The term FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. This term is often used to describe documents which summarize questions repeatedly asked on a particular subject. A FAQ is usually somewhat informal - the style of writing tends to be more along the lines of a friendly conversation rather than a doctoral thesis.
A FAQ might summarize information presented over time in an online discussion group, or might present an individual's own ideas on how to solve particular problems. Whatever "slant" the FAQ takes, it should be clearly stated in the beginning, so the readers know what to expect from the document.
A HowTo document is typically an explanation of a process or procedure. It might be instructions for setting a Temporary Basal Rate on an insulin pump, or it might lead someone through the steps necessary to test their Blood Glucose using a BG meter. This document is an example of a HowTo.
HowTo documents often appear in much the same fashion that a cooking recipe might appear - a series of sequenced steps with any additional required explanations included in each section. More involved documents may also include cross references to other web sites to help understand the process. (We will explain some of these "link" details later on in this document).
It is important to realize that even though the format and styles of FAQ and HowTo documents is "friendly", the documents should still be factual, accurate and present information in a straightforward fashion. If you are not sure of something, do not state is as "fact". If something stated is an opinion, this needs to be clearly stated as well.
Very Important Note: FAQs and HowTo documents are NOT intended to be the final or definitive answer to complex medical questions, nor are they intended to serve as replacements for competent medical guidance. Authors need to keep this in mind when compiling the information they are presenting.
Readers need to be constantly reminded to check the information or suggestions with their health care team before adopting these suggestions as part of their health management plan. This is usually best done with a "standard disclaimer" appearing in the document(s).
Have we scared you off yet? Hope not, because preparing these documents is actually quite straightforward. The following are some tips and guidelines for preparing FAQs and HowTos for inclusion on the Insulin Pumpers web site. These guidelines are not "gospel" (if something is so important that it cannot be overlooked, we will state it at the outset). The authors of this "HowTo" document have experience in technical writing and have been active participants in internet mail lists and newsgroups for a number of years. They have authored or collaborated on several of the FAQs and HowTo documents on the Insulin Pump's web site.
Sometimes it is not immediately clear to the developers which section on the Insulin Pumpers site the new document should belong to - FAQs or HowTos. Don't worry - we will all discuss this as a group, take a vote and find an appropriate home for your hard work.