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With all the talk over self-answered "blog-like" Q&As, I thought about writing my own. The idea as I understand it is to share knowledge, but my planned approach conflicts with what I think are the ideal Stack Overflow question guidelines.

I spend most of my time reading Google Maps questions and want to write a self-answered "blog-like" entry about adding custom text to map markers.

However, if I were to ask it as a regular question, I would call it a duplicate (I've answered at least three questions about what I plan to write).

Then, why would I want to write it? The questions I answered for others were targeted to their needs and only a subset of possibilities were covered. In the self-answered post, I would go into more depth, cover various use cases and examples, maybe even show step-by-step instructions.

Does it make sense to write something like a "guide" that is broader than the usual "help me with my scenario" question? Or should self-answered Q&A follow standard Question guidelines?

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I think this question provides an interesting case study. –  Kirk Woll May 25 '12 at 4:20

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

However, if I were to ask it as a regular question, I would call it a duplicate (I've answered at least three questions about what I plan to write).

Then, why would I want to write it?

The guidelines for questions are always the same:

If a question doesn't belong on the site or in an exact duplicate of another question, the community will close it (self-answered or not).

The questions I answered for others were targeted to their needs and only a subset of possibilities were covered.

If there are some restriction present in a question that limit the options to solve the problem, a question about the same problem without those restrictions cannot be considered a duplicate.

On Super User, this happens all the time. The very same question - once for Windows, once for Ubuntu - gets asked twice. Neither is a duplicate of the other.

In the self-answered post, I would go into more depth, cover various use cases and examples, maybe even show step-by-step instructions.

Depth, examples and step-by-step instructions are also a good thing when answering other users' questions.

Does it make sense to write something like a "guide" that is broader than the usual "help me with my scenario" question?

If there is already a (specific) question, but the general case is easy to extrapolate, there's no need for a new question.

As a rule of thumb:

If the problem in your question doesn't get solved by an answer to another question on the same site, it's not a duplicate (and vice versa).

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This is all true enough, but if you want to write one "canonical" question (and answer) that covers all the common bases, that would be fine. The other now-duplicates can be closed as duplicates of the canonical question. –  Cody Gray May 25 '12 at 3:13

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