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Reading Tinkeringbell's answer here today I realised just how much guidance there already is on this meta on various topics like how to compose answers, how to back up your answers, when to flag and various other more or less specific topics.

Given that this site is fairly different from the normal SE model in the same sense that the Workplace is, I was thinking if it would be of use to have a FAQ like meta post linking to as much valueable info as possible, to enable an enterprising user to avoid trawling through 6+ months of meta backlog to get important information and guidance.

Thoughts? What structure would such a post have?

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    Just a lurker passing through, but if you want to make an FAQ on Meta I've seen something like that done on a few sites. For example Writing uses bigger Meta posts like Writing.SE On-Topic summary with short descriptions and links to individual discussions. They are tagged with the special mod-tag faq and they could be Community Wikis like Welcome to Writing.SE!. These could be linked for example in a "Welcome"-comment so that new users can find them. – Secespitus Apr 6 '18 at 10:39
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    I'd love to see a FAQ :-) But I'm too unfamiliar to with how this is done on other stacks to write it into an answer, although my idea for the structure would be to keep it in line with how it's done on other stacks. That way, a new IPS user but one that's familiar with another stack will at least know where to look and what to expect... – Tinkeringbell Apr 6 '18 at 17:46
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FAQs with examples are a good thing for all sites. The main problem is finding them. Even if you structure the document appropriately, it can still be hard to find the document itself.

The starting point is to put the information into a Meta question. Then the mods can tag it with and reference it from help pages that they can edit.

The help pages already reference various Meta pages.

Keeping each faq focused allows the help pages to link to them more naturally than having a massive faq that includes everything.

Example: "Do we want theory questions here? What kind?", linked from the help page "What topics can I ask about here?".

This way, there is also freedom to pick the structure that best suits each particuar faq. E.g.:

  • full discussion in the question - reserve these for 'this way or no way' type of faqs (example from ELL);
  • topic in the question, answers and alternatives as separate answers - the alternatives can be voted on individually (example); or
  • table of contents in the question, content in separate answers (example from EL&U).
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A structure that I would suggest is this:

Create 3 flowcharts:

  • One flowchart for writing questions

  • One flowchart for writing answers

  • One flowchart for community moderation

The goal is fast, intuitive, visual learning - I don't have faith in a new user's attention span and willingness to read a lot of material, not until they are more invested - by earning more rep and sticking around and caring more about the site.

If we could turn the above 3 flowcharts into one giant one, that could work too - but I say we start with 3 first, and then go from there.

🙂

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    I like the flowchart idea, just not the bounties. A simple, easy-to-follow guide for building a q/a could be useful and we could sprinkle in links to the meta posts explaining the reasons for the various guidelines. – Em C Apr 6 '18 at 23:58
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    Sorry, I edited out the bounty suggestion ... – D.Hutchinson Apr 7 '18 at 0:15
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    I shall now remove my downvote cuz you removed the bounty thing. :) – NVZ Apr 7 '18 at 6:22
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    Good idea! I have also no faith in new user's attention span - including myself. Some users write very long answer (above link is a perfect example). That reminds me of software license agreements, etc. Most people don't read them because they are just too long. Flowcharts are a great idea! If people want to read more they can - but they don't have to. – user8838 Apr 7 '18 at 11:39
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    Here are two wonderful charts: forums.unknownworlds.com/discussion/129773/… – user8838 Apr 7 '18 at 11:43
  • Keep in mind that flowcharts only work for explaining stuff that's already agreed upon. Writing long answers first, discussing pros and cons with regard to scope, is necessary. If you summarize stuff into a flow chart, a lot of reasoning and explanation will be lost – Tinkeringbell Apr 8 '18 at 9:38
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    @Tinkeringbell: Why LONG answers? I think lots of aspects of this site are agreed and at least a basic flowchart could be created. And then maybe over time the flowchart can grow. And in every box can be a little link where people can lookup more information. The good thing about this is that if will give everybody a quick overview and people who are willing to study all the details can do this. But others, who mostly don't want to read LONG answers (including me) don't have to read them. I think it's better that people read a summary (flow chart) compared to reading nothing at all. – user8838 Apr 8 '18 at 11:57
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    Well, how would you explain how to write a good, experience-based answer in a flow chart? How would you include stuff like adhering to the premise and how to write a good frame-challenge? You'd already have a massively complicated flow-chart, with stuff that is so intertwined that people are more likely to be scared away by it then interested. I think that if people want to be a contribution to this site, they might as well put some effort into it. A FAQ where we summarize the long answers sounds okay, but a flowchart would be too black and white. – Tinkeringbell Apr 8 '18 at 12:12
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    @Tinkeringbell: the things you ask could be easily part of such a flowchart. Like: Do you have personal experience with this? Yes: continue with the next step. No: You should only answer here if you have experience (link to more info why). Is the answer you suggest a frame change (link with info what that is)? No: continue. Yes: You should only suggest a frame change under the following conditions. ... Continue.... I don't know if there is a tool to create flowcharts together with other users online. I would like contribute (and likely read more background info). – user8838 Apr 9 '18 at 0:28

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