8

Since answering your own questions is encouraged, I am planning to document a few things I unnecessarily retype from time to time (answering other questions). These are general (though focused) questions and I would like to write a longer answer to have everything in one place.

Let's say that the question is "what is the optimal length of a password?", posted on Information Security SE.

In the body of the question, I would have just mentioned the context: that the question is about passwords in specific operating systems and web applications, threat model etc.

I believe that the whole part of "what research have you done / what have you tried so far", is neither needed, nor useful (as I do not want to show that I did some efforts, that will come in the answer).

Is it OK per the rules to keep a trimmed-down body of such self-answered-to-be question?

EDIT: I edited this question to mention the actual question I would be asking, instead of a general one ("what is the best height of a chair"). Apologies if this is not understandable because too technical -- I took into account the comments about "too broad" expressed in the answers.

  • 1
    I think a minimum length question or answer on any site is "about a paragraph" - are you talking shorter than that? – PolyGeo May 18 '15 at 11:47
  • The length would be about that, without any of the "I did the research homework" elements (as they would come in the answer) – WoJ May 18 '15 at 11:48
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As a mod on Security, I'd welcome your question as long as it contains that context, eg:

  • Threat model
  • Systems
  • Risk appetite
  • etc

I agree with you that "what research have you done?" is a little irrelevant here.

  • Yes. The "just" in the body means "just context" as opposed to "context and information about the research". I will clarify that in the question. – WoJ May 18 '15 at 11:56
  • With that update, I reckon you'd probably be in an okay position. As a quick aside, the sites all have slightly different rules so for a specific one like this, asking on the Security meta may have got you a faster specific response – Rory Alsop May 18 '15 at 12:05
9

The content (or authorship) of answers is not relevant in evaluating a question. Questions should stand alone. Not all questions have to be long, but they do have to be complete enough that the question would meet the site's standards (complete, on-topic, clear, etc) without any answers present.

It can be more difficult to write a good self-answered question. You already know the answer, and that can affect how you ask the question. So it's good to take a little extra care on these to make sure you're not posting an insufficient question just to get to the answer.

3

A short description is fine, as long as you provide enough information for someone else to answer it, and the question is on topic. Remember that other people might want to post answers to your question even though you already have one; if you don't make it possible for them to understand the question, it will probably get closed.

I doubt whether this is the right venue for "documenting things you unnecessarily retype". It's certainly possible that such a question and answer will be useful and on topic, but you haven't provided any indication that this would be the case. Self answered questions are for suggesting an answer to a problem, with the intent that someone else later finds it helpful (because they had a similar problem). They aren't for making personal notes.

I'd promptly vote to close your example question as opinion based. Everyone likes their tables at different heights, depending on things like posture, stature, etc. Is this really a good example of the actual question you want to ask? It doesn't seem so to me, but then I don't know what you actually mean to ask about.

  • No, this is not the actual question. As I mentioned in a comment to another answer, I did not want to get into the technical details of the question, so I just picked up something readily understandable. I will make that clear in the question. – WoJ May 18 '15 at 11:37
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I think a short question is okay, as long as the question is on-topic for that specific site.

I can imagine your question "what is the best height of a table", would be closed as too broad on a lot of sites, because more questions immediately arise:

  • Where?
  • In what circumstances?
  • etc.

Depending on the tags, this question might be awfully broad, or narrowed down enough to be answered. Note that the question should be unambiguous, and as it stands now, I doubt it is on many sites.

Whether you self-answer or not doesn't matter. If other users intend to answer, they should have an answerable question.

  • Looking back I realize my example was not a good one, being indeed too broad. I did not want to get into technical details - the actual question would be "what is a secure password length" and the body would set the context (an operating system vs a web application). What I really meant to ask is whether omitting the "research" part is OK in that case. – WoJ May 18 '15 at 11:16
  • Okay, but you should consider the environment too. "what is a secure password length" will be different if the allowed subset of characters is narrowed down. Or think about the type of encryption. (maybe bad example, but you can imagine the problem) – Patrick Hofman May 18 '15 at 11:19
  • Well, this is exactly the reason for writing the answer: to aggregate in one place the various cases, best practices, standards and actual math to support the correct approach. – WoJ May 18 '15 at 11:21
  • I edited the question following your comment. – WoJ May 18 '15 at 11:44

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