I might want to answer my own question because:

  • I arrived at a solution before there were any other correct answers or I like mine better, can I still answer my own question?

  • I have a folder with lists of code snippets for things I always forget or get wrong, such as regular expressions for processing XML, common WinForms control idioms, etc.

    Is it considered poor etiquette for Stack Overflow to ask a question I already know the answer to, and then self answer, just so it gets recorded on the website?


For more information, see "Can I answer my own question?" in the Help Center.

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  • 2
    The "See also" link should point to the new location, here on Meta. <meta.stackexchange.com/questions/12513/…> Commented Jan 21, 2010 at 21:43
  • 2
    Rather than minimum rep, there should be a minimum time to let others post their answers.
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 11:13
  • 17
    I get criticized for doing this, and many people avoid upvoting. Others have received down votes for doing this. It would be nice if there was something in the SO question that made it obvious that this is acceptable and encouraged behavior as opposed to bad etiquette. I almost always solve my own programming problems, and sometimes I think the information would be useful to the community. I am partly doing it for the upvotes - that's what the gamefication of Q&A is all about. Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 17:25
  • 4
    @KeithWalton I regularly post question and answer pairs and frequently find it the case as you reported that people vote it down or close the question. One Q&A pair I posted was actually closed as "self promoting" because I actually published an open source tool in order to answer the question "does a tool exist to do xxx?" Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 13:34
  • I think that the best way to decide whether it is suitable to post it is to think "If I didn't know the answer to this, would I post it on stackoverflow"
    – matts1
    Commented Jul 4, 2013 at 12:19

3 Answers 3



There are already numerous posts that answer their own questions. There's nothing wrong with it. It's even been encouraged since the very beginning of time.

Common reasons for self-answering are:

  • You're about to post a question asking about something that's not previously been addressed on that site, but you find the answer later through your own investigation. You can post your problem in the question and your solution as a self-answer, in order to help others who encounter the same problem as you. (Do not post your solution into the question itself.)
  • You've already asked a question, and you find its solution later. You can post your solution as a self-answer to help others in solving it.
  • On meta sites, if you're proposing a solution to a problem that hasn't been addressed before, it's often better to just post about the problem in the question and post your proposed solution as a self-answer, so that others can propose alternate solutions or viewpoints as answers. (On this site, Meta Stack Exchange, this also safeguards your reputation in case your proposed solution turns out to be unpopular: you can delete your answer, but you can't delete your question if it's been answered.)

You can even accept your own answer (but not earlier than 48 hours after asking the question).

The only requirement is you need to have at least 15 reputation to instantly self-answer from the "Ask Question" page. However, all users regardless of reputation can self-answer their questions later, after posting the question.

  • 4
    This is a relief, my latest post on SO has many useful comments and I am getting close to solving the problem.
    – user222137
    Commented Jun 9, 2013 at 2:25
  • @user222137 Absolutely! I've definitely posted a question before with no real "answers", but got some great comments that gave me hints, and subsequently solved my own problem and posted an answer (sometimes days later). Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 20:19

This is a thin line. On one side, Jeff is quite clear: If it's helpful to at least one other developer, it should be here. It also creates good Content, and Content is the #1 priority for a site.

On the other hand, "spamming" the site and turning it into just another Code Snippet site is what some users (including me) do not seem to want.

As this is essentially a Question/Answer site, I personally would not object seeing a code snippet as long as there is a Use Case assigned to it. i.e. "This is a codeSnippet for creating a .ddf file, which is used by Sharepoint Developers to create Features/Solutions".

I'd say: Just ask yourself "Is this really useful to a lot of people?" and try to keep a balance.

Edit: Also keep in mind that other people may look at your snippet and tell you better ways to improve it. That's why a use Case is so important. if people know what this snippet is used for, they can help making it better/more versatile/more efficient etc.

  • 3
    +1: for emphasis on the use case as a way to found a better solution.
    – Loda
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 9:19

I am currently adding a question for anything I have to Google for, on the assumption that other people will probably have the same need one day. What sold me on the idea of stackoverflow was that the knowledge would be maintained and looked after by many people; so a good answer found on stackoverflow really should be something you can count on. It takes the russian roulette out of accepting things you find on a google search.

  • I wonder if when this user said "anything I have to google for", they really meant to say "anything I googled for and didn't immediately find the answer for or an identical but yet-unanswered Stack Exchange question for by googling", which would be more in-line with the logic of Michael Stum's more currently more upvoted answer.
    – starball
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 6:59

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