awkward pastel drawing of a person peering through a magnifying glass
January 21, 2020 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Somebody figured out where the hell exactly all those WikiHow images come from. (Spoiler alert: low-paying distributed freelance labor.)
posted by cortex (25 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
I guess I need to cancel my Disney vacation.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:08 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]


I was literally just looping back to the first Away thread to catch the last few comments I'd never gotten to and this comment from mostly vowels:
The buried lede of all these stories about really awful startup cultures is that capitalism is working just as it is intended - by reinventing itself to seem like a force for good on the outside while retaliating without mercy internally whenever workers organize to counteract the inclinations of those at the top hoarding all of the benefits.
was really echoing in my head as I came across wikiHow's self-characterization as a “for-profit company focused on achieving a social good” in the linked article. Bleh.
posted by youarenothere at 12:11 PM on January 21 [12 favorites]


The shift in strategy came the same year that Google released “Google Panda,” a major change to its search ranking algorithm, which an O’Reilly Media report describes as being released in response “to the rise of low quality ‘content farms.’”
Way to bury the lede, cortex. A coherent SEO strategy now requires that your user-generated content have its own unique artwork, or it'll be penalized by the Google algorithm. This explains the dip in AdWords revenue y'all saw five years ago. But we have a willing and engaged user base; we can overcome this minor setback. Thus I propose to you: DrawMe, where you sign up to illustrate the FPP(s) of your choice. (Subsite to be rendered completely in tasteful pastel palette, with requisite leaderboard and gamification)

I have MSPaint, a set of slightly-used pastels, and a 6-year-old with a lot of free time on her hands. Let's get the Blue back in the black.
posted by Mayor West at 12:20 PM on January 21 [81 favorites]


MetaFilter: low-paying distributed freelance labor
posted by Fizz at 12:27 PM on January 21 [14 favorites]


I would participate in DrawMe
posted by rebent at 12:35 PM on January 21 [7 favorites]


I would also participate in DrawMe
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:36 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


I would love to see random dorkily illustrated posts. If anyone wants to make a project out of it, that would be fun!
posted by Omnomnom at 12:51 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


So, essentially, Matt banning the image tag is what got MetaFilter in trouble. Huh.
posted by LionIndex at 12:54 PM on January 21 [16 favorites]


I would most certainly participate in DrawMe
posted by ominous_paws at 12:57 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I'd participate in DrawMe, but I can't decide whether subcontracting my work offshore or producing such terrible work that I'll get paid more to stop is the better¹ late-stage capitalism strategy.

---
¹: worse
posted by scruss at 1:06 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


For this post, I suggest art of a goose with a human arm and hand, rubbing its chin in thought.
posted by tofu_crouton at 1:15 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I'm open to someone creating a kind of DrawMe challenge over on MetaTalk, not sure how we'd display them all unless we self link but maybe we can talk it over there if someone wants to. I love this idea.
posted by Fizz at 1:18 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


The Metafilter DrawMe Stock Photo Library will be ripe meme material. Galleries are all about driving up click rates, so may as well show all the submissions you can get per post.
posted by msbutah at 1:25 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Oooh, doing bad sketches really fast is my forte, finally I can be of use to metafilter.
posted by stillnocturnal at 1:26 PM on January 21 [6 favorites]


I mean, DrawMe sounds great, but what we really need is a content-analysis AI that mines significant keywords from FPPs, and then finds public-domain images matching those keywords and awkwardly juxtaposes them, on top of a tasteful pastel background.
posted by adamrice at 1:44 PM on January 21 [6 favorites]


I admire their guidelines about diverse races, genders, and body types.

I wonder how much of these are the artist tracing over a photo that is the first google search hit.
posted by Monday at 1:45 PM on January 21 [3 favorites]


heck of are you kidding I would love to draw some of these FPPs
posted by Countess Elena at 2:09 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


We Finally Figured Out Who Makes wikiHow’s Bizarre Art

Perfect timing, because a new internet mystery has appeared: Who Makes OneZero's Bizarre Title Font??
posted by solotoro at 2:27 PM on January 21


Upvote: All your lovely DrawMe illustrations!
Downvote: Any that are drawn Lamb of God/Van Eyck style.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 2:39 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Interesting post. But, I genuinely can't decide quite how to feel about this. Working people are getting paid shit. . . to create shit that doesn't need to exist. I guess I'm on the side of hoping a union and work stoppage will eventually get them more pay for generating garbage. But, it's hard to be all that enthusiastic. Perhaps if it subsidizes the less-awful artwork they create without pay, it's worth it.
posted by eotvos at 2:56 PM on January 21


While I appreciate the Don Juan giving finger guns illustration in the new How To Be A Party Animal article, I miss the spritely dancing cat.
posted by Feminazgul at 7:34 PM on January 21 [4 favorites]


A coherent SEO strategy now requires that your user-generated content have its own unique artwork, or it'll be penalized by the Google algorithm.

I'm reminded how recipes now have to have a story that goes on and on for thousands of words before they get to the recipe. In any sane world or one where the content creators were deciding how to format their pages that would rarely happen. SEO recipe websites are objectively worse as a method of distributing _recipes_.
posted by Mitheral at 8:31 PM on January 21 [10 favorites]


Would drawing attention to the crouton garden help with SEO?


> Who Makes OneZero's Bizarre Title Font??
A company named Displaay stuffed some 90° angles in Futura and called it a design.
posted by farlukar at 4:27 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Who Makes OneZero's Bizarre Title Font??

As someone who reads Russian, I couldn't help but read the link's headline as "We Fipally Figuged Out Who Makes wikiHow’s Bizagge Agt" published by OpeZego. It's really hard for me to read that font.
posted by msbrauer at 6:32 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Comment deleted not for content, but because it was in the wrong thread. I mean, it was a pretty sweet comment about the Borg being in Malta.
posted by aloiv2 at 9:20 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


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