This is a poll, so please answer clearly and/or upvote an existing answer:
- Do you have any additional arguments, whether in favour or against?
- Should we keep the current policy, of telling people we'd prefer they don't post questions in order to self-answer them?
- Should we keep the current "tacit" policy, of tolerating some self-answered questions (for example if they're upvoted), as well as of allowing or accepting a moderator's deleting such a topic if the moderator wants to?
- Should we change (or simply undo, vote against), the current site-specific policy, and instead welcome (in general) the self-answering of topics?
- Do we need to reconsider any other policy, related to "what is a 'high quality' question?", and, "Is a 'low quality' question ever closed and if so by whom?"
In that chat I tried to explain this policy -- May I share my research, by posting questions on this site and self-answering them?
Ven. Kumāra (and Ruslan) would like to revisit and perhaps reverse that decision.
Reasons for disapproving of self-answered questions
Some of the reasons I gave in chat were that self-answered topics can be a vehicle for low-quality or disruptive content, for example:
Someone can use it to an argument across multiple topics, for example:
Question: Is such-and-such true? User X said "such-and-such", in topic Y. Are they right?
Answer: No! User X is wrong, and such-and-such is false! etc.
Someone can post questions which seem intended to prove that their knowledge is superior:
- "Asks a question"
- (Waits for other people to answer...)
- (Posts an answer): "Thanks for trying, everyone, but here's the correct answer which I was expecting: etc."
Someone can flood the site with several questions and answers per day.
It can be used for posting dubious content -- conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, maybe spam-like topics.
It seemed to me that the community had voted against it -- including in this topic which has answers like:
Personally, I find seeded questions irksome; it's generally easy to see that the asker isn't really looking for an answer, so there is no sense of accomplishment in answering. It feels more like a chore, like editing Wikipedia or something.
Simply put, the best way for a SE site to answer questions from beginners is for beginners to ask them. However, SE sites make for great Q&A sites, not for great reference sites.
... as well as in this topic where even MathewMartin's answer, which appears to say "yes", also says,
Yeah, posting a rhetorical question & answering it is bad business (for this site, fine for a blog/discussion forum tho)
So it was a clear majority of the users who voted -- 9 users to 3 or something like that -- including all three of the moderators.
Contrary to SE norms, on this site we have little or no quality control on questions -- Moderation policies for Questions -- and if a question is closed it's closed by moderators not by users. Because "self-answered" question can be unwelcome -- low-quality and/or disruptive, we discourage them in general to avoid having arguments about why their question was OK but yours is unwelcome.
In practice moderators aren't strict in enforcing the rule.
If a user does it occasionally/rarely, if the question and answer are welcome (up-voted), if it doesn't seem "disruptive", then (so far as I remember) moderators don't delete it, instead it's "tolerated".
The existence of the rule lets us (moderators) delete things if we don't like it:
- Usually the community has asked moderators not to judge the "quality" of a post (but this rule allows us to)
- On this site it tends to be only moderators -- not users -- who will close a question (it takes 5 high-reputation users to vote to close, or only one moderator's vote)
In my personal experience or memory of other SE sites, self-answered questions are permitted but not very important. They're rare on any main site, and are mostly used for faq topics on Meta.
The most useful, most-upvoted topics on Stack Overflow seem to be all people answering other people's questions, not their own.
Reasons for approving of self-answered questions
Ven. Kumāra's argument for permitting them includes:
They're usually allowed on other SE sites -- Can I answer my own question?
Yes! Stack Exchange has always explicitly encouraged users to answer their own questions.
Furthermore (quoting from chat):
And I'm also saying trust SE's design to make Buddhism.SE work, because it has proven to work elsewhere. There's no reason it wouldn't work here. And there's no proof that it's not working.
I'm believe when people use is like their onw blog, they question will get much downvoted and the person will eventually leave. This is not just a theory. We already have proof of this.
(Therefore allowing self-answers isn't harmful -- instead simply downvoting is enough to solve the problem and/or make people leave.)
Besides, if we want to attract more experts, then openly allow self-answering, because that's an important factor in attracting them. By disallowing it as a policy, or even just to discourage it almost as a rule, the moderators have undermined a major reason why SE is successful elsewhere.
Experts who want to share find this an attractive place. We should encourage the useful ones, and shoo away the useless one, instead of shooing away all of them.
I suspect that users in favour of this change, and/or who may want to post self-answered questions, include Ven. Kumāra (who's proposing this change), Ruslan, perhaps other (current or former) users including Theravada and Lowbrow, and perhaps Samana Johann.