I just read this question, which seems like a reasonable question.

The first answer posted also seems like good response, which I was about to vote up on, when I noticed that it was both posted at exactly the same time as the question and had the same author as the question as well.

The policy is that answering your own questions is encouraged, which is all well and good, but feels to me that in this case it defeats the purpose of the Question & Answers format. It is not so much that after asking the author did further research and/or that the comments and other incomplete answers lead to a genuine solution which the author was good enough to share.

In this case there appears no genuine question in the first place; the only reason the question seems to have been asked is to allow the author to post his answer.

I have commented, down voted and voted to close on other occasions with the remark if you want to document your own learning experiences you should write an article on your own blog instead.

But what is the policy or conventional wisdom in these cases?

6 Answers 6


To add to MichaelHampton's answer, the SE network encourages this style of information sharing, which is why it was made possible a while back to ask a question and post an answer at the same time. (this wasn't always available)


Also see this SE blog post on why this ability was added. In short, they want to take the good parts of blogging, which you kind of despised judging by your question.

Some of us have been doing this lately to stay active on main, and also to 'centralize' more and more scattered technical information on the internet into a single place, which can be authoritative. For example, there have been times I've had to scour social technet and found here-says and maybes, and the OP never confirms if proposed solution works or not. If I try it and find it working, posting on SF with a relevant title has the benefits of helping someone else who googles the problem (since SF posts have a super high google ranking), and I potentially gain reputation, and SF potentially recruits a new member.

Also, what happens when you pose a question on SF, no one answers, and you finally figure it out after weeks/months/years of troubleshooting? Go ahead and answer your own question. It floats back to the front page, and you may even earn magical internet points for your efforts. People may not have known the answer, but they do know good troubleshooting when they see it.

Several of my self answered questions:

VM freezing during WinPE boot up

SCCM Task Sequence Error 0x8007000E

Ensure drive is mapped at login on laptop with strictly wireless


There appear to be good reasons to downvote and/or close this question, but the fact that the person asking is the same person answering is not one of them. Judge both questions and answers on their merits, without regard to the identity of their authors.


In this case there appears no genuine question in the first place; the only reason the question seems to have been asked is to allow the author to post his answer.

I'm one of the most guilty parties on ServerFault when it comes to this. That said, I mostly do this to contribute to the Google Runbook. If there is a question that needs answering, and SF+Google didn't adequately provide the answer, then I try to contribute something for the next person who has the same problem.

Alternatively, if someone asks me a tough question at work (or if it's misinformation that frequently comes up at work) and I have to provide an answer, there's no reason for me not to turn around and take the extra effort of converting the conversation into Q&A format if I wouldn't be creating a dupe in the process.

Simply put, I come to ServerFault for tough questions. I self Q&A for people who do the same. I leave them open for a week just in case someone can do a better job than me, and if they contribute a better answer I'll accept it.


There's a judgement call to be made here and it's not always easy. If the question is contrived, particularly if it seems to be done so in order to shill/spam for a product in the answers, or to allow a company to use SF as their unofficial official support channel, then that can be a problem.

At the other end of the spectrum, someone asking "how do I...?", then figuring it out themselves a few days later and sharing the answer is awesome.

The ticklish area is actually one I've been 'guilty' of at times, posting somewhat contrived questions to contribute to the canonical answers on the site. We want to improve this stock of knowledge but it's easy to see why some people might think it is wrong to allow contrived questions for this purpose yet kick them to the kerb so quickly otherwise.


You should ask and answer your own question if it's interesting.

Most of my questions end up like this; in fact, of all the questions I have asked on this site, another person has answered only one of them, and their answer didn't help (alas). So, ultimately, I find the solution and answer it myself, if I ever figure it out.

This contributes to the body of knowledge, and it is a great way to share what you've found if it's interesting.



I think as long as both question and answer are 'worthy' - in that they're contributing something useful, and not retreading old ground - then it's fine. There's plenty of times when I've had to figure out something complicated, and I can see that as something that's good to write up for a Q&A site.

Of course if it's just shilling or repwhoring, then that's a different matter entirely.

  • 3
    Even if it is schilling or rewhoring, it still benefits others who are searching for the information. Don't worry about the motive, content is king. Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 20:50
  • 1
    @JeromyFrench well no, motive is important. Testimony from a dis-interested 3rd party is more valuable than sales-spiel from people selling products of unknown value. If we allowed someone to shill for bad file recovery products, for example, this would be of very dubious benefit to someone who was searching for information on good file recovery products because, oddly enough, the spammers somehow neglect to mention that their product is crap.
    – Rob Moir
    Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 15:26
  • @RobM: You're doing a great job of making my case: "content is king". If the salesperson has bad intentions, but provides good content, we're good. If the programmer has great intentions, but provides bad content...not so good. The motive is inconsequential. I'll put it another way: this is a results-based world. Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 19:40

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