Last updated June 5, 2008. Created by NancyDru on November 13, 2007.
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Now that I have you all in suspense, you're wondering, "But, Nancy, how did it turn out? Does it all work?"

Okay, first, we have to admit that we really didn't like the little patch that allowed an unanswered question. And neither did the FAQ owner. There were some possible solutions using other modules, but we didn't want to do that. The concept of the Question module was really worth looking at, but the unresponsiveness of that module's owner is disconcerting, to say the least. [As of this writing, that owner has not yet responded to a preview of this article more than a week following a personal invitation to respond.]

So, I took it upon myself to use much of the Question module concept in building a new module that can be an add-on to FAQ. One improvement I made was to create the unanswered question as a node so that the Subscriptions module could be used. It does complicate the "queue" management slightly, but since we envision this as a low volume feature, that is acceptable. The way it is coded, it would also not be hard to add notification directly into this module.

The "FAQ_Ask" module also supplies a block to display the unanswered questions to the expert. It also allows a user who has submitted a question to edit it until it gets answered. After that, the regular FAQ module takes over.

The FAQ_Ask module is now available to all.

A Bit More...

The FAQ owner accepted and implemented our request to add support for the Taxonomy Image module. However, since those images were not all the same width, the Category page wasn't lining up correctly. Some people would accept this and just keep going. But not me! I like things to look "right." So I made a patch to the Taxonomy Image module to add a wrapper <div> tag to the image. This allowed me to add this to my CSS and get everything looking right.

.faq .taxonomy_image_wrapper {
  float: left;
  width: 70px;
  margin-bottom: 0.5em;
  padding: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
}
img.faq_tax_image {
  padding: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
}

It remains to be seen if the Taxonomy Image owner will accept and implement this change. It really makes sense to us, but not all developers see things the same way.

Scorecard

  1. OkayThe expert had to be notified when a question was posted. (Supplied by Subscriptions module.)
  2. OkayThe answered questions needed to be available in a Q&A format.
  3. OkayThere should be no administrator overhead in the process.
  4. OkayThe process had be governed by appropriate permissions.
  5. OkayWe wanted a customizable header for the question page. (Supplied by Taxonomy module.)
  6. OkayWe preferred a ready-made solution to creating our own module.
  7. FailedIt had to allow unanswered questions. (Supplied by FAQ_Ask module.)
  8. OkayIt had to be extensible to more than one expert. (Supplied by Taxonomy and FAQ_Ask modules.)

May I See It?

The first site I used this feature on is for a group that asked me to help out. Its subject matter has to do with an (IMO, innocuous) "alternative lifestyle." Therefore, I am reluctant to provide a link. You wouldn't be able to actually try it out any way, as the site requires membership in that group.

I do plan to try it out on my site. I just hope it doesn't allow another venue for spammers.

 

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