I think it is pretty obvious that we have standards for answers. Some are more serious and lead to deletion; some are less serious and only lead to downvotes.

My question here is whether someone answering his own question should be given greater leeway than a regular answer to someone else's question.

That is to say that if someone answers his own question in a manner that would normally get flagged as "not an answer", perhaps it should not get flagged. Or if he answers it in a way that would normally get downvoted (e.g. does not provide substantiation to his claims), perhaps it should not get downvoted.

The reason why there should potentially be such a distinction is that normally answers are meant to be helpful/useful. If someone answers someone else's question in a lackluster way then it is unlikely to be helpful/useful to anyone. But when the one answering is the one who asked the question, it presumably means that this answer was at least helpful/useful to the one who asked the question. While, of course, answers should ideally be helpful/useful to any reader, helping the actual person who had the question is certainly important.

On the other hand, perhaps we want to maintain a high standard for our content across the board. Additionally, if the only person it will help is the one who asked it, and that person already knows the answer (as he is the one answering it) there is no benefit to posting it.

(Though perhaps one could argue that an answer from the questioner has inherently more credibility than someone else's answer – maybe something like הפה שאסר הוא הפה שהתיר – and therefore even an answer that would not be useful to anyone if it came from someone else might be useful to people coming from the questioner.)

An example is this question which asks:

I've recently tried to fuse my background in programming with my Gemara learning, resulting in what I now call computational gemara. You can read more about the idea here. An older article I wrote with a less nice formalization methodology can be found here.

My goal is to use a theory for formalizing the flow of the Gemara's logic in set-notation and to use theory to build a software system for interacting with the logic of the Gemara in a very immersive way. I envision this software being a novel educational tool and something that would really help me and other students better understand the complex, nuanced logic of the Gemara.

To be clear, this idea is not to project Gemara onto mathematics. It is to develop a system which will lead to a novel tool for learning Gemara. That is all. I'm not trying to imply the anachronistic notion the Rabbis used mathematics to think. I'm just trying to fuse my programming with my Gemara learning to see if anything worthwhile comes out.

What I am looking for:

Do you know if using mathematics to dissect a sugya has been tried before?

Moderators pretend this doesn't exist because it's not part of the question If you would be interested in discussing this with me, please let me know in the comments. I'm only 16 and haven't embarked on a project of this magnitude and seek advice from the more experienced. This site is the best forum for making these connections.

The questioner himself came back a year and a half later and answered:

Almost a year later, after being in Yeshiva, and revisiting this page, the best advice I can give anyone who comes here and is as genuinely curious about the matter as I was, is to go to Yeshiva, find a Rebbe, and just learn day and night. And then the answer will be irrelevant.

I suspect that had this answer been given by someone else it would have been downvoted, and perhaps even flagged for deletion. This answer, though, has a score of +1.

So what does the community think about this kind of situation?

  • 7
    Having read the title of this post and before I read its content, I assumed the proposal was going to be that askers' answers be held to a higher standard. After all, they were "in the sugya", so should be able to write an answer well; plus, to avoid accusations of asking-and-answering improperly, they'd best do both parts well.
    – msh210 Mod
    Jul 4, 2018 at 4:17
  • @msh210 I think I would agree that in a case where someone deliberately asks a question in order to post an answer it should be held to an equal or higher standard. My question here is primarily about a case (such as the example) where the questioner comes back saying what worked for him.
    – Alex
    Jul 4, 2018 at 4:21
  • 1
    Apparently, as of now, the answer is sit on -1 and on the bring of deletion.
    – Andrew T.
    Jul 4, 2018 at 6:59
  • 2
    As for this meta discussion topic, SE in general doesn't discriminate self-answer than any other answers. Self-answer can be straightly wrong or just correct, just like any other answers. Vote accordingly to the content, not the poster.
    – Andrew T.
    Jul 4, 2018 at 7:09
  • @AndrewT. And now it's been deleted.
    – Alex
    Jul 4, 2018 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


Self-answers are fine, either from the outset or later, but we usually hold them to a higher standard, not a lower one. In particular, we should make sure the question could be answered by someone else too; the question needs to contain all the needed information and be well-formed.

That's the question and I realize you're asking about the answer. I think we should evaluate all answers by the same criteria regardless of authorship. I appreciate it when an asker later finds an answer and comes back to share it. If it's not yet an answer, then as with anyone else we should try to improve it if possible and handle it in the usual ways if not.

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