I noticed this comment and am not sure I understand the logic behind it.

In the future, if you intend to answer your own question, please write up the answer beforehand. When asking the question, you'll be able to tick a box stating "Answer your own question".

What is the difference between answering at the same time as asking and giving an answer after the question is posted? Why would immediate be preferred?

  • 3
    Relevant SO.Meta discussion
    – RedRiderX
    Dec 4, 2013 at 16:26
  • @3ventic Yes I saw that one but it did not answer my question. Why would checking the box upon question creation be preferred over posting the question and then going in to post your answer?
    – Batophobia
    Dec 4, 2013 at 16:48
  • 5
    Short answer: There is no greater consensus on this that you have to follow. Do what you want. If someone tries to beat you up over your decision, they're being rude.
    – Sterno
    Dec 4, 2013 at 21:00
  • 2
    @Batophobia I wrote the comment. In response to your comment on kalina's answer: I saw the question and knew the answer, so I began writing my answer and checking my facts. When I hit post, about 5 minutes after the question was posted, I saw the answerer already answered his own question. I suppose it would have been apt to include the time frame in my comment; imo answering afterward is perfectly fine, but writing a question and answering it 5 minutes after should be avoided altogether, instead using the self-answer feature.
    – Schism
    Dec 5, 2013 at 14:53
  • @Schism Appreciate the comment. I wish SE would always show times. When multiple posts say something like "Yesterday" it makes it hard to determine which came first. You also bring up a good point that the answers below did not mention.
    – Batophobia
    Dec 5, 2013 at 23:13
  • 2
    @Batophobia Hovering the mouse cursor over the 'Yesterday' or 'X time ago' text should should show the exact date and time. Dec 7, 2013 at 12:59

2 Answers 2


A summary of the issue, since this seems to be confusing to people:

Speaking specifically about the case where you already know the answer and are planning to answer before you ask the question, some people feel like you should go ahead and post the answer with the question using the little checkbox on the "ask a new question" page.

This is not a requirement, merely a suggestion that some feel saves the time of potential answerers. I'm personally not going to punish anyone (ie, downvote, comment, suspend, delete, etc) for answering after a short while.

More info follows:

This is a somewhat contentious issue (see this discussion on MSO, for example). It's been complicated further because the system changed to explicitly allow this situation after some of these discussions occurred. (Some folks would rather the asker not be able to do this at all, from reading some of these MSO threads...)

If you're planning on answering the question, you can save other answerer's time by posting the answer and the question in one swoop. However, you may discourage answers that might be better than yours by doing so.

There's some risk that if you wait your answer will be redundant with respect to other answers on the question. Thus, your answer might look like you're stealing theirs, even if you wrote it first.

I wouldn't say it's a requirement that you post the question and answer at the same time, but I would say that it's probably a good idea.

With my moderator hat on, I personally will not take any action if people decide to ask a question and answer it a few minutes later without using the checkbox. I will not leave a comment, a downvote, delete, or suspend, or take any other punitive action. The community may downvote or comment, however.

  • Can you expound more on why you think it a good idea to do question/answer simultaneously? The only support in favor of it here is that OP answer will not be rendered redundant in a simultaneous posting.
    – Batophobia
    Dec 4, 2013 at 19:22
  • 10
    @Batophobia, I thought I did. Let me lay it out in list format. 1) There's a button for it, so presumably The Powers That Be think it's a good thing. 2) You're not wasting any helpful person's answering time since you don't really need an answer. 3) Your late answer might be construed as copying existing content, which could be a bad thing. None of them are super compelling as far as "hard and fast rules" go, and I personally would not have left the comment that was left. However, I don't have collective mind control over every user of the site. Well, yet.
    – agent86
    Dec 4, 2013 at 19:42
  • Alright then. I see advantages to both, so I appreciate that both options are available.
    – Batophobia
    Dec 4, 2013 at 21:44
  • I think this concept is rather silly, if not flat out ridiculous. I've personally answered several of my own questions, but because I figured out the answer before anyone else did, rather than some 'master plan' of wriing a question that I already knew the answer to.
    – Ender
    Dec 9, 2013 at 1:48
  • 7
    @Ender, I think you're confused about what we're talking about here. The specific case in this meta is where you post a question with the intent of answering it afterwards. The case where you post something and later figure it out yourself is different. I've added a summary to the top of my answer, hopefully it correctly limits the scope and makes things clearer to you.
    – agent86
    Dec 9, 2013 at 18:24

Personally, even when I intend to answer my own question, I will do what you did and post the question first. I generally leave 15-60 minutes for the question to attract any other potential answers before re-evaluating if I need to post my own answer.

The reason I do this, is to promote other people answering questions. Other people will potentially have alternative or better methods of achieving the end goal and it is of value to the site to have multiple answers per question (provided they're not identical answers) so that the system of upvoting the best answer to the top can actually work.

While many people would prefer you to post them in one go (or, in some cases, not answer your own questions at all!) it's up to you how you handle it.

Be warned however, if you choose to wait before answering your own question and somebody posts basically the same answer that you were going to post, that there probably isn't a need for your answer anymore. In these instances, I determine if what I was going to post is actually an improvement over what was posted (easier to read, screenshots detailing how to undertake said task, etc) and if not, I won't post an additional answer.

  • This was my thinking as well and I agree with this logic, which it why the comment confused me. As a side note, that wasn't my question/answer.
    – Batophobia
    Dec 4, 2013 at 19:18
  • Pretty much my normal approach as well, but I typically try to wait a day or so. Even then, after I've posted my own answer, I try to give another day or so (in fact, I think it's system-enforced) before I accept my own answer in case anyone else cares to post a better one.
    – Iszi
    Dec 9, 2013 at 21:29
  • Personally in the case where I find the answer for myself or have an answer ready and one shows up I just edit their answer to include any information that I know but may be missing from theirs.
    – Reafexus
    Dec 10, 2013 at 1:16

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