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The FAQ pages have very helpful 'show more'/'collapse' buttons to prevent overloading the visitor with detail.

This would be useful to have inside the first section ("What kind of questions can I ask here?") too - for example our FAQ in progress on the Database Administrators Stack Exchange site has bulleted lists with sub-lists that it would be nice to have hidden on first arrival.

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That's really verbose. –  Matthew Read Nov 14 '11 at 17:09
    
And that is the way we want it - at least if the visitor wants to drill down into the detail. Also other faqs are long too and might benefit, eg english.stackexchange.com/faq, programmers.stackexchange.com/faq –  Jack Douglas Nov 14 '11 at 17:29

1 Answer 1

It looks to me like the problem lies within the verbosity of the FAQ. What you've got here is what we commonly describe as the "bulleted list from hell." Okay, it hasn't quite reached those extremes, but the length seems to go beyond a use useful level of detail for a FAQ.

When a user first visits your site, they want a succinct description of what your site is about. That's all. They don't need a detailed, enumerated list of everything the site could possibly be about. You'll just keep adding, and adding, and adding to that list until it becomes new-user hostile: Your bulleted list from hell.

A site for "Database Administrators" says a lot. Sometimes those "it's about… but not about" sections helps clarify the most common misunderstanding users have about the site. But the FAQ really doesn't have become that long… unless the subject is inherently difficult to pin down. Try some simple English sentences to describe your subject rather than enumerating all possible topics exhaustively.

We could fold all that information into a header entry, but that would only hide the most important information users are looking for. If users don't see it at a glance, they will likely skip it completely. That's not good for your site.

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We want the summary (eg "Advanced Querying") to be visable at all times, but the sub list ("Windowing functions", "Hierarchical data" ... ) to be collapsed by default. I fail to see how that would be "hid[ing] the most important information users are looking for". Only users specifically wanting to know whether their query counts as 'advanced' would ever expand the section. –  Jack Douglas Nov 14 '11 at 18:34
    
@JackDouglas: Ah, I see. You want markup that allow further folding within the section itself. Sort of a "herein lies more detail than you need." I'm still not sure an annotated list is the best way to describe your scope, but at least I understand the nature of your [feature-request] now. –  Robert Cartaino Nov 14 '11 at 18:44
    
yippee :) FWIW we are exploring an alternative using tags that is at least better than the information overload we currently have (in our opinion that is :) –  Jack Douglas Nov 14 '11 at 18:52

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