FQA (frequently questioned answers)

FQA (frequently questioned answers) are conventions or mandates scrutinized by individuals or groups who doubt their validity. (The singular and plural of this term have the same abbreviation: FQA.)

Typically, an FQA starts out as an axiom, rule or principle that is never questioned. A good example is Euclid's parallel postulate in geometry which is as follows: Given a line and a point not on that line, there exists one and only one line through the point that is parallel to the original line. This makes intuitive sense, but what happens when it is denied?

Suppose that, given a line and a point not on that line, there exists no line through the point that is parallel to the original line? Suppose there exist two, three or infinitely many such lines through the point? Questioning this answer has given rise to non-Euclidean geometries that are recognized today.

Why are FQA beneficial?

When supposedly inviolable principles or imperatives are questioned, it sometimes becomes possible to solve problems previously thought insoluble.

Questioning dogma may, however, lead nowhere, and occasionally it can end in catastrophe, either natural or human-made.

Some insightful engineers and scientists make a game out of "questioning the answers." Organizations in which principles are never questioned may become stagnant or, perhaps worse, boring.


What is the difference between FQA and FAQ?

While the acronym FQA refers to theories that are questioned, FAQ, or frequently asked questions refers to a group of questions that are most often asked by people learning about a given topic.

Often products or services with product pages will include links to FAQ pages or an FAQ section that provides answers to questions often asked by customers.

This list of questions and FAQ answers helps to prevent customers from repeatedly asking the same questions and allows them to learn more about the product or service, thus helping them move along the buyer journey to the point of purchase.

Similarly, FQAs may have resources attached to them, often on forum providers like GitHub or Quora where users can thoughtfully debate a proposed theory or methodology and question its validity.

Popular among the developer community are the C++ FAQ and subsequent C++ FQA, where developers and C++ programmers debated and questioned the logic, semantics and syntax behind implementations of the programming language.

This was last updated in October 2021

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