Until recently (I'm not sure exactly when), at the top of every page was an "faq" button, and the page it led to had a list of basic help topics. Some of them were generic to SE, but some were specific to Math; most importantly "How do I ask a homework question" and "How do I use $\LaTeX$/Mathjax"?

As of now, the "faq" button has been replaced with one marked "help", which links to a page with a cooler layout and graphics, but which only seems to describe generic SE usage. https://math.stackexchange.com/faq leads to this "help" page as well.

These pages should be readily accessible to new users, since as we all know, inappropriate homework questions and improper formatting are a serious drag on the site. But now I can't even find them myself.

What's going on here?


3 Answers 3


That is the new replacement for the FAQ, and there is still the old site-specific "What can I ask here" at https://math.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic. It is less prominent at the moment that it used to be, that has been noticed by others on MSO already.

There is a search option planned that should make it easier to find stuff in the help center. The whole feature is still in development, if you think some aspects are a step backwards you can propose specific changes here or on MSO.

  • 15
    $\begingroup$ Not that many people bothered to read the FAQ... but how great an idea is to nuke it (be it temporarily) and replace it with generic, mostly irrelevant information? Keeping both equally prominent until the newcomer at least equals the local usefulness of the other is not exactly an outlandish proposition! $\endgroup$ Jun 9, 2013 at 19:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Let's do a link experiment. [faq] yields faq. [help] yields help center. [on-topic] yields [on-topic]. Hmm $\endgroup$
    – davidlowryduda Mod
    Jun 9, 2013 at 20:22
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    $\begingroup$ The lack of prominence is a major issue. How about having both a faq and a help, with the former being site specific and the latter being general help? $\endgroup$ Jun 9, 2013 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ Did the text of the FAQ just disappear irrevocably, or is it preserved somewhere? $\endgroup$ Jun 11, 2013 at 3:13

The users concerned about the low visibility of site-specific on-topic page may want to upvote meta.SO post On-topic list is too hard to find in the new help center. An answer suggested there is to move Asking to the upper-left corner, so that it naturally comes first in the order of reading. Presently, Help Center opens with "Why can people edit my posts? How does editing work? How do I search?" while "What topics can I ask about here?" is tucked away on the right.

Related: posts tagged help-center on meta.SO


On this announcement it says:

If you find that the the new help center page can be improved in anyway, please either leave an answer in the post I linked to above, or open a new feature-request or bug here on Meta.Math.SE as appropriate.

A few weeks ago I brought up a concern regarding this part of the FAQ:

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

The community seems to agree this needs improving so I'm bringing it to our attention.


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