Yesterday I wrote a question in Stack Overflow and after 2 hours I found a "solution", I would answer, for the first time, at my question and Stack Overflow block my answer with this message:

Oops! Your answer couldn't be submitted because:

  • Users with less than 100 reputation can't answer their own question for 8 hours after asking. You may self-answer in 5 hours. Until then please use comments, or edit your question instead.)

and I would want to understand why there is this block?

Yesterday I worked around it by adding on my question a block [answer]answer[/answer] as shown at screen shot below and today I modified again the post moving the block out into an answer but, for me, it is strange to have self-answer block.

EDIT: because Cody and Rory ask why I add the tag [ANSWER] on my question the answer is simple: I didn't know how tell that I resolved the problem so I create that tag for underline that it was out of my question and temporarly there...



2 Answers 2


Although answering your own questions is expressly welcomed, I assume that there are a couple of reasons that this block is in place for new users:

  1. To help avoid the common folly of using answers instead of edits/comments.

    A lot of new users to Stack Overflow are more familiar with "forum"-style websites, where everything is just posted in serial format, one-right-after-the-other. This results in a confused and jumbled mess, where it's almost impossible to separate the signal from the noise. The whole impetus behind our Q&A format is to stop that practice and make it easy to find what you're looking for. Answers are therefore reserved only for actual answers to the question.

    If you want to respond to another user's answer in order to to ask for clarification or additional help, you should leave a comment (new users can always comment on their own questions). If someone asks you for additional information, you should edit your question to include that information.

    In fact, since it is so rare that new users should ever need to post an answer to their own question, we hide and disable this feature, hoping it will drive them to using the more-appropriate features of the site and reduce the load on our already-overworked moderators.

  2. To encourage others to answer.

    If you ask a question and then immediately answer it, you potentially deter other knowledgeable users from considering your question and posting an answer. Yes, you may have come across a solution to your problem, but it may not be the best solution—the whole point of this Q&A business is that someone else in the world might have a better idea or more experience solving such types of problems than you do. "None of us is as smart as all of us." (This is also the same reason you're forced to wait a certain period of time before accepting an answer to your questions.)

    And before you object: In the context of a Q&A site where not all of our users are active at any given time, within 8 hours definitely counts as "immediately". Lots of people only log on once a day, so you should really give them at least 24 hours to come across your question and write an answer.

  3. To prevent abuse.

    If new users could ask questions and post answers immediately, there's a lot of potential for abuse of the system. For example, they might do this to artificially gain reputation points and/or badges, or they might post a bunch of questions that are not actual questions as if the site were a blog.

Thus, we place a small—albeit not insurmountable—barrier in the way, hoping that by the time you gain enough rep to be able to answer your own questions unimpeded, you'll understand the Q&A system here well enough to do so responsibly.

  • 1
    Brilliant answer. This ought to be a faq question/answer.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 9:16
  • @ cody ray : ok I can understand your opinion and I can admit it, but: 1) for me the control on new user should be on registration date and not on reputation points because it could be many things that could caused to an user to have less of 100 rep; 2) the abuse problem should exit ever; 3) I don't remember where (i will do a search and if I will find it I will link it) but I'm sure that I should add an answer and not a comment into a question (not mine) because I was a new user and I could not add a comment! Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 10:25
  • 2
    @Filippo: 1) Going by registration date doesn't make a lot of sense. You could register and then never participate or even log on to the site; why should we therefore assume that you know how the site works? A little reputation isn't that hard to come by if you post some good questions and answers, and we're trying to motivate you to do that in the first place. 2) You're saying abuse shouldn't exist? I agree, but as long as we allow humans to visit the site, it will. 3) No, you should never have done that. You can always comment on answers to your own questions. Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 15:53

It isn't very strange - it prevents brand new users asking questions and answering them straight away in order to artifically gain rep. It's a bar to entry, but not a very high one, and it just stops some of the spam and rubbish we would otherwise get.

As @Cody asks though - why [answer] .. [/answer]?

  • @ rory alsop : well, the problem of the abuse exit for the user that have more than 100 rep... the solution for me? Ban the user that abuse this mecchanism... Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 10:29
  • that does happen when we spot it - and this is easiest when the community flags misbehaviour.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 10:33

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