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Wikihow is a wiki-based community with a database of how-to guides. All of the site's content is licensed under Creative Commons (by-nc-sa); and the site uses a modified version of MediaWiki 1.9.3. The site started as an extension of the already existing eHow website, and has evolved to host over 39,000 how-to articles. wikiHow's mission is to build the world's largest how-to manual and help it grow. In September 2007, wikiHow had 7.86 million unique readers. [1]

History[edit | edit source]

In January 2005, the two owners of eHow, Jack Herrick and Josh Hannah, started wikiHow—a collaborative writing project striving to build the world's largest how-to manual. While eHow already contained instructions on how to do thousands of things, wikiHow allowed a community of volunteer contributors to build something even bigger and better. On April 28, 2006, eHow was sold and wikiHow was launched as an independent site on its own www.wikihow.com domain.[2]

As of May 2008, the number of registered wikiHow users stood at slightly more than 93,000, 49 of which were administrators, and 2 bureaucrats.[3]

Content and article format[edit | edit source]

wikiHow is a wiki, which (like Wikipedia) is a website that anyone can edit. wikiHow operates on open source software and an open content licensing model allowing free use and community ownership of the content.

Any visitor to wikiHow can create a new page and write about how to do something. Articles posted to wikiHow follow a standard format consisting of a summary, followed by steps to complete the activity, along with required items, warnings, tips, ingredients, and sometimes links to related how-to articles. Pictures may be added to the articles to illustrate important points or concepts. Once the page is submitted, other visitors can edit, improve, or change the page. Anonymous contributors and the wikiHow user community work together to improve the quality of information provided on the site, fix or remove incorrect instructions and revert vandalism.

Business model[edit | edit source]

The site's initial start-up costs were to some extent financed from Herrick's sale of eHow. It is now funded from advertising on its pages, on the grounds that "...tasteful advertising is the most unobtrusive way to fund our operations."[4] It does not seek contributions, asserting that solicitations are annoying, and is run as a "hybrid organization" — a "for-profit company focused on creating a global public good in accordance with our mission".[5] It offers the community a "right to fork" and uses a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

Criticisms[edit | edit source]

wikiHow was criticized for initial content policies that sought to make a profit from volunteer contributors[6] as well as the reliability of facts provided by non-experts, such as "How to stop cutting yourself"[7], or the relevance of articles written about such obscure subjects as "How to taste dark chocolate".[7]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

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References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.