Should we post questions we intend to answer ourselves on the Sandbox, and if so, should we post the answer we plan to write in as well?

I'm asking this for a particular reason. A while ago I posted this question, which I proceeded to answer:

How much energy would be released in a collision of planets of matter & antimatter?

It got some major bad press. I'll admit it was poorly phrased and built. My grip on LaTeX liquified, I was in a hurry. We're all human; we all make mistakes. But I got hit over the head with VTC's and downvotes. What was worse was that there weren't many comments until after I was put on hold, which should have been avoided. I think I got 4 VTC's in 1 minute. I rephrased the question to make it fit into the scope of worldbuilding as defined, and tried to close a duplicate answer. But I found myself wondering how something like this could be avoided in the future. It wasn't an experience I wanted to repeat. I wanted to include a fun-ish tidbit of useful information that counted as worldbuilding and might help other worldbuilders.

I'm getting used to using the Sandbox a little. I'm even getting used to welcoming new users, directing them to the tour and help. I can suffer downvotes and realize that my answer/question is bad. But I'm still unsure as to the whole answer your own question scenario. This post is about three main questions:

Should I post questions I fully intend to answer myself on the Sandbox?
If yes, should I include the answer I am aiming to post to my own question?
And how can I resolve similar issues in the future?

I get that this is often a result of bad questions and answers, but I'm not looking for an explanation based on that truth.

  • $\begingroup$ What exactly do you mean with "tried to close a duplicate answer"? You can't close answers. You can only flag them so that they are deleted (though users with more than 10k reputation can still see them). $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    May 3, 2018 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Secespitus: I meant flagged a duplicate answer. Sorry about the confusion $\endgroup$ May 3, 2018 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ If you think it's truly an exact duplicate you should mention that in a comment and link to the exact origianl, so that people in the review queue see it. If it's not exactly a duplicate, for example because someone had a different approach, you should probably leave it. Self-answered questions are normal posts and maybe you get some interesting new insights or someone points out some problems and improves your solution. Especially on WorldBuilding.SE you never know. $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    May 4, 2018 at 7:34

2 Answers 2


The Sandbox is a good, optional way to test questions. Self-answered questions are a little more susceptible to problems of vagueness or omission, in my experience, because you alny doubts at all, I encourage you to use the sandbox to test a question you also intend to answer.

I think the sandbox works best if it stays focused on the questions. Mentioning that you plan to self-answer is fine, but I think it's better to evaluate the question on its own, without your proposed answer.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge!


There is no requiremen to use the Sandbox. It's just a feature that you can use if you are not sure how your question will be received or for example if you are sure that it won't be well-received in its current form and you would like some feedback on how to make it better without the closure routine. The close votes can still occur - just a small percentage of the regular users are regularly in the Sandbox and many more have the privilege to cast close/reopen votes. It's not perfect, but it might be helpful.

But again: there is no requirement. If you think the Sandbox will be useful for your specific case you can use it. And if you don't like waiting for someone to give you some feedback then you can simply post directly on the main site. Many people don't like waiting.

I can't remember a case where someone wanted to post a self-answered question in the Sandbox. Mostly because initial self-answers are pretty rare compared with the overall amount of posts. But if you want I recommend simply adding the Sandbox notes to the top and stating that you want to self-answer. Then you simply make a level one heading that says # Question Post and one that says # Answer Post with a horizontal line ----- between both of these parts. That should make sure that people know what you are doing and they can help you to check whether your question is corresponding with the guidelines for questions, your answer is corresponding with the guidelines for answers and whether there are any discrepancies between your question and the answer.

It's very nice of you to want to share your knowledge with the community through self-answers. I hope you continue doing this and that your experience will be better the next time.

For completeness sake: We have an answer Sandbox, too... But there have been four posts (now deleted) in the past 3,5 years. And there have been discussions about whether we still want the answer Sandbox. I'd recommend just leaving your question and self-answer in one post so that it's easier to find them and help you work on the drafts.

About resolving such issues in the future... Well, closure reasons, how they should be applied, how they should be communicated, how reopening should work, ... those are the topics that are most discussed here on Meta. It may or may not happen to you again. Getting some input for your draft through the Sandbox or for your idea from the chat can be a good way to mitigate at least some amount of this, but there is no 100% certain way to write a question that will not get closed. It's all a big, blurry region.


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