Genesis of a way to create and publish "Community Generated FAQs"

Continuing the discussion from Smart Alarm is here:

This will make for an excellent FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions / Ad Hoc Mini-Guides) entry; Actually, at least 2 entries: (a) how to install a shared SmartApp – certainly asked and answered dozens of times probably in different Topics and’s, and (b) what are some “tablet as control or security panel” setups available and recommendations.

SmartThings (@April, @Ben, @Jim, and the gang) has heard our desires for various sorts of Knowledge Bases (KB’s), Known Issues, etc., but that may or may not be redundant with Community Generated FAQs – even if some or all of such FAQ Topics are only transient as they get absorbed one by one into official ST reference resources.

@April and I started a very casual discussion on where some Community based FAQ should be maintained, but this is just the “genesis” of the concept…

Let the ideas commence…! Such as…

  • Is it sufficient, at least for now and expedience, to use the current Forum Platform (Discourse) for FAQs – perhaps under a new Category, and/or pinned posts, etc.?

  • Keep in mind that SmartThings, optimally, does not want a dozen different resource / documentation platforms (we already have the official Documentation, Reference Docs, Blog, and this Community Forum…), feel free to hypothetically suggest what the most appropriate platform requires. A shared GitHub repository? A Wiki?

  • What are some FAQ Topics you’d like to see?

  • Is there a style-guide for FAQs or will it just evolve? Or let’s just concentrate on substance?

  • Should screenshots be strongly encouraged? What about video screen capture – harder and slower, no?


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@tgauchat I’ve been thinking about exactly this for a while. I think it would need to be two sections. A wiki where all the known information could be compiled on a topic so one doesn’t have to peruse all the threads to know something. This type of forum would benefit a more advanced user trying to develop/improve a device type or understand what is hindering the integration of a particular device.
The second section would be an FAQ as you purpose which would consist of the questions that get asked over and over again on the forums such as “wemo switches or GE?”. This would help a beginning user get their bearings on the system.
The downside is with everything else the smartthings crew is working on, I think this will fall far down on the priority list for them. Even though I don’t think it would take much in resources to implement.

Thanks for your thoughts…
Indeed … SmartThings is ramping up on resources, but they have a long todo list to juggle nevertheless.

The idea we’re trying to focus in on in this Topic is how much work the Community can voluntarily offload from SmartThings to help address the concept of FAQs, and even provide and maintain the content for as many as we wish to do. It comes from the perspective of: “we’re already doing it (answering common questions) anyway, so how can we do this a little better and a little more organized; with a bit of structure and blessing from ST’s moderators, ie @April, @Mager, @Ben …”.

Coincidentally, Mager just started this rather related Topic today:

I see this as a great rough draft to the work @mager and @jim are doing on the developer portal and perhaps some can also go into the Knowledge Base.