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I've just noticed a user who posts a number of questions, then answers the question them-self almost immediately. It is like they are using the site as their own blog. I guess this could happen often, but this is the first time I noticed it.

There is no doubt this is a prolific user either, but this activity is also a little strange (to me, personally).

The other thing a little strange is within 18 months they have a Rep. of 14k+. Now that is a lot of work. Some of their posts are a little obscure and seem to get a number of up votes pretty quick.

So the question is: Is this user exploiting the site for some self promoting reason, and if so is this a problem at all?

BTW, I don't mind either way (problem or not) just curious about the general consensus. Also I would rather not state the users name - which would make this subject hard to discuss (as you are can not see their Q&A history), but if it is clear that a majority of people feel the user name is required, I'll post it.

  • Without seeing actual examples, I'm hesitant to give an answer; but self-answering is fine and encouraged as such. Do these posts get upvoted or downvoted, or just ignored? – tripleee Apr 27 '17 at 10:44
  • @tripleee Sometimes they are upvoted, sometimes "accepted" by them self - but not always, never downvoted that I've seen. – Tigger Apr 27 '17 at 10:51
  • Self-accept is part of the self-answering game. As far as upvotes are concerned, if you think there is voting fraud involved, flag for mod attention (maybe link to this question). – tripleee Apr 27 '17 at 11:06
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    I don't think having a useful discussion is possible without providing the name. I'm also a little curious - I don't know of anyone who fits this description. – Faheem Mitha Apr 27 '17 at 11:42
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    I've noticed a couple from Rui, but as long as it seems like an actual problem they encountered, with a non-obvious solution, I don't see how it's harmful. If the Q is useful to someone else, they'll (possibly) upvote it; if not, no real harm. – Jeff Schaller Apr 27 '17 at 13:40
  • This is explicitly encouraged by the rules. Some highly knowledgeable users put it to good use by writing mini-disertations about one subject or another. Two random examples: this post, and this. – Satō Katsura May 2 '17 at 8:03
  • Every few months I see a self-answered question that bothers me because it’s too trivial — not as bad as (hypothetically) “How can I list the files in a directory?” or “How can I search for a string in a file?”, but about things that, IMHO, are widely known.  It seems unlikely to me that anybody would ever do a search for such information (but, who knows?  they might).  I generally just ignore these (i.e., no vote, no flag) — but I haven’t noticed a pattern of many of them from a single user.  If I did, I might start downvoting, or maybe VTCing as too broad. – G-Man May 8 '17 at 19:44
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Asking & Answering your own questions

This is not a problem. I do this myself when I find either interesting things that I've figured out how to do and/or gaps in knowledge across the internet. I used to maintain a blog for this purpose but have since moved a lot of my content to SE.

The docs even support this position BTW: https://stackoverflow.com/help/self-answer.

Fraudulent voting

The only thing that would be bad with this, is if they had sock puppet accounts and were upvoting their own questions and answers, but otherwise, without additional information we cannot dig any deeper.

Accepting your own answers

There are caveat to accepting your own answer. They're covered here: https://stackoverflow.blog/2009/01/06/accept-your-own-answers/.

  • Wait 48 hours. You must wait 2 days from the time you originally asked your question before you can accept your own answer. This gives other users a chance to answer the question in good faith, and earn the accepted answer.

  • No change in sort order. Normally, accepted answers are “docked” under the question. This is not true for owner accepted answers; they stay in standard sort order like any other answer.

  • No reputation is earned. Normally, accepted answers confer +15 rep to the answerer and +2 to the owner. Owner accepted answers do not earn rep (or badges) for anyone.

Additionally if you search the meta sites for SE etc. you'll find Q&A's like this one as well explaining it further: Is it ok to answer your own question and accept it?.

  • Thank you (and the others) for taking the time to educate me on matter and to point me in the right direction in relation to the docs. It is clear that is behaviour is more than excepted, it is encouraged. I have no proof that sock puppets are used for upvotes, just that obscure topics or issues are getting an upvote almost immediately - which it may well do. – Tigger Apr 28 '17 at 6:23
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    Please raise a flag if you're concerned about sock puppet voting and we (mods) can investigate it. In the flag you can make a comment that only we'll see. – slm Apr 28 '17 at 6:24
  • There has been question and answers posted that more or less amounts to advertising. I downvote these unless it's of general interest. At the moment, I can't find the questions that I'm thinking of, so I assume they were deleted in the end. – Kusalananda Apr 28 '17 at 11:54
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    Fun fact — You, @slm, with over 50 self-answers, appear to be one of the most prolific U&L users in that category. – G-Man May 8 '17 at 19:44

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