Joel's recently blogged regarding wikifying question on several recurring topics where users keep asking new versions of the same problem.

Some of these are:

Many topics would benefit from having a great up-to-date source of information, a Community Wiki. If a user tried most of those steps and still is having problems, then there might be something new going on.

This isn't a goal to create one "perfect" mega-answer, that we can use to close all the others as dupes, but rather to have a more general guide for users to follow and catch all the lowest hanging fruit.

The purpose of this question is:

  • to keep track of the progress,
  • to get suggestions for topics that could use such a question,
  • to manage some 'meta-ish' discussion, so we don't abuse the comments on the wiki questions,
  • requests from users for including certain information or sharing useful information to include
related… –  Jeff Atwood Jan 9 '11 at 21:49
@Jared Harley had done an excellent job on windows-7 –  Sathya Jan 10 '11 at 14:09
related discussion… –  Tom Wijsman Jan 13 '11 at 19:42
What should we do in situations where there is an awesome, generic answer to a very specific question? I'm particularly referring to this question about replacing LCD panels in laptops. Jcrawfordor's answer is a fantastic general guide for replacing screens, but the user's question is very specific. Is it appropriate to edit the original question and make it very generic? @JeffAtwood, would appreciate your insight particularly on this; @IvoFlipse, too. –  nhinkle Jan 19 '11 at 2:34
@nhinkle yes this is appropriate IMO –  Jeff Atwood Jan 19 '11 at 2:47
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3 Answers

As a means to help users find these sorts of answers (because honestly, most of the people posting "what antivirus should I get" questions don't read tag wikis), it might be helpful if there were a special tag for these sorts of questions. It could be implemented like the on Meta: a question which could be one of these general guides would be tagged with , then once it had enough quality information, a moderator (and possibly 10K+ user?) would retag it to , at which point it would appear as a special color. To make it easier for users to find these sorts of questions, new users posting their first questions could be directed to check the pages before answering, and questions could be highlighted in the "possible dupes" box that appears when creating new questions. This would help to make sure that if a question already has a general version out there, users see it, so they don't get completely burried in the thousands of other questions here.

Good idea @nhinkle –  Ivo Flipse Jan 10 '11 at 17:08
Thanks @Ivo. May I go ahead and create and start using a community-faq-proposed tag, or should I wait until there's been a bit more discussion of the matter? –  nhinkle Jan 10 '11 at 17:13
No, as long as it's not the only tag I can always undo it the hard way –  Ivo Flipse Jan 10 '11 at 17:18
OK. I retagged the posts mentioned in the question above. –  nhinkle Jan 10 '11 at 23:43
@Ivo, how should we go about proposing that this be implemented as an actual official feature, complete with a special tag type, etc? Should I post it as a separate meta question? I've been tagging questions with [community-faq-proposed] (and a few others have too), but right now the tag doesn't technically mean anything. –  nhinkle Jan 14 '11 at 2:26
I don't think they'll make it into a official feature @nhinkle, but we can use it to get things done –  Ivo Flipse Jan 14 '11 at 17:19
@Ivo, I added to help explain this concept to users. I'm thinking involved users can discuss in chat when to promote a proposed community faq post to no longer be proposed. It would be ideal if someday they made it an actual feature, but in the meantime, this should do. –  nhinkle Jan 18 '11 at 6:35
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I have already tackled the computer freezing questions through asking about this previously. From the ideas of both Jeff and TomWij I have created a set of three questions that tackle the general troubleshooting of a computer freeze.

I feel like this is the best approach and will help to eliminate the clutter of multiple questions while still avoiding the "Super Question/Answer" that is literally impossible on questions such as these.

+1 What I'm trying to do here, is get more topics tackled like this –  Ivo Flipse Jan 10 '11 at 15:31
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Great idea -- I recommend starting with the best answer and using that as a template to generalize it and make it applicable to a bunch of common scenarios.

However as Ivo points out, don't try to make the "one perfect answer that fits all scenarios"! That's impossible and you'll kill yourself (and the reader) trying. Just put together a slightly more generalized version that handles a few tightly related common cases, and see where that gets you.

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