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In this post, the poster also supplied the answer.

I wouldn't comment on it, except that I noticed that both post and answer were published on the same minute. I understand from this that the poster has prepared both in advance and posted them both simultaneously, maybe as a way for getting upvotes.

As SU is a Q&A site and not a blog, this case seems to me to be in a bit of a gray area. We are all supposed to share our knowledge, Q&A-style. But this method, if it becomes common, can mask questions by users that have legitimate problems that need solving.

I'm wondering if there is something wrong in what this poster did, publishing an already-solved problem. And if there is, what we can do about it.

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    Because sometimes 90k people will be searching for the same problem and it's great when SU has the answer. – Twisty Impersonator Mar 27 '18 at 11:46
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So long as they are not solely using us as a documentation service I don't see a problem. Even if they are, so long as they are not simply flooding us with niff-naff and trivia there's still not really a big problem here.

If they were posting 50 questions and answers a day then it would be a problem. An occasional "I found something weird, here's how I fixed it" is not a big deal.

From our help centre: Can I answer my own question

Yes! Stack Exchange has always explicitly encouraged users to answer their own questions. If you have a question that you already know the answer to, and you would like to document that knowledge in public so that others (including yourself) can find it later, it's perfectly okay to ask and answer your own question on a Stack Exchange site.

To encourage people to do this, there is a checkbox at the bottom of the page every time you ask a question. If you have more than 15 reputation and already know the answer, click the checkbox that says "Answer your own question" at the bottom of the Ask Question page. Type in your answer, then submit both question and answer together.

Alternatively, you may go back and add an answer to your own question at any time.

You can also accept your own answer, but you must wait 48 hours to do so. After all, someone else may come along with an even better solution to your problem!

The question asked is documenting a slightly weird border case that looks like it isn't likely to be particularly common, but if you hit it then it could be frustrating. Documenting it is probably a Good Thing (tm) in the long run.

  • You're right of course, except that this poster didn't accept his own answer, so people might mistakenly waste time on it, not knowing that it is only a rhetorical question. Maybe SU should, when a poster answers his own post, suggest that he also accepts it. – harrymc Mar 26 '18 at 19:47
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    @harrymc except that he definitely appears to know that he can accept his own answers: superuser.com/questions/1284921/…. I think in this case the bottom line of the text I quoted applies: "You can also accept your own answer, but you must wait 48 hours to do so." He still has 42 hours before he can accept it. – Mokubai Mar 26 '18 at 19:49
  • Someone also might have another solution which he prefers. So waiting even after the limit runs out might indicate that he want something better. – Mokubai Mar 26 '18 at 19:56
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    "mistakenly waste time on it" - alternate approaches are not a waste of time, and answers often help the next guy with a similar problem... – Journeyman Geek Mar 27 '18 at 0:22
  • Why is this wait of 48 hours? Acceptance normally means "this is what solved my problem", which does not apply here to other answers. – harrymc Mar 27 '18 at 6:53
  • @harrymc but other answers could solve the problem and the 48 hours is there just in case. Case in point: he seemed quite happy for me to suggest an alternative as a comment and as I have now tested it I have made an answer. Just because he found a solution, doesn't mean you cannot find a better way or better tool that might not have the same caveats or drawbacks. – Mokubai Mar 27 '18 at 8:28
  • There are heaps of such products found with a simple google query, and better products than the poster's. I understand your logic, just seems to me that such posts lower the quality of SU which concerns all of us. Thank you for your answer. – harrymc Mar 27 '18 at 14:26
  • @harrymc The quality of the question is actually quite good IMO. It states a very definite problem, shows what source and program it happens with and how to repeat it. He then posts a solution within the problem tool. He is actively inviting other solutions by posting a question. As questions go it is actually well above average and many questions provide a lot less useful information. Anyway. Catch you on the other side. – Mokubai Mar 27 '18 at 14:37
  • @harrymc You are not required to accept answers as someone who asked a question. If you are not willing to answer the question, that’s perfectly fine, other users might want to answer the question. Even if he did accept their answer, other users should be encouraged to submit their own answer, we want to encourage quality answers. If you believe the contribution is low quality, issue a downvote, to indicate that low quality contributions are not helpful. – Ramhound Mar 28 '18 at 11:31
  • @Ramhound: I met posts asking "help with this problem" or "is there a better way", but this is my first "this is how I wonderfully solved a simple problem with a complex solution". Of course, as everybody says, we can treat it according to the usual rules, no problem, business as usual. My wish was to know what is the official line, which I find is to ignore such self back-slapping, so that's what I'll do. I won't down-vote the guy, as nothing he says is totally wrong. I just hope that we won't have too many of these. – harrymc Mar 28 '18 at 14:26
  • @harrymc - We want more users who had a question, did the research to answer that question and submit both the question and answer to this community. If that user was "slapping themselves on the back" then so was I when I submitted my own question about BitLocker. – Ramhound Mar 28 '18 at 14:42
  • @Ramhound: We don't need to prospect for users - see the current flux of incoming posts. Most have done research before and the others are downvoted out. We are Q&A, not blog - we are here to help and not to be amazed by the poster. Luckily the Q&A format doesn't really suite blogging, so I hope that we who answer will have real problems to help with. I'll applaud a blog-like post when the problem is of general interest or can spark a real debate, but not for an obscure problem on one pdf and one utility. – harrymc Mar 29 '18 at 6:39
  • @harrymc it still isn't a "blog post" nor is the question particularly obscure. It is a reasonably common tool and OP is asking "I have a weird problem using this tool" to which the answers are either going to be "oh yeah, the tool has some obscure bug, here's a workaround" or "here's another tool that doesn't suffer the same problem". We value solutions just as much as problems and his showing us in a concise way how to reproduce an odd bug is useful. If nothing else it can be thrown at the utility authors as a public bug disclosure. It is a clear, if fluffily asked, question and answer. – Mokubai Mar 29 '18 at 6:51
  • You sound like you are a bit too focused on the "OP already answered this" side of things to look at the question and answer separately and objectively. – Mokubai Mar 29 '18 at 6:55
  • It wasn't my intention to change anything, just to start some discussion about the raison d'être of SU. For me the beauty of this site is people coming together from all over the world to solve problems of others. That's why I don't like solo games. But I think we really have exhausted the subject. – harrymc Mar 29 '18 at 8:22
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I understand from this that the poster has prepared both in advance and posted them both simultaneously, maybe as a way of getting upvotes.

When you submit a question, you are given a chance, to also answer the question. Both the question and answer are submitted at the same time when you do that. I have done it in the past myself, when I had a problem, and already knew what the solution to that problem was.

I doubt it has anything to do with earning reputation. The user had a problem, knew the answer to the problem because they figured it out, and thought other people might have the problem. We should encourage this behavior.

I'm wondering if there is something wrong with what this poster did, publishing an already-solved problem. And if there is, what we can do about it.

Users are encouraged to self-answer their question.

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As SU is a Q&A site and not a blog, this case seems to me to be in a bit of a gray area. We are all supposed to share our knowledge, Q&A-style. But this method, if it becomes common, can mask questions by users that have legitimate problems that need solving.

I don't see how the question nor the answer, in this case, could be considered a blog.

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    Now if you can find an existing duplicate, with an answer that already answers the question, then I encourage you to flag it or issue a close vote. However, that should be done, with any question. – Ramhound Mar 26 '18 at 15:20

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