I'm fairly sure most of us have happened upon this situation: You find something new, and possibly difficult to determine, in a game and you think "This is really cool I can't wait till someone asks a question about BLANK so I can provide this answer."

Certainly, I am not the only one who's thought this.

Now I don't want to discourage people from providing the correct answer to a question just because they asked it, however, I can see how this system could easily lead to abuse. There are upwards of 40 units in Starcraft 2 and someone could add a new question about their upgrades every day. This kind of blatant rep whoring is easily dealt with, what's not so easy to handle is a person periodically doing this to inflate their reputation.

I have said many times my reputation score has no value to me, but other people's reputations are very valuable to me as indicators of their experience. I'd hate to have this number be subject to some kind of abuse.

It seems to me, that in a case where you find the answer to your own question you should allow some passage of time (I'd think 5 days would be enough, perhaps there is a better value) before supplying the answer.

By contrast the FAQ seems to indicate that this behavior should be allowed, unrestricted.

It's also perfectly fine to ask and answer your own question

As this is an issue that makes me uneasy, but I don't have a perfect solution for, I'm hoping to get some feedback from the community.

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I've used stackoverflow for programming (not to be confused with progaming) for a relatively long time, and concluded that rep is a measure of participation multiplied by popularity of topic multiplied by quality of answers. A mediocre answer about a somewhat popular game may get you just as much rep as an expert answer on an obscure topic. Therefore, I don't obsess too much about the number. –  Peter Recore Sep 7 '10 at 14:27
    
OTOH, I do recognize that certain users tend to have good answers, with or without seeing the rep. At this point, when i see a tzenes answer, I know it will be worth reading :) –  Peter Recore Sep 7 '10 at 14:56
    
@Peter the reason I know you weren't trying to rep whore is that I've seen your comments an answer before, I just worry what would happen if a less scrupulous member of the community saw this self answering and decided to take advantage of it... –  tzenes Sep 7 '10 at 15:04

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I agree with Oak's answer and all of its points - it is indeed acceptable to ask and answer your own questions. There's technically a net gain to the community as a result of this.

I will make an additional request, and keep in mind that this is entirely optional. Please let the question stick around for a day or so before providing your own answer. If you already know the answer then your primary intent will be to share this knowledge with everyone; your goal is for the community, not for yourself. To that end, let the community share in making it a wonderful source of knowledge by giving them a chance to post their own answers. You may even be surprised as someone may provide a more insightful version of the answer you were planning, if not one that may simply be more in-depth. You are already to be recognized and rewarded for your efforts by the votes you'll receive on your useful question.

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I'd add another answer that says I agree with Oak's and Grace's answer, but I'll just upvote them both. +1 to letting the question unanswered for a while to give the rest the opportunity to answer it. –  jmfsg Sep 7 '10 at 13:11
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This is definitely the way to go. I've known the answers to most of the questions I have asked, since this site wasn't around when I encountered the problem that prompted the question. However, I haven't had to answer any of my own questions, as the community has done it for me. –  Jason Berkan Sep 7 '10 at 16:37
    
After reading Oaks answer, I was planning on saying this. Naturally, you beat me to it! –  Ivo Flipse Sep 7 '10 at 20:12
    
Hey Grace, I kinda disagree with the 'let the question stick around for a day or so before answering' idea. There's already a gap where you can't accept your own answer for 2 days, and telling people to hold off will waste people's time when they go to debug/research/write an answer to a question you already know the answer to. I realise this was written 4 years ago, and was wondering whether your stance has changed in this regard? –  Robotnik May 11 at 8:18
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@Robotnik It's fair to disagree with it. I still believe in the delay, but I will note that I was also part of the team responsible for formulating the ability to self-answer at the time of posting the question, because I also believe that it's valuable to post answers immediately as well. So indeed, my stance has changed, but to one that believes that both have separate places to be appropriately used - betwixt saving people excess effort, or giving people a chance to shine. –  Grace Note May 12 at 13:48

In my eyes it's 100% kosher. I think I'll go post such a question myself in a minute, I just found out something very interesting (in my opinion) in a game.

  1. It's clearly said so, in the FAQ of all SE sites, that it's okay.
  2. Reputation is mostly for fun. What really matters is that the site now has another question which is correctly answered. If that is a quality question/answer then it will generate rep; otherwise it won't. In this case the user has asked a question which is indeed interesting and has got some rep. If someone would ask the same question about Hydralisks - turning it into a trivial question - I doubt the question and answer would get many votes, if at all.
  3. All SE sites allow answering your own question, and I'm not familiar with any widespread abuse of that feature. If you feel a particular user is abusing it, please report him for moderator attention.
  4. Also remember that the asker's answers, even when accepted, never float to the top by themselves, only by votes. A small thing, but it helps in cases where others want to provide a higher-quality answer for the question.
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plus: the Self-Learner badge encourages this behavior ;) –  F.S. Sep 7 '10 at 12:00
    
of course, "trivial" can get tricky. I thought the original question regarding roaches was silly, as it seems obvious that they are ranged. Maybe someone else out there thinks blings are obviously melee. Perhaps a better solution would end up being a community wiki with a list of all questionable units. –  Peter Recore Sep 7 '10 at 14:18
    
Here is the issue I have: I could make a question about a new build every day and people would upvote my answers. I realize I'm a bad example for this, but there are still days I am not rep capped. This system seems so easily abused. The question on Roaches was upvoted, I imagine one on Broodlings would too (they're melee instead of air) or Colossus. I'm sure someone who does not write the answers I do, could create a rep mint with a little patience. –  tzenes Sep 7 '10 at 15:08
    
@tzenes That's where point 3 comes in. If you spot something like this becoming a problem, like with any other kind of repeat abuse, simply flag one of the questions with a note to the moderators and they will investigate the situation. The site operates on an assumption that people are posting in good faith, but that doesn't stop diamonds from taking action when it is proven otherwise. –  Grace Note Sep 7 '10 at 15:15
    
@Grace we're starting to get into the tricky place of, "how much proof is proof?" Certainly if I started posting a strategy a day, it would probably take you a while before you took any moderator action, if ever. What if someone does this and is providing high quality answers? We'd want them to continue to do so, but we don't want this to become the norm on the site. When would moderation be appropriate? What moderation is appropriate? If Peter decided to just go down the list of Starcraft units, one a day, what would you do? –  tzenes Sep 7 '10 at 15:52
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@tzenes Recently in Stack Overflow, a user has started to do something just like that for regex. If the quality of the provided material is good, then as long as they are spacing them out in terms of time I don't see an issue. If the quality is poor, then it will be observably so and diamonds can track it and contact the user directly. I don't think we've been around long enough for me to make a concrete metric on how frequent proper spacing should be. –  Grace Note Sep 7 '10 at 16:14
    
Tack on to that, there are an incredibly numerous amount of games. Within them are so many possible factors that you can ask individual questions about in sequences. "How can I efficiently train [Charisma] in Elona?", "What stickers affect [Mario's Smash Attacks] in Super Smash Bros Brawl?", "How can I get the [Can't Touch This] achievement in StarCraft 2?"... and so on. There is a whole lot of potential to be "mined" using this kind of methodology, but it's not currently happening. –  Grace Note Sep 7 '10 at 16:17
    
@tzenes I guess what I'm taking a really long time to say is, we'll assess it when it actually becomes problematic. We are run not just by the diamonds, but by the whole community - there are many sets of eyes that can notice these things. People do all sorts of things - look at questions in the same tags, look at user profiles to see their histories, and check out questions in the linked column. The chance for users to pull off a destructive version of this methodology completely unnoticed is very slim - whether they're doing it self-answer, or with a friend to exchange with. –  Grace Note Sep 7 '10 at 16:27
    
@Grace it may be I'm trying to solve a problem we don't have; that doesn't make my stomach feel any less uneasy though... –  tzenes Sep 7 '10 at 17:33
    
@tzenes Picture it less as "It's not a problem because it's not happening" and more as "It's not a problem because we have sufficient existing facilities and vigilant users to prevent it from stirring up trouble", and see if that helps. I have a hard time imagining a user getting away with trying to game this in any fashion that won't provide a net gain of high quality content in our knowledge base (a winning scenario). –  Grace Note Sep 7 '10 at 17:46

to add to the love-in, i agree with @oaks and @grace, and would add that it might be a nice feature-request to ask that there be a time-delay of showing the answer 6, 12, 24 hours later, between posting the question and OP's answer. The number of hours could be arbitrary, or maybe determined by the number of self-answers the person has done previously (if you want to watch for rep-whoring).

In the end though, I think people should pop answers and forget them (adding a delay seems Draconic) and be notified when someone replies since that person may improve, clarify or expound on the OP's answer.

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Don't take my downvote personal, I just think it's polite of the OP to wait before answering, without having to change the site's workflow –  Ivo Flipse Sep 7 '10 at 20:13

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