Re: FAQs in User Guides

Subject: Re: FAQs in User Guides
From: Sandy Harris <sandy -at- storm -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 03 Jan 2001 12:35:17 -0500

Sanjay Srikonda wrote:
> FAQ is an industry-wide term. It's been used for a while now.
> How does FAQ differ from Q&A, not very much. ...
> FAQ: Are Frequently Asked Questions
> Q&A: Are Questions and Answers
> What's the difference? Very little. Does it make a big difference which
> one you use. No. ...

It /does/ make a difference to some readers, especially if the product is
for use on the net or is marketed via the net.

As a net.oldfart, I expect a FAQ to cover some combination of

Frequently Asked Questions
the ones every beginner asks
the major problems advanced users all encounter
links to other info
(e.g. if your product is a database running on Unix,
to SQL stuff, database design docs, Unix basics,..)
moderately obscure technical stuff, tips and tricks
(dumped here because you don't have a better place yet)

When some company puts out a document they call a FAQ and fill it with
marketer-speak, without the things above, I'm seriously offended. Even
if they handle the real issues well, but pollute it with marketing info,
I'm mildly irritated. My conclusion in either case is that they have no
net.clue and, if at all possible, I should avoid dealing with them.

If you're in any danger of that, call it a Q&A document. I won't expect
a FAQ and won't be offended.

Easy criterion: if in doubt about any question, ask tech support if it
has ever come up. If nor, it clearly isn't a FAQ and doesn't go in the
FAQ document, no matter how much marketing want users to hear it.

In many organisations, tech support should maintain the FAQ, perhaps
with some editing by the docs dep't. Tech support are the ones that
get the questions and know or find the answers...

Develop HTML-based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver! (STC Discount.)
**NEW DATE/LOCATION!** January 16-17, 2001, New York, NY. or 800-646-9989.

Sponsored by DigiPub Solutions Corp, producers of PDF 2001
Conference East, June 4-5, Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. or toll-free 877/278-2131.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Holiday gifts & idiot lights
Next by Author: Re: std abbreviations?
Previous by Thread: RE: FAQs in User Guides
Next by Thread: Re: FAQs in User Guides

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads