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Am I wasting my time by working on a FAQ?
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alpnclmbr1


Aug 27, 2004, 11:01 AM
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Am I wasting my time by working on a FAQ?
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What do the rest of you think?

Seriously, I have gotten very little feedback on the design, goal, purpose, etc.
I thought more people would be interested in working on it, or in seeing alternate viewpoints from those that I agree with, showcased as well.

I am seriously considering just deleting what I have done so far.

I am not really interested in providing a quick fix, but rather a long term project with lofty goals.

If the site has other things in mind, then let me know and I will take it elsewhere.


maculated


Aug 27, 2004, 11:25 AM
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Re: Am I wasting my time by working on a FAQ? [In reply to]
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Dan, you're not wasting your time. You saw my post in M & E.

The only thing - it needs to have a really functional search and it needs a logical order - not just a list of questions. Again, I'll direct you to maculated.com as I've been working on that (which is basically a FAQ article collection) for ten years. I'd help, but I'm an idiot that takes on way too much.


jt512


Aug 27, 2004, 11:38 AM
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Re: Am I wasting my time by working on a FAQ? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Apparently, Jay thinks it is not going anywhere.

Sorry, Dan. I didn't realize that you had done so much on the project.

In reply to:
Seriously, I have gotten very little feedback on the design, goal, purpose, etc. I thought more people would be interested in working on it, or in seeing alternate viewpoints from those that I agree with, showcased as well.

The outline looks good, but I don't think that your intent to include alternate viewpoints was clear, nor was it clear that you wanted help.

In reply to:
I am not really interested in providing a quick fix, but rather a long term project with lofty goals.

I think it's an extremely worthy goal. One concern I have is, given the scope of the project, it should be showcased more prominently than it would be with it simply integrated into the current forum structure. I think this is something that you should be coordinating with Tim to find out what options are available. You may not be aware that Trevor has developed a separate structure for a climbing FAQ outside the forums. It has minimal content so far, as far as I know. I think that you and Tim should get together and figure out whether the FAQ should be developed in the forum, in Trevor's structure, or somewhere else.

In reply to:
If the site has other things in mind, then let me know and I will take it elsewhere.

My point in the M and E forum was simply that when a question is answered in the beginners forum, when appropriate, that answer could also be added to the FAQ, avoiding duplication of efforts. You said you wanted help, right?

-Jay


dingus


Aug 27, 2004, 11:39 AM
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Re: Am I wasting my time by working on a FAQ? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Apparently, Jay thinks it is not going anywhere.

What do the rest of you think?

Does it matter? The Lord hath spoken.

In reply to:
I am seriously considering just deleting what I have done so far.

This is what prompted me to post... what HAVE you done so far? I looked through the forums and found no FAQ. I clicked on the FAQ button at the top of the page and found plenty of 'how to be a rc.comer and virtually nothing but a plagarized ratings and definitions list about climbing.

There is no FAQ.

Are you referring to the sticky's at the top of some forums? Why not call them FAQ's?

I prefer to contribute by way of posting. In terms of U/I, I would suggest a peek at the old tradgirl.com rec.climbing FAQ, though I'm not sure if it is hosted anymore. She was looking for someone to take it over a while back.

Cheers
DMT


Partner tim


Aug 27, 2004, 11:40 AM
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Re: Am I wasting my time by working on a FAQ? [In reply to]
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Dan, you're not wasting your time. You saw my post in M & E.

The only thing - it needs to have a really functional search and it needs a logical order - not just a list of questions. Again, I'll direct you to maculated.com as I've been working on that (which is basically a FAQ article collection) for ten years. I'd help, but I'm an idiot that takes on way too much.

In other words, it would be best if it got automatically hyperlinked to items within Trevor's FAQ structure. There is a 'Climbing FAQ' section of that (see under the Help link) which could be fleshed out, and I have already written the code to automatically assign tooltips (like the thing that pops up when you hold your mouse pointer over the thumbs-up, thumbs-down, rope, or XML images) based on keywords in text. The auto-tooltipping code caches its matching structure so that it only hits the database every 5 minutes or so.

Whether Jay thinks the FAQ is useless or not, I don't. We built something like this (automatic hotlinks) for the old version of phpBB and it worked great. People say that they'll just post new topics for the sake of posting them, and that hotlinking to established FAQ's is a waste of time. However, when you actually deploy such a system, the results are noticeable. There is significant peer pressure not to be a jackass and continually ask how to mark the middle of your rope, how (not) to lower from the anchors of a sport route, what kind of cord is best for a cordelette, and what 7a E13 X means.

Well, everything except the British grades, at least.

Anyways, if you want to get rolling on that, and figure out how to hook your existing FAQ into such a system (I could easily set up automatic hyperlinks, or even make it so that you can stuff images directly into the tooltips), let me know.

I will hook up the code and add a few terms ('EDK', 'cord(a|e)let(te?)', etc.) and push out the code ASAP, maybe even today. I don't want your work to go to waste, and I don't think it should; the old design worked and worked well. What's needed is to integrate your existing FAQ with the machinery to make it automatic and searchable. The former is stuff I wrote for my own purposes, and the latter is part of Trevor's existing FAQ system. Integrating both with your work will radically improve the usability of all three, and will increase the quality of information on the site.


Partner tim


Aug 27, 2004, 11:42 AM
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In reply to:
a plagarized ratings and definitions list about climbing

Come again? Mike Reardon and Randy Vogel both helped clear this up -- ratings and definitions that have passed into common knowledge cannot be copyrighted.

Otherwise, get the fuck off my 5.7©, you terror-nazi.


Partner tim


Aug 27, 2004, 11:48 AM
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In reply to:
In terms of U/I, I would suggest a peek at the old tradgirl.com rec.climbing FAQ, though I'm not sure if it is hosted anymore. She was looking for someone to take it over a while back.

What a coincidence. Must be because it was useless.

Oh wait, actually the only thing wrong with it was that the answers were collected from rec.climbing and the only search interface provided by Google. Which, as it happens, is a pretty fucking good search.

I submit that by bolting the contents of Dan's FAQ into a manageable, searchable corpus ala the 'Help' section, and then automatically linking the appropriate keywords to qucik answers, we can do better than either, and do so without interrupting the flow of dialogue (but while obviating unnecessary expressions of exasperation per your and Beesty's comments...).

There are many weaknesses to HTML bulletin boards, but this (the ability to automatically substitute links or tooltips for raw text) is a strength that we have failed to capitalize on for far too long. My proposal is to do this right and see whether it doesn't change the tone and signal/noise ratio of discussion in here, as post ratings are beginning to do (believe it or not, a random cross-section of the site's users seem to be quite well able to judge who is truly experienced, and who is full of shit. I was shocked...).

If it does not pan out, at least it won't be for want of support.


andy_reagan


Aug 27, 2004, 12:03 PM
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Tim, what do you have against people who read taro cards? :x


jt512


Aug 27, 2004, 12:03 PM
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Whether Jay thinks the FAQ is useless or not, I don't.

Think it's useless? I've been pushing for a FAQ for at least two years. I do think that the FAQ development and the Beginners forum "project" be co-ordinated because their goals are similar, and if left to develop independently will produce redundant results.

In reply to:
I will hook up the code and add a few terms ('EDK', 'cord(a|e)let(te?)', etc.)

It's definitey 'e,' not 'a;' and it's either a double 'l' or double 't,' but not both. Which one is correct, I can never get straight.

-Jay


maculated


Aug 27, 2004, 12:06 PM
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cordelette.

It drives me nuts because in the Yos Valley Free Climbs SuperTopo, I saw that error preproduction, noted it, but it still made the public printed edition.


vertical_reality


Aug 27, 2004, 12:24 PM
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Looks pretty sweet so far! Keep up the good work.


dingus


Aug 27, 2004, 12:25 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
a plagarized ratings and definitions list about climbing

Come again? Mike Reardon and Randy Vogel both helped clear this up -- ratings and definitions that have passed into common knowledge cannot be copyrighted.

I didn't mean it as a nasty observation, just that it is obviously cut and pasted from the same charts we see in most every published guidebook. I meant, alpnclmbr1 asked if he was wasting his time with a FAQ and the basic thrust of my query is... WHAT FAQ? I don't see no FAQ.

Then I realized after the fact from the "M&E" codeword maculated dropped should have clued me in this conversation was none of my business. I'm not sure why it was posted to the front page to begin with.

Cheers
DMT


dingus


Aug 27, 2004, 12:30 PM
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What a coincidence. Must be because it was useless.

Oh wait, actually the only thing wrong with it was that the answers were collected from rec.climbing and the only search interface provided by Google. Which, as it happens, is a pretty f---ing good search.

http://www.tradgirl.com/climbing_faq/index.htm

Don't see no google dude. This has nothing to do with usenet in and of itself. She took the time to collate decent answers from rec.climbing just as alpnclmb1 is doing here, and presented them in a usable WWW fashion.

Hell, I used them from time to time! A lot of people used them. She said she simply tired of maintaining it and had in fact stopped adding to it.

Cheers
DMT


dingus


Aug 27, 2004, 12:33 PM
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OK, I saw the google search function. Got it now.

Cheers
DMT


dingus


Aug 27, 2004, 12:33 PM
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OK, I saw the google search function. Got it now.

Cheers
DMT


Partner tim


Aug 27, 2004, 12:46 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
I will hook up the code and add a few terms ('EDK', 'cord(a|e)let(te?)', etc.)

It's definitey 'e,' not 'a;' and it's either a double 'l' or double 't,' but not both. Which one is correct, I can never get straight.

Nobody else seems to be clear on it either, which is why I am going to have it just match everything that looks or sounds like 'cordalette'.

If someone spells 'cordalette' as 'bunion' there is no hope, but then again there never was, so I'm not going to lose sleep on extreme boundary cases ;-)

Same logic applies to most keyword searches. Always stem, always assume that no one can spell, and you won't be disappointed.


shakylegs


Aug 27, 2004, 12:57 PM
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cordelette, as mac says.
http://www.granddictionnaire.com/...clef/index1024_1.asp


alpnclmbr1


Aug 27, 2004, 1:05 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
Apparently, Jay thinks it is not going anywhere.

Sorry, Dan. I didn't realize that you had done so much on the project.

In reply to:
Seriously, I have gotten very little feedback on the design, goal, purpose, etc. I thought more people would be interested in working on it, or in seeing alternate viewpoints from those that I agree with, showcased as well.

The outline looks good, but I don't think that your intent to include alternate viewpoints was clear, nor was it clear that you wanted help.

It's cool Jay.

I had to start somewhere and the logical place for me to start is with stuff that I agree with. It is a evolving process, one that I do not expect to happen overnight.

So far, I have one counterpoint provided by Coylec.
As far as mock leading, I linked j_ungs post and Dalguards response.

Basicaly, it should present both the new school stance and the old school stance.

Re: Dingus posts. It doesn't matter where you post them, I can link to them.

At some point I intended to make the Faq table of contents a sticky. There isn't much point in that yet and now it looks like we are going to do something else.

Climb on


dredsovrn


Aug 27, 2004, 1:54 PM
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You're wasting your time. People don't want to read FAQ's. If they wanted to do that, they would buy a book. They are on this site for the interaction. Sad and pathetic though it may be, it is a form of human interaction.


the_pirate


Aug 27, 2004, 2:37 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
In terms of U/I, I would suggest a peek at the old tradgirl.com rec.climbing FAQ, though I'm not sure if it is hosted anymore. She was looking for someone to take it over a while back.

What a coincidence. Must be because it was useless.

My favorite FAQ from tradgirl:

Why is Lord Slime being mean to me?


maculated


Aug 27, 2004, 3:53 PM
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In reply to:
You're wasting your time. People don't want to read FAQ's. If they wanted to do that, they would buy a book. They are on this site for the interaction. Sad and pathetic though it may be, it is a form of human interaction.

Not true - because free information is ALWAYS better than a book, isn't it? I know it is for me.


beesty511


Aug 27, 2004, 4:21 PM
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You're wasting your time. People don't want to read FAQ's. If they wanted to do that, they would buy a book. They are on this site for the interaction.

My feelings too. The people who want to compile FAQ's are the people whose ego's have gotten so out of proportion, they believe they are the only ones that can answer questions "correctly". I don't think having ready made answers is the point of a forum. Information is valuable, but so is the opportunity to try and explain processes and methods to someone else. People tend to learn a lot more about a subject if they try to explain it to someone else, and that is what I believe is the key aspect of a forum that is often overlooked, and why I believe forums are so popular.

It seems to me that people who push FAQ's sometimes don't understand how forums evolve. In the natural evolution of a forum, experienced people help beginners, beginners become intermediates and take fledgling steps to pass on what they know, and in the process become more knowledgeable about the subjects. As the forum continues to evolve, some experienced people take affront to the intermediates they taught passing on information to the new generation of beginners and tension builds. Because of their insecurity and uncertainty over where they fit in anymore, some experienced forum members selfishly push for FAQ's because they are tired of answering the same old questions. For some reason, they believe the forum only exists to serve their needs. In effect, they try to prevent other users from having the same experience they had with the forums. Their idea of a perfect forum mutates into sort of a non-forum that works like this:

Q: What is the best belay device?

A: See FAQ #10052.

What the experienced people need to learn is that they have to step aside. They need to stop posting as much to give other users a chance to learn and develop their knowledge. If they want, they can serve as teachers and guide the inexperienced, but in all cases prodding with gentle questions is more effective than bashing them over the head with correct answers in an effort to embarrass them. The experienced people that don't seem to grasp that grow more and more bitter and spiteful and competitive--many examples of which exist here on rockclimbing.com.

The tradgirl FAQ's came to be because rec.climbing members did not allow intermediates to try and stretch their wings. The intermediates were shouted down and vilified in order to keep any competition with the 'experts' from developing. As a result, a strict two party caste system developed with self proclaimed experts--many of whom were woefully over employed in their roles--at the top and rank beginners at the bottom. Any intermediate users of the usenet group who tried to participate in the learning process were summarily impaled on a stake by the experts to serve as a warning to others that they had better not to get out of line or ever challenge the experts' authority. As a consequence, new information and systems were rarely introduced, and the climbing information stagnated. And, since the self centered experts didn’t want to keep answering the same questions over and over, a role increasingly taken up by intermediate users on other forums, the tradgirl FAQ’s came into existence.

If that's the goal, then maybe in the future all the forums can be shut down and when people click on rockclimbing.com they will see this:

FAQ

#1
..
..
..
#2,000, 032

Then, the forums wouldn’t be such a bother.


veganboyjosh


Aug 27, 2004, 4:37 PM
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i think a faq is definitely a good idea. the human interaction is not why i get online and read websites.
as a somewhat noob- 1 yr or so, i wanna read all i can in addition to proper gym training and mentor tutoring...and outdoor experience...and f.o.t.h., and john long and all that, but for right now, (and for free) i can post things here and read other's posts, and glean from that what i can.
i don't think your (the mods and rc.com in general) goal is to make the be all and end all faq for rock climbing. the goal (i assume) is to keep the oft repeated questions to a minimum, so that every week there's not a new post asking what was asked and answered and trolled and flamed a week earlier. it's a way of increasing the noise to signal ratio, as many have said here.
in 5 years, even in 5 weeks, someone could come out with some new technology or piece of gear that makes what is used today redundant, or obsolete. so what is considered safe by today's standards will most likely change. i don't think anyone will disagree with that.

i for one, would have liked to read thru a faq when i first found rc.com, instead of reading thru all the old posts for oft repeated questions, mostly by noobs, sometimes by others.

someone referred to the old tradgirl.com faq, and i thought that one was great. i'mnot sure how that one worked, but it seemed like there was a lot of input as far as the answers go.

fwiw, i vote for something like that.


wlderdude


Aug 27, 2004, 4:48 PM
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The simplist way I have seen FAQ's presented is as a sticky thread at the top of each forum. It is where the first time visitor will see it and is most likely to read it. This shouldn't require any special code. The thread can be locked to anyone but the moderators to keep the content conscice and simple.

I am just throwing out an idea. Good luck figuring this out. I think it is a very worthwhile cause. If you want, I could even draft up a FAQ for the Gearheads forum.


the_pirate


Aug 27, 2004, 5:45 PM
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If people don't want a FAQ, then the only other option might be to have all posts and threads auto expire after a certain period of time. That way no one will be able to say, "Do a search, n00b!" and posting questions will be more like going to the local bar..... some days it's full of hotties, some days it's full of notties.

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