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FAQ lists including the OPs own work as one of the possibilities how to add context to questions.

My question: If a question is posted together with an answer by the OP (or at least attempt to answer the question), the OP has clearly shown some work. Does this typically count as a sufficient context?

I understand lack/presence of context is in the end decided on case-by-case basis and it is a judgement call. (Moreover, some users have very high requirements, others put the bar a bit lower.) But I suppose that at least some general points can be made.


I will mention at least some typical cases I can think of, where users often post their own answer (at the same time when they post the question):

  • The question is posted mainly with the intention of sharing some useful content.1
  • The question is made in an effort to repost an improved version of a question that was closed or deleted but for some reason having (a better version of) the question on the site might still be useful. (To some extent this might be considered a special case of the previous bullet point, but I considered it worth mentining separatedly.)2
  • Solution verification of proof verification.3

1This was discussed a few times on meta and posting questions for this purpose in encouraged: Can I post a question and an answer just because I think it helps others? (and other related discussions) or Recently rolled out SE Encyclopedia feature (and other related discussions).

2I do not remember discussion on meta where reposting deleted/closed questions was the main topic. But this practice has been mentioned a lot in chat and it was suggested as a recommended course of action in this answer in a recent discussion.

3At least some users recommend for solution verification posting your own attempt as an answer, especially if it is long or if you think it is likely that it is correct and can be useful for other users. There are also some post suggesting to turn solution verification questions into self answered questions at least later, after the OP has been given advice how to correct/improve their approach. Looking at the posts here on meta discussions questions, it seems that the opinion of users on this vary a bit.

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    $\begingroup$ I can’t see any downsides to considering it acceptable context, so I think it is. It accomplishes the end we want, but it’s just in a separate location. We might want to additionally encourage the user to note that they have added context in the form of a solution in case it gets pushed way down the list and obscured.. $\endgroup$ – rschwieb Apr 15 '18 at 11:01
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    $\begingroup$ @rschwieb if the question and the answer use unexplained notation how is the Q&A useful? $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 15 '18 at 11:04
  • $\begingroup$ @quid Well, if we’re going to be obtuse about things, I guess I can say more. I mean that it provides the basis for a case that effort has been shown to ward off summary closure. Surely it counts for that (if it’s not nonsense.) I did not mean to imply that posting a question and answer makes them perfect and no further editing is required. In a case you describe I would just ask the user to explain. I suppose if it were abandoned after that and the question and answer had no sense, a case for closure and/or deletion could be made. $\endgroup$ – rschwieb Apr 15 '18 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ @rschwieb "if we’re going to be obtuse about things" Well, empirically some users already do consider self-answering as some kind of magic-spell that ought to prevent any and all closures. I am thus not keen on comments floating around that (untintentinally) cater to this misconception. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 15 '18 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ @quid Interesting. I certainly don’t want to unintentionally cater to that either. I had not seen or heard a word of what you’re describing. Are there some posts about it? $\endgroup$ – rschwieb Apr 15 '18 at 20:39
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    $\begingroup$ @rschwieb see for example this meta question Maybe this is not quite what you asked for. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 15 '18 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ @quid and be sure to let me know if anyone cites me to justify not fixing flaws! I would certainly not let that go unanswered... $\endgroup$ – rschwieb Apr 15 '18 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ @rschwieb I'll try to keep that in mind. :-) $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 15 '18 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ Martin, to your title question, I'd answer "it's not necessarily sufficient." $\endgroup$ – Namaste Apr 15 '18 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ A self-answer often ignores the main problems with a PSQ, which are lack of source and lack of motivation - and lack of an actual question about the problem. In rare cases, the self-answer could contain these, but usually it does not, and so it does not provide much real context. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Apr 16 '18 at 2:04
  • $\begingroup$ The "encyclopedia feature" linked in the question was forced upon this site by SE without any request for feedback and without evidence there was consensus here in favor of it, so I don't take that feature as particularly persuasive. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Apr 16 '18 at 2:05
  • $\begingroup$ @rschwieb: I agree the asker should make clear that they have posted an answer as their attempt. Such as I suggested here. $\endgroup$ – user21820 Apr 16 '18 at 10:09
  • $\begingroup$ I probably should have formulated the question slightly differently and state more clearly that I am mainly talking about the part of context check-list (if that's a reasonable name) which is about including your own work. Perhaps the answers and comments can be summarized by saying that self-answer counts as "showing your own work" - but even if the post includes OP's own work (either in a question or in a self-answer), the question might still be closed for lack of context. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Apr 27 '18 at 1:35
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It can be taken into account but in general it is not sufficient.

For example, if the question is difficult to understand due to missing explanations of the notation, then this is not (usually) adequately addressed by providing an answer that continues to use the unexplained notation.

Further, as you nicely point out yourself there can be rather different motivations for the posts (that is, contexts in which the post arose). This context can be relevant to the post and thus should usually be made explicit.

That said, let me add that I think there is no point to insist that somebody includes an attempt in the question-post, when at the same time they provide a full solution in an answer-post. (To avoid confusions it can make sense to highlight that something is self-answered in the question-post or a comment to it.)

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