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Understanding Infantilism (.org)

A Hybrid FAQ Structure

By BitterGrey

While "web 2.0" has revolutionized the exchange of information as we know it, it still has limitations.

Wikis. Wikipedia is the Internet's 600-pound gorilla, listed first for most search terms.   It can only present one version, and the appearance of consensus is critical.   Where conflict exists, the ruling body has arbitrarily given one side sole representation by banning the other, most relevantly at Sexology.  The failed attempt to be a resource that "anyone can edit" only ensures that anyone can vandalize it. Wiki's competitive and inefficient nature drives away unmotivated editors, leaving only those with a motive. Conventional rewards for content development, such as a byline, are absent in wikis.

Wikis also obscure article quality:  The grammatical errors that would betray poor content might be fixed by a "wikignome" who comes along and fixes the grammar but not the content. 

Other wikis might always be secondary to Wikipedia. They might have the same problems and require as much maintenance, but with a decreased audience and impact.

Forums. They are great for new questions, topics, and developments.   They permit the free-form exchange of ideas and experiences, without having to mandate a consensus.  They are able to handle the many areas of life where there is no "right" answer. 

However, the value of older threads in forums is limited by searchability. A new reader might not find the old thread that addresses his question. As a result, he'd start a new thread, making other threads still harder to find. This causes an almost sedimentary buildup of content, but not value.

Yahoo answers, Quora, etc. These commercial Q&A sites gather questions and answers in the usual web 2.0 fashion. However, by letting new logins create new questions, they run the risk of duplicate threads, just as the forums did. They have the advantage of having upvote/downvote systems which might help weed out poor answers. However, these also might be abused to push down opposing viewpoints.

Piazza offers a slightly different approach; a Q&A service with a wiki page for each answer. This suffers from the wiki exclusivity: The educational version has one answer for all students in the class, and one for the teacher. This might not be a problem for this application, since coursework questions usually have a singular right answer. Being specific to each class will limit duplicate threads within the class, but questions might reoccur each time the class is taught.

A Hybrid FAQ

Frequently Asked Question lists are the classic solution to the problem of duplicate threads.  They are usually structured as a simple text file with one set of questions and one set of answers.  This might not reflect the diversity of contexts or disagreement about answers.

An alternative is a hybrid FAQ structure.  This structure starts with not one answer, but a number of answers from different contributors.  This permits readers to explore different perspectives, situations, and positions in detail.  There is no need for a mandated consensus.  The answers would be provided by specific contributors, and might be endorsed by others.  They may address specific situations or concerns.

For accessibility and scalability, there will be a summary layer between the questions and answers.  The goal of the summary layer will be to direct readers to the most beneficial answer, without making them go through all the answers.  How this is best accomplished might vary depending on questions and answers, as well as the number of answers.  Minimally, the answers will be listed by contributor name or nickname, and a brief summary, as in What Would it be Like to Wear Diapers 24/7.   It might involve summarizing common ground alongside a summary of the differences.   The answers might be listed chronologically.

The reader flow would be to find his or her question from the list, follow the link to that question's summary page, and then follow the links on that summary page to specific answers.  Ideally, the summary would be short.  The reader may opt to read few or many specific answers.

Since the specific answers can provide full breadth, the consensus summary doesn't need to be a complete answer.   Since the hybrid FAQ doesn't require a consensus, there is no need to drive away alternate perspectives.

Each contributor should also contribute a short bio. Readers who find a contributor with similar circumstances or concerns would be able to read that contributor's answers.


  1. Initial contributors: The hybrid FAQ would start out as a list of a few initial contributors. Each composes a short bio.
  2. Initial questions: They would brainstorm and then refine a list of questions.  Since questions might affect the scope of answers to other questions, the list of questions should be stable (although not necessarily fixed) before answers are collected. This would include commonly asked questions as well as questions that, in hindsight, should be asked more often.
  3. Initial answers: Contributors answer what questions they want to. 
  4. Initial summaries: Based on the questions, a summary page is generated manually.  
  5. Maintain: New contributors, questions, and answers are added as available and practical.  New content would require adjustments or rewrites of the summaries.  A system might be put in place to notify contributors of new questions.  The FAQ should stabilize, with the effect of new content decreasing proportionately and the rate of new contributors decreasing at a reasonable rate. 

Where to start, and where this is going

This alternate structure might have any number of potential applications. It might especially beneficial for those seeking specific information on ABDLs but not yet eager to become part of the ABDL community. This may include parents who have found that their child is interested in diapers, or adults who have learned of a similar interest in their significant other. This hybrid parents FAQ might also serve underage ABDLs indirectly, with parents reading the hybrid FAQ to gain answers for questions their children might have.

Another group that could benefit from a hybrid FAQ are the significant others of ABDLs. They might benefit from having a resource built from the perspectives and experiences of other significant others. They would have a firsthand knowledge of what concerns they had early in the relationship, and about what questions they should have been asking.

Understanding Infantilism has conservatively been progressing towards higher levels of collaboration. Developing these hybrid FAQ structures for specific audiences will be one vector for this change. There has also been some thought towards migrating the 'howto' section into a wiki. However, this is also being handled conservatively, given ADISC's prior efforts at establishing a wiki.

In the tradition of the glossary and interconnectivity efforts, Understanding Infantilism will continue to work with established forums, such as DailyDiapers and ADISC.

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