- Is it okay to answer your own question?
- Are there any rules that should govern asking and answering your own questions?
I would say key etiquette factors are rate-limiting yourself and keeping the content high quality.
Early on we had a problem of one user posting tons of questions at once; even if you have an answer you shouldn't post too many per day as you will bump other questions off the main page. This limits exposure to other, open questions. One per day is probably fine.
Quality is a big issue; all self questions should be evaluated as if they were normal questions on the site, even if they immediately have a satisfactory answer. If a question is too basic or not on topic, it doesn't belong, period.
In addition, self-answered questions should be kept to a high standard because you know what the problem/answer is, so you have no excuse for a poorly stated question.
Make sure your question and answer is helpful to other users of the site. This is a Q&A site, not a personal notebook. Answers should be interesting or hlepful to more than just you.
Okay in the spirit of answering my own questions :-)
I use the following rough rules to be polite:
- try to ensure that it is a legitimate question at the time of asking (i.e., I'm legitimately interested in the answer at the time of asking; Also, sometimes I'll have a partial answer, but I want to see how it compares to others)
- give others a short period of time to answer before posting my own answer (generally at least half a day to a day)
That said, I don't know whether either of the criteria are essential. Voting will probably sort most things out. I also think that where the answer does not preclude other answers, the timing issue is less important, and probably meta is different, because the question is more for starting discussion, and there is no motive for rep increases.
In summary, I think people should be encouraged to ask lots of questions, and I think people should be encouraged to add their own answers more often than they currently do. I know that for just about any question I've asked on this site, I could do some research for an hour or two and find a reasonable answer. I've done that several times, especially when I haven't received an answer for a few days.
I think it is fine to answer your own question (on the main site) if it is obvious you didn't know the answer at the time of asking and worked on answering it. On the meta you can always answer your own questions :P.
However, the initial question should still show initial research effort. I am unhappy about this question to self-answer pair because the initial question does not show research effort. This is made clear by the almost immediate wikipedia-link answer by the same user.
Full disclosure: I have asked and answered my own question. I provided my answer for completeness sake after accepting a good one. I guess I knew the answer I posted when I asked the question (as in I was familiar with quantum cognition, etc), but I had not really thought about the fact that it is a perfectly rationalist explanation until thinking about rule vs. act rationality in @OfriRaviv's answer.