WikiHow NOT to Win a Swordfight

WikiHow NOT to Win a SwordfightToday’s dose of unintended hilarity (make that horror) comes from WikiHow, ‘How to do anything.’ In this case how NOT to do anything, especially How NOT to Win a Swordfight. WikiHow’s signature style ‘tutorial’ glosses over safety and will get somebody killed or injured.

This three-part article scatters a few nuggets of longsword technique through a Janet-and-John boiler-plate text, with terrible Hanna-Barbera ‘Scooby-Don’t‘ style 2-D illustrations. The pictures show some chaps (one might be a woman) in jeans and a shirt but no safety kit, using actual steel longswords. Most of the illustrations show positions so dangerous the participants would lose fingers and eyes.

There’s no author attribution other than ‘co-authored by wikihow staff’. The article references link to a dodgy self-improvement blog, plus a couple of YouTube videos (producers Skalagrim and DreySchlag would be equally horrified). The material’s been sub-edited to fit a word-count, Fleisch Readability Score and a Search Ranking plugin. It barely makes sense and does not sufficiently address the safety issues.

WikiHow’s pitch states “wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Learn why people trust wikiHow.” The business model, however, is to write link bait content to the lowest common denominator, with the highest possible search ranking, to generate web traffic and ad revenue.

This is a prime example why I don’t trust WikiHow to do anything and suggest no one else does either. Don’t try this at home. You’ll die.