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interesting idea to limit repeated questions and stuff

I'm a member of a couple of mailing lists..the q list of course, a list for
Linux-pmac, and another for some robotics stuff...
We have an interesting little thing for the Linux-pmac list(in case you
don't know, Linux is a freeware Unix, and Linux-pmac runs on PCI Power
Macintoshes) called the Faq-O-Matic.  It's a cool little ditty that someone
hosts on a set web site, with a whole bunch of Perl CGI scripts to make it
The idea behind the F-O-M is that someone asks a question on the list,
like, "Help, my floppy disk is in my drive, how do I get it out?"(this
actually was a problem for a little while.)
Then, someone who knows the answer replies back to the list, saying "you
need this special program to tell the drive to eject" AND goes to the F-O-M
site, and makes a little entry under something like "System configuration:
Floppy" titled "Help, my floppy won't come out, what do I do?" with the
correct answer.

The key to the F-O-M is that there is no single person who updates stuff.
ANYONE can simply put in a question(though it's requested that you usually
only add a question if you have the answer...the first step is to post the
question) and anyone can add to it.
So, stealing from a discussion a long time ago, say someone needs to change
their rear brake pads on a 5k, and wants to know how.  Instead of asking
the list, they can check the F-O-M, and find that, aha!  Someone's already
answered that question, and golly gee, look at all these neat hints!

Eventually, the FOM catches on because people say in answers to repeated
questions "CHECK THE FOM!", and other people notice this, and remember it,
and don't want to get yelled at, so they check the FOM.

For all you people who use Lynx(for those who don't know, it's a free
text-only HTTP browser), the FOM format works very nicely with Lynx.

If there is interest, I will ask the author of the FOM for permission(he's
said that he'd be happy to give it out for other lists) and set it up on my
server(which will be around in the end of August.)

I think that this will enable us to build a rather large, self-maintaining,
self-updating archive of useful stuff.

The most important decision is how to arrange the categories.  I would
suggest a grouping by type of information, ie, repair, common problems,
performance mods, sources for parts(euro lights anyone?), etc, and then
dividing each of those categories by car model as needed.  I would strongly
suggest that we NOT have any "for sale" sections, though a section on
"Vendors" would be very nice.
(BTW, did I mention that you can include a few html tags in your post to an
answer on the FOM?  This allows for linking to other sections/questions on
the FOM and all sorts of neat things)
I would really like to hear what people think of this idea, ie, 1)do you
like the idea, and 2)how do you think the categories should be arranged?(I
would appreciate feedback from the people who have been on the list the
longest, since they've seen a lot of stuff go by)
Please email me directly, since I don't want to take up the time of people
who are not interested in this(though they should, because this could turn
out to make life a lot easier.)  Please put something intelligible in the
subject like, say, "FOM:" and then whatever.

Everyone's comments on this idea would be greatly appreciated, and I will
post back some of the highlights of what I recieved.


Brett Dikeman
dikemanb@edison.ma.ultranet.com	dikemanb@stu.beloit.edu
Hostes alienigeni me abduxerunt.  Qui annus est?
Te audire non possum.  Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.