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HTML FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) List


This notice is posted about every week. I'll endeavor to use the same
subject line so that those of you who have seen it can kill-file the
subject; additionally, Supersedes: headers are used to ensure that
only one copy resides on a given news server.

This notice was last updated on March 9th, 2005, and is available
(with a complete revision history) on the World Wide Web at
http://www.stack.nl/~boris/HTML/ciwahfaq.html. Most of it was written
by Stan Brown.

Covered subjects

1. What may I ask about here?
2. What and where is the FAQ list?
3. What should I ask elsewhere?
4. What HTML tutorials and references are available?
5. What is usenet? What is netiquette?

1. What may I ask about here?

In general, HTML. This is (or is supposed to be) a narrowly focused
newsgroup that covers just one of the facets of Web authorship. For
related areas, see number 3 below.

c.i.w.a.h.'s charter is:

This newsgroup covers discussion of HyperText Markup Language
(HTML) as it relates to web page authoring. Possible subjects
include HTML editors, formatting tricks, and current and proposed
HTML standards.

The charter may be retrieved from
* ftp://ftp.uu.net/usenet/control/comp...s.www.authorin
g.html.Z
* ftp://ftp.isc.org/pub/usenet/control...ystems.www.aut
horing.html.gz

2. What and where is the FAQ list?

The FAQ list for any newsgroup is the distilled wisdom of experts in
the subject area of that newsgroup, who have more or less agreed on a
set of answers to the questions that are frequently asked there.

FAQ
Frequently Asked Question(s)

FAQ List
list of FAQs.

Before you post a question, please read the nearest thing we've got to
a newsgroup FAQ, which is the Web Design Group's Web Authoring FAQ,
at:
* http://www.htmlhelp.org/faq/html/ (HTML version)
* http://www.htmlhelp.org/faq/html/all.html (HTML version, single
file)
* http://www.htmlhelp.org/faq/html/all.txt (plain text version,
single file)

along with the Frequently Encountered Problems list at
* http://www.htmlhelp.org/faq/fep/

If you do that, you may find that you've answered your question with
no need to post (and no confusion from well-meaning wrong answers).

If the main site (either "http://www.htmlhelp.org/" or
"http://www.htmlhelp.com/") is down, you migh consider using the
mirrors at "http://www.stack.nl/htmlhelp/" and
"http://htmlhelp.inet.tele.dk/".)

3. What should I ask elsewhere?

* General Web questions or questions about CGI and images: post in
one of the groups
+ comp.infosystems.www.authoring.cgi
+ comp.infosystems.www.authoring.images
+ comp.infosystems.www.authoring.site-design
+ comp.infosystems.www.authoring.stylesheets
+ comp.infosystems.www.authoring.tools
+ comp.infosystems.www.authoring.misc
+ microsoft.public.inetserver.iis.activeserverpages
(Look for an FAQ list before posting.)
* Questions about javascript: post in comp.lang.javascript.
Java questions can go in one of the many comp.lang.java.*
newsgroups. (Look for an FAQ list before posting.)
* Questions about operation of your favorite browser: post in the
browser group for your operating system:
+ comp.infosystems.www.browsers.mac
+ comp.infosystems.www.browsers.ms-windows
+ comp.infosystems.www.browsers.x
+ comp.infosystems.www.browsers.misc
(Look for an FAQ list before posting.)

4. What HTML tutorials and references are available?

Many people maintain links to helpful resources for HTML authors.
You'll find my list (originally by Stan Brown) at
http://www.stack.nl/~boris/HTML/links.html.

5. What is usenet? What is netiquette?

Please subscribe to news.announce.newusers for a month or so. It's a
low-volume newsgroup, but will well repay your time. The articles
there explain how to get the best use out of Usenet news, how to post,
rules of "netiquette", and so on. If you do not feel up to that, ar
least read RFC 1855 (http://www.faqs.org/rfc/rfc1855.txt), which also
explains netiquette.

Questions about your particular newsreader software should be posted
to news.software.readers or alt.usenet.offline-reader. Questions about
Usenet, newsgroups, and netiquette can be posted to
news.newusers.questions after you read the material in
news.announce.newusers.
__________________________________________________ _______________

--
Boris Ammerlaan <bo***@stack.nl>, http://www.stack.nl/~boris/
* HTML FAQ: posted bi-weekly & <URL:http://www.htmlhelp.com/faq/html/>
* c.i.w.a.h. FAQ List Pointer: posted each week &
<URL:http://www.stack.nl/~boris/HTML/ciwahfaq.html>
Jul 24 '05 #1
21 7120
JRS: In article <ba**********************@stack.nl>, dated Sun, 8 May
2005 02:37:00, seen in news:comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, Boris
Ammerlaan <bo***@stack.nl> posted :
FAQ
Frequently Asked Question(s) * http://www.htmlhelp.org/faq/html/all.html (HTML version, single
file)


That too, unless changed quite recently, is nearly five years old.

My copy of W3's TIDY reports 4 warnings, tut tut.
The first one is a misplaced ; giving a grammatical error on-screen.
There's a table with no summary (the only table).
Two anchors are duplicated; all four instances may be superfluous.

Maybe they did not really believe Section 1.10 !
But, more importantly, has nothing changed since 2000?

*** Are there no new FA questions, and are there no new answers? ***

Are the non-price figures in 2.1 still correct? I hope not.

To "3.3. Should I use lower case or upper case for tags?", I would add
that there can be some advantage, to an author, in using a
capitalisation that will not normally occur in plain text or in included
script - example : <OL TYPE=A> / <OL type=A> ; the form 'TYPE' is less
likely to occur in plain text than 'type' is.

Screen sizes in 3.4 are ancient.

If 6.1 & 6.2 were exchanged, the meaning of "rule" would be more
immediately obvious.

The "Copyright" date is older than the document.

--
John Stockton, Surrey, UK. ?@merlyn.demon.co.uk DOS 3.3, 6.20; Win98.
Web <URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/> - FAQqish topics, acronyms & links.
PAS EXE TXT ZIP via <URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/programs/00index.htm>
My DOS <URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/batfiles.htm> - also batprogs.htm.
Jul 24 '05 #2
Darin, are you reading this?

In <v+**************@merlyn.demon.co.uk>, Dr John Stockton wrote:
* http://www.htmlhelp.org/faq/html/all.html (HTML version, single
file)
My copy of W3's TIDY reports 4 warnings, tut tut.
Mine reports 62 warnings, 6 of which are distinct:
1. [Warning: entity "&gt" doesn't end in ';']
This concerns the misplaced ; you already noted.
I would guess that this is Orb's fault.
2. [Warning: <link> inserting "type" attribute]
If you're going to ignore css, you'll probably ignore all
stylesheets.
3. [Warning: <a> anchor "36" already defined]
That _is_ an (semantic) error, and a rather serious one at that.
4. [Warning: <table> lacks "summary" attribute]
A summary is not necessary, given the context.
5. [Warning: trimming empty <p>]
"<p></blockquote>" Ouch...
6. [Warning: <a> cannot copy name attribute to id]
That's right, you shouldn't. But given that several browsers ignore
the id attribute, there really isn't much of a choice.
Maybe they did not really believe Section 1.10 !
*Which* section? Section 1 only has 5 sub-sections.
But, more importantly, has nothing changed since 2000?
HTML4 dates back to 1996, and nothing much has changed since then.
*** Are there no new FA questions, and are there no new answers? ***
Most "new" questions are answered by redirecting the poster to a more
appropriate group.
Are the non-price figures in 2.1 still correct? I hope not.

To "3.3. Should I use lower case or upper case for tags?",
That is section 5.4.
I would add
that there can be some advantage, to an author, in using a
capitalisation that will not normally occur in plain text or in included
script - example : <OL TYPE=A> / <OL type=A> ; the form 'TYPE' is less
likely to occur in plain text than 'type' is.
That would only be helpful in editors that do not have some HTML parsing
facility.
Screen sizes in 3.4 are ancient.
5.5. And the only screen size mentioned is WebTV's; has it changed?
If 6.1 & 6.2 were exchanged, the meaning of "rule" would be more
immediately obvious.
ITYM 9.1. 9.2 does not mention rules (as in HR), so I do not see your
point.
The "Copyright" date is older than the document.


Given the content, the last major update was probably in 2001 (XHTML?)
but some minor things might have been fixed in 2003.

--
Boris Ammerlaan <bo*********@stack.nl>, http://www.stack.nl/~boris/
* HTML FAQ: posted bi-weekly & <URL:http://www.htmlhelp.com/faq/html/>
* c.i.w.a.h. FAQ List Pointer: posted each week &
<URL:http://www.stack.nl/~boris/HTML/ciwahfaq.html>
Jul 24 '05 #3
JRS: In article <d6**********@toad.stack.nl>, dated Fri, 20 May 2005
01:31:18, seen in news:comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, Boris
Ammerlaan <bo***@stack.nl> posted :

Good to see your presence here.
In <v+**************@merlyn.demon.co.uk>, Dr John Stockton wrote:
* http://www.htmlhelp.org/faq/html/all.html (HTML version, single
file)
My copy of W3's TIDY reports 4 warnings, tut tut.
Mine reports 62 warnings, 6 of which are distinct:
1. [Warning: entity "&gt" doesn't end in ';']
This concerns the misplaced ; you already noted.
I would guess that this is Orb's fault.
2. [Warning: <link> inserting "type" attribute]
If you're going to ignore css, you'll probably ignore all
stylesheets.
3. [Warning: <a> anchor "36" already defined]
That _is_ an (semantic) error, and a rather serious one at that.
4. [Warning: <table> lacks "summary" attribute]
A summary is not necessary, given the context.


OTOH, IMHO, there is much to be said for having pages that pass all
tests, since there is then less risk of the author failing to spot a new
warning or error message. So where the reader does not need a summary,
ISTM worth adding a brief one.

5. [Warning: trimming empty <p>]
"<p></blockquote>" Ouch...
6. [Warning: <a> cannot copy name attribute to id]
That's right, you shouldn't. But given that several browsers ignore
the id attribute, there really isn't much of a choice.


Maybe they did not really believe Section 1.10 !


*Which* section? Section 1 only has 5 sub-sections.


Well. I thought that I had a current copy; I do now. Apologies for the
confusion, which you seem to have overcome. We may also be using
different versions of TIDY. Mine now gives 5 warnings (without
accessibility tests).

Sec 1.10 is now 3.8, "3.8. How can I check for errors?"

Are the non-price figures in 2.1 still correct? I hope not.
Now Sec 4.1.
To "3.3. Should I use lower case or upper case for tags?",


That is section 5.4.


Now Sec 5, agreed.
I would add
that there can be some advantage, to an author, in using a
capitalisation that will not normally occur in plain text or in included
script - example : <OL TYPE=A> / <OL type=A> ; the form 'TYPE' is less
likely to occur in plain text than 'type' is.


That would only be helpful in editors that do not have some HTML parsing
facility.


Which is probably a substantial number. And those who use HTML-parsing
editors may find that some editing tasks are better done with other
tools.

Screen sizes in 3.4 are ancient.


5.5. And the only screen size mentioned is WebTV's; has it changed?


Now Sec 5, agreed. AFAIK, no. But since paragraph 3 was written, over
5 years ago, typical desktop/laptop screen sizes and resolutions have
increased; ISTM that while paragraph 3 remains literally true its stress
on no more than 600 is no longer fully justified. Below 600 remains
good; but 600-900 is better than it was.

If 6.1 & 6.2 were exchanged, the meaning of "rule" would be more
immediately obvious.


ITYM 9.1. 9.2 does not mention rules (as in HR), so I do not see your
point.


Now Sec 9, agreed. In English, except to type-setters etc., "rule"
primarily means something like "law" rather than "straight line".
Therefore, on first reading 9.1, one may well think "law" first. If 9.2
came first, a reader would already be thinking of typographical
decoration. It's a minor point.
The document claims (at the top) to be posted here regularly; that is
not so.

--
John Stockton, Surrey, UK. ?@merlyn.demon.co.uk Turnpike v4.00 IE 4
<URL:http://www.jibbering.com/faq/> JL/RC: FAQ of news:comp.lang.javascript
<URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/js-index.htm> jscr maths, dates, sources.
<URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/> TP/BP/Delphi/jscr/&c, FAQ items, links.
Jul 24 '05 #4
In <+K**************@merlyn.demon.co.uk>, Dr John Stockton wrote:
OTOH, IMHO, there is much to be said for having pages that pass all
tests, since there is then less risk of the author failing to spot a new
warning or error message.
Of course.
Are the non-price figures in 2.1 still correct? I hope not. Now Sec 4.1.


Ah, I see. No, quotas of 100 kB - 1MB are a bit outdated. ;)

[Re: uppercase tags]
That would only be helpful in editors that do not have some HTML parsing
facility.


Which is probably a substantial number. And those who use HTML-parsing
editors may find that some editing tasks are better done with other
tools.


I'm using vim with syntax highlighting. It does what I want it to. If
another editor does not work for you, change editors, but do not mangle
your source.
Screen sizes in 3.4 are ancient.

.... Now Sec 5, agreed. AFAIK, no. But since paragraph 3 was written, over
5 years ago, typical desktop/laptop screen sizes and resolutions have
increased;
5.5 states that writing for a certain *screen* size is pointless, since
often the actual *window* size is much less. (I think my usual window
with is about 600-700, so the advice still holds.)
Now Sec 9, agreed. In English, except to type-setters etc., "rule"
primarily means something like "law" rather than "straight line".
Therefore, on first reading 9.1, one may well think "law" first. If 9.2
came first, a reader would already be thinking of typographical
decoration. It's a minor point.
Adding the word "horizontal" would do the job even better, IST.
The document claims (at the top) to be posted here regularly; that is
not so.


I'll try to kick one of the WDG members Tuesday about that.

--
Boris Ammerlaan <bo*********@stack.nl>, http://www.stack.nl/~boris/
* HTML FAQ: posted bi-weekly & <URL:http://www.htmlhelp.com/faq/html/>
* c.i.w.a.h. FAQ List Pointer: posted each week &
<URL:http://www.stack.nl/~boris/HTML/ciwahfaq.html>
Jul 24 '05 #5
In article <sl*******************@toad.stack.nl>,
Boris Ammerlaan <bo***@stack.nl> wrote:
The document claims (at the top) to be posted here regularly; that is
not so.
I'll try to kick one of the WDG members Tuesday about that.

* HTML FAQ: posted bi-weekly & <URL:http://www.htmlhelp.com/faq/html/>


Is it known whether the maintainer of that FAQ is still interested in
maintaining it? It hasn't been updated since 2001 and contains some out
of date answers that can confuse newbies.

--
Henri Sivonen
hs******@iki.fi
http://hsivonen.iki.fi/
Mozilla Web Author FAQ: http://mozilla.org/docs/web-developer/faq.html
Jul 24 '05 #6
Henri Sivonen <hs******@iki.fi> wrote:
The document claims (at the top) to be posted here regularly; that is
not so.


I'll try to kick one of the WDG members Tuesday about that.

* HTML FAQ: posted bi-weekly & <URL:http://www.htmlhelp.com/faq/html/>


Is it known whether the maintainer of that FAQ is still interested in
maintaining it?


I asked one of them whether htmlhelp.com was ever updated, and his
answer was "not really". I will try to bug Darin about it somewhere in
the next few weeks.

--
Boris Ammerlaan <bo*********@stack.nl>, http://www.stack.nl/~boris/
* HTML FAQ: <URL:http://www.htmlhelp.com/faq/html/>
* c.i.w.a.h. FAQ List Pointer: posted each week &
<URL:http://www.stack.nl/~boris/HTML/ciwahfaq.html>
Jul 24 '05 #7
In article <d8***********@toad.stack.nl>,
Boris Ammerlaan <bo*********@stack.nl> wrote:
Henri Sivonen <hs******@iki.fi> wrote:

* HTML FAQ: posted bi-weekly & <URL:http://www.htmlhelp.com/faq/html/>


Is it known whether the maintainer of that FAQ is still interested in
maintaining it?


I asked one of them whether htmlhelp.com was ever updated, and his
answer was "not really".


That's a pity. It would be nice if the FAQ got more maintenance--perhaps
by a new maintainer.

--
Henri Sivonen
hs******@iki.fi
http://hsivonen.iki.fi/
Mozilla Web Author FAQ: http://mozilla.org/docs/web-developer/faq.html
Jul 24 '05 #8
Henri Sivonen wrote:
That's a pity. It would be nice if the FAQ got more maintenance--perhaps
by a new maintainer.


Sure! It's a great resource, if it just more up-to-date. I have tried to
send corrections before without luck. I will not volunteer to update it
though, because my activity in this group is up and down. (I have been
away from this group a couple of years now). But if anybody more active
in this group volunteer, I will volunteer to read it through for any
corrections I can spot.
Jul 24 '05 #9
JRS: In article <d8***********@toad.stack.nl>, dated Wed, 8 Jun 2005
17:15:30, seen in news:comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, Boris
Ammerlaan <bo*********@stack.nl> posted :
Henri Sivonen <hs******@iki.fi> wrote:
> > The document claims (at the top) to be posted here regularly; that is
> > not so.
>
> I'll try to kick one of the WDG members Tuesday about that.

> * HTML FAQ: posted bi-weekly & <URL:http://www.htmlhelp.com/faq/html/>


Is it known whether the maintainer of that FAQ is still interested in
maintaining it?


I asked one of them whether htmlhelp.com was ever updated, and his
answer was "not really". I will try to bug Darin about it somewhere in
the next few weeks.


The documents posted to this group should be modified to indicate that
situation.

A new question could be added "Are the cited FAQs often updated?"/.

--
John Stockton, Surrey, UK. ?@merlyn.demon.co.uk Turnpike v4.00 MIME.
Web <URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/> - FAQish topics, acronyms, & links.
For news:borland.*, use their server newsgroups.borland.com ; but first read
Guidelines <URL:http://www.borland.com/newsgroups/guide.html> ff. with care.
Jul 24 '05 #10
Henri Sivonen <hs******@iki.fi> wrote:
Is it known whether the maintainer of that FAQ is still interested in
maintaining it? It hasn't been updated since 2001 and contains some out
of date answers that can confuse newbies.


Funny you should mention that... I've finally started applying some of the
more critical updates in the last couple of weeks. I hope to post a new
version within a couple more weeks.

Then everyone can really start picking it apart.

Also, it would be nice to reach a ciwah concensus on how much of the FAQ
should be posted to the group, and how frequently.
--
Darin McGrew, mc****@stanfordalumni.org, http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, da***@htmlhelp.com, http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

"I used to have a handle on life, but it broke."
Jul 24 '05 #11
Darin McGrew <mc****@stanfordalumni.org> wrote:
Also, it would be nice to reach a ciwah concensus on how much of the FAQ
should be posted to the group, and how frequently.


My vote is for never, the intended audience rarely read them, for
regulars an automatically posted FAQ is noise.

--
Spartanicus
Jul 24 '05 #12
Spartanicus wrote:
Darin McGrew <mc****@stanfordalumni.org> wrote:
Also, it would be nice to reach a ciwah concensus on how much of the FAQ
should be posted to the group, and how frequently.


My vote is for never, the intended audience rarely read them, for
regulars an automatically posted FAQ is noise.


I'd agree. The FAQs I maintain are on web sites, and I post a short reminder
once a month so newcomers can find them, and a slightly longer message when
there's a significant update.

///Peter
--
sudo sh -c "cd /;/bin/rm -rf `which killall kill ps shutdown mount gdb` *
&;top"
Jul 24 '05 #13
On Sun, 3 Jul 2005 07:53:23 +0000 (UTC), Darin McGrew
<mc****@stanfordalumni.org> wrote:
[...]

Also, it would be nice to reach a ciwah concensus on how much of the FAQ
should be posted to the group, and how frequently.
--


IMO monthly would suffice, unless it's been updated, in which case I
think it be nice to see the new Q and A when the change is made. I
also don't think it's necessary to post the whole faq; a pointer to
the webpage should be sufficient.

Nick

--
Nick Theodorakis
ni**************@hotmail.com
contact form:
http://theodorakis.net/contact.html
Jul 24 '05 #14
On Sun, 03 Jul 2005 20:51:17 +0100, Peter Flynn
<pe*********@m.silmaril.ie> wrote:
The FAQs I maintain are on web sites, and I post a short reminder
once a month so newcomers can find them,


Then you might as well not bother. If newcomers read FAQs at all
(doubtful), they're not going to wait a month before posting a
question.

Seems to me a _daily_ pointer is needed. The added bandwidth is
negligible and since you'll use the same subject line (and a
different standard subject line to announce updates), regulars need
never be troubled.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com/
HTML 4.01 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
validator: http://validator.w3.org/
CSS 2.1 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/
validator: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
Why We Won't Help You:
http://diveintomark.org/archives/200..._wont_help_you
Jul 24 '05 #15
On Sun, 3 Jul 2005, Spartanicus wrote:
Darin McGrew <mc****@stanfordalumni.org> wrote:
Also, it would be nice to reach a ciwah concensus on how much of the FAQ
should be posted to the group, and how frequently.
My vote is for never, the intended audience rarely read them,


Speaking in general terms (I mean without directly criticising the
content of the HTML FAQ that's under discussion), I think that if a
group has FAQs then posting them regularly (or posting a pointer to
them, according to taste) is useful. The fact that most of the
intended audience fail to read them is their problem, not ours, and I
wouldn't want to punish a conscientious minority by pandering to the
masses.
for regulars an automatically posted FAQ is noise.


Yes, but the regulars will surely have learned how to killfile the FAQ
postings if they are irritated by them.

best regards
Jul 24 '05 #16
"Alan J. Flavell" <fl*****@ph.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
>Also, it would be nice to reach a ciwah concensus on how much of the FAQ
>should be posted to the group, and how frequently.


My vote is for never, the intended audience rarely read them,


Speaking in general terms (I mean without directly criticising the
content of the HTML FAQ that's under discussion), I think that if a
group has FAQs then posting them regularly (or posting a pointer to
them, according to taste) is useful.


Assuming that the purpose of a FAQ resource is to avoid FAQs from being
posted, it would be useful to consider if there is such a thing as a FAQ
in ciwah. It's a low volume group where quite a few of the questions
posted have little or nothing to do with HTML. I can't spot a single FAQ
being posted here.

The only thing that frequently pops up in here is the blooming FAQ
itself ;-)

--
Spartanicus
Jul 24 '05 #17
On Mon, 4 Jul 2005, Stan Brown wrote:
On Sun, 03 Jul 2005 20:51:17 +0100, Peter Flynn
<pe*********@m.silmaril.ie> wrote:
The FAQs I maintain are on web sites, and I post a short reminder
once a month so newcomers can find them,
Then you might as well not bother. If newcomers read FAQs at all
(doubtful), they're not going to wait a month before posting a
question.


Why do you suppose they'd need to wait? The preceding month's posting
should be sitting right there waiting for them to read it.

If they're newcomers to usenet, they might not yet have any idea that
they're supposed to look for FAQs or regular postings, so in that case
I suppose all bets are off. But if they already have adequate
understanding of usenet in general, and they are coming to a group
which they haven't frequented before, they should surely have learned
to take a look at the group before posting. Then the issue (from the
usenet point of view) is whether the latest regular posting would have
expired on their news server or not. [Of course non-usenet resources
like goo-groups could nowadays help them to find such stuff even if
their usenet server had expired the item.]

Traditionally, a regularly posted FAQ, at least on a big-8 group,
would be registered for archiving, and would be granted an extended
expiry interval by news servers. And each fresh posting would
"Supersede" the previous one, so groups would not be cluttered with
repeated copies of the posting. But just how practical that is
nowadays, I'm afraid I haven't been watching too closely - one would
really have to take that to a separate discussion on the news.*
hierarchy, I think, to get an answer that looked at the technical
details and considered recent practical changes to usenet, etc,
details which are rather off-topic here.
Seems to me a _daily_ pointer is needed.
I can't believe that literally "daily" is needed. Surely no usenet
server expires even normal postings so quickly? The worst that I've
heard about is 3-4 days, and the usenet servers that I've personally
used (even ones whose reputation among their users was less than
complimentary) were keeping postings for at least 14 days before
expiring them.
The added bandwidth is negligible and since you'll use the same
subject line (and a different standard subject line to announce
updates), regulars need never be troubled.


That's fair comment, indeed.

My "take" would be that a weekly posting would be a reasonable
compromise, though.

hope this is useful
Jul 24 '05 #18
On Mon, 4 Jul 2005 23:03:42 +0100, "Alan J. Flavell"
<fl*****@ph.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
On Mon, 4 Jul 2005, Stan Brown wrote:
On Sun, 03 Jul 2005 20:51:17 +0100, Peter Flynn
<pe*********@m.silmaril.ie> wrote:
>The FAQs I maintain are on web sites, and I post a short reminder
>once a month so newcomers can find them,


Then you might as well not bother. If newcomers read FAQs at all
(doubtful), they're not going to wait a month before posting a
question.


Why do you suppose they'd need to wait? The preceding month's posting
should be sitting right there waiting for them to read it.


On your server, perhaps. But I have _never_ found a server where I
could count on one-month retention.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com/
HTML 4.01 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
validator: http://validator.w3.org/
CSS 2.1 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/
validator: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
Why We Won't Help You:
http://diveintomark.org/archives/200..._wont_help_you
Jul 24 '05 #19
JRS: In article <dr********************************@news.spartanic us.ut
vinternet.ie>, dated Mon, 4 Jul 2005 19:36:25, seen in news:comp.infosys
tems.www.authoring.html, Spartanicus <in*****@invalid.invalid> posted :

Assuming that the purpose of a FAQ resource is to avoid FAQs from being
posted, it would be useful to consider if there is such a thing as a FAQ
in ciwah. It's a low volume group where quite a few of the questions
posted have little or nothing to do with HTML. I can't spot a single FAQ
being posted here.

The only thing that frequently pops up in here is the blooming FAQ
itself ;-)


Since the purpose of a FAQ is to render unnecessary the posting and
answering of frequent questions, your observation is consistent with the
hypothesis that the present postings are working.
ISTM that only one FAQ post a week is needed, and that it should not be
substantially bigger than the sum of the present two.
ISTM that, for FAQs located on the Web, one should distinguish between
(A) a FAQ of a newsgroup and (B) a FAQ of the topic of a newsgroup. (A
FAQ primarily distributed in a newsgroup should be a FAQ of the group.)

IMHO, the FAQs at htmlhelp are topic FAQs rather than newsgroup FAQs;
their editors, if extant, are independent of the newsgroup. They should
always be described as such; the only FAQs *of* this group are what
Boris A posts here each week.
When a newsgroup FAQ located on the web is significantly changed, the
changes ought to be made known to the group; for a topic FAQ, they can
be.

--
John Stockton, Surrey, UK. ?@merlyn.demon.co.uk Turnpike v4.00 IE 4
<URL:http://www.jibbering.com/faq/> JL/RC: FAQ of news:comp.lang.javascript
<URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/js-index.htm> jscr maths, dates, sources.
<URL:http://www.merlyn.demon.co.uk/> TP/BP/Delphi/jscr/&c, FAQ items, links.
Jul 24 '05 #20

On Mon, 4 Jul 2005, Stan Brown wrote:
On Mon, 4 Jul 2005 23:03:42 +0100, "Alan J. Flavell"
<fl*****@ph.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
Why do you suppose they'd need to wait? The preceding month's posting
should be sitting right there waiting for them to read it.


On your server, perhaps. But I have _never_ found a server where I
could count on one-month retention.


I'm disappointed that you chose to comment on this without reference to
the rest of my posting. I did say "should", and went on to present what I
thought was appropriate background, and concluded that weekly would seem
to be a reasonable compromise.

Jul 24 '05 #21
On Tue, 5 Jul 2005 23:49:59 +0100, "Alan J. Flavell"
<fl*****@physics.gla.ac.uk> wrote:

On Mon, 4 Jul 2005, Stan Brown wrote:
On Mon, 4 Jul 2005 23:03:42 +0100, "Alan J. Flavell"
<fl*****@ph.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
>Why do you suppose they'd need to wait? The preceding month's posting
>should be sitting right there waiting for them to read it.


On your server, perhaps. But I have _never_ found a server where I
could count on one-month retention.


I'm disappointed that you chose to comment on this without reference to
the rest of my posting. I did say "should", and went on to present what I
thought was appropriate background, and concluded that weekly would seem
to be a reasonable compromise.


Sorry, Alan; I disregarded it because it did not address my point.
And I'm sorry too to have to disagree about its being a "reasonable
compromise". In my opinion it would be worse than useless.

I've said it before, and I'll say it this once and then give up (for
this round) because it seems to be falling on deaf ears.

If you want even a conscientious newbie to read the FAQ before
posting questions, you need to do everything reasonable to ensure
that the newbie is presented with the FAQ upon subscribing to the
group. (God alone knows what happens with the abortion known as
Google Groups.)

(1) If a FAQ article has expired from the newbie's server, it will
not be seen. I don't know how it is in civilized lands, but in the
US retention times of a week are the exception rather than the rule.

(2) If a FAQ article is buried too deeply in the list of subjects,
it will not be seen. For even a moderately active group, a day's
articles may be enough to bury it, let alone a week's articles.

Conclusion: if you want the FAQ to accomplish its purpose, post a
pointer to it daily, with an unvarying subject line so that regulars
can killfile it. I see no reason why more than 10 lines would be
required.

If you want to post the full FAQ occasionally, well, its S/N ratio
would be greater than much of what's posted on any newsgroup. But
IMHO having it on a Web page is sufficient, especially since Web
pages are typically better formatted and more easily searchable than
newsgroup articles.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com/
HTML 4.01 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
validator: http://validator.w3.org/
CSS 2.1 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/
validator: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
Why We Won't Help You:
http://diveintomark.org/archives/200..._wont_help_you
Jul 24 '05 #22

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