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It is odd to me that one can accept their own answer to their own question. I am not questioning the practice that one ought to be able to answer their own question, but it seems that as soon as someone answers their own question the system should default to a vote-based acceptance (after, say, 10 days).

A significant example is this question, which received three answers. The least-voted answer was the questioner's answer, and was accepted by the questioner.

What's at stake is obviously bias in accepting one's own answer. Indeed, it is very common to believe that one's own answer is the best answer. Apparently when someone accepts their own answer, any meaningful information that "acceptance" was supposed to signify has been nullified.

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    It does seem to work on other SE sites, but like many features it can be abused. – eques Jan 8 at 20:43
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    This is the reason that accepting one's own answer does not pin it at the top of the list like usual (and doesn't give reputation either). – El'endia Starman Jan 8 at 21:01
  • @El'endia Starman that is a good point. I suppose the problem is that acceptance really loses its value in this context, despite the mitigations you refer to. The inability for users to judge their own content is absolute apart from this glaring exception. I don't see a principled reason for the exception. Perhaps the biggest problem is that there is no clear alternative. – zippy2006 Jan 9 at 2:26
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There can be occasions when it is quite proper to accept one's own answer. It is used as a mechanism to convey one's own research of a subject.

However, it can be (like anything on SE) abused by someone whose sole objective is to draw attention to themselves or to propagate a wild theory.

Voting should correct this. Those with reputation can make their own view known by multiple down-votes to the point where the answer will become masked and will then be vulnerable to complete deletion.

It is up to the community as a whole to express their view.

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  • The mechanism for conveying research should be the opinions of others, not your own opinion. This happens through voting and through answers being accepted by other users. It is a truism that everyone believes their own research to be sufficient. Secondly, the abuse is not at all limited to the extreme cases you give. Abuse occurs simply because folks think their answer is best, and pretty much everyone who answers a question believes their answer is best--at least at the time of writing. – zippy2006 Jan 9 at 2:22
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    @zippy2006: Occasionally, someone will either 1) find the answer to their own question after asking or 2) learn something interesting and want to share it through the Q&A format. This SEDE query lists all self-answered questions. This question about abortion is an example of the former and that question about Lazarus is an example of the latter. – El'endia Starman Jan 9 at 15:57
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    Curiously, this other question about masturbation is an example of the latter, but a different answer was accepted, which shows that not everyone believes their own answer to be the best, even if it receives far more votes than the accepted answer. – El'endia Starman Jan 9 at 15:58
  • @El'endiaStarman I don't mean to come across at nitpicking, but neither (1) nor (2) are arguments for the ability to accept one's own answer. They are good arguments for the ability to answer one's own question, which I do not find problematic. Similarly, the first two examples you gave are cases where the highest-voted answer was accepted, so the discrepancy isn't present. – zippy2006 Jan 9 at 16:46
  • @El'endiaStarman On the other hand the masturbation question is an interesting counter-example, and the query shows that the quality of such answers isn't terrible. A query showing the percentage of self-accepted answers that were not the highest-voted answers would be very interesting and helpful. – zippy2006 Jan 9 at 16:47
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Is it problematic that one can accept their own answer to their own question?

There is no clear response to this question. The answer can be both yes or no, depending on the nature of the question proposed and the response given in the answer box.

A lot will depend if the question is of a speculative nature or of recent media developments. Recent media questions will generally speaking be of little value until all the media speculations have run their course and can be answered with factual data.

As a general rule, one should not answer their own questions in order to promote their own personal agendas, viewpoints or opinions.

The best self-accepted answered questions would be of sound historical data based research.

Self-accepted answered questions that can be backed up with good historical data and no unsupported self interpretation would be fine.

Self-accepted answered questions with dubious sources and a lot of self interpretation should be avoided all together.

Examples of good self-accepted answered questions:

Examples of poor self-accepted answered questions:

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