Sardonic nit witticism

My Photo
Location: Fort Myers, Florida, United States

People tell me that my sarcasm and cynicism will get me into trouble some day. We'll see.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Frequently Asked Questions about FAQ's

Q. What is the difference between Q&A and FAQ?

A. Q&A is usually written by the developers prior to products being shipped. Its intent is to try to present user documentation in an easy to read format. Q&A's concise format is considered easier to follow for many audiences.

FAQ is a list of commonly asked questions users have asked after a product has been made available. Both are intended to assist the user in the use of the product.

Q. Why are many FAQ entries so specific? I thought they were supposed to be FREQUENTLY asked questions. How often can the following question POSSIBLY have been asked:

"Whenever I have 13 windows simultaneously opened and I right click on an icon immediately after hitting the J key but just before getting notified that I have mail I get a throbbing pain just under my left eyebrow but only during a new moon if it's raining on a Wednesday?"

A. Some development teams don't know what to call their support forum, so they call them FAQ. In the early stages of their product cycle, they may post every problem that occurs.

To make matters worse, some open their FAQ's so that ANYONE can post to them, thus creating the phenomenon you've observed: highly specific questions.

Q. Isn't the term FAQ somewhat redundant? I mean, what else but a QUESTION can be ASKED??? Shouldn't it be called FQ for Frequent Questions?

A. FQ was considered, but it created the problem that there was no way to say it as an acronym that would be universally pronounced.

Q. Whenever I have a question about a program I'm trying to install, I never see my question in the FAQ. Why is that?

A. Voila! Here's your question!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mine Mine Mine

Ever notice how many times you see the word "my" in front of topics of interest? "My" eBay, "My" Yahoo, "My" Florida.

What is the message here? Apparently, in this age of personalization, companies want you to be able to "own" your own version of their product. They want you to customize your experience, presumably so you keep coming back.

An Internet search came up with at least the following sites that promise to make your visit personal:

Whether they truly allow your experience to be unique would be subject to your own investigation. But the implication in their titles is that you, and only you, will have a visit like no other. Clever marketing ploy.