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Should I ask a question I know the answer to?

I have a log of problems I've encountered over the years with the solution at the particular time. What's the etiquette for posting them and posting the answer myself?


Yes, this is actually encouraged. Check the FAQ.


I have asked the same thing in a slightly different form here. Here is the verbatim answer from Andrew Johnson:

To quote Joel:

Every question in Stack Overflow is like the Wikipedia article for some extremely narrow, specific programming question.

As long as you aren't producing lots of duplicates, this practice seems like a great way to populate the SO knowledgebase. Just be sure to follow the rules of the FAQ, and be open to alternate answers.

From the FAQ:

As long as your question is:

   * detailed and specific
   * written clearly and simply
   * of interest to at least one other programmer somewhere

... it is welcome here. No question is too trivial or too "newbie". Oh yes, and it should be about programming. You know, with a computer.

However, what I found with my personnal experience is that some people will be displeased if:
you answer your own question right away

Why should I bother to answer it. The answer is already so detailed, I won't provide any value.

you wait before answering

If it's not a real question, you're wasting my time by not posting your answer right away!

Either way, someone will be unhappy... Of course, you could always mark your answers community owned. This way, anybody (with reasonable karma) would be free to edit the answer and improve it.

That is after all the whole point for SO.

  • I think I'm going to put in the original question something to the effect of "I have the answer, I will be posting it shortly, feel free to answer as yours might be better than mine but please don't be offended by this population of the SO knowledgebase". Then edit it out after the fact. – Otto Sep 19 '08 at 14:33
  • I like it and will be borrowing the idea! – Benoit Sep 19 '08 at 14:38

All I ask is this - let the community provide answers before you post yours. This way you can get different perspectives (maybe ones you haven't even thought of). It's annoying to see an incredibly detailed answer posted by the questioner two seconds after the question was posted. As it's hard to top that kind of answer, most of us don't even try.

  • Man, a guy can't win! :) We could tag (i-know-the-answer?) but then wouldn't that just discourage answers too? – Benoit Sep 19 '08 at 14:35
  • It would. The main purpose of this site is to get answers, so we assume that's what questioners are looking for. My advice is just to play along. – Kyle Cronin Sep 19 '08 at 14:46

I think you should ask them as if they were a problem you had, then answer it, and allow for other people to contribute with their own (hopefully different) answers. This allows for viewing a problem from different angles, should the question permit it.


I've seen this done both ways, as a simple post explaining an answer and tagged with not-a-question, also as a question answered separately by the user. I get the feeling the latter is the preferred way.


Yes, because your solution might suck. ;-)

All hail hive mind!


yes. The whole point is collaborative sharing. I see the best part is you share your knowledge (I am looking to do the same thing myself) and it allows other to learn. Other people may also refine or evolve your answers in a way that you can expand your knowledge, even in an area you may feel exceptionally experienced.

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