What’s the Deal with wikiHow?

Geena Zebrasky – Features Writer

What does tying your shoes, playing tennis, cooking spaghetti, and painting a sunset have in common? They all have a how-to tutorial page on wikihow. Have you ever found yourself wondering where wikiHow came from? Who makes the art? How are they all-knowing? Well, this week’s Features article will give you the wikiHow run-down and will maybe even use some of the suggestions from wikiHow’s very own “How to Write a Feature Article” page.

Part 1: The Birth of wikiHow

  1. The first wikiHow article. On January 15th, 2005, wikiHow was born. The first ever wikiHow article, written by one of the site’s creators, addressed something we often wonder if we do properly at Gustavus: “How to Ride the Elevator.”
  2. Geena’s favorite wikiHow article. Personally, I’m more interested in the article “How to Escape a Stranded Elevator”—getting stuck in a Gustavus dormitory elevator is what nightmares are made of. Regardless of which elevator article we may find most useful, we’ve all ended up on wikiHow before, whether to seriously attempt something, or just out of curiosity.
  3. Some wikiHow stats. If you’re embarrassed about visiting wikiHow, don’t be: 125 million people visit the site every month. At least you’re not one of the people who contributes to the yearly trend of the article “How to React when You Do Not Receive a Gift for Valentine’s Day” when chocolate’s favorite holiday rolls around.

Part 2: The wikiHow Illustrations

  1. The illustration style. One of the most curious things on the website isn’t even the actual how-to’s: it’s the illustrations. The cartoon style varies, but the expressions and poses of the drawings are uniquely wikiHow. Where do the images come from? When you write a wikiHow article, you can submit a request to the Wikivisual team, and the account will eventually upload images to your article.
  2. Who creates the illustrations. Still, this leaves us wondering: who draws for Wikivisual? What if I want to draw for them? According to the website OneZero, thousands of freelance artists are recruited through sites like Indeed. Some of them reported pay as low as $0.40 an image. On top of freelancers, some online art companies have also produced a fair amount of content for wikiHow. So, if you want to draw some interesting cartoons, too, just look around on Indeed for a content creating job for wikiHow.

Part 3: Final Thoughts

  1. The power of wikiHow. With over 200,000 how-to articles, the creators of the website feel that this is still the beginning. When describing their future goals, the website asks us to “imagine if everyone on Earth had an expert coach who could teach them how to do anything. That is what we hope wikiHow will eventually offer to the world.” Maybe one day college will be obsolete and we’ll just wikiHow everything. On second thought, that sounds a little scary—maybe we should stick to learning how to skateboard poorly from an editor on wikiHow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *