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I don't understand how this could work here. What's the purpose of asking a question and posting two different answers to your own question?

The OP commented:

I've added such example answers in an attempt to demonstrate this and help ward off closing.

Is "posting your own answers" relevant to helping ward off closing?

What can the OP achieve by doing this? Is it even allowed?

Edit:

I saw an OP's answer posted to his own question a few times in the past. It was understandable at the time because those questions were not as easy as this one and could result in many different answers. But if you look at the linked question, he is posting all the possible answers. Then, what is the purpose? Just to keep the OP's record and knowledge? I don't think this site is meant to be someone's hard disk drive. I am asking specifically why this kind of behavior (asking a question and answering 2 possible answers) is allowed.

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    As for posting two separate answers, there are no rules prohibiting this practice. It's a little unusual for an OP to ask a question and supply two answers, but why not, as long as the posts are relevant and on topic. – Mari-Lou A Nov 15 '15 at 11:01
  • @Mari-LouA I think you misunderstood my question. I am asking if it is relevant to helping ward off closing. Not only do I think it is "off-topic", but I think it is strange to post 2 answers to the simple question, one of which is "There is no difference". Then, if the OP knows there is no difference, what's the purpose of asking the question? If there were just one answer, I would not post this question. – user140086 Nov 15 '15 at 11:05
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    The question title asks "what is the purpose" and the link supplies an answer to that. The second comment refers to the question in the body. The OP wishes to keep the answer open, a legitimate request. The two answers posted, refer directly to the question. Now whether they are "good" answers and deserve upvotes is another matter. – Mari-Lou A Nov 15 '15 at 11:07
  • @Mari-LouA I saw an OP's answer posted to his own question a few times including yours. But those questions were not as easy as this one and could result in many answers. But look at the question. He is answering all the possible answers. Then, what is the purpose? Just to keep a record? I don't think this site is meant to be someone's hard disk drive. I am asking specifically why this kind of behavior is allowed. I will edit my question. – user140086 Nov 15 '15 at 11:18
  • @Rathony The behavior is allowed (and (questionably) encouraged as Mari-Lou referenced). There may be many reasons for the behavior though so it would be weird to punish the behavior for one intention but not another. But to perform the behavior with the intention to prevent closure? That's just not in the built in tech of SE. If one of the answers were upvoted, that would prevent 'community' (an automated process) from bumping it to the top of the 'active' list after a few weeks. That's the only technical effect. – Mitch Nov 15 '15 at 21:56
  • Oh yeah...on meta, that pattern is a legitimate one for asking community opinions or polls on meta (not at all on a regular site). – Mitch Nov 15 '15 at 21:58
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On-topic-ness is not (generally) related to whether a question is answered or not, nor is it related to the number of answers, nor to who answered.

If a question is poor enough to be closed because it's unclear or doesn't show any research, but someone answers anyway — perhaps with a good answer — then the question should be improved as well. Providing an answer in that case might ward off closure, because it shows that the question which should have been asked is answerable. But if the question is not made on-topic, then the presence of answers is not necessarily going to save it. Here's an example where the edit did reprieve the question and it was re-opened.

If a question is blatantly off-topic, such as a proof-reading request, then any answer will certainly not ward off closure.

Answering your own question is not a guarantee that the question will not be downvoted. Questions with a negative score, even if they have answers, can be removed by the system.

Providing more than one answer is allowed, although if the answers are diametrically opposed then there seems little point — but there may actually be diametrically-opposed answers. A question about split infinitives, or whether onto should really be two words, for example, might draw opposing answers. Each instance needs to be treated on its own merits. But answering your own question is allowed, even encouraged and the system does not prevent more than one answer. I have two answers for a UX question about photocopiers, because I thought of more than one solution.

In cases where an OP himself provides two different answers, what is being proposed is a beauty contest, where voters are encouraged to choose the best answer. This may seem rather unethical (because the OP gets rep for votes on the question and for votes which he can use to determine the best answer), but it's exactly the same mechanism no matter who thought of the answers — like the photocopier question I answered. It just happens to be the same user.


In the case in point, there may be no difference now between hard disk, hard drive and hard disk drive, but there certainly has been. Perhaps I should answer that question. Perhaps it should be migrated to a computer hardware Stack, if there is one, as that sort of specialist domain knowledge would appear to be valuable. I'm not convinced it's actually a question about English, and if it's not about English then it's off-topic. Answers are irrelevant to that judgement.

  • That "edit" is called rewriting the entire question. Which is fine if the OP doesn't protest or mind, or if he has simply just vanished. If it is the latter, it means s/he has forfeited the post. – Mari-Lou A Nov 15 '15 at 13:15
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I am the OP on the question Rathony objects to. Although I'm aware of some possible answers to the question, I don't actually know the correct answer. That's why I thought I'd ask on ELU.


Having multiple different answers on the same question helps avoid a closing on the basis that one particular answer is so obviously correct that it's a simple answer by a reference link and therefore the question is off-topic.

Showing the presence of multiple possible answers that each seem to make sense (or be "obvious") when viewed independently, but which seem to conflict with each other when viewed together, helps motivate why it's a good question to ask.

On that question, Rathony commented that "Good questions will attract more than 10 answers and poor ones will get nothing." While this is just not true, assuming good faith behind the comment uncovers an underlying view that good questions have multiple distinct answers, and that at least Rathony considers the number of distinct answers to be a reliable signal about whether or not a question is good. If a question is really not good, it should be closed. Therefore, it would seem useful to demonstrate that there are multiple distinct plausible answers, or seed the possibilities of answers, to help people who do (at some level) use this evaluation criteria in deciding whether or not to cast a close vote (regardless of whether or not that is a good evaluative criteria that should be used).


For extra clarity, the mechanism by which this is supposed to help ward off close votes is by addressing the psychology and reasons behind some close votes. It's not trying to address any technological limit or catch in the platform. It's an effort to gently persuade people who use a criteria like "has a single obvious answer" or a criteria similar to the one quoted from Rathony ("Good questions will attract more than 10 answers and poor ones will get nothing") that the question is a good question which has multiple different and plausible answers.

  • Surely the entire SE technology is about encouraging multiple answers; that is not the issue. This does not address the main thrust of the question which is why the author of a question would answer their own question (strange enough but supported) and answer more than once (also strange and also supported) and, the main point, would do both those things in order to prevent closing (not supported, therefore the question). Can you address the last part? As it stands in the SE system, having multiple answers does nothing technically to prevent a question being closed. – Mitch Nov 16 '15 at 14:00
  • "Having multiple answers does nothing technically to prevent a question being closed." Agreed. It's not a technological measure. It's about the psychology behind close votes, an effort to gently persuade people who use a criteria like "has a single obvious answer" or a criteria similar to the one quoted from Rathony ("Good questions will attract more than 10 answers and poor ones will get nothing") that the question is a good question which has multiple different and plausible answers. – WBT Nov 16 '15 at 14:38
  • Oh. psychologically. OK. Can you edit your post to make that clear? Most people are coming at it from a point of view about technical forcing (multiple answers doesn't prevent closing) rather than psychological suggesting (multiple answers encourages keeping things open). – Mitch Nov 16 '15 at 14:46
  • @Mitch edited, but I think you're the main one who was limiting consideration to technical forcing. – WBT Nov 16 '15 at 14:51
  • Thanks! That extra paragraph makes it clear. – Mitch Nov 16 '15 at 14:52

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