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I showed up here to write a perfectly normal rant about misaligned pixels, and there's a big fat checkbox cluttering up the "Ask" page:

A new checkbox appears below the Post button


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What about users who can't self-answer immediately? Is this not shown to them? –  Jeremy Banks May 18 '12 at 0:07
Right now, this is limited to users with at least 100 reputation points, @JeremyBanks. We may adjust that later. –  Shog9 May 18 '12 at 0:09
Hey, @shog, what's up with the spate of metaposts from you SE employees asking for input? Tired of doing stuff in SEKRIT? –  Manishearth May 18 '12 at 1:51
It's not jazz, it's alternative rock. –  Robert Harvey May 18 '12 at 4:00
With identical (to the eye) timestamps for question and answer, this is I suppose a way to guarantee being the Fastest Possible FGITW... –  AakashM May 18 '12 at 8:34
I think you know... Durr... –  casperOne May 18 '12 at 14:17
This sounds great! If nothing else it'll be helpful in convincing people answering your question itself isn't evil abuse and depriving them of precious reps –  Ben Brocka May 18 '12 at 19:35
@BenBrocka: as long as the Q+A isn't used to then go vote to close other folks existing questions as a duplicate of your new self-answer ;) –  user7116 May 18 '12 at 19:52
@JeremyBanks SE has implemented a very innovative algorithm that predetermines whether or not the asker is already able to answer their question, and then only shows the checkbox when they know the asker can. They're just that good. –  dlanod May 20 '12 at 22:51
Good for graphicdesign.stackexchange.com –  dezso Jun 21 '12 at 16:56
Oh man I forgot about Eeeeek... –  nhinkle Jul 30 at 15:25

3 Answers 3

Since Stack Overflow began, spontaneously sharing what you've learned by posting a question and immediately answering it has been allowed and even encouraged:

  • if you have a question that you already know the answer to
  • if you’d like to document it in public so others (including yourself) can find it later
  • it is OK to ask, and answer, your own question on a relevant Stack Exchange site.

But as the number of people using Stack Overflow - and Stack Exchange - grows ever larger, self-answering as the "blog" portion of the not-quite-venn-diagram has repeatedly been ignored, disparaged, and simply forgotten. We've toyed with the idea of introducing wiki pages or articles as first-class citizens a few times, but always came back to the realization that... They've always been first-class citizens. Just quiet, well-behaved ones.

So we decided to bolt it right onto the Ask page.

We'll be watching this closely to see how it works, and whether or not it causes unexpected problems. Update: The rep threshold has been dropped to 15 and will stay there unless we find people are abusing it.

See also Encyclopedia Stack Exchange on the blog.

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+1 for the last line! –  animuson May 18 '12 at 0:07
So...How's it work? How's it any different than the way we always used to answer our own questions? –  Cody Gray May 18 '12 at 0:08
@TheEstablishment: It lets you answer the question while you're asking it. You basically type both pieces on the same page. At least, that's what the screen-shot looked like. goes and checks the Ask Question page - Yep, that's it. –  animuson May 18 '12 at 0:09
Well...yeah. I mean, I could have done that, too. I just thought that info belonged in the answer. :-) –  Cody Gray May 18 '12 at 0:12
+1 for the [all but futile] attempt at keeping devs away from D3. –  Makoto May 18 '12 at 0:18
Ah, finally, we turned Stack Exchange into a blog. Cool! –  Yannis May 18 '12 at 0:29
If you don't try it for yourself, you don't get to appreciate the weird-ass fading-moving-buttons Emmett whipped up after arguing about it half the afternoon! –  Shog9 May 18 '12 at 0:30
@Shog9: When you say "arguing about it half the afternoon" do you mean arguing about the feature or arguing about having to make the feature and not being able to play Diablo? –  animuson May 18 '12 at 4:30
+1 style point for using the new "answer your own question" feature to post the answer that explains the new "answer your own question" feature. Very meta. –  Pops May 18 '12 at 7:00
When the threshold for immediate self-answering was dropped from 100 to 15, did that also drop the threshold for the 8-hour delay on self-answering the usual way? –  Tim Stone Sep 2 '12 at 6:56
@Tim Stone: Unfortunately, it did not. –  BoltClock's a Unicorn Sep 24 '12 at 22:36
@BoltClock So this checkbox is worthless for people with <100 rep? Or can they answer their own quesion directly by checking the box, but they have to wait 8h if they don't? –  Johannes Kuhn Apr 4 '13 at 16:14
@Johannes no - it's actually worth more since otherwise you have to wait to self-answer. –  Shog9 Apr 4 '13 at 16:15
Doing so may be "allowed and encouraged" de jure, but I think the de facto policy is to discourage such behavior with downvotes and critical comments. Maybe something should be done to bring these two into alignment? –  augurar Feb 27 at 17:35

Great feature!

Just want to propose a small tweak:

Move the checkbox above the submit button

enter image description here

Why? Two reasons:

  • It's slightly better-- the option is seen even if the window isn't maximized. IMO, having more buttons after the submit button isn't that good an idea.

  • (This is the actual reason): You can play with the awesome fade feature better if the checkbox stays in one place.

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Heh... This is what I was arguing with Emmett about. Yes, it makes way more sense above the button, especially if you're gonna be checking and un-checking it frequently. But you shouldn't be. And most users probably shouldn't be checking it at all most of the time. Putting it in the way just makes it more likely to be misused (remember when the "community wiki" checkbox showed up right under the post body for questions, and new users kept hitting it without realizing what it did?) –  Shog9 May 18 '12 at 4:02
@Shog9: Hmmm, right :/ . Why make a cool fade feature if you have to (gasp) move your mouse to play with it? :P Actually, you guys ought to consult UX.SE in such cases. I did that once about one of your features. –  Manishearth May 18 '12 at 4:07
I don't care where the checkbox goes (there are good arguments for both), but there's too much movement of on-screen elements when you click it. That's a problem even if you only click it once. It's like that horrid auto-expanding search box. Users don't like it when things move out from underneath their cursor, especially when it serves absolutely no useful purpose. –  Cody Gray May 18 '12 at 6:37
@TheEstablishment: Yeah, that's what I felt as well. –  Manishearth May 18 '12 at 6:46
cc: @shog9. Any thoughts? –  Manishearth May 18 '12 at 6:47
Yeah, we'll have to find a way to do this that's slightly less jarring. Or distract The Establishment with an all-new pulsating search box. –  Shog9 May 18 '12 at 8:05
@Shog9: setInterval(function(){$('#answer-from-ask').click()},750) (make the number less to make it faster, but then it interferes with the fade and goes erratic) –  Manishearth May 18 '12 at 8:09
putting it above the button signals to the user that they have to make a decision. putting it below the button signals that it is more advanced, and for people who know what it is, but that they don't really need to worry about it if they don't want to. –  Kip May 21 '12 at 18:43
+1 to this. I believe this button was there for so long and I did not notice it, until I actually searched meta for such question. –  Manish Sapariya Sep 6 '13 at 9:04

I like it - answering your question at the same time as asking is going to save other people the time of answering (and possibly even reading) your question while not knowing that you already had an answer cooked up.

Here is a suggestion to go with this new feature when it is rolled out beyond the Meta-verse: you want to encourage new (competing) answers where appropriate on these instantly-self-answered* questions. I'm think possibly this can be a new badge, i.e. receiving [x] more upvotes than the marked self answer?

I'm thinking that we don't want to have these questions avoiding the technical scrutiny of the community, we don't want people posting theoretical question-answers where the answer is possibly not that technically accurate.

*Also known as Insta-Answers™

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Well, we have the Populist badge already, which is awarded for answers that outscore the accepted answer. But that's assuming that someone who self-answers will accept their own answer. –  Cody Gray May 18 '12 at 1:25
@The Est - populist has quite a high threshold, it requires the marked answer to have a score of 10. If a marked answer is scored that highly then I wouldn't be concerned. I'm think of when the marked answer has just one or two votes (i.e. the answerer's friend and his sock), but a competing answer has maybe 10+ upvotes, clearly showing that the marked insta-answer is sub-optimal. –  slugster May 18 '12 at 2:02

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