Outside the scope of our FAQ currently are the questions we keep having to answer, often slightly 're-branded'.

I am X and I want to be-fit/be-toned/lower-body-fat

What exercise routine should I use? I want to lose weight.

What exercises will reduce my belly fat?

I can't go to a gym, what exercises can I do?

Reddit uses a pretty good FAQ and directs these questions towards the FAQ.

We use "close as duplicate" but I find that the duplicates I close against aren't always the same. This question, for example is essentially "How do I lose belly fat" but it is not a direct equivalent. There are a lot of open "belly fat" questions that have not been closed so finding the right one is always time-consuming (if you don't have the link saved).

Unlike most of SE where the answer usually is accepted as applicable to all, everyone here seems to view themselves as a special snowflake and believe they can ignore the advice to others because their body is unique and therefore their advice should be unique too. After all, "those fitness trainers are paid well aren't they?", "It must be more difficult/complex than just "eat less, move more".

While cautious of the potential over-use of "just go read the fucking FAQ" for every question is it time to start putting one together and crowd-sourcing the 'perfect' answers?

Edit: Could this take the form of the new "documentation" coming to SO? https://stackoverflow.com/tour/documentation

1 Answer 1


I think you’re making an assumption that most people will consult an FAQ before asking a question. While this would be a time saver and reduce duplicates, I don’t think it’s likely to happen. The site would have to be updated such that it can use a form of AI to determine if the question resembles a previously asked question. I believe it already does that when you start to formulate your question by showing similar questions. And, at the present, there are some posters who simply ignore that because, as you said, they believe their question is unique. And, having an FAQ means the community would need to make sure that it is consistently accurate.

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    I would view the FAQ as a "closer". Under the same premice we can close against off-topic we could "Closed - Answered in Wiki". The current way we can do that is close as duplicate of a community wiki answer but the volume of unclosed duplicates and lack of a consistent answer is holding that back. I suppose one way would be to create multiple orchestrated questions with self-community-wiki-answers but that would require a lot of organisation.
    – John
    Jul 18, 2016 at 13:32

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