Re: Just the FAQs, Ma'am

Subject: Re: Just the FAQs, Ma'am
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 6 Nov 1996 22:46:13 PST

Nicole asks:

>Have any of you ever elected an FAQ as the best means of communication, or
>been asked/told to produce documentation in this format?

>Should we as technical writers support or discourage this type of

What could be more proper than answering users' questions?

The Q&A format is steeped in antiquity. When the questions match those
the reader would actually ask, the results can be quite good. When the
questions are bogus, the results are dreadful.

Properly done, FAQs are democratic and organic. When enough people ask
the question, the answer goes into the FAQ. That's democracy. When people
start asking a new question, it gets added to the next version of the FAQ.
That's organic documentation.

Would that most documentation lived by rules as helpful as these.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon, President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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