I would just like to ask if it will be within the established guidelines here for me to post tutorials/articles on basic topics like parsing XML with Java, traversing the drive and so on which are intended for beginners. Not frequently, maybe once in a while like when I develop a mnemonic or some other thing to remember some topic that I would like to share, etc.

I will make sure I tick "community wiki" so that veterans can modify it, if needed, add their own content and so on.

  • Closely, closely related: Whats the best way to post a tutorial on SO? See also Stack Overflow tutorials and papers. The target experience level doesn't matter. Just make them good questions with answers.
    – jscs
    Apr 17, 2013 at 6:58
  • @JoshCaswell Will work on one right away. Will notify you right here when done :)
    – An SO User
    Apr 17, 2013 at 7:04
  • 7
    Please make sure they are good questions though. Spend as much effort there as you do for the answer.
    – Bart
    Apr 17, 2013 at 7:13
  • @Bart Just as a starter, will it be a good question if I showed how to traverse a directory tree using java.nio.file.Files and making a JTree out of it ?
    – An SO User
    Apr 17, 2013 at 7:14
  • 2
    @LittleChild; that's the answer. The point is that the question you ask must be able to stand on it's own if you were not to be able to answer it yourself. Apr 17, 2013 at 7:20
  • 1
    If you want to answer a frequent question like "how do I parse XML in Java", I strongly suggest you find an existing question, polish it for readability and then simple post your answer there. Apr 17, 2013 at 10:09

1 Answer 1


Don't post tutorials or articles. Post questions and answers. The site is after all a Q&A.

The point there is not that "NO, you can't post tutorials". You can, but you will have to do so in the form of a question and an answer. Self-answering is allowed and encouraged. Simple enough, right? Well, not exactly.

Many users who try this have their questions closed for one simple reason: the question is not good enough. Whether or not you are answering your own question has no influence on the standards we hold that question to. When we look at it, we will completely ignore the answer. If the question is not good enough by regular site standards, you might well see it closed.

Given that, don't just focus on your awesome answer. Give the question equally as much attention. Or rather, make sure you've written a great question first before you start to work on your answer. For example, this question has to show research. It should not leave us asking "What have you tried?". And other requirements like not being a dupe, being constructive, being on-topic, etc. still apply.

Let's say you have this great idea on writing a tutorial on how to do X with language Y. Don't make your question "How do I do X with language Y?", and then spend all your effort on an awesome answer. That question might simply not be good enough.

"But that's the question I'm answering!". Fair enough, but you might simply have to restructure your content a bit. Let's take the following (admittedly contrived) example:

Q: How do I do X with language Y?

A: You can easily do that with language Y, but it has some common pitfalls. Many users try Q or R, which lead to these problems. You'd be better of doing S. The advantages of that are...

Brilliant answer perhaps, but not a great question. It does however have some potential if you restructure that to:

Q: I want to do X with language Y. I have tried Q and R. I did however find that this suffers from these problems. How can I approach a solution to this problem that does not suffer from these problems?

A: An alternative approach to solving this problem would be to do S. The advantages of S over what you have tried is...

As said, the example is somewhat contrived. But it might help you think about splitting up your tutorial content into something that would make a great question as well as a great answer.

If you keep that in mind, you will at least have a better start at contributing good self-answered content.

  • Traversing your drive in Java using DirectoryStream and recursive method to create a JTree representation Good question ?
    – An SO User
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:29
  • Doesn't sound like one.
    – Bart
    Apr 17, 2013 at 14:31
  • Then can I please get a concrete example ? :)
    – An SO User
    Apr 17, 2013 at 19:01
  • I'm sorry, but the topics you want to write about are somewhat outside my area of expertise.
    – Bart
    Apr 17, 2013 at 19:02
  • Note: With regards to the level of research effort to show in self-answered questions, there is discussion specifically on that topic here: Is a short description of a question OK if self-answering? Jan 4, 2023 at 9:51
  • With the launch of Stack Overflow Collectives, this answer is partially obsolete, as collectives are available for specific groups of tags.
    – Rubén
    Sep 23, 2023 at 3:00

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