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Ideas for an Online FAQ

posted by Krow on 10:07 PM February 6th, 2003   Printer-friendly   Email story
So I am thinking about creating a section on Slashcode.com just for a FAQ. We can use subsections to seperate out the FAQ (AKA Install, MySQL, Slashd...) and if someone would be willing to come up with new topics (for that matter new topics and icons are normally welcome) we could use those.
The thing is, would it be useful? Would a number of you be willing to write up pieces of the FAQ? All you would need to do is submit them as stories.
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  • I know that I have spent many a night searching the web for slash help when I couldn't find anything on slashcode, and didn't have time to submit a story and wait for replies. A FAQ would really help me, and other first-time slash users.
    • I agree that a FAQ would be great.

      It would be especially useful to be able to search through the comments, because that's often where the nuggets of information are.

      I will enthusiastically contribute my questions to the FAQ ;)

      • I am thinking that people would submit both questions and answers to the FAQ (with comments enabled so that people could comment on the information).
        If an answer becomes outdated we can pull the answer or it can be rewritten (or just replaced).
        --

        --
        You can't grep a dead tree.
      • Ok, try this [lottadot.com].

        You can search the answers to a faq via search.pl.

        When you mentioned the search ability, you really got my curiosity going. I'd never really looked at Slash::Search much, nor the freetext stuff in mySQL.

        So I started reading... and reading. Anyway, I came up with a method to search the faq answers.
        It uses a patched Search plugin to do it.

        I tried to make it so it would search the questions, and answers, but I had a real problem trying to make the mySQL MATCH code work across multiple tables.
        --
        lottadot [lottadot.com]
  • faq plugin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tf23 (175) <tf23NO@SPAMlottadot.com> on Friday February 07 2003, @10:38AM (#5685) Homepage Journal
    I actually started a faq plugin a while back.
    It was a 'faq manager' so to speak. It was to do the following:

    1. manage multiple faq's
          each had owner, section, topic
          acl read/write privs
    2. multiple questions per faq.
    3. multiple categories for questions.
    4. multiple answers per question
    5. discussion thread associated with each faq, on/offable.
    6. questions orderable by ordernum, removeable by displaystatus
    7. questions were to be posted by faq owner/siteadmin, answers submitted by any user but anon, or editable by owner/siteadmin

    The idea was to store all the stuff in the db, and then 'publish' the thing to a shtml file.

    I never finished it. Infact, I don't recall exactly how far I got with it. I could put it up for download via CVS this weekend if anyone wants a look at it.

    --
    lottadot [lottadot.com]
  • I find that information presented in the form of a how-to is useful to me and sometimes easier to digest. Perhaps one section of the FAQ could be devoted to HOW-TOs (like tf23's response to the earlier discussion of adding fields to user.pl: http://ask.slashcode.com/article.pl?sid=03/02/04/0 657222&mode=nested&tid=4 [slashcode.com]
    • That sounds fine to me.
      --

      --
      You can't grep a dead tree.
      • check this out:

        http://www.lottadot.com/faqster.pl [lottadot.com]

        That's the plugin I was talking about.

        Get an account on it and you can post questions/answers/faqs.

        It seems to work fairly well, though it's not complete and some cosmetic html fixes certainly could help. Just something I'd started a while back. It may be useful here. I Dunno.

        I found it on one of my old backups. I tried to quickly clean it up so it'll install on a latest rtag site (it did). It's in my CVS if anyone wants to have a look.

          Shane
        --
        lottadot [lottadot.com]
  • After the help you guys have given me on things that are probably reasonably simple things to fix that aren't documented, i'd be more than happy to see an FAQ created. I don't know how useful I'll be at providing answers, but I'm sure I can help you with the Q bit ;)

    It'd probably also be worth ppl going back over some of the advice/help that's been offered in the past and compiling some of that into the document too.
  • IBM has posted some "tips for creating an effective and informative" FAQ [ibm.com]. Its 18 months old, but ought to be relevant still.