My latest question was well received but has sat idle for a few days now. That's pretty much what I'd expect, since it's quite involved, but I was hoping it might get at least 1 answer over the week.

I have my own solution which I created before posting the question to check if there were any gotchya's I'd need to take account of, and I've done some basic golfing so it could even be a contender itself.

My original intent was to post this after getting a couple of answers, but I'm wondering if posting it early might help to kick-start others (giving a sample of how it can be done in one language may help implementations in others). Of course the alternative is that having an answer may discourage others from bothering.

I've seen on meta that it's generally considered best to wait at least a day before self-answering, but I don't know how this scales to more complex challenges.

Has anybody experienced this? Is it better to post now, or wait longer?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I updated my answer to give some suggestions for more complex challenges, since yours is more difficult. \$\endgroup\$
    – mbomb007
    Apr 14, 2017 at 15:52

2 Answers 2


Wait for other answers

In general:

Self-answering a challenge early on (especially as the first answer) is frowned upon and discourages other answers. Part of the purpose of a challenge is for people to find their own solution, without having to filter out knowledge of what your method is. It allows people to be more creative.

If you post a really good contender early on, people may think you intend to win your own challenge by preparing a solution ahead of time or rigging the challenge such that you know the best answer.

In short, give other people a chance to answer.

More complex challenges:

In your case, since the challenge is more complex, you should consider adding a bounty after a few days. The more difficult the challenge, the bigger the bounty may need to be to attract an answer.

If you still don't receive an answer, you could choose to post your answer. Since the bounty will have been wasted, you could choose to create a bounty with no deadline.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I agree in general, but in this case it's been 5 days already. That is plenty of time. \$\endgroup\$
    – DJMcMayhem
    Apr 14, 2017 at 15:46
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Self-answering a challenge early on [...] is frowned upon Do you have a citation for this? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dennis
    Apr 14, 2017 at 18:02
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Dennis That's the meta post in the question linked "at least a day". \$\endgroup\$ Apr 14, 2017 at 18:50
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ You can't give your own answer a bounty. Bounties are non-refundable. \$\endgroup\$
    – Laurel
    Apr 15, 2017 at 22:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Laurel Right, fixed. \$\endgroup\$
    – mbomb007
    Apr 16, 2017 at 0:06
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The bounty stuff sounds reasonable. I've always avoided it because of the deadline nonsense, so that meta post is useful! I've added a 200-rep open-ended bounty to the question (hopefully I followed the proper process for it, if there is one!) \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave
    Apr 17, 2017 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mbomb007 yup, I did: codegolf.meta.stackexchange.com/a/12124/8927 (although, the process should really be clear in the post rather than just in comments; I just followed what everybody else seemed to be doing) \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave
    Apr 18, 2017 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dave Okay. Also, It's "rep" or "reputation". Not "points". \$\endgroup\$
    – mbomb007
    Apr 18, 2017 at 18:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I answered my own question but I had 10 answers already. I just wanted to get my solution out there \$\endgroup\$
    – user63187
    Apr 21, 2017 at 10:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for showing me how to do a bounty with no deadline. I accidentally gave 500 of my points away to a random person, but I also respect that person, so it worked out. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 21, 2017 at 19:22

It's a great way to get answers started

I have used this technique on many of my challenges. On one, it was mostly un-noticed until I added an answer of my own. It helped to clarify the details of the challenge, give something for less-experienced golfers to start with, and show one way of solving the problem. I was out-golfed shortly, but this answer was necessary to start the competition.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you give some examples so I can check what kinds of complexities of question it works on? For now I've gone with an open-ended bounty, so I'll see how that goes and reconsider this next week! \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave
    Apr 17, 2017 at 22:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dave I think this is another way to get answers started. Bounties work great (better in some cases, especially in hard challenges), but you have the disadvantage of losing rep. Why do that when someone would compete for free? On the other hand, people may say that your answer is enough and it is too hard for them, so bounties can be critical for difficult challenges. \$\endgroup\$
    – user58826
    Apr 18, 2017 at 1:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a concrete example where you managed to kickstart your challenge? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31, 2018 at 9:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .