For me it is a great deal working with Ditto. And I added how I work with it as a self-answering-question.

Everyone has a way of making the daily use cases easier. I believe many of them are actual great since these methods developed over the years.

It would be a great addition if people using an awesome tool to make a task easy, add it to the site.

4 Answers 4


This is a feature that we support directly in the interface for those times when folks have those phenomenal EUREKA! moments, and want to get something they consider to be quite valuable available to other people right away.

Concerns about spam are sort of valid, even though the feature isn't open to brand new accounts, and we have recently installed some very comprehensive measures to combat spam - my concern here is rooted squarely in the philosophy of how we get sites off the ground.

We strongly, as in strongly discourage seeding of the site for the purposes of content generation. You don't have a problem there to begin with - there's over 120 open questions on the main site right now as I type this. This isn't a feature you should consider to be off-limits by any means, but don't use it as a way to build the site.

If you suddenly find this application that seamlessly integrates your GoPro into Google Hangouts, that's the sort of thing you want to ask and self-answer in one swoop. You're ringing a loud bell that's intended to mean hey, come look at what I found over here, this is awesome and you should see it!

Just don't do it as an exercise in content creation. Your heart is in the right place, but it's better to let this happen naturally.


I'm going to make a case that this is a bad idea.

Setting yourself up with a "question" so you can tout a particular piece of software will set this site up to be one big software advertising/listing service fast.

Even if it is done with full disclosure, we cannot allow this site to become a listing service for every piece of software folks want out there. This isn't a software announcement and advertising site. Asking the question just so you can answer it is a form of Jeopardy that will get this site shut down fast.

Your motives are commendable. I understand that you just want to share your favorite piece of software with the folks here. But saying that we encourage (or even allow) such self-answered "problem statements" opens the door to every software vendor and enthusiast to do the same. Who doesn't think the {software they use} is helpful? It's will attract the wrong type of content.

If you do not have a very specific problem to solve (an actually question that needs a community to resolve), it should not be here.

  • In that case, would a feature-request for removing the self-answer option be considered? Feb 5, 2014 at 17:01
  • @allquixotic I hope not - why would we remove it? If used legitimately, it produces quality content. If used illegitimately, it doesn't and we delete something. We should wait until there's a problem to fix it.
    – user46
    Feb 5, 2014 at 17:05
  • @allquixotic No! A self-answer is perfectly fine for “I had this problem, and I found this application that solved it”. Don't do it for “I love this application, and here's why you should too.” Feb 5, 2014 at 17:19
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    @Gilles the distinction between those two cases is razor-thin in terms of what the actual content of the question and answer would consist of. That suggests that the motivation in your head when you went to ask/answer a question comes into play on this site and determines topicality or appropriateness. That's certainly different than other sites, but will we be able to educate users on this... Feb 5, 2014 at 17:30
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    I completely agree with this, and it's one of the things I wanted to bring up originally. I can only imagine people just going to some product page and copying some features from a list to "create a question" that they could then answer with a well-written "recommendation."
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 5, 2014 at 17:51

While advertising software you love is commendable I think that self-answered questions like that blur the line between on- and off-topic far too much.

Answering your own question is fine if you ask the question then happen to find a tool that fits your needs afterwards, but posing a question with an answer already in mind provides too many ways to break the limitations that softwarerecs needs to uphold.

  1. Unless the question is very carefully worded both the question and any answers to it may end up being "primarily opinion-based". Knowing the answer ahead of time may promote laziness from the asker, whether incidental because they don't need to be too specific to receive the answer they want, or purposeful in an attempt to market the software to a slightly wider audience.

  2. While questions like this are not self-promotion, they are promotional. It would permit the advertising of a single piece of software to the exclusion of all others if the user were to post their question, answer it, and immediately accept their own answer. In your question linked above in particular you have worded the answer as if you were talking to someone else. This could cause users quickly browsing the question or not caring or thinking to look at the asker and answerer to think that two different people were involved in the exchange, and thus place more stock in the answer.

  3. Self-answered questions provide an avenue for anonymous self-promotion, as a developer for ProductX who is regularly known as MrsX across the internet would be able to create an account as MrY, ask and answer a question on their own software, accept the answer, and thus receive free traffic and links from a highly ranked site. While truly bad software would soon be voted out of oblivion, it is a path that would falsely inflate the reputation of mediocre or good software.

  • On bullet #2, it's not really to the exclusion of all others, the check mark just indicates the question author's personal preference - but it's hard to get people to look at it that way sometimes. However I'm not saying that you're wrong at all on any point. I'm interested to see what happens, and how people try to find creative ways to promote things for ... the wrong reasons.
    – Tim Post
    Feb 5, 2014 at 15:13
  • @TimPost It is a slight exaggeration on my part. I've seen many beginner or unregistered users on other SE sites look at a question, see the selected answer and think "obviously that is the correct answer", even when it isn't (or was but is now outdated). I think anyone bringing that mindset here without understanding just how broad our definition of "correct" can be would unknowingly be party to tipping the votes in favour of a promotional answer. Feb 5, 2014 at 15:38

Maybe we should add a feature request to mark self-answered questions on this site more visually.

As this site will inevitably invite vendors (or more generally creators) to do promotions of their software we can either fight that to the bitter end (which is a lot of work on our side) or allow it and just make it blunt obvious to the reader (which is a lot less work for our side) and thous let the reader decide for themselves if they trust this information.

Also this could encourage people to write alternatives to this answer and the future reader to pay closer attentions to other than the accepted answer.

We may even force a tag or something on such questions that one can exclude in search like saying: "I don't want to be advertised to."

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