Hehe. I know it doesn't really add to the discussion, but...:

I once made a FAQ interface for a completley unrelated project. I let people add their own FAQs with admin reviews, FAQs can have multiple categories, there's a nice search feature, everything was very dandy. I put in the first few FAQs myself and let users submit questions and answers as they found them. In the beginning, all was well.

But nobody wants to maintain it! I sure as hell don't, I find it infuriating. None of the 5 other admins can be bothered with it either. Users STILL use the faq all the time, with 6-month-old data, but nobody wants to bother keeping it up to date, because it takes lots of research, time and patience.

Worst of all, mailing-list questions don't disappear, they appear with just the same regularity. Except now the key phrase is "search the faq." Proper netizens are indeed grateful and spend time to offer suggestions, but proper netizens can usually find most answers on Google anyway, so they'd never ask the question in the first place! In brief, a FAQ does surprisingly little to quell mailing list/IRC/private email clutter.

I for one get MORE email I don't want, since I guess my email address draws peoples' attention more than the 'Contact us' link. One person has donated 10 dollars (US! Woo!) and beyond that I've spent countless hours replying to people with stuff like "I haven't the fogiest notion. Check the 'Contact us' link for people who know more."

To wrap up: In my experience, a FAQ is a f*cking pain. Good luck finding somebody who'll want to put that amount of time and effort -- I know I'll never do one again :).

And that's THAT off my chest ;).

(The project is http://openzaurus.org -- just a little plug for my favourite embedded distro!)

I might as well add something *constructive* to all this: I've heard and seen nothing but good things from Wikis. Sourceforge has all you need to set one up :). (I've used phpwiki, but as far as I know they're all quite similar.) I think a vpopmail Wiki could be quite useful.

Adam Hooper

Paul L. Allen wrote:
My apologies if I've offended anyone, but it's late, I've had a lot of
wine, and I've wanted to get that one off my chest for well over three
years. I even put my money where my mouth is. If there is an FAQ (on whatever) and I have something useful I submit it to the maintainer. But all too often the FAQ has been abandoned in favour of "search the archive."

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