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FAQ - Looking for a generalised FAQ, with Answers!

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Panarchy Posted: Sat, Feb 27 2010 1:24 AM

Hi

I'm looking for a Generalised FAQ from the Libertarian viewpoint.

Where the commonly asked questions (eg; Doesn't Tax help the people? Don't we need Government, But I thought without Government there wouldn't be [law, education, hospitals, police, military etc.]? But Democracy works, doesn't it? What about the little people? But don't I already own my property? etc.) are answered.

Looking for a small simple one, perhaps which references larger, more detailed sources (such as 'The Ethics of Liberty" by Murray N. Rothbard).

Do you know of one?

If there isn't one, do you think it would be a good wiki or blog project?

Curiously yours,

Panarchy

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Cabal replied on Sat, Feb 27 2010 1:49 AM

I'm not personally aware of one, though I'm sure there is something to this effect around here. If there isn't, it'd certainly be useful to create one.

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AJ replied on Sat, Feb 27 2010 3:02 AM

It would probably be multiple FAQs, like a Rothbardian FAQ, a Friedmanite FAQ, an anti-monopolist FAQ, a panarchist FAQ, and maybe even FAQs by individual posters. It's pretty decentralized around here.

Another possibility would be a FAQ with multiple answers to each question, by school of thought.

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Praetyre replied on Sat, Feb 27 2010 3:14 AM

If it will put an end to those bloody "weird hypothetical question threads", I'm all for it. Would require either an exceptionally talented individual (say, with the combined skills of LS, Grayson and Mr. Catalan.) or a number of talented local experts to do, though.

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Panarchy replied on Sat, Feb 27 2010 4:40 AM

Cabal:

I'm not personally aware of one, though I'm sure there is something to this effect around here. If there isn't, it'd certainly be useful to create one.

Any excuse to help the Mises Community Big Smile

Praetyre:

If it will put an end to those bloody "weird hypothetical question threads", I'm all for it. Would require either an exceptionally talented individual (say, with the combined skills of LS, Grayson and Mr. Catalan.) or a number of talented local experts to do, though.

Combined experts, at least at first, would be the best way to go about it, in my opinion. Although even long-term might be feasible... (just look at the Wikipedia.org project).

Hmm...

AJ:

It would probably be multiple FAQs, like a Rothbardian FAQ, a Friedmanite FAQ, an anti-monopolist FAQ, a panarchist FAQ, and maybe even FAQs by individual posters. It's pretty decentralized around here.

Another possibility would be a FAQ with multiple answers to each question, by school of thought.

Too many FAQ pages will be confusing to those not familiar with the different terms. I think your second idea best.

Here's a very basic mockup of how this could be done (The technology is here, and I've seen things like this on various websites)

So basically, you click on one, and that reply on the screen will change. We can also have the background of the text change based on which colour option you choose. (the whole screen isn't redrawn, just that specific box/answer)

I know some people who may be interested in contributing to this project, but first things first. We need somewhere we can put it, we need to conform the design & structure of whichever format we choose, whether it'll be HTML5, ASPX, PHP, DHTML, Wiki or Blog style. (etc.)

We could simplify it even further if Blog style is agreed upon, by having radio buttons to select which type of Answer you're writing. I'm sure the same can be done with non-standard Wiki syntax.

Panarchy

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Nielsio replied on Sat, Feb 27 2010 5:44 AM

Panarchy:

Hi

I'm looking for a Generalised FAQ from the Libertarian viewpoint.

http://www.vforvoluntary.com/wiki/Home

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Panarchy replied on Sat, Feb 27 2010 7:32 AM

Very close to what I'm looking for!

In fact, probably all that project needs is a little more work.

Each topic needs to be in question format, with a little summarised answer underneath (with a see more link, also that link should be embedded into the Question).

Thoughts? - Are my aforementioned ideas any good?

If I started work on editing the page to make it look more like what I want it to be, would you approve it?

*addressing community at large* - Should we work more on the vforvoluntary wiki, or produce our own knowledgebase on mises.org? (or both?)

Thanks though, for telling us about that site!

Panarchy

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Nielsio replied on Sat, Feb 27 2010 8:17 AM

Panarchy:

Very close to what I'm looking for!

In fact, probably all that project needs is a little more work.

Each topic needs to be in question format, with a little summarised answer underneath (with a see more link, also that link should be embedded into the Question).

Thoughts? - Are my aforementioned ideas any good?

I agree with the gist of your ideas. Namely that all it needs is more work, and that there is certainly a place for a list in question-form, and that articles need short answers and long answers. I don't think that many articles need to be in question-format though, because it's already clearly implied in the topic. For example, if the topic falls under Money, then all the standard questions tend to be covered as someone just reads that article. But yeah, you could have a separate list of common questions; or perhaps incorporated separately in articles themselves. What's important to remember though is that what is really important are not short snippets that actually contain the answers but do not really raise the reader's understanding of the topic to a significantly higher level. That's why the full libertarian 'view' is important.

Actually, this is part of the 'it needs more work', because I think they need to be written to be understandable for the layman. And some of those articles right now simply are not. Austrian Economics geeks such as ourselves can muster the energy to go through material like that, but that's not what a FAQ for the public needs to be like.

I'll refer here to the short piece I wrote on Scientific Research: http://www.vforvoluntary.com/wiki/ScientificResearch ; it's short yet contains the essential mechanism and gets to the point.

If I started work on editing the page to make it look more like what I want it to be, would you approve it?

I'd prefer if you created a new page to show what you have in mind before changing anything structurally.

*addressing community at large* - Should we work more on the vforvoluntary wiki, or produce our own knowledgebase on mises.org? (or both?)

I don't think it's an either/or question. You can always take knowledge from one place and put it somewhere else. If you're really worried about this then I would suggest writing an article on the topic that you like. Then post it on your blog. And then incorporate it in the Wiki.

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Panarchy replied on Sat, Feb 27 2010 8:59 AM

It's 2AM here, so I don't have time for the lengthy reply yours deserves, but I have completed a very rudimentry FAQ on your wiki.

It doesn't do exactly what I want, but it should give you an idea: http://www.vforvoluntary.com/wiki/FAQ2

As I said earlier, being able to choose between 'types' of answers would be beneficial. Even to help general arguments, by having a 'Government' category, with Government-type answers.

(don't judge what I've written on that FAQ page, as it was written very fast & I quoted an article I haven't even read!)

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AJ replied on Sun, Feb 28 2010 3:02 AM

Panarchy:

Here's a very basic mockup of how this could be done (The technology is here, and I've seen things like this on various websites)

So basically, you click on one, and that reply on the screen will change. We can also have the background of the text change based on which colour option you choose. (the whole screen isn't redrawn, just that specific box/answer)

Fantastic! Or in the case of short answers, the various answers from different strains of libertarianism could just be presented in a list.

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Panarchy replied on Sun, Feb 28 2010 7:17 AM

AJ:
Fantastic! Or in the case of short answers, the various answers from different strains of libertarianism could just be presented in a list.

Exactly!

Well, it's more of a design choice... I've seen many forums where you can pick between different styles;

  • Do you think that it's a good idea to be able to choose between the styles?
  • Which style should be set as default?

Curiously Yours,

Panarchy

BTW: Thanks for not dissing my MSPaint skills!

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AJ replied on Mon, Mar 1 2010 11:45 AM

Maybe default to a list, but automatically switch to the style in the MSPaint masterpiece above whenever the list would exceed a certain length (one screen's worth? two?).

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Hmm... there's a design idea I hadn't considered.

Perhaps when each different school of thoughts argument exceeds 1 paragraph.

Although... I still see the usefulness with my "MSPaint masterpiece" (as you say!) not matter the length of the answers.

Another idea would be to add an expand button.

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When I was a wee lad, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up.  I replied, "I want to rule the world."  He chuckled, pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and said, "Here. Read this FAQ."

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AJ replied on Tue, Mar 2 2010 12:37 AM

Panarchy:

Perhaps when each different school of thoughts argument exceeds 1 paragraph.

Although... I still see the usefulness with my "MSPaint masterpiece" (as you say!) not matter the length of the answers.

Another idea would be to add an expand button.

Ideally try them all and choose the one that feels best. Another possibility for the brainstorm would be to give a short summary (a few lines, up to a paragraph) from each school of thought, and put expand buttons on each of them.

Yet another idea is to do the MSPaint version, mouseover for a short summary, and expand it to a full explanation when clicked.

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I like the sound of that.

Wait, are we talking mouse-over to see school of though/expanded answer or are we talking mouse-click?

Personally I lean more towards mouse-clicks...

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AJ replied on Tue, Mar 2 2010 1:51 PM

I meant:

  • Title of school of thought is displayed
  • Mouseover for a brief answer
  • Mouse click to expand to long answer (on the same page)

A lot of people might just click every time to get the full answer, but if they just wanted a peak at the other ideas they could.

This idea may not add much extra value unless there are more than 4-5 schools of thought, which would make it a little cumbersome to expand them all.

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Ahh! - I see

Quite like the idea.

About your final comment, easily overcome by an 'expand all' button (to be pressed) at the end of each question.

Maybe also at the top, to expand all Answers.

Okay, so now to get started, I think we've done enough theorising on design, the rest we can improve as we go along.

Now then, which technologies are we going to use & where are we going to host it?

I'm thinking http://www.mises.org/Community/FAQ, if possible.

For technologies, I was thinking either blog or wiki incorporating AJAX (for the mouse over/click features).

How do we go about requesting a sub-domain from mises?

REQUEST: "I have brought up an idea on the mises.org Forum requesting an editable list of Frequently Asked Questions, in which replies are listed below the question by School of Thought.These answers will at first glance provide a summary of the think-tank's answer, followed by a reference to a larger source, eg; a book. We have listed many design ideas, all of which can be found http://mises.org/Community/forums/t/14682.aspx, as well as the original request."

Cheers,

Panarchy

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Okay, I have now written to Jeff Tucker requesting this Sub-Domain for the Database.

I'll keep you updated.

 

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AJ replied on Wed, Mar 3 2010 10:17 AM

Cool! I'm afraid I have no knowledge about the technical side of it. It seems there are many wikis springing up in parallel, which ought to be a good thing.

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Panarchy replied on Mon, Apr 12 2010 3:56 AM

There's nothing bad about alternate/competing wiki's springing up all over the place.

It's just when people think of the Austrian School of thought, Mises.org would be on the top of there list. (followed by LewRockwell etc.)

Which makes this site perfectly, for this kind of knowledge-base.

I implore you to consider implementing the aformentioned FAQ.

Thanks in advance,

Chip D. Panarchy

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