I run the Hobby of Kings site and for the past few months I haven’t been getting any email related to it. I assumed it was getting less traffic and didn’t think much of it (out of sight, out of mind). About a week ago, I checked the database and realized that it was not configured properly. I immediately fixed the problem and the very next day, emails began to arrive again.
I was surprised that no one had bothered to let me know that the coin gallery wasn’t working, but in their defense, they probably thought it was just another abandoned web site. It got me to thinking, one of the benefits of a blog is that it gives web sites a sense of vitality. If visitors see that you have made posts recently, you’re most likely still alive and maintaining the site and an email will probably be read and replied to. The only problem with that is I’m not sure I want people to know I’m around to answer their questions. My theory is that they suffer from the terrible disease of FAQ-o-phobia, with the only symptom being an acute inability to read a FAQ. Sufferers of this disease send me questions that are nearly identical to those listed in the FAQ and I wish I knew the cure.
About 95% of the questions I receive have already been answered, but people don’t read them. Is it against their religion? Do they think the FAQ is lying to them? Do they lack basic literary skills? (some of the emails would indicate this might be the problem). Whatever the reason, when I get questions like, “How many darn tootin’ hogs is this hair nahn-teen eighty fore penny gonna fetch?” I get rather frustrated. I can only assume there is a bucktoothed hillbilly on the other end, banging out the email and spilling his beer.
Let me explain the benefits of FAQs, otherwise known as Frequently Asked Questions, in hopes that it will help people to see their value. If I receive a lot of questions over and over again, I can save a lot of time by writing up complete and thorough answers and making them available to everyone. That way, if you have a question which is answered in the FAQ, you get an immediate response and the webmaster doesn’t have to spend any extra time. Isn’t that a wonderful idea? The problem is that you have to read the FAQ to see if your question is already answered. Otherwise, you send in the question, the webmaster replies, telling you that it’s already in the FAQ and you go read it. The first method is much more efficient for both you and the webmaster. What a wonderful win-win situation, if only people would read the FAQ. Please, please, read the FAQ.