Occam’s Razor is the principle that the simplest solution is usually the correct solution. WikiHow authors have apparently never heard of it, because WikiHow articles on topics like basic human functions and fundamentally simple tasks wind up getting elaborated into processes that take tens of steps.
To be fair, sometimes those over-complicated articles provide useful and interesting information that maybe you wouldn’t normally stop to consider when you’re going about everyday tasks. All the same, my mind is boggled by some of the advice the site has decided is necessary to share. Here are nine of the molehills WikiHow has turned into mountains:
As the article says, taking a shower is important. “It’s a fast, effective and refreshing way to get clean.” Fast, effective, and refreshing, but apparently not simple, at 20 total steps over 4 sections, with photographs and even a video! There are helpful reminders to undress and turn on the water, but it also includes this insight: “If you are brave enough, turn the water on a cold setting for 3 seconds and let the cold water run over your face to close your pores and give your hair a natural shine.” Tell me: Are you brave enough for cold water?
The most suspect advice in this article is the following: “Move jaw up and down, mashing the food in the mouth until it can be swallowed easily and without risk of choking. Depending on the food, this can take anywhere from a few seconds to several hours.” …Several hours? Of chewing? Will we be gnawing on a cow femur?
I take offense to this article’s assertion that pre-sliced bread is better than unsliced bread for toasting, because pre-sliced bread is better than nothing for anything. However, I do appreciate the suggestion to fry your toast in butter in a skillet, but technically that’s not toasting, that’s frying. What the heck, Wikihow author? I came here to learn how to get toast in my mouth, not fried bread.
My instructions would have gone something like: “Put hand on dog’s back, move hand along back, repeat.” This how-to, though, turns into a lesson in dog psychology, and is more informative than it is instructive. I mean, I didn’t know that you shouldn’t bend over a dog. Now I do! Bonus: There are super-cute illustrations of dogs.
Contrary to what you might intuit, this instructional claims there’s more to walking than putting one foot on the ground in front of the other and shifting your weight repeatedly. No, sir – it promises to guide you to a “Zen-like saunter.” The earnestness of the third step lies plop on that thin line between being earnest and being condescending: “Don’t just stare at your feet. One of the benefits of taking a relaxed stroll is that you have a chance to notice things you’ve never noticed before. Pay attention to your surroundings. Enjoy the scenery. Take it all in. Listen.” Don’t tell me what I can’t do! Also, does it look to anyone else like this guy is also taking the time to enjoy the smell of his own fart?
6. How to Eat a Bowl of Cereal
The first thing this instructional tells you to do is to “understand that cereal comes in a variety of different brands and flavors.” MIND. BLOWN. When I was a kid, all my parents fed me for breakfast was sticks and car parts. What is a brand? What is a flavor? I have to know! It goes on to tell you to pour the cereal into a bowl, add milk, nuts, and fruit, but then it just says to “eat it.” –But how, WikiHow? I wanted to learn how to eat cereal, not how to prepare it! FALSE ADVERTISING.
7. How to Know When to Flush a Toilet
I think the phrasing of the title of this article is a little misleading; it’s more like “A Few Reasons You Might Want To Not Flush Your Toilet.” At no point does it cover whether or not you should flush the toilet if there’s nothing in it. I’m disappointed.
This is a winner for deceptively complicated WikiHow topics – it details the stages of boiling and why knowing that is important for cooking, how to purify drinking water, and why boiling water at higher altitudes is a whole other ballgame. That being said, it seems like maybe each of those topics could be their own WikiHow article. Nevertheless, I’ve walked away edified, and maybe you will too.
Guys, there’s a how-to article on doing nothing. It’s long. It encourages you to lie. If anything has ever been over-complicated, it’s this article.
Original by: Rebecca Vipond Brink