Friday, June 26, 2020

Bicycle Components for the Clueless - The Freelance Files MDCCCXC

road bike with flat bar
road bike with flat bar
In the world of bogosity, there are few more bogus "information transfer professionals" than self-styled professional freelancers. This is especially true of the freelancers who wrote for the Demand Media Systems (DMS) family, including and, dumping out thousands of ill-informed and misinformed posts per week. Among the dross moved to niches by Leaf Group, DMS¹ renamed, is an Erica Leigh post at, purporting to address the question, "Can I Put Mountain Bike Components on a Road Bike Frame?" (previously housed at LiveStrong).

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Gem Prospecting, the Clueless Approach - The Freelance Files MDCCCLXXXIX

gem in matrix
gem in matrix
Lately we've had a run of nominees who got... most of it right, only to trip themselves up with a stupid statement. Some got caught because they added a step to or omitted a step from a how-to that made it obvious they were tossing the bull. That's not the case today, no sirree: even a total yutz could tell that Debra Rigas had no idea "How to Search for Gems" when she grabbed that title at Leaf Group's since moved it to, where it continues to stupidify the internet to this day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Push-Button Door Locks for the Clueless - The Freelance Files MDCCCLXXXVIII

Diagram of a push-button lock
Diagram of a push-button lock
The nice people at DMS¹, now known as Leaf Group, were quite happy to sell their content to any website. They were apparently particularly happy to sell it to some of the less discriminating types, which is how more than a few of our DotD awardees' bylines have ended up at places like and One post has apparently come full circle, starting at and living at for a few years before making its way eventually to Unfortunately, no one at any of those websites ever took a close look at what Alec Preble had to say about "How to Fix a Push-Button Doorknob."

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

GFCI Breakers for the Clueless - The Freelance Files MDCCCLXXXVII

residential wiring circuit
"Replace" the wiring, Jonra???
A not surprising number of the freelancers who pounded out "how-to" posts for the website did little more than google the topic and reword whatever they found. Some of them completely blew it; others got it – most of it, anyway – right enough for what's known as "government work." The problem was that, unless a reader knew enough about the topic to see the screw-ups, the advice could be a little... off. "Off, like a couple of the steps in "How to Install a 20 Amp Gfci [sic] Circuit Breaker," written by Jonra Springs and now niched at the website by Leaf Group.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Mortise Lock Repair for the Clueless - The Freelance FIles MDCCCLXXXVI

mortise lock assembly
mortise lock assembly
If there's any one takeaway from several years of paging through the "work" of online freelancers, it's that some people are perfectly willing to give advice about totally unfamiliar topics. The advice is free, and too often it's worth exactly what you paid for it. This is especially true of freelancers writing so-called how-to posts when they don't understand the question. Take, for instance, Anne Redler, whose post "How to Open a Mortice [sic] Lock" (now at is a classic example.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Hydrostatic Balance for the Clueless - The Freelance Files MDCCCLXXXV

Hydrostatic equilibrium in stars
Hydrostatic equilibrium in stars
The more science-y types on staff here at the Antisocial Network are often amused – and a little nauseated – by the lexicological thrashing that takes place when certain freelancers attempt to explain technical material by paraphrasing the words of people who actually understand the topic. It's especially amusing – and nauseating – when the writers start throwing in what they believe to be facts from their own body of knowledge. That's the classic problem we examine today, as presented in the post "What Is a Hydrostatic Balance" by one Mal Baxter.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

RCA Plugs for the Clueless - The Freelance File MDCCCLXXXIV

speaker wire
typical speaker wire
The staffers here at the Antisocial Network long ago realized that one of the surest identifiers of a potential nominee is a certain level of bullshit in their writing. Many a repeat DotD has been caught pretending expertise based on his or her ability to reword something written by people who may (or may not) actually know what they're talking about. Today's nominee is such a case, that of Nichole Liandi and her post, "How to Solder RCA Connectors."