I remember seeing a movie as a kid, about a boy whose T-shirt gave him super strength, after it was used in some sort of experiment. Right before asking here to help identify it, I decided to give it one more try myself. Remembering that the T-shirt had a picture of a tiger on it did it for me: I found Sammy's Super T-Shirt.

Now my question is, do I still ask the question here (the source of the superpowers being some sort of experiment in a laboratory makes it (marginal) SF) and provide the answer myself, or is that frowned upon?

Note that my question is not whether the movie itself is SF enough to be on topic, but rather whether it's okay to ask and answer questions one already knows the answer to? Asking and answering in one go is allowed in general and the interface even has a special checkbox for it.

  • Despite my searching before I asked, I now came across a duplicate: meta.scifi.stackexchange.com/q/370/19561
    – SQB
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 11:31
  • 4
    I'm voting to close the older question as a duplicate of this one. The open question should be the one with the latest opinion of the community.
    – user56
    Commented Feb 9, 2014 at 12:54

3 Answers 3


Short version: Yes it's OK.

Long version - On top of being explicitly encouraged in site rules, there are TONS of highly-voted and un-closed questions like this.

See this DataExplorer query:


There were 95 questions that were and answered by OP... of them only one was closed, and that one was as a duplicate. 52 of those had the OP's answer as a sole answer.

  • 11
    But none of those seem to have been a case of "asking when I already know the answer", as evidenced by data.stackexchange.com/scifi/query/165335/… – all ansers are created later than the question. What I meant, was asking a question I already know the answer to – will edit question to reflect that.
    – SQB
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 14:46
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    Thanks (and +1) for that introduction to the data explorer. Now I'm never gonna leave!
    – SQB
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 14:52
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    @ATS, There's no rule against it. The system supports it and the FAQ generally encourages it. I'd just keep them relatively infrequent so as to not look like you're just trying to farm rep.
    – phantom42
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 15:07
  • @ATS There was at least one story ID question that I can think of where I believe the OP knew the answer: What fantasy story elicited this quote.
    – Beofett
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 13:43
  • @Beofett - except that one is offtopic for this meta Q since OP didn't post the answer :) Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 16:34
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    I agree with DVK's answer here, with the caveat (which I hope doesn't really need to be said) that you should not be simply creating these Q&As just for the sake of making them. If it's a problem that has plagued you for some time, and you just happen to come across the answer before you decide to post a question here, that's fine. But don't just post "I'm trying to remember that '90s movie/book where there was a theme park that had dinosaurs that escaped and almost killed everyone" for the sole sake of repwhoring with an answer of "Jurassic Park". You'll probably fail at that.
    – Iszi
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 16:42
  • @Iszi - on StackOveflow, that is actually permitted and encouraged, FYI. Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 16:53
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    @DVK I highly doubt anyone on SO would appreciate someone asking and self-answering trivial questions like that. Self-answering questions in general is certainly okay, but there is a line.
    – Iszi
    Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 14:56
  • @Iszi - I'm too lazy to search MSO but I'm pretty sure the official policy is that any self Q&A is OK. Mind you if it's complete trivia it's bound to get downvoted to extinction. Commented Feb 10, 2014 at 15:12
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    Not on our site, but here's a really great self-answer: How do I protect my Google/Gmail account?. The timestamps match for both the question and answer, so it's pretty clear that it was asked with an answer already in mind.
    – phantom42
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 21:13

I wouldn't, but I don't know that there's a rule explicitly prohibiting it. Specifically, if you can't find a reason why you think someone else would be likely to search for the same criteria, then it's not likely to be useful.

As DVK mentioned, there are a large number of people who have answered their own questions. However, it seems like they found the answer some time after they asked the question, and posted the answer for others to see in the future.

Story identification questions have always been controversial. They have been allowed, but only barely, with the idea that they need to maintain some minimal quality. Asking a questions in the category that one already knows the answer isn't strictly speaking against the rules, but it is much more likely to be problematic with the Story identification tag than other tags.

Bottom line, I'm not going to keep you from asking the question, but I highly discourage it.

  • 1
    "Specifically, if you can't find a reason why you think someone else would be likely to search for the same criteria, then it's not likely to be useful." this should be big and bold, since I think it completely nails the point. This criteria should be used more often to dissipate doubts.
    – o0'.
    Commented Feb 16, 2014 at 10:58
  • "if you can't find a reason why you think someone else would be likely to search for the same criteria" seems WAY WAY sbjective. I rarely see any reason I would have searched for most Story-ID questions... and vice versa, I had people accuse many of my (some highly upvoted) questions of "why are you interested in this {{insert-your-negative-adjective}} question?". Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 20:17

As the purpose of these Q&A sites is to bring communities together to share knowledge, it makes sense that the source of knowledge is not discriminated against. It's even encouraged by the Self-Learner badge.

Answered your own question with score of 3 or more Help Center > Badges

You may have noticed that there is an option to answer your own question while you are posting it.

As far as the ethics behind allowing this goes, does it matter who answers the question so long as the answer is valid and helps others who seek an answer to that question?

Personally, I do not see it as a form of abuse to enhance community knowledge. I trust that the community will ultimately decide on the value of individual questions and answers of this nature. Good questions/answers are voted up. Poor ones are voted down. :)

  • +1, but please fix "forum". It's a Q&A site, not a forum :) Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 20:15

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