Eeek, I'm getting a suggestion that this is "subjective and likely to be closed." I apologize if this is the wrong type of question, but since it's a "I'm a beginner, what's the etiquette" question, I have no idea how to go about answering it otherwise.

What is the appropriate etiquette for answering your own question? I can think of three potential scenarios. Are all of these allowed, encouraged, frowned upon?

  1. I ask a question that I don't know the answer to. Outside of this site, I discover the answer later. I now bring that knowledge back to the site.
  2. I ask a question that I think I know the answer to, but I'm not positive. I add the answer to the question to see if it gets voted up and deemed correct.
  3. I have a question that I know the answer to, and I think it would add value to the site if the question was here. I ask and answer my own question.
  • The references for the below answers are a bit out of date and over-complicated, here's a simpler answer on the official FAQ: "Can I answer my own question? Yes! Stack Exchange has always explicitly encouraged users to answer their own questions. If you have a question that you already know the answer to, and you would like to document that knowledge in public so that others (including yourself) can find it later, it's perfectly okay..." Apr 19, 2016 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


It sounds as though you're new to the whole Stack Exchange system (welcome!) and I'm wary of referring people with little or no experience on Stack Overflow to MSO - but it's difficult to do this topic justice without it, and all of the answers there apply here as well. So please have a look at the following posts:

There are some subtle differences of opinion on the subject but I'll summarize it for you:

Yes, definitely answer your own question if you have the answer!

There's even a badge for it, if your answer gets upvoted. There can be no clearer sign that we want you to do this.

Some caveats to this are:

  • Make sure your question is actually a question. If you can't phrase it in the form of a question, then it doesn't belong here, it belongs on a blog or forum.

  • Some people get their knickers in a knot if you immediately post the answer, because they see it as rep-gaming. I personally am fine with this, but just to be on the safe side, you might want to wait 10 minutes before you post the answer and give other people a chance to respond. It's up to you, there is no rule.

  • You won't be able to accept your own answer right away - the system forces you to wait a couple of days (by contrast, you can accept somebody else's answer after 15 minutes). Also, you don't get any reputation for accepting your own answer - neither the +15 for having an accepted answer nor the +2 for accepting an answer.

Aside from those issues - post away!

  • 1
    Great suggestions. I answer my own questions quite frequently on Stack Overflow if I think it will be more valuable than the answers already provided. Jul 31, 2010 at 2:58

I'm sure i read somewhere that asking and answering your own questions is fine, and even encouraged during the beta. My own personal feelings are:

  1. This is fine.
  2. This seems ok too, but I would think that it might be better to ask the question and then in the question say what you think the answer is and ask if this is correct. then someone who knows this could confirm and that answers could get voted up.
  3. This seems ok especially during the beta, but I'm not sure we would want to encourage this in general, as it could lead to people just asking and answering their own questions just because they feel the site should have that information on it.

I know that the difference between 2 & 3 can be difficult to gauge and there is nothing stopping people from doing 2 even if they 'know' the answer (but I think this is still better than just asking and then immediately posting an answer).

I think its all in the way it is phrased, and i would be happier with the question being about confirming what you think (even if you are sure you are right) rather than asking and then answering your own questions immediately. I thin there is nothig wrong with asking a question and then after some time (?) posting an answer you have got from somewhere else, or through experimentation. This happens quite often on the other sites.

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