How to

description of how to do something

A how-to or a how to is an informal, often short, description of how to do a specific physical task, think to solve a specific problem, or think about a topic. There are many forms of these, such as video-game walkthroughs, parkour how-to guides, and others.


How-to guides "guide" you through a topic. They include videos, descriptions, and other resources to help the reader understand what the guide is trying to teach. Usually, the guide contains helpful third-party resources. An example of this is wikiHow. However, the topic taught needs to be in layman's terms, or a simple general guide, similar to this project. To meet the requirements for a how to, the creator has to understand the topic better than the reader. For example, if a person is reading a guide on particle physics, the author of the guide does not need to be a astronaut with a Phd in physics, but the author also cannot be a person who just found out about the subject. This is explained better in Mentorship.


Some guides are for the field, like the Golden Guides, and others made to help others understand a topic, like a guide on Nuclear Science. The reader cannot observe the reactions but can understand how they happen. How to guides are mostly populated by field guides, like "How to fire a gun properly." and "How to be a helpful Wikipedia contributor". Guides can't start without the "how to" prefix, in the process confusing potential readers and making the title seem like a statement rather than a question-statement hybrid. "Fire a gun properly" sounds like a statement, so people will click away from the guide without actually understanding how, just planning to do what the title said.


A topic needs to be teachable. A subject cannot be "How to watch a show" because the solution can be easily found. A topic needs to be teachable to a new person who wants to learn more about the subject, and retain its hard-earned difficulty.