Yesterday I noticed that a person answered his own question. That didn't concern me so much because it looked like he honestly didn't know the answer but found it as he did more research. But what really bothered me was that he was able to give a check mark to his own answer. Does that mean that he awarded himself 15 reputation points? I think reputation is only to be given by others in the community to show that they respect your knwoledge and the quality of the answer (in the case of an answer). Is this what actually happened or am I in a stew over nothing? Could it be that you are allowed to check your own answer but are not awarded the 15 points? I have never tried this so I don't know. If you can give yourself point this way I think it should be stopped for the integrity of the system.

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    $\begingroup$ Your correct in your guess that the system does not allow the original poster of the question to get more points by answering and accepting their own answer. Also FYI it is ok to answer your own question, see this response about it on the GIS meta site. $\endgroup$
    – Andy W
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:05
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    $\begingroup$ Reasons for encouraging users to answer their own questions has been discussed a bit on meta.SO. For example: Etiquette for answering your own question and What is this “answer your own question” jazz? $\endgroup$
    – jthetzel
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ Yes I can see the value to answering your own question. Sometimes you discover the answer before someone else or find a better answer. Posting it benefits the community. But I have also seen cases where someone just poses a question to show off that he is clever and he immediately posts the answer after asking the question and before anyone else has a chance to answer. I think that is bad form and really not beneficial to the community. I am glad that the system prevents someone from gaining points by answering his own question. I see no point to check your own answer. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2012 at 20:22
  • $\begingroup$ They should give the credit to someone who deserves it for a good answer rather than throwing it away with an ego boost being the only possible motivation. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2012 at 20:23
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    $\begingroup$ Michael, is there a specific example on this site that motivated the question? I do know there has been a big dust-up on math.SE about a related matter lately. $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Jul 20, 2012 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ Note that there is a new "ask-and-answer" feature (can't remember off-hand what they're officially calling this) just released by the SE developers. I don't think it immediately marks your own answer as accepted, though. At the very least this seems to suggest they are encouraging asking and answering your own question. If the goal is to have a central knowledge repository, this doesn't seem unreasonable. $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Jul 20, 2012 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelChernick In this particular case (correct me if I am wrong when referencing this thread), the OP answered 15 days after the question was asked, and provided a summary of the main points raised. As you noticed, this demonstrates that the asker was paying a special attention to this thread, and nothing is wrong in marking his response as the correct response when nothing else happened. Green marks are not definitive; if someone comes with a better response, the OP is free to change his decision. $\endgroup$
    – chl
    Jul 20, 2012 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ @chl I agree that the OP answering his own question was appropriate in the case I noticed yesterday. I don't recall how much time passed between the question and his answer. But it personally bothers me if he went ahead and gave the check mark to his own answer. It is not necessary and it doesn't get him reputation points. Why do it? Doesn't it seem a little egotistical? $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2012 at 21:31
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    $\begingroup$ -1 for relying on others to dredge up old meta discussions on SE policy matters that have minimal impact on the actual quality of the site. I don't think I've ever seen this being abused, and I don't think it would be worthwhile to remove the questioner's ability to correctly mark their own answer as best because some tiny fraction of people would abuse the ability. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2012 at 22:40
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelChernick: "Why do it?" Because it makes sense to mark questions that have received a satisfactory answer as being answered. "Doesn't it seem a little egotistical?" Not in the least. $\endgroup$
    – MånsT
    Jul 21, 2012 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


I think I'm the OP, assuming the post in question is this one.

I had a question about something on John Kruschke's "Doing Bayesian Data Analysis" slides. Two weeks later, while looking for something else entirely, I found a paper in which Dr. Kruschke discussed the topic more comprehensively. Since no one had answered the question, I wrote up a little summary and linked to the paper. I accepted it since the matter was now resolved to my satisfaction[*] and I didn't want to clutter up the unanswered queue (or look lazy with a 0% acceptance rate). Also, if I may brag, it was a pretty decent answer; I would have gladly accepted it had someone else posted it.

In the present case, this is all moot anyway. Last night, John Kruschke himself posted a few links to papers on that topic. Since he is undisputedly the expert on what his own slides mean, switched my "accept" to his answer instead.

Sorry for causing a fuss and, worse, not even noticing it was going on. I defended my dissertation yesterday(!) and have slowly been catching up on the rest of the world.

[*] That said, I actually would like more feedback on whether people care, or should care, about the issue raised in the original post. I guess checking "accept" does often put a damper on people's willingness to answer a question and maybe I should have held off longer. If anyone wants to post or chat about it, that'd be great.

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    $\begingroup$ The decision on who's answer to accept is yours and yours alone. That is precisely why StackExchange has two potential measures of the "best" answer: the one marked as accepted, versus the one with the most up votes. If folks are unhappy with the answer you found most useful, they are welcome to write/up vote another one. But only you know which answer was most useful to you. $\endgroup$
    – joran
    Jul 21, 2012 at 23:01
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    $\begingroup$ (+1) I'll second @joran's comment, and I would like to reiterate that marking an answer as accepted has no other purpose than to indicate a correct solution (for future visitors), especially where no other has been proposed, and there's no problem with that. $\endgroup$
    – chl
    Jul 22, 2012 at 9:37
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    $\begingroup$ I would just like to state that I think your answer on the main site serves as a prototypical case that SE must have had in mind when they encouraged people to provide answers to their own questions (and accept them). (It is also very nice to see that it elicited a response from Prof. Kruschke. Any idea how he came across it?) (+1 here and there) $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Jul 24, 2012 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, @cardinal, that's very kind of you. I have no idea how Prof. Kruschke came across it my question, but I am tickled that he responded. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 2:09
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    $\begingroup$ I am not questioning anyones decision to mark an answer as correct. My original reason for asking the question was to find out if checking a self-given answer could give yourself reputation points. That would be a flaw in the system. It turns out that it can't. So this question was educational for me about how the system works and maybe for others. Hence I do not see why it got downvotes. I also see no harm in checking your own answer in light of the rule. It has merit since in some situations it alerts readers that a correct answer has been found. So that justifies it in some cases. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 17:09
  • $\begingroup$ In a different situation and a different issue I saw someone ask a question and give his own answer to almost immediately. This seemed to indicate that the OP knew the answer and was just showing off. That is not something that the site should be used for. So it makes me wonder if the OP should evn be allowed to answer his own question. Of course it could be argued that the purpose of StackExchange is to ask interesting questions and learn from the answers. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 17:17
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    $\begingroup$ Joran makes a good point. I feel hostility in some of the responses though and I hope that people do not object to the way i posed the question. My purpose was to learn how the system works and not to object to self answers. Checking your own answer is not a problem since you don't get rewarded rep points. But if i get one more dwonvote i am going to take the question down. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 17:22
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelChernick: This answer has several upvotes, so I doubt you'll be able to take the question down. Note that there is a new feature of SE that allows a user to ask and answer a question simultaneously, so the behavior you observed is normal and, even, in the eyes of the SE development team, desirable. See jhetzel's comment to your question. :) I think the way you've reworded your question is also constructive, by the way. $\endgroup$
    – cardinal
    Jul 27, 2012 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael, I suspect the reason for the abundant downvotes was that the answer to this question could easily be found by a search of meta.stackoverflow.com, as indicated by a highly upvoted comment to the main question. Don't take it personally. $\endgroup$
    – Macro
    Jul 27, 2012 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think that I should get downvotes for that reason although I suspected that something like that could be a rationale. I do take downvotes personally because i think that if someone gives me one they think I have dne something wrong. Many times it turns out that I have and I accept it and try to correct things. But it bothers me when I think it is unjustified. It would also bother me if I thought someone else were being downvote without good justification. This was a quick and effective way to find out and it generated some interesting discussion. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ If people want me to take it down now I will take it down. Please note I did make some edit changes to tone things down and better express my real intent of the question. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ i was going to delete because it got the fourth downvote but I learned that if it has answers you can't. Isn't that strange some people hate the question and yet several loved the answer. If people are intersted enough to write long annsers and 11 of the many that viewed it take the time to read and upvote the answer doesn't that reflect some value on the question? $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2012 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Ccardinal If you ask and immediately answer the question it is not a real question. Why ask it? Why would that be encouraged? If you want to teach something it should not be through a gimmick where you ask your question knowing the answer. If I am wrong about this maybe I don't understand this site and maybe I don't belong her. $\endgroup$ Jul 28, 2012 at 2:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael, if it is a good question/answer that others are likely to seek out and find useful in the future, then what is the problem? That would seem to be in line with the purpose of the site. $\endgroup$
    – Macro
    Jul 28, 2012 at 3:38

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