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Q&A

Welcome to Codidact Meta!

Codidact Meta is the meta-discussion site for the Codidact community network and the Codidact software. Whether you have bug reports or feature requests, support questions or rule discussions that touch the whole network – this is the site for you.

Can you post a question just to answer it yourself?

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Does Codidact allow users to post questions and then immediately answer them?

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You are accessing this answer with a direct link, so it's being shown above all other answers regardless of its score. You can return to the normal view.

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I haven’t seen anyone mention another reason to answer your own questions.

I wish I knew a more scientific or technical term for it, but it’s commonly called the Rubber Duck principle, and I utterly swear by it.

The idea that engaging in dialogue with interlocutors is profoundly beneficial to clarifying and developing one’s own thinking goes back to at least Socrates, yet is surely perennial wisdom.

Question-and-answer forums like Codidact give you the opportunity to externalize your questions to an audience - which allows you sometimes to make progress on them yourself. It’s sort of like a public declaration of a research to-do, or, throwing a ball up in the air, only to catch it yourself.

I personally believe I have learned more of intellectual worth, and grown more, having interlocutors - oftentimes, myself - on forums like Stack Exchange, than I did in university. I believe this strongly, in fact.

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But Codidact is not a forum. (4 comments)
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From How to ask a great question in the help section:

If you put your question title into a search engine, can you find the answer to your question in the first three results? If so, perhaps consider alternative ways of sharing that information here on Codidact, or writing a self-answered question to share that knowledge.

(I've added emphasis to the relevant part.)

Self-answered questions are an intended way of using the question and answer communities. Anyone is free to then edit the answer to improve it, or to add their own answer.

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Of course!

You will find the answer if you ask what the purpose of Codidact is. Codidact is not a helpdesk, but a knowledge repository. So yes, part of the purpose of Codidact, is to answer your own questions. Codidact is like Wikipedia, but organized in the form of answers to questions, rather than articles. The point of answering one's own questions, is to provide knowledge to our repository.

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Such questions are accepted and encouraged, by design

It's not our idea, or a new idea, either. It's fundamental to the design and concept of Q&A sites, Codidact included.

People who actually need an answer to a question are often in a uniquely bad position to actually ask that question. Out of all the information they've gathered about the problem, they don't know what's actually relevant to explaining the situation of implementing a solution - that only comes with hindsight. They also don't necessarily know the right way to frame the problem, or the right scope for the question. An expert may have seen hundreds of people fail in a similar manner, and thus understand what those cases have in common. Finally - and especially for technical issues - people experiencing a problem might not know how to describe it accurately and unambiguously - because they don't fully understand the terminology of the problem domain.

The Q&A format can be an excellent device for experts to communicate their expertise. It's not always the best choice - which is part of why the Codidact software supports other category types. But when there is a specific problem that can be described - either "why does doing X fail in Y manner?" or "how do I do Z with W tools?" - asking that framing question and answering it is a fantastic presentation method. A well-chosen title can be easily found with a search engine; the body of the question confirms the nature of the problem; and an answer can convey all the necessary information - whether it's a three-step guide, a pages-long conceptual explanation, or anything in between.

Aside from that, asking the question invites others to offer competing explanations of the material, alternate approaches to solving the same problem, etc. Questions stay open indefinitely by default, which is also a key part of the formula.

A self-answered question is still a question; and that question should be judged on its own merits. If someone is self-answering questions simply in order to show off expertise rather than to be helpful, the result will be a question that doesn't make sense to ask - perhaps because it's improperly scoped, lacking detail or clarity, or inappropriately subjective. As a rule, questions should be judged the same way whether or not the OP offered an answer.

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General comments (3 comments)
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Others have already pointed out that self-answering is not only allowed, but even encouraged when you've got some insight you think would be of value to others.

Over at the Electrical Engineering site we've even taken this a step further with the Papers category. It can be a more appropriate way to present your new insight than artificially asking, then answering. Some sites have similar mechanisms, like the Recipes category on Cooking.

On sites that have both kinds of posts, use Q&A if you're willing or want others to provide possibly different viewpoints or different ways of presenting the solution. If you want to create a more careful presentation without clutter from others, write a Paper or similar.

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And if your community doesn't have a place for articles and you would like it to, raise it on the per... (1 comment)

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