This is a proposal that has been discussed to some extent in the h bar chat (especially with @ACuriousMind and @alemi), and a meta post to gauge the response of the rest of the community is long overdue, so here we go:
All long-time SE users are aware that there are always a number of questions that come up again and again. Physics.SE is no different in this respect: Who hasn’t sighed at the sight of yet another variation of the twin paradox from SRT? This is a proposal to try to deal with this phenomenon in a thorough way.
Proposal: We, as a community, create a set of ‘canonical questions’, well written and comprehensive questions which cover the essential points of questions that come up frequently. These canonical questions must have a set of good answers. The answers to the canonical questions should address the questions at different level, with answers ideally ranging from high school to graduate school (and up!) level, where possible.
There are two main ways that these canonical questions can be created. Firstly, we can edit existing popular questions (many candidate canonical questions can be found in the ‘frequent’ tab of questions) to make them more comprehensive, and add more/improve existing answers so they become even more useful. Secondly, we can make a couple of new questions with the express purpose of canonizing them. This would be similar to what John Rennie did here, except with more answers, and perhaps a more thorough formulation of the question.
Anybody interested should probably scan these relevant blog posts: (thanks, alemi, for the excellent research):
http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/08/the-future-of-community-wiki/ http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/01/the-wikipedia-of-long-tail-programming-questions/ http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/dr-strangedupe-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-duplication/
...and most recently, one that seems very encouraging:
I guess I am mainly looking for answers that address the following questions: Do you think we need this, and is it worth the effort?
The reception in chat was quite positive, but maybe some of you have reasons to believe that this might be a bad idea, or perhaps just too much effort…
Side note: We initially considered using the ‘faq’ tag - but DavidZ has made it clear that this tag should not be used, because it really should be burninated.