Most (if not all) SE sites have something in their help centre along these lines:
You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face.
My question is: Is the emphasis on it being a "problem you face" to discourage
Chatty, open-ended questions [that] diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.
or does it actually have to be your own question? (Let's assume it otherwise fits the criteria for being a good question.)
It's also followed up by this paragraph
If your motivation for asking the question is “I would like to participate in a discussion about ______”, then you should not be asking here. However, if your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK. (Discussions are of course welcome in our real time web chat.)
which (combined with the contrast to "chatty, open-ended questions" above) makes me feel that as long as you describe a practical, answerable question that could be a problem that you face (but in real life happens to not be), you are okay; however the letter of the rule indicates that it should be your own problem.
The main reason that I am asking is that in beta I feel like it is a good policy to ask high-quality example questions, in order to:
- help define the scope of the site
- attract new visitors who are interested by the question and/or its answers
- build up a bank of good, high-quality questions in the early stages
- help the site show up on Google question results and drive more traffic
However, I want to know if it's discouraged from doing so.
Edit. Let's give an example to make it clearer.
I'm on Pets.SE at the moment. Here are some questions from the front page.
- How can I stop my dogs from barking at animals on television?
- Will crickets lay barren eggs?
- What are the arguments against neutering a guinea pig?
If those questions didn't apply to you or a problem you faced, could you still ask them? Or does the fact that they are not an "actual problem you face" mean that it doesn't matter that it's otherwise a "practical, answerable question"?