Thanks to all who have posted. A lot of good replies. I have saved them
I won't waste the bandwidth to respond to each message.
Add more as you think of them.
Having hung around here for as long as I have I can see we are in the summer
cycle of questions.
You guys need to think about the winter cycle.
The dog crap thread always becomes the longest thread. Such much emotion. :)
If this is an effort to reduce questions being asked repeatedly, I think it is
counter-productive. No matter how many times a question might be asked, you
never can predict when a new contributor will join us who has some good, and NEW
advice on a subject. If you want a static source of answers, by a book. If you
want to maintain the value of a live interactive group exchange, then use usenet
the way it was intended.
If you see a subject line about something you have seen before, and have no
interest in, just keep moving on past it.
Some years ago I participated in writing a FAQ on barbecue. It is still
being touted as one of the most accurate pieces of reference material for
enthusiasts that has been written. Does it replace questions and
interactivity? No, it actually starts conversations.
A well written homeowners FAQ can be a handy guide for many. There will
never be a ONE source for anything. Please don't say why it won't be any
good when you don't even have a clue what is going to be done. If you don't
like it, take your own advice and ignore it.
Edwin, If you don't like the point I made, which is an entirely valid one, then
why didn't YOU ignore it? I didn't tell anyone to ignore anything. See... we're
using usenet for what it is intended for. Conversation, not "handy lists"
Sort of once sided eh? You make a point and I make a counter point so I'm
Nothing wrong with conversation, but having a check list of sorts can be a
good thing. Why is it wrong for the group here to provide it? Why do you
assume it is going to eliminate conversation? My point, that you ignore, is
that it can actually stimulate more conversation.
I don't think you really want to discuss anything, you just want to make a
point and have everyone agree. How about a real discussion about the
potential for a FAQ, what should or should not be in it, and how should it
I ignore things I want to ignore and have no interest in. I discuss things
that I do have an interest in. I accept that not everyone will agree with
me, but that is their right, even if they are wrong ;)
You're both right.
1. A FAQ *is* a Good Thing
2. Discussion of subjects covered by the FAQ *is* a good thing.
I think there *is* some warranted irritation at those who object to threads
about commonly asked questions - this isn't meant to be a library; it's a
discussion group. Those bored by what they regard as repetition should just go
and find some excitement elsewhere.
Lots of Usenet newsgroups maintain very useful FAQ's while also not discouraging
discussion of the subjects they cover, yes, even substantially similar
So the only danger that needs to be guarded against would be the desire of some
to say "read the FAQ, end of story, it's all in there, don't bother us
otherwise". Then, those of us who consider new discussions of old subjects,
with likely new participants and possibly new products available to talk about,
can pipe up and tell those folks to buzz off ;-)
A FAQ does a few good things. It answers some very basic questions. It
stimulates more informed questions. It has detail that we may leave out at
Everything done on newsgroups is voluntary. Sometimes I don't mind typing a
fairly long and complex answer to a question, other times I just don't have
the time or just don't feel like it. Other times the question is answered
properly by others. Then there are the more frequent times I don't have a
clue about a subject, but read the answers of others and learn myself.
All the information provided on a newsgroups is available from other
sources. Web sites, books, magazine articles, the guy down the street.
What they lack is the nuances of a particular scenario that only you may
have. Anyone reading newsgroups over time will know that yes, there are
dumb questions. The FAQ will not answer them either, but some people are
just too lazy to make any attempt to help themselves.
In any case, a FAQ is not something to be feared.
I agree. The problems I have with FAQ's are:
1. People will just respond with "did you read the FAQ?"
2. Products, methods, etc, change over time. The best way to fix a
problem today may not be the best way to do it next year at this time.
Maybe some newer better product or technology came along. Maybe we
realized that the way we always did things isn't the best way now.
Someone may just read the FAQ and do it the old way, when if they had
asked people could have said "I tried this newer product and it worked
BETTER than the one I used to always use". Or "I did it a new way,
the way I used to do it worked good, but this is even better".
3. Maybe an expert happens to read the question when it is posted and
can add something not in the FAQ, then the potential poster may have
missed out on some great info.
4. We won't get to see all the stupid replies to the dogshit
questions. Wait, maybe that isn't so bad after all.
I'm not saying no to having a FAQ. If there is one, include something
about a good way to ask a question, ie: give details!. Don't say "I
have a pretty big house..." Say, "My house is 3,300 sq feet"
Just my 2 cents.
Good point. Many situations are covered on diy web sites and readily
available books. Most are generic in nature so asking a specific question
is what makes newsgroups so good. A little basics in that respect is very
important in a FAQ so people know what to ask to get the proper response.
Every appliance manual has the same few items. Check to see it is plugged
in, breaker tripped, etc. OK, that did not do it so let us know what you
did try and the results.
Both of you guys have excellent points that I agree with.
Rusty is right that no FAQ should ever replace Usenet. The interaction is
the best of Usenet (even when it is ugly). We, or at I can always learn
something from anybody.
Edwin is right that a well written FAQ can answer many of the basic
questions that a complete newbie might ask and inspire new and more
challenging ones. Many times on this group I have seen the new poster get
slammed in the face with the "are you to d^%#$ dumb to search" Google door.
We just lost a regular when that happened.
The truth being that many people do not in fact know how to format a Google
search to get the desired result. You Google guru's think about this! Which
of those 12M pages is the right one? Until you learned how to refine your
Would your buddy at work say have you RTFM (or googled) or would he answer
All of that said, I have no intention of writing a FAQ. I may make some
available bandwidth and a domain available for the group to use if the group
I definitely plan to offer the group a place to post pictures free of
charge, banners and pop-ups. It is not quite ready for prime time. I want
to get the redirects working before I mention it in the group.
"Do I need a permit?"
"Do I really need a permit?"
"I mean, do I really really need a permit?
"Isn't a permit just a way for a municipality to rip off homeowners?"
Followed shortly after by someone else asking:
"I just bought a house that had <blank> done without a permit and I
now want to do <blank>. What should I do?"
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