From what I understand, if you want to ask a question you know the answer to, you should at least give other people a chance to try and answer. This might bring solutions you hadn't thought about, but also it seems very stupid to ask a question and less than a minute later post your own answer.

Is there a reason why people should post questions and immediately post the answer to it?

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    In my initial rush of enthusiasm, I did this a few times. Thinking about it more calmly, I agree it was a bit of a jerk move. My bad. I have, however, been trying to make amends by upvoting and accepting answers not given by me. – vanden Jul 27 '10 at 21:51
  • I usually just slap my head and delete the question. – John Kormylo Jun 3 '17 at 0:02

I've just asked a stack of questions to which I knew the answer --- in fact, I asked them by going through my preambles looking for anything strange!

They're being answered as we speak, which is great. I plan to come back tomorrow to fill in any answers that weren't given.

It's best to let other people answer your questions, even earlier on, but it's better to answer your own question than to leave it unanswered or not ask it at all.

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    Yeah, sure, but give people time to answer it, don't answer it straight away 30 seconds later!!! – Vivi Jul 26 '10 at 20:52
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    I'm assuming you asked them so they can sit on the site as content for future reference ? – Suresh Jul 27 '10 at 0:07

I disagree with people that say you shouldn't ask questions you know the answer to; for content-building purposes it's very useful, but even on the established sites people ask questions they know the answers to if the question hasn't been posed before and they think other people might run into the problem in the future. I don't like when people ask and immediately answer the question, as it discourages other people from answering, but certainly post your answer after a certain amount of time if nobody else gets there first

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    that is my point! I think it is valid to ask a question you know the answer to, because it may be useful to someone, but asking and answering it straight away is just really nor right. – Vivi Jul 26 '10 at 20:52
  • Why is it bad to answer directly? Other people can still write their own (better) answers which you can then accept – lucidbrot Sep 27 '18 at 6:54

Posting FAQ-style questions with answers was actively encouraged in the early phase of Stack Overflow. After all, the purpose of the site was to create a knowledge base. It has become less common since, but it’s still acceptable.

I don’t see why we should deviate from this: Answers are good, no matter who posts them.

If people use this to spam the board with useless content, the voting system will take care of them.

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    I would still say that there should be a pause. If there's an answer already there, people are less likely to post new ones (especially if the answerer is the same as the questioner). So by waiting a day, no-one loses and everyone potentially gains. – Andrew Stacey Jul 27 '10 at 12:05
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    @Andrew: Isn't it more important that you hold off on accepting your own answer for a while than that you hold of on answering? – SamB Nov 30 '10 at 16:34
  • @SamB: that's also important. I'd say that for each action in this situation, the questioner/answerer should pause a little longer than usual. – Andrew Stacey Nov 30 '10 at 18:15

I don't think you should ever accept your own answer immediately.

As for whether it's ok to post an answer immediately, I think it depends on how open the question is. If you're asking a question in the form of a discussion (say, asking about best practices), there isn't going to be one single correct answer, and so posting your own answer immediately is fine, I think. It doesn't mean others are prevented from contributing.

But if there is obviously going to be one "best" answer, others might be discouraged from answering at all if they see you answered your own question. They might feel there's not much they can add, or that you prefer your own answer and won't accept theirs.

  • very good point about discussion questions! – Vivi Jul 31 '10 at 2:23
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    Now you'll have to what a certain time until it's possible to accept your own answer. – N.N. Oct 9 '11 at 13:09

There are two reasons, IMHO, that people should answer their own question - either they found out the answer meanwhile, or that they think the answer is very useful for other people, and want to share the knowledge. I have no problem with either, though I think you should give time for someone to perhaps provide a better solution/explanation that yourself.

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    Indeed, but people don't usually submit a question and then figure out the answer 30 seconds after. – Daniel Egeberg Jul 26 '10 at 19:58

I find sometimes that while I'm asking a question, I'll realize the answer. If something like this does happen that the question can still be worthwhile, because it's possible there's a better answer, or an improvement to your own solution. Many of my own questions on sites like stack overflow are I did X like this, could I do this better?

  • This is one reason why a minimal working example is so useful. If the questioner can isolate the cause of the problem, they might actually be able to solve it. – Matthew Leingang Oct 21 '10 at 12:06

I think this is considered perfectly OK on StackOverflow. Some relevant meta questions from there:

Why give other people a chance to answer before you post the answer if you already know it? The point of the site is not to create busy work for others.


How else would you earn the self-learner badge?

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    (please don't shout); the point is not about the fact of answering, but about the etiquette of answering straight away. – Andrew Stacey Jul 27 '10 at 12:59
  • I have answered my own question in SO (stackoverflow.com/questions/3025890/…) but people had their chance to help me. I didn't know the answer when I posted the question, and only figured out the answer later and thought it could be useful for someone else. That said, I have nothing against posting questions you know the answer to (I have done that too in beta), but I think you should give other people a chance to answer. – Vivi Jul 27 '10 at 23:54

I'll have to agree that people shouldn't answer their own questions immediately (or perhaps even at all). That sort of defeats the point of asking in the first place, even they already know the answer and it's for content building.

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    But the point of the private beta is to engage in content building so there will be good stuff when the site goes live... – Sharpie Jul 26 '10 at 20:20
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    @Sharpie: I'm well aware of that, but it seems more sensible letting others have a go first. Then if it doesn't get answered you can always go answer it yourself. – Daniel Egeberg Jul 26 '10 at 20:22

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