frequently asked question definition convention
(FAQ, or rarely FAQL, FAQ list) A document provided for many Usenet newsgroups
(and, more recently, World-Wide Web
services) which attempts to answer questions which new readers often ask. These are maintained by volunteers and posted regularly to the newsgroup. You should always consult the FAQ list for a group before posting to it in case your question or point is common knowledge.
The collection of all FAQ lists is one of the most precious and remarkable resources on the Internet
. It contains a huge wealth of up-to-date expert knowledge on many subjects of common interest. Accuracy of the information is greatly assisted by its frequent exposure to criticism by an interested, and occasionally well-informed, audience (the readers of the relevant newsgroup).
The main FTP archive
for FAQs is on a computer called RTFM
, where they can be accessed either by group (ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet-by-group/comp.answers/) or by hierarchy (ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet-by-hierarchy/). There is another archive at Imperial College (ftp://src.doc.ic.ac.uk/usenet/news-info/), London, UK and a World-Wide Web
archive in Ohio (http://cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/top.html), USA.
The FAQs are also posted to Usenet
newsgroups: news:comp.answers, news:news.answers and news:alt.answers.