As I understand it Q&A style questions are encouraged but a self answered question should be judged independently of the answer. Often after I've solved a problem I would like to share the question and answer on stack overflow (and have on a couple of occasions) but how to show "minimal understanding of the problem" is always challenging.

For example I have been looking into the following question

How can I plot a straight line in the JMonkey Engine library
I'm trying to plot straight lines between vertices that I specify using the JMonkey Engine 3D graphics library. So for example if I was to try to plot between:

Then I would get:

Straight lines

This is something I do (and forget how to do) relatively often and the answer is harder to find than you'd imagine (This provides everything needed to figure it out but its spread out over several posts and isn't a complete solution on its own). Therefore I want to provide a Q&A for it but at present this question feels like it would fail the minimal understanding test

Questions must demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem being solved. Tell us what you've tried to do, why it didn't work, and how it should work

Should I make up some imaginary problem? (Probably the final source code messed up a bit)
Or mention in the question that I’m self answering to assuage some of the normal "This is not a do your work for you site" comments.

  • Depends: if the problem was indeed trivial then it probably won't fit for Stack Overflow; if the problem wasn't trivial and the solution will help others then by all means go ahead and do it. :) Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 11:02
  • @ShaWizDowArd You would have thought this was trivial but I can assure you its anything but, JMonkey is very model orientated and importing a full animated character is (bizarrely) very easy. On the other hand; a line is a custom shape and requires you to go via a custom mesh that has to have its x,y,z coOrdibates entered in a float buffer as (x1,y1,z1,x2,y2,z2 ...) and then have indexex entered as (0,1,1,2,2,3 ...) I could go on but its not really relivant. Trust me though, its not "PlotLine(Start, End) Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 11:05
  • 2
    You should not have to mention in the question that you're self-answering... the answer should be right there anyway. That said, as long as your question doesn't come off as gimme teh codez, and that you show that at least you know what you're asking about, it should be fine. Anyway, if you say that you've solved a problem yourself, resulting in the answer you're about to post, then there was a problem that needed solving to begin with - there shouldn't be a need to fabricate anything. Just state the problem you were facing at the time, and then go on writing your answer. Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 11:08
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn True, but the problem was "I want to plot a line and I don't know how to" rather than "I tried such and such and it went horribly wrong" Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 11:16

1 Answer 1


Problem was

I tried to draw a line using tool that's not really designed to draw shapes directly, but mainly to import ready models.

Presented like that it does not sound trivial and "lacking of minimal understanding". If it is indeed non-trivial just mentioning how it is nontrivial should do the job.

  • This is a very good point. I included this in the actual question stackoverflow.com/questions/17424781/…. I must admit, however, I may have buckled and possibly put a little tiny reference into how it was a self answer Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 12:17
  • @RichardTingle oh come on, anyone will see it is a self-answer. Mentioning it is but an information noise. And what if someone will provide another answer, another way to do it?
    – Mołot
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 12:19
  • fair enough, you are probably right Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 12:20

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