Recently, I asked this question and included my own calculations in the question description. Now I wanted to ask a follow-up question with a similar aim and have some calculations that might be sufficient - just as in the original question.

I am not happy how the original question turned out. It feels kind of off to answer the question within the question and then just ask "Am I correct?".

Would it be better form to answer my own questions with the calculations I have and thus give other people a more independent approach to answer the question?

I have read a few meta posts on self-answering, but I didn't feel they helped me decide in this situation.

It is not a matter of preference for me, just structure and form. I do see the self-answering could be perceived as "fishing for upvotes" or something. The goal still is getting the best possible answer - if that is mine (which might be) then that is fine. If I missed a few points and someone adds them in theirs then I'll take theirs, obviously.


I posted my question in the sandbox. Sorry it took a while, but I didn't get to finish it yesterday.


2 Answers 2


The most important thing to remember when self-answering a question is that either the question or the answer must be able to stand on its own regardless of who posted either.

In other words, you don't get cut any slack because it's your own question. (For some people, it's the opposite. There isn't supposed to be any difference because it's a self-answer, but to the extent that there is, I more often see self-answers being judged more harshly rather than less so.)


  • Does the question contain all the information needed to provide an answer? If no, then add the required information to the question. People looking to answer the question shouldn't need to read any existing answers (though doing so is often good form, to make sure you aren't repeating points already made in existing answers).
  • Does the answer actually provide an answer to the question that is being asked? If no, then it's not an answer, but rather something else, possibly a clarification or follow-up to the question, and doesn't belong as an answer.
  • $\begingroup$ The answer I intend on posting to the question is to my best knowledge a correct one. I will reference all data and reasoning I put into it. But I am not a specialist and would like for someone with perhaps more extensive knowledge to improve upon that if required. With my original question I felt there like I was cluttering up my question with an answer and barely gave room for an actual answer by someone else besides ("yes" or "no, because X"; turned out to be just "yes"). $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2018 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ @ArtificialSoul It's still an answer even if it's wrong. A wrong answer might (actually, should) draw some downvotes, but if it does, you can delete it. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Jul 24, 2018 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ So your recommendation would be adding my data and calculation as an appendix to my question, correct? $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2018 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ @ArtificialSoul It's hard to say without seeing it, but if your data and calculations form a part of your question, then it goes into the question. If it's an attempt at an answer, then it probably goes as an answer. So it really depends on your intent. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Jul 24, 2018 at 12:04
  • $\begingroup$ I am currently working on posting it in the Sandbox. The data and calculations are definitely at the very least an attempt of an answer and might even be correct or sufficient, but since I do not know as biochemistry is not my field of expertise I would not bet on it. But since I made the effort to research that I feel it rather pointless not at least giving this as a basis to potential answers and have other people possibly do the exact same research (even if just partially). It is definitely not part of the question, but additional information and a possible answer. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2018 at 12:09

I do see the self-answering could be perceived as "fishing for upvotes" or something.

In general that is not the case. Quite the opposite: the goal of StackExchange is to share knowledge, so if you decide to share your knowledge by posting a question that you had and the answer you reached than that is very much how StackExchange is supposed to work and you deserve every single upvote you get from it. This is not fishing - this is simply contributing.

Whether you want to do that is a different thing. Basically there are different forms of asking a question. The first one is the style: you post a question and state what you think should happen with something like "Does this make sense the way I have described my world?" at the end. The second style is to choose self-answering.

Personally I'd say that you should self-answering if you feel that you had a problem and researched it, arriving at a conclusion that you think could be satisfactory for people that might have a similar problem in the future. They ask the same question as you did and you found an answer, so why not share the knowledge?

If you are less sure that you have found a solution that actually works for your situation you should probably choose the reality-check style and state the current state of your research in your question. Basically this is a kind of question like: "I have this problem. This is what I researched. My conclusion currently is that. But I feel there is something missing, for example X and Y do not seem ideal. What did I overlook?"

But in the end this is a judgement call and you are the only one who can really decide how you want to do this. If you would like some feedback on how the question is phrased you can check out our Sandbox once you have a draft, but ultimately it's up to you to decide what to do. There are no hard rules about self-answering, so if you feel that it might be for example a nice experiment after your last question did not work out the way you thought it would work out I'd say just go for it and self-answer your next question to see where it takes you. Some people like the "Is this correct?" style, while others prefer to focus on "Questions and answers" as the core of the site.

Ideally other people should answer similar in both cases. In one case they would have to say "Yes, this works, you are right on X, Y and Z. / No, this works not because X, Y and Z.", while in the other case they just elaborate on "X, Y and Z."

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I think the question without a semi-answer included is the better question and leaves more room for better answers. I think I'll add that to the sandbox first. $\endgroup$ Jul 24, 2018 at 9:54

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