Can I answer my own questions, even if I knew the answer before asking? - Meta Stack Exchange


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I might want to answer my own question because:

  • I arrived at a solution before there were any other correct answers or I like mine better, can I still answer my own question?

  • I have a folder with lists of code snippets for things I always forget or get wrong, such as regular expressions for processing XML, common WinForms control idioms, etc.

    Is it considered poor etiquette for Stack Overflow to ask a question I already know the answer to, and then self answer, just so it gets recorded on the website?

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  • Ruby Lee
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    Yes!

    There are already numerous posts that answer their own questions. There's nothing wrong with it. It's even been encouraged since the very beginning of time.

    It's likely that others have the question for which you have the answer but can't find it anywhere, so post away! You can even accept your own answer (but not earlier than 48 hours after asking the question).

    The only requirement is you need to have at least 15 reputation to directly self-answer from the "Ask Question" page, but you can still self-answer it manually after posting your question.


  • Cash Lee
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    This is a thin line. On one side, Jeff is quite clear: If it's helpful to at least one other developer, it should be here. It also creates good Content, and Content is the #1 priority for a site.

    On the other hand, "spamming" the site and turning it into just another Code Snippet site is what some users (including me) do not seem to want.

    As this is essentially a Question/Answer site, I personally would not object seeing a code snippet as long as there is a Use Case assigned to it. i.e. "This is a codeSnippet for creating a .ddf file, which is used by Sharepoint Developers to create Features/Solutions".

    I'd say: Just ask yourself "Is this really useful to a lot of people?" and try to keep a balance.

    Edit: Also keep in mind that other people may look at your snippet and tell you better ways to improve it. That's why a use Case is so important. if people know what this snippet is used for, they can help making it better/more versatile/more efficient etc.


  • Augustine Lee
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    I am currently adding a question for anything I have to Google for, on the assumption that other people will probably have the same need one day. What sold me on the idea of stackoverflow was that the knowledge would be maintained and looked after by many people; so a good answer found on stackoverflow really should be something you can count on. It takes the russian roulette out of accepting things you find on a google search.