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I want to know the communities opinions on whether or not I should ask and then answer questions that I have the answer to, aren't on the site yet, are appropriate to the site, and, often times, have seen asked repeatedly elsewhere.

Examples would be "Are there any sites to help easily make Saga Edition NPCs?" or "In exalted, what is Paranoia combat?" or "What are some sites one could use to generate Traveller maps?"

I'm hesitant to do so because other I've read other questions which referred to seemingly similar things as seeding and discouraged it. On the other hand, the questions I'd be asking are real questions, somebody, at some point, really did want to know them (meaning that even if I haven't seen others ask them, I did spend hours trying to answer them on my own); moreover, they are generally about under represented systems, meaning that putting them up could better bring in a more diverse crowd.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, the first thing answers so far tell me is that I was right to ask first. I'm hesitant to move forward with the plan as stated given the mixed reactions I've gotten. What would people think of me answering this question with a more complete list of questions I could answer? This would hopefully inspire curiosity in others about them, meaning they'd get asked. If possible, I'd make said answer part of the community wiki so that others could also add questions and so that answered questions could be removed. \$\endgroup\$ – sebsmith Feb 23 '11 at 10:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @sebsmith Not really a big fan of that. Seems like a crummy compromise. Either people will ask the questions when they have them, or they're interesting enough to be posted on their own. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Feb 23 '11 at 14:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Seb, I don't understand. Why do you want to ask these questions? \$\endgroup\$ – Graham Feb 23 '11 at 16:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @sebsmith - While I do agree with posting self-answered questions for the purpose of sharing useful information with the community, I'm not quite sure the examples you've proposed are the kind that would be well-received for this. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Feb 23 '11 at 20:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Graham It seems odd that some games have so few questions about them. For instance the question "In exalted, what is paranoia combat?" is asked, in some form, every couple weeks on the white wolf board, and, despite this, still often ends in arguments. I can only guess that nobody asked it here since we have nobody who commonly uses exalted. I was hoping to start to change the D&D centric environment here. \$\endgroup\$ – sebsmith Feb 24 '11 at 0:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Iszi I got that, I think this question is answered, and once again, I'm glad I asked first. \$\endgroup\$ – sebsmith Feb 24 '11 at 0:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sebsmith Does it end in arguments because it's difficult to answer or because it means different things to different people? If the former, and you have a good take on it, that would be a good candidate. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Feb 24 '11 at 1:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon As far as I can tell, it ends in arguments because people confuse 'mechanically best' with what you 'should do' to maximize fun. Paranoia Combat is mechanically best, but it is also profoundly un-fun. Some people take almost any discussion over it as a suggestion that it is 'the proper way' to play the game. \$\endgroup\$ – sebsmith Feb 24 '11 at 2:54
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Yes. "Question seeding" is still useful as a means of sharing valuable information - which is really the overall goal of this site. However, in doing so you should be careful not to come off as a rep-whore. Here's a few things to consider.

  • Does the question have real value? Just because it was a great victory (we all know that feeling) to come across the revelation that brought the answer to you, doesn't mean it holds the same value for everyone else. This is something that should be considered for any question posted, but especially applies in cases where you have already come across the answer. If it is too localized or (in honest retrospect) relatively trivial, or may fall under any of the other criteria for closure, don't post it.

  • Don't rush to post your own answer. Others may have already faced the same issue, and come to the same conclusions you have. Or, they may want to do their own digging and come up with their personal perspective on the issue. Give them a chance to post and earn rep from their answers - you will already be getting some from the question.

  • Be fair and humble in considering other answers for acceptance. First of all, StackExchange imposes a wait period (somewhere between 24-48 hours, I forget which) before you can accept your own answer anyway. Regardless, just because you already have come up with an answer to the question doesn't mean it's the only answer or that someone else can't express it better. If a better or more accurate answer does show up, be sure to up-vote and consider accepting it instead of yours.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that you can't rush to post your answer—the system enforces a two-day wait before you can answer your own question. Accepting your own answer also doesn't give rep, nor does it "pin" the answer to the top of the page like it normally does—it just gets the tick-mark without any other prestige acceptance usually bestows. Higher-voted answers will still trump it in the sort order. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 23 '11 at 7:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - You can post your own answer at any time, you just can't accept it before the wait period is up. I've done this a few times myself. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Feb 23 '11 at 13:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Right! Brain fail, I blame the hour on the clock when I wrote that. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 23 '11 at 16:03
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Personally, I'd wait to post my own answer. Rep whoreing accusations aside, I think that if you post your answer right away, when users come and view the question has been answered by the poster, they assume you found the answer you were looking for and move on.

I think keeping users interested and participating in questions is more relevant to the site than the volume of questions on the site.

From another angle:

If you are posting the question on the RPG.stackexchange (Jesus we need a better name) it's because the question is of interest to other users. If it is of interest to other users we want users to look at it and participate in the question, maybe even upvote it and share it. Therefore, you should do nothing to discouraging them from contributing to that question. In the interest of not discouraging them you should not give them the impression that you already have the answer (ie suggesting you either don't need the community or that it is a dishonest question) and as such should wait to post your answer; give someone else a chance to shine.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with the term "dishonest question"... Having the answer doesn't necessarily make a question dishonest, as long as the question or answer is interesting. But strongly agree that holding off a day or so on posting your own answer can give more interesting results. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Feb 23 '11 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm with you on that one @AceCalhoon; I wanted to put the emphasis on the suggests part. Those parenthesis examples are less about what is being done and more about how users and community members perceive it. \$\endgroup\$ – LeguRi Feb 24 '11 at 0:38
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Answering your own questions isn't something you should do a lot of. Pick the one or two most interesting question/answer pairs and go with those. You shouldn't be posting question/answer pairs just to fill the database... You should be posting them because it's something really awesome.

I would avoid asking questions that are just pointers to other resources (Are there any sites that...), because frankly those questions aren't very interesting from a Q&A standpoint. So if no one is going out and asking for the boring question, it probably isn't worth posting it yourself.

Ditto with definition questions, unless the definition is really obscure and interesting.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for implicitly clarifying "bad question seeding" as being "just to fill the database". Also +1 for avoiding site-link and terminology questions. Additionally, keep in mind that there's a couple terminology CWs already established that many terms can be posted under. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Feb 23 '11 at 15:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ it is something that is allowed, per the faq, but I agree that if all your questions (or a significantly large % of them) are self-answered, that is not in the spirit of Q&A.. \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Atwood Feb 23 '11 at 18:05
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No. If it is a legit question someone else will ask it, otherwise it is artificial seeding and will probably get reported to us mods for rep-whoring, and I hate it when things are reported to us mods, it makes me grumpy.

I sympathize with the desire to make more diverse questions, but I would express that by asking questions you really want to know about those kinds of games; that will draw folks that will ask the more simple questions you have answers to as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk - While I respect and value your opinion, and understand your point about rep-whoring, there is a way to go about posting self-answered questions in a respectable manner. If a user can do so, we should encourage them to share their information as that is what this site is really for. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Feb 23 '11 at 4:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nope. It's not an honest question, and is therefore not a good question. See the SO blog post on question seeding. blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/07/… \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Feb 23 '11 at 5:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Reading that post, the suggestion doesn't seem to qualify as seeding: it's not trying to fill an empty restaurant, they're not going to be pedestrian questions, and it's certainly not "asking the first questions". At worst, it's importing useful material generated elsewhere… which happens to be a goal of SE. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 23 '11 at 7:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ And importing stuff from elsewhere runs afoul of plagiarism. I encourage everyone to ASK LEGITIMATE QUESTIONS THEY WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER TO. That is what makes a site strong and makes good questions and answers. All this metagaming seems like a good idea but will of course have adverse long term effects. People have learned this the hard way on other SEs, so you are of course welcome to learn the hard way as well. I'm not going to stand in anyone's way, but neither will I be sympathetic in the least when downvotes/close votes/flags come to those questions. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Feb 23 '11 at 13:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Jeff Atwood has explicitly condoned answering your own question; most recently in a comment to this blog post: blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/01/real-questions-have-answers/… \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Feb 23 '11 at 14:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon - I knew this had come up before somewhere else. Interestingly enough, the comment you refer to is in response to one of my own. I just couldn't think of where it was. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Feb 23 '11 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Should have been "condoned asking questions you know the answer to." D'oh! \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Feb 23 '11 at 14:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I hate to be That Guy and pick a nit, but plagiarism is an academic and professional offense in which work is used without credit (where it otherwise doesn't run afoul of copyright). So plagiarism isn't a problem for lack of relevant context (we're not submitting papers in exchange for a degree here), and I expect credit/linkbacks where credit is due. It remains true that SE condones importing content (without copypasta which would be a copyright violation) from outside to make the DB more complete. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 23 '11 at 16:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk - I'm not really seeing where anyone was talking about condoning plagiarism here. I believe that by "importing useful material generated elsewhere" @SevenSidedDie was referring to the knowledge gained by a person who found (or came to realization of) the answer to their question without the SE community. That knowledge can very easily be shared with the rest of RPG.SE without having to plagiarize anything. I'm fairly certain everyone will agree (as it has been brought up in other threads) that copyright infringement and plagiarism are things we definitely don't want going on here. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Feb 23 '11 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Iszi that's not what the OP says, it's not their questions, it's "questions they've seen asked elsewhere." \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Feb 24 '11 at 0:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk - Ah, now I understand the confusion. Perhaps the OP just didn't quite express the intent well, or may have had something else in mind. My take on this is that, at the end of the day, we're meant to be a reference site for information on issues relevant to our scope. As such, it would only make sense that we have questions asked here that are also on other sites. Does Merriam-Webster exclude words from their dictionaries just because Oxford has already published a definition? The key here is to make sure we're not just copy-pasting from the other sites when we do this. \$\endgroup\$ – Iszi Feb 24 '11 at 14:22

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