I got the SO virus a month ago or so, and now it is kind of a reflex for me to search the questions database when I am blocked or in doubt.

There are also situations where i find and solve by myself a nasty bug which i think could have impacted other people, and which probably will in the future.

In such cases, is it considered "in the spirit" of the site to ask the question as if I didn't solve the bug, as a challenge for motivated SO users to search for a best solution or to find the nasty cause of the problem ?

Of course it could be seen as "wasting" time of the answerers, but I think it has some advantages over simply answering your own question. You get possibly better quality answers and more diverse opinions, which will help future users who search for the bug's solution ; you make people think about the problem, and in the end I feel that this is what SO is about - sharing your knowledge while training yourself in recognizing and solving problems, and getting handy at explaining them.

What do you think? Should I simply auto-answer my question, or leave it open for motivated users to find the trick?

  • possible duplicate of Should I ask a question I know the answer to? – ChrisF Mar 9 '11 at 11:20
  • @ChrisF no, it is not a duplicate, because the main question here is whether I should answer it by myself or let others think about it first. I will correct the title. – Dunaril Mar 9 '11 at 11:25
  • Good question. I just did this on a beta site, wondered whether it was the 'right thing to do', but I think it is. Especially for debugging/troubleshooting type questions where there may be more answers than the one you have found. – Benjol Mar 9 '11 at 12:09
  • this is certainly a duplicate, but perhaps not of the post Chris found. Searching.... – Pops Mar 9 '11 at 14:46
  • 1
    I must revise my earlier statement. While this topic has been touched on in several past discussions, it's never been the central topic of its own question, as far as I can find. So, +1! Also, this is a good related (but not dupe) post: Moving a personal technical blog to Stack Overflow/Server Fault (Short answer: Jeff encourages it.) – Pops Mar 9 '11 at 15:05

Well, first of all, there is a decision you need to make, is that "how useful would be your question and your answer to other people". If you feel that you have resolved some nice issue and definitely needs to be shared with SO, then go on.

Add your question and wait for the other users to respond. Give it a day or two to get proper views from other users and if you do not get any satisfactory answers or any good answers, then you can add your own answer as to how you resolved it.

The advantage of doing this is, you might get a better answer in the process too.

  • 2
    +1, this is exactly how I do it. In the rare case where I decide that the question is still worth posting, I write in a line about how I have the answer and will provide it in a few hours/days if nobody else does. – Pops Mar 9 '11 at 15:07
  • @Popular and Sachin, thanks for your participation. Also tanks for the links, full of interesting thoughts. – Dunaril Mar 9 '11 at 15:17

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