Here's a thought, what about creating a FAQ forum (controlled by the moderators and read-only for everyone else.)
That way as the same question gets asked a few times (or even the first time, but is a great question/answer) it can be moved/copied to the FAQ forum.
The FAQ forum should consist of (more or less) exact questions and pointed answers...much like a FAQ.
This solves the several probelms at once:
1) The forum search will hit both FAQ and forums ("one search to rule them all"
2) The community can note (to moderators) what they believe are good canidates for FAQ forums.
3) It would contain ONLY on-topic (concise) threads, instead of the wandering nature of most thread (which is generally fine for other forums). This may require some editing by the moderators before placement into the FAQ fourm.
4) (This is a guess) I would imagine moving/coping the posts from the originating forum to the FAQ forum would be easier (than to copying to the FAQ file itself). Also, the FAQ forum would tend to stay more up-to-date than the actual FAQ... due to the dynamic nature of the originating forums.
5) A nice source for updating the real FAQ from time to time.
6) Can eventaully become a FAQ forum CATEGORY once it gets big enough (ie: A catgory containing forums like: Hardware FAQ, drivers FAQ, Development FAQ, 5500 FAQ, 7XX0 forum, etc).
The problem with FAQ files is the F
requently)....Oftentimes it is the infrequent
questions (that require some discussion, research, and "back and forth") that tend to get lost in the forums as they get older (and never qualify as F
AQ material). Some really good insights (that are not "frequently" asked, tend to never make it to the FAQ file, but are really very
useful. Generally more complex topics (like MAME setup, Tricks/tips/shortcuts, config issues, etc, etc) can generate new development branches if they were placed in an area of high exposure over time. So the FAQ forum could concievably contain these threads but in a more concise Q and A format.
Just a thought. I have never seen anything like this before, but I really think it would be a boon to keep the duplicates out and also to keep the infrequent (but highly useful) questions right out where people can see them (and in the case of technical Q and A's) build upon them.