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This is specifically about answering your own question. This perfectly legitimate and valuable question was asked on Apr 10 '10 at 3:16 and was answered soon after (at Apr 10 '10 at 7:59).

Then on Apr 13 '10 at 5:24 the OP answers their own question with code clearly copied straight from the genuine answer. The OP's answer has added or contributed nothing of value. No edits were made to any question or answer so timings are clear, and the OP plagiarized.

In this instance, the community has noticed and down-voted (at expense to the down-voters). I want to know if this an appropriate instance for a flag and removal of the answer? The only rep-farming guidance I can find on meta is about asking inappropriate questions.

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Well, the answer currently sits at -6 votes. If he's trying to rep farm, he's clearly failed. I wouldn't waste the mods' time with this. –  Adam Rackis Jan 18 '12 at 18:27
    
I've always favored deleting answers that are exact duplicates (unless they were obviously posted without seeing each other, i.e., within a couple minutes), but I've been regularly overruled by other mods. I'm not clear on the rationale for it, but it seems to be policy :/ –  Matthew Read Jan 18 '12 at 18:33
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@AdamRackis +1 for "If he's trying to rep farm, he's clearly failed", it made me smile. :) –  Alenanno Jan 18 '12 at 18:41
    
-10 now. The meta is clearly angry –  Adam Rackis Jan 18 '12 at 18:46

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

So long as the question and answer are valid and the question is not an obvious duplicate, asking a question and answering it is a valid thing to do.

The issue here is about how much value do the question and answer add to StackOverflow (or any StackExchange site, for that matter), not who asked and answered them.

See Can I answer my own questions, even those where I knew the answer before asking?.

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As Adam Rackis pointed out in his comment, the OP's answer has been downvoted into oblivion. Going further, it is not sorted to the top. Self-answers are subject to vote sorting rules and do not get the normal special treatment that other accepted answers get. The OP got no reputation points for accepting his own answer, he cannot give himself +15.

While it is certainly not a desirable thing for users to steal other people's answers and not give proper credit, this behavior does not appear to be rewarded in this case. Other cases may differ. But as Oded also accurately points out, self-answers are explicitly allowed, and there is no reason to disallow them, as they are useful if the content of both the question and answer is good.

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Are you sure "self-answers are subject to vote sorting rules"? In my browser the OP's answer appears above the legitimate one, even with a negative score 20 below the best answer. –  Styne666 Jan 18 '12 at 18:49
    
@Styne666, default sorting is on votes, you appear to have yours set to another sort option, such as "active." However, in vote-based sorting, the accepted answer would normally bubble to the top even if another answer has a higher score. With self-accepts, the OP's answer is not listed above other answers with higher scores. –  Anthony Pegram Jan 18 '12 at 18:53
    
So it would seem! Thank you. –  Styne666 Jan 18 '12 at 19:01

Then on Apr 13 '10 at 5:24 the OP answers their own question with code clearly copied straight from the genuine answer. The OP's answer has added or contributed nothing of value. No edits were made to any question or answer so timings are clear, and the OP plagiarized.

That's not a duplicate answer, so I think the accusation of plagiarism is a little too strong. Yes, the OP's answer is based on mosg's original answer, but it's not an exact duplicate. Read the comments on mosg's answer. People shouldn't be discouraged from posting the code that they finally got to work, they should be encouraged to do that.

Whether the OP should have accepted his own answer or not is debatable. Sure, it would have been nice of him to accept mosg's answer as a way of saying thanks, but I don't see anything wrong with accepting your own answer it it contains the version of the code that finally worked as you wanted. This is not rep farming. The OP doesn't gain anything from accepting his own answer. Instead he passed up 2 free reputation points that he could have gotten for accepting someone else's answer. Instead he thought it would be better to accept the answer that he finally got to work. I don't think we should be punishing people for that.

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Well spotted Bill. Although on closer inspection it seems the OP's self-answer doesn't actually answer the OP's question. Still suggests to me some un-SO-like behaviour. –  Styne666 Jan 18 '12 at 19:07

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