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Today someone has posted a question, and after less than 30 minutes he also posted an answer to his own question. I've flagged the mods and they declined my flag.

If I remember well, in the past, user Makoto Kato did similar things, using M.SE as its own database, and he was highly criticized (suspended?) for doing so.

Is this now an accepted way to use M.SE?

Edit. For those who think this happened only once to this user, let me give at least another one: An isometry of Hilbert spaces using the Radon-Nikodym derivative. (Here he posted an answer after 12 minutes!)

Let me make my point a little clearer:

Is it okay to post a question you already know the answer with the only purpose to answer it by yourself?

Later Edit. There is a related question Can I post a question and an answer just because I think it helps others? and an interesting answer posted there by @quid.

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    $\begingroup$ Good of you to ask! A single question does not make a database. Answering one's own questions is ok. The issue with M.K. was more about doing this systematically. With several updates per hour. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen May 4 '15 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ Similar things got asked frequently. Such as here where you can also find my opinion on the subject. $\endgroup$ – quid May 4 '15 at 13:30
  • $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen Let's start the hunt: math.stackexchange.com/questions/718945/…, math.stackexchange.com/questions/471739/a-4-variable-inequality, math.stackexchange.com/questions/459122/…, ... I leave you the pleasure to find more! $\endgroup$ – user26857 May 4 '15 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ Ok. Trying to answer your question. In my opinion answering one's own questions is ok, but using the site as a personal database is not. As long as the question was asked in good faith, there is nothing wrong in answering it yourself. I often try to talk an asker into posting an answer themselves, if it sounds like my hints in comments made them see the light. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen May 4 '15 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ @JyrkiLahtonen You want to turn the discussion to a principle which is basically correct: to answer your own question if you got the idea from the comments. Alas, here it is not the case! (Btw, see my edit.) $\endgroup$ – user26857 May 4 '15 at 13:43
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    $\begingroup$ Since you seem to concentrate mainly on this particular user, the following two questions on meta posted by this user (and the feedback received there) might be relevant: Posting questions you already know how to answer and Large number of self-answered questions permissible? (I'd say that both posts on meta were well-received, more-or-less.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 4 '15 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ Similar perhaps to Jyriki Lahtonen's response: I distinguish between self-answered questions asked in good faith (the asker does not know the answer when asking) and those that use the site as a personal blog (the asker is posting here about something they already know, instead of using their own blog). $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert May 4 '15 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Jyrki: I think that the issue with MK was less the systematic way in which he posted questions and answered them; and more the fact that (1) most of these questions lacked context; (2) not a few of his questions were "linked" together in a way that made reading just one nearly impossible; and (3) his complete and utter insistence that anyone saying to him that he's misbehaving is wrong. And it's the combination of the three that made it a real nuisance rather than any single on of them on its own. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila May 4 '15 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlMummert Especially now that they could use the local blog here if they don't have their own. $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kildetoft May 4 '15 at 19:50
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    $\begingroup$ @TobiasKildetoft the purpose of the blog, or a blog, is something quite different. A blog-post and a self-answered Q&A are not really comparable. Granted, it is very possible to abuse this site for soap-boxing, but it is also possible to make a valuable contribution via a self-answered Q&A. If I had more time and energy I might add some standard things to have more decent dupe-targets for things that come up all the time. $\endgroup$ – quid May 4 '15 at 20:36
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The user you mentioned specifically asked on meta prior to posting those Q&A pairs: Large number of self-answered questions permissible? and received unequivocally positive response (+26 -1 vote as of now).

If you see a problem with any particular post, flag/vote as usual.

But going through years-old posts of a particular user looking for things to complain about ("Let's start the hunt" as you said here in a comment) is not appropriate.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't have any problem with a particular user. I'd be glad if you could answer me what's the purpose in doing such things, and how helpful is it for the community? $\endgroup$ – user26857 May 4 '15 at 14:14
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    $\begingroup$ @user26857: Meta operates quite a bit differently from the Main site. You have posted the Question so by all means if you are so inclined, explain your "purpose in doing such things, and [ask] how helpful is it for the community". On the other hand, having tagged your post as "discussion", expect that discussion (including quoting comments) will take place. $\endgroup$ – hardmath May 4 '15 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ @hardmath My words were quoted out of the context in such a way they sound like a hunting on a particular user. Moreover, it's not so bad to answer a question looking at the question itself, not at the comments around. $\endgroup$ – user26857 May 4 '15 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ @user26857: I'm sure I'd be upset if that happened to me, so by all means object if you feel that was the case here (I did not understand the advice as particularly blaming, just as framing the issue). However don't wait to be invited to explain your purpose; you have the floor! $\endgroup$ – hardmath May 4 '15 at 14:21
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Yes it is "OK". It is explicitly in the help-center that self-answers are allowed, and the software even supports giving an answer at the same time when posting the question.

Now, if you see some issue with the quality of the Q&A, then there are the usual mechanisms to deal with them, and I invite you to use them.

As detailed in my answer quoted in OP, I think one could be a bit more strict when evaluating self-answered questions (relative to "normal" posts). For such answers I think the main criterion should be if they contribute in a meaningful way to the quality of the site as a repository of mathematical knowledge. (For other questions, there is also the aspect of helping the asker, but this is irrelevant in this case.)

However, when done right, I think such self-answered questions can be useful. For example they could be used to expand List of Generalizations of Common Questions Indeed, it seems some of the Q&A there were created in this way.

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    $\begingroup$ To be fair, that help center text was not written by anyone here - it was unilaterally created by a stackexchange employee without any input from the community. I disagree with that employee's claim that users should use this site as a blog. It would be ideal if the help center text could be edited, but I do not think that is possible. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert May 4 '15 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ I even meant to include something about this, as I expected this type of remark, but then forgot. First, "the community" expressed similar views. Second, if "the community" should have some problem with part of the documentation "the community" ought to try to change the documentation. (It isn't part of the pages that are per-site mod editable by default, but it could be changed without much problem.) The official documentation applies. Everything else is just set to cause problems. Thus, I invite you to either make a proposal and see if you get support for it or to accept it. $\endgroup$ – quid May 4 '15 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ The community also voted up Pete Clark's answer at meta.math.stackexchange.com/a/1841/630 ... This issue has been raised and re-raised unfortunately many times, so everyone can find some post that agrees with their side. This is one of the deeper issues with the site -- although SE.com professes to have community-run sites, they do not always follow that policy, and they are perhaps too eager to claim a first-mover advantage with changes. In any case I don't think there is a site-wide consensus, so each person should vote on self-answered questions according to their own preferences. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert May 4 '15 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ This answer (besides being very old) seems to be mostly about something quite different, namely about users asking questions they know the answer to without providing an answer (puzzles, contest, etc.) For my opinion on this see this earlier answer; I do not want this either and this is in line with SE policy except for exceptional sites. It is unrelated though. Again, either make a specific proposal to change the bit about self-answering in the documentation or accept it. $\endgroup$ – quid May 4 '15 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ I think that "make a proposal, or accept it" is a false dichotomy, because there is also the option of voting up and down questions that I find more or less helpful, without making a proposal or accepting the status quo. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert May 4 '15 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ You can handle individual question as you see fit, and I said so quiet clearly. What I think you cannot reasonably do is keep complaining that the community has/had no say, and at the same time refuse to do your part to let the community express an opinion. Why not make a feature-request to change the documentation and see how it goes? $\endgroup$ – quid May 4 '15 at 17:41

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