Is it ok to ask and answer my own question?


#1

Is it acceptable to post a question and then answer my own question if I already learned the answer and want to publicly document it for others to find in the future?

Along this same line, could we develop an acceptable style for porting/translating answers from Stack Overflow? I have a habit of searching for answers on Google and many times I find the solution is a Stack Overflow search result. I could imagine myself getting in the habit of finding a solution on Stack Overflow and then adding a similar question/answer post over here.

However, even if the original Stack Overflow questions and answers are completely re-written, it would feel wrong not to include proper attribution to the original post. But including a footnote link to the original Stack Overflow somehow seems against the purpose of creating this separate safe space for questions. And if this became common practice, would that be inviting Stack Overflow take legal action against this site for “stealing” content?

Or would it be best to simply post my original question that led to my original search and pretend I didn’t already find the answer on Stack Overflow and hope that someone answers it here too? That feels disingenuous and wasteful of other people’s time.

Any thoughts or suggestions on how this could be handled with respect while also encouraging more content on this site?


Are self answered questions encouraged or discouraged?
#2

I think it should be perfectly acceptable to answer your own question, whether as a result of research after the fact or in the case you just want to share something you recently learned with other learners.

Regarding bringing questions and answers from stack overflow, I do not think we should be taking their content. However if you ask a question and do find your solution on stack overflow I think you would be OK to then share your answer to your question using the knowledge you now have. In other words, no copy pasting and you should be fine.

Anyone have further thoughts?


#3

I agree. Maybe you could base your answer on an existing SO answer, but add a link at the bottom saying “Based on this StackOverflow answer” and link to the original.


#4

I’d say that it is perfectly acceptable to post a question and then answer your own question, as long as you answer the question correctly, or at least indicate that you are not entirely sure!


#5

For the moment I agree with @Robbie’s response. As for linking back to SO, I think we leave it to the writer’s discretion for now. Factors I think authors should consider about whether to include that link or not include a) how much does it count as a source and therefore requires attribution and b) whether there is additional information on that page that may be useful.

I think another related question is whether to put a content warning on links to StackOverflow. I think that’s something I as administrator am going to remain neutral on and let the community decide organically. Then in a few months, if the community wants it we can canonize it as policy.


#6

Agreed with @Robbie & @carlcaulkett regarding answering your own question.

About Stack Overflow, as much as this site is a response to there, I feel that attribution is important regardless of the source. If you have a completely original answer, that’s great. But if your answer is derived another resource and you aren’t able to completely articulate or summarize the response independently of that source, cite it. If, in the course of writing an answer, you learn something from another site (including SO), but your answer is something that can stand completely on its own, then I don’t think that citation is necessary.

Naturally, this makes sense for objective material. Answers that are subjective or a matter of research should be cited, I should think.


Reusing previous content