Friday, June 30, 2017

Toyota Pickups for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXXIX

1985 Toyota Pickup Truck - Generation 4
The company vehicle here at Antisocial Network HQ is the third in a line of Toyota pickups dating all the way back to a 1988 model. The '88, believe it or not, is still the company "beater" for airport parking and trips to the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. So our staffers were interested to find, on Leaf Group's niche site ItStillRuns.com, a post by returning DotD nominee Brooke Ashley entitled "1985 Toyota Pick-Up Specifications." The hyphen, we suppose, is the OQ's -- and on eHow, writers were never allowed to change such goofs...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

More Lumber for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXXVIII

Notice of a class-action suit that we figured was the very definition of "frivolous" came across our email inbox not long ago. It seems that two BigBox hardware/lumber stores are being sued because their 4 x 4s aren't four inches by four inches¹. We know, we know -- how stupid can you be? But then we thought about it for a moment... and realized that any freelancer stupid enough to think a 2-by-4 is 2 feet by 4 feet probably doesn't know about nominal and actual sizes of lumber. Sure enough, we had a DotD candidate waiting for exactly that reason: Marie Mulrooney, who penned "How to Make a Platform Bed Using MDF" for eHow.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Dishwashers for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXXVII

Dishwasher parts
Here at the Antisocial Network, we'd like to think that if you asked one of our staffers how something works, the answer would address the principles and processes involved. Say, you ask how scissors work, you'd learns something about levers and something about the wedge shape of the device's cutting surfaces. But, then, our staffers are techy, science-y types. eHow's Kelly Townsend isn't techy or science-y, as is almost ridiculously obvious in the article she penned called "How Does a Dishwasher Work?"

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Barns and Lofts for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXXVI

Hay Loft in Barn
Sometimes our research staffers stumble over a DotD candidate while researching a problem or project, other times they're on the lookout for a specific flavor of dumbassery. We found today's awardee, an eHowian using the name Becky Lower, while on the hunt for our recent "2-by-4 Week." That was our series featuring articles in which nominal 2-inch lumber was called "2-foot" lumber. That's how the team first found "How to Build a Loft Inside a Barn"; but it's not this writer's only problem...

Monday, June 26, 2017

Salt and Pepper for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXXV

Salt (right) and Pepper (left) Shakers
For unknown reasons, some of the most bizarre entries into the DotD sweepstakes seem to some when self-appointed freelancers attempt to provide answers to the simplest, most prosaic questions. In the case of Demand Media¹ properties, perhaps the most common reason for the weirdness of the prose are the site's hard-wired style and minimum word requirement. Today's nominee, Damarious Page, not only ran afoul of those structural problems, he also found other ways to qualify for the award -- especially in the likes of "How to Identify Salt & Pepper Shakers."

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Magnets for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXXIV

diagram: a generator uses magnets to create electricity
If we had to characterize our DotD nominees in one word, that would probably be "greedy." They aren't necessarily stupid people (although some certainly are), they're just people who let dollar signs get in the way of common sense. As a result, several of them have managed to collect awards for writing on multiple platforms -- and those are just the ones who use the same name at eHow and HubPages, for instance. Today's awardee is one such money-grubber, who we first discovered at the now-defunct Suite -- and have since traced to the eHow family. She's Angela Schnaubelt, seen here demonstrating her ignorance of the "Importance of Magnets" at Sciencing.com.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Simple Arithmetic for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXXIII

speedometer
Every once in a while we hear a howl of glee from the research tank, where all our staffers are diligently poring over millions of internet posts in search of abject stupidity to ridicule. That usually means that one of the interns has stumbled over a blog post that will just about write itself... which is what happened for today's post. While updating an older post and verifying the source content's location, he found that it had been replaced... by content that was perhaps even stupider. Without further ado, we give you Athena Hessong and her eHow post "How to Calculate Distance Traveled from MPH" (now at ItStillRuns.com).

Friday, June 23, 2017

Geophysical Exploration for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXXII

Geophysical methods of Exploration for Gemstones
The science types on our staff are understandably disappointed by scientific illiteracy, but realize that not everyone's brain is wired the way theirs are. What they find repugnant, as opposed to disappointing, is the mess the scientifically illiterate make of science facts while freelancing. There is, believe it or not, worse: the freelancer who spins scientific content but is too scientifically illiterate to proofread it. Today's example comes from the fine folks at Ezine, where someone claiming to be named John M. Milton submitted the rubbish titled "Exploration of Precious Stones by Means of Geophysical Methods."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cold Weather Dog Houses for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXXI

Winterized Dog House with insulated walls and internal partition
If you're a dog owner who's ever lived in a place that is cold -- really cold, not like Nashville or St. Louis, but some place like Minot North Dakota -- you know you need to help your furry friend keep warm in winter. That's why most people keep their dogs inside when it's freezing cold, but some people insist on outdoor kennels. If you want to know "How to Build a Winterized Dog House for Cold Weather," however, you probably don't want to ask someone like Krista Raye, who tried (and failed) to provide instructions at Cuteness.com.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lighting Bathrooms for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXX

Using a fish tape
When it comes to performing household maintenance and simply DIY work around the house, we've noticed that many people are more comfortable hiring an electrician than doing the work themselves. We understand: electricity is scary! On the other hand, most simple wiring projects aren't that complicated, so a careful and smart DIYer should be able to handle them... but not if he or she is getting the kind of online help supplied by eHowian Carson Barrett in "How to Replace Bathroom Vanity Lights Going From One Light to Two Lights."

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Shelves for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXIX

Shelf Cleats
Storage: why do we never have enough? Lack of space to store our crap seems to be a common problem, except among those millennials who stock up on experiences instead of stuff. Don't worry, it's coming... but back to the storage problem. Someone, somewhere, once wanted to know "How to Make a Shelf Using 2x2's" [the apostrophe belongs to eHow, not us]. Unfortunately, someone claiming to be named B. T. Alo tried to give the poor sucker an answer...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Food Batteries for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXVIII

potato clocks for dummies
We are often shocked that some elementary school students have a better handle on science than their parents (and grandparents), although we shouldn't be -- that's the entire premise of "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader," after all. It bothers us, however, when one of those scientifically illiterate adults attempts to explain scientific principles and makes a mess of the task. Wanna see such a mess? Take a gander at what Meredith Jameson wrote about "What Foods Make Electricity?" for eHow (now at Leaf Group's niche site Sciencing.com).

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Tiller Won't Start for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXVI

air filter
A lot of general knowledge is pretty much cross-transferable. If you can build a bird house, for instance, you can probably build a dog house; if you can bake bread then biscuits are most likely within your reach. Lack of knowledge is, apparently, equally cross-transferable... take eHow's Patrick Nelson, who's already proven ignorant of how power tools work. From the looks of his post "How to Get a Garden Tiller to Start," Patrick's also ignorant of small gasoline engines...

Like many an eHowian without a clue,

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Wooden Wheelbarrows for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXVI

wooden wheelbarrow planter
Our founder's sister is crafty... in the sense that she makes and sells "country" crafts and decor. Almost all her crafts are made of fabric, but country style also includes "rustic" articles intended to look old-timey like, say, the yard planter built to look like a nineteenth-century wooden wheelbarrow at left. If you wanted to build your own, you might Google "Plans for a Wooden Wheelbarrow,"¹ but Lord help you if you try to use the plans cribbed from an online Society for Creative Anachronism website by eHowian Robert Preston: you'd probably be disappointed (and more than a little surprised).

Friday, June 16, 2017

Library Paneling for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXV

library paneling
It's quite common for our research team to find a DotD candidates flailing wildly at the topics they've chosen, almost always because it is something they've never seen or even heard of before. This has been, naturally, most common in the world of eHow (and subsequent niche groups), where writers simply plucked search terms out of midair and their work was "edited" for form instead of substance. That's much of what's wrong with "How to Build Classic Library Wall Paneling," submitted to the mother lode of misinformation (eHow.com) by Kate McFarlin.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Arizona Soils, the Dummy Version - The Freelance Files DCCLXXIV

Arizona Soils and Landslides
Like the theme song of "Ghostbusters" say, "Who you gonna call?" In this case, we'd like to know "What Type of Soil Does Arizona Have?" -- are we gonna call someone with an MA in English Literature? Oh, hell to the no: we're gonna call someone who actually knows something about soil, other than "it's dirty." That pretty much leaves out Dannah Swift, proud possessor of said MA, who attempted to answer the very same question for eHow (Leaf Group has – for reasons unknown – since moved it to Hunker.com). From the get-go it's crystal clear that Dannah is digging a deeper hole with every paragraph...

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Roof Vents for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXIII

Roof Vent with Flashing
One dead giveaway that our DotD candidates are merely cribbing information from somewhere else is the omission of critical steps -- either because they run out of room (or have met the minimum word count) or because they just don't realize that the omitted steps are important. Take, for example, eHow contributor Carson Barrett, who thought he was helping when he posted "How to Install Bath Vents Through a Roof." Never mind that Carson misinterpreted "bath vents" to mean "exhaust fan vent"...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Building Stairs for Dummies -- The Freelance Files DCCCLXXII

Stairway
We've always figured that one of the reasons so many houses are single story is that any idiot can frame a wall, but it takes a craftsman to build stairs. Ba-dump-bump... But seriously, stairs are a true pain to build. If you'd like to see an idiot's approach to stair building, however, you don't need to look any further than Liz O'Donnell and the article she posted at LovetoKnow.com she claimed would tell you "How to Build Stairs." Unfortunately, she lied...

O'Donnell, an interior decorator -- yeah, like they know a lot about framing carpentry -- vomited out 574 words in her article. She opened by telling her readers that...

Monday, June 12, 2017

VW Beetles for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXXI

1972 VW Type 1 Beetle (source: wikimedia commons)
In case you kids out there didn't know it, the car you call a VW Beetle is not the original. No, Volkswagen started selling the car known variously as a "bug" and a "Beetle" 'w-a-a-ay back in the 1950s (in the USA, anyway), and stopped selling them in the '70s. The ones built in the 2000s are better known as "New Beetles," where the originals are called -- by people in the know -- Type 1 Volkswagens. Unfortunately for anyone asking "How to Identify VW Bug Types"¹ on the 'net, eHow's Justin Schamotta is obviously not "in the know."

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Estimating Concrete Blocks for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXX

concrete block
Lots of statements can be taken more than one way, depending on attitudes and context among other clues. Heck, that's the whole reason emoticons were invented... Questions, however, are generally more clear-cut -- assuming you have the background necessary to answer the question. That's not always the case among Leaf Group (formerly Demand Media Studios or DMS¹) freelancers: without proper knowledge the dumber asses among them produced some pretty stupid output... like the Hunker.com article "How to Calculate the Number of Concrete Blocks in a Wall," which contributor Tom Kantain tackled.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Strikes and Latches for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXIX

door latch strike plate
Many of the DotD nominees our staffers turn up are just ordinary people who figured they could make a few bucks writing for some website that would either pay them a flat fee or royalties for their work. We have no problem with that -- as long as those ordinary people share their experience or knowledge or if, in a few cases, they perform quality research at authoritative resources. On the other hand we have the ones who perform a perfunctory copy-reword-paste on a topic about which they know nothing and move on -- they're the ones who get awards... ones like English BA Alec Preble, who visited "Repositioning a Strike Plate" on eHow.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Hand Tools for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXVIII

What Are Types of Hand Tools? Complete List of Hand Tools for Woodworking" as envisioned by Kenneth C. Agudo. We'll try not to slap Kenny around much fro his English, although we suspect that he's one of those outsourced customer-support people in the Philippines...
It's been a while since we featured some of the rubbish that makes its way onto the internet form HubPages. Shame on us -- that's one of the few still-active sources of  internet stupidification, even if contributors aren't rolling in dough any more. That doesn't mean that there isn't still plenty of crap in their "hubs," though; crap like "What Are Types of Hand Tools? Complete List of Hand Tools for Woodworking" as envisioned by Kenneth C. Agudo. We'll try not to slap Kenny around much for his grammar mistakes since English probably isn't his first language, although we wouldn't be surprised if he's one of those outsourced customer-support people in the Philippines...

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Octagons for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXVII

2d-octagon-2
One sign of a freelancer who's bullshitting readers, especially at a place where he or she is supposedly "answering questions," is an obvious inability to explain the reasoning behind an approach within the "answer." Our research team members see that quite often at the niche sites where old eHow articles go to die (compliments of Leaf Group), and today's no exception. Leafer Chance E. Gartneer (wonder what his real name is) screwed the pooch in "How to Find the Length of the Sides of an Octagon Based on the Diameter," which nowadays can be found over at Sciencing.com.

    

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Stairs and Stringers for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXVI

stringers in stair construction
We had a lot of fun with the utter stupidity of the posts we turned up for our recent "2-by-4 Week" celebration; posts in which some idiot (we suspect a content editor at Demand Media) decided that the dimensions of a 2-by-4 are in feet, giving rise to some hilarity... Some of the candidates we turned up not only weren't sufficiently on the ball to catch that stupidity while proofing, they were clearly out of their depth anyway. We're thinking of freelancers like Mary McNally and her eHow post, "Distance Between Stair Stringers"...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cylinder Volume for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXV

fire pit
According to our one of our staffers, there's something called "chicken-sandwich luck," Updated for the 21st century; a person with chicken-sandwich luck could stick his hand into a port-a-potty  and pull out a neatly-wrapped chicken sandwich -- presumably grilled free-range chicken breast slices on gluten-free ciabatta bread with aioli mayo and a slice of heritage tomato.... Ehow's Carson Barrett appears to have such luck, given that the monumental error he made in "How to Calculate Gravel Needed to Fill a Fire Pit" did not make his answer wrong. Stupid, yes: wrong, no...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Making a Curling Rock the Dummy Way - The Freelance Files DCCCLXIV

curling stones
Our research staffers find many an internet freelancer whose body of work suggest that their grades of C in their science and math classes (assuming they took any at all) were grade inflation and/or generosity. Regardless of these and similar educational deficiencies, many a self-appointed "freelance journalist" maintains that he or she can write knowledgeably about any topic. We like to prove them wrong. Take eHowian Rachel Murdock, who may have seen curling once in the Winter Olympics: she had the gall to think she could reword someone else's instructions about "How to Make Curling Rocks for Fun." She couldn't...

We went straight to her original source to find out where Rachel ran into problems. But first, we'll show you what originally caught our eye in the eHow post:
"Use 2-foot by 6-foot boards, or some other sturdy material to build up the sides so the bowl can sit flat with the handle hanging out the bottom..."
Right: we found Rachel's work among the candidates for our 2-by-4 week, in which some moronic content editor added "foot" to the dimensions of 2-by lumber. Let's hope Rachel or a friend can move around those "2-foot by 6-foot boards," which will weigh about 500 pounds per linear foot... but on to Rachel's mistakes:
  • In her materials list: "2 stainless steel mixing bowls for each stone, about 2.6 quarts (2.5 liters) each" -- the original calls for 5-liter bowls... Oops. Besides, ever seen a 2.6-quart mixing bowl? Neither have we.
  • Also in materials list: "Nut and bolt adhesive" -- apparently DMS wouldn't allow her to use the trademark Loctite® like the original did...
  • Step 1: "Drill a 1/2-inch hole in the bottom of one bowl near the edge of the flat bottom with the hole saw" -- good luck finding a half-inch hole saw, Rachel...
  • Step 1, continued: "The elbow... will act as the rebar to connect the two bowls of concrete together" -- "the rebar," Rachel? don't you mean a rebar?
  • Step 2: there's those 2-foot by 6-foot boards"
  • Step 3: "Fill the bowl to the rim... using a slightly running mix of concrete" -- The original said "runny," Rachel!
    
     Murdock did fairly well on rewording the remainder of the instructions, including a "tip" on properly securing the galvanized pipe "handle." That still doesn't mean that Rachel has the slightest idea what she's talking about, though: the misstated mixing bowl volume and the bull about 2-by-6s are all we needed to award her the Dumbass of the Day.

DD - SPORTS

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cottonwood Trees for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXIII

cottonwood leaf
Here at the Antisocial Network, we often complain about people with journalism degrees who think that their "training" in "how to research" a topic makes them instant experts on everything in the world. Actually, we don't complain about them, we slap them around -- metaphorically, of course. What makes a web designer and insurance agent like Kate McFarlin think she's qualified to teach a fifth-grade science class is beyond us, but there she was at eHow, trying to answer the question, "What Tree Does a White Fuzzy Seed Come From?" for Hunker.com.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Attic Insulation for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLXII

adding home insulation
Strange as it may seem, we had a few leftovers from the "2-by-4 Week" we hosted last month -- in which internet freelancers treated nominal 2-by lumber as if the dimensions were in feet instead of inches. That makes sense, though, because there are seven days in a week and we had almost 30 candidates... so here's another of them, compliments of the mother lode of stupidification of the internet, eHow: it's newbie David Miller and his post, "How Thick is R30 Insulation?"

Friday, June 2, 2017

Amperage for Dummies - The Freelance File DCCCLXI

Ohms Law Revisited
As our staffers wander the web in search of people who sold their respectability for the sake of a few pennies (which is probably why so many of them use pseudonyms), they often find posts that reveal more about the writer than might have been intended. Take, for instance, today's post: "How to Boost Amperage," which Timothy Burns penned for eHow and which has since been moved to Sciencing.com by Leaf Group.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Sanders for Dummies - The Freelance Files DCCCLX

palm sander
We had so much fun a couple of days giving the metaphorical finger to some idiot on the website Ezine that we decided to come back and do it again (not to mention that we're running a little short on time this morning). Whatever the case, our staffers took a quick look at articles about tools and immediately turned up a lot of rubbish slapped together by Ezine "expert" Sarabeth Kluzinski back in the pre-Panda era. Let's have a look at "What is the Difference Between a Palm Sheet Sander and a Random Orbital Sander?"