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I've been browsing through some of the questions on the Life Hack SE, and noticed that recently one particular user has been posting questions and then answering them themselves.

I know self answered questions are encouraged if a solution is found but I was just wondering where we stand with respect to someone doing it many times - IMO it looks like they have just been going through a pre-existing Life Hacks site and just looking for answers.

Don't get me wrong they are good answers and some good questions, it just seems to be a way of 'farming' rep and badges on the site - is this acceptable or is it not a problem at all?

Here are a few of the questions I found:

This is not me trying to rat someone out or anything, I just wanted to know the rules regarding this type of Q&A.

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    From experience I know that answering your question makes you receive better answers, as the answerers have to state other more ingenious methods. By removing the obvious answer and the one you know you get more thought out ones. As long as the answer is actually a answer and is thought out, it should be OK. – Pobrecita Jan 25 '15 at 2:09
  • @darthness You can state the obvious/known answers (and why they aren't what you're looking for) in the question. I thought this was already encouraged. – TIO Begs Feb 4 '15 at 20:16
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In theory there's nothing wrong with answering your own questions, no matter how often you do it, provided that both your questions and answers meet quality standards.

That said, in this case it does look like someone is copying a whole lot of content without giving attribution and some of the questions aren't great...

We appreciate people trying to contribute and so on, but there's more expected from contributions than "Hey I found this Life Hack meme on the web... "

Memes are memes for a reason they're usually repeatedly copied and pasted all over the place, whether they're any good or not.

Which brings me to the next issue. When posting someone else's content you not only need to give attribution, but also try to find a reputable source and/or test it yourself.

  • Usually I'm trying to give a contribution by linking to the original material/article, but the problem with meme images is that if you search via image reversal, there are thousands of the same image repeated everywhere, so to who you give the contribution then? Giving them to the site instead of the original author it's unfair either as usually these are uploaded anonymously. – kenorb Jan 23 '15 at 15:38
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    @kenorb why do you need to use the meme image? – apaul Jan 23 '15 at 15:39
  • It's making the question or answer more clear, interesting and fun. One meme can show the thing much better than describing it by the wall of text (especially for people where English is not the first language). I've seen many times when people were asking for a picture to show how does something work practically (not just by saying it's working). – kenorb Jan 23 '15 at 15:43
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    @kenorb I suspect it may be a problem of work flow. It looks like you find the meme first and then work backward to a problem that the meme will solve so that you can post it, rather than having a problem, researching, finding a solution, and then sharing it. – apaul Jan 23 '15 at 15:44
  • If there is a problem, it's no problem for me, as I don't have to contribute to the site, as I've other work to do. But I was only hoping that the site won't disappear shortly from beta from lack of people using it as the other sites disappeared. I've no interest in my rep if that's about. I quite used to down-votes. – kenorb Jan 23 '15 at 15:46
  • @kenorb People will use the site... And honestly I hope you stick around too, just slow down a little. – apaul Jan 23 '15 at 15:49
  • Btw. Another underestimated use of images/memes is that the Q&A are easily searchable via image search engines. Sometimes users look for some answers, but they're not sure how to phrase it, so they click on grid of images and voila, they can click to open the Q&A page to read more details about it. It may sounds stupid, but I think from SEO perspective it's a great idea. – kenorb Jan 24 '15 at 11:43
  • This SO.meta post might be relevant regarding the images. – Dawnkeeper Jan 26 '15 at 15:45
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I agree with apaul's answer, but I think an additional point has to be made.

SE explicitly encourages asking and answering your own question, and it's something that I do all the time, on this site and several others. However, at the same time, you need to make sure that quality is not compromised when you do that.

Take, for example, this question that I asked a while ago, because I happened to find the answer while researching a different question. It got downvoted, and had a negative score for a while, until the "pity upvote" effect kicked in. I omitted basic information from the question, and it deserved the downvotes it got. (and I haven't yet gotten around to fixing it, yet :P)

So, if you're going to be asking and self-answering a whole bunch of questions, please don't skimp on quality. We're trying to earn as many fake internet points as we can make the internet a better place, and posting a lot of low-quality questions and answers isn't the best way to go about doing that. (both "that"s)

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I think this a subtle matter. If someone has genuinely found something interesting (and probably unique), then I'd welcome a Q&A-style post from them; it shares knowledge with the world.

If someone posts a question and then, some time later, finds an answer, I welcome that being posted too.

However, I don't particular enjoy reading questions that follow the lines of:

Q: How do I do X?

A: According to this other site, a great solution is Y.

We could post those sorts of questions all day until we've drained the other sites of content. For me, that's not what Stack Exchange sites try to do.

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