Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

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.


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...

share|improve this question
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
@litb: Dear diary, today I fixed a bug. Also, I think Suzie from accounting likes me. :D – MPelletier Aug 23 '10 at 13:28
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
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).
share|improve this answer
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
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
@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
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

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .