What I have repeatedly experienced in my short time on this Q&A site is that I pose a question, and receive serveral answers, each of them contributing some perspective of value, but none fully answering the question to my satisfaction.

From all the comments, discussion and answers, I eventually end up forming a conclusion that satisfies me overall. It appears useful to take the best parts from all the various answers, comments, and side room discussions, synthesize them, and post the final conclusion as an answer and accept it, for the benefit of the other users. However, I am not sure if that is seen as appropriate:

(1) Even though the site scripts actively encourage self-answering, my impression from my little experience is that self-answers tend to be downvoted°. If that is indeed so, self-answering defeats the purpose of distilling and sharing. I could pin it with an acceptance checkmark anyways, but it feels counter to the spirit of the approval process.

(2) More importantly, it feels like poaching of off others work and undermining their opportunity for being credited for it. I could maybe address this by including refrences and citing the original answers to give credit to the original responses, but it still detracts from their opportunity to receive approval and votes.

Is there a way to post synthesized answers that is generally accepted? Or should I just not do so?


If the two or three people interested in a question and posting answers work together through discussions about the questionm, exploring the subject matter in depth, they could craft a great, shared answer they all agree on. If the objective of the site is to generate the best, most useful answer, that would be a win. However, there is no mechanism for sharing answers, so in the end, the only way to do this is if one of them posts an answer.

° It is of course possible that it just so happend that the self-answers I gave were more opinonated or of lower quality by chance. And there may be bias due to my small sample size of ~50 answers and only 4 self-answers. But the four self-answers are all near the bottom of approval with an average 0 votes, while the median is more around 3 votes, and the mean around 6; I'm not a statistician but it feels like this is beyond what one would expect under the hypothesis that the distribution is random

  • \$\begingroup\$ This SEDE query lists every self-answered (non-deleted) Q&A on the site. The average score of a self-answered Q is 11.2, for answers it is 7.8, which doesn't seem too far off from my estimates of the overall average. However, I'm not sure if self-answers have a higher than average deletion rate bringing the answer average up. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2022 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Thomas, thank you, these are great statistics! So I think what I see is just based on happening to have posted bad self answers or small sample size. I'd leave that part in as this is kind of answered as irrelevant. How about the main part -- is it good taste to synthesize answers or not? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2022 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think we have a discussion about this already, I'm digging around now. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2022 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've added a close vote, which should prompt you to close it if you think that it is well enough a duplicate. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2022 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov: yes, that seems to be pretty much the same question. So you can close mine ad dupe. I has searched but wasn't able to find that one. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2022 at 19:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ There should be a prompt at the top of the question where you can choose to close it...I think. That's how it works on main, at least. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2022 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I voted to close, thanks. I had to pick a reason and provode which other Q is the same \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2022 at 19:09
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ In my experience, there's less middle ground with self-answered questions. If you self-answer a Q nobody thinks needed to be asked, those are generally poorly received - the trouble this is that you often don't know it is this kind of question until after you've posted it. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2022 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've had good success with my self answered Q&As, and I think it is because I have been very selective in which ones I post. I could self-answer a new Q&A every day if I wanted to, but I've only posted three in two years (here, here, and here). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2022 at 20:15
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Just wanted to point out something: Acepting a self-answer actually does not pin it to the top. It will be sorted following whatever sort method a user has on \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2022 at 23:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Exempt-Medic: Indeed. Though accepted answers in general currently remain pinned on RPG.SE (though other sites have opted to no longer keep them pinned), accepted self-answers are not pinned on any site on the Stack Exchange network. Relevant FAQ on MSE: How does accepting an answer work? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Feb 18, 2022 at 18:46


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