Since Stackexchange encourages to answer your own question, and this other meta post seems to acknowledge this, how do I know if there's a real need for this question to be on SE ?

Context : Playing the other night, I ran across a question with my GM of which I knew the answer and found it in an extension book: just a tiny phrase easily overlooked. Question is : does one see through glass using astral perception ?

Is it worthy being asked ? If not, why ? If yes, what would not ?

EDIT : Here's the question.


This is a good example of something that should be a self answered question.

If you have a question, especially a relatively obscure one, then it's a great idea to go ahead and ask it, and then answer it yourself if you've found the answer already. This increases the knowledge base of this site, and helps other folks find the answer easily if they've got the same question.

Just be sure you put some work into the question itself. My biggest knock on this kind of thing is that people will often half ass the question so they can post the answer. Both should be of quality.

Your other option is waiting for a relatively obscure question to show up and then you answer it. Isn't it better for that person to find the answer waiting for them already?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure but I was looking for for ways to determine if a question is obscure enough. Anyway, +1 for the "ask quality question even if you know the answer" \$\endgroup\$ – Trajan Sep 23 '13 at 18:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Trajan There isn't really an "obscure enough" criteria. Ask the question, answer it. If it's obscure, then likely your answer will be the only one. If it's not obscure, then other users will likely submit competing answers, just like normal. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 23 '13 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ yeah there isn't a foolproof test for obscurity. The easiest litmus test I know for any question is: "ask google" if the answer isn't on the first page or so ask the question. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Sep 23 '13 at 19:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Though it is polite to wait for a while (maybe a day) before self-answering, just to actually poll the community of experts. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 23 '13 at 22:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why is it polite to ask people to do unnecessary work ? As @SevenSidedDie said, other users will post competing answers if they feel a need a for it. \$\endgroup\$ – Trajan Sep 24 '13 at 3:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Trajan Opinions vary. The software will let you immediately self-answer, so that's officially condoned. Personally, the only reason I see for waiting to self-answer is because it makes one pay more attention to writing the question well, since it will be standing on its own for a bit. But that's just pragmatism; I don't personally see anything impolite in immediately self-answering. Opinions vary. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 24 '13 at 3:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't find it to be a matter of politeness (which simply doesn't come into it) - you can't actually accept your own an answer for a full day (or two?), unlike anyone else's answers, so that's probably more than enough chance for others to get a word in. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Sep 24 '13 at 11:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trajan he might be referring to the check mark. Not sure quite what brian's trying to say. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Sep 24 '13 at 13:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ So, summing up comments so far, I may ask and answer this question if : my question isn't easily answered in Google AND I work hard enough one both question and answer phrasing. I shall wait a couple of days before accepting the answer (as this always is a good thing to do). Doing so, I'm assured that no one will find it rude or rep-greedy. \$\endgroup\$ – Trajan Sep 24 '13 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trajan yeah, that sums it up nicely \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Sep 25 '13 at 0:02

I agree with WaxEagle's answer. I'd like to add another example of when it would be appropriate, as I see it. Since I wasn't certain of the way to rule that, I posed the question (which can stand alone) and gave my answer to it. Note that Starwed's answer is accepted and not mine; Despite the fact that I've been playing it in my own ruling for a while, their answer made more sense.

Basically it's a "here's how I rule on this question, please express agreement/disagreement via votes/your own answer."


I don't see community wikis used very much on this site; aren't those perhaps a better way to "answer your own question"? At least when the question is involved, without a simple black+white answer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not really, no. Couple reasons. For one, CW can only be applied to a question through an automatic process or by moderator intervention, so it's not an option here. For two, it might be OK on a self answer, and it signals an amount of good faith in that the person is not seeking reputation. However, the messaging is a bit off. CW says to me "this answer is incomplete, or invites further community participation in the answer." What a self answer should say is "Check out what I just learned." with an implicit invitation to explain a better way (or simply explain the concept better). \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Sep 25 '13 at 0:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle I see a check box that lets me set any of my own answers as CW, so that first part is wrong. And this help doc, for instance, makes it clear that avoiding reputation issues is one of the intended purposes of a community wiki post -- from what I've read CW posts used to play a different role, but the current messaging is not what you think. \$\endgroup\$ – starwed Sep 25 '13 at 0:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ you can apply it to your own answers but not to your own questions. CW has 2 effects, it lowers the bar for outright edits (instead of suggested edits), and it prevents the poster from gaining reputation on further upvotes for the post. The first purpose is what I'm talking about with the messaging. The problem with this is twofold. 1. anyone can already edit any post, and these edits are reviewed, this is good and 2. very few actually contributes to wiki style posts on SE. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Sep 25 '13 at 0:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle Ah, I was only talking about the answer in any case. If few people contribute to wiki style posts that seems like it should actually lessen your objection? \$\endgroup\$ – starwed Sep 25 '13 at 0:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's really no concern about farming rep with self-answered questions. Unless it's an interesting enough question that it doesn't matter whether it's a self-answer (because it gets lots of other answers, solves a real problem many people have, etc.; at which point any rep is well earned), self-answered questions don't actually attract many votes. They're often completely ignored by the community. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 26 '13 at 0:46

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