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I was solving my own problem and several times came close to posing it as a question

See: Sending with SMTP using C#.

However, shedding sufficient blood, sweat, and tears, I managed to solve it.

I felt that solution was worth sharing with the Stack Overflow membership and so I posted it and indicated that it was solved.

Apparently this is a no-no ... sorry, I do not understand why. My departed Mother taught me that sharing is a good thing. Sharing takes time. I invested a substantial amount of my limited personal time in sharing this solution that I'm sure will help others who will fail into similar traps.

Is there perhaps some eleventh commandment "Thou shalt not share"?


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See also… – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 22:59
What was your actual question you were trying to answer? I see an answer posted there (where there should be a question) but what is the question? – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 23:11
I understand your frustration, but Stack Overflow has its own unique format.. for good and for bad, we are all obliged to stick to it. – Shadow Wizard Aug 14 '11 at 7:22
@Robert Harvey Hi Robert, to answer your question i need to rephrase it to "what would my question have been had i not discovered the answer at the eleventh hour myself". in that case it might have been something like "How do i get c# .NET 4 SMTP to work?" and i would have described my problem without adding the solution that i fortunately discovered. Since we are in meta here, i suggest this meta discussion might better evolve to something like "is sharing solutions a valid activity for so?" – gerryLowry Aug 14 '11 at 17:47

Questions should be questions and answers should be posted as answers, answering your own questions is perfectly acceptable, just stick to the format.

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In addition, it helps if you wait a day before posting your answer. Nobody knows why; it's just one of the great mysteries of SO. Actually, posting your answer a day later makes it look less like you're using SO as your own personal blog. It also gives others a chance to weigh in with their own answers first. – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 22:32
@Robert Harvey: I really wonder if that is such a good/ethical thing to do, this potentially wastes hundreds of man-hours. – H.B. Aug 13 '11 at 22:34
In almost all cases I've seen where someone has posted their own answer to their own question, someone else has weighed in with knowledge or wisdom the OP had not considered. – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 22:37
@Robert Harvey: I do not doubt that something may be gained, but it might come at a considerable price. – H.B. Aug 13 '11 at 22:38
I'm having a little trouble figuring out what ethics are being violated here. It doesn't matter who answers the question, and everyone contributes their time voluntarily here. – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 22:49
@RobertHarvey, H.B. I, for one, consider it basic politeness to share your wisdom as soon as you have it (and have the time to share it). If you know the answer at the time you post your question, post your answer immediately. If others have a better answer, they can post it anyway. If others do some research to reach the same answer, then by not posting your answer immediately you've wasted their time. – Gilles Aug 13 '11 at 22:49
@Robert Harvey: If you have a problem worth sharing it's likely to be a nail biter (is that an approriate phrase?) and as there are a lot of fanatics here surely some will dive into the problem and invest in some cases rather large amounts of time, time which might be spent better on a problem that actually needs solving. – H.B. Aug 13 '11 at 22:51
@Gilles: I'm inclined to agree, but you know as well as I do that some members of the community (for whatever reason) dislike it when the OP immediately posts an answer to their own question. In fact, I've seen some people tell the OP in comments, "If you already have the answer, just put it in your question." – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 22:51
@H.B Yes, but the community sometimes sees this as an abuse of the system, as asking "not a real question." If you already knew the answer to your question, why are you asking it? – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 22:53
@Robert Harvey: Then they are in the wrong and should be pointed to the official blog, it's allowed and even encouraged. – H.B. Aug 13 '11 at 22:55
@RobertHarvey That would be an SO thing, then. I haven't seen it on SE2.0 sites, or even on SU and SF. – Gilles Aug 13 '11 at 22:56
Like I said, I'm inclined to agree, but this issue is by no means cut and dry; see here:… – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 22:58
@Robert Harvey ... i do not see this a personal blog; it's simply sharing; if i wrote a blog article, it would go into substantially more detail. in searching for a solution, i read quite a few blog articles and found very many of them to be far too brief for my taste. – gerryLowry Aug 13 '11 at 23:02
"How do i use SMTP with C#?" is not a question that would stay open. It's NaRQ: Too Broad. It would have to be fleshed out a bit more than that. – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 23:30
I left a comment on the question. Case closed. – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 23:34

To make this work, you have to make your question and answer look like other questions and answers on Stack Overflow.

  1. Like Jeopardy, you must phrase it in the form of a question. Your question must follow the same formatting and guidelines for posting answers as everyone else's.
  2. Answer your own question in the answer, following the usual Stack Overflow guidelines for answering.
  3. You can accept your own answer two days after you post it.

Note that the debate about whether or not you can post an answer to your own question is a bit of a red herring; the "answer" you posted was not well-received because you didn't follow the Stack Overflow format: Questions are questions, answers are answers, and you didn't post a question.

Instead, you posted an answer where a question should be, to a question that... well, I don't even know what the question was.

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i would have preferred to break it into question and answer BUT the answer can not be posted for two days. as i said, i'm trying to be helpful by sharing. imho, it would be unhelpful to NOT post the answer immediately because then other so members would waste their own valuable time trying to solve a problem that I've already solved ... if i did that, then it would seem to me that it was not a question but a quiz. to my credit, i wrote in the first line "any comments are definitely very welcome. ". please forgive me if i seem to be on the defensive. – gerryLowry Aug 13 '11 at 22:59
@gerry: What do you mean? Your answer can be posted immediately. See here:… – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 23:02
@Robert: You need some minimal amount of reputation to be allowed to post answers to your own question immediately. – Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 13 '11 at 23:06
@Paŭlo: I have no idea what that rep amount might be. It does makes sense, though. – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 23:07
@Paŭlo: Thanks. – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 23:16
@Robert Harvey: Maybe this should be included somewhere on the privileges page, does not seem like it's there. – H.B. Aug 13 '11 at 23:26
@H.B It looks like it's relatively new. The changes come so fast now I can't keep up with them. – Robert Harvey Aug 13 '11 at 23:27
well, I don't even know what the question was — related to that, I never understood why the FAQ uses Jeopardy as an example. As far as I understand, that game is about guessing what the question is!(Really, that sentence confused me a lot a long time ago.) – Arjan Aug 14 '11 at 6:38

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