Recently, I posted a question about automatically paraphrasing sentences in JavaScript using regular expressions, and answered the question as soon as I posted it. Soon afterward, my question got two downvotes (and 0 upvotes), and a couple of users asked me not to answer my own questions, despite the fact that self-answering questions is encouraged on Stack Overflow. It also appears that someone voted to close this question.

I'm really surprised by the negative reception that this question has gotten, considering the amount of effort that I put into its answer. Is there anything truly wrong with the format of this particular question?

  • 8
    Note that self answering questions is very hard to get right. While it's not inherently bad, most people are not good at asking a high quality question when they already know the answer. It's important to keep in mind, "If I saw someone else post just this question how would I react?" If it wouldn't be positively, then you can't expect others to react positively either. That you're answering it at the same time doesn't lower the quality standards for the question.
    – Servy
    May 18, 2013 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


Nothing wrong with self answering. I completely disagree with the "it's not 'self Q&A'" attitude; there are many times when someone comes across a problem and solves it themselves. It's good to share this.

Looking at the size of the answer code1, though, the situation seems like it could be localized. Generally speaking SO answers are all about snippets, not libraries. If it takes a few pages of code to answer the question, the question may be NARQ or too localized.

I personally would not think so just looking at the question, though -- my conclusion is from the answer and that's usually not a way to justify downvoting/closevoting the question. I can certainly think of places where this would be useful -- maybe not for paraphrasing but for similar tasks. So it seems OK to me in the end.

Remember, whenever you self answer the question is held at the same standards as any other question, regardless of how awesome the answer is. Try to look at your question from the eyes of an outsider who doesn't know the answer before posting. (Yes, this is hard)

1 Then again, the other answer to the question is quite neat and clean.

  • The solution that I posted was verbose because I created it by re-using some functions that I had previously written, and I hadn't optimized it. My solution to the question isn't the most concise solution possible, but it works nonetheless. May 18, 2013 at 20:09
  • Also, the other solution to the question is more concise, but can't generate random strings from regular expressions with nested parentheses. My solution is more verbose, but is able to handle nested parentheses. May 20, 2013 at 0:12

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