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I've spotted an unusual user. Long story short they ask tons of questions (normal) but almost exclusively answers questions they asked themselves - is this behavior normal/acceptable?

The user I have in mind (I don't want to finger-point so I won't link to them) has asked 10 times as many questions as answers - normal; it's their right to ask a lot of questions - but of their answers, less than 20% of them are in response to someone else's question - the other 80% are answers to their own questions.

So less than 2% of this user's total activity (only about 10 answers) actually involves other users in the community! I hate to be one of those people, but I gotta admit I'm a little impressed by how much rep they've pulled in with this very introverted behavior!

Is this normal/acceptable user behavior for a StackExchange site? Are there any guards requiring a certain level of "participation" with the rest of the community? Should there be?

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It's OK, as long as the questions and answers are of good quality and on topic. It's even encouraged to answer your own question - if it is a real problem you faced. If the user actually pulls in rep, then they are probably good questions/answers. – nhahtdh Oct 1 '12 at 16:43
Most of my early answers were "Derp, I figured it out, this is what I did", it's possible this is the case for them too – Ben Brocka Oct 1 '12 at 16:46
If the questions and answers contain content that is useful/valuable to the community then they will be upvoted and clearly there is no problem to begin with. If they're not useful/valuable they will be downvoted and the appropriate action will have been taken. – Servy Oct 1 '12 at 16:48
up vote 11 down vote accepted

If they are posting quality content, it's still a valuable contribution.

That being said, I can understand the frustration of users who answer their questions. I was a little annoyed the other day when I answered someone's question and they proceeded to: select my answer; ask a question in the comments; look up what I suggested; post an answer of their own, expanding upon my answer; deselect my answer; and, select their own answer. However, the end result is still more helpful content being available for future users. I can't really make an argument that my virtual profile gaining 15 virtual reputation points is more important than that.

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+1 - hadn't seen this when I posted below. – Jaydles Oct 1 '12 at 17:00
But your answer focuses on the single-instance case; you're looking at one question. I agree wholeheartedly, but when a user exclusively answers their own questions - always? I can't help but wonder if there should be limits. – Richard JP Le Guen Oct 1 '12 at 17:34
@Richard JP Le Guen: Why? Self-answered questions are tricky to do, but they can be some of the best content on a site when done well. If a person prefers to do just that and not answer on other people's questions, what's it to you? – Jon Ericson Oct 1 '12 at 17:46

Yes, answering your own questions is welcome.

See this blog post from Joel.

And yes, it's okay even if you never really answer anyone else's questions, as long as your questions are on-topic, and your answers are helpful.

Now, from an etiquette perspective:

  1. It's better to post them at the same time when possible, so you don't waste anyone's time, and
  2. You should not generally be posting answers to your own question that are mostly built off of others' answers - if you get good answers from others, you should try to edit if necessary, and upvote and accept those.

At the end of the day, the goal is to get good questions with great answers; anything that achieves that will generally be viewed as a Good Thing.

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+1, back atcha. I think your answer still adds something unique, because: (1) You give shoulds where I just give an anecdote; and, (2) you have that little diamond as a cosigner for "proper etiquette". – smartcaveman Oct 1 '12 at 17:23
But my concern isn't on answering your own question; it's on exclusively answering your own questions. – Richard JP Le Guen Oct 1 '12 at 17:35
@RichardJPLeGuen, I know. What I'm saying is this: Assuming they're good questions and answers, someone who only answers their own questions is adding to the site. Someone who does that and also answers others' questions is adding even more. Both are welcome. – Jaydles Oct 1 '12 at 17:43 – Won't Oct 1 '12 at 20:44

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