Frequently Asked Questions

Brief Description

Frequently asked questions, or FAQs/F.A.Qs, are list of questions and answers that are frequently asked on a specific topic.

FAQs originated in Usenet groups as a way to answer questions about the rules of the service. Today, there are FAQs on the Web for many topics, ranging from programming langauges to gardening tips.


FAQ's started as lists of answers to common questions in Usenet newsgroups. Mark Horton wrote the first FAQ, which he regularly posted to the //Usenet// newsgroups with the answers to eighteen common questions, such as "What does 'foobar' mean?", and "What does 'unix' stand for?".

Eugene Miya wrote the next FAQs for the ARPANET "space" and "" mailing list, which he started distributing in 1983 once a month to try to answer a lot of the simple questions from new users that could drown out the rest of a list.

On 15 September 1983, Jerry Schwarz announced on net.general that he was going to publish a list of "questions not to ask". On 1 November, he published the first Usenet FAQ under the title "Frequently Submitted Items".

The idea of FAQ's then caught on quickly as a convenient, standard mechanism for answering the basic questions asked by new users on a mailing list, greatly reducing redundant postings and allowing more time for discussion of new subjects. If there is a FAQ for a newsgroup it can usually be found posted regularly to that newsgroup with a subject line including the word "FAQ".

Today, FAQ's are still used on the Usenet, but are also used on all sorts of other topics and subjects throughout the world, collected in comprehensive archives. ~ ( from living internet website)

When to use

How to use

Answer: one question at a time...
  • Identify question
  • Identify, compile and organize community generated answers to date from archives
  • Identify key external sources
  • Organize information around FAQ template
  • Look for crosslinks with other related FAQs
  • Draft
  • Get feedback
  • Improve
  • Iterate!

Tips and Lessons Learnt

Examples & Stories

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Who can tell me more?

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Related Methods / Tools / Practices



  • faq, FAQs

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Page Authors

  • Gauri Salokhe
  • Liya Dejene