If you’ve ever needed to find out how to do something, there’s a 95% chance you’ve referred to Google, YouTube, or somewhere on the internet to find out (note: that statistic is completely my own and based solely on observation). These searches may include how to do a side braid, deep water aqua-jogging instructions, how bad is it really if I eat bacon while pregnant, or how to change the serpentine belt in a 2011 Hyundai Accent, to name a few. In addition to these completely necessary inquiries, you may not be aware that there are questions you haven’t even thought to ask.
Besides using a search engine like Google, there are specific websites where people ask questions, get answers, and participate in a larger community of others who do the same. And while you can learn basic life lessons from these sites, there are other how-to tutorials that can make you wonder if they are legit.
For instance, did you know you can become telekinetic with the help of WikiHow? Admittedly this is a ‘results may vary’ situation as it takes years to hone this skill… or may not actually exist, depending on your belief structure.
Maybe you want to learn more about being random, and need some clear, not-so-random advice on how to get there. After reading this article, hopefully you won’t need to refer to the internet for a randomness tutorial.
If you suspect you’ve been cursed, fortunately there is an article on removing black magic spells that you can refer to.
Perhaps you want to jump on a YA trend from 10 years ago. If so, “How to Write a Novel About Vampires” might be for you (and remember, “Names like Dracula sound cool but are unrealistic”). Who knows, your books could turn into a trilogy/four movies!
For general pet-lovers, there’s a lot of helpful information on animal care, including “How to Help Pets Cope with the Back-to-School Transition” (hey, it’s tough for everyone).
One of my favorites is “How to Be the Angel Child in Your Family” (I mean, I could have written this one when I was younger).
Tragically, the following articles are no longer in existence: “How to Trick People Into Thinking Your an Alien,” “How to Give Someone a Passive-Aggressive Christmas Gift,” and “How to Catch Santa Claus on Videotape” (I was actually pretty upset about the alien one).
Now there are a few websites that can help you get to even the most obscure information. Let’s get oriented.
Most famous for: the most ridiculous and illustrated step by step instructions ever.
WikiHow is the source of a fairly comprehensive articles on just about every topic you can imagine. They don’t say things like “Turn on your computer” when you’re reading an article about how to post to Facebook but it’s pretty darn close for that. What I do like about the site though is that it’s not ‘for dummies’ in that it doesn’t imply or even assume the person reading it is dumb, just that they don’t know something.
What I like about WikiHow is they also aren’t too precious about what they will give a tutorial for and it seems like the people writing some of them are having a genuinely fun time.
Most famous for: Questions you’re too embarrassed to ask on LinkedIn.
Quora is where you ask business or skills questions more than “how do you change a tire” type questions. That said, it is not free from snark.
This is from Quora, which I personally appreciated as a person who knows a little code (I came into the world of websites at a time when WordPress, Joomla, and WYSIWYG editing was in full force, so I can do a few things with code but it’s not part of daily work). Even with minimal knowledge about coding, I do appreciate the absurdity of learning any skill overnight, which is why this post has some comedic value:
Most famous for: Asking your personal/life questions… sometimes into a void.
Like Quora, Yahoo Answers has a lot of “Umm…what?” questions, but there are some genuine inquiries with helpful answers that prove it isn’t all bad or weird.
It also appears to be a fairly popular place for getting help with math/science homework. Then, there’s questions like this:
Yahoo is famous though for having lots of posted questions with no answers to them or disappearing user names, making it hard to see who even asked the question in the first place.
As silly as these all these articles and questions may seem, I like to think that the majority add value to someone’s life, somehow. Like it’s easy to dismiss the laptop question but when someone mentions the weight of electrons, it can make you think of the question a different way.
Overall, it can be nice to remember just how simple the internet can be at times: people connecting with other people and sharing information, even with strangers.
With these sites, it seems nothing is off limits in terms of questions or answers (as with most forum type websites, depending on the level of monitoring). My advice, when you post a question, be prepared for all kinds of answers and potentially some trolls. But if you can tolerate some sass or an insincere answer, you may find something you didn’t even know you were looking for… in the best way.