Suppose I've asked a question on this site, and one of the answers has been so helpful that not only did it answer the question, but has also helped me gain greater understanding and clarity as to:

  1. What I was precisely asking in the first place
  2. What was the essence of the confusion/misunderstanding that led to me asking the question
  3. What perspective and realizations best help (me) dispel said confusion

But all of the above new-found understandings and perspectives regarding the question aren't explicitly stated in the answer, but rather were a result of thoughts inspired by the answer making everything 'click'.

What would be an appropriate method, if at all, to share these new-found realizations?

Should I edit my original question? Comment on the helpful answer? Accept the answer but also add one of my own elaborating on all of the above?

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ They're all good. If your insights fit in a comment, do that. If not, add an answer sounds good. $\endgroup$ May 28, 2018 at 0:07
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ My vote is add an answer. (Even if it helps no one else, it will help you if and when you forget those brilliant insights you gleaned.) See this relevant post: stackoverflow.blog/2011/07/01/… $\endgroup$
    – user81375
    May 29, 2018 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ Also note that you needn't post anything. You still win; you learned about how you learn, what is was you were confused about, how your thinking has changed as a result... In that sense, it is too localized, and subjective, because it would be your own metacognitive analysis, which may not be of benefit to read your narrative. Perhaps you should consider writing a blog to include such self-analysis, but it may not be be appropriate to post on MSE. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Jun 9, 2018 at 16:19

1 Answer 1


I think adding a self-answer is the appropriate behavior.

Actually, I did so several times, e.g. here. I got an answer, the answer helped me to get a grasp on the problem, I then thought about the problem a bit more and in the end I had enough knowledge to type an answer that I would have given if the question would have been from someone else.

Similar situations:

  • Sometimes several answers are given. Each one is good, but a combined answer would be awesome.
  • Sometimes an answer is given that indeed resolves your problem, but is not well written or took you a lot of processing to understand. If you can find better ways to explain it, then provide a self-answer. Some people will have your mind set and will find an answer written with such a mindset more helpul.

You might be "fair" enough to still accept the answer that was provided first instead of your "stolen" answer (I am not sure if this is the recommended behavior, your answer might be objectively better), but in the end, other people will come here and will upvote the answer which helps them the most.


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