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This help center states that answering your own questions is encouraged, and, if there's no other good answers, one can accept his/her own answer.

This answer to a similar question suggests some community members would judge it seriously negatively.

How is accepting your own answer viewed/judged by the space exploration community?

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    $\begingroup$ The answer that has you worried is from 2009. Just saying, times change. Its perfectly fine to accept your own answer. $\endgroup$ – Polygnome Dec 28 '19 at 0:37
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I've never seen anything like the wanton retribution described in that ten year old answer happen here in Space SE or anywhere else for that matter.

The accepted ten year old answer that begins with

Yes. It's encouraged (answering your own question). Accept it if it's the best answer.

and has ten times the votes, so there's that...

Here's an example of an answer written and accepted by the question's author, it didn't flush their reputation down the toilet, despite the topic.

Here's another example of an excellent, thorough, and very well-sourced answer written by a question's author; I'd say it's ripe for acceptance as well.

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I've done it a few times, with no backlash, for things that I already knew the answer to. When I run across / think of something that might be interesting / amusing / little-known.

If it's something I don't know the answer to, but later figure it out, I'll answer if no one else does. Then sometimes someone else posts a far superior answer and I delete mine.

I've never received massive downvoting for either case.

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I think that as long as the answer has a positive contribution, this positive contribution as voted on as per the SE standards is still a contribution.

A self answered question with a good amount of votes for this self answer in itself has a reason to exist, simply because multiple people took the time to read and upvote the self answer.

Even if a self answer is marked accepted the votes accompanying this answer should not be ignored.

After all, the accepted answer to a question is ultimately the decision of the OP.

Self answers should be treated as any other answer, upvote it, downvote, comment or flag it.

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This is 100% fine as long as it's a good answer. Even if the user only posted the question as a place to put the answer they want to share with everyone else. e.g. as a good canonical duplicate for a frequently-asked question, or just something interesting they wondered and researched themselves.

I've done this a few times myself, on Stack Overflow, to share original research / thoughts / something I figured out (e.g. this, this, or this), or as an FAQ (this) which has proved very useful as a link to leave in a comment, or as a duplicate for closing questions with that bug. All of these have gotten plenty of upvotes and negligible downvotes. A couple times I posted a question and then ended up answering it after a bit more digging, but some of those weren't definite enough to be worth accepting.

A few of those "original research" questions got upvoted comments like

I like these kinds of questions. Keep asking them!

and

This is [x86] investigative journalism at its best. Thanks!

which is clear evidence of community support for using a self-answered Q&A as kind of a blog post / article to explain or dig into something. Phrasing the question to work as a real question that sets up your answer can be tricky in some cases. :P

I'd expect the Space.SE community to agree with SO on this.


Where this can go wrong is when someone thinks they know the answer and self-accept an answer with misconceptions or based on wrong facts.

The meta answer you're looking a was written back in 2009, when Stack Exchange revolved more strongly around Stack Overflow, the programming site. Questions there are more often not out of simple curiosity, instead motivated by wanting working code. That can change the dynamic somewhat.

The cases of bad self-answers being accepted on SO are usually like this:

  1. Beginner asks how to do X, including a lot of misconceptions
  2. Someone else posts an answer that explains some concepts and explains how to solve a problem without a concrete example.
  3. The question asker writes their own answer with just working code (especially for a whole program) and no explanation of concepts or what was wrong. Often this is still nasty code that just barely works, or worse only happens to work by accident. They accept this answer because it's what they used.

But fortunately Stack Exchange sites only pin the accepted answer to the top when it's written by someone else. We don't need to downvote poor self-answers into oblivion to get them to not show up on top, so usually they just get ignored if they're not good.

Of course actually bad answers should get downvotes, but no more so than if they weren't accepted. In practice I think this tends to be how people really do vote.

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