Obviously we all want this site to be the best and highest quality location for real answers to real questions. But with that said, should be wait for a "legit" question or "seed" questions in anticipation of other users needs?

Said another way

  • Is it alright to ask questions which the users knows the answer to in order to motivate other users to answer and get the information into the beta?
  • Yes - this is always acceptable on any Stack Exchange site. The best practices are to keep the question short but precise and don't put he "answer" in the question. Keep the Q apart from the A and you will come across less as someone that likes to see themselves type and more as someone that is generating good content. Also - it's best to pace yourself. Seeding one or two great questions a week or a month is better than lots of trials.
    – bmike
    Feb 1, 2012 at 19:30

4 Answers 4


I actually answered this in chat not too long ago. Yes, it is allowed, even encouraged, to post a question to which you know the answer. See this post on MSO and Jeff's blog entry on it.

  • Awesome, thanks for the info. Jan 27, 2012 at 19:14

It is perfectly acceptable, but I should say that you should probably give a chance for the correct answer to come before you go and post it. Perhaps I didn't give enough time for the one that I did this with ( https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/a/290/88 ), but I did allow for answers to be posted before I posted my own.

And if this wasn't supposed to happen, there wouldn't be a badge for it.


This is a big caveat about explicitly "seeding" this site by anticipating what people will likely ask. It might sound like a good idea by the suggestion, but you simply do not need that here!

If someone has a question, they will ask it as part of a genuine need. It will include the specifics of their exact problem, and it will become an organic part of the site.

Not to over-state the case too much, but overt seeding of a site (i.e. anticipating what users would likely ask) almost ruined the recently-launched Cognitive Science site (We have too many unanswered questions). Cognitive Science fell to a 49% answer rate when users started seeding the site.

I wrote about the problems of "seeding" extensively in

Asking the First Questions

…but a few key points are most poignant.

I was a bit put off by the context implied by “seeding the site.” The word seeding suggests to me that we’re coming up with questions just for the sake of asking questions. My concern is, if people feel that the author doesn’t really care about the answer, the whole exercise would likely be perceived as a waste of time.

… those hypothetical questions tend to be somewhat pedestrian for an expert Q&A site. When put on the spot to post content, we’re likely come up with uninspired questions that anyone would ask. And they’ve all been asked 100 times before on every other site on that subject.

Users enjoy answering questions when they are helping people, and everyone loves to show off a bit on occasion. But users do not want to be given homework assignments with a bunch of busy work. Even if you answer the question yourself, this "forced" content is going to look forced and sterile.

A last note on "Stack Exchange Jeopardy" where folks answer their own question— That is perfectly appropriate and even encouraged when you come across an particularly intriguing problem that you solved. Surely, share that information with the site at large. But sharing such unique insight is a far cry from searching out and seeding a site with contrived Q&A threads.


A good question is a good question regardless of whether you already know the answer, so I think this is acceptable, it fact it should be encouraged. Further, if you already know and can write a great answer to your own question, you should go right ahead.

Good questions and great answers will attract people to our site and make it successful.

  • Great, thanks for the information. Jan 27, 2012 at 19:14

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