Re: paper on FAQ's

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j kahila (kahila@kyyppari.hkkk.fi)
Fri, 28 Apr 1995 12:55:12 +0300 (EETDST)


On Wed, 26 Apr 1995, Brian Weinstein wrote:

> I would be very curious to know your impressions regarding:
> what the most important aspects of faq's are;

Depends on the subject/group. My group is talk.religion.buddhism (we are
still drafting the FAQ). The needs of a group like t.r.b. are very
different from, say, a comp.* or sci.* group. In the latter cases, one
wants expert opinion in some sense or other. In a case like ours, if I
tried to represent myself as Guru John (World-Renowned Expert on
Buddhism), the smoke from the FAQ-burning party would be visible around
the globe.

> how you conceive the function of faq's--as
> a charter,

No. Charter has another meaning in connection with Big 7 newsgroups. Of
course it is OK to include the charter in the FAQ, and our group does so.

> a way of maintaining orderly community discourse,

Well, let's just say orderly discourse.

> an introductory brochure,

Definitely. A group like ours has lots of outside visitors ... students
writing papers, people of other faiths trying to improve their knowledge
of other religions, etc.

> an enticement to newcomers?;

No. Trying to proselytize through a FAQ? Now there's a funny idea.

> how much faq's actually impact the evolution of a community;

Depends again on the group. I doubt if the people in alt.flame depend on
the FAQ to improve their sense of community. The ferret-owners FAQ
probably does a lot more in that direction.

Note that we are really talking about a loose association of thousands of
communities (some of them organized into newsgroups). The "Internet
community" includes fundamentalists and atheists, anarchists and
authoritarians, antisexual crusaders and whores ... a serious abuse of the
word "community" IMHO.

> the extent to which members of a community are concerned with and
> attempt to contribute to the faq;

Depends on the group.

> whether communities have established any sanctioning mechanisms to
> deal with violations of norms set out in faq's,

In our case, no. Now if we were Catholics I suppose we could
excommunicate people. :-)

Regards,
john



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