Someone downvoted three of my answers to own questions in a row.

These are the answers:




For me it feels unfair. I am a Linux beginner and it was an effort to find the solutions and I wanted to share them.

Why the downvotes? Is it considered bad practice to write answers to (unanswered) own questions?

  • 7
    It might be because they're somewhat trivial questions and answers, that probably won't help very many people. I'd close the first two as "went away on its own" because the answers seem to basically be "I got rid of the problem by avoiding it." Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 18:08
  • 6
    Trivial is relative. I had never used Linux before. Can a problem be trivial if one needs multiple hours or even days to solve it? Is there a minimum user experience level expected in AskUbuntu? Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 18:18
  • 7
    No, but there is an expectation of how helpful the answer will actually be. Uninstalling the problem program isn't necessarily a good solution, and it doesn't really have much detail either. While answers don't need to be detailed all the time, it's better to try to make something out of the solution (maybe an explanation of the process), rather than saying "do this." I'm sure someone else will be able to explain it better. Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 18:20
  • @Zacharee1 - the second one could be closed, the first one should be valid. The thirds fine, you may want to chuck in a screenshot and explainations etc for even newer users who don't know what menu or where to look. For finding english screenshots you can search for images on the web (e.g. mtekk.us/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/right_click_menu.png ), but checking image permissions may be necessary
    – Wilf
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 11:10
  • upvoted your questions and answers as they are perfectly fine for this format. Your 'download' question, the second one, is a bit too localised, if you ask me though, so that could trigger downvotes.
    – don.joey
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 10:09
  • You should ask yourself if this is a question that a lot of people may ask, and if the answer is general enough to help those many people. From how you've phrased some of it this doesn't seem to be the basis for the questions and answers, they are too specific so people will downvote them as not useful. Here's a good rule of thumb: can you learn something from this question even if you don't have the issue? If yes, it's probably a good question. If no, hold it or make it more generally interesting.
    – pzkpfw
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 0:46

3 Answers 3


What Zanna said is 100% correct and self answers are encouraged but the down votes have nothing to do with self answers, as the questions were voted up.

Let's look at your answers

Dell Inspiron does not go into GRUB after shutdown from Kubuntu

I think I found the answer. I disabled to Legacy ROM option in the BIOS settings while leaving UEFI enabled. After reinstallation the laptop now boots as expected.

I didn't try disabling UEFI completely since I prefer that mode.

Saying you think you found the answer, is not what the answer box is for, it seems like a guess rather than fact, this will always attract downvotes here, be sure of your answer.

Dropbox ZIP appears in Downloads folder

Found it. KTorrent was downloading some crap. No idea where it came from since I have never used torrent before. Anyway I removed KTorrent for good

Swearing is never good and how did you remove Ktorrent? It could be explained better.

Avoid flooding disk by copying to failed mount point

I could solve this by removing writing rights from the dummy mount point folder. This way, copying files fails if mounting was not successful.

This one lacks details, you talk about beginners understanding in the comments above, how would they understand "removing writing rights from the dummy mount point folder"? Answers should help anyone who reads them.

I personal may only downvote the Ktorrent one, it is not helpful because it has no detail or context but I could see why all three would attract downvotes.

The basic thing lacking in all these answers is detail, how did you do this? Just saying "I did this" does not help people, it just confuses them move.

You put far move effort in to the questions, that is why they have upvotes and the answers have downvotes.

I hope you take this the right way and edit and improve your answers to make them high quality, then you will get upvotes.

  • 2
    Ok, removed the "think" and the "crap". Can't improve those much more since I simply have never understood why the things worked that way. Also I don't know the english menu names in Dolphin to describe how I changed the access rights. Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 20:49
  • 3
    I will try to take it the right way: Take the time to write a good answer otherwise prefer no answer to a bad answer. Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 21:18
  • @Silicomancer: starting particular programs in english (for menus, messages, taking screenshots or whatever) can easily be achieved: press CTRL + ALT + T to open a terminal, type LC_ALL=C libreoffice (for example to start libreoffice) and hit enter. Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 23:13
  • @Silicomancer A bad answer might lead to a good answer, which is why it is often a great comment. I often post comments when I cannot give a full answer.
    – jpaugh
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 20:51

Thanks for posting the solutions you found to your own problems. This is a great thing to do and the site has some ways of encouraging it - for example, this little message next to the checkbox to post your own answer seems quite inviting to me:

enter image description here

Even more encouragingly, we have this badge

enter image description here

I probably spend more time than most users looking at self-answered questions, and I have a few theories about why they often don't get many upvotes and might even get a downvote, but, before I share them, I will just say that I don't think there should be anything special about a self-answered post: good posts should get upvotes and bad posts should get downvotes, and that's pretty much it.

My theories

  • people might not be motivated to find the answer for you, thus they don't give the post much thought, and so don't bother to check and upvote your answer
  • self-answered posts might not get attention because people don't see future use for them. If the post looks really trivial (the answer seems extremely obvious) or esoteric (borderline off-topic, or barely reproducible) to someone, or the answer lacks sufficient explanation to make it useful to others, they might downvote it as a way of encouraging you to delete it, with the idea that it adds nothing to the site. It would be nice if such hypothetical people would instead try to improve the site in a more accountable way (I like editing), but, comment conversations and close votes are a lot more effort than casting anonymous downvotes.
  • Sometimes self-answers are bad! People sometimes "solve" their problems temporarily with bad practices, or post a very cursory answer with no explanation. In these cases, you might get a downvote, or people might just ignore (as mentioned, they might not be giving the whole question much thought).

Looking at your answers, I don't think any of them deserved a downvote, but you could certainly improve them - for example, what command(s) did you use to remove write permission from the mount point, or to uninstall Ktorrent? As I said earlier, you're unlikely to get extra credit just for solving your own problem - the post should stand on its own merits.


I want to add a bit to the two already existing excellent answers. if you solved a problem by using some guaranteed-to-solve methods (such as re-installing Ubuntu, removing it etc), then my advice would be not to use the answer section to say that your problem is gone now. Because the answers are there for future visitors who can get help from them and informing them that your problem is now gone might not help them.

In short, try to see if your answer has anything that could help future visitors, if it has, then proceed.

  • 1
    I originally wanted to write this as a comment but i thought it will be helpful as an extension
    – Anwar
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 18:58
  • 2
    +1 this is an excellent point very well made
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 23:11

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