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One objective of the beta is to outline the scope of the site by asking and answering questions during the beta. As such, should I ask example questions, similar to the way we asked them during the definition phase, or should I stick only to actual questions I have.

One of the problems I can see with only asking current questions is that the beta is private and time-sensitive. So if none of the beta testers have a question relating to a specific robotics area during the duration of the beta, that area should technically not make it into the scope of the site.

Disclaimer: I am a researcher in human-robot interaction (HRI), specifically social interaction, and have asked some HRI example questions during the definition phase but didn't get upvoted. However, this is not about me or my area specifically. Robotics is a vast field, and I would be surprised if our beta testers were a completely representative sample of that field and would all ask questions related to their field during this beta.

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  • $\begingroup$ You could directly answer your own question. $\endgroup$ – danijar May 31 '14 at 6:51
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It's allowed technically, it may even be helpful later (see below), but I wouldn't recommend it for an early site.

"Seed questions" become harmful when folks come to believe that the author doesn't really care about the answer; or worse, the author doesn't even need any help at all! I wrote a blog post about this cited below, but worth a full read:

From Your New Site: Asking the First Questions …

Seeding the Site

I was a bit put off by the context implied by “seeding the site.” The word seeding suggests to me that we’re coming up with questions just for the sake of asking questions. My concern is, if people feel that the author doesn’t really care about the answer, the whole exercise would likely be perceived as a waste of time. …

The downside is that those hypothetical questions tend to be somewhat pedestrian for an expert Q&A site. When put on the spot to post content, we’re likely come up with uninspired questions that anyone would ask. And they’ve all been asked 100 times before on every other site on that subject.

One of the motivations driving this site the belief that you are helping others. Folks love to help others… but folks do not want to be given homework assignments or busy work.

If you have particularly interesting information to share, it's okay to share your knowledge, Q&A-style. If you have a particularly intriguing question asked out of genuine curiosity; that's okay, too. But I would stop short of flipping open that book of oft-asked questions to start seeding the site here.

So ask about problems you actually face. Encourage others to do the same. When you encounter obviously "seeded" questions, always moderate for quality. Questions with little effort or research should be closed with helpful guidance. But try not to let it devolve into endless interrogations of the author. They're likely just trying to help the site in good faith. But we have to continue to attract the experts we need… and the best way to do that is to keep the quality on that front page high.

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I think that that would be fine. I would even encourage asking very basic questions that are likely to be frequently asked by future visitors to the site, and then answering them yourself if you are an expert on the subject. Then these can get listed under the FAQ tab of the Questions section.

You may want to ask the question as a Community Wiki question in which case you wouldn't get any rep for it. But seeing as how obtaining high rep users is also a part of a successful Beta, you may want to just ask the question normally, gain some rep from it, and then a moderator can convert it to Community Wiki later.

For example, on EE.SE, Olin asked and answered a great question about power supplies. Similar questions come in all the time and so I have that question favorited to refer back to:

Choosing power supply, how to get the voltage and current ratings?

And then it got listed in the FAQ Tab so it's easy for others to find.

I think building a base of canonical questions and answers would be beneficial to the site not only during the Beta phase but through out the life of the site.

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The best questions are practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face but practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you have faced are almost as good.

I would recommend that you create your question with as much care and attention as if you were asking it for real. This is your chance to show others, particularly people new to stack exchange, what standard we expect of questions on a Stack exchange site.

I would also suggest, as embedded.kyle did, that you create your answer as community wiki. This means that people with a lower reputation will be able to edit it directly, which will also reduce the need for peer review of suggested edits.

While community wiki is pretty much deprecated for questions, it still has it's place for answers.

It also has the advantage that people won't assume you are rep whoring. Quite often, when I see a Question and it's first answer by the same user and the answer isn't CW I find myself wondering if this person has genuinely trying to help future users or whether they think they can gain a quick reputation boost from a populist question. While I usually end up voting up both, I am much more critical of the question and answer than I would be otherwise.

By giving up the rep from your answer, and only getting the rep from the question, you are very effectively saying gaining rep is not my reason for doing this.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for your point about the altruistic behaviour of not being a rep whore and making a community answer. What worries me are users who create fake users to ask a question and then answer that question as themselves, in order to falsely up their rep (by upvoting and selecting the answer as the correct one). $\endgroup$ – Greenonline Feb 28 '15 at 4:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Greenonline that generally isn't a problem. There are procedures and automated systems for combining sock puppet accounts, so after the rep recalc happens none of that extra rep is erased. As a protem moderator I have never had to deal with this as it's always bean dealt with automatically. Of more concern is people trying to game the system in ways which can't be automatically detected. $\endgroup$ – Mark Booth Mar 9 '15 at 12:47
  • $\begingroup$ I find that similar writing styles, grammatical errors and typos generally help identify fake accounts - I have found at least three in such a manner. However, I was recently informed, after flagging such a post, that it is not against the SE rules to have multiple SE accounts, so long as up voting between them doesn't occur. I find that a bit of a non-starter. $\endgroup$ – Greenonline Mar 9 '15 at 13:25

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