On SE sites, it's encouraged to self-answer your question. But on Software Recommendations, an answer to your own answer will probably look like spam. So, is it allowed to post an answer to your own question here?
I would say it's perfectly okay to self-answer your own question - of course, you will be held to a slightly higher standard by the community. I would say you should steer clear of:
- Self-answering with your own product
- Unilaterally declaring that this product is the best solution
If you do self-answer with your own product, make sure that you declare your involvement with it very clearly - that really helps distinguishing between spam and not spam.
And of course, make sure it's a substantial, non-link-only answer.
I think every SE site should allow users to post answers to their own questions, including SR. However, consider the following:
The question itself should be a good, topical question, irrespective of the answer. Cover the answer over or pretend it doesn't exist. Would you allow that question to be on this site if you were a mod? If the answer is clearly "yes", then there's no reason to close or delete the question.
Having completed the first step, now cover over the username of the person who asked and answered the question. Assuming the question is good, now ask yourself, is this answer a good answer? If you were a mod, would you allow it to be on this site? Is the answer accurate, correct, and appropriate, without reading like an advertisement (not too much pathos or ethos, just the facts)? Would you upvote it? If the answer to these questions is "yes", I don't see the problem.
Having said that, anyone who wants to self-answer their own question and promote their own software must have full disclosure in the answer itself. The OP should also be objective in determining which answer to select as the accepted answer, and not be rude or downvote any alternative answers that come through. We will deal with bad behavior on a case by case basis, but that's no reason to disallow this general format of self-answering.
This could be as starter but important points when crafting your question/answer:
Don't write requirements you don't need just so your software fits better. Write what you need in a way it doesn't force a piece of software and allows everyone to chime in.
This apply to the previous point. Write exactly what you are looking for in the piece of software, and when answering write exactly your impressions of how the software fulfilled your needs and the downsides of using it.
Ask for how you expect to be the perfect piece of software. Include some "nice to have" that your current software doesn't use.
Even when selfanswering, someone might trip up with your question and use the recommendation you write about, so is not only about fulfilling your needs but doing it for the broader community. Make it attractive for everyone else.
SE's main overriding philisophy is "vote for the post, not the user".
As such, the guideline to self-answering is very simple: produce a high-quality answer; the same way as you would have if it was someone else's question.
The only caveats are:
Make sure you don't phrase the question in way that people could perceive as spamming/self-advertisement setup. Describe a real problem you're facing. Don't invent requirements just so you can provide super-ideal answer that excludes other software.
Make sure the answer is truly high quality. People are more likely to be picking at faults in self-answered questions, from real or imaginary concerns about rep farming AND spamming. So, make sure that an impartial observer would look at your Q&A and consider them High Quality. Don't half-ass it.
This shouldn't be a rule, but more of an advice. If you're worried about people downvoting your Q+self-A over rep farming concerns, delay posting your answer by a bit (say half a day). If someone posts high quality answer with the same software you found, so be it. If not, post your own
- As a courtesy, I usually post a comment stating "I actually already figured out the answer. Will post it if nobody else will in xxx hours". This way people won't waste time working on an answer unless they wish to compete with you for rep :)
In my opinion on software recommendations site would be better to formulate questions differently in order to just avoid self answering. I do understand the logic behind SE type of sites but I can't see it useful here.
Premise of good question should be clear explanation of tasks or actions one needs to accomplish.
I am looking for a software/app to accomplish some specific task.
I already found this software/app which does what I need but it is
missing something or is too limited in features I would like to have.
Ideally these requirements are necessary:
- necessary requirement 1
- necessary requirement 2
- necessary requirement 3
These requirements are good to have but not necessary:
- non necessary requirement 1
- non necessary requirement 2
- non necessary requirement 3
In cases when someone post a question and then on some latter point finds a solution for own question (maybe directed in right direction with some of answers already received) self answering should actually add quality to answers. Of course a lot of specific needs have to be taken in consideration but to keep quality of site as high as possible self answering should be minimal.