OK. This already has been somewhat covered in Should we be transparent when recommending our own software? and What are the rules for self-answering your question?, but there's a possible exception that was not quite covered. I think it's OK to do what I want, but every site has its own culture so I thought I'd ask.

I want to do this:

  1. Ask a question for a software library that I can't seem to find
  2. Wait a few days for answers and...
    • ...if a solution is proposed that fits my needs and is quality, great!
    • ...if not, build the library that I need and post on SR.

Of course, I would disclose that I wrote that library. In addition, it would be 100% open source and I wouldn't profit at all from this. Is there anything I else I would need to do for this to be OK, or is this considered rude in general?


2 Answers 2


In the order given, I think that should be OK – and fully within the rules: At the time you asked there was no solution, nobody gave you one, so you worked it out for yourself and then answered your own question. And it's even open source, so I'd say that's great!

What would be not OK IMHO is to ask a question giving the specs for software you already wrote (or had in mind – must not necessarily be written by you), and then announce that software as answer – which clearly would be "advertizing".

  • 2
    I agree with the first part, but not with the second: When I found a tool (however) that fits a need that I had I think its acceptable to spread the knowledge with a self-answered question. If there is a better tool, great, another person will post a answer with that better tool and I might even switch. But of course in this case the general rules stay the same: The question must be of high quality and stand on its own, no matter if there is an answer or not. Same for the answer: It must meet all criteria for a good answer. Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 9:39
  • 1
    @AngeloFuchs while I partly agree, and it would be technically OK – morally it isn't. How will you tell that apart from "plain advertising"/"product placement"? If we'd allow the one, we'd get the other along. What you're saying could be put like "Feel free to advertise your product here – but please make the ad high quality". Not sure if that's what we want.
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 10:10
  • 1
    That would be what I want, yes. xkcd.com/810 Because if you advertise a valuable product, great. If you advertise junk it goes the way of the junk (DVs). Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 10:14
  • I see your point. We should appoint you mod then to deal with those "advertisers" whose questions/answers get "put-on-hold" (special assignment that is) :)
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 10:21
  • Okay. I would be willing to accept that. :) Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 10:55
  • In the order QUESTION->BUILD->ANSWER it is perfectly OK, and actually a great thing to do, even if it is not open source.
  • In the order BUILD->QUESTION->ANSWER, I would say it is OK if the software is open source, because open source projects can be forked by anyone, so they are never really yours in the first place. They fit in this site's spirit of sharing for the benefit of everyone.

In both cases, I would recommend these fair-play rules:

  • Define the requirements very clearly, and don't modify them afterwards
  • Be open to all answers, as you do not own the question either
  • Do not accept your own answer if it has zero upvotes or if there is another answer with a highest score.

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