How about a "sticky" FAQ for the forum. . .

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Matheson, Jan 28, 2003.

  1. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    How about an FAQ for the Tweaks area covering the topics that are constantly posted about? A thread that could be "sticky"--i.e., reside at the topic of the post listings?

    Example topics:

    - Surge protection / power conditioners (info about and inexpensive suggestions)

    - inexpensive interconnect & speaker cable sources/suggestions (and maybe an intro to the debate "do all cables sound the same")

    - inexpensive component cable sources/suggestions (including when component cables are likely to show differences--HD sources, >40" images, etc.)

    - making your own cables

    - digital optical vs. digital coaxial

    - do I need to use the "right" cable for the job (video for audio, vice versa)

    - cable hum

    - cleaning up cable signals

    - splitters (cable, digital optical, interconnects)

    - basic connection/setup guidance

    - information on how to use the search tool effectively (i.e., "Slow" and "Slowest Search")

    I know we have the FAQ/Primer for HTF as a whole (though a lot of folks don't seem to be aware of it)--my thought is to have something smaller (and less effort) that could address the most common questions that pop up specifically here in Tweaks. Look back through the last 30 days of postings and note how many times the same questions are asked again and again and again and again. There are some superb past postings answering these basic Q's--the FAQ I'm speaking of could link to these postings.

    I'm not, ahh, saying I'm the guy to do it. [​IMG] My intention with this post is to find out who might like to take the ball and run with it (I'd be happy to contribute/help), if the admins feel it would be helpful and if they'd make it sticky, if there's already a Tweak FAQ that is floating around in some past thread, what topics would be most appropriate, etc.

    So--what's everyone's thoughts?

    Regards,

    Mike
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    instead of a FAQ, i wonder if a drill down list could be done. you can keep it short since all cable sound the same [​IMG]
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Mike, I have been thinking about doing this, but there are a few issues:

    - Do I leave the FAQ open for people to reply or do I lock it so people can create separate threads to debate things?

    - Do I give short answers for the suggestions (which I think newbies would like) or do I give reasons/logic behind the suggestions to educate? I could make a 2-part thread with short answers on top for the casual user and longer answers below for the guys who want more understanding.

    A lot of these questions are answered in our Primer/FAQ. But there is so much info in the Primer, it's daunting to someone who just wants to know: "AR vs Monster for my xx TV".

    That, and complications in my life have prevented me from spending much time on this.

    Mike: If you are interested in helping, do this for me:

    - Go through the last... 30 days of posts in the "Tweeks" fourm and count how many times people have asked the various questions. Give me a list like:

    23 - What component cable should I buy
    19 - How do I hook things up
    3 - What universal remote should I get

    This way I have real data to use in creating topics for the FAQ. (I'm a little biased in how often these topics come up because I do a lot of hand-holding in the "Basics" fourm. I think the personal response to new members helps them feel at home. Yes it is redundant, but it's my time to waste.)

    So show me the numbers to justify the topics in a FAQ.
     
  4. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Why don't people draft answers to these and post to the existing FAQ AND PRIMER doc?

    Many of the items suggested above are actually already in the FAQ AND PRIMER.
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    out of curiousity vince, who checks the posts for accuracy?
     
  6. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Bob,

    I copied and pasted the thread headings for the past 45 days into Excel and then played with sorting them. Here are some basic numbers. These aren't all the posts broken into categories, but rather the more generic/common posts:

    37--Cables: What should I buy (cheap and good)? Where? How's this brand (Monster, Belkin, etc.)? How does brand A and brand B compare? (speaker wire, interconnect, optical & coaxial digital, component & other video cables)

    14--Cables: wire gauge, bi-wire, max length, material used discussions

    6--Speaker wire terminators: which to use, where to get, how to use

    7--Cable Installation: inwall speaker wire, outdoor speaker wire, white wire, flat wire, in wall vs. ceiling vs. floor runs

    7--DIY Cable Info: where to get something, RG6 vs. RG59, Cat5, directions, etc.

    6--Calibration: which one (S&V vs. Avia vs. VE; free test patterns on certain DVDs)

    8--Calibration: how to do?

    3--Calibration: RS meter Q's

    5--Humm in system

    2--How to get better cable signal (CATV)

    15--Adapters-switchers-splitters

    10--Remote recommendations/feedback

    20--Surge protector vs. power conditioner vs UPS; will a ____ help with this; feedback on units; recommend a unit

    33--Please help me setup/hookup my _____; what do I need?

    5--Should I use ___ or ___ (optical vs. coaxial digital; Svid vs. component; balanced vs. unbalanced)

    6--Can I use a video cable for an audio interconnect, etc.

    I still have the Excel spreadsheets with the topic headings, if you'd like to glance at the list to get a better feel what how I've (loosely) categorized things.

    Bob / Vince,

    I agree that many of these questions are answered in the Primer. I don't think a lot of folks know (a) that there is a Primer with such info, (b) how to get to the Primer, or (c) the Primer scares them with its size.

    My thought was to have some of the more common topics in this Tweaks area simply listed in an FAQ--not much actual text or explaining, but rather subject headings and then postings to click on. So many of these subjects are very well answered in past posts--we could just link to those (many of these links would obviously be to the Primer). I think it would help to also have an explanation of how to search best (Fast vs. Slow searching, etc.) to dig up past info. I've seen several posts indicating folks didn't get any or many hits when they searched.

    Most important for this to work I feel would be to have it posted to a well-titled thread that sticks to the top of the postings listings and stands out--so that people will see it.

    The beginning of the Primer could also be edited to indicate (and link to) this FAQ as a supplementary source of info.
     
  7. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    But if the FAQ for the forum is just going to be links to other FAQs, ones which aren't even FAQs but rather Meta-Faqs [collections of links]-- what's the point? Instead of compiling useful info into a single source with a standard format (which anyone in information theory will tell you is a real good idea), you're basically abstracting things into 3 layers- which doesn't really help anyone.

    I have yet to see any complaints on the size or format of the FAQ-- the biggest problem is simply that no one bothers to supply a link when people ask things already covered. Most people who actually are informed of the FAQ find it pretty useful.

    -V
     
  8. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I've learned over the years that you have to be careful to adjust information to the requestor. Too much information is very bad for some/most people.

    Scenerio: A guy just got his spouse in a moment of weakness and was allowed to purchase a new HDTV/first HT audio system/new component. He's excited and in a rush. His new toys are going to arrive in 2 days or are sitting in box's in the next room, or he's in the middle of hooking things up and it's not working.

    This guy is NOT going to go to the primer and read/study for an hour or two. He want to know what to run out and get right now or in the next few hours.

    This emotional zone exists from the the day of purchase until about a week after it arrives. He's basically un-teachable like a schoolboy on a warm spring day. (Think Attention Deficit Disorder.)

    The Primer does not work for guys in this state.

    So if we do a FAQ, my thought would be to have simple questions/answers designed for the attention-challenged. At the end of each question could be a link to a spot in the Primer for more in-depth info.
     

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