I've seen a couple Questions go by in the past where the user asked the question, then answered it immediately.

Often, these questions were simple, a little bit more elaborated than this example:

How can I smurf?

The posted Answer was effectively answering the question.

However, there is this text when we hover the downvote button:

This question does not show any research effort [...]

So, even if the user answered their Question, the Question per se does not show any research effort (at least in the cases I've seen), which would mean that they'd be quite downvotable.

Do we have a stance on this?

  • \$\begingroup\$ As with any low / no research questions, they decrease the signal to noise ratio, which is never ideal. In some cases I've also wondered if they are attempts to game the reputation system. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pikalek
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 3:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I get the feeling that this post was triggered by a post that I recently made \$\endgroup\$
    – user116458
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pikalek idk about rep system, but there is a medal for it, so odds are its people trying to be all " 'cheivies! " \$\endgroup\$
    – Stephan
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I had a self-answered question over on Arqade last week, I'll admit that the question portion did boil down to "how do I smurf?" but it was a question that had no prior exposure on Arqade and one where I'd had to do quite a bit of research to answer (as its a poorly understood and not very well known game mechanic). And I posted it as a "not all of this information was in one place" sort of post. Forming the question in a good way after having done all that research is hard, so I just did my best. Q got a downvote soon after, but just the one. It currently sits at +2 with the answer at +3. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 21:14

3 Answers 3


Outside of exceptional cases, I think it is sufficient to let any down (or up) votes the community feels are warranted provide the necessary feedback mechanism here.


I think these kinds of low-quality self-answered questions come from a misunderstanding of the goal of StackExchange. It isn't great at being a help desk; instead it is designed to build up a knowledge base to help future readers.

A better way to use StackExchange is to:

  1. Use a search engine to see if there's an existing solution to your problem
  2. Search for an existing question similar to yours
  3. If nothing is found, ask a good question according to https://stackoverflow.com/help/how-to-ask.

It's why there's a prominent "Questions that may already have your answer" section in the "Ask Question" page. A good question has enough information to be answered by someone else, and enough specific information to be found by someone else having the same question. A good answer has enough information to be followed by someone else. When answering your own questions, you need to keep this in mind.


Like this one? :)

I post that example because, while the research isn't there per se, I still feel like the Question is valuable to other people.

When I was trying to resolve the issue, there were no stack traces and only the one generic error with no meaningful description. I searched for answers all over the web, but given the low market penetration of EclipseBlue (an IBM build) there were no solutions available.

I think in situations like this, a lack of documentation on how exactly I blindly groped in the dark is excusable. It still gives a solid description of the problem and the steps to solve it.

My metric is the usefulness of the question.

Q:"How to smurf?" A:"create a new account" is hardly useful to the future generations, and so would garner a down vote from me.

Lacking links or steps to get to the answer generally isn't a problem so long as it could conceivably be helpful to someone in the future.

As Josh points out, it's your vote; do what you want with it. I'm just giving you a window into my thought process.


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