Faq-O-Matic Faq-O-Matic : Users' Guide :
What is a FAQ-O-Matic?
|A mailing list is great because it gets together people who have questions with people who have answers.
A mailing list archive is even better, because it lets thoughtful people with Frequently Asked Questions search for an immediate answer, and avoid bothering the people who have answers. Unfortunately, the answers in a mailing list archive become stale over time, are disorganized, and are hard to sift from the conversational noise of the mailing list.
A Frequently Asked Questions list (FAQ) is even better, because the people with questions can be a little lazier and still find their answer right away. Unfortunately, maintaining a FAQ list requires effort; if the people with the answers become lazy, the FAQ list becomes stale.
I wrote the FAQ-O-Matic when I found myself frequently answering a certain question on a mailing list. The FAQ for the list had become stale (its creator's interest had succumbed to laziness), and I knew I was far too lazy to take over maintaining my own FAQ.
So, in a triumph of laziness, I wrote the FAQ-O-Matic. The idea is this:
- People with answers can submit them to the FAQ, but nobody is responsible for knowing all the answers.This worked pretty well, but the first FAQ-O-Matic tended to become disorganized, since no-one was responsible for its structure. So I added commands to move answers and categories around, plus a Moderator feature that lets one person keep track of changes to the FAQ by e-mail:
- A person can keep a subset of the FAQ organized, but he or she doesn't have to know all the answers or organize the whole FAQ.So a FAQ-O-Matic is something that lets the members of a community share the tasks of entering, correcting, and organizing frequently-asked questions and answers. Many folks have found other uses for FAQ-O-Matic, treating it as a general collaborative editing tool.
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