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I'm seeing more and more (although I'm sure this has been around for a while) self-answered questions of the type:

Q: Can't find what's wrong in this bit of code

A: Oh, sorry, never mind, it's in another part altogether.

Examples:

What's the procedure/preventive measure here? I mean, that first one got answered by the poster in the same hour. It's not malice, but it is clutter...

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That first one reads like a diary. Will he do another answer for his new findings? –  Johannes Schaub - litb Aug 23 '10 at 12:29
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@litb: Dear diary, today I fixed a bug. Also, I think Suzie from accounting likes me. :D –  MPelletier Aug 23 '10 at 13:28
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Kind of a misleading title... it's not really about self-answered questions, it's about questions that are unanswerable by others, which happens to be largely a subset of self-answered questions. –  Pops Aug 23 '10 at 13:57
    
@Popular Demand: I gave that some more thought and I see what you mean. The question is only unanswerable through lack of the provided code (example 1 really just has the function call and the answer). Not quite sure how I'm gonna word that... –  MPelletier Aug 23 '10 at 15:38
    
I meant: example 1 really just has the function call and the error message. –  MPelletier Aug 23 '10 at 15:52
    
@MPelletier, nice title edit. –  Pops Aug 23 '10 at 16:09
    
@Popular Demand, anything to prove that I succumb to peer pressure, not popular pressure. :) –  MPelletier Aug 23 '10 at 16:52

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

From the FAQ(s):

It's also perfectly fine to ask and answer your own question, as long as you pretend you're on Jeopardy: phrase it in the form of a question.

Self-answered questions generally aren't really harmful and sometimes they can even be helpful to other users, particularly those that are searching the broader internet with a similar issue.

Sometimes the post might be closed as too localized if it were a very simple user error. You could also leave a comment encouraging the user to delete their question if it doesn't benefit the community in any way.

In the case of "Never mind, I figured it out" questions, I would do any or all of the following

  • Leave a comment asking the user to delete his question,
  • Leave a comment asking the user to post his solution as an answer, and/or
  • Vote to close (and possibly revisit a few days later and vote to delete).
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4  
Seconded: Self-answered questions are fine, as long as they conform with SO's other rules. Seeing as no reputation is gained for self-answering a question (except for upvotes on the content, which is perfectly legitimate) there is no possibility of misuse, either. –  Pëkka Aug 23 '10 at 12:27
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I agree. Yet it would be great for the answer to be more than "never mind, it's in another part altogether". Obviously there is a lesson in each found error. As the two examples linked in the question do, explain the real cause. It might be helpful to others. –  malach Aug 23 '10 at 12:32
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@Ralph: You're right, I've seen answers/updates like "Never mind" before. I've updated my answer with what I would do in those situations. –  Andy E Aug 23 '10 at 12:39
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If I find the answer to my own question I post it so that others can benefit from it. It's just helping the community. –  Wikis Aug 23 '10 at 17:27

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