Since the old FAQ links has been replaced with a Help link, this concern no longer applies now that they’ve begun to call it what it is. The question of whether it should be easier to find the actual list of Frequently Asked Questions I leave open for discussion.
The ELU FAQ versus the ELU FAQs
Suppose you come to ELU with a question that you figure is a common one, so you conscientiously check out the ELU FAQ link first before asking your question.
Which of course doesn’t help you at all, since that very prominently placed and named link does not lead you to the list of the most frequently asked questions on ELU. Not only that, but nowhere in that wall of text does it even mention how to find the real FAQ list.
So you go ahead and ask your FAQ, and it gets closed as duplicate — and you get put off the site.
Shouldn’t we fix that?
The thing that is our so-called FAQ link is actually more of an “ELU users guide” or meta-FAQ. It is not the list of frequently asked questions on ELU. This violates the principle of least surprise.
Given how many times those FAQs have been asked, how many dupes to them keep piling up, and how people feel like they’re getting slapped on the wrist when their questions get closed, wouldn’t it be friendlier and more useful — and easier on everyone — if the real FAQ list were a lot easier to find?
I mean this one:
- What are your favorite English language tools?
- When should I use “a” vs “an”?
- How do the tenses in English correspond temporally to one another?
- When is it necessary to use a hyphen in writing a compound word?
- Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)?
- Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms?
- Are collective nouns always plural, or are certain ones singular?
- Are there rules about using “that” to join two clauses?
- When should I use “a” versus “an” in front of a word beginning with the letter h?
- What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in “‑s”?
- When is it appropriate to end a sentence in a preposition?
- Are there any simple rules for choosing the definite vs. indefinite (vs. none) article?
- When to use “that” and when to use “which”?
- What’s the rule for using “who” and “whom” correctly?
- Should I put a comma before the last item in a list?
- Which words in a title should be capitalized?
- How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)?
- Pluralization rule for “five-year-old children”, “20 pound note”, “10 mile run”
- When do I use “I” instead of “me?”
- “A/An” preceding a parenthetical statement
- What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym?
- What is the rule for adjective order?
- When should a verb be followed by a gerund instead of an infinitive?
- “My wife and I's seafood collaboration dinner”
- “My friends and I” vs. “My friends and me” vs. “Me and my friends”
- “Who wants ice-cream?” — Should I say “(not) I” or “(not) me”?
- “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct?
- Regulatory bodies and authoritative dictionaries for English
- Which is correct, “you and I” or “you and me”?
- When did it become correct to add an “s” to a singular possessive already ending in “‑s”?
- How should I punctuate around quotes?
- To hyphenate or not?
- Is “staff” plural?
- When is the present perfect tense used instead of the past tense?
- Framing a question to which the answer is an ordinal number
- Why have the subjunctive and indicative converged in Modern English?
- “User accounts” or “users account”
- Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”?
- Which day does “next Tuesday” refer to?
- I can run faster than _____. (1) him (2) he?
- When is a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessive pronoun?
- Why do we say “was supposed to” for “should have”?
- What’s the rule for adding “-er” vs. “-or” when nouning a verb?
- Which is correct: “has died” or “died”?
- When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen?
- What are some examples of awkward sounding but grammatically correct sentences?
- Can anyone provide me with a list of English words that are their own antonyms?
- Central Pennsylvanian English speakers: what are the limitations on the “needs washed” construction?
- How do you handle “that that”? The double “that” problem
- Are split infinitives grammatically incorrect, or are they valid constructs?
What can we do to make that list easier to find? I also think it should be in the format I’ve just given it, not the complicated wall-of-text format that it actually comes in. Just the titles and links, nothing else.
I can’t see any downside for fixing this, and I see considerable potential for an upside.
So let’s do it, shall we?