When I was looking at the edits in the FAQ, I noticed a few questions were deleted.

Why are questions removed from the FAQ list? How is that decision arrived at?

Even if it is not as frequently viewed now as it was in the past (I am assuming that it is because of frequent views (or repeatedness) that a question was added to FAQ) is it not good to retain it in the list?


This site used to play a different role. It used to be called Meta Stack Overflow, and used to be the Meta site for Stack Overflow and the whole network. It has since been renamed to Meta Stack Exchange and a separate new Meta Stack Overflow was added.

As such, the FAQ here has undergone a few changes as posts specific to Stack Overflow have either been migrated or just outright deleted here. A few hours ago, Shog migrated What do the colors on Stack Overflow mean?, for example. It clearly applies to Stack Overflow only, no to all Stack Exchange sites.

More generally speaking, the Stack Exchange stack is not static. Things change. If a feature were to ever go away, then at some point a dedicated FAQ for that feature would have to go away too.

In the past usercards on questions included an accept rate for example; the percentage of questions asked by the user where they had marked an answer as accepted. This led to badgering and bullying about a number that never was meant to mean anything. This feature was removed and any mention of it in FAQs should be long gone with it now.

Most of all, the FAQ is community curated. People that care a lot about the Stack Exchange stack maintain it, through editing and creating new pages. See the procedure at the bottom of the central FAQ page for how this works.

  • Thanks for clarification. I am a new user, so did not know this. Other than that reason, generally speaking will a faq be removed ever?
    – One Face
    Jan 5 '15 at 7:50
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    @CRags: Stack Exchange is not set in stone. If a feature were to disappear, the FAQs should be updated to reflect this. Jan 5 '15 at 7:54

Beyond what others have mentioned regarding the split from Meta Stack Overflow to this centralized place, the FAQ is a lot of information to digest, probably more than most people that just want to ask a question care to read initially. That's why we set up the help center - to present the stuff you really need to know from the community-curated pages and then link to things for you to find out more if you want to know more.

A lot of the proposed FAQ stuff actually went into the help center. While it's still community-curated for the most part, updates to the Meta FAQ page don't always get noticed and propagated to the help center, so it's better to just let some things live there exclusively and file feature / bug reports to get it updated if we miss something. The help center pages in turn link to the more lengthy FAQ entries, which the community keeps up to date entirely.

Anyway, it wasn't just the MSO/MSE split that caused a bunch of stuff to be uprooted in the FAQ tag, it was also re-organizing and reducing the things that new users really need to see. There's no change in how we handle FAQ stuff though, it mostly lives here and is created / maintained by folks in the community. You just asked specifically about some more recent churn in that tag, so I wanted to chime in.

  • Well, I use android app mostly. I came to know about help center only early this morning. But as you said, help center contained many vital pieces of info that were missing from faq.
    – One Face
    Jan 5 '15 at 8:47
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    Easy facilitated access to help center from android app would be really helpful
    – One Face
    Jan 5 '15 at 8:50
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    @CRags I'll take a look at it. I don't own an Android device, so I haven't seen it, but I believe it's in the works.
    – Tim Post
    Jan 5 '15 at 9:03

Nope, FAQ entry never really "cease to be a FAQ". The items removed from the FAQ index were deleted or never been real FAQ entries to begin with.

Some recent examples:

  1. What do the colors on Stack Overflow mean? is specific to Stack Overflow, hence migrated to MSO after the split and became a FAQ entry there.
  2. Why is my question off-topic on Stack Overflow, even though it's programming-related? got closed as "pertains only to a specific site" back in May then deleted after the team saw no value migrating it to MSO probably since the help center there already covers it.

  3. Formatting Sandbox was never a FAQ to begin with, placed in the index just due to being useful.

  4. What is meant by tag follower versus the "x number" that appears after a tag name? was never really a FAQ either, only proposed FAQ - it has no place in the index until the team decides to make it a real FAQ by adding the tag.

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