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I'm well aware of

Can I answer my own questions, even if I knew the answer before asking?,

nonetheless I was wondering whether is it appropriate to clearly specify what I'm doing, rather then posting it as a normal question.

The specific case I'm referring to is my recent 'self Q/A' here

Avoid extra static variables for associated objects keys

I introduced the question with this note

This is not a real question, but just a way of bringing to StackOverflow this nice trick that I recently discovered reading this blog entry by Erica Sadun.

but it feels not completely ok with the StackOverflow question format.

Should I leave the note there or remove it?

  • The golden rule seems to be: If it will help others in the future then it's encouraged. That said, the credits are a nice touch. Something to think about when writing questions is that they should entice others to view it (because its interesting or because others experience the same problem) so be sure to word it that way. – Mike B Apr 15 '13 at 17:20
  • Are you talking about the note or the question/answer itself? – Gabriele Petronella Apr 15 '13 at 17:20
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    @MikeB: I'd say the golden rule isn't that, but rather "make the question look like a question." (as described in this blog post). This means that while the rest of the Q/A is fine, the disclaimer at the top is a bad idea. (It's basically saying "I don't want anyone else to answer the question, even if they think they have a better answer, because it's not 'real.'") – David Robinson Apr 15 '13 at 17:22
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    @DavidRobinson Granted, but the remainder of the question/answer seem acceptable. However, I don't see that note dissuading anyone from contributing another answer if they have an alternative. – Mike B Apr 15 '13 at 17:24
  • @MikeB At the very least it's irrelevant. The question shouldn't be treated any differently by someone reading it than if it were a question asked by someone wishing to be provided an answer. The reader doesn't need to know that he is planing to, or already has, self-answered the question. – Servy Apr 15 '13 at 17:30
  • It should look like a "real" question now. Con you confirm on that? – Gabriele Petronella Apr 15 '13 at 17:34
  • @MikeB I suppose it could apply to either. You seem to not have a problem with the note; I feel it doesn't belong. – Servy Apr 15 '13 at 17:53
  • @Servy I commented a little too fast and didn't notice the emphasis on the Note part of the question. I was referring to the generalities surrounding a self-answered post. I can certainly see your (and others) concern with the note itself. Mea culpe :) – Mike B Apr 15 '13 at 17:54
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    Some discussion of this kind of thing was had a month ago as well: Is this sort of complete solution bad for Stack Overflow? – Josh Caswell Apr 15 '13 at 18:56
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Questions on Stack Exchange need to act like real questions. To the reader, it should be irrelevant who the asker and answerer are. Therefore, the question itself should be written as a question, without disclaimers like yours, and then be answered. If you feel the need to explain where the question came from, consider a comment.

The big risk with self-answers is that the question leaves out important information. Check your answer for that, and otherwise proceed as if you weren't about to answer it yourself.

  • Thank you, that's what I was thinking too just after writing the note. I'll edit my question. – Gabriele Petronella Apr 15 '13 at 17:23
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    I edited my question. I think it looks like a "real" question, without any further modification, am I correct? – Gabriele Petronella Apr 15 '13 at 17:27
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    Looks reasonable to me, though I'm not the best person to evaluate question quality on SO as I'm not active there. – Monica Cellio Apr 15 '13 at 17:41
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    "It should be irrelevant" is true, but it is rarely totally irrelevant since as human we judge stuff and have biased opinions ! – Hugo Dozois Apr 15 '13 at 18:47

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