There are some recurring questions about basic cooking skills, like this one. This question was closed and Aaronut provided a number of related questions. So, why don't we put a generic 'cooking basics' or 'cooking techniques' somewhere?

My 0,02€

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    Not sure I understand - we have several generic 'cooking basics', that was why I closed it as a duplicate. Can you be more specific about what you're proposing? – Aaronut Jul 24 '11 at 16:18
  • Where? I've seen the questions, but I think it would be a nice idea to group them in a single place. This way, when somebody asks a generic cooking technique question he/she can be redirected. – BaffledCook Jul 24 '11 at 16:26
  • Maybe just create a 'redirect' question and link from there to more specific ones. The question 'Getting better in the kitchen' is so generic it could serve to redirect to other questions. Like a wiki. – BaffledCook Jul 24 '11 at 16:29

This is what tags are for. They have tag wikis, and they have FAQs. People can also ignore tags, so they don't see the same basic questions getting bumped over and over again whenever some tiny bit of new information is added.

would be a good choice. Its tag FAQ already covers several of the questions marked as duplicates, and the term is less derisive than "beginner" and less vacuous than "learning".

For those concerned about an influx of beginner questions, you'll need to: (a) be diligent in placing that tag on appropriate questions, without overdoing it, and (b) create and maintain the tag wiki (which should be more than just links to questions, as that's already covered by other features).

Personally, I don't think we're closing so many questions as duplicates that it's actually something we need to worry about yet. I think we have maybe one or two dupes a week, and maybe one or two "learning how to cook" dupes every few months. That's well within our moderation capacity to handle; the only (slight) hurdle is that often these questions seem to overwhelm common sense, and people will go "YES! I can answer that!" and rush to post their answers instead of voting to close as a dupe. But, that's what moderators are for.

Anyway, anybody can suggest edits now, including retags and tag wikis, so take the bull by the horns. We rarely reject new tag wikis, unless they're terrible (e.g. Wikipedia copypasta).

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  • I see, by putting the [basics] tag on a question, we'll be creating the effect I was getting at. Brilliant! – BaffledCook Jul 25 '11 at 7:28
  • There are only 8 questions tagged as [basics]. I'll be adding some... To get back to my original post. Why don't we add a line/link in the FAQ that searches the [basics] tag? 'Beginning cooks can look here for the basics' for example. – BaffledCook Jul 25 '11 at 8:06
  • Just don't fall into the same trap that Stack Overflow fell into and tag every question that's slightly below your level as [basics] (they used the meta-tag [beginner]). Not that I'm suggesting you would, just emphasizing the "don't overdo it" above. Stick to questions that really stand out as being relevant to beginning cooks. – Aaronut Jul 25 '11 at 13:39
  • Also, @BaffledCook: It's a common misperception that putting some guidance or policy into the FAQ will make it get followed. The number of health questions and recipe requests we still get proves that not to be the case, and those are the first paragraphs in there, in easy-to-read point form. The FAQ serves two purposes: (1) to help those interested in becoming more regular contributors, and (2) to provide additional context for moderation actions such as closing a question. Case (1) doesn't apply to drive-bys who just want an answer, and case (2) is already covered by the duplicate link. – Aaronut Jul 25 '11 at 13:46
  • I'm not disputing for a moment that it's important for people to understand, just pointing out that changing the FAQ is more likely to muddy up the FAQ than it is to effect real change. – Aaronut Jul 25 '11 at 13:47
  • I understand what you are saying on all accounts. – BaffledCook Jul 25 '11 at 14:54

We have provided some additional guidance at the blog:


TL;DR version

Most of the time, you should be asking yourself “How can I improve this post so that community wiki isn’t needed?” Community wiki is like a cheese knife: it is a specialized tool to be used sparingly, and only in very specific circumstances.

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  • I read that article. Thanks. – BaffledCook Aug 20 '11 at 7:54

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