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Users often ask questions that they answer for themselves. Good for them. And good for us.


The correct procedure seems to be:

  1. Write new answer to own question
  2. Wait two days
  3. Accept own answer

The incorrect, but fairly popular, procedure seems to be:

  1. Edit the question to include the solution
  2. Put "[SOLVED] or [RESOLVED]" in the title

Proposed solution

Users should be warned when using the word "solved", delimited in any way, in a question title. This could be "[SOLVED]", "(solved)", or even "Solved - ". I imagine this:

  1. The user tries to submit an edit that adds "solved" such that the word "solved is delimited. The user is brought to a warning page.
  2. If the only edit to the question was appending new lines (such as adding an "edit:" paragraph), that edit is copied into a text box
  3. The page mentioned in 1 is shown as follows:

    $StackSite marks questions as answered when you accept an answer. You can accept an answer by clicking the green check mark next to that answer. There's no need to put "SOLVED" or "RESOLVED" in the title!

    Are you answering your own question?

    Create a proper answer to your question:

    1. Move your edit to a new answer.
    2. Write your answer.
    3. If nobody writes a more correct or thorough answer after two days, come back and accept your answer.

    By doing this, you remove your question from the Unanswered Questions list. You also allow other $StackSite users to vote your answer up. Thanks for helping out!


    Not answering your own question?

    Sorry for slowing you down.



This would likely reduce the number of [RE]SOLVED questions that appear. However, it's unclear whether this should be a community moderation issue or a feature request issue. The increased engineering work required in building in the interstitial page is probably quite nontrivial, whereas this type of question makes up well under 453 questions.

Note: Google also provides a bit better results.

share|improve this question
Probably safe to just delete all those "SOLVED" questions – random Apr 6 '11 at 18:27
I hope you mean to delete the word "SOLVED" - the answers themselves are pretty good to have around. – Wesley Apr 6 '11 at 18:48
SOLVED: Don't put SOLVED in the title. – Won't Apr 6 '11 at 19:12
+1 I agree with the sentiment, but by @random's rationale, @Wesley, your question here would get deleted on your first edit :P – MPelletier Apr 6 '11 at 19:45
I may be misunderstanding. I am completely opposed to questions getting deleted. My comment was meant to say: "If this feature request is rejected, it might be safe for moderators to delete the word SOLVED manually from questions where this applies". My intention is that this problem be solved in one of two ways: either by new feature or by moderator attention on individual Stack sites. – Wesley Apr 6 '11 at 20:25
@Wont the new title does not flow with the question.... – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Jul 15 '11 at 18:20
I'm guilty of this behavior because I was trying to match a pattern I saw when I asked one of my first questions. Should I go back and edit out the solved stuff (bumping an "old" question to the front) or just leave it as is? – Troyen Jul 15 '11 at 22:16
You also get badges when you get up-votes on answers that you submit to your own question. In as much, they're hard to get. I think it's nice because it encourages people to keep looking for answers to their own questions after posting, and to answer their own questions rather than delete them when they find the answer. – 千里ちゃん Jul 26 '11 at 13:17
Related… – ChrisF Aug 19 '11 at 17:51
At the moment there are ~600 questions with "solved" in the title, most of them seem legitimate. By the question volume of SO, I don't think an automated system would be necessary. – Time Traveling Bobby Dec 15 '11 at 12:44
@Bobby I edited ca 30 prior to the bounty – örs Dec 17 '11 at 13:04
@Bobby "Most" maybe, but not by a large margin. The real problem I see is that there are so many ways of denoting this. "SOLVED: <question>", "<question> - solved", etc. I'm not sure trying to catch all of them is worth the false positives, and focusing on the obvious ones means most will remain uncaught. – Matthew Read Feb 14 '12 at 23:43
@MatthewRead: A few false positives are no problem at all as long as it just means clicking away a warning. – Erwin Brandstetter Apr 13 '12 at 21:40
This should be expanded to detect putting "solved" in the body of the question, e.g. in the case of this question. It's quite common this won't go into the title. – doppelgreener May 1 '13 at 23:00

This sounds like a great idea, but I think if there was to be an actual system it should be a mix of 2 things:

  • Automatic recommendation. This should be for all the common cases you described. But this will leave quite a number of false positives/false negatives. Not to mention a lot of people will probably not even bother reading the warning message.
  • Flag that could be at the same level as other flags, where users would be able to tell that this looks suspiciously like a solved answer, and a mod could take action.

The reasons for the mix of these 2 is that, after browsing a bit in the search, there seems to be a great diversity and creativity in the way people mark something as solved, and an efficient system would need to find a good compromise between false negatives and false positives. If we just add a warning, I get the feeling that a lot of people will keep doing it, there needs to be a way to take action if we really want to go that way.

False negatives: There is still a certain number of posts who would be non-detected by a script but easily by humans (assuming we want to avoid too many false positives). Some examples of posts who would be hard to catch:

False positives:

In summary, I think the automatic system should be very basic otherwise this will end of flagging too much stuff, you'd need to do some kind of AI to have a reasonable algorithm and I don't think it's worth the effort. People will do a much better job at flagging those. But overall that's a pretty minor issue if you look at the number of "solved" posts, and a lot of headache for not that much impact.

share|improve this answer
"not solved" may be a "false" positive, but it's still 4 characters noisier than "solved" :P – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 20 '12 at 21:35
good point ;) i agree that it's just noise and should be removed as such too, i thought it would be funny to add this to the list as a bad example – Charles Menguy Apr 20 '12 at 21:44
Thanks for answering! And more links are always good. I wouldn't want a system to entirely prevent these titles/edits: just one to tell people "you might be dong it wrong". If it misses some, we can edit as we do today. – Kate Gregory Apr 20 '12 at 21:49
Oh, the other reason editing/flagging doesn't work is that we can't pull half the "question" out into an answer that is credited to the OP. Telling them that this is actually a ok time to answer their own question is the only way to get that. – Kate Gregory Apr 20 '12 at 21:50
Thanks for your comments ! I would say that just removing "noise" from the question doesn't change the semantic meaning of the question, and thus the answer is credited to the same meaning. – Charles Menguy Apr 20 '12 at 22:01
@linker no, in these questions the person doesn't just add the noise "solved" they all embed the answer in the question. This is something that is hard to fix after the fact. – Kate Gregory Apr 21 '12 at 23:25
The point is, that if the OP edits the posts to add solved. If he posts it directly with solved, fine, there is a "answer my own question" box. If the title already contains solved, then ignore it. E.g "My soduko solver solved some sodokus wrong". Otherwise just display a notice with 2 buttons "Edit anyway" and "Posting an answer would be better". – Johannes Kuhn Apr 6 '13 at 23:55

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