It came to my attention that one of the possibilities offered by stack exchange is to answer your own questions. Would it help to get out of beta if people asked questions about a subject they care deeply and answer themselves? If this is the case, probably it should be done more often. Just a thought.

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    $\begingroup$ There's extensive discussion of this issue on meta.stackoverflow.com. I find it annoying that stack gives me an "answer your own question" checkbox right when I post a question ("share your knowledge Q&A style"), even though the general policy appears to be "we don't encourage you to answer your own question". At the very least, the "answer your own question" checkbox shouldn't appear right on the "ask a question" page. $\endgroup$ – user21 Dec 25 '13 at 17:13

Stack Exchange works best if there is genuine interest in specific questions askers might have, not as a Wikipedia type digest of scientific literature or a general library on the topic. Self-answering is OK if you came across an interesting answer during your research that you might want to share, but pre-filling our contents with general Q&A about astronomy that can be easily found elsewhere should be avoided.

One reason for it is that posters should be ready for follow-ups, requests for clarification and so on, and answers should be peer-reviewed for the benefit of the asker and anyone else interested in the presented problem. If we tried preparing complete Q&A in advance, many simply wouldn't be interested in that, accept their own answers even if others are better and merely chase the fake internet points. This is not the point of Stack Exchange. Gamification of the system does make it a bit more fun, but that's really all there is to it, it really shouldn't be considered as indication that someone is an authority on the subject if he/she has many of these points.

What I'm talking about here actually happened during the early beta days of Astronomy, and we met with a lot of plagarism and shallow threads that simply aren't interesting to people that are genuinely interested about topics covered within our scope. Occasional questions like that are of course welcome, but having a genuinely interested author of them available for follow-ups creates an opportunity for really interesting answers too. This simply isn't the case with questions where authors already know answers to them, and if you browse through our earlier questions, you'll find many such examples.


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