An FAQ can serve as a scaffold that enables a group to build information, and the finished product provides a focal point for the wiki to become a magnet. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have a concise structure that make them ideal for assembling and conveying information. The FAQ pattern is a bridge between informal, get-to-know-the-wiki and community-building activities and more formal use of the wiki as primary platform for collaboration and conducting daily work.
Creating an FAQ is a great next step in wiki adoption, after people have had their initial experience with a wiki, perhaps by building a personal profile or My Personal Info style page. Since it’s independent of any project the group is working on, it’s a less critical, more relaxed way to increase wiki use and start people collaborating with each other.
The FAQ can be about anything, and multiple FAQ pages can be created for different processes, projects, or products. Creating an FAQ can clarify existing processes, expose weaknesses and areas in need of improvement, and help people become proficient at finding innovative ways to improve the status quo.
Most FAQ lists are a single document containing a linear list of questions and answers. The document normally begins with a hyperlinked table-of-contents that contains each question.
Common practice is for the answers to be short: just one or two paragraphs. Questions that require more complex answers can be dealt with by having a separate page for that topic, in which case the FAQ may still contain the question but the answer becomes a cross-reference to the detailed page.
Use the FAQ pattern to start a list of all current projects in your group. Ask the person responsible for each project to build a Scaffold of questions about their project and invite others to contribute answers, revise questions, and add other questions & answers.
- Magnet – The FAQ is a key step in building a critical mass of content and collaborative activity that make the wiki a magnet.