wikiHow

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wikiHow
WikiHow logo 2014.svg
WikiHow Homepage Screenshot December 2019.png
Main page of wikiHow as of December 2019
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Online how-to website
Available in19[1] languages
List of languages
English, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Chinese, Russian, Czech, Japanese, Indonesian, Arabic, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, Hindi, Turkish, Persian
Headquarters,
United States
Area servedWorldwide
Created byJack Herrick
Key peopleElizabeth Douglas (CEO)
Jack Herrick (founder)
Employees236 (as of September 2021)
URLwww.wikihow.com
CommercialYes ("hybrid organization")
RegistrationOptional, but necessary for certain tasks
LaunchedJanuary 15, 2005; 16 years ago (2005-01-15)
Current statusActive

wikiHow is an online wiki-style publication featuring how-to articles on a variety of topics. Founded in 2005 by Internet entrepreneur Jack Herrick, its aim is to create an extensive database of instructional content, using the wiki model of open collaboration to allow users to add, create, and modify content.[2][3] It is a hybrid organization, a for-profit company run for a social mission.[4][5] wikiHow uses the free and open-source MediaWiki software,[6][7] and its text content is released under a Creative Commons license.[8][9]

In February 2005, wikiHow had over 35.5 million unique visitors.[10] As of December 2021, wikiHow contains more than 235,000 how-to articles and over 2.5 million registered users.[11]

History[edit]

wikiHow was founded by Jack Herrick on January 15, 2005, with the goal of creating "the how-to guide for everything."[12] January 15 was selected as its launch date to honor Wikipedia, which was launched on January 15, 2001.[13]

Herrick drew inspiration for wikiHow from eHow, a how-to website he and business partner Josh Hannah purchased in 2004. After running eHow, Herrick concluded that its business model prevented it from becoming the extensive, high quality how-to site he wanted to create.[14] Realizing that the wiki method of content creation would ultimately produce higher-quality work, both of them sold eHow in 2006 to Demand Media.[15] Herrick described the difference between eHow and wikiHow as "eating a McDonald's burger vs. a wonderful, home cooked meal."[16]

In 2006, the non-profit foundation One Laptop per Child chose wikiHow as one of the content sources for the educational laptops it distributed around the world.[17] On September 21, 2007, the website's 25,000th article was published.[8] In 2009, it surpassed 20 million monthly visitors and completed a redesign.[18] In 2014, Google chose wikiHow as one of the launch partners for Google Contributor, an ad-free Internet product.[19]

On March 24, 2016, wikiHow acquired Guidecentral, a website focused on instructions for "hands-on" projects.[20] The acquisition's terms were not released; however, Guidecentral raised over $1 million from investors including NXTP Labs, Enterprise Ireland, and South Ventures.[21]

Operations[edit]

Workshop on women on wikiHow at Wikimania 2012.

wikiHow provides instructional content on a wide range of topics.[22] As of December 2021, it contains over 235,000 articles. Articles typically follow a standardized format to detail the step-by-step process of completing a task or accomplishing a specific outcome. Images serve as visual aids and may be created by users or contracted staff.[citation needed]

The MediaWiki software allows users to add, delete, and otherwise modify content. Like other wikis, quality control is achieved by reviewing edits via the "Recent Changes" page and using a diff feature to compare revisions of an article and highlight changes in the content.[23][16] Other users review these changes and may accept or reject the edits based on guidelines regarding content and style.

To provide an authoritative review and ensure reliability of the content, staff writers also consult with subject-matter experts, particularly in topics such as health and medicine, law, finance, and psychology.[24][25] In 2021, wikiHow partnered with the United Nations to launch a campaign against COVID-19 misinformation.[26]

Among the volunteer editing community, a number of trusted users, known as administrators, may be tasked with responsibilities pertaining to the maintenance and smooth operation of the website. Functionally similar to administrators on Wikipedia and internet forum moderators, these users have elevated account privileges used to delete articles, block other users from editing, and perform various maintenance tasks.[27]

Business model[edit]

At the time of launch, wikiHow's startup costs were, to some extent, financed from Herrick's sale of eHow. The website has since relied on advertising on its pages for revenue. wikiHow is run as a "hybrid organization"—a "for-profit company focused on creating a global public good in accordance with [the] mission".[4]

Initially and throughout its history, Herrick has declined financial donations to wikiHow.[28] However, in mid-2020 as a response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company began soliciting contributions to support wikiHow.[29] Later that year, wikiHow released a subscription service called "wikiHow Pro", which allows access to paywalled features such as custom PDF downloads of articles and email-based courses created by subject-matter experts.

Licensing[edit]

wikiHow's text content is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 (by-nc-sa 3.0) license, allowing it to be modified and reused for non-commercial purposes as long as the original authors are attributed and the license is not substantially changed. Authors retain full copyright to their content, may publish it elsewhere under different licenses, and grant wikiHow an irrevocable license to use it for any purpose.[30]

Opt-out ads[edit]

wikiHow lets readers control whether advertising appears alongside content. Registered, logged-in users do not see ads[31][32] except those from external video providers.[33]

In November 2014, it was announced that wikiHow would participate in Google Contributor, a service allowing website users to make monthly donations to support their favorite websites and not be required to see ads on them.[34]

Reception[edit]

wikiHow has won multiple awards, including a Webby Award for Community in 2009,[35] and the Co-Creation award in the Open Innovation competition, organized by The Guardian and Nesta in 2010.[36] Mashable selected wikiHow as runner-up for best wiki in its Open Web Awards in 2008.[37] In October 2018, Gizmodo included wikiHow in its list of "100 Websites That Shaped the Internet as We Know It", referring to it as "a consistently useful resource."[38] More recently, Forbes recognized wikiHow in its list of "The Best Small Companies Of 2019".[39]

A PBS journalist reported that the "wikiHow app has an excellent set of articles to help you in just about any situation, from helping someone who is choking to handling vehicle emergencies, to natural disasters."[40] The New York Times reported: "Type in a few key words about the problem into the app’s Search page and the guide will return some advice. Its information pages are clear and well laid out. They begin with an introductory description, then offer a list of steps to follow. The app displays the necessary tools and items, and includes tips and warnings."[41] Lifehacker has described wikiHow as the "ever-handy guide site."[42] wikiHow has been positively described in many other media, including Inc. Magazine,[5] Cosmopolitan,[43] TechRepublic,[44] Condé Nast Traveler[45] and PC Magazine.[46]

wikiHow has also been the target of satire and criticism for its notable abundance of arguably eccentric articles. For example, American Public Radio show Wits has a segment called "wikiHow theater", where actors read obvious or ludicrous wikiHow topics, such as "How to Make People Respect Your Pet", for comic effect.[47] Two accomplished poets published a book called "How To Feel Confident with Your Special Talents", where each poem's title is taken directly from a wikiHow article.[48] Vice parodied wikiHow's article "How to Break Up with Your Boyfriend".[49] The Huffington Post created a list of bizarre life skills, such as "How to React to an Ugly Baby", that "you could only learn from wikiHow".[50] Illustrations are often criticized for being strange or eccentric.[51][52] Other publishers have criticized wikiHow for hosting instructions on topics of questionable social value, such as "How to get a thigh gap"[53] and "How to stop a wedding".[54] Other websites have created "worst of wikiHow" lists to highlight topics that are "deranged",[55] "brilliantly bizarre"[56] and otherwise controversial.

The artwork of wikiHow’s illustrations has received mixed reception among internet users, with some praising the representation of various minority groups, while others ridiculing the bizarre and uncanny depictions. In an interview with OneZero, Chris Hadley, Vice President of Operations, stated that the illustrations are created by freelance artists typically outside of the US.[57]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ de Leon, Pamella. "The Weird (And Sometimes Wonderful) World Of WikiHow: Crowdsourcing Online Info On Everything". Entrepreneur Middle East. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "wikiHow:Mission". wikiHow. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "wikiHow:Hybrid Organization". wikiHow. Archived from the original on November 25, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Demarais, Christina (November 8, 2012). "WikiHow's Recipe for Success". Inc. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  6. ^ "wikiHow:Powered and Inspired by MediaWiki". wikiHow. Archived from the original on March 26, 2020. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  7. ^ "Jack Herrick, wikiHow founder interviewed by Wikinews". Wikinews. January 31, 2009. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Rojer, Rebecca (October 2, 2007). "wikiHow Reaches 25,000 Articles". Creative Commons. Archived from the original on November 10, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
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  11. ^ "2019: The Year in Review". wikiHow.
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  15. ^ Roush, Wade. "How To Build a "Lifestyle Business" with 30 Million Visitors Per Month: The wikiHow Story". Xconomy. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  16. ^ a b "ReadWriteWeb: wikiHow vs. eHow: Is the Wiki Way Better Than Content Farms?". Archived from the original on February 13, 2010. Retrieved February 12, 2010.
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  19. ^ Ingraham, Nathan (November 20, 2014). "Google Contributor will let you pay a monthly fee to see select websites without ads". The Verge. Archived from the original on July 8, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  20. ^ Anders, George. "Can WikiHow Rule Mobile? Watch This Acquisition Closely". Forbes. Archived from the original on September 1, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
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  22. ^ Huang, Keira. "How-to site wikiHow builds Chinese-language presence". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  23. ^ "How to Patrol Recent Changes on wikiHow". wikiHow. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  24. ^ "Delivering a Trustworthy Experience". www.wikihow.com. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  25. ^ "wikiHow Experts". www.wikihow.com. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
  26. ^ "Are you sure you want to share that? Sorting online fact from fiction". UN News. November 25, 2021. Retrieved December 3, 2021.
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  29. ^ "Contribute". www.wikihow.com. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  30. ^ "Terms of Use". wikiHow. Archived from the original on January 13, 2010.
  31. ^ "wikiHow:Why Hide Ads?". wikiHow. Archived from the original on April 21, 2009..
  32. ^ Taylor, Marisa (January 30, 2009). "Turning the Ads Off". The Wall Street Journal. Digits (blogs.wsj.com). Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  33. ^ wikiHow:Video Curation#Video Curation Tips
  34. ^ Gibbs, Samuel. "Google Contributor: can I really pay to remove ads?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on March 4, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  35. ^ "wikiHow". The Webby Awards. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
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  37. ^ "The 2nd Annual Open Web Awards". Mashable. Archived from the original on April 11, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  38. ^ "100 Websites That Shaped the Internet as We Know It". Gizmodo. Archived from the original on July 9, 2019. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  39. ^ "Forbes Small Giants: The Best Small Companies Of 2019". Forbes. Archived from the original on June 24, 2019. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  40. ^ Clarke, Michael (May 14, 2014). "How to Stay Safe While Reporting from Hostile (and Not So Hostile) Environments". PBS. Archived from the original on March 18, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  41. ^ Eaton, Kit. "Guiding D.I.Y. Home Repairs, or Summoning the Pros". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 1, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  42. ^ Fitzpatrick, Jason. "Get Spray Paint Off Your Car". Lifehacker. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  43. ^ "Las mejores apps DIY (Do It Yourself)". Cosmopolitan (Spanish website). Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  44. ^ Bahny, Wally. "Five Web Apps to make you smarter". TechRepublic. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  45. ^ Chase, Jon (June 12, 2014). "In Case of Travel Emergency, Download These Apps". Conde Nast Traveler. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  46. ^ Lendino, Jamie. "Hands On with the Latest Palm Pre Apps". PC Magazine. Archived from the original on July 12, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  47. ^ "American Public Media Presents: Wits". Wits Radio. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  48. ^ "Pair of English profs from WWU to tagteam reading at Village Books". The Bellingham Herald. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  49. ^ Kotsoni, Elektra. "How to Break Up with Your Boyfriend". Vice. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  50. ^ Scherker, Amanda. "11 Bizarre Life Skills You Could Only Learn From Wikihow". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  51. ^ Pillow, Ted (December 8, 2017). "Another 25 Strange, Insanely Beautiful WikiHow Images". Medium. Archived from the original on November 4, 2018. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  52. ^ "r/disneyvacation". reddit. Archived from the original on October 31, 2018. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  53. ^ Kotz, Deborah. "Weekly challenge: Stop striving for a "thigh gap" or six-pack abs". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on June 29, 2017. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  54. ^ Tedesco, Austin. "Thanks Internet! WikiHow Gives You a Step-by-Step Guide to Stopping a Wedding". Boston.com. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  55. ^ Beusman, Callie. "15 Utterly Deranged Wikihow How-To Guides". Jezebel. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  56. ^ Hyde, Fiona. "9 brilliantly bizarre WikiHow articles that will fix all your life problems". The Daily Edge. Archived from the original on February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  57. ^ Slattery, Peter. "We Finally Figured Out Who Makes wikiHow's Bizarre Art". OneZero. Archived from the original on November 30, 2020. Retrieved February 24, 2021.

External links[edit]