I’m working on a project this year to build a competitive programming FAQ. This is one in a series of articles describing the research, writing, and tool creation process. To read the whole series, see my CPFAQ category page.
On Quora, it’s common to see the same questions, or variations of the same questions, show up repeatedly. The competitive programming topic is no exception to this rule. Merging similar questions is an option, but it presents a couple of challenges:
Quora Content Review (a human + bot system) has its own merging rules, and will unmerge questions that it thinks are insufficiently similar. For example, here’s a question with over 2000 followers and 60 answers: What basic data structures and algorithms should one learn before starting competitive programming? I tried to merge in a similar question, What are the data structures and algorithms used in competitive programming? (3 followers, 1 answer), but it was quickly unmerged by QCR. A FAQ could collect these similar questions, even when they couldn’t be merged on Quora.
It can be time-consuming to find the best merge target, especially given QCR rules. Quora’s merge suggestion list often doesn’t provide the best merge choice. A Google search works better, but for frequently-asked questions, it’s more efficient to search a FAQ than search all of Quora.
A competitive programming FAQ that is independent of Quora can resolve these problems. If QCR doesn’t want questions to be merged, they can still be listed under the same question in the FAQ. And the FAQ can categorize questions in a way that makes it easy to find appropriate merge targets.
Using some of the data collection from previous weeks, I have an initial list of categorized questions to use as a starting point for the FAQ categories.