I wanted to submit a question on MSE, but just as I was about to click the Post Your Question button, I realized I could solve that problem in a way I had never thought of before. That question is a standard textbook teaching material but I decided not to refer to the given proof. Is it OK to go ahead and submit the question? And what about the answer I just thought of which is nearly the same as the textbook proof, is it OK to post it?


  1. I wonder if there are other elegant ways to solve that problem.
  2. Is adding unique questions to MSE OK, even if I knew the answer right before I clicked the button?

2 Answers 2


I've seen several questions of the form: "here is a problem. Here is how I solved it. Is there any other (simpler) way to solve it? Is there a proof that doesn't use theorem X? or only uses theorem Y?"

I personally like these kinds of questions because I get to learn something out of it.

Oh, I should add; there are related tags to check out: , , and .

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (+1) Thank you, it's a good advice. I like to read solved questions a lot because I can occasionally discover a whole continent of interesting stuffs I didn't know. I can benefit from proof-writing. I will reword that question. $\endgroup$
    – Frenzy Li
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 4:01

If I were to do that, I would probably ask the question as normal, put my own answer as a community-wiki answer, and make a note in the question that I had solved it and posted my answer below, but I am now interested in other possible solutions (and would like verification that my solution is actually correct).

  • $\begingroup$ (+1) I'd still like to know under what circumstances am I expected/permitted to accept my own CW answer, i.e. that if other answerers are helpful to me, I should not accept my CW answer, etc.? Thanks, I'd like to know the norm on MSE. $\endgroup$
    – Frenzy Li
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 4:08
  • $\begingroup$ @FrenzYDT. These sorts of questions have been asked before, so you may get an idea of the site's policy from those answers. $\endgroup$
    – mboratko
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 4:30
  • $\begingroup$ A question should be self-contained. In this case, a specific proof is actually a part of the question. Hence it should be supplied in the question statement, not down in the answers. $\endgroup$
    – user2468
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see why the answer should be CW. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 9, 2012 at 10:43

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