There must be a better way than Q&A (or, “I frequently hate FAQs”)

Communications, Design, Intranet

1. Why are business writers obsessed with the FAQ format?

I don’t know. Perhaps the FAQ format is so very easy to write; one covers all the concerns comprehensively, and it’s just so easy to think of a question and write the answer. It’s much harder to explain a subject in proper prose, spinning a narrative that moves a person’s understanding forward in a logical progression of facts and examples.

2. Are all FAQs made up of frequently asked questions?

Certainly not. Most FAQs are created from two distinct areas. The first area covers subjects and queries the author wished the audience cared about! Instead of writing engaging, perhaps even exciting copy to draw the reader into the subject, the author despairs and resorts to making up obvious questions. While these queries have never been voiced, they cover the subject fairly well. See FAQ 1 above.

The second area covered are real questions, but have only been asked once. Some of these queries are so random and specific even the most trusting reader will spot them for what they are – the authors agenda.

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