Right now, the help center is structured with a main landing page with sections containing lists of specific help content, with each of these contents being on specific pages (example). That's fine, and I suggest keeping the design mostly as is. However, on each specific page, the sidebar should be replaced with a table of contents (ToC) of the help center (pretty much like Somewhere Else).
When selecting another page in the ToC, the currently viewed help page should be swapped inline, not requiring a full page reload. That will make browsing the help center far more pleasant. It's currently easy to get lost when navigating back and forth between pages and the main help page.
The help center consists of a set of boxes with bulleted lists; these boxes must be visually placed in the same locations on all the Codidact sites; this is not currently the situation; for example, at Meta's HC, "Guidance" is in the upper left corner, while on SS's HC, it's in the lower left corner. I think the lower left corner is a good location for it.
Most (if not all) of the sites' help centers have one or two "FAQ"s in the lists; this is quite problematic, as it's a FAQ within the FAQ (the help center itself is a sort of FAQ), so these should preferably be removed altogether. Having a FAQ (or worse, two FAQs) inside the help center, isn't useful, because it's only more searching, because you're now two levels deep of headlines. I don't have an answer for where to put all their content at this time, but one step at a time is better than no step.
Some sites have some problematic or unnecessary parts in their FAQ, such as Scientific Speculation (using this particular site as an example, but they're not the only site with this issue (same issues in Meta's FAQ too)):
"Who are the moderators?"
- This should be a tab on the page of users (for Meta CD, here), or at least moved to a dedicated page in the help section. If there's a dedicated page, this page can also go on to explain what the moderators are, what they do, what they don't, how and they are chosen.
"What are the different categories for?"
- There should be a dedicated space for category descriptions, with a link from the category header. As pointed out to me in chat, such a page already exists, but the sites don't expose any link to it, effectively rendering it a dead page. I suggest removing the FAQ page entry, and bringing back this page in some form. Linking to it in the help center is a good choice, with the name "Category descriptions", perhaps. That page's design is currently quite superfluous, as the categories header is right above it, on the same page.
I suggest either keeping it simple, by cutting down the "see posts" links, or add something else useful, such as category statistics. Apparently, for users with higher abilities, that bar contains more useful content than just "see posts", however, for users that don't have these abilities, the bar should just be removed.
"What open-source license are posts on Scientific Speculation created under?"
- This is already listed under "Guidance", and so should be removed from the FAQ. The page for licenses is per-site, but ideally, it should be a shared page for all the sites, as licensing is not just a responsibility of each site.
"How to ask a great question"
I also suggest renaming the page titles displayed in the bulleted lists on the main help center page. They are currently too long, requiring the user to scan too much text on the page, which is not only confusing, but unnecessary. For example:
Help Center #Guidance: (example)
|Guidance on available licenses
|Guidelines for referencing and quoting [on Codidact communities]
|Referencing & quoting
|How to ask a great question
|How to ask
|How to propose a community on the codidact.com network
|Proposing a new Codidact community
|How to write good alt text
|Image alt text
In addition, move "Licenses" and "Proposing a new Codidact community" to the bottom of the list (same order).
Some sites have additional bullet points in this list, such as Software Development:
- "Etiquette for posting comments"
This is a good page that I think all sites should have.
Make sure these changes are committed on each site, not just CD Meta.
As a final note, I'd like to mention a thought for discussion: that the help centers on each site live in their own bubbles, cut off from the bigger network. This seems like something that happens to be wrong, but can be fixed. I don't have an answer for it, though.
Policy/"About the network" may be where to start.