Probably, Don’t Trust Wikihow


Baylor Collins, Staff Writer

There are many facts an individual may not know that an internet collective does, but if you need 163 co-authors to tell you “How to Read a Book”, you should consider trying things out on your own every once in a while.

So what am I talking about? wikiHow; a black-hole of advice that manifests at the top of every Google search. According to a junior here at Central, “wikiHow has never helped me once. It is jam-packed with mediocre advice that doesn’t do anything to serve you in the end.” ~ Pierce Garramone (11th grade). Worse so, wikiHow can be unpredictable. The quality of an article can vary greatly, and the rating system provides no light in the dark depths. Case in point, “How to calculate Pi by Throwing Frozen Hot Dogs”, an article with a near 5-star rating and roughly 800,000 views.

“Some of the articles are very helpful and informative, and some of them are garbage” ~ Jaeden Amiri-Owens (10th grade). This I can agree with. wikiHow is host to many cooking and mathematical guides that have definitely been helpful (especially for chemistry). But, the line between a genuine, helpful article and nebulous ravings is very blurry. The only way to separate a good article from a bad one is to have already done what the article instructs you to do, or to find someone with relevant experience to confirm the article’s content. Hence, wikiHow is a rather pointless and untrustworthy middleman, seemingly useful only in times where memory fails. “I think it’s useless and if you want to do something you should go out and learn it by yourself” ~ Matthew Barrett Clark (12th grade).

Of course, wikiHow still has a purpose, though, it’s hard to say if it fulfills that purpose consistently and reliably. For example, “I love wikiHow. I love the information. It taught me how to kiss boys at age seven” ~ Mckenzie See-Holbrook (12th grade). I can’t blame someone for finding usage in it, but I fear there is just too much oversimplified, unhelpful, or even bizarre advice . Do you really need a guide on “How to Select and Store Cabbage”, or “How to Accept Blame when You Deserve it”? Can the same website be both your cookbook and psychologist?

Maybe it’s time to learn about “How to Trust”, a common human emotion that apparently needs a manual on how to perform it.