The FAQ list of topics

• TeX or any of its descendants like LaTeX, XeTeX, LuaTeX and ConTeXt
• TeX distributions like TeX Live, MiKTeX, or MacTeX
• (La)TeX related software and tools like BibTeX, LyX, LaTeX editors, viewers, and converters

Now, the first line does not really make sense, as it mixes up formats (LaTeX, ConTeXt) with engines (XeTeX, LuaTeX). We clearly want to be open to all, while at the same time recognising that for a lot of end users 'LaTeX' is a term they know, while 'TeX' is not so clear.

So I'd like suggestions for an improved FAQ list which is better in terms of the detail but at the same time is still accessible. Thoughts?

• Can we add a {tag-link} inside the FAQ page? It would really, really help here! (I mean the information pop-up which gives the short version of the tag-wiki on mouse-over) – morbusg Feb 14 '12 at 12:27
• not precisely relevant to this item in the faq, but ... nowhere in the faq did i see a note that only one question should be asked at a time. if two topics, even if closely related, there should be two questions. – barbara beeton Feb 14 '12 at 16:09
• @barbarabeeton I see your point. That probably belongs in the 'standard text' part, that all SE sites get and that we can't edit. Perhaps one for meta.SO? – Joseph Wright Feb 14 '12 at 16:56
• suggestion made on meta.so, and already has an indication that it might be adopted. thanks, joseph. – barbara beeton Feb 14 '12 at 18:34

As we are already distinguishing distributions, we might as well separate engines/formats without introducing too much "noise":

• TeX or any of its formats like LaTeX, ConTeXt and plain-tex
• TeX engines like XeTeX, LuaTeX and pdfTeX
• TeX distributions like TeX Live, MiKTeX, and MacTeX
• TeX related software and tools like BibTeX, LyX, LaTeX editors, viewers, and converters

Perhaps we could take out some of the repetition:

• Formats like LaTeX, ConTeXt and plain-tex
• Engines like pdfTeX, LuaTeX and XeTeX
• Distributions like TeX Live, MiKTeX, and MacTeX
• Related software and tools ... (etc)

I think it already assumes some (minimum) expertise in the respective areas and I don't think it would do much good for the absolute new-beginners (who are from the kind of audience that FAQ targets) since the difference between distribution and an engine is also quite confusing for the novice level. I still encounter users that think TeXnicCenter is the TeX itself.

My humble suggestion (with my horrible English) would be including some hints in the sentences such as

Welcome to TeX Stack Exchange! This site is for enthusiastic users of TeX and related systems, people who love to create well-structured and beautifully typeset documents. If you have a question about ...

• how to compile your document with different engines such as plain TeX or its relatives LaTeX, XeTeX, LuaTeX and ConTeXt, and even about the differences between them,
• how to obtain customized collections of packages such as TeX Live, MiKTeX, or MacTeX
• how to use bibliographical tools that work with (La)TeX like BibTeX, BibLaTeX and other convenient bibliography editors
• how to write or modify your own (La)TeX files with LyX, LaTeX editors, viewers, and converters like TeXnicCenter, WinEdt, Vim, Emacs, TeXWorks