ItStillRuns.com.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wire that Light Switch, Dummies!

End of Circuit Light Switch
When it comes to home maintenance and household repairs, there are two areas of "expertise" where you cannot trust internet freelancers -- especially those who lack any training or experience -- to give you useful answers to your DIY questions. Consider this: when you have a leaky faucet, you don't call the guy who built your fence to help; you call a plumber. Why would you ask a nurse's assistant to help you wire an electrical light? Apparently, however, eHow.com thinks that's just fine -- and that's why they let Cecelia Harsch tackle the topic, "How to Wire a Single-Pole Light Switch at the End of a Circuit." Harsch has already proven incompetent to address sump pumps and tilt-out windows, so we were pretty sure she hadn't a clue about basic wiring...

Monday, June 20, 2016

Expand Your SD Card, Dummy

What an SD Card looks like inside
Here at the Antisocial Network, we realize that people ask how-to questions for many different reasons. The most obvious is that they need to do whatever; but a close second is that they've heard something is possible, and want to see if it's really true. If they ask their questions in the wrong places, though, they're not always going to get the right answers. Today's DotD not only provides a wrong answer, but manages a twofer: in attempting to answer the question "How to Increase the Size of an SD Card," eHow's Seth Amery managed to answer the wrong question and give the wrong answer. What a champ! [note: moved to Techwalla, still as stupid]

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Got a Flat? Fix it, Dummy!

Flat Tire
Got a spare, buddy?
It never ceases to amaze the research staff here at the Antisocial Network when they consider just what internet freelancers will write about while pretending to be knowledgeable, experiences, or both. Just once! we'd like to see one of them admit, "I've ever done this, but I found a website where someone else claims he has." Ain't gonna happen, folks. Even simple tasks like changing a light bulb seem either beyond their skills to perform or -- more likely -- beyond their skills to describe. Take HubPages denizen Rhianni32 (Possibly Brad Bradford), a fakir we caught pretending to be able to explain "How to change a flat tire." Follow this guy's instructions, friends, and just might end up in trouble...

Rhianni's advice? well, he starts with the usual "this is something everyone should know":

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Change that Light Bulb, Dummies!

Outdoor Wall Light
What screws, Mandi?
Sooner or later, every possible stupid question gets asked on the internet. We're not talking about "How did I get Pregnant"; we're talking about questions along the line of "How do I boil water": yep, that simple. Yet some people will need that kind of help, so when they do ask, they deserve answers that not only don't insult them, they're correct... or at least helpful. That's why we were rather unimpressed by the job eHow.com's Mandi Rogier did when attempting to tell some poor schmuck "How to Change an Outdoor Wall Light Bulb" (now at Hunker.com). Yes: someone did ask that.

In reality, we can sort of understand: there's a huge variety of wall lights on the market, and figuring out how to get at the bulbs can be confusing in some cases. The task can also be somewat hard because these lights are only opened once every couple of years and they sit outside in the elements all the time so any access parts get dirty and/or corroded. Rogier, unfortunately, is no help on getting a light fixture open... For starters, she tells her readers that they must

Friday, June 17, 2016

Determine that Density, Dummy

Sigh... the more we listen to our "congresscritters" argue, the more we regret the epidemic of scientific illiteracy that's swept our nations. If we hear one more TEA Party Republican solemnly intone "I am not a scientist," we're gonna scream. Well, right-wing politicians aren't the only technoboobs on the planet; there are also self-appointed freelancers who write for websites like eHow. Take, for instance, elementary educator Stacy Zogheib, who couldn't even manage to reword the simple facts from wikipedia to answer (and we use the term loosely), "What Happens to the Density of Water as the Temperature Decreases?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Classify that Lever, Dummies!

Class 2 Lever Wheelbarrow
Not a farmer; not pushing down
As our researchers troll the murky waters of the worldwide web looking for outright stupidity, they've noticed that sometimes the ignorance of the freelance writer is right up there in big, bold letters. Other times, it's more subtle; the kind of clue that requires careful reading. We regret that due to time constraints, the staff can't always catch those little errors... but every once in a while, one hits you in the face like a wet flounder. That's what's happened today, thanks to eHow.com contributor Tonya Yirka, who got caught pretending knowledge she didn't have in "What Are the Different Classes of Levers?" at Synonym Science.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Measure that Tree, Dummies!

Using trigonometry to measure height
If you look through the 517 other entries in our Antisocial Network tally of daily dumbasses, you may notice that we often mention eHow's minimum word count as one of the reason we catch their contributors being stupid. Most of the time it's because they've padded short answers to meet the MWC; sometimes it's because they just can't seem to shut up. Today's the latter: we found Amelia Allonsy (already a two-time winner) padding her answer to the VERY simple question "How to Judge the Height of a Tree" for the Demand Media site SFGate.com. Note that there are several ways to do this, two or three of which could easily have been discussed in a space of 300 words - Allonsy took 450 words to discuss one — and in all honesty, she did a rather poor job.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Eat White Sugar, Dummies!

White Sugar
We've lost count of how many times our researchers have run across lousy answers at eHow.com -- we're pretty certain it's over 1,000 because we have a huge backlog of DotD candidates with URLs in that domain and the Leaf Group's niche sites to which they're being moved. Most of the time the answers suffer from the eHowian's lack of knowledge, but today we'll feature an example of an interesting class of answers: the more or less correct answer to the wrong question. Freelancer Stacy Zogheib's take on the question "What Chemicals Does White Sugar Have?" is a case in point. Rather than providing the simple answer -- because it's only one word, and therefore wouldn't meet the site's minimum word count -- Stacy wrote a detailed discussion of the process of making white sugar... oops.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Trek that Map, Dummy!

map and compass
It's always fun to find people sharing their new-found hobbies with the rest of the world (though we think most of them should stick to people they know: oversharing is so... so...). Where we start not liking this sharing business is when in all their enthusiasm, they share misinformation. We especially dislike this oversharing habit when accurate versions of the information are super-easy to come by. Such is the case of one relative newbie at HubPages,com, a gentleperson of the British extraction (based on his spelling, anyhow) who claims to also be a newcomer to Dubai. He calls himself  Chris, who recently opened the hubbie account uaetrekking. Chris wants to share his newfound hobby, so he starts with a post he calls "Map and Compass Guide." Frankly, we think he shouldn't have bothered...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Interlude: a Joke About eHow

We make fun of eHow.com and all the niche sites Leaf Group has created for eHow content on a regular basis. Why? Mostly because they deserve it!

But seriously: those who know the way eHow works are aware that in the site's initial incarnation, self-appointed freelancers grabbed "titles," performed online research, wrote their content in accordance with nitpicking style guidelines, and submitted their work to a content editor (CE) who -- supposedly -- checked the content and either OKed it as is or sent it back, once and only once, for corrections of substance, style or both. Usually, the CE had no familiarity whatsoever with the topi: that's the basis of this tale...

Tell Us About Newtons, Dummy!

Our research staff report that most of the times they encounter serious scientific illiteracy, it can be traced back to an education lacking in basic science courses. Typical fields of study cited by the illiterates include journalism, English and political science. Every once in a while, we run across people claiming science degrees who bungle their assignments (e.g., this one), but it's rare for someone with a BS -- in a science, no less -- to display ignorance at the level of Carolyn Robbins, who completely missed the point of "How to Convert Newtons to Kilogram-Force" at – you guessed it – eHow.com, sometimes called "The internet's motherlode of scientific illiteracy" (It's since been niched at sciencing.com by eHow's new owners. Leaf Group). Perhaps Robbins had problems caused by mixing biology and theology: we've seen lots of people whose scientific ignorance has been boosted at religious schools...

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Got Carbon Brushes, Dummies?

Spring loaded carbon brushes for an electric motor
The radial arm saw in the woodshop at Antisocial Network HQ has been acting up: the blade wouldn't start, started slowly, or would jam easily. The chief carpenter, having 1) worked in a factory that makes electrical motors and 2) seen his father perform this job, is pretty sure that the brushes failed in the machine, which is almost thirty years old. No one uses a radial arm saw any more, eh? No problem: brushes are made to wear out and are (relatively) easy to replace. The owner's manual for the saw having finally disappeared, the carpenter tried looking for online help in performing the repair. That's when he accidentally ran across Imani Angulo at -- where else? -- eHow.com, valiantly attempting to explain to her readers "What are the Functions of Carbon Brush?" (now residing at ItStillRuns decorated by what appears to be a photograph of a carburetor).

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pump that Groundwater, Dummies!

Artesian Well
We'd like to think that most people who write little articles and posts on the internet, especially if they're getting paid for the work, could provide a simple answer to a simple question. If that were the case, however, this blog wouldn't exist. It is not, though, and one of the main reasons is the minimum word count restriction at Demand Media (now Leaf Group). Were the contributors not forced to expand twenty-word answers to 300-word articles, far fewer of them would be caught being... stupid. We're reminded of Christine Lebednik, who demonstrated her scientific illiteracy in "Where Does the Water in a Well Come From?" at Hunker.com. That's what Demand Media gets for letting English majors write about science, we guess.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Calculate that Area, Dummies!

Our researchers constantly prowl the internet looking for people who make -- or hope they can make -- cash by pretending they can tell their hind ends from holes in the ground, even if they don't. Sometimes the search process takes a strange path, and today's one such case. The team member pulled up an eHow post by a known dumbass and followed a link in that article to another post on a related topic that, on inspection, looked stupid. He then pulled up that contributor's profile to find a gold mine of stupidity across multiple topics. So without further ado, here's our new discovery: eHow's Greyson Ferguson, doing his thing in "How to Convert Square Feet to Inches" (now found at niche site Sciencing.com).

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Build a Fence, Dummies!

Shadow Box Privacy Fence
When it comes to outright dumbassery, we've come to realize that some people seem to have no boundaries. OK, perhaps we should say that some people have no specialties: they're dumbasses in lots of ways. In their work, out research team members frequently come across freelancers who display ignorance time after time in math or science, but it takes a real "ungeneralist" to be a dumbass across a variety of categories. Today's candidate is one such freelancer: she's already displayed ignorance of masonry, carpentry and gardening. Now, our research team has found Shala Munroe demonstrating that she knows nothing about building fences, either, as she capably (not) showed for SFGate when she provided (not) "Help With the Spacing of a Wooden Picket Fence for Privacy." Well, OQ, sorry: you're not getting much help here!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Get some Amethyst, Dummies!

Our science team members run across more than a few people who ascribe magical powers to crystals during their research. We tend to avoid that content like the plague, mainly because we're not in the habit of trying to debunk metaphysical claims, though we're perfectly happy to point out a writer's innate dumbassery whenever they start making errors of fact. Sometimes, people are just trying to sell their products -- that seems to be the case with Eric Jhonson [sic] of DailyTwoCents.com, who's penned a series of articles about gemstones that are... somewhat suspect. Given that Jhonson's bio says he's "an accomplished writer," we figured anything he says is fair game -- and so we're taking on "Amethyst Gemstone: All That You Ever Wanted to Know." Does Eric elucidate? or just advertise his goods on some auction site called LiquidationChannel.com?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Plant a Rock Garden, Dummies!

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=686207
If, like one of our researchers, you were once privy to the members-only discussion boards at eHow, you're already aware that a lot of the site's writers were complete idiots. One active discussion board was intended to help "explain" titles to the contributors when they couldn't figure them out for themselves. Of course, the typical reason they couldn't just google the title (the usual method) was that the title didn't make any sense or was so general that it couldn't be answered in DMS's all-holy 300 to 500 word content size. That never stopped some people, of course -- people who wanted that $10 ($15, $25, $whatever) so bad they'd write anything that would fit; like Lee Morgan, seen here attacking the question, "What Kind of Plants Live on Mountains?"

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Calculate UTM Convergence, Dummies!

Grid North vs True North vs Magnetic North
Cars Week is, mercifully, finished; but drivers everywhere are still dumber than sacks of hammers and getting lost unless they have Siri or Cortana or another GPS character (Super Mario, perhaps?) there to whisper in their shell-like ears. It won't help them find themselves if they stupidly get advice from people who know little if anything more than they do when it comes to using maps. We know these liars are out there because we looked at some of the bull they've published and, let us tell you, much of it either makes no sense or is just plain wrong. Some fits both  categories, like "How to Convert a Grid to True North," penned for eHow (and now appearing on GoneOutdoors) by Sean Lancaster. That piece of content is one sad example of dumbassery gone wild!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Do Your Own Tune-ups, Dummies! (Cars Week 7)

A Tuneup is more than a series of checks
It's a pretty safe bet those aren't Lori's hands...
Here it is Saturday. We were already tired of looking at stupid car advice by Wednesday; but the show must go on. So far, we've found a wealth of automotive dumbassery over at eHow and yesterday managed to find something stupid HubPages hadn't hidden (yet), so today we went further afield. Although stupid and sometimes dangerous content has been the main focus of Cars Week, today we focus on a freelancer who apparently wanted to make money just by throwing random terms at the page. He's Lori Palermo (yes, Lori's profile refers to Lori as "he") from WritEdge.com, who gifted the universe of automotive DIYers with "Basic Car Tune Up -- Doing It Yourself."

Friday, June 3, 2016

Check Your CV Joints, Dummies (Cars Week 6)

Location of a CV Joint in a Front-Wheel Drive Vehicle
It's been called to our attention that we've been "picking on" eHow during Cars Week, and it's true that Dumbasses one through five are all eHowians. Our researchers whine that Suite has been offline for many months, Seekyt has no useful search function, and HubPages "hides" anything that doesn't meet their alleged standards. That pretty much leaves eHow, now that Helium and AssociatedContent are dead. The researchers did, however, grudgingly dig through the hubbies' output for a couple of entries -- starting with Amanda Carter (BizGenGirl, now claiming to be named Bema Self) who published something she called "How to Tell if Your CV Joints Need to Be Replaced" at good ol' Hubpages...

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Troubleshoot Your 4Runner, Dummies! (Cars Week 5)

Toyota V6 Engine
Amelia: Find the MAF sensor, throttle body or fuel rail.
There's an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" where Penny informs Leonard that his current experiment is derivative. Of course, all she does is parrot something Sheldon told her -- and that makes it funny, because Penny, though smart in her own way, is a complete boob in the field of experimental physics. FWIW, Kaley Cuoco, who plays Penny, is one of the highest-paid actors in television, so you obviously can get rich being "dumb." Of course, we already knew that -- our DotD awardees prove it every day! Speaking of parroting information in a vacuum, today we're visiting eHow's Amelia Allonsy (already a winner for fractured automotive advice), who pretended to have the necessary knowledge to explain to a reader why a "Toyota 4Runner Won't Start."¹

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Replace them Drum Brakes, Dummies! (Cars Week 4)

Typical parts of a drum brake
Of all the possible repairs on your GMC truck -- or, for that matter, any vehicle, brakes seem to be the category that are most... scary. With that in mind, we wondered why anyone who valued his or her continued existence would look for help on replacing brakes at eHow. And if you did accidentally visit eHow, would you trust your vehicle and your life to a freelancing Welsh English lit major? Well, eHow thought you might, which is why they let Lina Schofield publish the article titled "How to Replace Drum Brakes on a GMC Truck" (now languishing on ItStillRuns). We mean, really: do they even have GMC trucks in Wales?

Lina's been here before, a couple of times, and she's no more helpful than in her previous visits. Her basic research turns up factoids anyone could have learned and that most people who already knew the difference between drum and disc brakes could have told you: