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Possible Duplicate:
Suggest dynamic help text for new answerers

The single largest source of moderator flags on StackOverflow is non-answers. This is primarily because new users treat StackOverflow like a forum, rather than a Question and Answer site.

New users are allowed to post answers without a rep requirement, because this is one of the few ways that a new user can actually gain reputation and earn privileges. The problem with allowing new users to post answers on their own questions is that it encourages forum behavior on the question.

The likelihood of a new user successfully posting an answer to their own question is close to zero; usually, they are trying to communicate with people posting answers to their question. Once the OP has posted a non-answer, the other participants begin posting comments to the non-answer and non-answers of their own in response, turning the question into a forum post.

Since new users are allowed to post comments within their own questions, I suggest that we require 15 reputation for posting answers to their own questions. If they attempt to post an answer to their own question when they have less than 15 rep, they should see the following message:

You need 15 reputation points to post an answer to your own question.

Are you trying to communicate with someone who has posted an answer to your question? Write a comment under their answer instead.

This turns it into a teaching moment for the question asker, and short-circuits the forum behavior that is precipitated by the user posting a non-answer to their own question.

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  • Here is a similar request to require a minimum reputation to self-answer: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/86185/…
    – Brandon
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 21:30
  • Is the new 24-hour waiting period for users < 100 to answer their own question not sufficient (implemented 4/9/11)?
    – Nicole
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 21:30
  • Also quite new: new users get some more help when answering since April 8th. Its help text is open for suggestions!
    – Arjan
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 21:33
  • To me, it makes more sense to avoid new users answer to their own questions. As Robert Harvey said, new users sometimes think SE sites are forums; I saw (on Drupal Answers) a user that added an answer just to update what he discovered more for his problem. Clearly, the user confused DA with a forum about Drupal.
    – apaderno
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 21:47
  • @kiamlaluno - I hope you flagged the answer and/or left a comment explaining how we do things in these parts.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 22:10
  • Looks like this is adequately covered by the new "dynamic help" feature and the 24 hour waiting period for new users <100 rep, so I'm closing.
    – user102937
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 22:16
  • @ChrisF I deleted the answer, and added the text to the question.
    – apaderno
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 22:36
  • @kiamlaluno - that works as well ;)
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Apr 15, 2011 at 22:37

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