Benjamin A. Okopnik
ben at linuxgazette.net
Thu Apr 6 04:11:23 MSD 2006
On Wed, Apr 05, 2006 at 01:12:19PM -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Benjamin A. Okopnik (ben at linuxgazette.net):
> > I don't know that an FAQ entry would be of much use; in my estimate,
> > the percentage of our readers who have looked at our FAQ is very
> > small.
> Interestingly, one of the less-appreciated but substantial benefits of a
> FAQ has nothing to do with whether people ever bother to read it before
> asking its questions or re-raising its tired old subjects. That is:
> When somebody _does_ go there for the 1000th time, you can definitively
> answer, with near-zero effort, with just a URL.
Which presumes remembering the URL in question... but I do see your
point. That "secondary" use of the FAQ has even more benefits than I
thought - all natural consequences, to be sure, but my mind wasn't quite
twisty enough to see all the rami. In short, kudos.
> Over the years, I've used this trick to dispose of innumerable topics
> after getting tired of discussing them. My first-level expectation is
> that hardly anyone will read my answers until I send their URLs. Note:
> I _do_ take advantage of that expectation to expose readers to adjoining
> text on related questions.
Sneaky. And useful.
> > However, it might make sense to add some sort of a note regarding this
> > issue to the top of the strip.
> My opinion, yours with a small fee and disclaimer of reverse-engineering
> rights: Less is better. E.g.,
> Format: Flash
> ...where "Flash" is anchor text hyperlinking to a FAQ, for which
> http://linuxgazette.net/124/misc/nottag/flash.html might serve nicely.
> Metacomment: Computerists tend to overestimate public willingness to
> deal with explanatory text. The public at large tends to react badly to
> verbosity, assuming its contents to be
> o unimportant, and/or
> o open to debate
> This is why we have "STOP" signs, rather than "Stop, though of course
> there are lots of exceptions including the need to do anything required
> to avoid dangerous situations" signs.
[laugh] Kat just finished her Power Squadron course (scored 100% on her
test, woo-hoo!); this is almost exactly the phrasing used for right-of-
way rules in navigation. Which is why, I suspect, so many people screw
up in that regard.
* Ben Okopnik * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette * http://linuxgazette.net *
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