Wikipedia talk:FAQ index

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Major-ish renaming scheme, good idea?[edit]

It would be handy for using search engines if the page naming scheme for the FAQs used subpages, eg calling Wikipedia:Technical_FAQ something like Wikipedia:FAQ/Technical instead. Then we could use a page specific search more easily, eg searching for site:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ How do I report a bug? at Google would actually work. Are there any downsides/problems with the renaming scheme?--Commander Keane 02:50, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Good idea, wish I'd seen it so I could support it when people may have been paying attention.
Equazcion /C 14:36, 12/21/2007
I think it is a great idea. I see no downside. We could have a link to a site-specific search in Google. I plan to do this after reorganizing the FAQ to have VFAQ at the top, and then have the current FAQ as FAQ/Index. See #Requested move. Sbowers3 (talk) 12:14, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

How about an FAQ page for each Wikipedia Page ?[edit]

It's be nice to have a place where folks could ASK question about a SPECIFIC Wikipedia ENTRY/Page/Topic and have folks in the Wikipedia community answer it - there in the FAQ section for the specific topi POO

No doubt, some of these questions might make their way onto the main entry page for the topic, and others might be good for discussion ABOUT what should be added to or deleted from the page, but others are just Frequently (or infrequently) asked questions on the topic, and would be nice to be addressed. No doubt, some folks might also want to browse the FAQ page after reading the main entry page for a given topic, but it'd be nice to give folks that alternative ...

Any thoughts on this ? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 195.229.208.33 (talkcontribs).

It sounds like an interesting idea, I quite like it. I'm not sure if it is in keeping with being an encyclopaedia though (our main goal). Anyhow, the place to bring up ideas like this is Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals), you may garner more responses there.--Commander Keane 06:18, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Adding Fixya as tech support resource[edit]

Dear all, Fixya is a notable community based site providing solutions to troubleshooting and tech support problems. I believe that the information found there is unique and highly relevant for owners of electronic appliances. Due to original user based content, most of the questions asked in Fixya can not be found anywhere else on the web. Since the edits I placed were deleted I was told to approach the community in order to understand how I may make Fixya's content available in Wikipedia. Your comments are highly appreciated. Yaniv.bl 08:58, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Please note that the first name of Fixya's CEO is Yaniv. AlistairMcMillan 14:22, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It's a different Yaniv. Give me enough credit to change my first name if I wanted to remain anonymous...Yaniv.bl 21:05, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It seems that this is likely go anywhere; can you understand why observers might be skeptical? --Aarktica 21:14, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Skeptical about what? My identity? If so, I have no way of really proving anything except the fact that my initials (bl) are not those of the CEO. Is there a place where I can fax my ID? I will do that... I really can't think of anything else (it's so difficult to prove you don't have a sister). But let's put this aside.
My aim is to add relevant content to Wikipedia, which I think I can, using Fixya's content. I would like to know how I may do so in a compliant way. Notice that other related sites have posted their links all over wikipedia and have not taken the open discussion road as I have. Under no circumstances will I spam wikipedia, but I believe I deserve a fair chance to use information I have to improve it. What is so wrong with that?
Thanks againYaniv.bl 05:41, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
You may get more help with this query at the Help desk. As I understand it you want to add links to Fixya.com in the external links section of relevant articles. I suppose the general feeling about this is, if you have a possible conflict of interest (eg you are in the Fixya community) it is best to avoid adding the external links - let the links be made by others organically. If Fixya.com has good links, no doubt they will find their way into Wikipedia.--Commander Keane 06:22, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

New Message Indicator[edit]

How do I get rid of a New Message Indicator? 67.188.172.165 16:59, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

In the short term, click on it to read the new message. To prevent irrelevant new messages, you're best off creating an account. Petros471 17:04, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

HEEEELLLOOOOO ME — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.176.228.7 (talk) 11:52, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

Rambot[edit]

In the reader's FAQ, it has a question specifically refering to Rambot. Is that still relevant, 5 years and 1,600,000 or so articles later? Maybe a more general question and answer would do better. Atropos 17:24, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

No longer the case that one gets those articles so often with Special:Random. Please remove or update the question, and any others you see that are outdated. --Aude (talk) 17:31, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

This page should be protected[edit]

Shouldn't this really important page be edit protected? I was looking for some info and found it was blanked for the past 2 hours. All these lost newbies... --DoSiDo 04:56, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

what events/conditions lead to the rise in populism?[edit]

—hi im a 15 year old girl who is desperate to figure out the answer to this question please help me anyone ?(4.249.111.196 (talk) 17:47, 6 January 2008 (UTC))

This isn't really the place to ask a question like that. You should post this at Wikipedia:Reference desk/Science. They'll be much more likely to help you with this. Equazcion /C 17:50, 6 Jan 2008 (UTC)
Or try the article on populism: populism. Equazcion /C 17:53, 6 Jan 2008 (UTC)

FAQ reorg[edit]

Anyone who spends much time at WP:Help desk or other help pages, knows that users frequently ask questions that are answered in the various FAQ pages. Either they aren't bothering to read the FAQ or they are giving up before they find their question and answer. If it is the former - if they aren't even looking at the FAQ - we can't do anything about that here on the FAQ pages.

If the problem is that people are going to the FAQ, not quickly finding their question and giving up, then I think we can do better by slightly rearranging two of the FAQ pages. The main WP:FAQ page doesn't actually have any questions on it; it is an index to other pages that have questions. The WP:VFAQ page has questions and answers. I propose to rearrange these two pages so that the top FAQ page has the most frequently asked questions, then directs people to the FAQ index page if they don't find their question on the top page.

What I propose to do is Move the current FAQ page to "FAQ index", then Move VFAQ to FAQ. Then there will be some tweaking of the wording due to the new page names and structure. It's fairly straightforward and should not mess up any pages that link to the FAQ.

I'll wait a few days for feedback, then if there are no objections I'll go ahead and make the changes. Sbowers3 (talk) 23:16, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Intravenous solutions[edit]

How long can intarvenous solutions hang? I was taught any solution was good for 24 hours with the exceptions of some critical care drips. Our policy agrees. The new director of nursing told me she thought it was 72 hours and maybe up to 96 hours. That does not make any sense to me,and she had no data to back it up.Any info with back up data would be appreciated Thank you.Sweetnurse91 (talk) 13:49, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Try asking at Wikipedia:Reference desk. They specialize in factual questions. This page is for discussing how to improve the FAQ page. Sbowers3 (talk) 14:08, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

As mentioned above (in FAQ reorg) the current FAQ does not actually contain any "frequently asked questions". It is an index to other articles that contain FAQs. I propose to move the current FAQ to "FAQ Index", then move the current WP:VFAQ to FAQ.

When users come to the (reorganized) FAQ they will immediately see frequently asked questions. If their question is not there, they can go to the Index to locate other FAQ articles.

Existing links to FAQ will continue to work: They will go to a page that has FAQs on it. Existing links to VFAQ will still work via a redirect to the new FAQ (i.e. what was the VFAQ). The {{WikipediaFAQ}} which appears at the top of all FAQ pages will be modified to have links to FAQ and Index instead of to FAQ and VFAQ.

Everything will still work okay but there is a good chance that users will find their question on the first page they see and won't give up and ask their question at the Help desk.

To summarize:

I don't think this is controversial but the page is Move protected.

Sbowers3 (talk) 00:26, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Makes sense. Also per your comments at Wikipedia talk:FAQ#FAQ reorg. (I'll help out if I get time later, but, don't forget to check the most common incoming redirects and templates for double-redirects; fix them before the bots come along and confuse everything ;) -- Quiddity (talk) 00:07, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I think it's now in good shape. I've moved the topic FAQs to be subpages. I've relinked from WP:FAQ Index to the moved names. All the places that linked to FAQ will be okay - they'll just see something more useful than they used to see. The places that linked to VFAQ will now redirect to FAQ and I'll change some/most of them. I haven't checked to see how many places linked directly to subtopic pages, but I changed the header template to link directly instead of to redirects. We just have to wait a while for Google to reindex, then the Search FAQ will work. Sbowers3 (talk) 00:29, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

SHortcut overload[edit]

Why do we have all these shortcuts for questions? - They seems unecessary. LeeVJ (talk) 22:31, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

I was going to ask the same thing, is it ok if we remove them?--Commander Keane (talk) 23:33, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
The addition of shortcuts was discussed at User talk:Manors#Task suggestion and User talk:Teratornis/2008 January through June#Shortcuts. The shortcuts make it easier to make section links to the questions, for example from the help desk. And the shortcut links remain valid if the question (and therefore the section heading) is later reformulated. But I suppose the shortcut box can be a little distracting for readers. Manors is retired. I have notified Teratornis. PrimeHunter (talk) 00:35, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Thankyou I can see why now, maybe we could just hide them or reduce their visibility, hmm maybe just put them in brackets after the title for example? LeeVJ (talk) 00:48, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't find the design too distracting, I just didn't think the shortcuts were being used.--Commander Keane (talk) 00:53, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

(undent) I wrote this big reply before the last two comments, then I got an edit conflict, but it's too much to just throw away:

Thanks for the notification. See WP:NOT for an example of section shortcuts on a highly linked-to page (that was the page where I first learned about section shortcuts, and realized their usefulness; for example, WP:NOTDIRECTORY). According to WP:CREEP:
  • The fundamental fallacy of instruction creep is thinking that people read instructions.
I happen to disagree with that claim at face value, and Wikipedia could hardly exist if it were true, but the statement contains a grain of truth. Namely, the new users at whom we aim pages like Wikipedia:FAQ are the least likely to find the parts they need on their own. Once they find what they need, they will generally read it, but they often need someone more skilled to point them to what they need. I do a lot of such pointing on the Help desk and occasionally elsewhere such as on talk pages and in edit summaries. When knowledgeable users share their knowledge, most have a strong tendency to extemporaneously render what they recall, a habit we form in meatspace. This is harmful on Wikipedia for these reasons:
  • Humans have imperfect recall. Someone may make subtle errors or omissions when reciting from memory.
  • Wikipedia constantly changes. What we recall about some policy or guideline may not reflect the current state of it.
  • "We are smarter than me" - a collaboratively-edited document that describes some policy or guideline is likely to be a better example of writing than what most people can write as a first draft on demand.
  • "Give them a fishing pole, not a fish." When someone asks a question on Wikipedia, their real problem is not what they are asking about. Rather, their real problem is that they don't yet know how to find the answers that are already in writing. There are so many questions one must answer on the way to becoming a competent Wikipedia editor that nobody can expect to have other users spoon-feed everything to them. Everyone must clue up fast and learn how to look up what they need. (Edit: this is how Wikipedia avoids falling victim to Brooks' law. Wikipedia does not become less efficient as it grows, in contradiction to most traditional organizations that rely primarily on spoken communication. When new users join the project, they can start pulling their own weight very quickly, without burdening the more experienced users, because new users can self-educate by looking up answers on their own.) Thus it is always better to answer a question with a link that not only answers the immediate question, but more importantly illustrates that we have resources to answer the next N questions the user will assuredly have. Answering questions with shortcut links teaches the new user that we have developed an elaborate system to answer questions efficiently and with repeatable accuracy. For this reason I now think it is better to answer questions with shortcut links than with substituted standard response templates (which tend to obscure their workings). When someone follows a shortcut link to a FAQ entry, they cannot help but see that we have a FAQ.
  • Answering questions with shortcuts makes them easier to answer. In theory, making questions easier to answer might make experienced users more willing to answer questions, and thus help the newer users (or the experienced users who are new to a certain area).
Having said all that, I'll admit I more often use shortcuts from the Editor's index when I reply to questions. But I do use FAQ section shortcuts now and then. Consider, which of these two links is easier to edit, not to mention read:
Those are my arguments in favor of keeping the FAQ section shortcuts. I'm not sure I understand what the arguments would be against them. Please elaborate - what do the shortcut boxes harm? If necessary, we could add an entry to the FAQ that explains why the FAQ has shortcut links. If it's unobvious I think it's important to make it obvious, as the explanation above illustrates something important about the nature of Wikipedia and the difficult challenge of learning it. --Teratornis (talk) 01:18, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Note: it may be possible to shrink the shortcuts by making separate redirects for every FAQ entry, but we used the section-anchor method instead because it's very tedious to create lots of redirects by hand. With the current method, we only need one redirect per FAQ page. That also makes the shortcuts easier to maintain if someone rearranges the FAQ pages. --Teratornis (talk) 01:23, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Certainly, I retract the 'are they needed'! The reason I originally asked was that recently I have been trying to look at the help system fom a new user's view with the view to easing the learning curve. If a user with a question follows instructions from various areas of WP (oh if only they did!) then soon end up at questions or contents or some help system, which all pointedly say to read the FAQ before asking. It was just with this mindset that the amount of shortcut boxes suddenly appearing was more than usually found and in the case of very new users many more, so with the goal of answering new users questions and pointing them in the right direction asap, and reducing the learning curve of WP thought they'd be a distraction. I am not saying this IS the case, just a possibility and worth a thought. I guess the question really is - are they a distraction and if so could we reduce their visibility without affecting their useability ? LeeVJ (talk) 01:38, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Teratornis your comments are too long :P If the shortcuts are used I think they are fine. On the main FAQ I can see their use, but on Wikipedia:FAQ/Contributing, for example, no useful links using the shortcuts have ever been made. Having said that, I don't really mind them being there, I probably won't create new shortcuts when I make new FAQ entries though (I suppose if the shortcuts are useful someone else can make them). Actually personally I prefer to use a full text link so people know where the link is taking them, eg this instead of that.--Commander Keane (talk) 01:57, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
To LeeVJ: do you have any specific complaints from new users that the shortcut boxes are "a distraction"? On Wikipedia we generally do not directly observe the users we are trying to help. According to Jakob Nielsen, the only way to reliably test the usability of a Web site or other computer system is to actually observe users as they try to use it, recording their eye movements, mistakes, how long they take to reach some goal, etc. Without these kinds of usability studies, we can only guess how users are doing. Our guesses will reflect our own personal biases, and the various factors that filter the information new users might convey to us. I'm also not sure what you mean by "reducing the learning curve." Wikipedia is inherently complex. There is no way with current technology to magically erase the complexity, as long as Wikipedia remains a Do it yourself system. In the real world, people hide complexity by hiring human experts to deal with the complexity for them. We don't have that luxury on Wikipedia - that's the cost of being "free." I distinctly remember running into shortcuts on Wikipedia as soon as I started looking at talk pages and history pages. A Wikipedia user isn't going to get very far without learning about shortcuts, so I can't see any value in trying to make this information harder for the user to figure out. Note that the {{Shortcut}} template displays a box that is self-documenting, which is better than most of the unlinked abbreviations and shortcuts many Wikipedia users sloppily use on talk pages and edit summaries. I.e., with the shortcuts on the FAQ pages, a curious user can see how they work.
  • As a side note, sometimes directing new users to "read the FAQ" (without a link to a specific section) is not the most helpful approach. I wish we had some real data showing the success rate that new users have when they try to look up their own answers in the FAQ. Hierarchical drill-down is tough when you don't know the hierarchy. Search tools can often work better. For example, searching the Help desk archives is very often productive, because the archives contain many synonyms that different people have used when they didn't know the official Wikipedia jargon. New users rarely use the "correct" terminology, which they need to know to find something in the FAQ. Instead of asking how to create a new article, some might say "enter a profile". If a new user's mind has locked onto the word "profile," they won't find it the FAQ table of contents, but they can find such terms in the Help desk archive (try it: search the Help desk for: How do I make my company profile?). Search is not always better than hierarchical drill-down, but it may be better for some users at some times. Every Wikipedia user will have to figure out the methods they prefer. A lot of users won't figure it out, which is why edit count follows a Pareto distribution. (That's something to keep in mind with new users: most won't stick around here for long, and there's little we can do to change that. Wikipedia is not for everyone. If a new user gives up and quits, we did not "fail" - that user did.)
To Commander Keane:
  • What do you mean by "too long"? Did I write something which was untrue, or irrelevant to the situation we are discussing? If so, please point it out. It's hard for me to tell which parts of the underlying complexity are already obvious when I am writing to strangers, so my inclination is to explain everything in one go rather than spill it out in numerous volleys. What we are discussing is not simple - we are trying to figure out how to do something that nobody in the world does very well, namely to train new users to grasp a baffling new system without any face-to-face instruction. The vast majority of people do not learn well on their own, which is why civilization relies on formal schooling. If Wikipedia wants to become accessible to more than just the techno-genius minority, Wikipedia must figure out how to do something that nobody else has done before - educate the masses without schools. If nobody else has done something before, it's probably because the problem is complex, and anyone who writes accurately about will therefore not be brief.
  • Addressing the point that nobody has made any useful shortcut links to a particular FAQ page, why not be the first to make some? The Wikipedia Help desk has too few links to the FAQ pages, whether in shortcut form or long form. You (or anyone else) can add value to the Help desk by providing links to FAQ sections wherever other volunteers have neglected to do so. Is your position that it would not be beneficial to make useful shortcut links to the FAQ, or simply that nobody has realized the usefulness yet? Every day on Wikipedia I discover useful ways to contribute that nobody else has gotten to yet. There is a lot of unfinished business here. There are some FAQ pages to which people make shortcut links, for example: Special:WhatLinksHere/Wikipedia:BFAQ appears to have hundreds, if I'm looking at that correctly (someone seems to have put the shortcut link on a welcome template, I'm not sure how you'd count that). Perhaps it is a matter of time before people begin linking to the less popular (?) FAQ pages.
  • I cannot quite understand this sentence:
  • "Actually personally I prefer to use a full text link so people know where the link is taking them, eg this instead of that."
Do you mean that you would actually show the link as "this" instead of "that"? I don't see how a link destination becomes clearer when the link text is a pronoun with no specific meaning. You seem to be undermining your own point there. When I look at "this" I don't see anything clearer than "that", until I do some extra unnecessary work to uncover what you hid for no reason I can fathom.
  • As to whether it is harmful to show the poor delicate new user a shortcut, my view is that the new user is going to see a lot of shortcuts, and the sooner they get used to them the sooner they will become productive on Wikipedia. The scarce resource on Wikipedia is not the supply of new users. We have thousands of new users piling in every day (Wikipedia is like the American Idol tryouts). The vast majority of new users will not stick, and that is not our fault - we already put everything a new user needs into the friendly manuals. If people expect to master Wikipedia without reading the manuals, they have bigger problems than you or I can fix. Rather, the scarce resource here is the comparatively small number of users who have spent hundreds of hours reading the friendly manuals and making thousands of edits. Shortcuts improve the efficiency of expert users, thereby conserving the scarcest and most valuable resource on Wikipedia. The cool thing is, the users who invented shortcuts don't have to agree with the users who see no need for shortcuts. Wikipedia is flexible enough to accommodate both preferences.
  • I recognize the amusing incongruity of my liking for shortcuts and my propensity to write gargantuan essays for fun. Unfortunately, there is not yet any shortcut to everything I wrote above. If there was, I would just link to it.
--Teratornis (talk) 03:23, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
  • No direct request - just indirect from the various misplaced questions which seem to me to mostly indicate confusion, sometimes 'can't be botherdness' admittedly but my thought's where that if they have come to the faq looking for heir answer to 'what is wikipedia' it would be best to just present them with an answer rather than causing another question Maybe the funding directed toward attaing new editors might provide us a study of the kind you ask! note I'm looking at accessing the FAQ from top level like 'questions' or 'about' which are very early on so a direct to a section is not applicable. LeeVJ (talk) 21:15, 25 January 2009 (UTC)