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55 reviews
1,157 helpful votes

Wise Geek .com,
A question and answer site.

As this site is reader written, I find the several Q & A articles I looked over typical of that. This is rather a syndrome across the board for this kind of site. (see also my review, here, on "Mother Earth Living," the e-magazine). It's that being human, people want recognition, and in print or other similar media that's more or less permanent, adding their own words, versions, and ideas also imparts a kind of low-key fame. This is almost irresistible online where they are being Asked to contribute what they "know".. so when people see this opportunity presented to them in the here and now, they act on impulse.
This is the very reason there are so many sites (and other media) that use this ploy, and social pages are so popular. In fact, this is so true that many sites, such as Sitejabber, combine these two to take advantage of that doubling of their draw.

Take a quick skim-through of large numbers of reviews, comments, Q&A, etc. anywhere, and you will find that 90% of them are first time only. The result of this is either shallow answers, or worse, a long detailed answer that leads down the right path, but is incomplete; having some good facts, but others that are wrong, details, especially crucial ones left out, and etc.; leaving the readers with unanswered questions, many times more than they had before.

What causes this is the syndrome above leading ppl to Want to get their two-cents worth in, so they write about things they have not actually done, or have barely tried. They know something about it, probably book learning, it seems an easy task back of that, so they write. That's the shallow ones you find, (some possibly by more knowledgeable ppl who are just lazy or careless) but there are layers to this.

The more detailed ones, but still partly wrong, are from ppl who have a real interest, but of a temporary kind. They have tried it themselves, but without full knowledge; ("A little knowledge is a dangerous thing") not having taken the time to study/research enough first, and call self-taught good enough. Back of this they also only do this thing worked, kinda sorta, so they feel accomplished. They can now say, "Been there, done that," there's no reason for further research or trials, and their public output reflects this.
This second type of person is likely the kind that wrote the Wise Geek answer to, "How can I make a quill pen?"

There is a third, maybe a forth layer, the true expert. But first a quick few of the things I read/saw in this answer to back up what I've said, (from the top so this can easily be checked out):

"Quill pens have been around for hundreds of years," backed by, "Two centuries ago...".

Actually it's thousands of years. Immediately after paper was invented, (which was Not the later plant origin, it was skin - vellum) the obvious answer to smearing charcoal was to wet it, (so it soaks in) and ink was invented. The obvious answer to ink was the pen....

Paragraph 4, "...make some additional cuts, (in a quill) one long but very shallow and the other, closer to the tip, shorter and a little deeper."

This is so confusing there is a request for clarification. What was meant was not deeper (probably) but less (or more?) angle. Either way, if this person - anonymous 108449 - had actually tried this, he/she would have found out that two cuts won't work. Nor will "long but very shallow."

Ink stays inside the quill only by surface tension, and is drained out by virtue of the split acting like a straw. Just the smallest open length too much, or a bump in the way, (the two corners made by the 2nd cut) the surface tension is overcome, and out dumps the ink. Even when cut correctly a jar or thump can do that. With the 30 or more quill pens I've made for my art endeavors this was made abundantly clear.
It's also not mentioned that the split must be long enough to reach up into the ink, nor that a tiny hole needs to be made at the top to feed the ink into the split, and keep it from splitting farther in use.

This goes on then to tout metal nibs.. (in a DIY on quill pen making?? ) plus "Make your own ink" by buying "a Chinese ink stick..." that "...can last a lifetime."

This tells me this writer has only heard or read about this, with maybe a half-hearted try, for two reasons. First the description of various inks and how each one will work, (including the ink stick, which will not even vaguely "last a lifetime") is neither actually making your own, nor was it related/compared in any way to the actual manufacture of the true, basic original ink, which actually works best. This also carries over to the next segment.

Once again there's the buying of everything, (including Pens!) but most telling is the description of blots and sprays caused by "rough" paper, touting "smooth with a stiff finish" paper.

This ignores (doesn't know) that technique with a quill pen (always drawing, never pushing) overcomes this. If that simple basic rule had been discovered thru enough doing, That would have been written instead.

Then there are pix: every one of something purchased! and every one is or has metal. Where are the pens this author supposedly made? There are none, and the obvious conclusion is there never were any.

This is only one example of the several answers I perused, pretty much all alike, and what you should expect from reader-written sites. True, I didn't go real far, because after so many there's no reason to expect any truly expert answers anymore.
This is the very reason why the many sites of this type will never hold a candle to the third or forth layer sites..those written and/or corrected by true experts, such as Wiki. There are several, Wiki being the largest ongoing one, and the reason these sites excel is their vetting.
Sites such as this one here are about money..the ads & etc..and do not pay, i.e. have any staff, that is any more expert than they are. This means the reader/writer combo must be self vetting, with the above results. The bottom line then is that these sites do nothing more than supply a platform, let their customers do all the work, and rake in the money. The real problem with this type of thing, for us, is that there are now thousands of them, and growing.

3 stars for quite ordinary, for Wise Geek .com.

54 reviews
94 helpful votes

this site is a collective of tens of thousands of clear, concise answers given by researchers, writers and editors to common questions in a few dozen categories (from what I can tell primarily to 'what is' questions). It allows users to register and post comments or dispute an answer, and appears to be one of the top "answer" sites online.

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