Wiki Patterns

Patterns for successful wiki use

User Tools

Site Tools




A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list is a collection of commonly asked questions and their answers. FAQs have a concise structure that make them ideal for conveying simple information, especially for users unfamiliar with the relevant topic.

The FAQ pattern is a bridge between informal, get-to-know-the-wiki and community-building activities and more formal use of the wiki as primary platform for collaboration and conducting daily work. Creating an FAQ allows a group to take inventory of what it's doing and where the wiki can be used.


Creating an FAQ is a great next step in wiki adoption, after people have had their initial experience with a wiki, perhaps by building a personal profile or My Personal Info style page. Since it's independent of any project the group is working on, it's a less critical, more relaxed way to increase wiki use and start people collaborating with each other.

The FAQ can be about anything, and multiple FAQ pages can be created for different processes, projects, or products. Creating an FAQ can clarify existing processes, expose weaknesses and areas in need of improvement, and help people become proficient at finding innovative ways to improve the status quo.

Most FAQ lists are a single document containing a linear list of questions and answers. The document normally begins with a hyperlinked table-of-contents that contains each question.

Common practice is for the answers to be short: just one or two paragraphs. Questions that require more complex answers can be dealt with by having a separate page for that topic, in which case the FAQ may still contain the question but the answer becomes a cross-reference to the detailed page.


Use the FAQ pattern to start a list of all current projects in your group. Ask the person responsible for each project to build a Scaffold of questions about their project and invite others to contribute answers, revise questions, and add other questions & answers.

  • My Personal Info - The MySpace pattern helps people get used to the wiki, and prepares them for collaborative activity, like building an FAQ.
  • Magnet - The FAQ is a key step in building a critical mass of content and collaborative activity which make the wiki a magnet.

Further Reading

faq.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/28 13:54 by splitbrain