As someone who's been in the workforce for a while, I have experienced some situations which others may encounter in the future. As such, I think it may be useful to pose questions about these situations, even though resolution has occurred. Thus, is it okay post such an experience as a question here?

Edit: Of course, I can always phrase a question about a past situation so it appears current. However, I would rather not do that for everything, so part of my reason for asking this is to find how the community would feel about a question like "10 years ago I faced [SITUATION]. I did [MY RESOLUTION], but don't think that was necessarily the best solution. What else might I have done?" The point of this would be to build a repository for others to learn from, since obviously I can't do anything now.

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    3/4 of my questions are from the past (the personal hygiene one is about events that took place 6-7 years ago), and the community didn't seem to mind.
    – yannis
    Dec 4, 2012 at 9:58
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    @YannisRizos: Yes, but we don't know they're from the past! ;-)
    – GreenMatt
    Dec 5, 2012 at 14:08
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    Of course you do: "This isn't a current issue, as right now I'm mostly working from home and solely responsible for any odours. ;P". Check out the rest of the question, I think I made it fairly obvious that it relates to past events.
    – yannis
    Dec 5, 2012 at 14:10
  • @YannisRizos - I think it worked with your solution because it was I always let someone else deal with it. As soon as you change that to I took direct action X to solve it then the question becomes invalid IMO Dec 6, 2012 at 15:51
  • @Chad Well, had I taken direct action X, the question would still be good, but I'd post direct action X as an answer to it.
    – yannis
    Dec 6, 2012 at 15:54
  • @YannisRizos - And I think that would be acceptable. Then we can constructively tell you why that was wrong in comments... Dec 6, 2012 at 15:55

3 Answers 3


Absolutely, as long as it follows the format of Stack Exchange (it is a question, and it's not a question that would get closed/deleted).

Hopefully, you've found a solution by now, and you can post that as an answer! Asking a (quality) question and answering (well) yourself is a great way to share information on these sites.

If you haven't found a solution yet, hopefully asking here will help you find it.

Either way, pay attention to any feedback you get, and be sure to provide any necessary additional details/clarifications.


I would say so yes. So long as it is not a blatantly "trolling" type question.

I realize the FAQ makes it seem this is not appropriate, but, in some sense, I disagree

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

While I completely agree with the second part (regarding chatty types of questions) I'm not as convinced you must have an actual problem to ask a valid question for this site.

The point of this site is not only as a Q/A for current problems, in my opinion, but also a Q/A repository of questions which have relevance for others as well. Having a personal current situation has no bearing on asking a valid question (although it will make it easier, this is for sure).

  • My thinking/hope is that it would be okay, but the FAQ statement you quoted was part of what had me concerned. Thus, I thought I would ask for community feedback.
    – GreenMatt
    Dec 3, 2012 at 16:15
  • @GreenMatt keep in mind this is my opinion here, it's not necessarily something you should take as how everyone thinks (unless this gets way upvoted I guess)
    – enderland
    Dec 3, 2012 at 16:26
  • Depending on how the community's opinion goes on this question, we'll open a meta question for FAQ modification questions, to make it clear one way or another.
    – jcmeloni
    Dec 3, 2012 at 21:19

I think it is acceptable to ask how to handle the situation with out saying what actions you took. But once it has happened and has been responded to there is not constructive way to deal with the problem because it has already happened and we can not change the past. You can say here is what happened how can i recover going forward but not how should I have done this.

I do not think it is OK to say here is what I did, was it wrong? How ever a question like: "I took X action and a coworker said they found it offensive. I Do not understand why" could be ok, provided it X is not along the lines of "I made a sexually aggressive action" or other blatantly inappropriate action/remark.

I think there is a danger of opening up too many what if rabbit holes for situations that occurred in the past that are unlikely to ever occur the same way again. To many of these situations are very contextual. And, how a junior should handle a situation is likely different than how a senior should handle it, and that is likely different than how a manager should handle it.

I think you can get good answers to questions about actions that happened in the past if they are asked like they happened now that will also help you answer the question of what should I have done. But I did X opens up a can of other worms and often times sets a bar of acceptability of actions far lower than it needs to be. For instance "My coworker told me my haircut made me look like a girl and I punched my boss in the face" set the bar so low that "You should have just flipped him the bird" is an preferable response. And that answer is likely to get up-votes in the context. The problem is it is a bad solution and a bad answer. These types of things create broken windows, and lower the bar acceptability for answers to other answers.

If you actually want to know if you took the right action (and believe you may have) post your actions as an answer. The community will let you know if they agree it was the right thing or explain why it was not.

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