FAQ and Wiki

Anyone got any thoughts on the ongoing development of the FAQ and the Wiki?
It seems that since we have had the Wiki, not much new has gone into the FAQ (I don't think there have been any updates on it in a couple of years now). However reading through some of it tonight a few thoughts struck me:
There is growing overlap in content. Although the newer articles are not always better than the older ones.
The FAQ has better browsability - the contents page format at the top makes it easier to browse stuff by topic. The article index and the contents by category links on the top of the wiki main page aren't quite as nice. Having said that the category intro pages themselves are quite nice. e.g.
http://wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php?title Κtegory:Electrical
If one had a page of major topics as per the FAQ, calling up selected interesting category lists, it might work quite well.
The Wiki however has better searchability...
While its easy for the wiki to refer back to the FAQ - there is no easy way currently to add references the other way.
So should be looking at better integrating the two resources?
What about importing the better stuff from the FAQ into the wiki, and then trimming the FAQ to become a structured way of linking to wiki articles?
Should there be a core of fundamental articles that are kept in the FAQ deliberately to prevent the content being changed or "enhanced" to the point of bloat or cruft?
--
Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm wrote:

it works as it is. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.
A wiki page with links to each FAQ topic might help.
NT
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snipped-for-privacy@care2.com wrote:

You have not looked at the FAQ for a while then I take it?
Heating and Plumbing
Heating Systems
* Conventional Boilers * Combination Boilers * Condensing Boilers * Sealed Heating System FAQ * Thermal Stores * Balancing Central Heating Systems * Corrosion in Central Heating Systems * Gas Boiler valves - Why does the pilot light keep going out?
Most of this is in the wiki now - and often better. The FAQ info on condensing boilers is woefully out of date (being 12 years since it was written)
Central Heating Controls, Motorised Valves and Wiring
* Introduction * The Time Switch * The Valves * Thermostats and TRVs * Installation Types * Wiring * How the Mid-Position Three Port Valve works
This is about equal in both...
Other Plumbing
* Water Softeners * Water Conditioners * Soldering dripping pipes * Stopping up 22mm pipes * Showers * Washing Machine leaks * Pipe Bending * Gas Fitting FAQ
Lots of stuff in the FAQ that is not in the wiki here...
          Decorating
* Using Silicone Sealant * Painting Tiles * Removing Artex * Removing scratches from plastic * Removing scratches from glass * Drilling smooth holes * Sealing gaps between floorboards * Removing lead paint * Removing Painted Wallpaper
Again a mixture - things like removing paper is much better done in the wiki, but the lead pain advice is better in the faq.
Home Security
not looked at this yet...
Electrical Appliances
* Washing Machine FAQ * Pressure Washer FAQ
The PW one exists in both - slightly different versions
Electrical
* Consumer Units * Earthing and Equipotential bonding * Electricity System earthing arrangements * IEE Wiring regulations 16th edition * Installing cable in conduit * Dropping wires through cavities * Low energy bulbs and timer/dusk-dawn/PIR switches * Why do light bulbs always blow when you switch them on, and why do they blow fuses/trip MCBs? * Two-way switching * Is the UK on 240V or 230V? * Cables in contact with polystyrene * Final testing of a ring circuit * Earthing Plastic Pipes
Much of the FAQ is out of date now wrt to the wiring regs. Although there is some info that could be imported into the wiki as well.           Power Tools
* The Power Tools FAQ * Introduction * Categories * Buying Policies * Pros & Cons of Cordless Tools * The Various Power Tools in Detail * Drill-bits and Drilling FAQ
partly spread across both. Some fo the FAQ bits could do with an update.
Sharpening Hand Tools
* Sharpening Chisel and Planes * Sharpening Drills * Paul McCann's Sharpening Experiences * Donald Gray's Alternative Approach
Not really covered in the wiki yet
Miscellaneous
* Wasp Bykes (aka nests or bikes) * Woodworm Treatment * Fixing Blown Plaster * Lime Plaster * Insulation and Condensation * Repairing Lath and Plaster Ceilings * Cat Flaps in Double Glazed Doors * Oil on Paving * Septic Tank FAQ for England and Wales Caution: Some information is out of date
Not covered in the wiki.
         DIY References
* DIY Catalogues * DIY Manuals * DIY Websites o Handy Links o Sources of Inspiration
Good section in the faq, although this is one that by its nature would probably be better in wiki format to make it easy to keep up to date.
Humour
* The Saniflo * Expanding Foam * Gerbils * Evolution * The Self-Uninstalling Gas Water Heater * The Pipe Bending Spring
Still classics!
         Personal FAQS (hosted elsewhere)
* John Schmitt's excellent DIY web site containing the following and more:
all seem to have vanished...
          Hosted FAQS
* Drill-bits and Drilling * Damaged Threaded Fasteners * Balancing Central Heating Radiators * Commercial Floor Cleaning * Commercial Kitchen Design
Some good stuff here not covered in the wiki

That was a part of one of my ideas - basically an starting point page in the wiki that could lead to FAQ or wiki articles or both as appropriate.
That does not help FAQ visitors find the wiki though...
--
Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm wrote:

what you say seems to say each has its pros and cons. I'm not convinced its really a problem, in the sense that its basically self solving. If people like the wiki content, theyll refer others to it, if they like the FAQ, ditto. If they want to contribute to either one, they will... Neither is source is bad, both could be improved...

:)
I dont see anyone doing anything so far, so wasnt about to suggest linkifying the faq too. Good goal, but unlikely to all happen overnight.
NT
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snipped-for-privacy@care2.com wrote:

A point worth remembering is that a large number of readers find it to the sites without ever coming via the newsgroup. Currently if you find the faq there is nothing there that would also link you to the wiki. (the reverse situation is slightly better).
I agree niether is bad, and I was looking at ways they can both be improved.

I am not sure it is worth it in the current form - a bit of reorganising to make maintenance simpler in future may pave the way to better linking.
--
Cheers,

John.

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yes there needs more linking between the two, and links from this newsgroup to the faq and wiki every so often,
http://www.diyfaq.org.uk / http://groups.google.com/group/uk.d-i-y/topics?lnk http://www.wiki.diyfaq.org.uk
ok?
g
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george (dicegeorge) wrote:

There are usually some links posted from the group reasonably often... although not to the faq as often any more.

http://wiki.diyfaq.org.uk works as well - no need for the www.
--
Cheers,

John.

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On Sun, 19 Apr 2009 21:28:35 +0100, in uk.d-i-y "george (dicegeorge)"

Yes, perhaps someone with a linux system could automate a regular posting.
Phil
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On Sun, 19 Apr 2009 04:09:38 +0100, in uk.d-i-y John Rumm

Exactly. I get regular requests for advice via the FAQ. Folk seem to just Google for help, find the FAQ and fire off an email to "The Editor" without bothering to read how to get onto the ng. Of late these are outnumbered by website designers wanting the FAQ to link to their customers, who always seem to have products that make linking "mutually beneficial" (yeah, right).

YES, it needs a total re-jig using up-to-date management techniques.
Phil
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John Rumm wrote:

it works as it is. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.
A wiki page with links to each FAQ topic might help.
NT
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John Rumm wrote:

Would the wiki page template allow a header with this info to be placed on each page?

I think so.

What about moving the better stuff from the wiki into the FAQ and using the wiki more as a collaboration tool for generating new FAQ articles?

I think there is a strong case for 'freezing' wiki articles once 'finished'.
Owain
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Wiki articles are never 'finished', pretty much by definition.
--
Andrew Gabriel
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
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Owain wrote:

Its possible, but as Andy said, the wiki articles never tend to get finished as such - they reach a point where they "escape" ;-)

I suppose one thing that could ultimately be frozen is an overall structure...
--
Cheers,

John.

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On Sat, 18 Apr 2009 00:41:21 +0100, John Rumm wrote:

...
...
I think it would be much better from the point of view of the vast majority of of our audience, who are not aware of the historical distinction between, and reason for the separate existence of, the FAQ and the wiki, to roll them both into one. And the One would have to be the wiki since that is what most effort continues to go into.
In the past a hurdle to this integration has been that FAQ articles were written by, and in a sense owned by, single individual authors who might not agree with their content being edited and shared in the wiki way. Possibly this could be circumvented by updating equivalent wiki articles to include information they are missing that is present in their FAQ equivelents, and simply dropping the now-redundant FAQ articles. Arguably most of the FAQ articles could do with updating anyway given their age.
(I know this seems harsh and disrespectful to the original authors who put in a lot of effort for the communal good, but the DIY FAQ is a there for the good of the community, not the ego of any of its individual members. Sometimes we have to let go and move on. Some may remember that many years ago a uk.d-i-yer used to maintain an archive of selected articles from the group. This was dropped when the individual was no longer able to actively maintain the archive and it would have been a burden on others to continue to host it. And since then the originator's ego has survived and he has continued to contribute, however modestly, to the group!)
If we keep the FAQ website I could see a role for it being a friendly introduction to the concept of the ng (maybe a sort of hitch-hiker's guide to the Usenet :-)) and to the wiki itself (as John suggested). And maybe the server could also host files (such as spreadsheets e.g. heatloss calculators) that one wants to refer to from wiki articles but that mediawiki doesn't allow one to store, and which otherwise have to go on other people's servers. However that would depend on there being some mechanism for uploading such files (could we do this Grunff?).
I have to say I applaud your committment John in suggesting this and the work you and NT continue to do on the wiki. You'll have noticed that I've been idle on that front for some time. Apologies: I've been cooking up other web sites and projects. Hasta la vista though, hopefully ;-)
--
John Stumbles

What is a simile like?
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John Stumbles wrote:

John - I agree. Long term, you simply cannot support two versions of things like this.
--
Rod

Hypothyroidism is a seriously debilitating condition with an insidious
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John Stumbles wrote:

So in this scenario the faq would become a set of intro pages and place to host non wiki friendly files - but the all the actual content would be merged into the wiki?

Some certainly... others have done quite well for their age! ;-)

I can see some sense in having a level of moderation in the file upload process (given the spam problems we have had in the past). Perhaps a mechanism where if you want to upload a file you leave a request in a wiki article and a sysop does the actual upload. I can't see it being too onerous since most of the stuff uploaded is graphical anyway, and that can go directly into the wiki. So the occasional spreadsheet, sketchup drawing etc.

No problem John, your contributions so far are substantial and appreciated!
--
Cheers,

John.

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On Sun, 19 Apr 2009 04:23:35 +0100, John Rumm wrote:

Yes, otherwise we're back to square one, trying to maintain two separate sets of content. But since people find the FAQ from Google we don't want to lose it altogether, and a 'proper' website does let one do a more friendly-looking site than a wiki, which is nice as an intro.
..

I was thinking of the regular wiki maintainers having login credentials to upload stuff as they wish, with a documented procedure for others to request uploads.
...

I lost the will to continue when Cables overtook Central Heating Design in Popular pages ;-(
--
John Stumbles

What do you mean, talking about it isn't oral sex?
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John Stumbles wrote:

All the FAQ really needs is page headers or footers pointing to the wiki, and mentioning its updated whereas the faq no longer is. If someone wishes to migrate the faq info to the wiki, great. If not, no problem.
NT
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On 18 Apr 2009 12:27:26 GMT, in uk.d-i-y John Stumbles

Not necesarily, if a new FAQ editor emerged.....

I think all copyright gets assigned to the FAQ (in the guise of the current editor), so should not be a problem. Of course original contributers are asked for permission when edits are made, where they are still traceable.

A vote for making it a wiki front end then.

We mustn't forget the generosity of grunff in hosting both the FAQ and Wiki. Hope the bandwith is still tolerable grunff?

Seconded, and also for your own contributions John (S).
Phil
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On Sat, 18 Apr 2009 00:41:21 +0100, in uk.d-i-y John Rumm
Apologies for coming late to this. Thank you John for bringing the thread to my attention. As you've noticed I haven't been around much for some time, due partly to my wife's health problems.

Apologies for that, hopefully suggestions in this thread will restore its usefulness, probably in a different way from its current form.

This was suggested some time ago... needs someone to do it!

The FAQ search could be made much better. It uses basic facilities provided by atomz.com (for free), but better searches are possible within atomz, or there are probably similar from other outfits (Google?)

YES. The big problem with the wiki is lack of structure, not even a structured index. If the FAQ could be turned into a structured 'front end' to the wiki, I think that would be the best use for it now.

YES. Wouldn't hurt to use it to freeze some of the better wiki articles into it, possibly integrating articles from different places into a structure.

YES. Basically the wiki is 'work in progress'. A consensus could be taken on articles deemed to be stable and appropriate for the FAQ.
I'm happy to transfer ownership of the FAQ domain to a volunteer able and willing to take this task on.
Phil
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