Tribeless Nomad (tribelessnomad) wrote in lj_userdoc,
Tribeless Nomad

Relationship between FAQs and Guides

FAQs will continue to exist alongside Guides, although much of the information that's currently located in FAQ answers will be moved into Guides over time.

Guides will be sections of a comprehensive manual. Guides will eventually contain most of the documentation explaining how to use the site. Guides support better formatting than FAQs, and will be edited more rigorously. In time, Guides will be available in a variety of different formats (all generated from the XML-based source files), whereas FAQs will continue to be plain text for the foreseeable future.

FAQs will supplement the Guides. Once the Guides are in place, the main purpose of FAQ pages should be to assist volunteers in answering common Support Requests. FAQs will sometimes do nothing more than point to Guides where users can find the answers they need. Other times, FAQs might contain new information which hasn't yet been added to the Guides. FAQs can also address problems like image hosting, which have more to do with other sites or network connectivity than with LiveJournal itself. (Those issues will not be covered in Guides.)

The current FAQ situation is more muddled, of course. Many of the longer FAQ answers, which explain in detail how to do this or that, can be thought of as future Guides which haven't yet been re-edited and re-formatted. They will be converted when possible. Other so-called "FAQs" are actually "Help pages", which serve mainly to explain web-page features marked with a Help icon, and not so much to answer Support Requests. So far, no effort is being made to convert Help pages to XML, although it might happen in future.

Few, if any, of the FAQs will be deleted altogether as Guides are introduced. In many cases, when material is moved from a FAQ to a Guide, the FAQ answer will be replaced by a link to the new Guide.

Cross-linking and the drop-down list

In answers to Support Requests, FAQs will lead to Guides. The drop-down box used to answer Support Requests will continue to list FAQs; there are no plans yet for it to list Guides as well.

On the main Support page, it will be the other way around. Most links to FAQs will be replaced by links to Guides, so a user who happens to need a FAQ will usually find it by looking in a Guide. However, the Support page will continue to link directly to certain "troubleshooting" FAQs, like "How do I get validated?". Troubleshooting FAQs are the ones where a user knows they have a particular problem, but they might not know which Guide to look in for the answer.

FAQs can link freely to Guides. Guides can also link to FAQs, in two different ways. First, it will be possible to put a list of related FAQs near the top of each Guide. That way, a user doesn't have to read through the text of a Guide, when the answer they need is actually on a FAQ page. Second, it will be possible to link to FAQs from within the text of a Guide, if the Guide is site-specific. (Some Guides will not be site-specific; they will be written so that other sites like DeadJournal can use them, too. Those Guides can't have links to FAQs in the text, only in the page header.)

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