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User driven education

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Joshua Dickerson:
That's the Doc Team's new motto. We are here to push "user driven education."

The user drives:
[*]what needs to be documented
[*]what gets documented
[*]the action of documenting
[*]the search for the educating article

Angelina Belle:
What if the user is a n00b, and doesn't know how to search for the educating article, because they don't know enough of the right search keywords to find what they need?

Joshua Dickerson:
They drive what needs to be documented. By that, they drive what gets documented. Their questions create 1/2 of the FAQ piece, thus they've just created documentation, and they search for the article. Everyone, from the top to the bottom is addressed in this. Obviously, somethings are easier to say that one type of person has more responsibility than the other, but everyone holds responsibility in all aspects.

Angelina Belle:
So we need to cruise the support boards looking for new FAQs to write?

Joshua Dickerson:
That's something that the support team should be doing to alleviate the requirements on them to give support constantly. Unfortunately, they haven't been doing this. Hopefully, with time, this will change. We can do it, but our role is more to push other people to do it and we edit it. The main reason for this is because we aren't necessarily the "subject matter experts" nor do we know how best to pose a question. We edit it to ensure that grammar, spelling, and structure of the page is correct.

Most FAQs should be as simple as either a redirect to the page/anchor with the pertinent information or several sentences. Usually, when a question is asked, if you were to reply with a proper answer, you'd already be writing documentation. It would be best for them to take the question, navigate to the page with the question as the title of the page, write their answer (thus creating the page), and then answer the person's question by linking them to the page that they just created.

I've already created a couple of FAQs using this method. Not only does it drive people to read documentation but it also promotes better answers and more abundant documentation.


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