Given the lack of questions being asked here on Bio.SE, I was wondering whether or not we should be encouraging all members to be answering their own questions. It's certainly encouraged by Stack Exchange itself, yet not many users do so. It can definitely be beneficial in our situation, but I can also see it turning sour: many users asking extremely generic questions, no other input from other members of the community.

My question is: how much should we be encouraging this type of activity, in consideration of our site stats? And why aren't people doing it on their own?


3 Answers 3


I just wanted to address a couple of points, but know that I think this is a great idea.

many users asking extremely generic questions

I'm not sure this assumption is accurate. I think people can come up with some interesting topics, and there's no requirement that the self-answered questions have to be "What is the endoplasmic reticulum?" or trivia like that. I think this could be a great opportunity to find papers that are current in the literature and "share" them using a Q+A format.

no other input from other members of the community.

You're assuming that the asker will be the only one who answers. There is nothing stopping someone from adding another answer to a self-answered question.


Yes, we should encourage members to be answering their own questions. It is frustrating to find an interesting, e.g. 1 year old question, which is unanswered. If the people are experts in research, they probably fixed their problem somehow, only we do not know how.

  • $\begingroup$ I will admit to being lax on this (though I've made some minimal effort). I agree that we could start by looking at back at we have actually discovered ourselves since asking the question. I do $\endgroup$
    – Atl LED
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 5:54

There you have to differentiate between two types of questions: Some are asked by people, who want to know more about a field of biology. Some questions come from people which will eventually come across a solution themself. In the last possibility they should answer the question themself. Another thing is that people often doesn't accept or vote up answers to their questions.


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