I think it would be beneficial to mark self answered posts, where people only "ask" the question in order to share their knowledge/findings, in a way so that it is obvious to everyone checking the question out that this is not really a question that is seeking an answer. And most importantly: that the answer given is indeed the one that solves the problem for the person that asked the question.
Why do I think this would be beneficial?
- This would prevent someone from investing time, trying to help OP to find a solution (note that we can only mark our own answer as the correct one after two days (on Stack Overflow) so it is not immediately obvious that the provided answer is sufficient already)
- It could prevent some people from downvoting either the answer or the question itself
Especially the last bit tends to be very frustrating.
The story behind this question
Let's consider an example of mine: Message "error: use of undeclared identifier 'assert'"
At first glance this problem looked like dozens of other questions already posted on Stack Overflow (I know, because I did indeed try to find an answer there before). In my particular case however my situation was slightly different. Therefore after having failed to find a solution with existing Stack Overflow questions, I decided to share my findings after I had figured it out.
The solution turned out to be very specific to my problem, but it seemed reasonable enough that someone else might run into the same issue, so I decided to share it nonetheless.
Me posting this self answered "question" resulted in the following
- My question getting downvoted (as there was no comment made as to why, I have to guess: I think someone saw the question and though "This has been asked here before" and thus downvoted)
- My answer getting downvoted (again without explanation, so here's my guess: The answer doesn't seem to be very general and without taking into account who the question actually asked, it could create the impression as if this was just a pseudo answer trying to catch a few accidental upvotes or something like that)
- Another answer was created (that contained the standard answer for the standard problem, that I however did not have). Given that I wasn't looking for another answer in the first place, this just means that someone invested some time trying to help, where there was nobody actually seeking help.
I think chances are that all of this could have potentially been prevented if the question was marked as Q&A-style immediately after posting.
How could this "marking" look like?
I am not a good UI/UX designer, so there are probably better ideas for this, but here is my suggestion:
- Change the background color of the question and the original author's question to something that is different from the standard background. This should create a connection between the question and the answer that is only present if the question was "asked" in a self answered manner
- Add a label somewhere next to the question stating that this is self answerd-style (optionally including a short explanation of what this means)
- Accept the written answer immediately, so it is clear that the problem has been resolved