Forum FAQ Algorithm?

August 23, 2010 at 07:18:08
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, 2.8 GHz / 2.0 Gb

I'm curious about the algorithm that is used to create the FAQ list for the individual forums.

I was just looking at the Office FAQ and the first thing I noticed is the age of the posts.

For the 50 posts listed, the average age is over 5 years old. 44 of the 50 are from 2004-2006.

In addition, I wouldn't consider too many of the questions to be what one would call "Frequently Asked". For example, this is listed in the Office FAQ:

"I had this problem of 530 SMTP auto error, (MS Outlook error message 0x800CCC78)."

As the Office Forum Moderator, I'm pretty confident is stating that that is not a question that has been "frequently asked".

Of course, I can't tell if members are searching for that question, meaning it received a lot of hits, but based on my experience, there are many other types of questions that get more frequently asked.

Conditional Formatting, Nested IF's, moving data from one sheet to another, etc. are the types of questions that we see over and over again, yet nothing related to those issues are listed in the FAQ.

Searching for that Outlook error returned 2 hits. Searching for Conditional Formatting returned close to 2000.

Can you explain how that list gets populated?


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August 23, 2010 at 07:34:01

Its populated simply by looking at the posts that have received the most views.


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August 23, 2010 at 08:37:00
I'd like to hear from other moderators/long time members to get their opinions of what the FAQ's for their forums look like.

"Most viewed" doesn't necessarily equate to "Frequently Asked".

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August 23, 2010 at 09:44:13

I agree its not ideal. However, I'm not really sure any way that might be "more" ideal. Any automated way that is.

I don't really even view that as a major feature. Just something nice for someone wanting to browse the site and learn a bit more.


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August 23, 2010 at 09:57:16
I was thinking something like "most commonly used keywords" but I can see that as a problem also.

My guess is that if you tried that the Office FAQ would probably be populated with questions all related to the same one or maybe two subjects.

Oh well, thanks for chatting!

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August 23, 2010 at 10:30:22

Yeah, I agree its not very ideal. However, I wanted to create something that would be at least interesting for people to look at and be relatively simple. Sorting the list of messages by the most views is easy. Doing stuff with keyword searches, etc, is much less so.

That's pretty much the position I was in.


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