virus: FAQ: introduction

Eric Boyd (
Tue, 15 Jun 1999 14:59:24 -0400

Hi Virians,

Well, I've done some thinking on "structure" in email, and I've decided that, like my EoE says, one of the biggest problems is loss of focus, or loss of "the big picture". To that end, one of the major parts of a solution must be the avoidance of the "interrupt --> isolate" dynamic. I have two ideas that I'd like to test with this little project.

Number one is a header system -- for keeping track of where we are. I think a strategy whereby all posts in the thread have at least

virus: FAQ

is good. Then, to specify which part of the project, or specific content of your post, more detail can follow, i.e.:

virus: FAQ: introduction
virus: FAQ: question (d)[1]
virus: FAQ: new suggestion

Change the headers as often as you think necessary -- and if any post is outside of the FAQ discussion, please make it so by changing the header.

Another thing I'd like to see is more "global" posts, rather than the vast series of little posts with one comment (like we saw on the maxim discussion). To that end, my second idea is that entire "versions" of the proposed FAQ should be sent around at various times -- in the early going, perhaps every message could include the entire thing
(without ">"'s, please), but later on if discussion focusses on a
single question and answer, just that question and it's answer should be in each message -- it will help to focus discussion and debate. An important step will be to remember to repost the entire FAQ with the newly resolved question and answer after each such discussion is complete.

The goal here is that the last message in the discussion will be the complete text of the FAQ we wish to post on the web page. Wouldn't that be a cool product of an email discussion?

I hope you gals/guys don't mind being my test subjects!

In my next post, I'm going to spin out some ideas for the FAQ itself -- drawing on the few things that have been said before, and those on the web page.


[1] I think that lettering the questions is a better system than numbering them -- this way, once we've got each question done, we can debate about the order they should be in without confusing ourselves
(by refering to question#5 as first, but question#2 as third, etc)