1. How do I get the code?
1a. Where is the repository, and what type (cvs, svn…)?
1b. What branch/version should I check out?
1c. What external projects/libraries/etc. does it depend on, and how do I get them, and which versions of them do I need? (If allowed by the license, consider hosting a version with your source for one-stop shopping.)
1d. Ideally put this in a step-by-step “for dummies” set of instructions on your project’s web page. Or you could make available a script to run that does it all for you – but well-documented so I can figure out what the script is doing and why. Oh, and make sure it works for you if you follow it exactly on a virgin machine!
2. How do I build it?
2a. What language(s) is the source written in?
2b. What compiler(s)/build system(s) do I need, and where do I get them?
2c. Where are the makefile(s)/build files etc. and what does each of them build, exactly?
2d. See 1d.
3. How do I run/use it, and where is the target(s) (executable, shared lib, whatever…) that was built?
4. How can I get help if I need it?
4a. IRC chat is useful, but if most of the developers are on the other side of the world, it would be nice to also have a mailing list to which to post so I don’t have to stay up all night. Preferably a mailing list that allows attachments for error output or screenshots.
4b. Ideally your FAQ should actually be made up of questions people have actually asked, especially if they are asked frequently. FAQs rarely do this for some reason – I’ve often seen the same question asked over and over in help forums, and never answered.
4c. Answer the questions people are asking. Even if the answer is “if you can’t figure this out, you don’t belong here” – try to phrase that as nicely as you can.
5. What is your process for managing versions and how/when they are changed in your repository?
5a. If you allow checkins of incomplete code, how do I know if I’ve found a real bug that I should fix, versus something that will be “fixed” when the person working on the feature checks in the rest of it?