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How many of us have done this before? I do it all the time, type out a question as thoroughly as possible and in the process discover the answer. It's one of the hidden benefits of stack overflow.

My question is, what should you do if you type out a long question then realise the answer towards the end? I just delete everything and get back to work.. but perhaps thats not the best thing to do, after all someone else may be searching for an answer and having that information may help.

Perhaps there should be some SO functionality where you can hit a button to say self-answered question and it gets put somewhere for reference? Or should you post the question then answer it straight away?

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welcome to the world of rubber ducking –  Tobias Kienzler Oct 21 '10 at 9:20
    
Dupe of meta.stackexchange.com/questions/67303/… though that one is closed. –  Pops Oct 21 '10 at 15:26
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Also very similar to this FAQ entry: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/17463/… –  Pops Oct 21 '10 at 15:31

1 Answer 1

If you can work it out, nearly from scratch, in the 20-30 minutes it takes to write a good question, then I'd just say delete it. If it's something you've seen other people get wrong often and you had to think about it (in the back of your mind?) for a few weeks, then it's worth posting and self answering.

In the latter case, there's no sense in posting a difficult question and leadingly reveal what you want to see answered: just post your answer at the start. Do this by composing the answer below the question text, in the same box at the same time. Cut it out right before pasting, then paste it as an answer immediately.

Before posting a question you plan on self-answering, think twice. Due to the reputation game, it can appear that you're posting crap just for the sake of it when you really found it valuable. Plus you see questions that you want to post differently from how other people will see them, so try to consider it from an alternate viewpoint.

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