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Frequently asked questions are listed questions and answers, all supposed to be commonly asked in some context, and pertaining to a particular topic. "FAQ" is usually pronounced as an initialism rather than an acronym, but an acronym form does exist. Since the acronym FAQ originated in textual media, its pronounciation varies; "fack", "faak", "fax", and "facts" are commonly heard. Depending on usage, the term may refer specifically to a single frequently asked question, or to an assembled list of many questions and their answers. Some web page designers may label the list of questions as "FAQ," such as on websites and others as "FAQs," such as on United States Treasury sites.

The "FAQ" is an Internet textual tradition originating from the technical limitations of early mailing lists from NASA in the early 1980s. The first FAQ developed over several pre-Web years starting from 1982 when storage was expensive. On ARPAnet's SPACE mailing list, the presumption was that new users would download archived past messages through ftp. In practice, this rarely happened and the users tended to post questions to the mailing list instead of searching its archives. Repeating the "right" answers becomes tedious, and went against developing netiquette. A series of different measures were set up by loosely affiliated groups of computer system administrators, from regularly posted messages to netlib-like query email daemons. The acronym FAQwas developed between 1982-1985 by Eugene Miya of NASA for the SPACE mailing list.The format was then picked up on other mailing lists and Usenet news groups. Posting frequency changed to monthly, and finally weekly and daily across a variety of mailing lists and newsgroups.