Suppose that I asked a question and after a while (In the light of some received answers) I found an exact solution to the question. Is it possible then to write an answer to my own question for the sake of providing an answer for future similar questions that other users may face?


2 Answers 2


Absolutely. It's even fine to ask a question that you already know the answer to, and then post the answer, if you think it will be useful to others in the future.

See also https://or.stackexchange.com/help/self-answer.


You can offer one or more answers and choose your own answer; but consider this:

  • Physics: "Should I post a question if I know the answer? Should I answer my own questions?"

    user68: "Seeding the site with questions is not ok, because it makes it grow artificially; now, when the site is a grown-up, it is perfectly ok, as long as:

    • you ask serious questions,
    • you won't flood the site with tens of them,
    • you will be fair with accepting best answer.".
  • Physics: "Do we want and need a set of canonical questions with canonical answers?"

    John Rennie: "I have no objection to the proposal so I'm not going to vote it down, however I'm not sure how well this is going to work in practice.

    If you take the Q/A of mine that you link, I wrote this mainly for personal reasons. I had finally got around to working though the analysis of acceleration in Chapter 6 of Gravitation and was feeling really proud that I'd successfully worked through all the derivations that the authors assume are obvious. It was on this wave of smugness that I decided I just had to share my new found understanding. While I'd like to say it was to create a valuable resource for the site, this was a fringe benefit rather than a prime motivator. I have several times linked the question as a duplicate, but only several times, not hundreds of times, so I'm not sure it's made that much difference to the day to day working of the site.".

  • Biology: "Questions asking for evolutionary reasons"

    WYSIWYG: "We do get a lot of questions that ask for why evolution did not lead to situation-X?

    The answer to all such questions is that there is not enough selection pressure towards situation-X, and evolution does not try to find global optimum. Should we keep repeating the same answer again and again? What do you think should be done for these questions? If you close them as a duplicate of some other question, the OP will argue that their question is about a different situation.

    I think that these should be closed unless the OP asks for a specific hypothesis, but should we keep retyping the same statement for the custom close? An option is to clearly mention this rule in the tag-wiki for evolution and cite that as a close reason. What is your take?

    Based on terdon's suggestion, I have created a community wiki post:

    Why do some bad traits evolve, and good ones don't?

    Those who are good at the subject, feel free to refine the post or add more information.".

    [Note: The question was written and wikied solely for the purpose of being able to provide all similar answers in one place and $\mathbf{\text{mark as duplicate}}$ all similar questions.]

  • Math: "Is answering own question okay?"

    Qiaochu Yuan: "My opinion differs from that of most of the moderators, but for what it's worth: I had no problem with you answering your own questions about proving things without the axiom of choice, although I did think it was slightly annoying that you kept editing your own answers, and I also think this is not an optimal use of math.SE and that it would be easier to do on a blog.

    What I had a problem with was you starting a question about the point of avoiding the axiom of choice and then answering it yourself. This was clearly an attempt on your part to justify your previous questions, and I did not think it was an appropriate use of the main site. The main site is not for soapboxing. It is for asking and answering questions. If you wanted to justify your previous questions, you should've done it on meta (like you're attempting to do now).".

  • Stack Overflow: "Answering own question months later"

    Makoto: "You're encouraged to answer your own questions around here. There's nothing poor about your question, from what I could tell, so I don't believe it's subject to anyone coming after it.

    At best, you can now incorporate it into your code's documentation to explain why you chose to implement something in this fashion ".

  • Meta - FAQ: "Can I answer my own questions, even if I knew the answer before asking?"

    See more there.

Those are just a few points of view. I believe that selection of Q&A's gives a balanced outline of half the people. I don't think we need top Google results or homework (or Teacher's Edition books) copied. Ideally something asked would be a unique and interesting combination of things, and the best answer difficult to derive from existing information sources. It could be valuable only to you (I've answered many such questions from other people) but better questions (and more popular answers) are things of interest to the greatest number of people - even if they didn't know they wanted to know that.


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