Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Improving the quality and dissemination of how-to guides

Summary: How-to guides are an essential part of enabling self help for people who would like to cycle more often for transport. However, the most popular or easy-to-find sources of how-to guides are often far less useful than they could be. This post will identify the various elements of an optimal how-to guide and use examples to provide guidance on how to improve the quality and effectiveness of how-to guides. I also discuss my conclusions on whether expert bloggers interested in disseminating the most useful guidance can effectively contribute to and work with sites like wikiHow.

wikiHow: How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures

Related Posts:
The best and worst wikiHow bicycle articles for utility cyclists

Details:
1. Example how-to guides analysed
- For this exercise, I'll compare how-to guides on avoiding bicycle tyre punctures. I'll primarily use the wikiHow article (as of 23 March 2014): How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures to illustrate my points. (Note: The live version is here).

- My post on this topic is: Puncture-proof tyres are the key to reliable transport. I tried to edit the wikiHow article to improve its accuracy and usefulness (based on my post), but ran into problems efficiently getting the edits made. These difficulties inspired this post where I can flesh out my concerns in detail, provide updates on my progress and refer others to it.

Update - 9 April 2014: Based on the feedback in this post, wikiHow editors did remove the erroneous content described below. And as of 30 March 2014, I was able to get some concise advice on using puncture-proof tyres added to the article. However, constraints on the structure of wikiHow articles, use of pictures, incorporation of external links and references to commercial products mean that the wikiHow article is still far from being as helpful as possible. The wikiHow staff and editors I dealt with have been very helpful in explaining these constraints. I'm still looking for ways to contribute to relevant articles on popular sites like wikiHow where it is worthwhile doing so.

2. Assessing the site's primary purpose: Traffic vs Usefulness
- Actual (not claimed) goals, needs and incentives always drive priorities, actions and rules. A site may claim it aims to provide "the single most helpful set of step-by-step instructions available on that topic anywhere" (see: About wikiHow), but if it only survives and prospers based on page hits then ultimately whatever maximises page hits is what will be prioritised.

- In the case of guidance sites, this typically results in the quantity of articles being maximised rather than their quality (usefulness). Imagine any site that is dependent on traffic unpublishing all of its how-to guides that aren't actually anywhere near the most helpful set of instructions freely available online and instead linking to better guides on other sites. Or using a genuine quality standard to prevent articles being published as "ready for use" till they meet minimum criteria like factual accuracy.

- Most of the issues listed below result from this fundamental driver - the site's primary goals (e.g. traffic, profit) and necessities (e.g. paying bills). Hence, they aren't easily resolvable unless you can change or refine the site's goals and necessities. Instead, one can at best look for creative compromises that optimise what is feasible and leverage common interests where they are aligned. See: wikiHow - Why Bloggers Should Partner with wikiHow

- Based on my analysis below, my current view is that trying to optimise the quality of wikiHow articles like How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures to my satisfaction may be very difficult and needlessly time-consuming; everyone has an opinion and there is too much scope for subjective debate over what solutions should be included and their respective priority and relevance. Also, I write my guidance specifically for utility cyclists while popular how-to sites typically don't distinguish between the needs of different audiences (e.g. sports cyclists vs utility cyclists).

- Regarding wikiHow, it seems most feasible to focus effort on objective (less-debatable) instructional articles such as: "How to choose and use puncture-resistant bike tyres". These can be linked from the more subjective, debatable articles with their miscellaneous lists of crowdsourced solutions (see How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures).

3. Do for-profit, collaborative how-to sites produce better quality how-to articles over time?
- Jack Herrick (wikiHow's founder) admits that "wiki content typically starts out as low quality," but argues that "once it matures and receives enough edits it can be amazing." The argument is that people passionate about a subject will ultimately come to find and refine articles to make them as accurate and useful as possible. See: wikiHow vs. eHow: Is The Wiki Way Better Than Content Farms?. As a passionate expert in some topics, it will be interesting to see how easy it is for me to get edits made (and preserved) that would make wikiHow articles genuinely useful.

- Wikipedia has generally been successful with this approach. However, for-profit companies like wikiHow will find it more difficult to attract sufficient passionate users and experts to create, improve, protect and arbitrate article quality if page hits and keeping all the contributors happy matters more than how accurate or useful the article is. This is clear from the main article I will review below: How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures. It was created on 22 May 2011 and the current version (as of 23 March 2014) hasn't changed significantly since 12 December 2011. It has had several editors and it has been read 4,583 times.

- Yet the content of this article leaves a lot to be desired. It is so flawed in its current state that it does more harm than good having it available for use. Utility cyclists relying on it will waste their time with the ineffective measures it suggests and keep getting punctures, while the only effective, practical solution for them (puncture-resistant tyres) is not covered with enough detail and specifics to result in many cyclists being helped.

4. How-to article content should be factually accurate
- Basic factual accuracy is surely a minimum requirement of a useful how-to article. Yet Step 3 of the wikiHow article says that puncture resistant tyres use a layer of metal for protection - this is false and it should be obvious to any actual cyclist. It's clear that facts can just be invented by wikiHow authors and editors can skip over such mistakes because they also don't know anything about the subject matter. 4,583 article reads haven't been enough to correct it.

wikiHow: How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures

5. How-to article content should be valid and logical
- How-to articles can't be credible or useful if they include advice that was just a guess or pure invention. There is no evidence that changing wheel diameter offers any significant benefit in avoiding punctures. This is such an unusual tip, it seems like the author of it added it to pad out the article length or misinterpreted something they read and didn't understand (possibly about larger tyre widths having a slight advantage). Again, multiple editors and 4,583 article reads haven't been enough to correct this ridiculous suggestion.

wikiHow: How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures

6. Collaborative refinements should improve article content not make it worse
- It's common for illustrations to be added to wikiHow articles and this works well when the article editors and image creators actually understand the topic. However, it's clear wikiHow articles can be authored and edited by people who don't just lack expertise in the topic but lack any understanding and experience at all.

- In this case, one article contributor has imagined that tyre width might make a significant difference (e.g. shifting from 25mm to 35mm tyre width). They or another editor then wrote this as diameter. Then the illustrator came along and interpreted diameter literally and created a diagram that shows how you might want to change the diameter of your wheel to prevent punctures.

wikiHow: How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures

- Again, this advice is ridiculous. Wheel rims come in very few diameters and for urban cyclists just one diameter is common (700C = 622mm). Changing your rim diameter to prevent punctures is pointless. Illustrating nonsensical advice is an example of how collaborative refinement can simply lead to even worse guidance if the contributors don't understand the subject matter.

7. Useful how-to articles should prioritise the important aspects and eliminate or de-prioritise the marginal aspects
- Article authors who don't really understand the topic tend to throw several miscellaneous tips together without understanding what is most important, relevant and applicable. In this case, the first step in the wikiHow article is to keep the tyre pressure at the maximum recommended level.

wikiHow: How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures

- However, this is bad advice. Firstly, because incorrect tyre pressure is the cause of few punctures. The only type really caused are "snakebites" and these occur only when the tyre pressure is so low that the rim pinches the tube - which is rare. So this needs clarification and is a marginal not high-value solution - it doesn't belong as Step 1.

- Secondly, the advice to pump to the maximum recommended pressure is poor advice. You should use a tyre pressure that suits the load, conditions (surface, weather, grip needs), desired comfort and circumstances. No experienced cyclist would advise you just use the maximum recommended pressure. This again makes you wonder if the people who wrote this article, as well as those who protect the quality of it from edits such as mine, have any basis (experience, understanding) to provide cycling advice.

8. Useful how-to articles should prioritise simple, practical solutions and eliminate or marginalise onerous ones
- Puncture-resistant tyres are a simple solution: if you buy Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres you will virtually never have to worry about punctures again. You can also eliminate all puncture-related maintenance tasks and carrying puncture repair kits.

- Conversely, checking your bike's tyres after every ride and removing all glass and debris is a very cumbersome and time-consuming task that isn't very effective anyway. Many punctures occur during a ride and so this tip isn't actually a substitute solution for getting puncture-resistant tyres.

wikiHow: How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures

- Similarly, replacing worn tyres is not a high-value puncture avoidance tip. Using puncture-proof tyres, like the Schwalbe Marathon Plus, means tyre wear isn't a significant factor in puncture protection, the protection layer is underneath the tyre and does not wear away. So you should get puncture-resistant tyres and replace them for normal end-of-life reasons only. Replacing tyres more frequently than necessary because they have low puncture-resistance offers little benefit and is a waste of money.

wikiHow: How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures

9. Useful how-to articles should focus on the highest value illustrations not just use any image to dress up the content
- Commercial sites that publish how-to articles have a strong focus on images and illustrations but often these are of low value or are irrelevant. Meanwhile, the illustrations that would add significant value are often neglected or it is a struggle to efficiently get them incorporated without having to seek explicit copyright approval yourself from the image owner.

- In my edits to the wikiHow article, I eliminated the low-value, irrelevant and misleading illustrations and instead inserted the single illustration that is of most value to people searching for the best way to prevent punctures. The below image is of the Schwalbe Marathon Plus - it shows how the special puncture protection layer works. This image wasn't allowed on wikiHow because I don't own the copyright and I was asked to obtain permissions from the image owner. Yet, I am free to post this on my blog as I believe my usage is covered by fair use provisions. See: Copyright Fair Use and How it Works for Online Images


- In comparision, the existing wikiHow article contains the below image which is entirely useless and illustrates nothing helpful whatsoever. You can't possibly provide "the single most helpful set of step-by-step instructions available on that topic anywhere" with illustrations of this quality. However, wikiHow appears satisfied to use "somewhat relevant" images as long as they can be published under a Creative Commons licence rather than pursuing the most useful images (via fair use or seeking permission).

wikiHow: How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures

10. Useful how-to articles should carefully define the audience their advice is applicable to
- For commercial how-to sites, it's convenient to pretend that different needs and priorities among the audience don't exist, but typically they do. That's why the advice on this blog targets utility cycling and not all types of cycling. Indeed it deliberately makes the point that the needs and priorities of sports cycling are very different. Consequently, my article on this topic isn't for sports cyclists who may prioritise speed and handling over reliable transport.

- However, virtually all wikiHow articles make no such distinction between the needs and priorities of different types of cyclists. For this topic of avoiding punctures, a key determinant of suitable advice is whether you are a utility cyclist or sports cyclist. Utility cyclists are virtually always better off by finding the most puncture-resistant tyre that fits their bike and they find suitable. Sports cyclists are likely to wish to trade off some puncture-resistance for speed, handling and responsiveness.

11. Useful how-to articles should be insightful not self-evident and trivial
- Much guidance that is offered in how-to articles is not helpful because it is either obvious or trivial. People reading an article on how to avoid punctures aren't so stupid that they are consciously riding over glass and other sharp objects but didn't realise these caused punctures. Yet this self-evident information passes for a hot tip on wikiHow:

wikiHow: How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures

- Genuinely-useful guidance should instead offer insightful, unobvious information and correct misconceptions. Hence, in my article I corrected this common misconception that you can avoid punctures in urban environments by simply avoiding visible sharp debris on the road:
"Punctures are unavoidable without protection
Punctures are common in urban cycling due to very small shards of glass and other debris on the road that works its way through the tyre and eventually punctures the tube. If riding frequently around cities you can't avoid punctures just by riding carefully and staying on-road."
Puncture-proof tyres are the key to reliable transport
12. Useful how-to articles should reference with links relevant evidence, further info and other helpful guides
- Commercial how-to sites often discourage or remove links to external sites as their priority is improving and retaining their own traffic (and revenue) not sending traffic to other sites, even if the user would find those linked sites relevant and helpful.

- The wikiHow article on avoiding punctures contains no links to any evidence, further info, references or other helpful guidance. And yet it contains very little helpful information itself. This  approach is in sharp contrast to site's like this blog where I constantly add links to external sites that provide relevant facts, examples, further information or differing perspectives.

- Of course, this requires that article authors are genuinely interested in the topic and finding the best evidence-based guidance. E.g. If the wikiHow authors of the article on avoiding punctures were interested in relevant evidence they might consider how virtually all of the world's bike share schemes deal with the issue of punctures. Do they provide pumps at bike stations, offer puncture repair kits and gels, replace the tyres regularly, or tell the user to check the surface of the tyres before getting started and to carefully avoid all road debris? Nope. They just put highly puncture-resistant tyres on the bikes - most commonly Schwalbe Marathons.

13. Useful how-to articles should provide relevant, specific details to help the reader actually implement the advice
- In editing the wikiHow article to make it much more helpful I added specific details of the most puncture-proof tyres available, how to choose one that fits your bike and to ensure you get one with the "Smart Guard" protective layer:
Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres are available for various wheel sizes and tyre widths. See: Schwalbe UK: Marathon Plus Size Chart. The 700C x 25-38mm range is most common. Schwalbe Durano Plus tyres have a slightly thinner inner protection belt but are the most puncture-resistant Schwalbe option for tyres of 23mm width or lower. Schwalbe makes a range of tyres that offer varying levels of puncture-resistance for different needs (speed, grip, load, touring). See: Schwalbe UK: Tyre Range
- Yet, the instinctive reaction of a wikiHow quality-control editor was to remove my edits and advise this was because the specific product details I included seemed like spam. Is it any wonder many "passionate hobbyists" and experts choose to run their own blogs so they can freely optimise the usefulness of their content without having to justify it to others? I advise utility cyclists to only buy essential equipment they need but am happy to link to the cheapest place to buy Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres in my blog post as this is truly helpful information that people looking to solve the puncture problem love to have.

14. Use discretion to enable helpful links to commercial information and sites
- There's nothing naturally illegitimate about commerce, the legitimate issue is with spam - commercial content being added to sites by the vendor for the primary purpose of profit rather than usefulness. Yet sites like wikiHow have strict policies against links to commercial sites or information. These policies don't currently seem to allow much discretion for wikiHow admins to allow certain commercial links where: (a) They are being added purely to help the reader actually implement the how-to advice; (b) They are being added by a verified person (e.g. expert blogger) with some credibility that has no commercial gain from doing so.

- It also comes across as a bit hypocritical when one for-profit company implies it can't link to other commercial content because profit motives are suspect. Just as there's nothing wrong with wikiHow making profits out of the provision of helpful advice, so too is there nothing wrong with the providers of the most useful, value-for-money products and services making profits too. In a capitalist system, greater profits drive change. Currently, several of the bicycle industry's key products have appalling utility and this needs to change. Tyres with little puncture-resistance are supplied on the vast majority of new bikes. If profits shift toward the manufacturers of puncture-resistant tyres, this will lead to puncture-resistance getting greater priority among manufacturers, bicycle wholesalers and retailers. It's crazy that utility cyclists in most countries have to discover that the new bike they bought has unreliable tyres and then finally stumble across a how-to site that explains they need to get puncture-resistant tyres. The problem is unnecessary punctures. The real solution for future utility cyclists isn't having to eventually find a useful how-to article on getting puncture-resistant tyres. It is to buy bikes that come with these tyres.

15. Useful how-to articles should have a coherent, logical structure
- The current structure of the wikiHow article on avoiding punctures is incoherent and illogical. It's simply a miscellaneous list of tips from non-experts with no ordering logic (stages or importance). Compare this with the logical structure of my article which starts with pertinent background as to why punctures are so prevalent, explains why some common tips don't work, identifies the most worthwhile solution (puncture-resistant tyres), advises how to choose among the options, notes the potential disadvantages, points to the cheapest place to acquire the solution and then advises how to install it. See: Puncture-proof tyres are the key to reliable transport

- Logical and coherent article structures don't come about by accident. I often re-order the points in my blog posts or insert new information at the most logical place. How-to articles which aren't step-by-step instructions (where logical ordering is necessary) should still have a logical order (problem-solving stages or importance).

16. Doing some research on the internet doesn't substitute for sufficient experience or expertise
A non-expert trying to write an article on how to avoid bicycle tyre punctures can easily do an internet search and find existing articles like the below:

Simple Steps to Avoiding Flat Tires (About.com)
Avoid Bicycle Punctures – Five Key Tips (Cycling inform)
Puncture prevention (British Cycling)
10 Tips for Avoiding Punctures (Cycling Info UK)
How to stop getting punctures (London Cyclist)
What Every Cyclist Should Know About Flat Tires (Sheldon Brown)

- However, all of the other articles on avoiding punctures listed above, suffer from many of the flaws and issues described in this post. This means that non-experts genuinely trying to write a useful how-to article will incorrectly assume the advice from apparent "experts" online (especially if on multiple sources) is sound - unfortunately, it often isn't. I wouldn't have written my blog post if the majority of the advice already online was useful enough. Indeed, the majority of the advice is badly flawed and not relevant to utility cyclists.

- Most apparent experts (based on sites they write for) or self-professed experts don't actually have expertise in the majority of topics in their field. If they have any expertise, it's likely to be quite narrow. E.g. I have zero expertise on sports cycling. And I would claim only limited expertise (always subject to improvement) for specific topics about utility cycling - certainly not all or most topics. Most general articles about cycling written online are written by sports cyclists or enthusiast cyclists - both have very different priorities to typical utility cyclists.

- Here's the "savvy" advice relayed by About.com's bicycling expert - David Fiedler:
"Whenever I see a puddle of broken glass in my path, which is often, I get off and walk the bike around it," says John Weeks, a 70-year-old cyclist from Topeaka, Kansas. "If I don't see the glass in time I get off at once and check the tires. I have managed to avoid flats for quite some time." Simple Steps to Avoiding Flat Tires (About.com)
- Urban cyclists should apparently be stopping regularly to walk their bikes around glass and debris?! How does this advice contribute to utility cycling being a smart, efficient, reliable and pleasant way to get around? This is ridiculous advice when a utility cyclist can simply get puncture-proof tyres instead.

- Another pearl of wisdom from David Fiedler is:
"Faster -- though more risky -- is to do this check while riding. If you go that route, be very careful. Best practice is to keep your hand on the front side of the fork and on the front side of the rear seatstay so that you don't get your hand caught in the spokes." Simple Steps to Avoiding Flat Tires (About.com)
- More "smart" advice from David - don't just waste your life picking debris out of your tyres each time you use your bike, you can actually save time by doing this while riding! This is obviously dangerous, impractical and entirely redundant if you simply buy puncture-proof tyres.

- Here's another "expert", David Heatley, from Cycling Inform on the benefits of regular replacing your tyres:
"Sometimes you’ll have a tyre on for a week and then get a really bad cut in it. Don’t waste your time with it, just replace it. This is probably on of the best ways to help avoid bicycle punctures." Avoid Bicycle Punctures – Five Key Tips (Cycling inform)
- Sports cyclists with abundant money and time to burn may be happy to replace their lightweight, speed-optimised tyres after a few weeks. Utility cyclists who just want to get around easily and reliably with minimum hassles should ignore this advice and just get puncture-resistant tyres. The best of them, like the Marathon Plus, have an extremely long lifespan.

17. Rapidly identify and facilitate engagement with topic-specific experts
- Jack Herrick (wikiHow's founder) does actually understand how the most useful how-to articles finally get written for many topics. It isn't simply a case of Time + Number of Edits = Quality/Usefulness; despite the claim that "the more people who edit an article, the more readers it attracted and the higher quality the article became."

- Instead it is often a few passionate hobbyists and experts who do the bulk of the heavy-lifting to create or radically improve quality - accuracy, usefulness, coherence, practicality. Jack notes this in the below interview:
<One of the big issues with content farm articles performing so well in search is that they often appear over the real expert stuff – a case we made using a brain cancer example in a previous article. We asked Herrick whether wikiHow content should be surfaced for how-tos over results from experts in any given field. 
"When wikiHow works best, our articles actually are started or edited by true experts in the field," he says. "That is the magic of wikis actually. Many ‘experts’ don’t maintain blogs and spend hours writing detailed posts. But they might stumble on a wikiHow or Wikipedia article and spend just a few minutes improving it. Open wiki editing enables us to capture the knowledge of thousands of experts, who aren’t otherwise spending their time pumping out blog posts." 
In a perfect world, this would be a great concept. "I’m not saying this works in all cases," he adds. "Plenty of wikiHow articles haven’t found that expert yet. But plenty have."> wikiHow On Why Wikis Deliver Higher Quality Than Content Farms
- As mentioned above, wikiHow (a for-profit company) is not quite as obviously rewarding to contribute to as Wikipedia. Many passionate hobbyists and experts who already provide free advice and how-to guidance are aware of wikiHow but are not actively engaged in creating or improving articles to make them highly useful. And this is despite it dominating Google search results for how-to articles and having a lot of traffic.

- However, wikiHow is far better than the pure content farms like eHow.com and does claim to be a hybrid organisation: "a for-profit company focused on creating a global public good in accordance with our mission." See: > wikiHow:Hybrid Organization, > wikiHow:Mission. Based on my further interaction with wikiHow staff, I think they are genuinely committed to making their content as helpful and accurate as they can but within certain constraints that are based upon having bills to pay and being a for-profit. Those constraints include policies on external links, having plenty of low-value articles still waiting to be fixed by experts and wanting to maximise traffic.

- Consequently, I'm keen to explore worthwhile opportunities to share relevant guidance from this blog on wikiHow (or similar how-to sites that have a social mission) as their popularity means they are a valuable connecting point with my target audience. So I'll update this post with any progress I make in being able to find an efficient way to improve the usefulness of relevant wikiHow articles.

18. Efficiently facilitate "drive-by" input from genuine experts
- In responding to the need for article advice that has important consequences to be written and refined by genuine experts, Jack Herrick advises:
"Many ‘experts’ don’t maintain blogs and spend hours writing detailed posts. But they might stumble on a wikiHow or Wikipedia article and spend just a few minutes improving it. Open wiki editing enables us to capture the knowledge of thousands of experts, who aren’t otherwise spending their time pumping out blog posts." wikiHow On Why Wikis Deliver Higher Quality Than Content Farms
- I agree that one of the advantages of high-traffic wikis is that they do have these organic encounters with genuine experts who may not already publish similar, accessible guidance elsewhere. The problem is: how many genuine experts do stop to quickly correct or revise wikiHow articles? What are the barriers to efficient, "drive by" fixes and refinements by genuine experts and how can they best be solved?

- I think one major barrier to engaging genuine, topic-specific experts is the assumption that the existing article is already progressed somewhere along the path to high quality, accuracy and usefulness. If that's the case, a quick fix or addition may be feasible. But if the article needs a complete re-write as it is totally off-base, this is difficult to address quickly. I tried to start a major re-write of How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures and quickly had it reverted by a "change patroller".

- The lack of external links, references and relevant, substantive evidence in existing articles is another reason why genuine experts may currently not engage as readily with sites like wikiHow. Accurate, quality advice should be based on quality evidence and sources. Indeed, a principal attraction of wikis for experts is the ability for many people to share and update relevant evidence and sources and refine the best advice over time.

19. Find objective, accurate ways to measure usefulness and use this to improve the efficacy of the content and the site's policies and content creation process
- The number of views a how-to article obtains isn't a valid measure of its usefulness. Nor are these other measures valid: the number of contributors, the time it has been online in its current form, the "thumbs up" or likes it receives on Facebook, or even the initial feedback from readers as to its accuracy or helpfulness.

wikiHow: How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures

- Genuine usefulness measures relate to the specific need or problem and whether it was successfully solved. So in the case of the wikiHow article on How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures (as of 24 March, 2014), here are my rough estimates of how article quality (whether accurate, relevant, genuinely-useful, specific, implementable) affects whether it actually ends up helping people or not.

MeasureNumber of Readers
Viewed the How to Avoid Bike Tire Punctures article
(as of 24 March, 2014)
4,583 (actual)
Found its advice relevant and coherent600 (my guesstimate)
Found its advice useful enough to want to implement300 (my guesstimate)
Found its advice specific enough to be able to implement
- Including buying the equipment needed at an affordable price
50 (my guesstimate)
Actually implemented and had measurably fewer punctures10 (my guesstimate)
Actually implemented in the best way suitable and optimally reduced punctures
- (E.g. How many of the 4,583 viewers bought highly puncture-resistant tyres and now suffer far fewer punctures?)

2 (my guesstimate)

- I'm happy to be proven wrong and have dozens of people comment that the original article really did significantly or optimally reduce the amount of punctures they had. Please use the Comments below.

- Nevertheless, I think the point is clear. If the original article really was worse than useless (as I've demonstrated) for 2.5 years but was one of the top-ranked Google search results, then how is this helping anyone? 99% of article readers had a real problem to solve and wikiHow just wasted their time. In this case, the right "expert" finally came across it and took the time to fix it as much as wikiHow policies allow. But it still isn't remotely close to being as useful as it could be.

- The majority of wikiHow's articles relevant to utility cycling are a long way from being genuinely useful let alone "the single most helpful set of step-by-step instructions available on that topic anywhere." See my analysis here: The best and worst wikiHow bicycle articles for utility cyclists. Yet, better quality guides do already exist elsewhere. Perhaps wikiHow should delete redundant articles, mark all the obviously low-quality articles as "drafts" and redirect readers to high-quality guides on other sites until the wikiHow article is of sufficient usefulness?


Further Info:
wikiHow vs. eHow: Is The Wiki Way Better Than Content Farms?

wikiHow On Why Wikis Deliver Higher Quality Than Content Farms

Bicycle tires – puncturing the myths

StackExchange: Bicycles - Which puncture-resistant tires?

wikiHow:Creative Commons

Wikipedia: Creative Commons licences

Creative Commons - About the licences

wikiHow: Image Licences

wikiHow:Templates/Image

wikiHow: Gallery of new files - Search

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