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This is based on the discussion I discovered here.

It might be a simple rewording or an interface change but if answering ones own questions is acceptable then the alert box may be a cause of confusion.

It tends to cause this reaction:

Oh, an alert box? This must be a really bad thing to do.

For the record here's what the alert looks like:

alt text

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Okay, now have a +1. –  Pops Nov 16 '10 at 22:26
    
Enlighten us, what does it say? –  Uphill Luge Nov 16 '10 at 22:27
    
@Hans - I've added a screen shot of the dialog. –  ChrisF Nov 16 '10 at 22:33

2 Answers 2

Well answering your own question, while allowed, isn't advertised. It's why the option exists in the first place. If you've solved your own problem then yes you should answer your own question.

We get enough people posting "answers" when they should be editing the question and trying to treat SO as a forum despite this alert, so would a "less intimidating" one result in more "forum" type posts?

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Don't forget people posting answers when they should be posting comments. –  Grace Note Nov 16 '10 at 22:26
    
@Grace - that's a separate, but related (assuming SO is a forum) problem. –  ChrisF Nov 16 '10 at 22:28
    
If someone solves a problem on his own I'd prefer to see the answer on the site rather than just leave the question unanswered. –  Alexandre Jasmin Nov 16 '10 at 22:41
    
@Alexandre - that case is very much allowed. There have been numerous questions here asking if it's OK and the answer is always "yes". –  ChrisF Nov 16 '10 at 22:44

I think that it needs to be made more effective, regardless of if that means making it more or less intimidating. If you have an actual answer to your question, then you generally know that you would like to add it as an answer and not a comment or edit to your post. I see people adding 'answers' to clarify the question or respond to real answers frequently enough that I don't think that it works.

I'm loathe to put a rep limit on it but it should at least be made a little more clear. Maybe one of those cool javascript modal 'alerts' (can't remember the name right now). You know, toss a div up over the whole page with its opacity set to something around .80 and the faux alert right there in the middle of the screen. That might make it less intimidating but more effective. I find that I often associate classical alerts with annoying spam and faux alerts (I know theres a better name for it) with high class spam. Consequently when confronted with a true alert, I figure out as rapidly as possible if I should click 'yes' or 'no' to achieve the desired effect and do so without thinking any more about it. I give the faux alerts at least a few more usecs to make a positive impression and convey their message.

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inb4 'use jquery' –  aaronasterling Nov 17 '10 at 3:02
    
I think "lightbox" is the term you are looking for and is an excellent idea. Replace the alert box with a lightbox that is consistant with the style of the site. It should articulate other options besides answering your own question as well as explain why you would want to answer your own question. –  hiwaylon Nov 18 '10 at 17:45

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