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Writing a FAQ is a great way to contribute to the Net. This page covers:
- Writing and Formatting Your FAQ
- Posting and Maintaining Your FAQ
- Advertising Your FAQ
- Details About the Hypertext FAQ Archives
- Miscellaneous FAQ-related links
- It is common to use the term "FAQ" to refer to any periodic posting, even though it may not be in Q & A format. In the rest of this page I use "FAQ" in this way, i.e., to mean any periodic posting.
Writing and Formatting Your FAQBefore you write a FAQ, it's a good idea to browse through the thousands of FAQs that already exist. FAQ archives are accessible through Infinite Ink's Finding FAQs. You should also read these MetaFAQs, which are essential reading for FAQ maintainers:
- FAQs About FAQs
- Introduction to the *.answers News Groups
- FAQs: A Suggested Minimal Digest Format
- *.answers Submission Guidelines
- *.answers Post-Approval Guidelines
Useful tips about writing FAQs and writing in general are available in:
- The bricolage Internet Writer Resource Guide; especially useful to FAQ maintainers are the sections on The FAQ as the Future and CRAM - Cyberspatial Reality Advancement Movement.
- The FAQ Manual of Style by Russell Shaw.
- General writing references are available at Infinite Ink's Writing Page
In addition to FAQs: A Suggested Minimal Digest Format listed above, the following give you more information to help you format your FAQ:
- Digest Message Format RFC 1153
- Digest Format to Make nn Users Happy (excerpted from Getting Started with News and the nn News Reader)
Posting and Maintaining Your FAQ
- Join the faq-maintainers mailing list by sending mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with subscribe or subscribe digest as the Subject (the body of the message will be ignored). You may also want to read the faq-maintainers mailing list Policy and Archives.
- David Alex Lamb's FAQ Maintenance Aids
- You can get up-to-date instructions for using MIT's FAQ server by sending mail to email@example.com with help as the subject (the body of the message will be ignored).
Advertising Your FAQIn addition to regularly posting your FAQ to appropriate news groups, you may also want to submit it to some Web announcement services.
Details About the Hypertext FAQ ArchivesIf your FAQ is approved by the *.answers moderation team it will be archived at FAQ archives around the world. Some of these archives convert the plain text posted version of your FAQ to a hypertext document and provide various levels of hypertext and search capabilities. To ensure that your FAQ is presented nicely by these sites, it's a good idea to spend some time exploring these hypertext FAQ archives. The following archives are described:
The Internet FAQs ConsortiumThe Internet FAQs Consortium hypertext FAQ archives are accessible through www.faqs.org/faqs/. They provide a single-page version of each FAQ and for those FAQs that are posted in digest format, they provide a multi-page version of the FAQ.
Utrecht UniversityThe FAQ archives at the Computer Science Department, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, let you search:
- shows the Subject header, Newsgroups header (renamed "FAQs posted in"), and the auxiliary headers of the FAQ.
- has links to all the FAQs in each of the news groups that the FAQ is posted to.
- has links to the entire Utrecht FAQ archives.
- has links to URLs in the FAQ.
Oxford UniversityThe FAQ archives at Oxford University let you search:
- full text
- news group names with links to FAQs and news groups
- news group names with links to FAQs but not news groups
- archive names
- shows the Subject header, Newsgroups header, and the auxiliary headers of the FAQ.
- has links to all the FAQs in each of the news groups that the FAQ is posted to. On each news group's FAQ page, there is a link to the news group.
- has links to URLs in the FAQ.
Ohio State UniversityTom Fine's FAQ archives at Ohio State University were the first hypertext FAQ archives on the Net and Tom won GNN's Best of the Net Award in 1994!
You can search:
- that is in digest format is burst into a multi-part hypertext document and presented as a menu of links to each part. Approximately 15% of the FAQs are exploded by Tom Fine's archiver.
- shows the auxiliary header but none of the real headers of the FAQ.
- has no links to the rest of Tom Fine's archives.
- has links to URLs except for those URLs which are surrounded by angle brackets (e.g. <http://host/doc.html> does not work).
- has links to some manual pages and RFCs, but many of these don't work.
Miscellaneous FAQ-Related Links
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Last significant update on June 16, 1997
Last tweak on June 16, 1997